Wednesday, July 23, 2014

0 Reader Space: Lighten & Brighten the Laundry Load

Bridget is whitening more than her socks in her laundry space, and I am lovin' the results!

Chores are always more enjoyable when you love your surroundings, so it always extra important to give chore heavy spaces a little extra lovin'.  Artwork, paint, pretty storage... it all goes a long way in brightening a room, and Bridget proves that with her recent laundry room update.

Bridget blogs with her pal Casey over at DIY Playbook, and they are such a dynamic duo.  Their projects are always fresh and fun and I have been fortunate enough to meet them in person and they couldn't be more fantastic.  I always love checking in to see what they are up to, so be careful when you head to their site, you may find yourself lost for hours.

I invited Bridget here today to share more details about her laundry space that started out like this...

Here she is now to share how she really brightened more than her whites.

What is the main function of the space?

"The main function of this space is obviously laundry, but that is not its only vital function.  Because we have limited storage in our home, this tiny space is also extra important because of the hidden storage it offers."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized?

"Like in any of our rooms, we think it's so important to make sure every item has a specific place to call 'home'.  When everything has a specific spot, we feel it is far easier to maintain an organized & functional space.  Whether it is change found in the pocket of our jeans while doing laundry or a spare sock that lost its partner, everything needs to have a consistent place to go.  By doing this, the space will stay far more organized, be a lot more functional, and a lot less frustrating for everyone in the house!"

What items did you find were essential when organizing the space, and why?

"Bins, Baskets, & Boxes!!  When everything has a place to call 'home' it's easier for everyone to get on Team Organized.  These labeled bins, baskets, and boxes are essential in making that happen and help everyone stay on the same page."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "make it pretty"?

"Making it pretty of course is not always necessary to make a space functional... but let's be real here- it's the fun part that makes things like doing laundry a little more tolerable.  The gallery wall helped make this space extra 'pretty' by adding a lot of color, character and charm to our tiny, otherwise, pretty boring space.  Ironically, this gallery wall was pretty darn affordable because almost all of the art was FREE!  (You can download & print almost every piece from my gallery wall here.) Pretty & Free.... our favorite combo."

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget?
  • Cabinets:  Free! I DIY-ed the cabinets, they were actually our home's original kitchen cabinets!
  • Paint/Wood for the cabinets:  About $50
  • Paint for the walls:  Leftover
  • Hardware:  Around $25
  • Gallery Wall:  (Most prints were FREE!) $40 for frames/basket/hooks
Grand Total:  Approximately $115

How has this project impacted your life for the better?

"What a difference some labeled bins, a functional system, and a new found excitement of an old space can have on your laundry status!  Our home's laundry has never had such great turnaround rates thanks to our new motivation to spend time in a much more functional space.  Personally, I feel so proud that I DIY-ed this project and can't help but have a better appreciation for those old cabinets and a better attitude when tackling our laundry!"

Let's ooh and ahh over the before and after one last time, shall we?

This is one of those transformations that anyone can tackle and walk away with a smile.  The biggest update made was adding moulding, hardware and painting those dated cabinets.  HUGE difference and suddenly the cabinets look like a million bucks.  And the entire space opened up with just that one change.  From there, simple decluttering and the addition of bins and baskets made the space even easier on the eyes.  Lined baskets conceal unsightly bottles while open storage keeps things fresh and fun while unifying the baskets and boxes behind the cabinet doors is always an effective touch.  Lastly the cheerful art brought the entire space home.

A motivating job well done ladies!  Thank you so much for sharing with me and the IHeart community today, I am sure this bright update leaves you whistling while you work.

You can find even more photos and details over at DIY Playbook here.

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life, big or small.  They can be anything from an organized drawer or cabinet to an entire room.  Please submit your story and photos to, and I would heart to feature them right here on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

41 Studio Update: DIY Built-In Bench

The studio is moving forward as planned and I am really happy with how things are evolving.  Last week I shared our revised plan and a tutorial for the new over-sized workspace we built {and I am LOVING on a daily basis}.

With the layout of our home, we have been a bit limited in where we can carve out a place for me to work.  And after I shared our planned changes, I received quite a few suggestions for alternative options such as moving the studio to our guest room or swapping out the space with the playroom.  All definitely things we have considered, and as the boys grow out of their play space down the road, we can always re-evaluate that option at that time.  Until then, we really want to work with what we do have, because at the end of the day, I feel blessed to have a nook of our home to use for crafting and projecting and blogging.  There are so many features that I love, such as the abundance of storage and the under-stairs organizational systems.  I am a believer that rooms always evolve and grow and am OK that I have had to reassess and take steps back in order to move forward.  I have learned so much from the process and have also realized it is not worth getting down on myself for not getting things right the first time, or second time or even the third time. 

As a reminder, we built in a wall desk a few years ago, and I tried over and over to love it.  Some days I really did smile while using the space, but a few days in a row of using it and I realized more and more that it just wasn't working.  I found myself using our kitchen table because I could spread out and use my planner and make lists and manage paper piles.  So, we made our own oversized desk/table in the studio to solve that problem and so far, so great!  I love facing out towards our family room which either offers natural light flowing in from the playroom or a view of the television.  And I just don't feel so confined.  It is fabulous.

But that meant we no longer needed that small desk surface any longer.  If you recall, it was actually made from an old bi-fold door we had in our storage room, so I wasn't all that distressed about removing it.  But I had to put some thought into what would take its place.  Having so many hard work surfaces felt redundant and unnecessary and brought in a lot of hard lines into the space.  This nook needed softness and textiles, thus the idea to build in a bench was born.

Only this time, live and learn right?  We weren't going to actually build it in, just give the illusion without having to live with a permanent decision.  So consider this a floating built-in bench tutorial.

The construction of the bench was primarily out of simple 2x4's and a piece of 1/2" plywood, which allowed us to keep the cost of the project quite low.  The foam was the most expensive part, but if you watch JoAnn for sales it occasionally runs for 50% off, which is when we pounced.  The batting was also 50% off and I was able to use a 40% off coupon on the fabric.  The total cost of the project really depends on the amount of foam and fabric needed, as well as the type of fabric selected.

To get started, we created the base of the bench from the 2x4's.

It was a super simple construction and essentially looked like this when we were done.  42 1/2" wide by 18" deep.

Not very pretty, but super sturdy!

Bryan also added two small strips of scrap wood to the back legs to attach the back of the bench down the line.  The seat was made from plywood, foam and batting.

The rest of the plywood was used for the back of the bench.  I wanted to add a small curved detail, so we traced a lid from a round storage bin.

And then cut with our jigsaw.

We used 3" foam on the bench seat, and 1" thick foam on the back piece.  To attach the foam to the plywood back, we used a few strips of carpet tape and it worked like a charm to hold it in place until we could get everything stapled in.

I didn't want any wood showing when the project was said and done, so we also wrapped the base of the bench with batting.

The upholstery process was pretty straight forward, the only tricky part was managing those curves at the top of the backing.

Here we did a size check, and you can see where I was heading with the project.  Sort of a bench meets headboard affair.

I am planning on leaving the underside empty to allow us the option to add roll-in storage down the line, but definitely wanted to hide those bare wood legs with a skirt.  To keep the project as simple as possible, we grabbed a roll of hem tape for the bottom of the skirt.  Easy peasy.

We then stapled the unfinished top edge of the skirt to more pieces of scrap wood, which was then screwed into the base.

The final touch was to add some nailhead detail to the top edge of the backboard.  We have done nailhead before, and took the long route.  This time, we went with a simple roll of trim which was much, much easier!

Then the back was attached with a few more wood screws.... and done!

Remember that gray wall that I loved but didn't work because it made the room feel super choppy?  I missed the deep gray, so I used it on the bench.  It seems to work much better in a smaller dose, and I really love that I can update the look with happy colored pillows.

The second the boys saw the bench, they were excited to cozy up and lay where mama works.  Which I totally love and welcome.  And that softness I was after in the space?  It was definitely achieved.

It is not a space for napping (unless you are a little boy with a name that starts with P), but a place to take a mental break.  I love that I can pull up a pouf or kick my feat up with a good book or magazine.

I just collected a few pillows from around the house to soften all the gray, but I really love how the colors play with the rest of the neutral space.  In fact, you see that little floral throw pillow?  That fabric is coming into the room next, in a really big way.  Enter evil laugh here.

Now, to get that table stained!  I think I have settled on the color and am ready to tackle it next week.  Thank you for all of your suggestions and for helping me find a finish that I am really excited to try.  I will be sure to share 1,001 more shots of the room when the table is done (since that is the final project for now), but until then... you will find me here!

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