A Purely Functional Laundry Nook Update

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I know this photo doesn’t look like much and you’re probably wondering, “Is this a before picture?”, but this little laundry nook update adds a lot of function to the space, and is making my life a whole lot better, even if it doesn’t look pretty.

Whew. Now that’s out of the way, let me explain. Here is the laundry nook¬†sans cabinet.

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Our laundry nook is an unfinished little space that we created when we combined the master bedroom and one of the smaller bedrooms. It is made up of a hallway and a hall closet combined into one, which is why it looks so haphazard.

Since the baby came along, we sectioned this nook off with a baby gate so that she couldn’t get into the detergents and cleaning solutions and poison herself. But I still didn’t feel like this was secure enough.

Luckily, Chris’ brother was discarding a bunch of kitchen cabinets from his new home, which he and his wife are remodeling in a totally modern style. These cabinets were sturdy and in good condition, but not the style they wanted. So we inherited them and they sat in the garage for the better part of a year. Finally, we dusted one of them off and installed it on top of the washing machine to store toxic chemicals.

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Bam! Fast and dirty, functional update.

Of course this room will look a lot better someday, but in the meantime we have so many other projects to do! And it’s working fine right now even if it’s a bit of an eyesore. Imagine it with bright and cheery paint, perhaps even some subway tile, all the seams and corners finished up, and perhaps a pretty laundry-themed piece of wall art.

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So if you’re doing a remodel of your kitchen (or know someone who is), don’t throw away those old cabinets before considering where else in your home they might come in useful! Even if it’s just in the garage for storing tools!

How to Stretch An Oil Painting

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We’ve got a nice splash of color on one side of the couch with this gorgeous oil painting we brought home from our trip to Hong Kong.

Guess how much we paid for it? I won’t give it away (those vendors need to make a profit) but I will say that it was less than $100. Yes, you have to bargain. But if you’re ever in Hong Kong and stop by Ladies’ Market or the Stanley Market you’ll find hundreds of beautiful oil paintings. Often they are copies done by art students so the skill level will vary, but shop around and you might find something awesome.

We brought it home rolled up in a tube and when I got a quote to have the oil painting professionally stretched and framed, it came to a couple hundred buckeroonies. I wasn’t about to plunk down that much cash when the painting didn’t even cost that much to begin with, so I got good ol’ hubby to help me stretch and wrap it ourselves.

You can buy frames but we decided to make our own out of leftover 1x boards.

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The first step is to measure the dimensions of your painting to determine how big your frame will be. Remember to minus the thickness of the wood on each side to account for the edges of the painting that wrap around the frame. Because our painting is quite large, we added braces to the corners.

Professional frames are beveled in on the inner edge of the frame to prevent the shadow of the frame from showing through the painting. We didn’t worry about this.

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Once your frame is done, you’re ready to start stretching.

Lay your canvas painting-side-down on a piece of cardboard or drop cloth, and lay your frame over it.

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Using a staple gun, put a staple in one long side (making sure the painting is aligned) and stretching the canvas gently, put a staple on the opposing side of the frame. Repeat with short sides.

Remember, the canvas was already stretched once before, so don’t pull too hard! Be gentle.

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While stretching the canvas gently (just like upholstering a headboard), add staples to each side, moving outward toward the corners. It’s important that you move from the center of each side toward the outer corners to smooth out any ripples. Keep rotating sides to make sure the tension is even.

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The corners can be a little tricky. Create a little gusset, just like when you’re wrapping a gift.

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Fold over one side and staple down.

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Then fold the other side down as tight as you can and staple. Do that for all 4 corners.

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Check out that gorgeous edge.

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Voila! You’ve just gallery wrapped your own oil painting!

For now, this baby is sitting on an antique table (story of that later) next to the couch. We’re planning to hang it on the wall above the table with a couple of other pieces of art. When we get around to it. You know how it is =).

3D Dining Table Model using Sketchup

Have you heard of Google Sketchup?

I heard about it for the first time yesterday when Chris sent me an email with these crazy awesome conceptual pics of our future dining table that we’re planning to DIY.

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Chris has been doodling on memo pads and scrap paper all week but was getting frustrated at how we couldn’t really visualize the plan. So he made this 3D model in Google Sketchup.

Sketchup is FREE and is remarkably intuitive. After watching the intro video we were quickly able to get the hang of the basics and draw this simple model to scale.

It’s a 3D model, so you can take a snapshot and look at it from any angle. You can also insert a wonderfully hipster lady so can get an idea of your model’s proportion.

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The model has really helped us to make decisions about the design of the table, and I think it’ll be fun to print a copy of the 3D model to frame later.

So if you’re working on a DIY project and want to visualize it better, you might want to try Sketchup.

(I’m not compensated in any way by Sketchup, I just thought it was cool. And FREE!)

The Fireplace is Done!

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The reason we called this blog “Something Is Done” is partly an inside joke and partly because nothing ever seems done in this giant project we call our house. So when little projects get finished, we encourage ourselves by saying, “something is done”, even though the larger project isn’t finished yet. Baby steps. Slowly but surely.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to have the fireplace in the family room really DONE, done. After we refaced the fireplace with quartz ledgestone, we added base molding around the bottom and carpeted the room. For the longest time this corner fireplace felt like an afterthought and now, with the new paint, stone facing, hearth tile, and accessories, it really makes the room.

It used to look dated and depressing, like a black hole sucking the life out of the room.

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And now it’s bright, cheery, and cozy!

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The sunburst convex mirror is from Home Depot’s Martha Stewart collection and was a mere $35! So affordable. Gotta love Martha. I bought the huge blue vase from West Elm (on the left of the mantel) a couple months ago, hated it, and was going to return it, only I found that the large size helped to ground the empty space on top of the fireplace, so I guess I might keep it.

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The rest of the accessories are from Ikea, West Elm, Marshalls and thrifted.

I really need to put a shade on the little window on the right. I love roman blinds but they’re so expensive, so I may need to get my DIY on sometime!

Update!  Budget Roman Blinds are in!

Read more about Refacing a Fireplace with Stone Tiles.

Napkin Pillow Covers

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Over the weekend I stopped by World Market to check out their sales. I had a $10 off $40 coupon from the World Market Explorer program and I wanted to pick up a few things for our newly renovated family room. I found some super cute patterned cloth napkins and thought they would be just the thing to brighten up our rather drab, hand-me-down couch.

I choose these lovely patterned napkins with florals and birds (the Whippoorwill pattern). My daughter pointed at the birds and tried to bark, so I had to go for them.

There are lots of other pretty patterns though!

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If you get a napkin with a lace trim, like the vintage floral on the right, you can just remove the trim with a seam ripper and incorporate in the place of piping on the pillow!

I love how cheap and easy it is. The napkins are perfect 20×20″ squares so you don’t have to worry about cutting. I added a zipper using this awesome tutorial from Design*sponge, but you could also create no-sew versions using this tutorial from Centsational Girl.

They go really well with the storage boxes I found on sale on the same World Market shopping trip…

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…which have now found a place on the Expedit entertainment unit (now discontinued from IKEA).

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And no, I haven’t really fully arranged the books and accessories yet. Chris still has to anchor the unit to the wall, and then I’ll really get my style on. In the meantime, there are a few random things (like the TV mount) sitting on the shelves.

Remember that Modern Family episode where Phil procrastinates anchoring the cabinet to the wall and then it falls during an earthquake? I feel like we might be heading for a repeat of that episode…

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