Thursday, October 25, 2012

Playroom Transformation: Phase 2

Here we go...moving on to the next and biggest part of the project.  The cabinets.  I have been stewing over this addition for several years...mentally exploring all the different options for getting it done.  Of course, the first requirement was that it had to be affordable, but I also wanted to make sure that it was quality.  I was willing to do some install, but was hoping to not have to do too much manual labor.

I checked out all the options...IKEA, Pottery Barn, Ballard...all beautiful but way too pricey (even IKEA).  Next it was on to Lowe's and Home Depot, but all the white stock cabinets were laminate/melamine.  I really didn't want to go there if I could help it as the quality can be questionable.  Custom products were made to last, but definitely cost-prohibitive.  So, there were affordable options and quality options out there, but no luck reconciling the two without going DIY.

I ended up going with stock cabinets from Lowe's.  They are solid oak, but unfinished.  More work than I really wanted to take on, but the price was right.  I took an inventory of the cabinet sizes that they carried and then went home, measured the space and sketched out the configuration that would work.

Trying to save a buck, I took these home from the store myself, fitting them in the back of my CRV.  It took 3 separate trips to get them all in.  My back has been killing me since.  But, too late to turn back..on to the painting.  I cleared space in the garage and set up shop for what would be a two week process of sanding, priming and painting.

It is recommended that you remove cabinet doors prior to painting, but alas, screws do not always cooperate, so I was forced to leave the doors on for the cabinet below.  Not ideal, but flexibility and trouble-shooting skills are key when DIYing. And a few curse words help ease the frustration as well ;)

Let me interject here and say that I was by no means winging it with all of these tasks.  I had my iPad by my side the entire time, consulting Google, YouTube and various message boards for process, instruction and tips.  This is the room that the internet built. I especially needed assistance when it came time to install the cabinets. They are darn heavy and I had to make sure that they were securely attached to the wall.  This involved lots of measuring, stud-seeking (uses different skills than when I was single - haha) and calculating.  The shot below shows the ledger boards that I installed to help keep the upper cabinets level and supported while the hubster and I screwed the cabinets in.

After the upper units were in, we brought in the lower and set them in place.  It was so gratifying to see everything start to take shape.  A couple of additional comments:  I decided to leave the doors off the upper square openings and put baskets in to add some texture (baskets still to come).  I also had to compromise on the height of the lower cabinets.  Ideally, I would have liked to have them at a standard desk-height.  However, desk-height cabinets seem to only be available by special order, so I was limited to the counter-height cabinets.  They will require bar stools for seating, but I don't think the difference will bother me once everything is completed.

Next is the desk top, which is a whole other animal.  In the interest of budget and design, I am building my own butcher block style counter that spans the entire 10' length from end to end.  Did I say that I was hoping to not have to do too much manual labor myself?  Yeah, scratch that.  I'm physically spent, but am learning lots of new skills in the process!  Stay tuned for installment 3..coming soon!

Confectionately yours!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Playroom Transformation - Phase 1

Hi all -
I have been out of touch.  The past 2 months have been such a whirlwind of activity - on so many fronts!  The twins started 2nd grade..the homework is NO JOKE!  I have been focusing on marketing for CREO, getting on a referral list at a local country club and relishing in some very flattering press from our major daily newspaper.  AND...tackling a transformation of our playroom into a study/gameroom.

I have mixed feelings about this change as I originally set up the playroom for the boys when they were 2.  So changing it now means saying "good-bye" to an era.  But, the new set up will offer much better storage, space for homework/art/computer and provide a better all-around space for the whole family.

Here's the before. Once upon a time, it was fairly organized, but over the years, it has gotten out of control. (Excuse the youngster in the foreground.)

The overhaul of the space includes:
An overall painting of the space, including a stenciled feature wall
The DIY building of a wall unit that includes lots of cabinet and drawer space and a 10' desk area (I am crazy, I know)
Making my own version of a butcher block desktop (again, crazy)
Cutting down the area rug to accommodate the new wall unit and show a little more of our beeeautiful hardwood floors, DIY curtains, finishing touches

Today I am bringing you Phase 1 of this huge project...the wall stencil.
I was back and forth on a new color for this room and after some trial and error, decided to stay with the neutral background that we have in the foyer and halls.  I'm happy with that, as it gives a more peaceful transition between the downstairs spaces.  However, I wanted something in the room to make it special.  I had been coveting a stencil that I had seen on Pinterest, so I decided to give it a try here.  Here's the inspiration shot.  The tone of this home reminds me alot of some of the areas in our home, so I was pretty sure it would work.

When I started researching the technique, I found that the ready-made stencils can be quite expensive.  This one was about $50, plus shipping.  Too much for me!  So, I set about creating my own pattern.  Not a stencil, per se, but more of a tracing technique.  Here's the process:
I folded a piece of letter size paper into quadrants.  Then with the folds on the left and bottom, I sketched out 1/4 of the medallion.  This took a little trial and error to get the right curves, angles and proportions, but it was not difficult.

I re-folded the paper and cut on the line that I drew.
Then I did the same thing to create the inner line of the medallion, stacking them to make sure the points were lining up and the lines were the proper width.

This paper was too flimsy to use as the actual pattern, so I transferred the designs to poster board that I painted the background color.  Before applying to the wall, I set out to the find the perfect accent color.  I love the metallic effect in the inspiration pic, so I experimented with several colors to get that effect.  I ended up combining light champagne and gold toned acrylic craft paint...perfect!

Time to cut out the medallions and start tracing!  This was a very time-consuming process, mostly because I used a level to make sure that the outer medallions were lined up straight.  Once the outer medallions were traced, the inner tracings were pretty easy to align.

I tackled this over several days - grabbing an hour or two when I could.  It took alot longer than a stencil probably would have, but I am beyond thrilled with the result!  You can't tell by the picture, but from one direction, the accent color reads darker (like you see here), and when the light hits it, the accent is lighter and metallic...just like the inspiration!  It's pretty much one of the first things you see when you walk in the door and I love the tone is sets for the rest of the house.  A little bit ethnic, a little bit glam and totally DIY...that's me!!

Stay tuned for more installments of the big transformation!
Until next time...confectionately yours!