Monday, September 17, 2012

Closets: My secret shame

The nice thing about closets is that you can shove a bunch of crap in them, shut the door, and forget all that crap exists. This is also the bad thing about closets. Looking into any closet in either my condo or my cabin is to gaze into the abyss. Part of the problem is that I have a husband who can't bear to part with anything. Ever. So in my Quest for Clean Surfaces, what tends to happen is that the stuff that doesn't get shoved out the door gets shoved into a closet.

Well, I'd had enough of that with the linen closet in the condo. I just couldn't take it anymore. And since I'm still attempting Financial Recovery from the Lost Summer of Endless Remodeling, I had to come up with a cheap plan. The domino effect of remodeling is that once you have a really nice room in your house, like a brand new kitchen or bathroom, the old and shabby state of everything else comes into stark relief.

Here's the before. It's a disaster. The top two shelves are taken up with cassettes no one has listened to in 15 years, and a bunch of Tom's precious treasures. Some of the papers were 12 years old or more. Feel free to play Spot the Linens.
The first thing I did was buy some new shelves. I got these at Lowe's, "stain ready," and just needed to lop about 4 inches off of each one so it would fit in the space, because of course, the nonstandard size of everything in my apartment even extends to the width of the damn linen closet.
Two coats of a stain/poly mix later, and they look like this. I'm not super pleased with the stuff I bought. It had to be applied with a brush, and it ran over the edges and pooled up in unflattering ways. On the other hand, it's not like they're going to be on public display, so I didn't stress too much about it.
This is what I used. I was too lazy to go to the Lowe's next door to the WalMart, which is what I should have done to get the stuff I really wanted.
Which is this. I love this gel stain (which I used on the window trim and all my light switch covers), and wipe-on poly is my boyfriend. I didn't have enough gel stain to do two coats per side of the shelves, which is why I ended up with the inferior stain.
Everything cleared out. So shabby.
Icky old shelves thrown away, and two coats of Benjamin Moore Aura paint, the same paint I used in the bathroom. The light green color doesn't come through in the photo at all, but it's so much nicer and cleaner. And the best part was that because I painted the entire interior of the closet, ceiling included, I didn't need to tape.
Better! Wood makes everything warmer and more inviting.
Order is restored! I feel like this is a grown-up linen closet now. No more cassettes or decade-old tax returns (all of which, by the way, has now moved to the floor of the steps). I'm going to get a blanket bag for the blankets on the floor so they can stay clean and moth-free.

So: A couple of days of staining, four or five hours of painting, and I would guess under $50 of cash expended. Not too bad! I plan to Elfa the hell out of the coat closet and the bedroom closet, and eventually I'm replacing all the gross interior doors, maybe with something fancy like this. But for now I'm happy with my new little linen closet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rather pleased with myself

I finally finished the kitchen at the cabin. This is a project that started during Memorial Day week, where I painted all the cabinets. Then the condo kitchen remodel went into full swing, and I just couldn't bring myself to finish the cabin kitchen.

Until two weekends ago, when I finally sucked it up and primed the walls. I have to say, wood paneled walls are not the most fun thing in the world to paint. But at least I was only dealing with two walls.

At this point I was pretty sure I'd made a terrible mistake, but clearly it was already too late to turn back.

After one coat of primer things were looking up, but there was still an awful lot of paneling showing through. I'd read horror stories about multiple coats of primer not stopping the paneling from leaking through.
But my beloved Benjamin Moore came through again! Two coats was all it took.
That was exhausting.

Then last weekend I finished the paint job. More proof that I am not afraid of color:

Twenty minutes in and I was already happy.
Although it looked like the aftermath of a grisly Tweety Bird massacre for a while.
Two coats of paint later. Let me once again extol the virtues of Benjamin Moore Aura paint. It's expensive, but it's SO very worth it. And I still have more than half a can left over. Color: Hannah Banana. How could I resist?
We bought a shelf from Ikea that fits very nicely in the blank space on the wall. A little puck light over the sink adds some warmth.
So! From this...
To this. For under $200. Not too shabby, I say.
We will be replacing the hinges with silver ones, and I am pretty sure we're going to resurface the crappy counters with this, eventually, but for now I decree the cabin kitchen: DONE.