Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY Stenciled Closet Renovation

I was hesitant to share my progress of my master closet renovation because it's not 100% done yet.  But I don't think anything in my house will ever be 100% done because like me, the house will continuously evolve...and I'm not superwoman.  First off, I am so grateful to have my very own master closet that I don't have to share with anybody.  From what I've learned in my house-hunting experience, closets in the city are rare creatures.  The fact that we have his & hers in our bedroom is a gift.  A gift from a unicorn.

When we moved in, the closets were each just a room with an open doorway.  There weren't any closet structures that we could immediately hang clothes on.  So for a while we had our clothes split amongst bedrooms and Chris actually used a shower curtain rod in the 2nd floor bathroom as his closet.

Having the closets figured out was my number one priority as far as house projects were concerned (of which there is a very long list) so I began researching custom closet solutions and DIYs of closet solutions.  What I found was that building a closet wasn't going to be cheap unless I had an array of power tools and the woodworking skills of Bob Vila OR lots of time.  I had neither although by this summer I think I'll be a mini-Vila so tried to mesh the two methodologies and self install an MDF board closet system from Home Depot.  First I drew up my measurements and an idea of what I had in mind.

Then, using ClosetMaid software I was able to input my closet's measurements and customize their products to fit my design.  Below is what I came up with:

So off to Home Depot we went armed with housewarming gift cards from our parents and extended family and a Lowes coupon (they take competitor ones there).

While I began painting the interior of the closet, Chris put together the pieces that would eventually be installed.  Everything was flat packed so the entire structure had to be assembled and eventually secured to the wall.

For paint, I chose Behr Beluga in flat to be on the wall opposite the doorway and the wall to the right of the doorway.  The other two walls were to be stenciled, as I wanted my closet to have a boutique feel (even though I'm not Mariah Carey).  I feel that bathrooms and closets are the places to really have fun with patterns and colors while living areas I generally play it safe.  

I had some help taping and painting....

And when everything was dry I was able to begin stenciling!  I found a really awesome company, Royal Design Studio, through Etsy.  I chose Moroccan Starry Night as my stencil hoping it would be more geometric than floral looking...I have a weakness for floral prints.  At first it was my intention to do the stencil in both our closets so we matched...but after a week of stenciling that was not going to happen.

I used a light grey on the wall to start so that my lines would be that color in between the stars.  Then I used the same Beluga black, a darker grey, and gold paint for the stars.  The gold is a Ralph Lauren brand of paint from Home Depot -- expensive, but it's hard to find cheap metallic paint in mass quantities.

I spent about two hours a night for a week stenciling with Spotify blasting Beyonce.  My technique used foam brushes instead of typical stencil brushes because I wanted a graphic look.  Had I gone with one color overall, I would've used a roller.  Here's progress...

The pattern is so eye catching and busy that it's hard to find any mistakes at a looks like I did it perfectly when in reality there are little globs here and there mussing up the clean lines.  After I was finished I used a smaller brush to repaint those lines and get my shapes cleaned up.  

When my stenciling was complete (YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!) Chris and I installed the closet structure he was putting together while I painted.  I pretty much jumped around excitedly taking pictures and thanking him profusely while this was going on....

And then it was all done!  We had to cut the MDF boards to fit perfectly -- and had to take them to Chris's Dad (who's the Bob Vila type I aspire to be) for trimming.  

It didn't take long for me to pack all my clothes into my new closet!  After taking careful measurements of the shelves, I went to IKEA and bought boxes that would fit perfectly.  I also returned to Home Depot for shoe cubes to organize the insane amount of shoes I've collected (it's a problem).  Lastly I hung a mirror I had picked up years ago at a flea market opposite my jewelry storage and installed one of my handmade jewelry holders (you can buy on Etsy friendssss) beneath.

There are still some add ons I'd like to do, like above the doorway putting shelving using brackets I got on sale at Anthropologie, eventually installing doors or making a curtain, and changing the light fixture - but this project is finished for now.  

I'm able to see everything I own and making dressing decisions in the morning is a lot faster than it used to be when I was running up and down the stairs to find my clothes.  I've also made a promise to myself to not stock up on a bunch of items just because they're cheap or on sale and to be more thoughtful about the pieces I add to my wardrobe....also I don't think much more can fit in here!
You did it Mom!
Thanks for taking a look at my project!  Hoping to share more accomplishments as we make our way through the house!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DIY Tutorial: Broken Mirror to Chalkboard

This might be the busiest/most exciting year of my life so far.  As I've mentioned in posts previously, Chris and I have moved and we're also planning our wedding that's in less than a year.  Balancing house and wedding priorities is a really great way to completely stress yourself out.  At the moment I've tried to alternate house/wedding/house/wedding...but sometimes the house projects are way more fun.  The best case scenario is when a house project doubles as a wedding project!

Craigslist is my bff and also a big point of contention between Chris and I.  Why would I want to drive all the way out to east jabip to pick up a piece of junk....WHY WOULDN'T I?  Those are the two viewpoints.  When I found a fabulous, HUGE, valuable yet cheap vintage art deco mirror on the Craig for $25 I had to have it, so with heavy feet Chris accompanied me...because hello?  Craigslist Killers.

When the mirror was presented it had a slight flaw that wasn't in its posting pictures.  It had a teeny 4 inch crack in the glass starting from the bottom.  I thought I could fix it with a glass repair kit so I still agreed to take it for a discount.  And it was offered for free!  I couldn't turn down free but my other half saw it as me taking home trash.  As we packed it into the car the crack made its way all the way through the mirror.  Needless to say it wasn't the most pleasant ride home, or the most pleasant Friday night, or the most pleasant Saturday morning.

But hey, stuff happens.  People get angry.  Instead of letting the huge broken in two mirror loom over us for the weekend and instead of that Friday night going to waste, I attempted to turn the mirror into something else completely.  I had seen the same scenario on Little Green Notebook where their gorgeous scroll mirror got damaged in their move to Phoenix.  With some modifications, I adapted their salvage techniques and turned my broken mirror into a fabulous chalkboard.

There she is - my fractured mirror.  I removed the glass very carefully and realized that the backing I expected to be my future chalkboard didn't exist.  Behind the mirror was an open frame.  Quick on my feet I decided to use the glass as a stencil on plywood to create my own chalkboard base.

If you look really closely, you'll see that I'm using two pieces of plywood underneath the mirror.  Having a 4 door sedan means I can't lug home huge products...which is a total bummer because I think this prevents me from getting all the Craigslist things I I had to improvise.  I traced my mirror and then used a jigsaw to cut out the curvy corners.

Voila!  Using another piece of plywood behind the front, I was able to get the two pieces in line with each other by gluing it to the back with wood glue.  Now I had the issue of a gap in the surface of my chalkboard.  And I also have the issue of losing the pics of the next two steps!  So I'll summarize...

I used joint compound aka sheetrock aka spackle all over the surface of the plywood so that the crease was covered and an even surface was made over the entire piece.  Once it dried I sanded it with a sanding block to an even level.

Then, I painted with chalkboard paint on the spackled surface.  After two coats and allowing it to cure overnight I was able to "prime" it with chalk..aka write all over it and erase to leave that chalky base.

The mirror was supposed to live in our entry way being a grand focal point as you entered and left our home.  After it went through trauma, we re purposed it as a chalkboard menu and gave it a home in the kitchen above our table.  (Also I totally realize I left the O out of Chalkboard.  Butttt Harry looks so cute in front of it I couldn't not show this!).

Here's the final product put to good use in our kitchen!  I love how it's both beautiful and functional.  The black and gold pop against the freshly painted Frost white walls.  Just goes to show that you can turn a bad situation around and still create something beautiful.  Now the bad memory of retrieving and breaking the mirror isn't so bad after all!  And did I mention this was FREE?!  To go back to the brief point about wedding and house projects being two stones, we're planning on using this board as signage for the reception likely as a list of the menu.  Love it when my projects serve dual purposes!