We’ve got mold, mice and a musty scent we cannot shake. Life on Newmarket was a lot dreamier when we were envisioning ourselves as Chip and JoJo on a Waco budget.
Unfortunately, we are using our budget. The bigger projects require some time to save, dream, and plan but some projects we can knock out quickly and with little expense. Choosing which one comes next is always a matter of what will make a greater impact on happiness for members of our family. Mama loves a good organization project so…
First Things First
The messes in our space were a direct result of ineffective closets. Starting with the pantry, we are working towards transforming the closets into purposeful spaces to allow for everything [from backpacks and shoes to dog food and batteries] to have a place.
Taking on the pantry first was a part of the Phase I beautification of the kitchen. The Newmarket kitchen has a ton of quality cabinetry. Though it was disgusting – storage has never been an issue. Counter space, however, was taking a hit with blenders, toasters, toaster ovens, coffee makers, and a mixer.
The closet – cleaaaaar across the kitchen – had one double-wide shelf, an itty bitty hook and a whole lot of crap dumped in it from our move-in. The first step was taking down the sliding doors and removing everything. Clearing the space allowed us to get “clear” on our vision, along with a few Pinterest boards, we were able to sketch up a few shelves and two upper cabinets playing the role of base cabinets.
Tay set out to Home Depot to pick up these shelves and these cabinets while I set out to Target because #targetisahobby. I picked up this roll of subway tile vinyl wallpaper. It’s removable – think drawer liners but for your walls. If you follow me on Instagram, you are well aware that measuring for wallpaper [or anything really] isn’t something I take a lot of time for – which ends up costing me on the back end. What I thought would cover one wall in the pantry, didn’t even hack half of it. So my $35 upgrade ended up costing $70 with the need for a second roll.
Per removable wallpaper instructions [and comments on Target’s website], do not adhere to a flat finish surface. Rats. Nearly every wall of our house is flat and the closets are basically white primer. I picked up a quart of Behr Limelight and brought the walls from flat to eggshell in less than one afternoon.
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Whoops, Oh My Wallpaper
Once it was dry, I hung my first sheet of wallpaper. More tips from the Target comment section encouraged me to generously spray the wall with Windex prior to each panel going up. This allows for movement during application. To eliminate air bubbles, I took our shower squeegee and dragged it slowly from the top of the wall down as I removed the paper backing.
Here’s where it gets dicey. I’ve never wallpapered before and up until three weeks ago didn’t know there was such a thing as a repeat. In lamens terms [aka for Laura to understand what her mom was breaking down], this is the inches you’d have to waste to repeat the pattern and have everything line up when you hang your next panel.
Instead of doing that, I just went a little willy-nilly and matched it up as best I could. Would I do the same if I were hanging in any other space? No. Do what you can until you know better, then do better.
Will I go back and fix the pantry? Also no. The pantry doors are usually shut, it’s sole viewership is under the age of 8, and the shelves and cabinets obscure most of the blunder. For today it works.
Tag, You’re It
Once the wallpaper was up, Tay tagged in with the shelves and cabinetry. We chose to purchase upper cabinets in lieu of base cabinets because of their depth and cost. Uppers are narrower which meant they would fit perfectly into the alcove without sticking out. However, they are shorter in height than a base cabinet so we [Taylor] had to build a base using 2x4s.
For our particular closet, we chose one double cabinet and one single cabinet. We placed the single on the left with the door opening towards the wall and the double on the right. Once the cabinets were sitting high, Taylor drilled the two units together and then secured them to the wall. He added a white toe-kick to finish the look while also covering the 2×4 base.
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Let me take a Shelfie…
Using our table saw, he cut the 48×16 white melamine shelf boards to a length of 46 and 5/8ths and a depth of 14 and 7/8ths. Taylor hung them using these L brackets to support the shelves in three places. The size of the brackets enables the shelves to hold small kitchen appliances like a crockpot and Instant Pot.
In order to use for the toaster and coffee maker to ya know, work, source of electricity needed to be added. Taylor ran the electric wiring to the left corner. I added these battery-operated puck lights to the underside of the shelves and two above the door frame.
Door We or Don’t We?
For weeks, the pantry sat without doors reattached. Honestly, we weren’t sure what to do. Would we buy two french doors? Would we reattach the sliding doors? Would we leave the space open? And then it hit me.
I brought in 4 of the china cabinet doors I purchased from craigslist years ago. They were sitting outside in the elements of a Kentucky winter [freezing rain, snow, bitter cold] for months and only 1 out of the 4 were damaged. Praise be! With a twinkle in my eye and a “make this work” in my voice, I approached Taylor. I asked if he could create an opening in the current doors to place the diamond glass of the cabinet doors in and then rehang the doors to open as french doors.
He made it work. The first go at anything is always the longest and hardest. That was definitely the case for the first installation of the glass and then again for the reinstallation of the doors. The doors wouldn’t fit in the existing frame unless an inch or two was shaved off – which Taylor ended up doing. He cussed a lot that day. I was all “measure twice, cut once” – just kidding – but I was thinking it.
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I found the sweetest vintage doorknobs on Etsy. It actually turned out to be one doorknob, not two dummy knobs and another lesson we learned [a story for another day]. I slapped on two coats of Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray on the doors [front and back] and stained the raw open edges with Varathane Special Walnut.
Taylor attached the doorknob plates and then attached the knobs using his a sodering gun [a hand-me-down from his late grandpa]. I was all “daaaaayum babe“. Then Leo broke a knob off days later, Tay broke the tool by overheating it and the whole doorknob situation turned into a much bigger project. Taylor attached the knobs by filling the holes plastic wood and securing them with a screw from the interior side.
One Weekend Winner
The closet-turned-pantry was a perfect first project to tackle. The cabinets house all of our kids’ cups, plates, lunch boxes, and school snacks. Baskets and these knock-off OXO containers line the middle shelves, while the top shelf houses our Instant Pot and Crock-Pot. If you have your vision, measurements, and all the supplies and tools needed – this can definitely fall under the done-in-one-weekend project.
9 Months and We’ve…
Since the spring we’ve removed all the carpet in our house, completed a Phase I makeover of our sunroom, spruced up 2.5 out of the 3 kids’ bedrooms, removed wallpaper from our master bedroom and bathroom, painted kitchen cabinets, and more little bitty things that seem to make the place feel more like home every day.
You can always follow along on Instagram and the stories I share about our DIYs, furniture transformation, meal planning + prepping fitness, and life as a multi-passionate creative.
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