Category Archives: DIY

Before & After: A New Backsplash to Brighten Up the Kitchen

With all my posts about planning for the bathroom project, you’d think that I would have spent this past weekend working in that room. Well, you’d be wrong. A funny thing happened on the way to the hardware store. When I went to buy the hex tile for the bathroom floor I happened upon the perfect white subway tile for the kitchen backsplash. With our friend’s advice about finishing one room before moving on to the next echoing in my mind, I decided to buy the subway tile and finish the backsplash before doing any work in the bathroom. Continue reading

A Change of Plans for the Bathroom Project

In the immortal words of Joan Crawford (as portrayed by Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest): This ain’t my first time at the (DIY) rodeo. And as such I’m quite accustomed to getting halfway through a project and starting to have some serious doubts about how it’s going to turn out. Usually I shrug off the doubts, forge ahead and by the time I’m nearing the project’s finish line I can see that it’s going to come together after all. As I was painting the bathroom vanity last weekend I had one of those doubtful moments. Only this time it’s stopping me in my tracks and urging me to change directions.

After painting the trim and patching and painting the walls, my plan had been to make over the vanity and call it a day. As I mentioned in a previous post, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through the time and expense of replacing the vanity because that would also mean replacing the flooring and trying to match and replace the baseboard trim. So I won’t get the bathroom that I want, I said to myself, but I will get a bathroom that’s presentable.

Well, fuck that. By the time I had painted the vanity and was stepping back to survey how the project was coming together I decided that this is no time to settle. I want new flooring and I want a new vanity and, dammit, I’m going to get them! Sure, it means that I’ll have to have the plumber come to the house and remove the toilet that he just installed over the summer. And, yeah, it’s going to be a real hassle to try to match the baseboard that’s missing where the current vanity sits. But won’t it be worth it!

And so we’re back to square one with the bathroom. I’m finalizing my designs this week and hope to start the new project next weekend. In the meantime I’ll be watching hundreds of YouTube videos about installing ceramic tile. Here’s to getting what we want in life!

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

In taking a year to rehab the kitchen in fits and starts I ended up experimenting with my approach to painting the cabinets. By the time I got to the second half of the job, I had perfected my method. And now that we’ve lived with the painted cabinets for a few months, I’m proud to say that my method worked! The painted cabinets are holding up nicely and are easy to clean. In other words, my trial and error is your guide to doing it right the first time.

When I first started the project, I used my Craftsman Nextec tool to sand the doors and drawer fronts before applying primer and paint. That was a messy and time consuming job that I thought was necessary to get good paint coverage. I soon realized I was making more work for myself than was necessary. So without further adieu, here’s the method for painting the cabinets that I finally landed on.

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The Easy $13 DIY Laundry Shelf

Easy $13 DIY Shelf from This American House

Following up on the upcycled vintage hooks, I wrapped up another easy DIY project that had been sitting on the back burner for a number of months. We needed a simple shelf to hold laundry supplies at the city apartment and having worked with plumbing pipes and cheap wood once before, I knew it would be an effective solution for this problem spot too. And that’s how I created the $13 DIY shelf.

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Preserving Packaging: How I Made These Vintage Hooks Functional While Restoring Their Charm

Vintage Hook DIY Project from This American House

From the moment I saw these vintage utility hooks – with their kitschy packaging still intact! – I knew that I would have to somehow upcycle the whole thing. I mean, you can’t find something that’s over 50 years old and still includes the packaging and not try to save it, right?

I don’t know when this “Hold All” All Purpose Utility Hanger was made. Judging by the drawings on the packaging, I’m assuming the early 1960’s. And I don’t know why the price is marked as $69. Surely this little metal track with sliding hooks didn’t cost $69 back in the ’60s! I only paid a couple bucks for it, an amount that I can’t imagine is much more than its value when it was new.

At any rate, I love that kitschy packaging. “Teach Junior how to hang things in place,” it says next to a drawing of a boy lining up his rather dapper wardrobe on the back of a door. “Use it throughout your home and garage,” it suggests alongside images of kitchen utensils and bathroom items. And don’t even get me started on the color palette. Brown and yellow – oh yes!

After sitting on the workshop table for months, I finally concocted a way to use the hooks and the packaging while still keeping the hooks’ functionality.

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