{DIY} Rolling Kitchen Cart

Our house was listed as having an “in kitchen eating nook.”  It makes me laugh, it was basically a section of counter without cabinets.  It was an odd space.  This photo is obviously an after, but you get the idea of the space I was working with :)

I had come to the realization that what the space really needed was a kitchen cart that could do double duty as storage as well, but that could roll out if I needed additional prep space, and most importantly a bar cart for parties.  Though I’ve now realized that with a toddler, those have become much more rare!  But also makes storage that much more important :)

Better Remake I Kitchen CartMost kitchen carts though are counter height, which makes sense, but not what I needed.  I kept looking, but besides the configuration, I couldn’t find anything in the style I wanted.  I wanted something that had clean lines and would match the shaker style of our kitchen cabinets.  I wanted it clean, classic, somewhat contemporary, but with a little rustic edge.  I then figured just a clean cabinet with rustic legs would work.  I took a look around the house/yard, and realized that with all the scrap wood I have, I should be able to put something together.  I even had old 4×4 posts which would make for great legs!

Better RemadeI specifically wanted 2 large drawers.   One for my “junk” – bills, letters, all that stuff that should be filed and put away, but never have the energy for.  And the lower for kid dish ware.  We had been sharing our “Asian Food Drawer” which holds our sake set, bamboo mats, and seaweed paper.  Doesn’t everyone have one of those :)  Instead I wanted a big drawer that I could just throw all the dishware into straight from the dishwasher.

Better RemadeI had thought about looking for a lower cabinet section to build a cart around, but nothing could be found with that configuration, so from scratch it was.  I won’t mention how when I was just about complete I found one in IKEA as-is for $80.  I had to walk past pretending I didn’t see it.

First came building the drawer frame and the drawers.

better remadeFlat drawer fronts.better remadeFraming the drawer fronts to match our shaker cabinets.

better remadeUsing old 4×4 posts from the little shed carport demo I built legs to frame the cabinet, along with a set of 4″ caster wheels I found at Lowes. better remade better remadeThis was where things were left for a while.  I needed a counter top.  I envisioned a butcher block, but instead of buying at IKEA, I thought I would be patient and try the Restore.  I didn’t quite check in as often as I had hoped, and they never had a thing!  Sounds like the butcher block goes out as quickly as it comes in.

better remadeI was just reminded how long it’s really been when I found this in my instagram feed.

better remade I kitchen cart13 months!  It sat in the kitchen, incredibly useful, but not quite in bar cart shape.  I had the drawers in place, but no top.  The drawers are both incredibly full, and doing their job!  Kitchen before paint, concrete counters, and tile backsplash.

IMG_5369I finally came to the realization this last winter that I should just buy the IKEA butcher block counters.  I’m getting desperate to finished all my unfinished projects!  Problem is, they seem to be on continuous back order.  I checked back online a few times a week, and then finally I found that they were expecting a small shipment the following week.  Obviously I planned my week around getting down there and getting those counters!

It was so rewarding, just the smallest little addition to complete my cart.  Let’s not talk about the fact that when I put the top on the cart was 1/8″ too tall to fit under the counter!  I had to remove the wheels, and trim 1/4″ off the posts.  Then drilled the holes too large for the wheel posts so had to glue in a dowel and redrill.  I saw the finish line and just ran too fast toward it…I  just wanted to be done!

Better Remade I Kitchen Cart

Better Remade I Kitchen CartKid kitchenware drawer-Better Remade I Kitchen CartMy drawer – which incidentally, Jesse tried to suggest I put some extra pans that were floating around in my drawer.  I quickly said “no way!  This is MY drawer!”Better Remade I Kitchen CartSlides perfectly under the counter.Better Remade I Kitchen Cart

And rolls perfectly out to the deck!Better Remade I Kitchen Cart Better Remade I Kitchen CartIt fits just under the kitchen window which makes for a great pass through window for food, drinks, and grilling!!  Better Remade I Kitchen CartNext up…I’m actually finishing a second one for a friend!  I’m exited about that one because I was able to find an old beat up cabinet from the Restore to use.  I’ll definitely post it once finished!  SO Close!

 

 

 

{Our Deck} It’s been a long 3 months!

Where have I been?  I’ve been here…just building a deck.  This was a long process.  Jesse and I only have Sundays to work on house projects, and then maybe are able to squeeze in an evening now and then.  And during the week, I only have 2 days of nap time.  So this deck building was really cut up and spaced out.  I think I prefer quicker projects :)

This deck has been the longest biggest project that we’ve tackled.  It seemed simple and straightforward in theory…in theory only.  But 3 months later, we are finally able to fully enjoy our new deck.  I thought it was going to be a month, and then another half month to re do the lawn (which we decided against)  Most days, lately, have been way to hot to be outside, but we’ve sneaked out there in the mornings and evenings…and it’s glorious!  It’s been the most rewarding though, so at least there is that!

I’ll start by just posting the before and after.  I think it’s the nice thing to do, so you aren’t forced to go through dozens of process photos, though I definitely purged many photos :)

Our VERY before.  This was pre house painting, but I sure do long for that green lush grass.  The summer heat has killed everything in our yard.

P1020328 You can see there is a set of stairs that were about 6 feet wide.  The rest was just a drop off.  We thought it would be really nice to open up the deck to the yard by building stairs the full length of the deck.  It would also add some alternative seating.

Our glorious after!

Better Remade I Deck After

 

Better Remade I Deck

Better Remade I Deck AfterHere is a long string of process photos, if you are at all interested in the long painstaking process of building a 16×25′ deck!  With a little commentating in between.

First Day (April 6th)!  Look at that smile, he has no idea what we are getting ourselves into!

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It became obvious pretty quickly that this was going to be full deck overhaul!  My favorite was how nothing was really secured down.  The posts were just resting on the concrete blocks.IMG_9504 IMG_9505  Hate the all the gross rubble, still need it hauled away!  IMG_9593

At this point we got everything cleaned up, figured out where the old patio was, and where we could pour new supports.  It was in this stage that we finalized the design, and got all the materials ordered.IMG_9701

Beams down!IMG_9814

I like this one…it’s the pose/look of “how are we going to put this together.”IMG_9812 IMG_9815Joists in!IMG_9818Then we had to figure out stairs.  The original plan was to build them individually and have them be about 18″ deep, but with the poured patio, there was no way to pour a landing or any footings.  Luckily we were able to buy pre-made stringers, though all 26 had to be cut, each individually depending on the slope of the ground, it was a VERY slow process.IMG_9868  This was a bit of a milestone – our first outdoor dining experience.  It also marked the beginning of putting decking down.

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You can see in this picture how the sun just beats down on the deck.  It gets full sun from about 11am until 6pm.IMG_0111I did 2 frames running along the outer perimeter.  That was 16 45degree cuts, which was 16 too many, PAIN!  But after that, it was all straight cuts.  2 planks ran down the center of the deck, dividing it into 2 sections 11.5′ sections that just had to get filled in.  It took about a day to just get them spaced out evenly.  I had drilled pilot holes through the planks, and lightly nailed them in place spacing them out.IMG_0116The back steps IMG_0284And then, before we knew it…3 months later, we had a finished deck!IMG_0288And fully furnished

Better Remade I DeckAll the furniture is a few years old, but Lucy did score herself a new picnic table!Better Remade I Deck After Better Remade I Deck AfterDefinitely loving this beauty!

Hope you are all enjoying the summer!

Help! DIY Emergency!

We are about 70% of the way through out deck.  We have all the joists in and are working on the stair treads.  They have become a huge pain.  It’s been so tempting to stop the stairs where they are, but I just keep envisioning full steps down to the yard…I keep having to remind myself how wonderful it will be!

photoAnd then…Monday the washing machine broke!  Of course it did!  They are older and came with the house.  We’ve briefly discussed over the years getting new ones.  The washer isn’t very water efficient and the dryer takes about 2 1/2 cycles to fully dry a load.  Now apparently is as good a time as any.

The good news though is that we are headed toward memorial day, and everyone is having appliance sales.  The timing is good.  The exact opposite of, oh I don’t know…let’s say, the furnace going out Friday night and having to wait until Monday for heat.  (Totally my choice – I refused to pay a weekend surcharge)

My hope was that we’d be able to choose when we were going to replace the washer and dryer because I’d really like to re vamp the laundry hall a bit, especially the flooring.  So, remember how in my previous post I mentioned how good I am at abandoning one project to work on another…well…meet the laundry room floor.   A room that I’ve tried to keep out of the blog – it’s a bit ugly.photo 2(2)

It’s a very small space, 2 walls royal blue, 2 walls camo green, and icky red carpet.  The red carpet is over not 1, but 2 layers of wood print laminate.    photo 3 photo 4 photo 1(1)There is definitely a LOT going on in such a small space.  And unfortunately I can’t completely finish this right away, but while moving the washer and dryer, I can get the floor done.  I hadn’t given it much thought since this room wasn’t on my radar, but suddenly it’s on the top of my list.  My main criteria is something quick and easy.  I’ve decided on black and white vinyl self stick tiles.  I think this is the perfect room for them.  It’s not high traffic and I think it will be so much cleaner.  It will look especially crisp against the new white LG washer and dryer that we chose.

washer dryer Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 10.11.53 AM.pngAnd then hopefully once the deck it complete we can add a counter over the washer/dryer and put some proper storage above.  While I love the open shelving, I’m hoping to get some dining room storage that those can move to, and we can do some upper white cabinets for cleaning  and dog supplies.

This is where my plea for help comes in – do any of you have experience with the self stick vinyl tiles?  Or brands that you’d recommend?  Please share, I know nothing.  :)

The Spring Going-ons

Last week Apartment Therapy did a post on DIY concrete counter tops.  I saw the article, and embarrassingly enough I glanced at it a few times when it would pop up in by FB feed, and on the third day I saw this:

apartment therapy DIY concrete counters

That’s right, do you see the little mini tile on the lower right?  Let me click on it for you.

apartment therapy DIY concreteThat’s right.  It’s my kitchen!  Though it wasn’t a feature…I’ll get there someday. Well, who am I kidding…I am struggling to finished any projects.  We have so many long term projects around the house, that I haven’t had time for little quick ones that can be posted quickly.  So here is a little status update.  I suppose it will serve more as before references.

To start, I posted a little teaser to instagram a few months ago of our upstairs attic space.

better remade upstairs frameThe funniest thing about this was that I commented: “I tend to be good at starting projects…finishing them is another story – fingers crossed.”  And I haven’t finished it.  Here’s the deal – we’ve decided that in the next year, we need to move upstairs and convert it into a master bedroom.  We are in the process of trying to figure out how to put a bathroom upstairs.  We’ve come to the realization that a 3/4 bath is probably not in the cards.  The only place that a bathroom can be added is against the wall that’s directly above the downstairs bathroom.  Due to room size and the slope of the ceiling the only option in the cards is a half bath.  But that’s so much better than nothing.  I continued on with the upstairs, painting, and packing up boxes.  Then Jesse and I had a talk about project time lines, and realized it made more sense to focus on our yard, with summer quickly approaching.  So, I did what I do best.  I abandoned this project and moved on to another….our rotted deck.  Though I will come back to it later this summer/early fall.

On to the deck.  Ours was pretty rotten in a few places and Lucy is at the age that she wants to play outside, so we need to make it safe.  We had no idea what lay beneath the deck, so before we could plan/design the deck we had to rip it all out, which added a few weeks to the process.

IMG_9503 IMG_9504Once out, we found the none of the structure was salvageable and we’d have to start from scratch.  We found patches of the old patio, and were able to start designing the new deck and where all the structural elements could do.  IMG_9700This was everything cleaned up.  Next came a few weeks of placing and digging holes, then pouring concrete footings…10 of them to be exact!  Then it was all about leveling and placing beams.

This weekend was all about the joists!  A lovely, “huh?  What do we do next?” photo.

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But before we knew it, all the joists were in place!!  -2I am a little in shock over how big the deck it.  I planned it out, so the numbers aren’t a surprise, but seeing it take up so much space is a bit of a shock.  I guess it doesn’t help what we haven’t had a deck in about a month.  I know it will be so wonderful once it’s done…I just can’t wait!  I wish I could say, after the deck everything was finished, but then it’s all about the lawn that we’ve killed.  It was destroyed when we repaired our retaining wall, so that will be another few week undertaking.  But hopefully by mid June we will be ready to fully relax in the back yard!

Hopefully within a few weeks, I will be back with a proper after!

 

{Beautiful Houses} Newport Beach

I am completely officially house project over whemed!  Stressed OUT!

I know…I know, in my last post I said that I was going to share the latest projects, but I can’t decide where to start.  I have about 3 projects that I am getting started on/need to continue, AND then there is the yard, which stresses me out even more.  I thought I wasn’t going to have to deal with the yard until at least April, but then it went and got sunny.  Suddenly all the bulbs are starting to pop up, and our yard has yet to recover from our wall repair and new fence last fall.  They back dug the wall to put in drain rock, and all the dirt is filled with rocks and now spread across what used to be our lawn.

I thought I’d just catch you up on how fast my head is spinning!  So…it was such a wonderful change of pace to fly south for a few days to visit my aunt.  There are some absolutely gorgeous houses in her neighborhood, which I thought I’d share.

When I’m overwhelmed with my own home, I like to lose myself in others!  Ah!  All the inspiration!

BetterRemade I Beautiful Houses

BetterRemade I Beautiful Houses

BetterRemade I Beautiful Houses

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BetterRemade I Beautiful Houses

BetterRemade I Beautiful HousesLove this one so much, I had to share another view!BetterRemade I Beautiful Houses

BetterRemade I Beautiful HousesAhh!  LOVE THEM ALL!  You can definitely tell what design aesthetic I am drawn toward…I know, they all look alike after a while.  But they make me forget about the “in progress” disasters I have here in this place.

But I promise…no more hiding.  While I know some of our projects aren’t going to be quick, I should get started sharing updates in the hope that it will keep me accountable and pressure me to keep going!!

Side note – I realize as I keep scrolling through these, I LOVE a big tree in the front yard.  I’ll have to keep that in mind as I deal with the yard.

Have a good rest of the week!

{Update} Kitchen and Concrete Countertops

I’m at a bit of a pause on the kitchen.  I laid out a bunch of options (here) that I was trying to decide between, and haven’t completed my decision making yet.  I’ve finished the wall color, but have yet to do the cabinets.  I did what I always do…I narrowed down my top 2 – white walls, dark lower cabinet and dark walls, and white lowers.  Thought about it, thought about it, and then thought about it some more, and then on a total whim I went in a completely different direction…

Here was my before…all white.

IMG_5394As I previously mentioned, the one downside with the white was that it made the cabinets look dingy.  So the white was out.  But I still wanted to keep the option of dark lowers, so I went with a light green with some grey tones.  Benjamin Moore – Healing Aloe.

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IMG_6150The Healing Aloe was a bit light, almost like it wasn’t really a color…or it wasn’t enough of a any color.  Does that make sense?  With all the light streaming in from the windows, it was super washed out.  And then this popped up on my pinboard.

Better Remade Benjamin Moore 2014 GreensThe Palladian Blue was so close to what I was going for!  Here they are side by side:

better remade - paint colorsSo I thought, let’s get all 2014 trendy!  (I’m never trendy!)

The Palladian Blue seemed like a good step toward being more of a color, so repainting I went!  Luckily, I hadn’t done all the edges or behind the refrigerator.

Better Remade I BM Palladian Blue

Better Remade I  BM Palladian Blue Can you tell the difference? :) Hard to tell.  Definitely looks darker facing the dining room.  I’m liking the color quite a bit.  It’s a happy color.  I don’t tend to go with happy colors, but I like this one.

And as for the cabinets, I will have to wait until the spring to complete that.  It’s so cold out that paint isn’t drying in the garage.  While working on the play table, I’d bring it inside between each coat to fully dry.  I don’t think I want to deal with that with a dozen cabinet doors.

And then there are the concrete counters, DIY’d here, back in September.   I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how they have been.  I am still undecided.  I originally did about 3 or 4 coats of the feather finish, and then 3 coats of sealer.  Within weeks, everything started soaking right into the concrete.  The counter space along the stove top is the worst.

Better Remade concrete counter update IMG_6168And then there was the night that we decided to use a deep fryer to make tempura.  As the night progressed, it turned into fried Oreos, obviously.  So, we are now left with this.   It’s totally fine.  I knew this was experimental, and this was bound to happen.  And to be honest, it doesn’t really bother me.  It should, but it doesn’t…you live, you learn.

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This is the one spot that still looks good, mainly because it is where I usually have a towel laid for drying pots and pans.  It doesn’t get much action.  Better Remade concrete counter update

So…what I am I going to do about the counters?  I have more feather finish that I was planning on mixing up and doing one more thin layer.  There are a few spots along the edges that didn’t take, so I was planning on getting it out and rebuilding those areas anyway.  And then I just read that John and Sherry are going to be attempting the same thing in their kitchen.  I think I am going to wait and see what sealer they use.  I also got some great suggestions from readers, so I am going to look into those as well!  That’s probably why I am not super bothered by the oil stains.  Plus I look at the counter and have fond memories of sushi, sake, and fried oreos!

That’s what’s going on here!  While the kitchen is on hiatus, I’m going to move my focus upstairs!  I’ll be back next week with the mess that is our upstairs!

Happy Holidays!

I had grands plans of getting some projects completed and posted this week, but instead I’ve been relaxing and enjoying the season.  So until then…

Better Remade I  Happy Holidays

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and see you in the new year!

{DIY} Holiday Felt Garland

I’m going to be honest about this post.  I made the garland last year, but couldn’t actually get myself to put a post together before the holidays.  So I am finishing it off this year.

One reason I love the holiday season is because it totally inspires me to make charming little holiday decorations!  Last year, I made these felt trees.

Better Remade - DIY felt christmas treeAnd this year, I have made felt poinsettia garland.

Better Remade - Felt poinsettia garland

My inspiration was found in the West Elm catalog.

west elm garland

I know…looks very similar.  I barely have the time to get crafts done, and definitely don’t have time to come up with them myself…so sometimes I just put my own minimal spin on them!

Better Remade - felt flowersFirst I cut out a bunch of flower shapes using a tag board template, I did some larger and some smaller.

Then I made little pom poms by wrapping butcher twine around my fingers about 15 times and then using thread, I cinched it at opposite sides,Better Remade - how to make a pompom tightly tied the thread in to a knot,Better Remade - how to make a pompom And then cut the twine about 3/8 inch from threaded cinch and fluffed it a bit.Better Remade - Felt poinsettia garland And lastly using needle and thread, I sewed the little pom pom through the felt flower and around some jute twine.Better Remade - Felt poinsettia garlandI envisioned putting it around the tree, but decided 10 flowers was enough for me, and it goes perfectly around the doorway!

Better Remade - Felt poinsettia garland

It’s not super holiday-ish so it can easily stay up all year round…which of course mine did!

Have you found any great Holiday crafts?!

{DIY} Coffee Table Play Top

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We flew out to Washington DC to visit my brother in-law.  Jesse’s family all flew out, so we were all able to spend it together.  It was a great trip with a very relaxed trip into the city.  Lucy is still a bit young for the Natural History Museum and slept through all the dinosaur bones…next time she’ll love it.   As for the flights, which I was totally dreading, they went very smoothly.  Some how, miraculously, Alaska Airlines was able to give us an extra seat for Lucy.  It made all the difference in the world.  I can’t even imagine how the flights would have gone if she didn’t have the car seat to be buckled into.  So I owe our Thanksgiving traveling success to Alaska Airlines! :)

Now we are back, and back to getting things done!

Remember a few years ago I did  The Great Coffee Table Switch-up, well it’s been switched up again!  Here is the living room with our coffee table, which sadly we moved out to the garage while Lucy was perfecting her footing.

Better Remade It’s been great having an open living room, but there is no where to set anything down.

Better RemadeAnd then there is the play table that my parents have Lucy for her birthday.  It’s a bit bigger though than either of us realized and this corner was really the only option.  I wanted it in a “public area” space where Lucy could play and I could keep my eye on her.  The down side is that it’s hard to get around the table.  And I have plans to build a china cabinet and together it’d be way to crowded.

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I came to the realization that the best solution was a coffee/play table, but not a permanent one.  It’s the perfect height and I still need to have a grown-up coffee table when I have grown-up parties :)  So I decided a removable top was the perfect solution, and would be able to slide under the couch for storage.  AND it would protect the coffee table top from Lucy’s abuse and tendencies to bang things on it.

Initially I thought I’d have wood in the garage, but unfortunately I was about an inch low on length.  It’s a total bummer when you have to purchase new wood for only being an inch short.  So close!  I ended up having to purchase a 4×8′ piece of 15/32″ plywood.  Oh well, I guess!  I’ll have some for the next project.  I cut the plywood to about 1/8-1/4″ over the dimensions of the coffee table top to allow the play table top to just barely cover.  Then using molding I framed the plywood top to hold it in place.  I nailed it with a 3/8″ lip to help hold toys on the table.  And incidentally the lip has been helpful for Lucy to use when pulling herself onto the table.

Better Remade I Play top coffee table

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableAfter priming the top, the next step was to paint a landscape.  Now I wouldn’t recommend what I did next.  I used tempera paint.  I should have used a higher quality paint, but I had tempera paint, I don’t even remember why, and I didn’t want to buy more paint.  It was easy enough to paint with, but in some places got a little crackly.  It also dries a bit chalky.

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableThe chalkiness didn’t really matter luckily because I put about 3 coats of high gloss polyurethane over the top, and took the chalkiness right out of the tempera paint.

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableHere is is finished, and in use!

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableIt’s perfect for Lucy’s little wooden London set!

Better Remade I Play top coffee table  Better Remade I Play top coffee table

photoAnd it comes right off and slides underneath the couch!  Though it hasn’t actually come off…what’s the point?!

Better Remade I Play top coffee tableAnd because I need to keep it honest…here is our living room in reality.  It’s not fair to post photos of the house after a mad dash cleaning blitz during nap time ;)

photoIt’s a great easy solution for an inexpensive easily removable play table!

{Beautiful Houses} Gearhart Oregon

We just barely got back from our trip to the UK, and before I knew it we were off again to the the Oregon coast for our yearly trip to celebrate Nicole’s birthday!  Most of our trip was spent relaxing, drinking, and playing games which was absolutely the most perfect way to spent a stormy weekend.  But while the stormy clouds briefly parted, I ran out to do my other favorite thing…drool at the beautiful beach houses!

BetterRemade I Beach HousesGearhart Downtown

I’ve opted not to do captions for each photos…for your sake.  Each caption would be “Oh my gosh, this one is beautiful!” “I love this one!” “Isn’t that gorgeous!” “I want a house like that!” That’s pretty much all I said to Jesse as we walked down the narrow streets.  He was a good sport and just kept replying “yeah, that’s pretty.”

So I will just cover all the houses by saying, I love them all!  They are beautiful and gorgeous, and I dream of having a grey cedar shingled house with hydrangeas and a big porch!

BetterRemade I Beach Houses

BetterRemade I Beach HousesAh!  Hydrangeas!BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach Houses  BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach Houses

And for a few beach shots!  Lucy had a great time at the beach, although she didn’t seem to notice that it was considerably colder than the last time she was at the beach and swimming was not happening.   We basically ran interference.  You can see in the second picture, she was not thrilled about that.BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach Houses BetterRemade I Beach HousesIt was a wonderful weekend!  And now we are back and re-grouping.  And I am back to work on my long list of projects!   I have one just almost complete and ready to post!

Have a great week!