...because home doesn't happen overnight.
Remember when we finished the main bathroom? Yeah, that was fun. I am so grateful for that second bathroom. It’s been a game changer. There was just one teensy, weensy issue with the room. Where do we put the toilet paper? After all the work that went into making the bathroom, we didn’t have the
heart cajones to drill into the subway tile or the wood vanity to hang a toilet paper holder. I tossed a few rolls in a basket under the sink and called it a day. Except Mabrey (and all of her three-year-old spunk) was having trouble reaching the basket from the toilet. #toddlerproblems
Enter Sugru. The instant I was introduced to the moldable, 3D glue, I had an a-ha! moment.
Because Sugru is waterproof and stable at high temperatures, it’s ideal for bathrooms. I used white Sugru to adhere the backplate of this toilet paper holder to the wall near the toilet. Then I waited 24 hours for the dough-like substance to harden into a strong rubber-like adhesive. In the meantime, I spray painted the holder flat black to mesh with the bathroom’s other finishes.
Once the backplate was secure, I mounted the paper holder. I took advice from my lovely friend, Belinda, and rotated the holder 90º. (Traditionally, toilet paper holders are installed horizontally.) The vertical installation keeps the paper roll from falling off so easily – especially useful if children are using the facilities! I like the way it looks, too. Simple and modern. The black picks up on other black elements (pencil liner, tub exterior, hex floor tile, etc.) in the room. I love the way it turned out but, more importantly, Mabrey can reach the toilet paper now. Should I tire of it (not likely), Sugru is removable with a little elbow grease.
After my first successful Sugru project, I started looking around the house for other potential uses.
Over a year ago, the kids knocked over my favorite lamp while horsing around in the living room. The cap that keeps the lampshade in place was cracked and I’ve been straightening the annoying thing ever since. I even resorted to duct tape at one point but it didn’t hold up. The crooked lampshade was driving me bonkers!
I fixed it with black Sugru. Did I mention Sugru comes in different colors for discreet applications?
No more crooked lampshade, but the kids are still horsing around in the living room.
They like to run and jump onto the gray chair. The chair legs are constantly twisting out of place. Again, me = bonkers.
I removed the chair legs and added a bit of Sugru for stability.
I screwed the legs back in and removed the excess adhesive with a small piece of tissue paper. Then the hard part came…keeping the kids off the chair for 24 hours while the Sugru cured.
It worked like a charm! We’re one week in and I haven’t had to readjust the legs once.
So, naturally, I used Sugru to shore up a wobbly leg on the vintage footstool in the boys’ bedroom.
Awesome. Are you noticing a theme here? If you have kids, go get ye some Sugru.
We’ve always had problems with the roller blind in Mabrey’s window. It tends to jump out of the mounting hardware when recoiling which causes it to come crashing down which nicks up the drywall which makes more little work for me which infuriates me more than it should. Many a four-letter-word has been muttered in the name of that effing shade. (It’s just that one…all the others work great.) I used a little Sugru to create a bumper of sorts around the mounting bracket. It still allows the shade to roll up and down but doesn’t let it fly off the bracket. It’s glorious.
And it’s completely undetectable behind the woven shades.
I officially added Sugru to our junk drawer last week. It’s one of those fix-it things that comes in handy in a pinch. The possibilities are endless. See my favorite tutorials here. I know you’re already brainstorming things you could fix with it. Luckily, Sugru is now available at Target stores nationwide. Find your nearest store to add Sugru to your DIY arsenal for quick and easy fixes. (It would make a great gift for grads and dads, too!)
*This post sponsored in part by Sugru. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
Santa gifted Mabrey this play kitchen last year. I didn’t find it obnoxious for a toy. But Mabrey kept asking, “When are you going to paint my kitchen?” Girl catches on quickly. Store bought items rarely stay the way I find them.
In an effort to tidy up the side of the fridge, I decided to tweak the play kitchen with paint. And by paint, I mean paint, backsplash, new hardware, open shelving and an oven light. I may have taken things too far. Oops.
The before. Again, it wasn’t obnoxious but there was room for improvement.
1 – The first thing I did was remove the chunky handles and patch the holes with wood putty.
2 – After a few applications of putty, I lightly sanded the patches and surfaces to be painted – just enough to scuff them up a bit.
3 – I taped off the oven window, control knobs and countertop.
4 – I gave the kitchen two coats of Sherwin-Williams coastal plain in a satin finish. (Btw, did you know you can purchase Sherwin-Williams paint at Lowe’s now? So convenient!)
5 – I bought two sheets of Smart Tiles subway tile in white. I had been eyeing them for a while but many sellers only sold them in packs of six and I didn’t need that much. When I saw them on sale at Wayfair for $5.99 per sheet and sold individually, I bit.
6 – The sheets are self-adhering vinyl with an easy peel-and-stick installation. The tiles are staggered on the edges for an overlapping seam.
7 – When positioned properly, the seam is barely noticeable. Lining up the grout lines carefully is key. I had to readjust the second sheet a few times to get a perfect fit. I don’t know that I would ever use these in a real kitchen (maybe a rental?) but they’re perfect for this application.
8 – I cut away the excess tile with utility scissors.
9 – I cleaned up the edges with a utility knife. I cut from the backside of the kitchen and pressed a board against the front side of the backsplash for more control. I ended up painting the top of the wood backsplash white for an even cleaner look.
10 – I used scraps cut from the first sheet to fill in small portions of tile on the second sheet. I had just enough tile!
11 – I added new handles. Because the play kitchen’s cabinet doors aren’t a standard thickness, the included screws were too long. I had to rummage around in the garage to find a few random ones that would work.
12 – (This is where Steve says I went overboard.) I cut a piece of lumber (thrifted from our garage) to fit the width of the backsplash. I sanded it smooth by hand and added a quick coat of wood conditioner.
13 – I applied two coats of wood stain. (It’s Minwax special walnut, my favorite.)
14 – I secured the shelf with two wood screws, using the original screw holes (from the original shelf) as my pilot holes. It’s super sturdy.
15 – I spray painted the faucet flat black to tie in with the new hardware. (Don’t think I didn’t consider adding a small bathroom faucet, but that really would have been too much. Ha!)
16 – The finished product!
For fun, I added a battery-powered LED tap light in the “oven.” Mabrey LOVES this new feature.
Just this morning she made me a broccoli cake ;) She couldn’t care less about the gray-green / subway tile / reclaimed wood / matte black hardware mix, but I’m all over it. One in my size, please?
Mabrey has a basket of play kitchen accessories. I keep it on a low shelf in the living room when she isn’t playing chef. She likes to carry it over to her kitchen when she’s playing. The red stool stands in as extra countertop space.
She was gifted this toaster, this coffee maker and a slew of faux food including some felt items from etsy. So cute!
When I was tweaking the play kitchen, I couldn’t help wondering if there was a market for unfinished playthings that consumers could put their own spin on. Someone should do that. I think it’s so nice when toys (especially larger ones out in the open) meld with a home’s decor. I’m more likely to leave it out which means it’s more likely to be played with which is the whole point anyway, right? Or, I might be cray-cray.
At any rate, it was a fun little project and Mabrey seems to enjoy it. Now to tackle that messy fridge!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
For a reason that I have yet to figure out, the studio of my dreams wasn’t meant to be. To make a long, drawn out story short, the current tenants decided to keep the 350 square feet of dreamy light which was a shock to the landlord and, of course, me. “I wouldn’t have shown you the space had I known they were going to keep it beyond the first month,” the landlord told me. Current tenants get first dibs.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Not willing to let go of the space so easily, I approached the current tenants (who have been holding on to the space – empty and unused – for 3 months) to plead my case in the kindest, most I-don’t-want-to-step-on-anyone’s-toes sort of way. They were super nice but it was a no-go. The tenants rent a much larger space in the same building and aren’t exactly sure what they will do with the smaller space. Office? Conference room? Storage? And so it sits – empty and unused – which is probably the hardest part of the whole thing for me. To know that corner room on the second floor with its easy access, modest size and amazing windows isn’t being put to use kills me.
News of the studio being a no-go came just before Everett’s accident. After the accident, my priorities shifted. I tried not to think about the space, but it was still on my mind a lot. I felt guilty for thinking about a studio while Everett healed but, eventually, I realized this was something I really wanted. Taking a cue from strong Everett, I picked myself up out of the stupid hole of self pity I had dug and started looking for another space.
I encountered the same problems I had when I first started looking: too expensive, too dark, no creative freedom. Last week I finally secured a new space on the same property (different building) as the dream space. It isn’t perfect. It’s dirty, gritty, rough, raw. At 1,000 square feet, it’s much larger than I need. The landlord felt so badly about the first space falling through that she was willing to come down quite a bit on rent which put it in my price range. I decided to take it and make it work.
The room does have some great attributes. The ceilings are crazy high. I haven’t measured them but they’re at least 20′. Two 2-story windows face west and let in a good amount of natural light. Access to the room is via a loading dock which means I can easily pull my car up to the room’s double doors and unload materials for projects. (This also means it isn’t all that great for public access. Having visitors enter through a loading dock is a little scary.) There’s plenty of room to spread out and have several projects going at once. At first, I was put off by all the space but now I think it will be nice for the kids to have room to play while I work. And there is a good amount of empty wall space to serve as photo backdrops.
The room was a dance studio (with an interesting paint scheme) in a previous life. Although, the tenants were evicted because they did more partying than dancing. As a result, the room needs drywall work (partying + dancing = holes in the walls) and a thorough cleaning. I keep reminding myself that nothing in life worth doing is easy. Drywall work started over the weekend and things should wrap up today or tomorrow. Then it’s onto cleaning and painting. I’m hoping to have the shell of the room finished by June 1st. I’ll be sharing progress in the coming weeks so stay tuned!
Even though it isn’t the studio of my dreams, I’m really excited to make it my own and to have a place outside of the house to be creative and make messes. It’s The Underdog in studio form!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking