I put the win in winterizing!

It will surprise you to know that all my DIY skills are self-taught. But how did you get so masterful with the sprayfoam, you’re wondering. I know. It’s pretty impressive. Just a natural talent, I guess.

My latest project involves the Very Cold Kitchen. I’m not sure why it gets so cold in there when the rest of the house stays a lot less cold. Probably has something to do with science. At any rate, there are two culprits: One is the weird closet where our washer and dryer live. The second is the pantry.

Nothing can be done about the pantry, so we just close the door and let all our canned goods freeze. But the weird closet? Game on, closet. Game on.

Last year, we hung a quilt over the whole thing, but Adrienne said she didn’t want bedding hanging up in the kitchen. Women.

This year, we’re taking it to the next level: Solid foam insulation and sprayfoam.

Washing machine drain. Tip: when you unscrew the hose, it's possible that water will spill everywhere.

Washing machine drain. Tip: when you unscrew the hose, it's possible that water will spill everywhere.

Washing machine drain hose doesn't need to be unscrewed from the machine.

This drain hose doesn't need to be unscrewed from the washing machine, apparently. I could have just pulled it out from the waste pipe. Interesting.

Weird closet where the washer and dryer live.

Weird closet where the washer and dryer live. The right wall for some reason is very cold. Soon, it will have foam attached to it.

Foam insulation

Cutting foam insulation is actually kind of hard. This saw didn't quite get the job done.

Reciprocating saw

Bring out the reciprocating saw! Go ahead and balance the foam on your feet when you saw through it. Totally safe.

Reciprocating saw

Reciprocating saw cuts through foam insulation like butter.

Measure twice, get two different numbers. Measure a few more times. Cut only three times.

It's exciting when a plan comes together.

Measure twice, get two different numbers. Measure a few more times. Cut only three times.

Measure twice, get two different numbers. Measure a few more times. Cut only three times.

Looking good. Quality work here.

Quality workmanship.

Finishing up by taping some insulation to the bottom.

We had some leftover insulation from a water heater blanket we bought. Looking good. All other cracks and gaps get sprayfoam.

Leftover insulation from the water heater blanket taped randomly to the closet ceiling should warm things up.

Leftover insulation from the water heater blanket taped randomly to the closet ceiling should warm things up.

Done! Washer and dryer back into their weird little home. That closet should be slightly less cold now.

Done! Washer and dryer back into their weird little home. That closet should be slightly less cold now.

I also installed this towel holder. Probably won't help heat the kitchen much, but it's mostly straight and level.

I also installed this towel holder. Probably won't help heat the kitchen much, but it's mostly straight and level.

Tiling, apparently, isn’t a skill I have

One day, the shower walls had tile. The next day, the bathtub was filled with tile that had fallen from the wall. What caused such a thing? Good question. Thanks for asking. Moisture and gravity likely took its toll, leaving a large open space through which you could see how decades of neglect and water damage wreak havoc on a home.

When you are a man, and something has broken, it’s natural to believe that you can fix it. Tiling? Piece of cake. I bleed grout, people. Bring it, stupid shower tiles.

Normally, when repairing tiles, you would remove the damaged pieces and prepare a surface for putting them back on. This is The Right Way. Get some wonderboard, attach it to the studs, apply the tiles, etc.

What needed to happen was that the entire wall needed to come down because whoever put the tiles up just put them directly on the plaster. But since I didn’t want to take down the entire wall (and I’m pretty sure the landlord wouldn’t want me to take down the entire wall), I opted for doing things The Wrong Way.

Behold. Like the proverb says: With spray foam, all things are possible.

  • Step 1: Clean out offending hole.
  • Step 2: Fill hole with spray foam.
  • Step 3: Cut away excessive spray foam.
  • Step 4: With tile cement, adhere tiles to the spray foam.
  • Step 5: Grout. If it looks uneven and wrong, it’s not an illusion. Keep trying.
  • Step 6: Caulk.
  • Step 7: Admire your handiwork and pretend that it looks better than it did before. Congratulate yourself with a beer or four.
  • Step 8: Try to never look at the place in the shower where the tile’s been replaced.

You can see the original lath and plaster behind this tile. The entire wall needs to be taken down and retiled. That won't happen.

Spray foam is a miracle tool.

Instead of doing things The Right Way, I've decided that spray foam is probably the best tool for this job.

Spray foam dries pretty quickly and expands.

When the spray foam expands and dries, it's ready for cutting. I used a small saw, a Dremel tool, and a small sander.

Grout.

It's not an optical illusion. The grout is uneven and spotty. It'll clean up OK, though.

Tiling job is complete.

The finished product. Yes it looks bad, yes, the tiles are uneven, yes. Your point?

And there you have it. Home improvement (except for the improvement part).

Kitchen re-do

Hovel-turned-decorating-contest-semi-finalist part three:

Of all the rooms, we did the most work in the kitchen.

We were originally thinking tangerine or yellow but when I went to this restaurant in L.A. last time I was there, I thought maybe blue would be the thing- I loved the blue and white in this place- and since we have a lot of white, I figured we could make it look a little like this place, or at least have a similar vibe. We still tried some swatches of yellow and orange but the blue looked the best.

Kitchen inspiration

Kitchen inspiration

This is the kitchen when we moved in. Check out the placement of the fridge. Huh? In front of the door to the bedroom? Also be sure to notice the 70’s era light fixture and the lovely carpet.

Kitchen when we first moved in.

Kitchen when we first moved in.

The apartment was being used as an office, including the kitchen, so there were no appliances, countertops or anything. The landlord put the sink, counter and dishwasher in and that was it.  He was going to get us appliances but we just went out and bought our own after seeing that ridiculous fridge!

Kitchen when we first moved in.

Kitchen when we first moved in.

It took a long time to figure out what needed to happen in this room. We tried a bunch of different things, but nothing worked, it was still not cute and not functional.

Kitchen right after we moved in.

Kitchen right after we moved in.

I put some of my colorful stuff on the shelf and my glasses and dishes in the hutch. But that didn’t look too great.

Kitchen right after we moved in.

Kitchen right after we moved in.

Still trying! Brought the tall metro shelf in and bought a little stool. It was a little more functional then. I also made a collage of a bunch of the sign pictures I’ve taken, which added some cute to the room.

Trying to make the kitchen cute and functional.

Trying to make the kitchen cute and functional.

Little by little we collected stuff for this room. Some of it we bought, a lot of it we moved from other rooms or brought from my house in L.A.

Kitchen recently

Kitchen recently

I replaced the dishes and glassware with more colorful stuff- I decided to use this area for the photo shoots so it needed to be colorful and retro.

Kitchen recently

Kitchen recently

But still, it was BROWN. It’s the same color as the livingroom and we like it in there. Also, lots of people use neutrals in their kitchens and they look fine. But all my colorful stuff (including the new red chandelier that DM painted and hung) needed a better color on the walls.

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

Hung another poster that I brought from L.A.  and put the marble slab on the fake granite laminate counter, and we’re done for now.

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

Now if  we could just do something inexpensive and/or temporary with the floor….

Livingroom and Pool Room

Hovel-turned-decorating-contest-semi-finalist part two:
This was when we first moved in. We use the living room for the office stuff as well, so we needed a place to store all the office-y stuff. The landlord left the bookcase behind and we thought it would work, but it just looked messy all the time. The rug was from the other house and it went well enough here- it goes well with the throw pillows and the vintage filing cabinet. In fact, we didn’t buy anything new for this room. We don’t want to spend a lot of money on an apartment, especially since we already have so much stuff.  It seems wasteful and it’s annoying to have to deal with getting rid of the old stuff to make room for the new stuff.
Livingroom before

Livingroom before

Had the poster, the rug, the futon, the lamps, and the wood cabinet (thanks, Bri!) shipped from L.A. I think it all looks pretty good together. We debated painting the walls but as it turns out, the color looks pretty good with our stuff.

Livingroom after

Livingroom after

This is the pool room when we moved in. The pool table, the pool cue stand,  and the bookcases were left behind by the landlord along with the plant and a big giant piece of art hanging on the wall.

Pool room before

Pool room before

This was taken after we unpacked all our books, artwork, photos, etc. But before we edited them down.

Pool room before

Pool room before

I also use this room as a sort of dressing room for the Pink Kitty girls, so I had a bunch of wardrobe and other stuff in here.

Pool room before

Pool room before

Eventually I got rid of a bunch of PK stuff and put the rest of it into two crates that I can keep in a closet. Keeps this room a lot neater. I liked how it looked when we first moved in, but we do have a lot of stuff that we needed a place for and didn’t want to waste all this square footage so it was all about editing and organizing! We bought the shelf at a salvage yard- it’s perfect for setting down drinks when playing pool.  I also switched out the mini blind with a white sheer curtain.

Pool room after

Pool room after

We’re thinking about painting this room and making it sort of saloon-like. Not sure exactly what color or how to do that yet.

Bedroom

This week I’ll do some posts of before and after pics of our hovel-turned-decorating-contest semi-finalist!

So, here goes, first off, the bedroom.

I cut this picture out of a magazine a million years ago. I love the simplicity of this room. I want the bedroom to be serene and uncluttered but also to have a little bit of character.

Bedroom inspiration

Bedroom inspiration

This was the night we moved in, or maybe the next night. Note the unmatching shade and mini blind.

Bedroom the night we moved in.

Bedroom the night we moved in.

Bedroom the night we moved in

Bedroom the night we moved in.

A couple days later I got s0me simple white sheers. I like simple stuff myself but I also use this room for photo shoots and the decor needs to be pretty plain so that it goes with whatever the girls are wearing. Plus, plain white bedding and sheers are pretty classic boudoir.

Bedroom a couple weeks after we moved in

Bedroom a couple weeks after we moved in

Bedroom a couple weeks after we moved in.

Bedroom a couple weeks after we moved in.

Eventually we got a new bed with a box spring.  Also some end tables because the bed was higher now and the trunk and floor didn’t work for bedside stuff as well.  I saw a blog post on Apartment Therapy about getting stuff to fit into small spaces at camping stores. I thought that was a pretty good idea so we went down to Camping World and bought these end tables.  They went well with the stainless steel lamps and they fit perfectly in the space.  I also brought in a picture to cover the hideous electrical outlet octopus. I think I like this look the best.

New bed

New bed and end tables

Close up of end tables

Close up of end tables

But it’s not supposed to be good for a bed to have it on the floor, so when I shipped all my stuff from L.A. I also shipped my bed frame.  It’s just a platform bed, not too high and doesn’t take up too much space, but I think it kind of overwhelms the room now. It also doesn’t really fit against the wall and the pillows fall down into the space behind. We’ve rigged some plywood back there but whenever the bed moves, the plywood falls down. We’d work on a permanent fix but I’m, not sure I want to keep it up on the frame. I need to research just how bad it really is to keep a bed on the floor. I wouldn’t normally care but it’s brand new and was kind of expensive so I don’t want to ruin it. It’s very dry here in CO so maybe it’s ok. But we also built PJ a little cozy nest under the bed that he loves, so we may wait awhile because of that, too. We also got my flower rug from L.A. so moved the shag one into the bedroom. It was warm and cozy for winter but it added clutter so we took it out once the weather warmed up.

Bed with new frame

Bed with new frame

None of our windows actually stay open, so we keep them up with heavy candle holders.

We like to have the window open

We like to have the window open

This was the shot we used for the contest. We could only submit five pictures altogether, of the whole house, so I tried to get a picture that showed a little of the bed, the tables, and the jeans hook. I don’t know why, but I was unable to get a shot from the same vantage point as the one above that shows more of the bed plus all the other stuff. I think maybe because the bed is so much higher now. We also put the white trunk outside (which is where I got it for to begin with) but I miss having it to sit on and to toss clothes on so we may bring it back, even though it’s a little small for the space.

This is the picture we used for the contest entry.

This is the picture we used for the contest entry.

Maybe someday I’ll get a long dust ruffle thing like in the magazine picture. Not sure how I’d use it, though, they’re not really for platform beds. Also I think it might get dusty and dirty. Also, I should probably stop making the bed if i really want that look!

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