Welcome back Inspired Design Challenge followers/readers/general awesome people. How was your weekend? Mine was fantabulous…thanks for asking…mostly because we tackled this little Urban Outfitters inspired project:
Boom! New plant hangers for the dining room in your face! Sorry. Apparently I get a little excited about plant hangers. Anywho, this week for the Inspired Design Challenge we were charged with using the gorgeous goods from Urban Outfitters as our inspiration. I have yet to set foot in a physical Urban Outfitters store as there isn’t one near us, but I had a HARD time leaving the virtual Urban Outfitters store when trolling for project ideas. I wanted EVERYTHING. But I settled on this little plant hanger as inspiration.
Especially since our pre-project plant hanging situation in the dining room included an overgrown, not doing so well pothos plant (I think that’s the right name for the plant…I am soooo bad at plants). AND the poor pothos plant was still in its original, cheap plastic container from the store. Doh! We actually purchased the plant last summer as wedding decor. Cue up the awwwwwww! So here’s the before/after for comparison’s sake.
Much classier with the updated plant hangers, no?! So let’s get into the good part…the part I’m sure all you guys are DYING to read all about…the “how we did it”. First starting with the supplies.
Our supplies list included two cheap metal mixing bowls from Home Goods for $6 each, a can of black hammered metal spray paint for $6 from Lowes, way too much gold/black chain from Lowes (we bought 20′ for $20 and only used 6′ for $6 thanks to poor planning…but we’ll use the leftover chain for another project later on), a pair of o-rings for $2, and a pair of hooks for $2 which we never ended up using. Our original intention was to hang the plants from the ceiling. But we couldn’t find a stud, didn’t want to punch a dozen unsuccessful holes in our ceiling, and decided to just hang them from the curtain rod instead.
The fist step was to drill the holes into the bowl…three equidistant holes. To measure, we wrapped a piece of twine around the bowl, measured the twine length, divided by three and marked the three hole locations on the string. Then wrapped the twine back around the bowl, marking hole locations on the rim, and drilling through the bowl using a bi-metal drill bit slightly larger than the chain width.
And tested a chain link by looping it through the freshly drilled hole just to make sure it fit.
Next up was spray painting time. Since the bowls were super shiny, smooth and glossy AND a round, non-flat surface (which means difficult to sand) I tried something new in finish prep…liquid deglosser.
I was apprehensive at first. I didn’t think that wiping a chemical across a metal bowl would really scuff it up and “degloss” it like sanding would. But oh my word did it work! I am now fully on board the liquid deglossing train and am lining up the projects I can more easily tackle with this stuff!
After layering on a trio of thin and even coats of the black, hammered metal spray paint onto the bowls, and letting them dry overnight, it was assembly time.
Colby assisted me with the chain de-linking process as he is the card carrying member of the “gun show” and I always buy tickets to that show! Seriously…my man is strong! Using a pair of pliers, he pried apart the chain links so we could attach one end of each chain piece to the bowl and the other to the o-ring.
We used a very precise method of having Colby raise and lower the bowls up against the window, underneath the curtain rod until I found a high/low combo for the planters that I liked. Then I measure the distance from the bowl to the hanging point on the curtain rod at an angle to simulate the chain angle hanging from the o-ring, center point. The planters ended up being about 15 chain links for the short hanger and 26 links for the longer one.
Then it was a matter of linking the chain through the bowl (and the other end around the o-ring) and closing the links back up using a pair of pliers.
Then we just split open our curtain rod in the middle and looped the rod through the o-ring.
Even without plants in the pots, they were already looking pretty adorable. But they weren’t fulfilling their plant hanging destiny so we had to fill them with green goodness. I had been told by a coworker that if you clip pothos plant stems and stick them in the dirt that they grow. And since our plant was looking a little sad and scraggly, we decided to give it a try. First by clipping the plant stems:
And sticking them into the dirt. Fingers crossed they grow!
With the plants planted, we just looped the plant hangers back onto the curtain rod and gave them a solid drink of water. I’m not gonna lie, it will probably be the only time I water them. Have I mentioned I’m bad at plants?
And now our dining room is looking just a tad bit classier with some dressed up plant hangers going on. Now I want to tackle more dining room projects…like maybe some new/more colorful curtains, or some seat cushions for the chairs, and maybe some art. It just seems like soooo long since we’ve done anything to this room. I think the last project we did in here was turning that corner china cabinet into a hidden closet door. Oh yeah…we really did that and it’s awesome!
So now I encourage you all to go check out the blogs of four of my bloggie colleagues with their amazing Inspired Design Challenge projects. They each are DIY/design super stars, we’re talking Mary Katherine Gallagher smelling her armpits super stars, so you don’t want to miss what they’re dishing out this week.
- Jennifer from Brave New Home
- Lindsay from Life of Splendor
- Kristin from Bliss at Home
- Sara from Embrace My Space
And because I LOVE a good teaser…here are all of their inspiration pics. But I’m not going to tell you which pic belongs to which blogging buddy because I think it’s fun to make you guess which one belongs to who. I was THAT kid growing up. My poor parents (“guess what I’m thinking, mom” and “dad, guess what we did, no, you have to guess” were my favorite games).
Pssst…Did anyone play along with us this week? If so, don’t forget you can either send us a link to you Urban Outfitters project in the comments section or for you non-bloggers, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may just feature your awesome project!
Last week, we played the big tease card and revealed to you our absolutely amazing mirror makeover. It was a builder grade mirror that we gave the little West Elm-ish treatment to and turned it into something like this:
But to fully appreciate the mirror makeover, you need to know that it used to look like this:
Our bathroom has come a long way, no?! So now it’s time for the “How To” behind the mirror makeover. I have to admit, the project was super easy AND it cost us a whopping $5.00 for a piece of pine to build the frame. Other than that, the project consumed scrap wood and materials we had hanging around our workshop. The first step in operation mirror makeover was un-assembling the old mirror which basically involved removing a ba-gillion tacks from the old frame before we could remove the mirror. Pliers became our new best friend in tack removal.
The game plan was to build a basic mirror frame, almost identical in size and shape as the old one except that the front surface would be flat. That would create a nice foundation to essentially tile wood “bricks” onto the face of the frame. So Colby got to work replicating the frame in pine. The first step was measuring…both the inside lengths and the outside lengths. Then cutting the pine boards to the same size using the mitre saw.
Since mirror frames are typically beveled (you know…so the wood frame holds back the mirror and keeps it from falling out) the next step was beveling the wood frame pieces. We are lucky enough to have a sweet a** table saw that allows for adjusting the depth of cut. After Colby measured the recess depth on the old frame, he adjusted the table saw to that depth and ran each frame piece right through the saw.
The final step in frame assembly was attaching each of the pieces together, which Colby quickly whipped through using his handy Kreg Jig.
Thankfully, when we tested out the mirror to see if it (and the cardboard backing) would fit, everything pieced together seamlessly and no mirrors fell out of their frames. Note in the pictures above and below…you can see that we didn’t do 45 degree cuts. If we were painting the frame, we probably would want to go the 45 route. But since we were covering up the entire frame with wood tiles anyway, it didn’t really matter for us and we chose the simple, non 45 degree route instead.
Despite taking approximately 200 pictures of the project (I wish I was kidding…apparently I’ve taken out my “it’s raining and can’t spray paint” aggression out on my camera), I didn’t take a single pic of how we made the wood tiles. But here’s the run down…scrap wood cut to all the same height and width…cut pieces off of scrap wood with mitre saw…all at the same depth. The tiles ended up being 3/16″ thick, 3/4″ tall, and 3″ in length. Next came the fun wood tiling part. We broke this part up into two segments. First up, we used construction adhesive to glue tiles around the sides of the mirror frame. Why construction adhesive and not wood glue? The wood glue doesn’t dry nearly as fast and isn’t nearly as strong. We feared these tiles would slide right off the frame before they fully dried thanks to our dear friend Mr. Gravity.
After tiling all the way around the frame and letting it dry for about 24 hours, the next step was wood tiling the face of the frame. We had two tile pattern designs in mind for this part. On the left was the “start in the corner” method which staggered the tiles slightly kind of like steps. This method looked great at the corners but in the middle we would need to get a little creative about how the tiles would come together. The pattern on the right was the “start in the middle” method where the tiles were laid more like bricks, splitting the tile above and below it in half. This method looked great in the middle but the creative part would come at bringing the ends together.
We ended up choosing the start in the corner method since we liked how the corners looked the best. After choosing the design, we laid all our tiles out, made a few custom cuts (we’ll get to that in a moment) and started gluing away, starting at the corners. This time around, we used wood glue…copious amounts of wood glue.
So here’s what I mean by the middle gets wonky.
Because we started in the corners and worked our way to the middle, the pattern didn’t quite line up. And by “quiet line up” I mean it REALLY din’t line up. So we got a little creative and chopped a few pieces here and there and came up with a pyramid like pattern for the middle of each side, the top and the bottom. But see below how nice the corners turned out?! Swoon!
After all was glued and dried (we left it for another 24 hour dry time), it was stain time. Since I’m mildly obsessed with my new lightening stain technique, I brought it out again for the mirror frame. This time I went with about 1 part stain to about 3 parts mineral spirits, mixing it in a Red Solo Cup. Toby would be proud.
But not too proud because apparently either the stain or the mineral spirits is not Red Solo Cup appropriate because eventually the mixture ate right through the cup and made one serious mess. Note to self…don’t do that again. The pic below gives you an idea of how light the stain ended up. It just gives the wood a hint of color but nothing too overbearing or saturated. It’s like a nice little wash.
After letting the stain dry for awhile, I slobbered on a couple coats of water based poly and let the entire frame dry overnight. This is the point in the project where I fell mad in love with the frame and couldn’t wait to hang it up. Seriously…I wanted to make out with it in the truck while Boyz II Men was playing in the background.
The next day it was back to the workshop to re-assemble everything. Back in went the mirror…back in went the cardboard backing.
We had a package of tacks on hand, pretty much the same ones that we took out of the frame while un-assembling it, and tacked the cardboard backing into place using a small hammer.
As for the hanging hardware, we just recycled it. The hanging hardware easily unscrewed from the old, about to the go to the dump mirror frame. Colby was smart enough to measure their exact location and reinstall them at the same location on the new frame. This prevented us from having to move any hanging hardware already in our bathroom wall. I would never have thought of that. Colby is mildly genius…sometimes.
Then back up to the bathroom the mirror went. I’m really liking how nicely the mirror fits into our new, minty bathroom. AND how (more importantly) it upgrade our sink nook from builder grade boring to West Elm charm awesome (FYI…the mirror frame was inspired by those West Elm wood tiled night stands which you can read more about that back here). Although, now it has me questioning whether or not the light fixture above the mirror needs upgrading. Now it’s the boring element in the space.
Isn’t it funny how sometimes an element seems so right until you change something else and upgrade it (like our mirror) and once that used to be ugly thing is no longer ugly, something that looked okay before now is the “ugly thing”. That’s how I’m feeling about the light fixtures in our bathroom. I’m already scheming up ideas.
As for what’s left on the good ol’ bathroom makeover to-do list, here’s what it’s looking like these days:
Find a dresser/buffet to convert into a bathroom vanity(we found a buffet on Craigslist for $75) Hack up said dresser and paint it(vanity hacking post here and here during installation; the vanity is painted Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore which you can read about here) Demo out the old “temporary” vanity that had been in our bathroom for nearly three years and patch the sheetrock(vanity demo go boom…note…Colby challenge me to spoof the KFC “Game Day Bucket Go Boom commercial in every post…challenge accepted) Prime and paint the bathroom wall a cool, minty color(we painted the bathroom Mantis Green by Benjamin Moore)
- Add bead board above the built-in shelves and paint the bead board and the shelves glossy white (for shame that we haven’t yet painted the bathroom built-ins…it’s been three years!)
Build a first aid cabinet for the space above the toilet paper holder(we didn’t build it though…we found it…for six bucks…here’s the post)
- Organize, organize, organize!
Build shelves for the blank wall space beside the vanity(that would be the rope pulley shelves)
- Build another shelf, maybe one out of driftwood, to hang over the back of the toilet
Find or DIY some interesting towel hooks(read about that here)
- Finish off the space by hanging a little art and accessorizing here and there (I’m sensing some Etsy art I’ve been drooling over in our future!)
Makeover the builder grade boring mirror
- Patch the cracked ceiling (kind of broke it while working in the attic) and paint it
- Replace the light fixture with something fun and less boob-light-like
Oh…so…close! Until next time…Angie…out! Pssst…okay HGTV star fanatics, did you watch last night?! I was kind of sad to see Abby go. I would have kicked off Borris first, he kind of creeps me out.
So I sat down tonight to write up a nice little reveal post/tutorial on how we took our builder grade boring bathroom mirror and DIYed it into this amazingly awesome, West Elm-ish mirror. It’s totally awesome and one of my favorite projects to date. But then I realized I took OVER 200 PICTURES over the process. 200 PICTURES PEOPLE! Of a mirror! Who does that?! Crazy blogger photographer say what?! Since I don’t want to be up all night sorting through photos and attempting to write the tutorial, I’m just gonna leave you with a little end of the week eye candy with some before and afters. We’ll get to the tutorial portion of the program next week. But without further ado, I bring you one of my favorite projects that we’ve tackled to date…our refreshed bathroom mirror.
And just because you can’t truly appreciate the amazing after effects without a solidly boring, plain white mirror before shot….thar she blows in all her builder grade boringness.
Way back when, over three years ago, we picked up that bathroom mirror at a yard sale for $10 after Colby accidentally broke our previous mirror (he’s still paying off that 7 year debt of bad luck). It used to be some weird, tortoise shell, brown colored monstrosity that we quickly spray painted white to shield our eyes from all that is bad and wrong. We lived with the white mirror for a long time until we painted the bathroom mint and turned an old buffet into a bathroom vanity. Then the builder grade mirror just wasn’t cutting it anymore. It needed some jazzing up to fit in with the freshened space. And around the same time I was racking my brain for ways to refinish the mirror, I feel in love with a night stand from West Elm.
I loved the wood tiled style of the dresser front and given that we had tons of scrap wood kicking around, it practically cost us nothing to give the mirror the West Elm treatment. But I’ll share more on that next week. For now, a little more eye candy.
Do you like my little $5 flower arrangement tossed in the mix? I love cheap flowers! I picked them up at our local Hannaford while grocery shopping the other night. They’re “filler flowers” and I had intended to put them in the jars on the rope shelf. But I had tossed them in a clear vase with water to bring them up to the bathroom to start playing flower arranger. Once I plopped them on the vanity top, I loved them there so much I couldn’t bear to move them. It was like a Bob Ross happy little accident.
Alright…playtime is over. I have to go start sorting through those photos or else I’ll be at it all weekend trying to put the tutorial together. And I have SOOOO many better things to do this weekend…like gardening! That is, if it ever stops raining! Seriously rain…go away. We’ve had enough and we miss our good friend, Mr. Sun!
Pssst…What do you guys have planned for the weekend? Any projects going on? Or a little drooling over West Elm items? Oh West Elm how I love thee!
I can’t explain, I really can’t, but I’m attracted to odd, bizarre and generally out there items. Case in point…my latest flea market/antique store find…an old wooden pet carrier.
What is wrong with me?! Seriously! I think I need an intervention. I truly need a wooden pet carrier like I need a kick in the pants with a frozen boot. Nobody really needs that, it’s completely unnecessary. But during a not so recent trip up to the County (it was one of those super quick trips to see my mom for a few hours while I tagged along on a work related trip with Colby), I came across the pet carrier at an antique store yard sale…which was in an Irving gas station parking lot. I kid you not, here is the photographic evidence. Although I should have taken it at an angle so you could see the Irving behind it, or the KFC beside it.
But the best part of the story is yet to come. I picked up my pet carrier and held it tight for fear someone else would snatch it up (who was I kidding…I’m pretty sure I was the only person in The County that day who would want that), and shamelessly borrowed $10 from my mom to buy it since I didn’t have any cash on me, and headed to the cash register to check out. Then (here comes the best part), a toothless old man squatting on a 5 gallon pail turned upside down, asked me, “you gonna catch some varmen’ in that thing”. You just can’t make that stuff up! After fighting off the snort laugh, since you don’t get any more “County” than that, I replied, “no, I’m thinking of using it as a planter to plant flowers in”. That’s when all the ladies surrounding the old man started cooing “ooooh, what a cute idea”. But alas, I have yet to plant flowers in it. Maybe this weekend if it stops raining for two seconds, since I kind of want to spray paint it first. My spray painting, trigger finger is getting itchy!
But here’s where I need your help. I’m not 100% convinced that I want to plant flowers in the pet carrier. I’ve been trying to come up with alternative uses for an old pet carrier but I’m coming up blank. Pinterest is also of no use. Apparently “pet carrier crafts” are in low demand on Pinterest these days. Who knew?! But you heard it here first, I’m starting the pet carrier craft trend. Think it will catch on?! Me neither. But crazily enough, since bringing home the pet carrier, I’ve seen similar versions of it at yard sales, antique stores and flea markets ever since. Maybe I am onto something?! Most likely not.
Pssst…So do tell, what would you do with the pet carrier? And I’m totally channeling the old “What Would You Do” show on Nickelodeon right now…sing it with me…wha wha what would you, wha wha what would you, wha wha what would you do!
So this happened this weekend. First aid cabinet go boom!
Ever since we posted these little pics of the bathroom, after we first painted it a minty green, I knew that I wanted to fill that empty space above the toilet paper holder with a first aid cabinet.
So the other day, when I went down to the Brewer School House Antique Mall, I super scored on the purchase of a $6, old blue, wooden box. This guy:
Just hours before I went down to the store, Colby and I were discussing building a first aid cabinet that afternoon. Our conversation went a little something like this. Colby: “I’m going over to Jeff’s to try some of his beer.” Angie: ”Cool, you want me to drop you off for your play date on my way to the antiques store?” Colby: ”Yeah.” Angie: ”Hey, do you think this afternoon we could build the first aid cabinet out of some scrap wood?” Colby: ”Sure, show me a picture.” We have deep conversations. And yes, my 30+ year old husband has “play dates”. The only difference between childhood play dates and husband play dates is that the later typically involves home brew.
So when I returned home from the antiques store with this little treasure for a whopping six bucks and showed it to Colby, he immediately spitted out, “SWEET! Is that my first aid cabinet? You mean I don’t have to build it?!”. Nope! It already had all the character I was looking for in a first aid cabinet, including rusty hinges.
The only thing it was missing was a shelf inside the box turned cabinet.
But that was easily fixed with piece of scrap pine nailed into the interior.
Since blue + mint does not = Angie’s ideal bathroom color scheme, the box got a fresh coat of paint. I went with Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl, leftover from painting the bathroom vanity. As for the painting process, I simply slapped on a coat of paint, carefully cutting in around the hinges. I didn’t sand it…or prime it…and pretty much broke every rule in the painting handbook. I only slathered on one coat since I wanted the box’s rustic charm of peeling wood and grain-ie-ness to come through the paint.
The box quickly dried since I painted it outside in the hot sun (not always a good thing if you want a smooth, perfect finish but not a big deal for our rustic cabinet…and I might as well break one more painting rule). My next step in the box turned first aid cabinet was to first-aid-it-up with a red cross. Since I didn’t want to screw up the box with red cross painting trial and error (sizing and spacing wise), I printed out a red cross I found via Google images and traced it onto the box first.
And then just filled in the lines with red paint leftover from painting our front door Front Door Red from Valspar. It’s also the same paint we used to paint up our lobster art that hangs above the tv.
Then it was just a matter of installation, where Colby screwed the box directly into a pair of studs in the bathroom wall, whipping out the laser level to be certain it was level.
Note…when hanging a cabinet mind
the gap the door swing. It’s like the refrigerator door in the kitchen scenario, make sure the door opens up to the center of the room so you’re not always walking around the door to retrieve its contents.
The mint/red combo is one that I’ve always loved. Ever since my Laguna Beach watching days when LC rocked a mint bikini top with red bikini bottoms. I can’t believe I’m admitting getting decorating ideas from Laguna Beach circa 2004.
Anyway…I’m really digging the old box turned first aid cabinet, especially all of the rustic-ness going on. I love how the wood grain shows through and the hardware is all old and rusty. It’s a great contrast to the smooth finish of the bathroom vanity and the glossy tiles and crisp white trim.
I took a first stab at “organizing” the cabinet, which basically included retrieving all our first aid “stuff” including Colby’s vitamin collection. Prior to the cabinet, these items were all over the house…band aids were in my nightstand, vitamins were…well…everywhere, and the cut cleaning stuff was wedged in a basket along with Goose’s shampoo and a rubber duck.
Can we just acknowledge the fact that Colby has more vitamins than most girls have shoes?! Not a single one of those vitamin bottles is mine. What can I say…the man loves his vitamins. And they’re not even the Flinstones kind! Now that’s MY kind of vitamin. Are you allowed to take those as an adult?!
I can’t say that the first pass at the cabinet organization project was a success. But I’ve got ideas…lots of ideas…mind blowing ideas…and supplies from the craft store. It’s a perfect organization storm going on in our bathroom. Stay tuned for vitamin organization 101 coming at you tomorrow!
Pssst…What have you all been refurbing lately? Any boxes turned cabinets? Or other antique store finds repurposed? Or do you also get decorating inspiration from bad reality tv? C’mon you Real Housewives fans…fess up!