I am the freaking bomb. Some of Ron’s major complaints about home improvement are that I: 1) don’t use what I have, and just go buy more stuff; 2) that I rarely finish projects; and 3) that it costs too much. The bedroom/bathroom reno project is where I am proving him wrong. So far, I’ve spent less than $1000, and that is on two rooms…and includes buying a new bed. We still have another $500 of vanity and toilet to buy, but seriously, $1500 to renovate a hideous and non-functional bathroom and a fugly bedroom? No complaining allowed on this one!
Of course, there has been a lot of creativity involved. For one thing, our medicine cabinet is a 36 inch kitchen cabinet that was sunk into the wall. It’s great that it is deep and the shelves are adjustable and it holds a lot of crap. However, it just had a thin piece of plywood across the top and bottom, with a giant gap/crack between the plywood and cabinet. To top it off, there were no mirrors on the doors. There isn’t any electricty near the sink right now, either. The previous owners had taken out the linen closet, installed another kitchen cabinet with a tile counter into the closet recess, added a light, a mirror, and an outlet. This was great for blowdrying one’s hair. It was not so great for Ron shaving, or someone brushing their teeth. Unfortunately, custom cut mirrors are extremely pricey. I tried buying a cheap mirror that goes on the back of a door ($5) and cutting it with a glass cutter, which almost worked. The problem was that the back of the mirror was covered in glued on paper; the glass wouldn’t crack correctly. I tried scraping off the paper, but it scraped off the silvering, too. I had to abandon that non-solution.
Instead, I went to the local dollar store, and bought six 8×11 mirrors (including the cheap plastic frame). I knew the measurements of the cabinet, but I wasn’t sure how big the mirror really was inside the frame; was it covered, held in with glazer pins, or glued on? Turns out they were held in with glazer pins (those little black things that you bend back and forth to keep the back of a picture frame on). Luck of all lucks, they fit in the cabinet perfectly when I turned them landscape and stacked them one above the other. They are too narrow, but some trim will fix that, so that doesn’t bother me. Yes, there are seams where the mirrors meet, but it’s not too shabby. I even got to implement a recently learned skill; I attached the mirrors with Kwik Seal Plus (kinda like Liquid Nails). Will had shown me how to use the Liquid Nails, but he used it all. I rummaged in the shed and found the Kwik Seal, slathered it on the backs of the mirrors, then held the mirrors in place with blue painters tape overnight. I also used a caulk gun (another new skill) and sealed up all the cracks on the cabinet. I have a little sanding to do, but it’s going to look awesome. I already had everything in the shed (no telling how old that Kwik Seal is) except for the mirrors. Six mirrors; cost: $6
A month ago, I bought an Ikea white scroll iron bed with a foam mattress for $100 off craigslist. It didn’t get put together until night before last. I knew the mattress was a little thin, so I had already bought a fiberbed topper for it, and figured that would make it fine. Uhm, no. Ron came in, laid down on it, and pronounced it horrible. Crap. That meant I needed to either get a mattress set in two days, or figure out some other solution.
It’s hard to find a clean mattress set on craigslist, but with it being near the beginning of the semester, college students have their stuff listed, so there were about 15 listings that I called on. However, most of them are around $100, drastically increasing the cost of the room. Not to mention I would need to find someone with a truck who could help me pick them up. Even worse, no one was returning my emails or calls, or the few that did said their set was gone. Crap again. So this morning, I stood in the doorway and stared at the bed; in my line of sight was also the bare cushions to my Lillberg sofa/loveseat/chair set. My sofa is way too big for the living room, and the Lillberg set, while great if you have pets, is more than a little hard on the ass. I’ve wanted to get rid of it, and I’ve had it on craigslist for a while, but it is still lurking. While it does break down to substantially flat, the cushions take up a lot of room. Out of curiousity (and desperation), I took the covers off all the sofa cushions and laid them out on the bed slats. I had to get a fourth seat back because they are smaller, but three bottoms and four backs made a pretty decent “mattress.” I covered the whole thing with a green king sized sheet that matches the duvet set that I’m reusing in there (the one I love that Ron hates…how can anyone hate Anthropology???), then put the mattress and fiberbed on top of that. Awesome! It’s still somewhat firm, but definitely better than it was. Bed saved, sofa placement solved (flat in the shed!); cost: $0.
The corner window problem was a quick and easy fix. Because the two windows meet in the corner, there isn’t room for a finial on one of the curtain rods. Rummaged in the shed again in my hardware hoard and found a flat, 2 inch washer and a screw that just happened to fit perfectly into the rod. I put the curtains back on (after the rod had fallen for the fifth millionth time in a week), put the rod in the brackets, and Yay! it stayed put. I already had the curtains, rods, and the washer; cost: $0.
I’m sure the rooms will evolve (and there are a few more creative solutions that I’ll write about later), but in the meantime, I’ve pretty much only used things that were already in the house, most of which weren’t being used at all. I even dug out a folding screen with 15 8×10 photo frames, and figured Aubrey can fill them up with her artwork. It brightens up the corner nicely! Matt had wanted it ages ago, but after I bought it, he decided he didn’t want it, so it had just been sitting in the closet.
I’ve been working for half hour increments, then resting, and writing while I rest. Time to get back to work. Stay tuned for more ways to use cheap junk your husband wanted you to throw away!
“When something goes right, oh it’s likely to lose me. It’s apt to confuse me, it’s such an unusual sight. I can’t get used to something so right.”