DIY: ikea hack work table + a studio tour

Gratitude board in the kitchenFor the past 2+ years I had been working all of my etsy business in our dining room due to a flood in our basement. About half way through realizing that it was going to take us a while to get the basement back in working order, we took a trip to Ikea and I purchased some expedits in order to get myself a little more organized. I knew that eventually when I was able to move back downstairs I would use these as the basis for my work table. Fast forward to a few months ago and the basement was finally pretty much complete and I was able to start moving back in (hear the angels sing!). building a work table

My original hope was to line these shelves up next to each other, put them up on casters and then lay an unfinished door on the top for a large workspace. We researched a bunch of different options for casters and ended up buying some locally at a small hardware store in town. We opted for a size a little larger than we probably needed to give it some good heft and also because in all honestly the basement might very well flood again and I wanted everything elevated off the floor.

building a work tableBecause we went with a larger caster and because of the height of the 2×4 that we used to attach them to the base of the shelves, we ended up not being able to use the door as a work surface. All of that together made the table too high with the door on top. My handyman husband pre drilled holes in the base of the shelves to attach the 2×4 to. building a work table

Screwed the 2×4 to the shelves – basically pulling them together and then attached the casters to the 2×4.

UntitledWe talked through a lot of different options in order to make a larger workspace on top, instead of just using the dimensions of the two shelves, but honestly I’ve been working for the past couple of months just on top of the shelves and it’s been working just fine. I laid out my cutting mats and got busy. Untitled

I can’t even begin to express what a joy it has been to be back down in my own space. To be able to lay out all my projects and not have to clean them all off the table so we can eat dinner has been amazing for my cluttered brain. I’ve even been able to teach a few classes in this space and it’s been amazing.


My kids also have their own art space. This is still a work in progress as we try to figure out the best way to set it all up. I got this drawer cabinet from my neighbor who was tossing it out of his garage. It sat in our basement for almost a year while I tried to figure out what to do with it. I finally decided to paint it and use it as storage for markers, paint, crayons and other art stuff. I am hoping to add some labels and also figure out a way to display art that they are working on up on the wall. And I’ve got to figure out some good storage for all the papers and coloring books piled up on top!

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the wonders of vinegar

I have quickly jumped the gun on our list of projects and moved into the spring list (don’t tell my husband).

laundry room before

My laundry room has long been one of those rooms I’ve wanted to redo for a long, long time. It’s the last of the yellow rooms in this house and needed a huge makeover. Last weekend I started by cleaning off all the shelves and then tearing out said shelves. It had these wire shelves above the washer/dryer and on the other wall it had these horrible plywood shelves. With all those gone it was time to tackle the wallpaper border.


I started out with this diff spray that we had in our stash. Honestly, to be fair, it’s old. I scored the border and then sprayed this yucky gel stuff. I was able to get off the top printed layer, but it left the paper underneath and at this point I gave up.

After doing a little research online, I read that a 50/50 vinegar/water recipe had worked for some. I thought, I have vinegar and water and an empty spray bottle. I’ll give it a try. Hands down this was amazing.

The trick is the get it super wet with the spray, let it sit until it starts to dry then spray it again and start scraping.
When I got to the last wall, I really just sprayed and it just peeled off. Amazing.

I did have one section that still had the printed paper on top and honestly I had to spray-scrape-spray-wait and then scrape some more. But eventually I did get it all off. I’m hooked. (Although there is thankfully not another drop of wallpaper in our house to rip off).

The only caveat is that if you have any open cuts on your hands beware. Vinegar stings like nothing else.

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master bathroom before & after

We’ve been slowly (like painfully slow) working on our master bathroom. The cabinets were this boring natural wood color, but the cabinets and counter top were really too nice to even think about replacing (not to mention we couldn’t afford it).

Here are some before shots:

masterbath sink before



I finally got the cabinets painted last Fall and we hung up the doors. Leaving the floor…

Master bath WIP

Ripping up that first square of sticky tile junk was invigorating and then just plain disgusting. When it came time to start stripping the glue up I had to leave the room. Enter the manly man. He ended up taking over the project and did he ever do an amazing job! We found one snafu when we started ripping up the last corner of tiles and had to feather in some new hardwood (no challenge for that handyman of mine) and after priming and painting the floors we installed a brand new lovely toilet (which was our one splurge on this project). I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

And here are the after shots

Master bath remodel

Master bath remodel

Master bath remodel

Over the last few days I gathered up the finishing touches and was thrilled to find a two tiered rack at Hobby Lobby today for a quarter of the price of others I’ve been eying. Truly the cherry on top.


Here’s a breakdown of what we did and spent:

Painted the cabinets (1 quart of paint and primer – $15)
Painted the walls (1 gallon paint – $30
Finished the shower curtain aka quilt top (free by using an gifted quilt top and an old sheet)
Hung the shower curtain with drapery clips from Target (roughly $6 for 2 packs)
Removed the sticky tiles and glue from the floor (roughly $50 for paint stripper and supplies and paint for the floor)
Replaced the baseboard trim (free – reused it from the basement)
Curtain valance ($10 from flea market – clip rod and rings $10 from Ikea)
Cabinet Hardware ($15 at Lowes)
Toilet ($149 – we did splurge on a Kohler)
two tier rack for toiletries ($20 on sale at Hobby Lobby),
towel hooks ($15 on sale at Hobby Lobby),
mirror was exchanged from downstairs bathroom (free)
floor rug ($8 on clearance at World Market)

I’m sure there are some other hidden costs in there, but roughly the grand total of around $320. Not bad at all!

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where I sew…now

Back a few years ago I linked up with a bunch of others who were sharing their sewing spaces. At that time, I was sewing in our newly refinished basement.

Where I sew 2012

Fast forward to January of this year. After nearly 8 inches of rain in less than three days our basement flooded and this was the result.

Where I sew 2013 catastrophe

We moved all my sewing supplies to virtually every spare space in the house and I set up shop in the kitchen/dining room. After much moving around, this was where I have been sewing for the last 7+ months.

Studio space before

When we realized that the basement wasn’t going to be refinished (again!) any time soon, I declared a trip to Ikea was in order. I had to get a better handle on all the supplies scattered all over the house and figure out how to make a space work for me to sew in and us to also live in (think dinner and homework!).

And here is the result:

new studio space 2013

new studio space 2013

I still have a few kinks to work out and need to hang up my white board, but I can already breathe easier! Funny how organization can wear you out but also make you so excited!

new studio space 2013

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before and almost almost after…

So the light is horrible, but here are a couple of before pictures of the master bathroom that I am very slowly remodeling…



And after finally painting the cabinet doors, swapping a mirror and painting the walls; here is where we are now

Master bath WIP

Master bath WIP

Although I’ve hit a snag. I didn’t prep the doors correctly I guess because hit it the wrong way and the paint just picks right off (big boo!) and I can’t seem to find drawer pulls that are the right measurement too. But I really don’t care about either because I absolutely love how it turned out!

And I don’t have any before pics of the shower are, but here is the after. The quilt top is one given to me and made by a great, great Aunt.

Master bath WIP

We still have one more big project: the floor. Which originally I was going to paint, but it looks like we will be refinishing the floors in our master bedroom so we are just going to do the bathroom floors the same. Then a new (not blue) toilet, a curtain for the window and a new shower bar and we are pretty much complete!

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