Monday, March 16, 2015

New Cabinets

You know how they say, "You can never be too skinny or too rich"?  Well, there's actually no danger of either for me, just so ya know.  But there's something I say that's kinda on those same lines, and that is, "You can never have too much storage space".

I always wonder how it is those people who live in what they call "Tiny Houses" manage.  Every little bit of storage space is already spoken for, just so you can move around in the space during the day.  I don't think I would live very long if I had to live in one of those.  I'd die of Cabin Fever.  Oh, I am spoiled, aren't I?  Hubs' Oklahoma Pioneer grandparents lived in a one-room cabin, as did everyone they knew, back in the early 1900's, with seven children.  And my Kansas grandparents probably did the same, when they first came to Anderson County, with seven children from the first wife and more being born as they went along, to the second (younger) wife.  

But I digress.  As usual.

You've seen this wall over and over, so I won't bore you with a "before" picture here.

I've had these in mind for this spot, almost as long as we have lived here.  This is a pretty wasted space, normally.  It is the north end of the room.  The door to the entry hallway is to the left.  Of course you recognize that fireplace by now. 

There is a bit of a challenge back in the corner.  Originally there was a small base cabinet tucked in there, with a wall-hung cabinet over it.  The counter on the base cabinet was a good space for a telephone, but it's closer to use the wall phone in the kitchen.  You saw this little Hershey-painted cabinet in the previous blogpost. 

This could be, however, a good place to stash bulky things, or things we don't use very often.  Firewood in the winter.  Blankets and extra throw rugs in summer.

If you look closely, you can see I've set a blue plastic tote in the corner.  Standing in the tote is our fireplace wood caddy.  It has a leather sling that fits on it that can be slipped off and carried out to the woodpile.

These cabinets were bought pre-made at Lowe's.  They are poorly made.  The drawers are just plain cheap and not even of equal quality to the drawers in pre-made cabinets we bought twenty years ago.  Not worth the $119 each cabinet costs.  Soon, it's going to be no different than just using cardboard boxes.  I know that Hubs could've done a much better job if he had built them, but he wasn't willing to do that.  When Hubs digs in his heels, there is no point in fighting it.  He will always relent if given enough time, but I want to be done with this job.  So concessions were made.

That's what they're calling a middle shelf now.  Pitiful, just pitiful.

I always line my cabinets -- kitchen, bathroom, or otherwise -- with stick-down vinyl floor tile.  I use the cheapest I can get, and I line the drawers, too.  The cheap ones are thinner and easier to cut with kitchen shears.  Once installed, they are easy to keep clean with just a wipe, everything glides across them with no catching or bunching, and they look nice forever.  When you have your house up for sale, your cabinet doors and drawers always get opened, and it's just a little something that says, "I am clean and have been well cared-for."  It's funny, the little things that make favorable impressions on prospective buyers when they ought to be looking at more important things......  They cost about 68 cents apiece now.  They were half that price when I first started using them.
Hubs bought plywood that is smooth on one side to make the "counter tops" with.  When you buy wood, Lowe's will make two cuts for you for free.  So he had the plywood cut in half, lengthwise, while he was there.  He said that was a lot easier than him rasseling around with it by himself in his shop, and I agree.  I don't much like the big, open grain on finished plywood, but this project is a low-budget project.  If it was important enough, we could buy those oak veneer sheets and apply them.  But this cabinet will hold the TV and other clunky things and so I don't think the grain will be noticeable unless you're standing right over it.  He bought three-quarter-round trim and nailed it to the edge with his new battery-operated nailgun.  That's one of the perks of these projects for Hubs.  With every project, he almost always gets a new toy.

Here, he has closed off the corner.

That's Hubs, in the LaZBoy, which he's had to move out to the middle of the room because we had to temporarily move the TV to the south wall.

The holes are for sticking your fingers through, to lift off the panel.  Not sure I like them there, may turn them around where they will be on the other side.

We were fortunate enough to have a couple of days during which we could actually open up doors and windows.  The stain and even the polyurethane stunk up the house horribly.  Neither of us slept well that first night after the stain went on and I think it was because the odor filled the whole house.  Bowls of vinegar set out, and candles burning during the day didn't help much that first day.
When I saw how orange the stain went on I was pretty disappointed.  It's the same stain I used on the oak stair treads and the color looked so much the same as the floor that I had to put a rug at the bottom of the stairs because we nearly had a bad accident in missing that last step on the way down.  It just kind of blended in to the floor and looked like it wasn't even there!  This stain color is called "Gunstock".  In this picture we don't have the kick-plate up.  I can't get the wood to take the stain.  More work needed and I'm going to spend the afternoon in the garden today. 

So I'm not sure I like this as well as I thought I was going to.  It seemed like the application of the polyurethane toned it down just a little, but not as much as I'd hoped.  My only other options are to sand it off and start over again, which I'm not up to, at least for the time-being, or painting it.  I've decided to live with it awhile and see if I can tolerate it.  I was shooting for a "built-in" look, and I was afraid if I just painted it, it would just look like kitchen cabinets.  Which is, afterall, what they are. 

Eventually I want shelves on the wall that will hold some of my flea-market and garage-sale finds, maybe a few books and pictures, and so on.  I can't obstruct that return-air vent and they will have to be built around the TV.  So I haven't decided just yet exactly how these should be built.  They will only protrude half as far from the wall as the cabinets do.  I've not even broached this subject with Hubs.  He thinks he's done and he's ready to be done and starting to get a little sloppy.  Truth is, so am I.  This is a project for another time.  Maybe next winter.

We like to watch those shows on TV where people buy a dump of a house and redecorate it, then sell it for a profit.  There's one where a realtor and a decorator team up, the realtor finds a house the homeowner might like better and the decorator tries to fix up the current home so they'll want to keep it.  It's called "Love It Or List It".  I get a little tired of the decorator telling the owners, "It Won't Work", which is something Hubs loves to say.  There are also a couple of shows where there are realtor / contractor teams where they find a dumpish place that has good bones and convince someone to buy it based on how cute the contractor can make it look.  Ordinarily you might think this is a bad idea for Hubs to let me see these shows, due to the ideas they might cause me to get.  But a lot of what they do is not my style, and if it is, they do it by ripping out and starting all over, something that spikes the price tag of the remodel. When they buy new stuff for the remodel, they always go to The High-Dollar Store, or they pay some renowned craftsman to custom make it.  I can't usually do that, although Hubs often can substitute for the "renowned craftsman".  He and I, together, have enough homeowner skills that we can muddle through.  I don't like how they take a sledge-hammer to perfectly good windows and cabinets that might be repurposed, or at the very least, sold to someone who could use them.  It's mostly done for effect, and they let the homeowner wield the sledge, which I guess makes them feel powerful, I don't know.....  It always makes a huge mess that would be avoided otherwise.  Redecorating is messy enough without THAT.  But that and contrived bad stuff that they worry about happening, such as how the roof might fall in if they don't take out the window just right, or things that they find in the walls, ceilings, or under the floors that they don't expect, is the drama of the show.  Personally, I'd rather skip that kind of drama completely.  Even on a shoestring budget, such as our redecoration projects usually are, it can get expensive.  There are some things that just can't be skimped on, and some things that can, with a little extra thought and/or labor, to give the look I want.

Oh, here's the little chest you saw in the last post.  It was tan.  Someone had carved a swastica in the top.  And it smelled funny once I got that tan paint off.  It turned out to be just a little pine chest, like a kid would make in shop class, but I have always liked its shape.  Not a good candidate for staining, however.  So, a good coat of polyurethane to seal all the unpainted areas, some filler and sanding on the outside, some digging in the drawer for fancy knobs, (it had wooden knobs before, and one was broken), and about three coats of paint later:

We are having a beautiful day today and I have beet seeds and potatoes to plant, so I'm off to do that.  Hope you're having good weather where you are.

Rock on.....    xoxoxo


  1. Painted pieces seem to be in high fashion at furniture stores these days. I saw a turquoise blue shelf unit that was about 4 feet x 3 feet tall for $600 when we bought the living room furniture.

    I like the new cabinets and think the stain looks good with the floor in the picture. I probably wouldn't add shelves.....(don't tell Hubs I said that!) I like the simpler look. I am probably just thinking about dusting......

  2. I like the color of your cabinets. They go really well with the floor, and I see that Glenda has said the same thing.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  3. I thank you both for your opinions, which I do value. I was kind of expected the crickets to chirp on this one, you know, no comments at all because nobody wants to say anything discouraging... It doesn't seem to look so bad in a picture. Maybe the color will mellow out with time. Hugs to you both.

  4. I live in a pretty small house with NO storage apart from the cupboard that houses the hot water cylinder so compact furniture and cupboards that look neat are essential. What about a long hinge on the lid to your woodstore in the corner? So the lid could lean up against the fireplace and you wouldn't have to drag it over the horizontal surface or lean it on the wall when you wanted in there? I like the look of the cabinets without the kickplate but I can see that's not practical in real life - they look almost as though they are floating rather than joining up with the floor. Did you get the stain to stick eventually? I like the colour of the stain and also think it matches the floor well. Will it go darker with time, or fade? Your little cabinet looks lovely - so simple and neat.

    1. That's a good idea about the hinge. I'll ask Hubs about it.

      We've been taking a little vacation from working on the living room and I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about the color that the stain turned out to be. It's not too bad during some parts of the day, but when the sun shines into the room in the mornings it sticks out like a sore thumb. I don't guess I could be so lucky that it would fade with time, but who knows?


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