I built this floating bench and it was super easy and you should build one too.

Old houses were built for people without hoarding tendencies, I have inferred.

I have hoarding tendencies, and have material goods all over the place, which invariably turns into a pile. For me to climb upon and slumber like a dragon on her riches and spoils.

And apparently, it’s genetic, because my dragon child insists on leaving her pile right at the front door, as soon as she walks in the house.

The room doesn’t have a closet, or a place to make a closet/closed storage. So, I hung up some hooks, and that was a start. Then, things kind of turned into a clusterfuck of shoes, coats, backpacks under the hooks?

The logistics baffled me though. There is a bump out for the vestibule and a radiator, too. But a replacement radiator, that wasn’t as big as the original one, so there is a pipe along the floor.

One day, I was staring at the whole area with contempt, as I’m wont to do, and then it occurred to me that I could use the same method for floating shelves to BUILD A BENCH. WITH ROOM FOR BASKETS UNDERNEATH. THAT WOULD FIT THE GAP BETWEEN THE WALL AND THE RADIATOR.

And the heavens opened and I went out to get 3 2x4s and some plywood.

First: Locate the studs in the 3 walls and mark them. Bonus tip: don’t have plaster walls. It’s so frustrating to find the studs. The most accurate tool that I have is one of those cheapy magnet tools, but it’s a slow process.

I knew that I wanted my bench frame to be 16″ deep and span the whole length of the wall.

The 2×4’s actual dimension is 1 1/2″, so 16″ – 3″ (front/back frames) left me with 13″ long middle pieces. I cut 6 of them, because, idk that’s what happened. The front and the back ended up being 74″ – give or take some for out of plumb walls.

I marked off the stud location on the back 2×4, so I didn’t inadvertently put a middle piece there. Then I attached the middle pieces with some 3″ long deck screws. Except the one on the radiator wall (I wouldn’t be able to screw the front piece to it) and the side piece (couldn’t find a stud and had to use a toggle), if you don’t have this issue. Then ignore that and do all the middle pieces.

I read on the internets to have the bench height, including the cushion, be 18″ off the ground. I made mine slightly higher than that, to accommodate 11″ baskets underneath. I’m wild like that.

Once you have your total height decided, minus the thickness of the cushion and 3/4″ for the plywood, mark a level line on the wall. Take the back piece with the attached middle pieces, line it up level, and use those same 3″ deck screws to screw it into the studs. Side pieces, too.

Hold up the long front piece and then screw that into the middle pieces, et voila. Super sturdy. I was a little skeptical, but I stood on the frame and that shit isn’t going anywhere.

I cut a piece of sanded plywood 16″x74″ and put that on top. I used some small cabinet screws to attach it to the 2×4 frame.

Since the side of the 2×4 is ugly, I used a piece of 1×6 poplar and my nail gun. I created a 1″ lip above, to keep the cushion from sliding off.

It got primed and painted the same color as the trim, to really add to the whole floating thing.

For the cushion, I chose the Augusta fabric from Tonic Living. It has this beautiful cream and gold marbling thing going on.

I don’t sew, but I found someone on etsy who does. Jessiya on etsy did a great job, it is flawless.

Baskets! For shoes! That will most likely sit half empty, with small shoes kicked off and left in front of! They have good intentions, though.

Let us bask in this, it will never be this clean and organized again.



One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Dark and cozy guest room reveal

Wooooooooowwwww. Even with an extra week, I almost didn’t make it.

When I first started, I thought this small room was going to be a breeze. I even thought it wasn’t worth doing the ORC for, since it wasn’t going to be that big of a change.

Then the ORC gods were like ‘lol, this girl.’

Ok. OK. Some of it may have been self inflicted. Why did self decide this was the time to learn how to build a bedframe and headboard from my brain and upholster it? In the last week. Oh, self, you’re a real pain in my ass.

But, you know what? It’s week 6 7 of the One room challenge and my guest room no longer resembles a crack den hovel!

If you’re wondering what my almost incoherent ramblings about what an ORC is, it’s a biannual event created and hosted by Linda, from Calling it Home. Designers, bloggers, whomever wants to join the madness; choose a room and have 5/6 weeks to complete the refresh/remodel/arson (JK. DON’T DO THAT) and blog weekly with their progress.

Fall 2015 / Spring 2016

I’m not a designer, and I’m barely even a blogger, but, I rate high in neuroticism and I like to spend money. So I’m pretty qualified.

Here’s where the room started: Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Dark and cozy guest room reveal”

One Room Challenge Fall 2017: My progress is an even UGLIER room than last week.

My finger prints are gone and I’m starting my career as a bank robber. Or perhaps a jewel thief.

I’m pretty much going to have to if I want to keep bankrolling these projects.

It’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge, created and hosted by Linda of Calling it Home, and this week has been tough. All the kind words of encouragement are what keep me going though, and that’s why I’m so appreciative of the challenge. THANK YOU!

Where it started: Here’s where I left it last week:

I am so, so tired and discouraged and I’ve either been wearing the same gross project clothes or the same sweater for several days because I’m too tired to care and I haven’t had a chance to do laundry. I have layers of paint under all my nails, blisters and super sore muscles. Project dust always makes me break out. I’ve been waking up at 3:00 am to double check my calendar on how much time I have and thinking about what needs to be finished. My alarm goes off at 6:00 am, so, that ain’t cool.

My body keeps threatening an ugly cry when I’m at work. Body, you fucking traitor.

To catch you up on what led me to this disastrous state: I previously showed the room I was working on, made fool hardy claims of ease, repaired the walls (much to my chagrin) and decided to strip the woodwork.


JK. Even if you tried to stop me, I’d still do it.

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: My progress is an even UGLIER room than last week.”

That one time I got a table saw and built my own furniture.

Oh, heyyyyyyyyy.

Are you sick of me yet?

Too bad. I wrote another post.

The post is a story about me. I’m very self involved.

So, a long time ago, I picked up a credenza from craigslist and modified it to make it a media console. Then, during the one room challenge when I did my living room, I made a different media console. I put some longer legs on the craigslist credenza and moved it into my dining room.

And that was fine, but that’s all. It was too deep and not long enough.

Then, one day, it wasn’t fine any longer.

I wrote down some scribbles for measurements, and went to Home Depot.

Continue reading “That one time I got a table saw and built my own furniture.”

Lemonade. And muriatic acid.

Hey. So I pretty much fell off the internet for a few months there.

I mean, like ALL the internets.

Sometimes it’s like everything is fine and normal and then an event happens and suddenly it becomes a time to for deep self reflection and big kid decisions, and it sucks and it’s really hard, but also really important.

I wasn’t capable of focusing on external relationships, and I’m really sorry that I wasn’t available to support my blog friends for a while. I have a lot of blog posts to read.

I wasn’t really capable of doing much at all – especially projects around the house.

So when I received my modernica planter in the mail and the ceramic was severely broken, I kind of shrugged. I did send an email to the shop that I purchased it from, and they were super helpful and sent me out a new one (it took 2 months for that) and told me I could keep the broken one. I didn’t have much energy for it more than that though. It sat broken in the box that whole 2 months.

Anyways, I want to feel better and more like myself, so I fixed that motherfuckin’ broken planter.


Mind. Explodes.

I bought some gorilla glue and did not read the instructions where it states to wet the surfaces and that it expands. I blame my internet provider for that one – I was on the phone with customer service trying to troubleshoot my broken internet while I glued it back together.

Whoops. It spread everywhere.dsc_1621-2dsc_1623-2

I used a putty knife and razor blades to scrape off the excess and then used sandpaper to rough up the rest of the surface and then wiped it down with some TSP.

The next part can be done for any basic terracotta planter for a quick change. I was inspired by this planter from CB2 – but not the price.

I picked up some Henry’s feather finish from Home Depot and mixed up a small amount and spread it on the planter with a joint knife, and it looked like a disaster initially.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'


It took 3 coats to smooth it all out – I just used my hands around the lip of the planter.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

After giving it time to dry, I used 80 grit and then 220 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander to smooth any bumps. After sanding, I cleaned the dust off with TSP and then hosed it off. 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

I had read on the internet about using muriatic acid to etch concrete. Since I had a bottle available (what? doesn’t everyone?) I figured that I would try it. I mixed it up 3:1 water to acid and sprayed it on with a little hand sprayer. It bubbled and then I washed it off with some baking soda/water mixture and then hosed it all down. It didn’t really do anything as far as the variation in the color? I guess it’s mostly to prep the surface for sealers. Which, I chose not to bother doing and left it raw.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

And fixed planter! That snake plant is so much happier in a bigger planter. It was giving me major stank face for a while there.'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish' 'DIY concrete planter' 'feather finish'

I finally got my dining room fixture up. It took 6 months, and that’s a long story for another post.'triple seven home'

This week has been pits of despair after the election, but I hope to continue to come back. I’ve missed you.



When a project seems too easy, and that stresses you out, and then you tell yourself to shut up and just enjoy it

Now that the dining room moulding is up and painted, it is finally time to add some art! The walls have been blank for years now.

Most of my projects come with a slew of unforeseen problems that require a lot more time, trips to the hardware store and problem solving. Seriously. I just spent 4 hours re-doing the curtain rods in my dining room. I (wrongfully) assumed that the screw holes in the brackets were linear and that caused a slight tilt that made the acrylic bow. Some of the screw holes are off centered. And one cannot simply drill a hole in plaster. Oh, no. There’s an 85% chance that it will crumble and make a massive hole. Which then requires ginormous toggle bolts. And bigger holes. And patching. And painting.

ANYWAYS. Those bitches are secure now. I could probably do pull ups on them. You know, if I ever did pull ups. Or, could do more than one.

After looking at some art online, I decided to order this print from Minted: 'The Good, The Bad & The Ugly' 'minted'In the 24″ x 18″size. Somehow the day that I clicked on the site to purchase, it had an option for no white border and the print covering the whole space? Where’d that option go? Witchcraft.

The colors are beautiful. I was surprised by how much my husband liked it, too. In super healthy relationship fashion, I didn’t consult with him before purchasing.

Since I worked hard on those wall panels, I didn’t want to completely cover them with a large frame.

Then I remembered that I had favorited this etsy shop, some unknown amount of time ago.

Now, this listing is for the acrylic sheets and the hardware. Add in $45 for shipping and $184 is no small amount. Which is not to say that it’s not worth it, but when the shop suggested an option to DIY, I was all over that. I purchased the small brass standoffs for $34 and 2 30″ x 28″ acrylic sheets from Lowes for, like, $30ish?

Since purchasing the sheets from Lowes would not give me the custom measurements purchasing from the etsy shop would give me, I also purchased this Olfa plastic cutter.IMG_1548

Let’s revisit my previous statement about my projects usually taking a left turn. I figured that me trying to cut down acrylic would somehow affect the time/space continuum and a vortex would open and swallow the state of Minnesota. Not accurate? Idk. I’m not a scientist.

I was super pleased when cutting down acrylic sheets was a breeze. Like. So easy.

I added 2″ to each side of my art for the acrylic frame – so I kept the 28″ as is and cut down the 30″ to 22″.

First, I marked off my 22″ with sharpie (keep the protective plastic on).

Since I didn’t have a long enough straight edge, and I just accidentally snapped my 4 foot level, I used a spare piece of lumber. I clamped it all down nice and tight to a table and scored along the lumber multiple times, alternating direction. IMG_1542 IMG_1547

I scored along the lumber multiple times, alternating direction.

IMG_1551 IMG_1552

When I had a deep groove (like 10 passes or so), I unclamped it and moved it so that the excess was hanging over the edge of the table. From that point, it took a very small amount of pressure for it to snap right off. IMG_1554

When my pieces were cut to size, I lined them up together and clamped them down with some spare lumber underneath. I marked off my holes (1″ from the edges) with a sharpie, on top of the plastic.IMG_1560 IMG_1563

Drilling the holes was easy! I used a 3/8 bit and a little water with soap (to minimize friction and chipping) and used medium speed/pressure.

The whole process probably took 30 minutes – and saved a lot of money to boot.IMG_1604 IMG_1606 IMG_1609

I am way over my tentative 6 week dining room ‘challenge’ but I’m feeling really ok about that. I have been working on things at a steady and relaxed pace, without breaking my back (or checking account) and I’ve still had lots of time outside and chilling.

I am having such an excellent summer with my daughter out of school (I’m still working full time, boo hiss) and it seems like maybe they really do get better with age. Years 3 and 4 were particular lows for pleasant interactions. It’s a wonder that any parents keep them past that age.

In other important-to-no-one-else news: the light fixture is still not shipped out. Any inquires are answered with a vague ‘we will ship it out soon’. I’m kind of a lot bummed. I ordered from the company a couple of years ago, and since then, they have gotten a great reputation in the blogosphere. I feel conflicted because I don’t want to make a big deal about it, but the communication is seriously lacking. I feel like if the company is going to be 5+ weeks past the original ship date – they should reach out to the customer and let them know. And probably set new shipping expectations.

It’s the light fixture that I want, so I guess I’ll have to find some inner zen and be patient.'TripleSevenHome Ursula'

I swear, put something shiny in front of me and it takes over my brain and I forget all else.

Still want to read about relatively non-important things?

Cool. I got you.

I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a Modernica Case Study planter to put under the aforementioned artwork.

I was thinking that I would put my snake plant in there, but I quite like it on the credenza. So then I thought maybe a cactus?


There are a lot of cacti varieties.

I’m sure you’re all like: ‘well, duh, Madeline. Everyone knows that.’

and I’m all: NO, guys. A LOT OF CACTI.

If you can believe it, there aren’t a ton of cactus nurseries local to Minnesota. So I’ll have to do any ordering online.

Any thoughts on your favorite cactus? Be sure to include its full and proper name. JK. No, really, please do that.

Then a few days after I ordered the modernica planter. I was like: NO.

That actually belongs with the new fiddle fig in my front room.

Now I need a planter for the dining room. Before the 1st one has even shipped.

I’m the WORST.

I think the retro bullet planter will be just the match for some cacti.


One Room Challenge 2015 Fall: Week 5 and I am worn out, some progress and some setbacks

Clark + Kensington Casablanca ; sherwin williams Snowbound ; serge mouille

If you’re new to this home design and DIY internet phenomena, it’s a challenge to make over one room in 5 weeks (if you’re doing the math) and 6 posts. Linda from Calling it Home hosts it on her site, and allows fellow bloggers to link up with their projects.

All the comments, both on my posts here and instagram, have been so wonderful and have definitely helped me stay motivated! Thank you so much to everyone and I love following along with all of the projects in the ORC.

If new to my blog, I decided to make over my living room for the One Room Challenge.

It started as a blah living room that lacked personality and organization, then went to an avocado green mess, the walls were plastered and sanded, then everything painted.

At this point, I am so physically tired and stressing whether things will show up in my life by the deadline/reveal. I think almost every single muscle in my body is sore and I have developed a perpetual eye spasm.

I had hoped that my body would get some chill after all the mudding/sanding/painting, but no. I guess wrestling three 4’x8′ (ripped down to 16″ width) sheets of plywood into my Honda Civic will make you sore! Everyone always underestimates the little Honda Civic – and the 5’2″ girl in Home Depot carting around all the lumber. I seem to always get some disparaging comment from a male when I purchase lumber, specifically. Why, yes, asshole, I really would love it if it were someone else purchasing that lumber and pulling it around for me. Since no one volunteered, I suppose it will have to be me. Even though I am only a woman.

I could not have rolled my eyes harder.

I might be feeling a little cranky these days.

Week 5 has me sweating, I’m an emotional sweater (glad we are all so close here.) and it might be a little out of control. It is really getting down to crunch time and I might be am freaking out a lot and my life house is in shambles. I, of course, had hoped to be farther along than I am.

I’ll stop complaining now and get on to the good progress!

My light fixture from eBay/China arrived in the mail! The canopy is different than the pictures and the light bulbs that were sent along with it are broken (and EU, so light bulb bases in the US are different and I had to do some internet sleuthing for a solution.) Perhaps I shouldn’t have cheaped out and I should have purchased it from a different site, but it’s up now! There’s probably a life lesson in there somewhere.IMG_3520

The ceiling medallion put the canopy of the fixture 3″ from the ceiling, and the wires were all too short for me to connect them. Luckily (!!!!), they sent along an extra foot of wiring. Some stripping and electrical nuts later, it was all connected and working. At least I had ONE functioning light bulb, otherwise I would not have known if it were a success or not.

So far, no one other than me and people on instagram like it. I keep getting “oh…. that is an…. interesting light” from my family and my husband likened it to a giant crab/sea creature.

ha. I’m cool with that. It took me some time too, it really is quite a statement and a little imposing. A house should reflect the owner’s personality, right. ; )

The aforementioned plywood was promptly cut to size and used for my DIY media console. Framing the Ikea Sektion wall cabinets with 1x2s and 3/4″ plywood went much faster than I expected! I love my compressor and brad nailer big time.

face framed with 1x2s
face framed with 1x2s

I filled in the holes and edges (and let’s be real, my less than perfect cuts with my circular saw) with MH ready patch and sanded it all smooth. I primed with Zinsser 1-2-3 and painted it with Clark + Kensington Exterior Satin enamel in ‘Care to Danse?’ (stupid name.) I was going to paint it white, but ran out of the trim paint and didn’t want to go buy more. My design plan is very calculated, obvs. The color is a very, very pale pink and I love it. I painted my front door with that color and it looks stellar with brass hardware.

I used 1x2s and my kreg jig to build the base and secured it to the body of the console. Threw some tapered furniture legs on that bitch, and BOOM. Console.

A small hiccup.

I used the furniture feet that I had from the craigslist credenza and I could have sworn they were 4″ and didn’t bother to measure. Well, apparently, they are 5 1/2″ and now the console butts right up to the bottom of my tv and doesn’t fit. Whoopsies.

I didn't bother to center it on the wall, since the tv is snug against it
I didn’t bother to center it on the wall, since the tv is snug against it


I have decided to just move the tv mount up on the wall. It seems like getting 4″ legs would be easier, and it would be. But they would have to be shipped and that takes time, and I like the way the 5 1/2″ look. Plus, I usually go the route more difficult and dusty.

Now, I have to cut doors out of left over plywood, drill holes for hinges (note to self: figure out what tool that is Forstner bit and procure it), veneer, edgeband and poly?

I’m saying that with an upwards inflection because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

Fingers crossed that all goes ok.

I plan to do a follow up post tutorial on the DIY media console. Unless it caves in as soon as I put stuff in/on it.

I got the West Elm curtain rods up, and that took LONGER than expected. Measuring + keeping things level + a bored 5 year old = lame.  The curtain panels are getting hemmed by a friend, they will hopefully be hung soon.

Other items have been trickling in, my pouf came (need to fill) and things like the blanket, some art, and tchotchkes.

I cleared out the room, laid down a rug pad and put down the rug! The rug is the Safavieh Casablanca rug and I love, love love it. I purchased it from Overstock, but they are no longer available in the 9’x12′ size. DSC06220 DSC06223

The room looks so much better already!

ignore those paint rollers in the bottom left corner

DSC06229 DSC06230

The not so good news:

After calling two times early last week and not receiving a call back, I sent an email. I got an email response from the upholstering company that has my couch, informing me that they are behind and might not get my couch back to me in the next couple of weeks.


The teal blue velvet couch is kind of my statement piece for the room, and the whole catalyst for my impromptu ORC link up.

I emailed back to them explaining the One Room Challenge and whined that it was very important to me. Word as of today is that they will “try their best”, which is something but not a promise.

I still haven’t gotten that miraculous call from West Elm that my coffee table arrived early either….. I should let go of that one and accept it will not be part of the reveal.

Please send your good vibes this way. The reveal pictures might just show me lying on the floor, crying and clutching a bottle of wine.

The MOST exciting and disruptive variable is that my older sister is 38ish weeks pregnant with my future niece, and I will be expected in the delivery room at the drop of a dime (happily!)


  • Finish media console (I have to get/cut plywood for the back, paint inside and make cabinet doors)
  • Purchase fill for pouch, baskets for organization etc.
  • Hang curtains
  • trim rug pad down
  • Purge and deep clean (clean the windows! I keep forgetting how dusty they are)
  • Bring in and arrange furniture
  • Style
  • COUCH?!
  • Pictures

I am so excited to see everyone’s reveal! Check out all the other projects at the linkup.

Also, follow along on Instagram with the #oneroomchallenge hashtag, my user name is tealandgray.

DIY built in cabinets and shelves in the pantry – or bookshelves

built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

It’s long overdue for an update. I still struggle to find time/desire for working on projects AND then the time writing about them.

When I first started working on the pantry, I figured I would fix and paint the walls, replace missing molding and throw some freestanding shelves in there; no big.

The walls got patched, smoothed, sanded and primed and the ceiling popcorn removed.

So close! Slap some paint up and put those shelving units in.

But, no. That would be far too simple and fast, and then a project I started would be done in a timely matter. And that is completely unacceptable.

I decided I wanted a somewhat more permanent solution for storage and wanted to try my hand at built in shelves.

I almost immediately climbed into the corner in the fetal position and ceased to function.

I finally got it together and built floating shelves on one side of the room. It was much easier than I thought it was going to be and I found a new love for the kreg jig and pocket holes.

It felt really good to accomplish part of my goals and my confidence was building.

Every year, I take a week off for my birthday (July 16th) and thought I would be super industrious and continue working on the pantry with renewed zeal.

Not exactly what happened….. I enjoyed the week so thoroughly though! I spent time with my daughter, since she is out of school. I ate all sorts of delicious meals and stayed up late drinking wine. Sleeping in past 5:45am was amazing! I did make some progress in the pantry, but it was not at the forefront of my thought process. #noregretshere

All this is to say that I finally finished the built in cabinet and shelves on the other side of the room.

It was both so much harder and ultimately so much easier than I expected. As with most of my projects, the difficult part for me is finding the several consecutive hours to spend on it – and the want to spend my time like that (ok, that’s probably the bigger problem.)

I learned new things and used new tools, I had never used a router before and what the hell is a ‘dado’?

Now that I’m done with it, I really feel confident that pretty much any person could complete this project. So if you’re overwhelmed like I was in the beginning, please don’t.

Now bear with me as I try to explain it. I had a general plan but mostly did it as I went along, and my thought process is pretty jumbled.

You’ll also have to excuse the pictures – it’s a small room with a doorway and it makes it hard to take decent pictures without a wide angle lens (which I clearly do not have.)

So. Here are some things that I had to contend with:

  • Only one outlet in the room and the placement is exactly where the face frame would be with the ikea wall cabinet depth – the wiring had to go through an external wall and I was not going to attempt to move it’s location.
  • Walls and floors are not plumb and not level

The width of the area I wanted to fill was 67″ and I wanted two sets of shelves. That meant two 30″ cabinets (60″) and three 1x3s (7 1/2″) for the frame (a picture below will hopefully make more sense) =  67 1/2″. You might notice that amount is more than my width, I had to shave down two of the 1×3 slightly.

I had to keep reminding myself that the cabinet doors are overlay and go over the cabinet frame; so the 1x3s will be flush with the cabinet doors when on, and the space between the cabinet frames/doors had to allow for the full space of the 1×3. Or whatever width chosen.

Also, all lumber dimensions are not what they say they are and it’s helpful to write down the actual dimensions for reference. Examples:

1×12 = 3/4″ x 11 1/4″

1×3 = 3/4″ x 2 1/2″

Math. My brain, ugh. Moving on.


I picked up two of these 30″ wide Sektion wall cabinets from Ikea. The depth with the suspension rail is 14 3/4″ – I did not use the rail but with the wall brackets it was pretty comparable to that depth. The depth of these are more than the 1×12 and 2×12 that I used for the shelf frames, so the shelves will not be flush with the cabinets. The old akurum line would have been, but those are no longer.

I was going to make a base out of 2x4s and didn’t want it to be standard cabinet height so I went with the 30″ high version, 30″x30″, but any desired height could be used.

I built a platform on the floor with 2x4s, using the 1 1/2″ side for the height. I screwed it directly to the floor with some long wood deck screws that I had on hand. This was a good first step since it allowed me to shim everything and make sure my base was level. I left space on the left and right sides between the walls and base for 1x12s and a 1×2 wall cleat (again, I think pictures will help).built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

In addition to the platform, I screwed two 2x4s to the studs – with a space for the 2×12 to slide into perpendicularly, onto the walls  to attach the cabinets to. and to add 1 1/2″ to the overall depth of the cabinets. This way, my outlet is now inside the cabinet and I have a little more countertop space.built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

Since the size of the space on the sides of the cabinets are 2 1/2″ wide and the width of the 1×12 is 3/4″, I attached some 1x2s to the wall to screw the 1×12. When the 1×3 face frame is put on, there will be a small overhang and the shelves will be set back a little bit and everything will be all snug.015

With the walls and floor framed out, I put the cabinets in place so I could slide the two 1x12s (sides) and one 2×12 (middle) into place to make shelf placement. Of course, never that easy. The room is just a few inches more than 8′ tall, so I had to get the 1x12s at 10′ long and trimmed them down to the right height with a circular saw. The math worked out for the 2×12 to be 8′ since it was on the platform between the cabinets, but natch it didn’t actually fit in reality and that one had to be shaved down also.

This was probably my least favorite part. You guys, I am 5’2″ on a good day and wrestling these tall ass pieces of wood into a small room and removing them to work on them and putting them back repeatedly sucked major. They fell on me more than I’d like to admit. Moral of the story, it would be helpful for another set of hands during this and your husband doesn’t wander off to do something unrelated.

I also looked ridiculous getting the four 10′ and 8′ pieces of lumber into my Honda Civic in the middle of the Menard’s parking lot. Good thing that I don’t have a lot of pride. Perseverance and perspiration!

I bought relatively inexpensive pine boards from Menards, but even the quality aren’t perfect. I laid them flat and used wood filler for any knots and imperfections and sanded them with my orbital sander before priming them.built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

Once I had them in place and my shelf heights marked, I used a level to mark the other sides. I went with a 2×12 instead of a 1×12 for the middle because it had to support dados on both sides and I didn’t want it weakened.

My shelves are also 1×12, which means a 3/4″ wide dado. I picked up this little router from Home Depot and a 3/4″ straight bit.

Ya’ll. I do not know how people make it look so easy to make straight lines with a router. Truly exceptional. I had never used one before and my grooves looked like a worm on crack ate through the wood. Make sure to practice on a spare piece of wood, or innately possess this skill. I decided to forgo a lot of practice and use a piece of scrap wood for an edge guide and used the square base on the router. It worked like a charm. I put the edge of the wood guide 1 1/2″ from my shelf placement mark (I marked the bottom of the shelf, apparently. I didn’t even think of that. You can mark where you want the top of the shelf to end, or the bottom.) The dados I made were 1/2″ deep, nice and strong (remember the wood is only 3/4″ thick.)built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

I feel it’s important to note that with the edge guide, my dados did NOT perfectly line up where I had marked the shelves. But since I consistently marked them all 1 1/2″, all the shelves were level and lined up.

Except that one that I made based off the wrong mark and put the groove in the incorrect spot. It was heart dropping. I almost scrapped the whole project. I did some major catastrophizing and then took some deep breaths and drank some root beer (yummmmm) and cut another groove where it was actually supposed to be. 4 coats of wood filler and sanding made that mistake groove erased.built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

Also, nothing could prepare me for the sheer amount of wood chips that would be flying at me from the router. I looked like a tree when I was done.

Now that the grooves were all in, it was time to start attaching everything.

I cut the hole for the outlet inside the cabinet and put the new box in there, disconnected it and reconnected the outlet inside there.007

The cabinets were attached to the 2x4s on the back wall, and the side 1x12s were screwed to the 1×2 side wall cleats. Because the base cabinets were not snug against the middle 2×12 (remember 2 1/2″ space for the 1×3 face frame and the 2×12 is only 1 1/2″ wide), I cut a 1×4 poplar board into two pieces and made pocket holes to attach on both ends to the shelf frames, and screwed those into the studs. I tell you, they didn’t fall on me anymore after I did this. General life improvement.built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

Ok. Now, cutting the shelves down. They will be the width between your frame pieces + 1″ (two 1/2″ depth dados), mine ended up being 32 1/4″.

Holy hell. Getting those shelves in were a task. They are supposed to be snug and not wiggle, that’s where they get their strength from. It took me several hours with a hammer and a 2×4 (to distribute the force and not damage the boards). I find most problems can be solved with a hammer and 2×4. You can quote me on that. I also added some wood glue in there, for extra staying oomph.built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

Those are the bones of the built in and now it’s ready for the counter and to be face framed! Hooray!

Shelves carcass Light purple: 1"x4" poplar Dark purple: 1"2" poplar Light blue: 1"x12" pine shelves Dark blue: 2"x4" base and wall cleat Green: 2"x12" building grade fir
Shelves carcass
Light purple: 1″x4″ poplar
Dark purple: 1″2″ poplar
Light blue: 1″x12″ pine shelves
Dark blue: 2″x4″ base and wall cleat
Green: 2″x12″ building grade fir

built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

If you’re still reading this… hooray!

Since the base of 2×4 had the cabinets off the floor 1 1/2″, I wanted to do a similar height on the top. I attached several 1×4 on the top of the cabinets and 1×2 cleats on the sides of the cabinets, flush with the frames. When the 3/4″ plywood is added on top of the 1x4s, the total height will be 1 1/2″, same as the bottom.built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paintTo make the countertop, I measured the exact width between the left side 1×12 and middle 2×12, then the middle 2×12 and the right side 1×12. The exact depth of the left 1×12 from the wall, the middle 2×12 from the wall and the right 1×12. And the depth of the cabinet frames’ from the wall.

I marked my measurements on the plywood and used a drill to make two holes for the corners of the middle 2×12. Then I used my circular saw for the side cuts, and a jig saw for between the drilled holes. From there, I measured the distance between the 2×12 and the 1x12s. Those 2 cuts were simple Ls. Next, I ripped the length down to 16 1/4″ (2×4 wall cleat + 14 3/4″ cabinet + variance in wall), and trimmed the sides to 67″ (wall width).032 033 034 035 036 037

Now, you bring it to the cabinets and wait with bated breath to see if it all lines up, it doesn’t go in, you grab the hammer (see: above in post) and help it out and then find that it does, in fact fit almost perfectly.built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint 005

The rest is all the finishing with 1x3s and 1x2s poplar boards. Like so:

face frame Blue: 1"x33" poplar Purple 1"x2" poplar Pink 3/4" sanded plywood
face frame
Blue: 1″x3″ poplar
Purple 1″x2″ poplar
Pink 3/4″ sanded plywood

built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

The spackling of nail holes, sanding, priming and caulking is so tedious but makes such a huge difference.002 023 built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

I decided to paint the shelves not white, which means the Ikea Sektion cabinets and doors are to be painted too. I like the Zinsser BIN primer for this.

Then it all got 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud, color matched to Valspar Aspire paint. I hadn’t used it before, and it is a very impressive paint! I debated even doing a second coat, it was that good.

Also, I love, love, loveeeeee the gray color. It is so quiet and peaceful. built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint built in book shelves ikea sektion cabinets ikea built in benjamin moore cumulus cloud valspar aspire paint

So. Wow. That seems like a lot of steps, and it is, but totally manageable.

Now quarter round on the base boards!

I installed the beautiful light and it’s gorgeous!lucent lightshop

I haven’t filled it up yet, and I can’t wait to!

What up? shelves up.

I finally did something! YASSSSS.


Not much, mind you; but something.

I was unsure of what to do on one side of my pantry, since the doorway placement allows for about 9″ depth on that side. Most standard shelving units are deeper than that.

While I was interwebbing, I read about Sarah’s floating shelves on theuglyducklinghouse blog and I had a light bulb moment.

I had purchased a kregjig a couple weeks before and this seemed like a perfect use to try it out.

You’ll have to follow her directions, because she does a great job explaining it.

I armed myself with a slew of 1x2s, 1x3s and some plywood and got to it.

Side note: I looked like a straight up idiot in the plywood isle pulling those 4’x8′ sheets off the shelves and wrestling them onto my cart.

I located the studs in the wall and marked them off. Which, by the way, I have had much better luck with the $3 magnet stud finder than the stupid $18 deep scan stud finder with my lath and plaster walls. According to that thing, I don’t have a single stud in this house and it’s help up with good thoughts and wishes.

I cut the 1×2 to the width of the wall (different lengths for different parts of the wall. ain’t nothin’ plumb around here.) and attached them to the studs with some long cabinet screws. floating shelves

Then I made a whole lot of cuts for the middle braces, and a whole lot of pocket holes!003

The side pieces took the longest, since at 8ish” there wasn’t a stud, I had to use anchors. I found it helpful to hold it in place, drill a pilot hole and mark both that piece and the longer 1×2 attached to the length of the wall with coordinating numbers (i.e. 1a and 1b, 2a and 2b etc.) Then I knew where to put the anchors in the wall. It made it so much easier to line up the screws with the anchors.

After that, I assembled the other long 1×2 with all the middle braces and side pieces. 014

floating shelves

Gosh, I love that kregjig. I want to make pocket holes for everything now.

I thought that I was going to need my husband to help hold the other half of the shelf frames level while I screwed them to the ones already attached to the wall; but I found that a good clamp worked perfectly. He was totes offended that a tool had replaced him, I was filled with regrets that I didn’t do that sooner.015

floating shelves

When I was at home depot, I had the plywood ripped down to 8 1/4″. The gentleman that did that for me was so nice, but he sure fucked those pieces up. It ranged from 7 1/2″ to 8 1/2″ down the length of the boards. No way was I loading it all back up and going back there, so I managed. I had to use my circular saw to cut them to 66ish” anyways, so I did my best to use the most consistent widths. Then, I used a exacto knife and orbital sander to even out the rest of it.019

Anyways. 1×2 frame pieces made it look better, and wood filler/paintable caulk made it even better.floating shelves

I still have to work out the other side of the room, then it’s more moulding, patching, caulking, priming, painting goodness.floating shelves

Craigslist Credenza Redux


After I wrote the cry baby blog post about trying and failing to get a credenza off craigslist, someone emailed me back and I went the next day to pick it up.

Here’s the one:credenza

That was ages ago! Then, it sat under our tv for months, making the tv too high for my liking. It was laminate, not in as good of shape as I was hoping for, and that alleviated any possible guilt about painting/holes/changing it. So, I stared at it for a couple of months and came up with a plan.

After some time with wood filler, paint and a jig saw, it’s much different!

I filled in the missing laminate, gouges and scrapes with some simple carpenters wood filler, then sanded them smooth. I gave the whole thing a good wipe down with TSP solution, then primed it with a mini foam roller and some BIN shellac primer (mine is tinted gray). 018 025

I used the remainder of my Behr sample color matched to Farrow & Ball Teresa’s Gray, and then used a sample can of Teresa’s Gray that I purchased from Farrow & Ball, when I ordered the Down Pipe.

Look how cute! Gah, I love miniatures. It makes me want to punch someone in the face. Or squeeze kittens. Farrow & Ball sample pot

I purchased these legs and mounting brackets, and then spray painted the metal gold and painted the wood. 002 014

I turned the whole thing upside down and cut off the legs flush, with my jig saw. No pictures of that because… jig saw and camera shouldn’t be manned at the same time by one person. Unfortunately, I got a tad bit overzealous on one of the legs. It was easily remedied by building it back up with wood filler. 004 006007

I screwed the leg mounting brackets on in the corners, in the area where the old legs had been. Which, I don’t have a picture of?

OH HAIIIIIIII. We got a cat, she was a stray. Her name is CatDog (she is a dog trapped in a cat’s body). She is cool with the stuff we do in this house. 022

Everything, including the brackets got another coat of paint.laminate credenza painted before and after ; Farrow & Ball Teresa's Green This is when I discovered that the Farrow & Ball Estate Emulsion was not good for grubby little fingers and it wouldn’t stay clean. So, I bought a spray can of Gloss Poly. It did not go well. In some areas, nothing, then in other areas, big yellow puddles. 016

Lame. I sanded lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to remove those. I used a foam roller and applied gloss poly from the can.  It DID change the color slightly, making it a little more golden. Much more durable though. Which is good, because my daughter just drew on it with pen just this morning.

While all the paint was drying, I took the drawers onto the porch to be sanded. That was a generally unpleasant experience since it’s literally freezing in Minneapolis. It was quick to get the finish off the veneer, but some of it in the corners was also removed. No bigs. Then, I stressed about what color to stain the wood. Like, probably more than a healthy amount. I knew that I wanted it to be warm, but not too red, and not too dark. I dabbed the wood with a wet cloth, ok! ok! It was some spit on my finger, but, it worked. And I liked the color! 3 coats of satin water based poly (’cause I had the time and was feeling ambitious), and it was just what I was hoping for. 001 005

I taped off the little circular pulls and painted them gold as well, to match the legs. 008

The last thing that I did was make two 1 1/2″ round holes in the back for wires. The center console area is where the xbox and electrical are. 020 021

There’s the bracket!

It seems like a lot of steps, but it actually went very smoothly and quickly,

ANYWAYS! Look! It’s like a new piece of furniture. laminate credenza painted before and after ; Farrow & Ball Teresa's Green laminate credenza painted before and after ; Farrow & Ball Teresa's Green laminate credenza painted before and after ; Farrow & Ball Teresa's Green laminate credenza painted before and after ; Farrow & Ball Teresa's Green

Sorry. The only ‘before’ that I have is one my husband quick snapped on his iphone. And ignore the dust. Everything in this house is eternally dusty.


Also! Today is my 2 year house-iversary.