August 30, 2012

He's Got the Whole World In His Room

After all that hard work building the West Elm inspired daybed for the Nursery, I had a little problem.  The plan originally was to place the crib on the far back wall of the room, under the alcove, with the changing table/dresser to the right as you walk in, and the daybed filling that new blank wall we had created, which is on the left wall of this photo:

But the minute the Hubs and I moved in the daybed, it was bad news.  Although I had measured out the layout hundreds of times, and even mocked it up with tape on the floor, in reality the daybed and crib came up right next to each other, and made the entire room feel cluttered.  Like we had just tossed in a bunch of furniture into it that didn't fit.  Unfortunately I didn't take a photo for you guys, because I was a little too busy freaking out.  I had just built an entire bed, and I had no idea what to do with it.  I spent the first few minutes saying things to the Hubs like, "I swear I measured this...." "I'm going to make it work..." and a little overly dramatic "Stop looking at it with your judging eyes!"  Eventually I kicked him out of the room and told him I would handle it.  Because he is smart and values his life, he went quickly and allowed this pregnant lady to implode in private.

I was desperate, so I first tried switching the crib and the dresser.  (Don't worry that I was doing this by myself, the crib is on wheels and the rest of the furniture was super light.  I just took it easy moving it a little bit at a time.  Trust me, everyone was better off that I was doing this myself.)

It certainly helped that back wall feel less cluttered, but I didn't love that you walk into the room right smack into the crib.  So I took a little more time and flipped the beds.

Not exactly what I had in mind, but this one is going to have to work   I like that since the daybed is so low profile, that even though it's the first thing right as you walk into the room, it doesn't feel to large or imposing.  The arms of it are light and airy which helps, and I like getting to show off those cool rectangles I worked so hard on.  It also fits perfectly below the window, and since this room only has one traditional window (with two big skylights on the ceiling),  I don't want to block the view of it in any way.  It still feels a bit awkward, but I think it will come together when I start to put some things up on the walls.  Speaking of...

Once I settled on a location for the crib, I got started installing the old world wall decal I found on Etsy above it.  I always feel like the hardest space to decorate is above a crib.  It is usually the focal point in a nursey, just begging for something to be placed above it, but your decoration choices are limited based on little hands and safety issues for the little sprout.  This fabric wall decal was the perfect solution for me, as it was large, but its neutral colors blend in with the room nicely. 


Somehow this magic fabric is durable, yet unlike most decals can be stuck, removed and re-stuck multiple times.  It made installing it a breeze, and should be easy to wipe down with a damp cloth if Baby Boomer decides to pee on it or something.  (It could happen.)  I just used my laser level as a guide across the top and voila!

I think it fills the room nicely and fits the look I was going for.  And at just $65 for a 60" x40" wall mural, it was a complete steal.

 I still have a long way to go in this room to make everything feel more cozy, but I'm making progress.  (I also have a long way to go with my camera to figure out how to depict the actual color of the orange in this room (more like a muted rust) instead of what's showing (a bright pumpkin orange.)  Baby steps.  Quite literally actually...

PS- I was not compensated by Janette Design for talking about her awesome wall mural, I just love to share a great product when I find one.

August 24, 2012

Building a West Elm Inspired Daybed

The best thing about DIY is with a little courage and practice you can have West Elm taste on a Kmart budget.  Last year I fell in love with the West Elm Outdoor Sectional, and saved over two thousand dollars by building it myself.  So I did a little happy dance when I found these plans for the West Elm Rectangles Daybed on, which I wanted desperately for our Nursery.  I'm not going to walk you through every step of the building, since Ana does it so clearly, but I'll give you the general process as well as some notes I would add to make the process a little simpler if you plan to build this daybed yourself.

First I started with this pile of wood.  I've noticed that a lot of Ana's plans call for x3s (as in 1x3s or 2x3s...), which are hard to find in Minnesota.  I ended up finding x3s at Menards in the framing lumber area, which meant it wasn't great quality, but I figured since I would be painting it all, it would be fine.  All the wood cost me just $53.

And after 45 minutes of cutting, I had this:

*Note*- I thought I had an extra 1x2x8 left over after all the cutting, but turns out she forgot to include the (24) 2.25" 1x2s on the cut list.  She accounts for it in the materials list so you buy enough, but don't forget to cut these little 1x2 pieces as well.

Ana has a smart plan for making H's and T's instead of rectangles so that you can easily nail the pieces together, (rather than trying to fit your tools within the small spaces.  My little man was a super helper on this project, he put together the H's for me and then brought them over to me to assemble.  Best. Project. Partner. Ever.

  *Note*- Ana's plan has you using a Kreg Jig and pocket screws for all of these connections.  I can't imagine how much filling that would be, and personally I bet it would look quite messy.  For all my decorative pieces I just used my finishing nailer and wood glue.  I found 2 small nails close to each other in the center prevented the wood from cracking, but also made it so the pieces couldn't rotate or spin.  Once the glue dried, the joints were strong.

After you make all the H's, and T's you fit them together with precut pieces on the top and bottom.

*Note*- Ana doesn't have you attach the 2.25" pieces to the 6.5" pieces first that connect the H's and the T's together.  I highly recommend you put these together first  in little Ts so that you don't have to try to get your tools in the small rectangle later.  As you can see in the photo above I didn't do that for the back piece, but got smart for the sides.

I did use my Kreg Jig to firmly secure the structural parts of the bed, the legs, arms, top bar, and the arms to the back of the bed.  To keep a low profile on this daybed (and to give maximum exposure to those sexy details along the back) I opted to install wooden slats along the bottom of the bed instead of using a box spring.

*Note* Ana gives you a visual on how to install the slats, but doesn't tell you how much wood you will need.  Add (17) 1x3x8s to your shopping list if you plan to go this route.

Once again my little man helped me by placing the 34 slats on the bed and I measured and secured them.  Ry loved helping make this special bed for Boomer, and I love that he'll have the memory (or at least the photos) of him creating something special just for his baby brother before he was born. *Tear.*

Put it all together and what have you got...

My inside decorative pieces are already white, since I found a pre-sanded, pre-primed 1x2x8s.  They were really affordable, and they saved me a lot of time on the finishing stage.  I did still have to go and apply wood putty over all my nail holes and joints though.

It was nothing that a couple days of sanding couldn't cover up though.  I started with 120 grit on an electric palm sander (since my wood was so rough to begin with), and finished with a 320 grit on a hand sanding block to make it baby smooth.  It was a bit pricier, but instead of hand painting, I went ahead and purchased primer and white gloss spray paint, for a smooth and even finish. (The spray paint cost $21 total.)

It took about 7 cans of spray paint in all, but it was totally worth it in time (and frustration) savings.

After a few days outside to cure, the Hubs and I finally hauled this beast inside.  Then I had a preggo dance party.


 I will say, if there is one thing that I've learned from this house, (and seem to keep forgetting) is that your project is only as good as the lumber you use.  While the bed looks great, I can't help but wish I hadn't purchased a slightly higher quality lumber to achieve a smooth and shiny finish.  The vibe for this room is supposed to be rustic though, so I'm going to give myself a little pass.  

Now that all the tricky details are done, I can't wait to start decorating this room.  More on that soon! 

August 22, 2012

Painting the Nursery

If it seems like things are moving much more slowly over here at One Project at a Time, it's because this preggo lady is moving a lot slower these days.  Well into my third trimester, I'm finally learning being forced by my body to slow down, which means the pace of projects over here is going a bit slower.  We're still working on new projects everyday, its just taking me a little longer to complete them and show you these days.  And in some cases, like painting the playroom, I'm completely at the mercy of the Hubs.  If you remember, the previous owners left us with the yellow and blue Ikea creation.

Which included this unfortunate cupboard over an electrical panel:

And an awkward built-in-dresser that we removed.

 This past weekend the Hubs finally had time to get to painting, which is good because Lord knows I don't have the balance to be way up on that ladder right now.

The ceilings in this room are no joke.  In the photo above the blue wall starts at 9 feet high, which puts the peak at around 14 feet.  "No thank you," said the girl who hates ladders.

But at the end of the day, check out our big and spacious looking clean pallet:

I've never been this excited about a new completely blank wall.  The electrical box almost disappears into the wall, and I'm betting you won't even see it once we put the daybed in front of it. (Which will also prevent little hands from opening it.)

The color is neutral, but makes the room feel so much bigger and more open.  I hadn't realized how much the dark blue on the peaks made the room look shorter.  Now, you walk into the room and your eyes instantly go up to the gorgeous ceiling and skylights. 



If you're concerned that the color is a little too bland, especially for a baby's room, don't worry.  We're about to make this room a whole lot more fun with some pops of accessories in a rust orange, starting with this rug.

Obviously I have a lot more more to go to balance everything out with window treatments and wall decor, but at least I have a crisp, clean surface to get started with.  I'm so excited for the projects ahead which include a little building, a little sewing, and a little home made art. Next up: the daybed, which I can't wait to show you guys.  The Hubs just needs to help me get it in the house first.  (Hint hint baby.)

What have you guys been working on lately?  Any painting?  It took me a long time (and lots of bad paint jobs) to realize that the best look for me is a more neutral pallet on the walls that we can brighten up with accessories.  Do you guys prefer to go neutral or bold on the walls? 

August 14, 2012

Un-build the Built-in

Alright, we're back and ready to tackle this Nursery already.  I can't tell you how excited I am to get started.  Since January I've been plotting and planning for this little room, but first we promised to complete 2 full bathroom remodels and a huge step refacing project.  Nearly 8 months later we've finally finished all the other little massive projects, and it's time for some fun. 

Just after the step project friends and family asked, "What's next?" and I'd respond, "Just the Nursery" to which I'd often hear the response, "That one will be pretty easy right?  Just some paint and some decorating."  Sure... just paint and decorating... and building a bed... and re-patching a wall.  But in theory, pretty quick and easy. 

So here's the first issue- the built-in dresser.

Listing Photo
Let me start by saying that I'm not crazy.  I know not everyone will feel the same way, but I hate that  dresser.  I mean, the appearance isn't terrible, but the location and the placement on the wall is super awkward.  It's right next to an electrical panel, which is super conveniently located at kid level in this children's bedroom.  (Thanks for that architect.) 

The off center placement on the most useable wall in the room, makes this wall, well... unusable.  The far wall (under the now blue overhang) will work nicely for the crib, but with the current layout there is no where to put the daybed except directly in front of the door as you walk in the room. 

I don't mind built-in dressers in general, in fact I think they are fantastic in attic rooms or dormers as a way to make a short or unusable space useful.  But in this case, I can't really place any furniture on the biggest wall in the room.  Not to mention that this is a Nursery, so the dresser I do have I'd like to be able to place a changing table on top of.

 Another shot from the other corner so you can see how off center it is.
So for all of you that despite my complaining still love the dresser, I'm going to apologize right now, because I'm about to tear that bad boy out.

Step #1- Remove the drawers.

Step #2- Remove the trim.

At this point I was planning on saving the trim and the drawers in the attic and covering the hole with drywall in a way that I could always rip it out and put the dresser back in, when the Hubs and I had this conversation.

Hubs- "Wait- why are you saving the drawers?"
Me- "Just in case we ever regret it and want to put the drawers back in."
Hubs- "Why are you taking them out?"
Me- "Because they are totally awkward and off center and make a huge part of the room unusable."
Hubs- "And when is it you think that you will want a built in dresser that is totally awkward and off center and makes a huge part of the room unusable?"
Me- "Touche."

Step #3- So he went to work tearing the whole thing out.  I think he secretly just wanted to demo more.


Leaving this crazy, ugly hole in my baby's room.

 Step #4- Use my Dremel Multi Max (best tool I own) to cut back the sheet rock slightly create a ledge that the new sheet rock can sit on.

4 year old paparazzi strikes again.  In this one he told Boomer to say cheese.

 Step #5- Put on new piece of sheet rock.  (Luckily we had extra in the garage left over from the bathroom projects.)

Step #6- Mud and tape the seams.  (I do this twice because I'm a perfectionist  terrible at drywall.)

Step #7- Sand that mud like crazy until you have a smooth and seamless surface.  Then cover it all with primer.


And there we have it, one built-in dresser free room.  Unfortunately there's nothing I can do about the electrical panel (without spending a small fortune on an electrician),  but we're hoping that if we paint the panel the same color as the wall and put the daybed in front of it that it will virtually disappear.  (Fingers crossed.) 

So there you have it, 1 night of work and $0 later, I have a wall that is ready for the Hubs to paint it, and then put a daybed in front of it.  First I need to build said daybed... wish me luck.

August 2, 2012

Pirate Birthday Party

I neglected to mention to you all last week during our marathon step rebuild process that one of the reasons that we were in such a hurry to finish up those steps was the upcoming birthday of our crazy little 4 year old and the little party that we had planned.  I wasn't so concerned about the steps being finished in time so that they would look nice for the big day (while that would be nice, our family & friends have gotten used to seeing our house in various states of disrepair over the past year, so a little stair construction wouldn't have phased them.)  The concern was that once some of that wood started to go down on the steps, we wanted to have it stained and polyed before we had dozens of people walking on them and potentially staining or damaging the wood.  So I worked my little preggo booty off and finished up on Sunday night, which gave me approximately 5 days (evenings after work and bedtime) to put together a little pirate birthday worthy of our first mate.  

I couldn't have done it without Pinterest and the community of extremely talented bloggers out there who provide free printables and ideas to use.  I'm not embarrassed to say that I didn't use a single original idea or design this party, I just borrowed from blogs like Poofy Cheeks, Cottage Industrialists and Paging Supermom by printing out a bunch of different free printables they provided and cutting and assembling them in the evenings while chillin with the Hubs and watching a little TV. A huge thank you to these blogs for making our little man's party look pretty with very little effort!

I've learned from past birthdays and kept the menu really simple with "Yo-Ho-Hogies" (french bread sandwiches with assorted meat and cheese that guests could apply their own condiments and toppings to), "Island Fruit Salad" and an assortment of pirate themed snacks like Chips Ahoy, Swedish Fish, Goldfish and Pirates Booty.  Using Cottage Industrialist's pirate ship sail cupcake toppers on the sandwiches made a simple, and easy to prepare menu item look fun and right on theme.

I loved this bunting template from Poofy Cheeks, and so did Ry who insisted that his birthday include "those triangles you hang."  (I've created a monster.)  We've found that big jugs of water (which I added cucumbers and lemons too) as well as Strawberry Lemonade with cups guests can write on and reuse really help reduce the amount of waste at a party.  (No more house full of dozens of half empty water bottles.)

By far the most fun piece of eatable decor was the cake though.  I used this cake image I found on Pinterest as the guide for my cake, which I made on Saturday night before the party. For those who haven't used fondant before, or are frightened of it, I swear by this recipe and instructions from The Cook Duke.  I whipped up the fondant on Friday night, which gave it 24 hours to sit before decorating on Saturday night, and it was pretty easy to work with. 

The best part of this party- by planning an easy menu in advance, I could set everything out on the table just before and barely think about it during the party, giving me plenty of time to hang out with my little man and all our guests to enjoy the day.  That is, when I could catch him.

Did I mention that he totally loved his cake?

Happy Birthday to my energetic and zany little 4 year old!