Saturday, November 16, 2013

lovely linens.

Considering the size and age of our casita, we are really lucky to have tons of closet and storage space throughout the house. Typically, older homes tend to have tiny closets that are few and far between so we (read that "I") were/was super jazzed to find that we had plenty of closet space as well as a sizable linen closet! But as large storage spaces always do, our linen closet was quickly becoming an "everything" closet causing a sharp decrease in its functionality and attractiveness. Boo and hiss.

As the linen closet is located in our guest bathroom, I really didn't think about it a lot (you know, out of sight, out of mind). But a couple of months ago, I was putting away sheets and almost gagged on the unsightliness of the space. Not only had I let the light bulb die (thus the flashy-flash pictures), but I had also allowed the closet to become a catch-all for anything and everything that didn't have a home somewhere else in the house!

Sick out. Spare curtains, spare cushion covers, old blankets, beach towels, bath towels leftover from the Mr.'s bachelor days, medicine, paper goods, napkins, plastic ware....I mean, what WASN'T in that closet?! Disgustoid.

I thought about making this a massive overhaul and painting the inside of the closet, but really, that's kind of a waste of a quart of paint. Really, all the space needed was some order, function, and a little bit of pretty. Wanting to make the closet seem more coordinated and calm, I was super amped when I stumbled upon this wrapping paper at Home Goods for $3 per roll.

The paper was more plastic-y than paper-y so I knew it would be the perfect amount of durability for wrapping the shelves of the closet. 

I then started looking into baskets. I wanted to find a basket that was white or grey to go with the shelf paper and that was either solid or had a very tight weave to hide the contents, thus decreasing the visual clutter in the closet. While at Target one day, I found these Y-Weave baskets:

Tight weave, yes, but white? Absolutely not. However, the baskets WERE on clearance and they had the exact number/size of baskets that I needed, so I figured the savings were totally worth it, and I could just slap on a couple of layers of spray paint to get the white basket I had in mind!

So I bought all of the baskets I needed, and started placing items into the baskets to a) be sure I had enough baskets and b) start weeding out items we no longer needed. That took our closet here:

Already a TON better, but obviously not the right coloring. Off to spray painting land!

After a very light first coat, we were definitely headed in the right direction!

While the baskets were curing and in between coats of paint, I removed all of the shelves from the closet so that I could wrap them in the paper I found at Home Goods. 

This is when I realized that, yeah, the closet isn't in the best shape wall-wise, but seriously, it's just a closet. So I forged on with my plan to just wrap the shelves and ignored my impulse to slap a layer of paint on those tragic walls. Wrapping the shelves just like I would wrap a book, in about an hour, I had beautifully patterned shelves in my closet!

I felt like it already looked one thousand times better! And after the baskets had finished drying and curing and had been reloaded with their contents, I was smitten!

I used Martha's Adhesive Metal Bookplates to hold labels for each of the basket's contents. 

So now, the top shelves hold the now boxed and concealed paper products, plastic ware, and blankets:

The middle shelves house beach towels and bath towels:

And the baskets on the sides of the closet house pillowcases and hand towels:

And the bottom shelves house sheets:

Everything finally has a pretty home!

We even have room to grow!

As for all of those spare curtains, cushion covers, etc? Well, most of them were donated, but the ones that chose to stay are now housed in some drawers I used to use in my classroom, but no longer needed (thus the doodles on the fronts of some of the drawers):

These are now screaming for some labels of their own, but I haven't quite gotten around to that yet.

My how things change with the help of some baskets and shelf paper!



Saturday, November 9, 2013

billy bookcase built-in bonanza.

Say that title five times fast.

Ever since we moved into our little casita, our TV wall has been a bit of a mystery for me. It was a 20 foot long behemoth whose main function was to house the television (thus, aptly named, "the TV wall"). The biggest part of the mystery was how to fill such a huge space without going clutterific. So, when we first moved in, I placed our large black armoire in one corner to be my desk and storage, up-cycled a buffet we inherited  to be our TV stand, and generally tried to draw your eye away from the telly. All of that put together gave us this.

Totally fine and functional, yes, but it was safe to say that it left me wanting. The honker of an armoire cut off about 6 feet from the wall/room and really the only thing that captured your attention was the TV. Perfect for Monday Night Football, terrible for every other day of the week. But after moving my desk space into the office where it belonged, I finally felt like I could really start to redesign this space.

Wanting to bring in some bang without making this project "my Christmas present" for the next decade, I started scouring Pinterest for some Billy Bookcase built-ins. Being that these are the most frequently hacked Ikea product, good ole Pinny didn't let me down. I loved the cleanliness and simplicity of Centsational Girl's built-ins...

I loved the drama and height of Little Green Notebook's built-ins...

...and I loved how the Mini Manor mixed in some of the 3 foot Billys for their built-ins!

After measuring out our space and comparing those measurements to the various sizes of Billy Bookcases, I went to Ikea and purchased: 2, 79.5" tall white Billys...

...with 2 height extensions.

I also bought 3, 41.5" x 31.5" Billys...

...and 2, 41.5" x 15" Billys.

Now here's where honesty is the best policy. Apart from designing the layout and putting together the Billys themselves, I really didn't do too much work on this project other than providing fresh bottles of water every 30-45 minutes. So while I intended for this to be a step-by-step DIY on how to transform Billys into built-ins, I will instead just give you some general 411 on what I know happened while I present you with the finished product. Let's be real - without Mr. Spouse and Father-in-Law-of-the-Year, these Billys would be precariously leaning against my den wall with a screw or two still poking out.

We all know that the wall started out like this:

...well thanks to the Mr. and Mr. Father in Law, the wall now looks like this!

Oh. Holy. Night. I feel like we just added on 18 feet to the den!

Like I said, I don't know much about how those boys got them up there, but here's what I do know:

All of the Billys were anchored into studs in our wall through the bottom-most shelf of the Billy (the actual backing of the Billys is just a piece of cardboard, and we wanted the cases to really be secure).

We topped both the 79.5" Billys and the "Billys in the middle" (really technical term) with pieces of crown molding that matched the existing molding in our den.

Each of the seams between the bookcases was covered with a piece of molding I found at Home Depot that matched the width of the seam.

All of the "short Billys" (the cases under the television) were made to look like one solid piece by placing 2 melamine boards from Home Depot on top of the bookcases and calking the seam where they met.

The bottom length of the shelves was covered with baseboard to finish off the built-in look.
{you better believe that's a Christmas tree you see...}

To insure that all of the moldings matched the bookshelves, I simply took one of the Billy shelves to Home Depot and had the paint department color match the shelf. You might have noticed that I have not filled the shelving holes. Honestly, I don't want to fill them and probably won't so that I can have flexibility with shelf placement and styling in the future. Sue me.

So there you have it, an exceedingly detailed, technical, and foolproof DIY on how to transform Billy bookcases into built-ins. :) If you are desperate for a how-to, though, head here, here, or here to find infinitely more educational and admirable built-in how-to's.

Since I know nothing about how these bookcases became built-ins, let's just get moving with the "after" shots, shall we?

In order to hide all of our internet mumbo-jumbo and audio/visual mess, my father-in-law had the brilliant idea to use one of the extra shelves to create a hinged, drop-down "door" for our bottom shelf! Now you see it... you don't! The Mr. also placed some battery-operated fans inside the closed cabinet to keep the electronics from overheating.

I tell you what, I married well, y'all.

Here are some more pretties...

While this might not have been the most educational post of all time, I hope it proved that you can take a wall from being just "the TV wall"... being the "what the WHAT?! wall" without breaking the bank!

Thank you, Jesus, for Billys.