Wednesday, September 11, 2013

IKEA Expedit Makeover

When my husband was a bachelor and trying to fill his first house, he went the way of most 20-somethings and purchased a slew of pieces from IKEA.  While at the time I had to be okay with it {not my house, not my money}, marriage has forced me to acquire a bunch of furniture I never would have purchased for myself.  For instance, 8 Expedit units.  Oh joy.

No offense, Expedit... but... I'm just not that into you.

In my opinion, the Expedit is inefficient and a little too modern.  The square nature of the openings renders them pretty useless unless you are going to use bins {which I do in my craft room}.  However, we use them in our family room as a media center.  While they hold dvds just fine, they don't have backs - WIRES, EVERYWHERE!  And they are brown... dark, black brown.  It was time for a change.

Unfortunately, moving into a new place comes with a lot of expenses and a new media center wasn't in the budget.  However, genius is always in the budget.

I want to make it clear that this idea was my husband's.  100% Mr. Evans.  He knew that I wasn't fond of the Expedits and brainstormed a way to make them better for us.  And a genius idea it was.  Not only does it better serve our style and aesthetic, it totally brightens the room and feels like we bought new furniture.  I'm a lucky girl.

So here's the good news and the bad news.

Bad News first... this project takes some serious patience if you want to change the color of your furniture.  Being patient bites.

Good News... This is TOTALLY affordable.  The whole project only cost us $120 and about $50 of that was for paint!

Want to know how?  Keep reading!

Beadboard {Used: Home Depot, we had them cut the pieces to our measurements}
Liquid Nails
Caulking Gun {for Liquid Nails}
Finishing Nails {Used: Home Depot, sharp tip finishing nails, $3.50/box}
Paint {if needed}
Polyacrylic {if painting}
Spray Paint {if needed, match paint}
Painting Materials
Sanding Sponges
Electric Hand Drill and Circular Bit {if using for media, for cords}
Ground Covering

Have your backing/beadboard cut at Home Depot {or whatever hardware store you prefer}.  Not only did it reduce our stress - it actually saved us money!  The Home Depot associate took a look at our measurements and was able to save us an entire sheet of beadboard - $20!

Just measure your pieces ahead of time and know what you want to ask for.  If you are working Expedits, the edges are 2 inches wide so we shaved half an inch off all measurements to ensure the pieces we brought home would fit.  If you aren't working with Expedits, make sure you know how much space you have to play with.  Measure... and measure again.

Also, know which way the beadboard runs on the sheet at the hardware store.  Our Home Depot store sells sheets that are 4' wide by 8' tall with the beadboard running vertical.  This will affect what measurements you will request.  When in doubt, take a picture of your bookcases and take the measurements to an associate for help.

1.  Disassemble furniture.  This took way longer than we though it would but I do not recommend trying to paint your piece assembled.  You will get a better, more consistent finish if you take it apart.

2.  PAINT!  Now I'm not going to do a full tutorial on how to paint laminate furniture {Pinterest is swimming with them.  Check out my Home{made} board for a few that I consulted.}  I will tell you this.  Sand your pieces!  Everyone wants to skip this step because it takes too long but it's going to be a bigger pain if you put in all that hardwork and the paint starts peeling off.  You don't need to grind the piece down, just scuff up the surface.

We did three coats of white paint on all our pieces on all sides, waiting a minimum of an hour in between coats.

Don't forget to paint the beadboard.  Unless you really want the raw beadboard look... then cool... leave them alone.
Do yourself a favor and make painting a little easier.  When it came time for final coats, we mounted our pieces on various boxes and other stable objects around the house so we could paint the edges too.  Protect the under side by placing a paper towel between your box/paint can/Kleenex box and the board.
Allow the paint job to dry overnight.  It's a pain, I know.  But it's worth it to know all the pieces are completely dry.

3.  Seal your paint job.  We used General Finishes Polyacrylic.  Three coats is enough to get the job done. I know you just rolled your eyes... three coats, AGAIN?!  Here's the best thing... this is water-based and quick drying.  We did all our coats in under 4 hours.

4.  LET THEM DRY!!!  Seriously.  Take your time and let everything settle.  We waited two hours.

5.  In the meantime, spray paint your hardware so it will blend.

6.  Reassemble your pieces.  I'm going to be totally honest, some pieces turned out better than other.  So we assessed each piece - picking a "pretty" side and an "ugly" side.  We assembled the piece so all the pretty sides and ugly sides matched up.  "Pretty" side = Front.  "Ugly" side = back.

Check out these beauties.  Looking better already!

7.  Lay your pieces flat - pretty/front side down.

8.  Load Liquid Nails into Caulking Gun.  Apply a 1/4" line around all edges.  You get 10 minutes of working time with Liquid Nails so work precisely and don't rush.

9.  Lay your piece face down, taking care to line up your edges as you would like.
Our 2x4 Expedits required two pieces of boards, so we had to pinch them together.  Make sure the liquid nails goes between the cracks as well to ensure the pieces are adhered to the unit AND each other.

10.  Allow Liquid Nails to sit for a minute or two and then apply finishing nails.  We spaced ours out 1 every 12 inches.

11.  Because we are using ours for a media cabinet, we needed to add a hole for the wires to feed through.  We pre-measured where the hole would go.  After adhering the beadboard, wait 30 minutes before drilling.  Mark your spot.
With a 1 1/2" bit, hold drill directly upright and drill with confidence.  Beadboard is really thin so take care to hold on to the gun - it will pop through quickly!  Remember, always use eye wear and extreme caution when using power tools.  When in doubt, ask an experienced friend for help.
In full disclosure, our hole did damage the beadboard a tad, but nothing a little touch-up paint couldn't fix in a jiffy!

12.  Final Step - WAIT!  The Liquid Nails needs to fully set.  It will take days for it to actually DRY, but after waiting 2 hours, we were fairly confident that it had set, especially with the finish nails holding everything in place.

Keep paint and small paint brush available for touch ups.  Scrapes and bumps are bound to happen - so is a little Liquid Nails leakage.

But man... were we proud of ourselves?!  What a transformation!

Of course, we had to load it up with our dvd collection.  The white backing definitely gives it a cleaner look.

We could not be happier with how this project turned out.  I hope you are able to use it in your lives.  If you do, please share pictures!!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tips for Moving In - Stress Free!

Well, we're all moved in to our new place!  What a whirlwind!  I cannot believe that only 6 months ago we listed our house for sale and started this transition.  Suddenly the house was sold, packed and no longer ours.  We found ourselves living at my in-laws {who we could never thank enough} slowly watching our house being built.  And here we are!

I previously shared with you how to prepare your house to sell, stage your house to sell and free printable moving labels to make the moving process easier.  So, I figured I should take you through the whole process.  Here's how we moved into our new house - stress free!


Tip #1:  Create a Schedule and Budget.  This was especially important for us because we were moving items from two storage units and my in-law's house.  Know how much money you will need for the day - especially if hiring a moving company, renting a truck or feeding your moving crew {friends and family}.  Include security deposits for utilities in your budget as well.  Know who is going where in what vehicle to get items.  Extend the schedule past "Moving Day" to cover the order in which you want to unpack the house - which rooms get top priority and who will unpack them.

If you can, plan to paint ahead of time.  Moving into a brand-spanking-new house, we had a lot of work to do before moving in.  We wanted to paint every room and install ceiling fans.  If you have the luxury, do this before moving day.  It will eliminate any delays in unpacking and settling in.

I like using excel to plan and budget.  You can download my Moving excel here.  This is a very bare bones version, but it should help kick-start your planning.

Tip #2:  Don't be a tightwad - turn on your utilities BEFORE moving in.  Yes, I have helped someone move before that didn't turn on their utilities ahead of time - which is pretty much the meanest thing you can do to people helping you move in July... in Arizona.  Yes, you will have to pay a lot to run the a/c that day, but it's one day.  Get over it.

Tip #3:  Pack a First Night Bag.  Toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, shampoo, soap, clean clothes, clean towels, you get the idea.  Pack as if you're going on vacation to a cheap hotel with zero amenities... or camping.

Tip #4:  Drink plenty of water, eat well, and get lots of sleep the night before.  You don't want to be grumpy, dehydrated or hangry on moving day.

Moving Day

Tip #5:  Hire the Best Moving Crew in Town - Your Friends and Family.  I know a lot of people choose to hire moving companies to pack and deliver their items, but I love being surrounded by family and friends in a new place.  It's personal and fulfilling.  Just make sure to feed them good food and have plenty of their favorite beverages on hand.

Tip #6: Label Your Rooms.  Pick up some scrapbooking paper in various colors to match your moving labels.  Hang the paper on the door or walls of that specific room.  I chose to also make arrows to guide exactly where I want the boxes to be stacked to avoid having to move them later.  For instance, I wanted the boxes of books to be stacked on the opposite side of the room from where the bookshelves would be placed.  The boxes were already be out of the way and I was able to unpack from their location instead of pushing boxes around the room.

Tip #7: Make Your Bed.   Once the bed is installed, immediately make the bed.  Don't wait until the end of the day - you won't have the patience or the energy.  Having a pre-made bed to crash into will make the end of the long, hard day that much sweeter.

Settling In

Tip #8:  Stick to Your Schedule.  It can be tempting to just shove packed boxes to the corner of the garage and say, "I'll do it later", but do you really want to live around boxes for the next few months?  AND if you can afford to not unpack those boxes, why do you even have that stuff?  Stick to the schedule.... and...

Tip #9:  Unpack Every Box.  This is especially important when using a moving company to ensure nothing is broken.  However, unpacking every box is a great way to do a second purge of your items.  When we packed up our house, we took three full loads of unwanted stuff to Goodwill.  When we unpacked, we took an additional two loads.  A new house may bring items into a new light, good and bad.  Purge the stuff you don't want or won't need anymore.

If you're like me, you probably have stuff you just want to keep for nostalgic reasons.  If so, then be honest.  Create {one} box and fill it with those items - mark it "Keepsakes", put it on a shelf.  Having items all over your house in various nooks and crannies that you're saving for memory sake only creates clutter.  Give it a home in a box and then you'll always know where it is.

Tip #10:  Unpack the Kitchen - The Sane Way.  Post-Its are your best friend when unpacking the kitchen.  Mark the contents of each cabinet and drawer on a sticky note and leave on the cabinets/drawers for the first week of living in your new home.  You and your family will quickly become acquainted with the new layout and it will save you from the constant, "MOOOOM!  Where are the cups?!"

Final Tip:  Send Thank You's.  To your real estate agent, to your friends and family, to your temporary landlords {thanks again, mom and dad!}

We're very excited to be in our new place and the many adventures it will bring.
Stay tuned for more projects and chaos - Creative Cubby style. 

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