Sunday, February 23, 2014

Repurposed Antique Shutters

A few years ago, I found a set of shutters while antiquing with my mom. I wasn't sure what to do with them, but they were well priced so I got them. Up until 3 weeks ago, the shutters were in a closet in our spare bedroom. One night I got the idea to use them as doors for our coat closet. After some quick measuring, we decided it would work. This project took three weeks of brainstorming … but only a couple weeknights of labor!

Challenging because we had no prior shutter hanging experience, but we're both happy with how it turned out!

The door jamb wasn't wide enough to fit both shutters + hinges and we didn't want to trim the shutters. It took us many hardware store trips to find a hinge that would work. Most hinges aren't designed to be mounted on trim with a flush hinge. They are offset because shutters typically hang inside of a window when shut. I ended up finding self-closing cabinet hinges at Home Depot, $2.79/two pack. Not their intended use, but they worked out.

{Side note! This was the third kind of hinge we tried… Third time's the charm!}

Baseboards were removed with a crowbar
Temporarily sad aftermath of trim removal

We removed the trim around the door and replaced it with stained pine board. I used Varathane Dark Walnut stain & applied it with part of an old t-shirt. While I worked on that in the basement, Andrew vacuumed up pieces of crumbled dry wall & painted over the white you see in the photos (to help prevent future crumbling). We ended up having to remove the baseboards on each side of the closet so we could trim a little off - the pine board we bought was thicker than the old trim. That was stressful! Andrew worked hard to ensure that he didn't gouge the wall or snap the boards. When they had been successfully removed from the wall, he cut them down to size with his miter saw.

My staining spot in the basement
We applied the new trim with an 18 gauge brad nailer

After the pine board was in place, we hung the shutters. We installed the hinges on the shutters first, then screwed them into the trim. The final touches? Handles & a magnetic latch to prevent the doors from closing in.

Close up of the top right cupboard hinge

The handles were distressed with sand paper

The finished product; not bad, considering this was our first encounter with indoor shutters!

The pictures hardly do it justice - this project turned out great and we were able to maintain the integrity of the antique shutters, including keeping the original paint. With every completed project we gain more confidence & excitement for the next one. Stay tuned for what's next!

Keep creating!

Friday, February 21, 2014

An Introduction

I have always liked making things. When my sisters and I were younger, we had an "art chest" that stored the supplies we would use for our creations. The chest was an old dresser our mom packed full of construction paper, crayons, colored pencils, markers, tape, stickers, stencils... you name it. We all liked to doodle and draw, but I also had the desire to build things.

I'm sure my parents weren't really happy with the directions in which I took my ambition. I liked to take things apart & put them back together. I was just curious! A few things come to mind that I now understand were problematic:

1) Frequently pounding nails and tacks into the walls of my bedroom.
Where did I get nails? Where did I get a hammer?
2) Cutting open our Stretch Armstrong to see what he was made of. 
Let the record show it was corn starch.
3) Gluing our wooden blocks to a small cardboard filing cabinet.
You know what, I don't even remember the reason behind that one.

To point my desire in a safe direction, one year they bought me a tool bench for Christmas. I found tools to be interesting in spite of limited experience with them, so I think this present was on my list. They also encouraged my use of Legos. Bear in mind I was 7 or so at the time. {So if you're picturing me in my 20's sitting at a Fisher Price tool bench building Lego sets, you can just quit} I had quite the Lego collection and sometimes I even used the directions.

Fast forward to when I could actually be trusted with minor tools - let's say circa middle school. In middle school, and high school too, I got into making cards and scrapbooking. Those hobbies involve tools like paper cutters, crimpers, stamps and ink, etc. So not really heavy construction. But things my 7-year-old self would have used for {unintended} destruction.

In college, my time was more or less consumed with classes, clinicals and a nursing club... I sort of backed off from rubber stamping & scrapbooking. That stuff is time consuming and it can get expensive! Post-college, Pinterest was born and through it I discovered many useful blogs. I created Pinterest pages of my own and started following a handful of other pinners/bloggers to check out their various crafts & projects. I can often be heard picking something up at a store, giving it a once over - maybe snapping a quick cell phone picture, then saying "Don't buy that, I can make it" under my breath. So all of this DIY was right up my alley.

Pinterest was super helpful when I was planning my wedding. I met Andrew through my college friend {and fellow DIYer} Megan. After 1 year of dating, he & I got engaged in 2012 and set our wedding date- September 20, 2013. Andrew was already living in Old Elm, the house we had picked out together, so I was adding personal touches here & there while gradually transplanting my belongings. It's been exactly 5 months since our wedding, and now that we're settled the bigger projects have really taken hold. We love customizing our home!

Andrew has become a great asset to my DIY dreaming. He provides the power tools and brute strength :) He doesn't give himself near enough credit, but growing up with a DIY dad as talented as his father, it's no wonder Andrew is quite the up-and-coming carpenter! One of the first things he did for me at Old Elm was to redo our pantry. It's lovely and I am thankful.

Other Completed Projects

Hand Painted Christmas Canvas

Wall Mount Message Center
{did this with Megan!}
Over Washer/Dryer Laundry Table

So the success of the above projects + more I am probably forgetting = the gas in this blog's tank. We have many more plans, and I look forward to keeping track of them here! That was a long intro. If you read it all the way, congrats. I owe you a prize of some sort. Maybe I'll even make it...