Monday, September 22, 2014

Closetmaid with Ikea Hack (I Mean) Help

A million years ago, I ripped this out of a magazine:

If you squint, you can see it's from the June 2013 issue of Real Simple.  Soooo, it just feels like a million.  Because I've been dreaming of it for the kid's closet. 

In fact, when we did the big reno, I asked my contractor to build this for their room.  He laughed and said, "I'll do it, but it's gonna cost you about 5 times the price of that kit."  Done.  Don't. 


A few months later, I got all inspired by another blogger's closet, who used the same Closetmaid system.  I got all "if she can do it, I can do it". 

And took 6 months to buy the kit. 

Then went on summer vacation.

But I finally put it together!!! 

Double Door Closet
Mess Inside

This was as far as I got in organizing their closet a year after moving back in.  Fail.  HUGE FAIL. 

The space is not small.  It's 4 feet wide, over 8 feet tall and 20 inches deep.  So with those specs, I was able to match the Closetmaid Selectives 16" Starter Kit

It's sold at Home Depot for around $100.  It was surprisingly easy to assemble.  If you can put together Ikea, you can do this.  If you can't put together Ikea, you can definitely do this.  The instructions have words (in many languages!) along with pictures and helpful hints and what-not-to-do's. 

Bottom Half
Secured to the Wall
Top Half
Click-In Adjustable Hanging Rod
Thank God It's Level
Plus Room On Top

What it does not have is enough shelves.  The three you see in the 2nd last picture above cannot move.  They are screwed in place to keep the tower stable. 

I get that. 

But...then there are a million pre-drilled holes on each side for additional shelf placement.  Annnnnd...two extra shelves.  What a tease :(


So I check my magazine reference.  Seven shelves!  I only have five.  I need two more to recreate the dream.  Back to Home Depot.  Nothing.  No extra shelves for sale.  Not even an empty shelf of shelves.  Uh oh.

I call Closetmaid.  Explain.  Plead.  Beg.  Nope.  Not for sale. 


I'm not buying a whole other kit to get two dang shelves.  I tell them that.  I tell them I regret buying their system.  And they should think about selling the shelves.

(Here's where you ask - why not put in drawers instead?  Those are sold separately!  I would.  But if I move the tower to the right, so the drawers clear the door jamb, the hanging rod doesn't fit.  Boo.)

So I get to cleaning up and a light bulb goes off.  If I can't make a shelf from the bottom, what about from above?  Enter Ikea.

Aha?  Aha!

I have two of these Observator clip-on baskets in my basement pantry/closet from the good old Ivar system days.  So I thought, yes!  Instead of throwing my Closetmaid out the window, which would be hard after securing it through the wall into STUDS, those would work!

So off to Ikea I went.


And since you can never leave Ikea with just the one thing you came for, I got hangers and a box, too.  Score!

Big Boy George

The closet organizer is for George's things, so the hanging baskets are perfect for diapers/pullups and wipes.  When he outgrows those -I can't wait, I can't wait, I can't wait- he can decide what to put in them. 

For now, everything is in the open instead of baskets.  He likes to pick out his own clothes in the morning and a book from the bottom at night.  And no matter how messy it gets, I can just close the doors!

(Those hats aren't his...yet.  But this IS the house of hand-me-downs.)

I never think of Ikea as the help for something else.  I always think how something else can help Ikea.  So this was a nice surprise.  And although the lack of shelves is a bummer, I'm impressed with how versatile and sturdy the Closetmaid system is.  It's not flush with the wall to the left because of the baseboard...but this thing ain't goin' nowhere. 

Good on ya, Closetmaid, but get on those shelves.  And thank you, Ikea, for keeping the dream alive.

(Nothing came for free / Neither of these companies know I exist.  I'm just happy I finally got this project done.)

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Perfect Porch Paint

We made it back home.  The kids are back in school.  I'm back on a schedule.  Perfection.

Kinda how I like my porch.  The porch!  It's been a month!

Behold, the perfectly painted porch.

But, wait!  Last time we spoke, I was figuring out paint.  From afar.  With a neighbor who is attached.  I had a game plan going paint it exactly like it was. 

See, we painted our old porch a few times after first moving in.  The first time, was to neutralize the dark brown floor that showed every single speck of dirt the moment after you finished sweeping.  The second time was to fix that too-light-shade-of-grey on the floor, which competed with the white divider and columns.  The times after that were to freshen up the peeling, scarred, chipped spots after renovating. 

We made the mistakes and finally found the colors we liked.  I crossed my fingers and hoped our neighbor would, too.  And he did.  Mostly...  But we get along well, so it all worked out. 

Color Scheme

We chose the same white as the interior of our house.  Landed on a green that matched our existing brick.  And then found a grey we could both live with.  He wanted darker, I wanted lighter.  Steve couldn't care less. 

Then this happened. 

EEEK!  In the course of two days, the house and porch were complete.  Our neighbor even decided to paint his house the same color as ours. 

But, of course, we all agree to disagree.  That's why we get along as neighbors.  So, while our sides aren't exactly alike, they have the same structure. 

Not that this is a complete before and after.  We're not done painting.  No, sir.  Remember how I mentioned we had to re-paint the floor before?  Well, learning from mistakes is hard when you're out of town and the old floor paint can is somewhere in your basement. 

Old Floor
New Floor

It's just...too...light blue?  Even for an iPhone???

(Don't mind the chips in the threshold.  The silicone holding the old floor boards in place was reeeeeally strong.  Our doormat hides them.)

Bench (and bikes, etc)

And...since we decided to paint the bench the same color as the floor, so the porch wouldn't look and feel super small on the inside, it kills me EVEN MORE to see the wrong color. 

So, I did what any normal neighbor would do.  I found the next darker chip on the strip (that actually matches the old floor paint that I finally FOUND), and told my neighbor he was right the first time.  ;)

And, besides.  It's paint.  Just.  Paint.

I even offered to redo both sides myself, if our contractor can't work a deal with the painter.  I love to paint.  And with the kids in school, what else do I have to do these days?!?!?  Ha.

Wrong paint aside, I'm finally cleaning and pretty-ing.  We re-installed the light, put up a mailbox and numbers (sorry internet, but they do look beautiful) and I even went out on a limb and bought a planter.  Yes, the wrapping is still on because I don't know if it's staying....

Once the painting is finished, I'll update with more details.  But for now, she's lookin' pretty perfect from the street.


I guess she's more blue-green now, than before.  But that's ok.  Still pretty perfect.

That front garden, on the other hand, not perfect at all.....!!!!