Laundry Basket Dressers

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For a while now I’ve been struggling with a laundry room that is perpetually a mess.  Although I only have one child for now, another one will be along shortly, and I do about three times as much laundry for my husband as I do for myself.  He has a work uniform, casual clothes he wears at home, and work clothes he wears while doing dirty remodeling jobs.  Sometimes he goes through three sets of clothes in a day, and he doesn’t like to re-wear stuff often.  All that adds up to a big pile of laundry.

While I’m pretty good at staying on top of actually washing the clothes, I’m not so good at putting them away, and there was really no place to stack stuff in my laundry room, so piles would end up being toppled, undoing all of my folding work.  Recently on pinterest I found plans for these laundry basket dressers, and they seemed like the perfect solution.  You can find the plans at ana-white.com, which is another discovery I made in the process.  She has plans for all kinds of DIY furniture, and I definitely have a few more pieces on the list to make.  There are a couple of different configurations for these dressers, so you can choose which makes the best use of your space, but I chose the taller ones that hold four baskets each.  Each unit uses one sheet of 3/4” plywood.

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I made these with my dad, but they are really very simple, so if you have some basic tools and have someone cut your boards for you if you don’t have a saw (the store will sometimes do this for free or for a small fee), then you should have no problem doing them by yourself.  The only change I made to the plans was to add some decorative molding to the front edges so the rougher plywood edge wouldn’t show.

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I’m super happy with how these turned out, and they’ve been just as helpful at containing the laundry mess as I had hoped.  Now I just fill up the baskets as I do laundry, and once they’re full, I put them away.  The idea is for my kids to put their own clothes away once they get old enough, but that’s a few years off.  I also decided to make two dressers instead of one because as a family, we already fill up the one.  Add in another possible future child, and I would need another one anyhow.  This way, I have a couple of extra baskets.  My husband has two—one for work clothes and one for regular clothes, and I use another for items to go downstairs (kitchen linens, tablecloths, downstairs towels, etc.).  I’ve also overtaken a couple for ongoing craft projects…but hopefully those will empty out soon.

I painted the dressers red to add some color to the room, and I just love the way they turned out.  I primed with a brush first, and it took me about six hours for both.  I wasn’t about to do that again, so I had my husband use spray paint, and it was a really good choice.  It took about three coats and several cans, but it gave a very smooth finish, took less time, and cost about half what a gallon of paint would have cost.  The rungs are difficult to paint around, which is why it took so long with a brush.  I suppose it also would have been easier to paint the insides before they were assembled, but I didn’t think of that at the time.

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Honestly, one of the parts I love the most about these dressers are the cute little tags I made to label them.  I’m quite proud of them because I designed them in Photoshop with my seriously limited skills.  I installed a new font and for the background I used a picture of the fabric from fabric.com, where I bought my curtain fabric.  I then laminated the tags and tied them on with red ribbon—it must match, of course!  Anyhow, they’re very functional and sturdy as well.  I’ve been carrying the baskets around the house, and they are quite secure.

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The finishing touch for the project was making an organizer (I’ll post more on that soon) in coordinating fabric to go over the top and down each side.  I wanted a mat of some sort for the top since I planned to set things up there and possibly slide things around like laundry detergent.  It also helps tie the two units together and prevents anything from falling in the little crack between the two.  I could have made it all one unit, but I like having them separate in case I decide to move them or change my configuration at some point.  The sides were pretty much wasted space, but with the organizer, I have pockets on both sides now.  On the laundry side it holds a bleach pen, lingerie bag, etc. and on the sewing desk side, I’ve filled it up with scissors, rulers, pencils, and other sewing notions.

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One of these days I hope to make some basket liners out of the fabric I have left….it’s going on the list, but for now I’m very happy with the way things have turned out.  The room is much more functional, feels more spacious, and the bright happy colors make me smile when I go in, even if it is to do laundry.

The baby room, phase 1

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Our new baby is going in our former guest/storage room (depending on it’s varying degrees of tidiness—more often than not, it was a storage room).  We hadn’t touched the room since we moved in, so there is lots to do to get it ready for the new baby this fall.

In general, we try to do as little destruction as possible.  Unfortunately, the ceiling in this room had a lot of cracks.  We thought about a few options:  skim coating with mud, screwing 3/8” drywall right over top of the plaster, etc., but we decided that just tearing it down would be best.  My husband does all the labor except for the mudding, so using 3/8” over top of the other wouldn’t save us any money, and we might have to worry about plaster failure in the future.

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We also rewire each room as we do it (well, “we” is my husband).  After this room is finished, our entire house will have been rewired.  In order to do this, he tore out the lower couple of feet of the wall all the way around the room.  He has rewired through less invasive methods before (under baseboard, etc.) but decided this would be easiest in the long run.  I didn’t argue since he’s the one doing the work.

 

 

 

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The other major demo work done was taking out the closet.  It’s actually going to stay in the same spot, but we’re making it more shallow.  As it is, it’s very deep, but not deep enough to hang clothes on the sides to really use the space.  It also sticks out over a foot past the door, which makes walking in the room more difficult when furniture is in there.  We’re going to make it as deep as the door is when it’s open, so that should give us more walking space without really sacrificing any storage.

The wiring is mostly done, and the insulation is about half finished.  From there, we just need to rebuild the closet front, install drywall, refinish the floor, and paint.  Sounds easy enough, right?  My husband plans to make some major headway during his two week vacation this month during plant shutdown.  I’m hoping for drywall installation toward the end, but that may be wishful thinking.

A craft Room Project

I recently visited my best friend, who lives in Pittsburgh.  Coincidentally, there’s an Ikea in Pittsburgh.  Once we decided a trip there would be in the plans, I started looking online and making plans.

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I’ve seen some awesome Ikea projects online, especially the faux built in Billy bookcases that everyone seems to be DIYing.  Here’s the pinned image that started the whole plan for me: DIY bookshelves

This bookcase is on justagirlblog.com, and her post can be found here.  She discusses the building process in more detail than some of the other posts I’ve read.  Although she says hers is in a craft room as well, I intend to use my shelves more for storage than for display.  I plan to try to dress things up a bit with some basket liners, but it will be mostly open shelving for fabric and stamps.

I recently started thinking more about my craft/sewing room when I made laundry basket dressers with my dad a couple of weeks ago.  My craft space is in a tiny (probably 6’x 10’ room) that also functions as a laundry room.  The room is so small because our house was built in 1883 without bathrooms, and the former bedroom was divided in half in order to add a bathroom way back whenever plumbing became common in houses.  Luckily, I do have a nice big closet in there for storage.  Nonetheless, it’s quite crowded, and storage is always an issue.

After some planning and discussions with my husband, we decided to attempt the built-in Billy bookcases ourselves for my craft room.  I currently have one out of the box, but that’s as far as we’ve gotten so far.  I’m hoping we’ll make some headway over the upcoming holiday when my husband has a day off work.

In preparation for the Ikea trip, I measured my van to make sure everything would fit—and it would.  My friend (who drives a compact car) also wanted an Expedit bookcase while we had the van to get it home for her, and again, I thought her bookcase would fit as well.  However, not only did she end up getting the one bookcase, but she got a second one as well as a shoe cabinet and a very large mirror.  I was a little nervous, but we went for it, and this is how the van ended up:

034  This is, of course without the huge mirror.  We took that out the night before when we got home because we didn’t want it resting on its somewhat unstable frame all night long.

It was raining when we got home, so we decided to wait until the next day to unload.  I don’t think our van has ever been quite this full, and I was quite proud of it for carrying so much.  We could have packed even more in if we had wanted to—you can carry way more in a van than in an SUV, and almost as much as a truck.  My bookcases are all in the middle, and Laura’s are on the sides.  I think her boxes were actually bigger than mine, but mine were so long that they went up next to the front seats.

 

We’re not the only ones who were surprised at the tightly packed quarters.  The mirror was so long that we had to rest it on the tops of the middle row passenger seats.  It didn’t really bother my little boy, but he was definitely checking things out:

IMG_0706I suppose this isn’t really the safest mode of transportation, but I assumed we’d have even worse problems if we were actually in an accident.  There were plenty of potential projectiles in the van.  Luckily, nothing happened.  We did accidentally leave the back hatch unlatched after stowing some bags—oops.  When we got home, it was closed, but completely unlatched.  I suppose we’re lucky nothing went flying out on the interstate.

In the end, the actual bookcases cost about $300 with tax, which I think is an excellent deal for a wall full of shelves.  I also bought the extension packs, which was almost as much as the bookcases themselves.  However, we have high ceilings, and this is a way to maximize storage space, which is the goal in the first place.  I have plenty of items to store that I don’t use on a regular basis, so I’m sure I’ll be able to make good use of the higher storage shelves.

We’ll have to buy some molding and some paint and caulk to give it the built in look, but I think it will be well worth it in the end.  I can’t wait to see how things turn out.  I’ll post updates as things progress.  I’ve also ordered some fabric for new curtains, basket liners for baskets on the shelves, etc.  However, I’ll have to have the bookcases in and the room picked up again before I can start on those…this could take a while.

Baby boy nursery progress

 

I’m slowly making progress on the bedding set I’m making for my new baby’s room.  It won’t be needed (most likely) until late September, so I have plenty of time, but I also don’t want to leave it until the last minute.

Above is the bumper I made.  It’s fairly simple.  I used charm squares that I cut from yardage and added white to make an offset row of charms.  I wanted to keep it simple to show off the prints, and I’m very happy with the way this turned out.  I used cotton batting on either side of a thick poly batting, so this is quite thick.  I used the walking foot to quilt along the line of every charm square, and it turned out almost exactly like the bumper that came in my oldest boy’s crib set, so it should stand up in the crib and perform quite well. 

I’ve also finished the valances.  These need some ironing, but I’m not going to bother with it until I’m ready to hang them up.  I have the curtain panels mostly done, too, but I think I’m going to applique something on them, so they’re not technically finished.  These valances will be slightly gathered, and they have orange vents with ties up top every so often.

This is the crib skirt, and it matches the design on the bumper.  It’s simple as well, but I’m also very happy with how it turned out.  The fitted sheets are made out of the tree/dog/swing print, so the bedding part will go together nicely, I think.

The fitted sheets are finished as well, but there’s not much to see there, so I didn’t take a picture.  I have part of the quilt completed, too, but I want a solid to match a particular color in the prints, and I’m waiting for my brand new Kona color card to arrive before ordering.

I hated to spend $25 on a fabric swatch card, but I’ve already spent that much by buying fabric online that I think will match only to have to reorder because it didn’t.  Colors are never accurate on a computer screen, and I’m tired of playing a guessing game.  My local quilt shops don’t carry a wide range of solids, and prices are much better online anyway, so I think this color card is a good investment.  Once it arrives, I’ll be finishing the baby quilt as soon as I can order my (matching!) solid fabric.