September 15, 2012

The last section of my Love Shack Project make-over is the back patio!  Like the garden side, the patio is also long and narrow, but the patio side has a smooth cement floor and is about a foot wider ( 4′ x 20′).  That extra foot gives me enough room to actually have some tables and chairs out there!

My first task was to re-hang the large wooden door so that it opens out, instead of in;  thus freeing up that previously unusable space.  Next, I used the left over exterior paint to paint the unfinished section under the covered roof, the wooden door,  and the electrical housing.  Once that was finished, I put up a few hooks so I could neatly hang the ladder, tools, and hose.

To break up the length of the patio and add texture and intimacy, I decided to build an arbour!  This was very simple.  I  bought 5 ladder trellises from  Home Depot,  and placed 4 of them ( 2 on each side) against the walls of my patio alley.  Then I connected them across the top with few lengths of redwood.  Lastly, I took the remaining 5th trellis and laid it across the top, between them, as the roof.

Next, I added  2 sets of tables and chairs, both of which I got free from Craig’s List.  They were all mis-matched colors, so I simply spray painted everything white to match.  I also spray painted my metal utility shelves, planter boxes and baskets;  and just about anything else that was going to be on the patio!  Spray painting makes matching easy, however, its messy!  Make sure you have a large drop cloth, plastic gloves and booties on your feet! ( I spray painted my feet and ruined a pair of sandals and a pedicure the first time!)

Lastly, I added some plants and climbing vines to start climbing up the arbour;  and for the finishing touch,  wove white twinkle lights throughout all the trellises on both the patio side and the garden side.

The first time I turned on the lights was amazing!  I had created my own private, magical, oasis;  perfect for entertaining very small parties!  I am thrilled with the result!

Thank you!

Here are two before pix:

And this is my pretty patio now!

July 9, 2012

My  little cottage is feeling so cute and cozy now!   I LOVE IT!   This week  I turned my attention to the Pantry.  The pantry is a super tiny entryway between the kitchen and the back door.  It already had shelves built-in on one side, but the other side was an ugly mess of exposed pipes,  rough unpainted surfaces,  a circuit breaker box, holes, and the water heater.  Pretty much anything  I did would be a vast improvement!

The first thing I did was give it several coats of paint;  painting over all the  metal pipes,  rough surfaces,  and boxes so they blended in to the wall more.   Then I took the wooden shelf that I had originally built for the bathroom, and fit it into the  corner where the circuit breaker box was.   It fit perfectly into the space with shelves above and below,  and I  still had safe  access for the box.

Next, I built-in a ring of shelves around the top of the ceiling, circling the whole space, similar to what I had already done in the bathroom and bedroom.   After that,  I constructed  a small wall to hide the water heater, with a door on front, so you could still get to it if needed.

It’s not the most glamorous room in my cottage, but so much better than it was before!  Now it’s organised, functional, and  no longer the hideous eyesore it once was.




June 29, 2012

Now that I’ve finally gotten my art up on the walls,  I’m able to start working on the rest of the living room!   The challenge is that it’s very small!  ( 9′ x 15′)

I started by building in a wall of shelves along the far wall,  echoing the shelving in the bedroom.   I did this by taking some of the shelves I’d gotten during ” Adventures in Shelving” and deconstructing one into extra shelves to add into the others, and  connected them in the middle under the window.  That gives me double capacity for the same amount of space!

I  also created a small desk in the center of wall unit, under the window, by adding in a large piece of plywood and legs!   The whole thing is only connected to the wall at the window sill,  so it’s stable but doesn’t disturb the plaster walls!

Next, I hung a bedroom door!   I built the door frame into the giant picture frames, to again;  avoid having to disturb the cottage walls.   I found the door used on Craig’s List, along with several awesome and super tiny chairs!

YAY!  I have a living room  now!!


June 8, 2012

This past week and a half I have been  completely immersed in my most challenging project yet; the bathroom!   There were a couple of times on this one, where I really hit a wall and didn’t know how I was gonna finish this!

My tiny cottage has an equally tiny bathroom, with no storage, no cabinet, no linen closet,  not even a towel rack!!  Being a bit of a product-junkie, I have a LOT of stuff that needs to be put away–  and now,  after my successful bedroom transformation,  I really wanted  to make  something  that matched that, and didn’t feel claustrophobic or cluttered.

So,  I perused  Craig’s List again, and found a group of small white shelves that I could use as my “raw materials”.   I  have found this to be an easier way to build things–  kind of like altering clothes to fit you!   The shelves were cheaper than buying wood and  starting from  scratch,  and  are easier to cut-and-piece and alter into what you want.  And I did a LOT of altering on  this one!!

I started by building the over the toilet space-saver/shelf  first, and built it almost up to the ceiling!   I added doors and lots of small shelves inside to house all my  cosmetics!  I also traded out the wooden shelf I built for a smaller, less bulky pre-made shelf,  which I  adjusted to house a hamper on the bottom!   ( Don’t worry, the wooden shelf  is not going to waste, and has moved to the pantry.)   I also added a  ring of shelves  around the ceiling for  extra storage.

Next, I built an under the sink cabinet, with a shelf inside.  The whole cabinet actually pulls out, in case you need to get to the plumbing!  Like in the  bedroom, I tried to make most everything free-standing with  only a  few anchors for safety so as not  to mess up the  plaster walls.

I’m very proud of myself for pushing through all my doubts and frustrations on this one, and really pleased with my results!!  I can’t believe I built this all!!  WOW!


Here is what I started with–  pretty  much nothing!

May 23, 2012

For the past week, I have been working furiously on creating a storage system for  my tiny 9 1/2 by 9 1/2 bedroom.    My challenge was to  devise a way  to  put everything away, ( including my  very large shoe collection)  without making the room look cluttered or cramped.

To start with, I had all the shelves that I had gotten from Marvelous Michael during  my adventures in shelving.   But those alone were not enough to hold everything!  I  needed to double to capacity of the shelves, which I figured could be done by dismantling one and combining it into the others, as well as adding more levels.

I  went back to Home Depot for more wood, and  Super Saul helped me pick out a power saw!  Now  I was unstoppable!  It  took a lot of work; but by cutting more shelves, drilling more holes, measuring & remeasuring, and painting,  I’ve been able to create my own masterpiece of organization!  I have to admit, I’m  pretty impressed with myself!  This definitely turned out better than expected  and  is much more than I ever thought I could accomplish!

Amazingly,  EVERYTHING  is  put away, organised by color, and it doesn’t look cluttered!  And on top of that,  it’s basically free-standing!  I anchored it at a  few places for safety, but that’s all!  The plaster walls are unscathed!

Thank you!

Behold my masterpiece!

May 18, 2012

Fresh off the success of my closet shelves construction, I felt empowered to  push my skills even further and revisit my first  and unsuccessful attempt at building a shelf out of  wood for the bathroom!  ( the first one was the leaning tower of Pisa).

The bathroom doesn’t have ANY storage!  Not a towel rack, not a cabinet, nothing!     I’ve been going  a little crazy trying to find anything amongst the tower boxes full of stuff, so it would  be really nice just to get things off the floor!

This time,  I refashioned my design so that it would not be dependent on precision cuts,  and placed the legs against long side of the wood  and  not  the  cut edges.   With a  little measuring,  and a few nails–  my second attempt  at building a shelf is a success!  It’s very simple and utilitarian– but it’s standing up straight!!  YAY!!  I also got creative and extended the window sill out to make it a shelf as well!

Here’s a couple pictures!!



May 15, 2012

This past week, I tackled my most challenging task  thus far…the closet!   My tiny cottage only has one very small and narrow closet! —  (30″x 60”)   That doesn’t even come close to accommodating my very  healthy wardrobe!    I investigated closet systems online but found everything to be way too expensive and the wrong size!   It seemed like the only way to get what I needed would be to build it myself!!

I felt a little intimidated, I’m not a builder!   I muscled up my determination, and  went to Home Depot, armed with pictures and measurements.   The Home Depot staff was very knowledgable and helpful!  They walked me around to each department and helped me pick out all the right supplies!  For expert advice, I was directed to Super Saul!  Super Saul  was amused by my naive assumption that I would be able to screw 3 inch screws in with a screwdriver, and  hooked me up with my very first power tool!   I am now the proud owner and operator of a power dill!  (My lust for  owning all my own power tools has just begun!)

I went home, equipped with my  new stud finder- only to realize that I have old plaster and lathe walls! ( No wonder my stud finder was confused and whimpering! )  My only recourse was manual excavation of the plaster ( that’s hammer to wall) ,to find the studs– which I might add, were NOT a standard 16 inch  distance apart!   Once I found my 24 inch  spaced studs,  I was able to attach a large plank, length wise across the wall using  my 3 inch screws and my POWER DRILL!  (OH YEAH! ) This would be my support board to mount the brackets for the shelf on.    I did the same thing for the lower shelf, and then mounted 3 brackets each, attached a shelf across the top of the brackets,  and a wooden dowel for hanging my  clothes!

It sounds simple,  and would have  taken a professional a couple hours, but for me , it was five days in the closet  with  daily trips back  to Home Depot for  more supplies and advice from Super Saul!  But I surprised myself and actually  did it!    I successfully installed a double  row of closet shelves on the long side of the wall, and miraculously,  they did not collapse!!   Finally,  for the first time since I moved in,  my clothes  are out of the living room and hanging  up in the closet!

WOW!   I can build things!!

The world is my oyster!

Here’s some before, during and after pictures!

April 30, 2012

My tiny little cottage is severely lacking in storage!  Just one tiny, long, narrow, useless closet!  Anyone who knows me,  is familiar with my very large shoe collection, as well as other clothes,  and therefore  in  need of someplace to put everything!  So with the help of the wonderful free section from ,Craigslist I’m off to meet up with Michael.  Michael is a  super wonderful, pieces architect, moving to Palm Springs, and in need of someone to take all his beautiful, matching, white shelves!!

Could this be a more perfect match??!!  The universe really does love me!– or at least wants me to put away my clothes!

Michael lives all the way on top  of one of those  super, tiny, winding, canyon roads– and then down another VERY steep driveway!  It’s very pretty– but I cannot even imagine how difficult it would be to move, or build a home with that kind of limited access!– or even worse– how could a fire truck ever maneuver through all that!!

I pull up, and Michael is extremely impressed that I actually found it ( the road signs seem very contradictory at a few turns).  He is sitting in a garage full or about 15 beautiful matching tall white wall shelves with gorgous glass wear on them.  He seems very organised and with a great sense of design.  ( perfect for an architect!)

We proudly load up 4 full shelves into the back of my truck- and  im already  on my way  back for my 1st trip!   YAY!  I start up his very steep  driveway,  and am about halfway up when I hear a very  bad noise…. shelf-gone-wild- sliding out the back , onto the driveway, and towards Michael.   OPPS!   Luckily the shelf survives and  thankfully, avoids impaling  Michael!   We  sheepishly, reload the shelf, making sure its more secure this time! —  I start off again, hazards on,  driving extra slow- and fearing decapitation the entire time!  Luckily I make it back without accident, arrest, or injury!

I unloaded, and head back for round two to michael’s.    When I got back,  we first take  a huge load of items to donate to the nearby Out of the Closet Store,  and then load up my truck with round two!   I ended up making 3 full trips.  (12 shelves and a huge terracotta pot! )  Apologies to  anyone stuck driving behind my slow crawl with hazards on across  town!

THANK YOU MICHAEL!    I now have shelving!!  TONS of shelving!!  Now,  how to arrange it all!!   It’s a huge mess- and every single part of my body hurts!


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