If you ever wanted insight into why projects take us so dang long, here it is:

So this fail has been awhile in the making. Let me start this story from the very beginning.

Once upon a time I painted the old fish tank base Conner’s Lakefront. I bought the paint and painted it all in the same day. It looked beautiful. Brett comes home, pops in the laundry room and say “oh, we are keeping that?” I responded with a “heh?” which is like “huh?” only with some attitude and a strong implication that what you said was likely incorrect and you’d be ill advised to not reconsider your previous remark. Brett then says “Wow, I love the color!”

Pretty much sums up our marriage.

I’m fairly certain we talked about painting the cabinet some shade of blue. And I even looked back through the blog posts so I could prove that we had, but well when I talked about painting it I already had. You know how you always think if you had a record or video of things you could just prove yourself right all day long? Turns out it is better to claim being right and have your husband agree than to really go to all the hassle of actually being right, because as it turns out it can be difficult to prove (or you could actually be wrong- the horror).

But yeah, from that moment on the cabinet has been a series of pickles.

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Let’s start with the counter top.

 

I’ll remind you it was a random remnant- unfinished edges, laminate, green, and a weird back splash part. It also was significantly bigger than the base and unattached.

Step 1: The plan was to cut off the back part. Basically everything to the left of the blue tape in the picture. This time we borrowed Brett’s brother’s circular saw. It’s like getting a babysitter, you’ve got to space out who you ask for stuff all the time. Now maybe it was a perfectly lovely circular saw and we just haven’t done much with that particular tool before, but it sure seemed like a deathtrap. The kind of tool that makes you think about how good your sewing skills are (you know in case you need to make custom 3-4 fingered gloves).

So no one lost a finger which honestly seemed almost shocking with how much it was kicking back, like a shotgun, except it’s not a gun. So no real surprise the cut was on the laissez faire side of straight.

But we decided to march on full steam ahead.

Step 2: Cover the counter-top with the fake marble contact paper. Let me just say it was obnoxious. Getting the air bubbles out was not at all satisfying like stomping on the ones that come when you get things shipped to your house. Nope. It was really tedious and then we would randomly catch the bubble in a weird way and get a tiny rip.

But we powered through. Only then to see that the seam was going to be very obvious and meticulous is not exactly our MO.

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We had a moment of feeling like we should probably keep going even though we weren’t going to like the final product. But then I held up our spare roll to the wall and then I noticed it made our walls look kinda dingy.

 

It’s harder to see here, but in person it was kinda meh. Because the contact paper was so bright wight the slightly warm white of the walls looked dirty.

Step 3: Scrap the top and replace with wood. I was totally inspired by this kitchen countertop . So Brett called one day as I was driving home from work saying he was stopping at Lowes and what were the measurements we needed? I guessed best I could remember. We leave it sitting in the living room for a few days and then eventually we got enough steam to carry it back to the laundry room.

Guess what? It’s a 1/2 inch too short.

So where does this leave us? With the wood back sitting in our living room. Why didn’t we return it? Because now we have come up with maybe the stupidest idea of all. This blog post is turning into a bookend. Remember when Brett was surprised I had painted the cabinet in the first place? Well it’s because it really doesn’t fit the space. It never has, but the room was also orange, so there were other more pressing concerns.

Here is the Birdseye view. See how it is weirdly long and sticks out, halfway covering the little nook where we want to make built ins?

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Yeah so now we are going to somehow slice the cabinet to make it smaller… This time hopefully not with the circular saw of death.

 

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Fails thus Far

I’ve been MIA for a bit because both the boys had strep. The fun kind where one has it and finally gets better only for the other one to get it. Pretty much my favorite way to do any kind of illness – never ending- who can’t get on board with that!

But we are finally healthy and pretending it is spring!

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After recouping we decided to finally get back on the laundry room train.

Now in your worldview there might be a right way and wrong way to do things. For me there is another way that just seems like less of a hassle and gets the ball moving faster. It’s not wrong perse, it’s actually a very good option for right now. Could it lead to significantly more work down the road? Sure, but could I get lucky? You never know.

In college my roommate and I would talk about being kind to our future selves. You know, writing that 8 page paper I desperately didn’t want to, so that future Brittany could live her life free from the suffering of a looming paper deadline. I didn’t often choose future Brittany. It turns out I love current Brittany much more and I am kinda a jerk and could care less about the crap I am setting her up for tomorrow. (Pretty sure there is real science to back this up. Case in point)

So that being said, after I did the initial coat of white on the planks I was feeling good. It wasn’t until I took pictures that I realized just how much orange was peeking through between the boards. Was this avoidable? Sure. I could have painted the walls before putting the planks up, but I hope you are catching the theme by now, it seemed like an unnecessary hassle at the time.

That left us with the now much more laborious task of getting paint into all the tiny cracks. Lucky for me, my two brothers who live close by, they have an insane amount of tools. We borrowed a small paint sprayer to spray in between all of the boards.

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We sprayed at ridiculously close range, maybe 1-2 inches away. I don’t know if it was because it was a little sprayer or not a huge amount of paint coming out, but it did not gunk up the seams between the boards like I thought it would. It was still a decent amount of work, but manageable.

I also caulked all the seams. And every. single. nail. hole. Which is satisfying to see, but takes close to forever. I’ll throw some side by sides up here so I can feel accomplished.

 

Pretend you can tell. The left is the before ( I know- you already knew that. Because how could you not know) the right is the after. Again I still need to clean out some excess paint in between the boards, but the caulking- amazing right?!

Now for another side by side. This time of the cracks between the planks.

 

This you can actually tell right?

I also finished up the final coat covering all the boards last night.

Well friends – until next time – when you can see the latest fail. Don’t worry there will be marginal improvement so you don’t have to leave feeling sad. Like in Anne of Green Gables: “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Except for the part where we already screwed up something else, but haven’t fixed it yet.

 

Skipping ahead

So if you remember from the last post we are focusing our energies on this part of the laundry room first. It is the more “finished” of the two parts since it has complete walls (now), a ceiling and flooring.

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DSC_0156Nevermind that the flooring is hodge-podged together with a solid pebble inspired linoleum covering the whole room and parts of the floor (only the parts deemed fancy enough) have a grayish peel and stick linoleum tile on top. Though of course there are some parts of the floor that refuse to be tamed and are just bare chunks of concrete sticking out. So wild. So free.

 

The ceiling on the other hand has a surplus of wires and massive holes. If that doesn’t sound like your dream ceiling, did I mention it is popcorn too?!

So we will used “finished” in a some-attempts-were-made sense, instead of how you might traditionally consider a room finished space with things like complete ceilings and solid floors.

While we fully intend to fix the floors and the ceiling, it also just sounds like a lot of work right now… and we just finished a lot of work with the plywood planks… so instead I am focusing on how to make it pretty and functional! Hands down this is what I love to dream up and what actually makes me go through the work involved with projects. In addition to making things more visually appealing, my second love is making the room’s organization so much more functional. While I hate cleaning I do sort of love organizing.

So first in the pretty-it-up process is painting the boards white (Alabaster to be more specific).

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I’ve only done one coat so far. I decided to paint it before filling in all the little nail holes with caulk to be sure I actually cared enough to fill them in.

 

Yup the holes need filling, but at least I didn’t waste my time filling them all in, only to find out I don’t actually care and did all sorts of work unnecessarily. You might also notice some orange peeking through on some of the bigger spaces between boards. When I do my next coat I’m going to hopefully rid the walls of any evidence of orange. I think I might end up needing to run a razor blade between some cracks too as you can see on the picture on the right.

The other thing I’m dreaming up is adding two very special antiques. They are from my Aunt Janet who passed a few years back. She was a collector of old things and a true kindred spirit with an incredibly kind heart. She was the kind of person who I had to be careful not to say I liked anything in her house too enthusiastically because the next time I saw her she’d have it set by the door for me to take home. So I’ve had these two antiques just sitting on storage racks until I finally got to working on the laundry room.

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First up this beautiful old brass iron.

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Next up is this hand crank that is just lovely. I especially love the warmth of the wood in the white space. Now I just need to find the perfect spot for them. And to find the perfect way to hold them on the wall because they are hefty.

Next up I am dreaming of maximizing organization. In this little nook I am thinking we could use these bins from Ikea for our toys currently out of rotation. We already have these in the garage for storage and I love them. They are super sturdy and a little flexible. And biggest bonus of all is that they come in at 22 7/8 inches wide and our little nook is 23 inches wide! And don’t worry about imagining it because I mocked it up in Paint for you.

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Hopefully next time the little bits of orange hanging on will be a distant memory,,,

 

Plywood Planks for the Win

Where did I last leave you? Oh yes, with plans to put up plywood planks on the walls. I remember being excited, thinking it wouldn’t be that much work… Pretty sure I had some exclamation points about horizontal boards! It’s a good thing I consistently underestimate the time or effort things take because it turns out I actually don’t love doing work and would probably never attempt things if I were more of a project realist.

We started out this leg of the project with the serious fun of emptying out all the crap: Gorilla racks, storage bins, miscellaneous baby gear that I can’t quite part with. I am constantly fluctuating between being 70 percent sure I am done having babies and holding a baby on my chest and needing another baby right this second. You know normal mom sap and memories tied to all the things that I desperately put my babies in so they might sleep just a little. Or the things that contained them so I could consider eating something other than microwave popcorn for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Anyone else? Why popcorn? Such a complete meal, so nutrient dense, so convenient)

Back on track. Short version: We cleared out the stuff.

Let me show you just how wackjob our “walls” were before starting the project. But this time in black and white because I. can. not. handle. having. orange. in. one. more. post.

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This first wall had a massive pipe sticking out of it, some random wires and a soffit to contend with. We started with this wall since it was the trickiest to deal with and we wanted to be fresh. Brett did a little blocking with 2x4s to give us something to attach boards to.

Next up was this beaut.

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A scrappy wall to be sure. The site of the former fish tank and you’ll never believe this: random scraps of drywall we found around, just will-nilly put up. Did we put up drywall we had cut holes out of for another project? Of course we did. We always strive to make another area of our house dingy while fixing up another. And do we succeed? Nine times out of ten? You bet.

Not to be left out was this pocket door which really had no wall at all. The guy who lived here before us ran thousands of each type of cord in the world, through every wall and ceiling. Kinda like how people hide money under mattresses- same thing just with cords- and no money- or real point…

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So a couple things that made the shiplap slightly more complicated…

  1. We had guys at Home Depot rip the plywood into 4 inch planks. Apparently they only get paid enough to cut them in a range of 3.75 inches to 4.25 inches. I mean clearly I am not one that doesn’t love a close enough, but it made them a real doozy to line up in places
  2. The 1/4 inch thick plywood was also a bit loosey goosey, as some boards were much thicker
  3. The lack of things to secure the planks to, you know because of holes in the wall or missing walls
  4. Lack of skills, never stopped us before, but we did buy an air compressor and nail gun, so that should count for something

But we powered through and actually managed to mostly make it work.

Here is a close up of a penny that we used for spacing. In the tutorial that we used as inspiration, she secured all the boards with liquid nails on the back. We ended up just shooting them with 1 1/4 inch nails which holds the board in place just fine. The perk was we were able to pry a board off if necessary and we could just nail in a space where there was actually a wall behind the plank.

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Here are the walls completely clad in the plywood boards. It looks a little trippy with all the wood- not yet painted, but still a serious improvement from the orange.

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You can see we still have cords to secure. We also left space on the bottom since we plan to redo the flooring and wanted to have some wiggle room for a subfloor.

Look how many fun nook and crannies! The shear number of cuts might have stolen a small portion of our sanity… The picture on the left is our non functional laundry chute. It’s boarded up upstairs in the hallway and from the bottom.  Now imagine yourself turning clockwise and the picture on the top left was the old fish tank wall with the halfhearted sheet rock. Then the picture on the bottom right is the pocket door wall with the door closed.

I made up a little floor plan so you can see what the layout is like. I actually made it in an online tool to get the walls to the correct scale before I put in Paint to make it what I wanted.

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For reference the back stairs are on the left and actually angle up over the washer and dryer. The walls with black on them are the walls we clad in the plywood. We are focusing on this part of the laundry room first.

Lots yet to do, but everyday it is turning into a little less of an eyesore.