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Archive for the ‘The (AptTherapy) Cure’ Category

One of the things I realized when I began my apartment overhaul was that my old bed was going to have to go.

For years, I’d had a cheap, brown, metal, adjustable bed frame. For years, I’d had a plush, pillowtop queen bed. When I moved into my current, tiny studio, I decided to give my queen bed to my girlfriend. The replacement was a (not Tempurpedic) memory foam mattress.

To convert my trusty, old frame into something that could hold my new mattress, I purchased 2 x 4 slats and some plywood to create a quick-and-dirty platform.

This worked fine until I moved the bed kitty-corner (?) across the room from the loveseat, which meant that any time you sat on the loveseat, you were looking at my ugly, brown bed frame.

Original Bed Frame on Risers

Original Bed Frame on Risers ... Not Pretty.

Ugly, Old Bed Frame on Risers

Ugly, Old Bed Frame on Risers

Now, there are folks who would take the ‘easy’ way out and put a bed skirt on the situation.

Then there’s me.

I decided the thing to do was to build a bed frame. I figured, I wanted something both pretty and functional. I wanted to be able to store things under the bed, but only in those spaces you could hardly see (i.e. the far corner). I wanted the eye to be able to travel as far as possible for running into an obstacle. Make the space look as big as possible.

My friend J offered to help. Actually, the brother of a friend, but who’s keeping track?

He came by to help me determine what was needed, and off I went to the lumber yard. Here’s what I got:

  • (3) 74″ long (6″ ish inches wide) pieces of hardwood (in this case, poplar)
  • (2) 54″ Long (6″ ish inches wide) pieces of the same hardwood
  • (2) 2x3s 72″ long
  • (2) 2x3s 50″ long
  • (4) square cut out of the remaining hardwood
  • (6) Top Plates
  • (6) Legs

My first understanding of the project. This is not what we ended up doing.

THIS! is what we ended up doing. Or, at least, much closer to reality as you can see from the following pictures…

Keep in mind I already had slats from my old, makeshift platform bed to use. A quick overview of the project:

  1. Make a box out of the hardwood / poplar pieces.
  2. Using L-Brackets, attach the 2x3s so they create a ledge on which the slats can rest.
  3. Put the square in the corners, underneath the join of the 2x3s.
  4. Polyurethane the legs.
  5. Attach the top plate.
  6. Screw in the legs.
  7. Polyurethane the wood.
  8. Attach the third 72″ piece of hardwood in the center of the box, this will support the slats. (We had to cute the piece down a little to fit snuggly.)
  9. Put down your slats, set your mattress atop, and make the bed!

Ok, so first things first, let’s lay out the wood we have and get a visual.

Lay It Out & Walk It Through

Lay It Out & Walk It Through

The Foreman Inspects J's Work

The Foreman Inspects J's Work

Once we had a picture of what we were doing, we built the box and added the 2×3 ledges using a bunch of 1″ L-brackets.

2x3 Ledges Courtesy of L-Brackets

2x3 Ledges Courtesy of L-Brackets

We put in some wood filler to hide the corner screws.

Before the Wood Filler

Before the Wood Filler

Wood Filler

Wood Filler

With the frame and the ledges finished, J layered the squares underneath the 2×3 join to give the top plates a secure attachment location.

Finished Corner

Finished Corner

Putting in the Top Plates. Getting Ready to Screw in the Legs.

Putting in the Top Plates. Getting Ready to Screw in the Legs.

Once the squares were in place, the top plates were attached so we could screw in the legs. I had purchased 6 legs with the idea that there would be one on each corner (4) and then one or two in the middle for additional support. That brought the total to six. J screwed in four of the top plates, while I Polyurethaned the legs.

Testing the Legs

Testing the Legs

Polyurethane Setup

Polyurethane Setup

Polyurethaned Legs

Polyurethaned Legs

The frame was basically ready to go, so we attached the legs before finishing up.

Aww Yeah!

Aww Yeah!

Finally, we added the last piece of the hardwood as a middle support.

Putting in the Middle Support

Putting in the Middle Support

Corner and Middle Support

Corner and Middle Support

The last thing we did was drop the slats in. They sit right on the ledges. If they have any give, the middle support is there. Not to mention we attached two legs to the middle support for even more structure.

Finished Frame Angle

Finished Frame Angle

Inside the Finished Frame

Inside the Finished Frame

Finished Frame

Finished Frame

Finally, the bed was ready to be made!

All Made Up and Pretty

All Made Up and Pretty

Yup, that’s about what we did. Took the about 8 hours, not including shopping and acquiring the pieces! I haven’t regretted a minute of it. And I feel I should mention that it’s FitzKitty tested and FitzKitty approved (see foreman photo above).

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I used to have this beautiful, HEAVY, vintage mirror. One day last year, there was an accident, and the mirror broke.

I was left with this frame.

Frame

Frame

For awhile I kept it thinking, I’ll get another mirror for it. Then, I realized, I needed a headboard. Reincarnation awaited!

First, I had to choose fabric. A mid-week trip to get particle board for the back, and I was ready to build the headboard this weekend.

A quick rundown of the “ingredients”:

  • Frame
  • Particle Board / Backing
  • Foam / Padding
  • Fabric
  • Staples & Staple Gun
  • Nails
  • Hanging Equipment

Looking at the back, there were remnants of the original, disintegrating particle board to remove. It also gave me a chance to walk through the steps to reach my desired end.

Original (Disintegrating) Backing

Original (Disintegrating) Backing

First Particle Board Fitting

First Particle Board Fitting

Close Up, The Original Fittings

Close Up, The Original Fittings

Hardware

Hardware

Once the frame was prepared, I cut the padding to fit the space. Twice. The padding I purchased was fairly thin, so I’d purchased enough to double it.

Then I cut my fabric so it was long enough to wrap around the padding and staple-gun to the particle board.

Cut Fabric, Ready to Staple

Cut Fabric, Ready to Staple

Time to staple!

I’m going to admit something … I’ve never used a staple gun. A few years back, my mother gave me one to help me embrace the DIY attitude I was beginning to have. Though I took on plenty of DIY matters, such as hanging shelves and painting. I even constructed a bed (post to come). I still had never used the staple gun.

No time like the present to figure it out!

Prepping to Staple

Prepping to Staple

My First Few Staple-Gun Staples EVER!

My First Few Staple-Gun Staples EVER!

My Magnificent Staple-Gun

My Magnificent Staple-Gun

Phew.

All but the Sides.

All but the sides are stapled.

All Stapled Up

All Stapled Up

I finished stapling the sides, and it was time to nail the newly padded particle board with my chosen fabric to the mirror frame. This was much harder than I anticipated, and I hit my thumb more than once. Normally, I think I’m really adept with a hammer. Today, not so much.

Nailed to the Frame

Nailed to the Frame

My headboard is ready to go! It looks great, and I’m really proud of myself. Here’s what it looks like all finished. I’m going to have a friend help me hang it; it’s pretty heavy. I want to make sure we do it right. So I leaned it against the wall to give an idea of what it’ll look like when done and hung. YAY!

Ready to Be Hung

Ready to Be Hung

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The day had finally arrived. The day I had been dreading. The day I would pick fabric for my mirror turned headboard.

Late last year, a friend was cat sitting and broke my mirror. It wasn’t just any mirror. It was a massive, ancient, heavy-as-all-get-out mirror. Once I cleaned up the shards of mirror, I realized the frame could be reutilized as a headboard.

I measured it, it was PERFECT.

Another element to help my apartment feel like a home. Not just any home, my home. A home I built with my own two hands, even if I didn’t construct the walls, install the plumbing, or do any of the other stick-built stuff.

Great idea, make it a headboard. Only problem, I’m gonna have to pick fabric! Grrr.

A friend recommended Zarin Fabrics on Grand. I love P & S Fabrics on Broadway for knitting supplies, and I know they carry fabric (it’s in the name after all). And my beloved and trusted Apartment Therapy recommended Purl on Broome.

Here’s what I found at Zarin:

Option 1

Option 1

This is the first fabric I found that deserved capturing. Granted I forgot about it on the rest of my walk. I will say that having seen it again, I really like it. I am very much considering going back for a second look; maybe I should make the headboard fabric interchangeable…

Up next:

Option 2

Option

Another option:

Option 3

Option 3

Yet Another:

Option 4

Option 4

Finally, one last option:

Option 5

Option 5

Zarin was a gold mine. A gold mine of expensive options. Expensive by my taste and experience, certainly not by the standards of Manhattan where I understand you can purchase fabric at ABC Home for upwards of $200 / yd.

Off to P&S Fabrics on a wing and a prayer. Is that the right use of that phrase? Regardless, the prayer was that they would have a fabric equally or more memorable than the above fabrics.

No luck. I did find a solution to my “batting” issue for the headboard, excellent!

Thinking Purl was open as their website indicated, I walked up Broadway to Broome then cut over. When they weren’t, Happy Easter Sunday, I headed back to Zarin.

Here’s the fabric I picked:

Testing My Selection

Testing My Selection

They were wonderful. At that price, they should be.

Immediately I got home, I tested it in the frame. There’s a lot of work left to do, but mainly I have to figure out how to keep everything in place as they backing is falling apart…

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When I started what I thought was Apartment Therapy’s The Cure, I thought, ‘Well at least I won’t have to paint. I still love the color I painted my apartment when I moved in.”

HA!

Square that: HAHA!

Turns out, after looking at what I can only estimate has been THOUSANDS of pictures online or in books, I realized, “Oh crap! I want a different color scheme for my space.”

For years, my rooms were always relaxing colors: light blues, light purples. When I moved out on my own and into this space, I chose a solid yellow. Bright, but deep. Oh, Sunny Days, how you lit up my apartment the first year I was here.

Benjamin Moore's Sunny Days

Then I saw this space, and realized what my space was missing: sophistication.

Sophisticated Color Scheme with Color

Don’t get me wrong, Sunny Days has a lot to offer. Like any troubled relationship, I struggled to call it to an end. There are things about Sunny Days I continue to find attractive. And yet, something else was calling to me.

Then another color scheme caught me:

Stolen Inspiration

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Seeing a pattern?

Then I realized the yellow would be gone from my life, which saddened me. I suffer from separation anxiety. I wasn’t completely ready to end things. So I painted my kitchen. Yellow.

Painting in Progress

Final (but poorly lit) Yellow Kitchen

Now, before I bring in new furniture, build some pieces, and go any further … I’m going to paint my apartment’s main room. It also helps that I found a coupon for a free paint sample. Nothing like a expiration date to return my momentum.

What colors to pick, though?!?!

I brought home the freebie (all 2 oz.) and two quarts of mixed-just-for-me paints. Then I headed home, and threw them up on the walls to see what I liked.

Getting a photograph of them on my actual wall was too difficult a task for my camera and lighting options. Here are the colors straight from the Benjamin Moore site:

Schooner - The Front Runner

Schooner - The Front Runner

Mt. Rainier Gray

Mt. Rainier Gray

Metallic Silver

Metallic Silver

I was struggling with which walls to paint.

I knew one needed to be a luminescent white. Something to help enlarge the space. I’m thinking Benjamin Moore’s Gardenia, and I know one of the four walls that will be white.

There are three other walls.

Do I go with a bold color (Schooner), which probably means three white walls and one dramatic wall? Or do I paint two, maybe three, one of the lighter colors? Oh, the dilemma that’s facing me!

While I ponder, a few picture frames are down to provide enough space to test out the colors.

Your choice … weigh in on colors or wait and see what happens next. I have until this weekend to decide. I’d like to have this decision and the painting behind me by weekend end. (Is that even a thing? Weekend end?)

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I searched and searched Craigslist, but never found the ELFA system that would fit my space perfectly. I finally broke down and paid The Container Store’s price just before the ELFA sale ended.

I’m a big fan of buying online for in-store pick up. That makes me happy. Mostly because I like to do all of my shopping online, but I don’t want to wait for it to be shipped. I wanna get it NOW. I used to love that option from Circuit City. I was delighted to discover Container Store offers it, too.

So, one-Saturday, I headed over to TCS, picked up my stuff, walked home, and began putting my new ELFA system together. Here’s the thing, did you know how hard it is to assemble them?

It was so difficult that I ended up calling ELFA to make sure I wasn’t going to break it! Honest.

But here’s everything assembled, with the cooking supplies portion of my pantry neatly put away:

Just a little more work, and I can reclaim my coat closet!

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My front door lands you in my kitchen. It’s a small kitchen, but it’s all mine! I also think it’s a really cute kitchen, but it also has to play more than kitchen. It has to play:

  • Foyer,
  • Landing Strip,
  • Storage / Pantry,
  • and finally, Kitchen

When I first moved in, I decided to turn the coat closet (immediately to the right of the front door) into a pantry. In addition to holding pots, pans, 5 lbs of sugar, and other kitchen essentials … it held cleaning supplies, bags, coats, and stored a lot of things from my great-aunt’s that I’d like to keep or Etsy.

I was also storing things under the sink, in the upper cupboard, and just about everywhere. Because of the many roles this space plays, it was always cluttered. The floor was always flooded with bags, boxes, shoes … anything and everything.

That image is pretty cleaned up. Here are a few more:

First, I made a major IKEA run. I’d always wanted a roll-in-and-out recycling / garbage system. IKEA offers one RATIONELL that was in my price range. Ok, I picked up a few other things at IKEA, too, but we’ll get to those.

One weekend, I cleaned out the upper cabinet and under the sink. Then I installed the RATIONELL system. Now, as long as I keep the bags, boxes, shoes in order … the garbage recycling over which I’d been tripping before is now out of the way.

Check this out:

You can pull the garbage / recycling center out:

or … You can push it back under and out of sight:

By this time, I’ve already taken down the faux-fan above the stove, and replaced it with a microwave shelf. That was fun! Or at least the part where I kept securing the brackets in the wrong direction was.

Fingers crossed, it’s still up!

Oh, and I put down an great rag rug that I’m hoping lasts awhile, but FitzKitty’s claws are drawn to it like magnets. Meh.

Next up:

  • Completing the under-the-kitchen-sink overhaul by installing an ELFA system for the pots, pans. This will let me reclaim my coat closet;
  • Reclaim the coat closet with the stated goal of finding a home for an un-as-yet-purchased Kitchen Aid and, potentially, a sewing machine;
  • Rearrange the furniture in the “main room”;
  • Weed out the things I’m keeping out of inertia and the things I really need / want;
  • Build a bed … no seriously;
  • Reclaim my clothes closet so I can get rid of my awful shoes on the back of the door rack;
  • and more!

Time to put down some roots … give my cat (FitzKitty) and myself a home. Amen.

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When I moved into my new studio, it had *brand new* bathroom. It was one of the selling points. Honest, they tore out the previous bathroom!

New means new.

I didn’t embrace it. I gave it a cursory thought, threw my “bathroom” stuff in it, and called it done.

First thing I did, when I decided to take control of my apartment, was the bathroom. It’s small, which meant I could see immediate transformation. To Do:

  1. Take down the painting I love, but that’s sadly not “right” for the space;
  2. Purchase floating shelves for the space between the medicine cabinet and the wall;
  3. Clean out the medicine cabinet AND the vanity;
  4. Screw in cup-hooks to hold my hair-dryer, brush, and mirror in that small space between the pipes and the edge of the vanity.

Ready? Here we go!

Originally there was a “public” toilet in the bathroom. You know, the kind without a tank? Silver, metal piping with a handle that makes you think you should use your foot to flush. Thank goodness there’s a tank toilet, now! But it was overwhelmed with junk, slightly hidden by messy towels on the bar above, and with an ill-fitting painting above. Look:

It’s amazing what some shelving can do!

So little work! So much better! Love the silhouettes from my great-grandmother and the jars from my great-aunt’s.

Last improvement? The cup-hooks for my haircare implements:

Every day I feel like I’m at the spa, and isn’t that how your bathroom should make you feel? Yes, yes it should.

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