Tag Archives: before and after

a laundry list of things to do

We’ve got a big new project brewing that is going to change our lives forever! And no, it’s not a baby.

On the second floor we have this middle bedroom that we’re currently using as a “dressing room”. We have some dressers, a couple of clothes racks, and a whoooooole lotta dust and general grossness. I hate that room. I prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist and spend as little time in there as humanly possible. The paint is peeling, the walls are crumbling, the lighting is terrible, and there’s a gaggle of dust bunnies in any given corner at any given time, regardless of how often I vacuum. It’s one of those rooms where if you drop an item of clothing on the floor, it needs to be shaken out rigorously to get the dust and animal hair off it. Or really it needs to be thrown back in the laundry, which brings us to our second problem.

The washer and dryer are in our even grosser basement. There is no five-second rule for dropping something on the floor down there. If you should happen to let a pair of undies slip through your arms on their way to the dryer, just give it up, they’re goners. On top of the general unpleasantness of doing laundry in the basement, our dryer broke a few months ago, which means everything gets line-dried. Our towels are crispy, our sheets take two days to dry, and underwear really just never snaps back to its original form, leading to an inordinate amount of wedgies, and even once dry, our clothes smell like a gnarly basement. On top of which at this point, I’m convinced the washer doesn’t really wash anymore, so the dog and cat hair remains embedded in every fiber of every garment we own, and everything smells vaguely like moldy water. It’s really a sad state of affairs at the Passyunk Palace.

We’ve had the idea for a while now to convert the “dressing room” into a laundry room/linen closet/walk-in-closet dealie. The dryer issue has sealed the deal and made us speed up our plans. Since the room has two doors – one that goes in from the hallway, and one that goes in from the bedroom, we’re going to split the room in half and have one side be a walk-in closet for the bedroom, and the other side be a laundry room and linen closet from the hallway.

I have very high hopes for this project. In addition to being able to conveniently and thoroughly clean our clothes, the closets are going to open up a whole new world of storage possibility. I’ve been daydreaming about things like having shelves full of neatly folded stacks of sheets, rubbermaid bins full of extra blankets and pillows, boxes of off-season clothes, hanging space for winter coats, a permanent home for the vacuum, and a shelf full of extra toiletries. For once in my life, I’ll be able to buy a 12-pack of toilet paper!! And yes, I realize I should be a little concerned over feeling so happy about 12 packs of toilet paper. The upshot is that we will be finally getting closer to cleaning up the house – having a place for everything and everything in its place. Because right now we don’t have a place for anything, and everything is just hanging out in plain sight. And it’s making me crazy.

So consider yourself among the privileged few to see the “before” shots, as this room is the biggest embarrassment of the house and is normally off limits to visitors:

laundry room - before

laundry room - before

laundry room - before

laundry room - before

laundry room - before

laundry room - before

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$5 facelift

A couple of weeks ago we were having a few people over for Greg’s birthday. The morning of the party, I had to run out to the local grocery store to pick up a few things I’d forgotten. Much to my dismay, it was a prime sidewalk sale day, and here I was stuck inside cooking and cleaning. On my way to the store, I spotted a guy selling a primo tv/bar cart, just ripe for the refinishing. I could hardly contain my excitement, and breezed through Acme as fast as possible lest someone else snatch up my find. Luckily it was still there when I came back, and after paying the guy $5 it was mine, all mine. I rolled it back four blocks to my house in the stifling heat, smiling all the way. It was so loud all the neighbors probably thought I was a homeless guy pushing his Home Depot shopping cart full of prized posessions (side note – the Home Depot near our house must be pretty lax in their shopping cart security, because that seems to be the cart of choice for all the locals to steal). A block away from the house I was giggling to myself thinking about how Greg would roll his eyes when I showed him the newest piece of crap that I dragged home with the intention of fixing up. When I looked up, he was actually at the other end of the block walking toward me on his way to the DMV, and he saw me and stifled a laugh. I waved my arms really big as if to get his attention and shouted, “HEEEEY!!!! LOOK WHAT I GOT FOR US!!!! ARE YOU SO EXCITED??!@#!#??” He couldn’t help but laugh, and when he got closer he gave me the typical trying-to-be-nice reply “Oh….um, yeeeaaahhhh…that’s cool…..” Sort of like his reaction when I first brought him to see the house we now live in. Coincidentally, when I showed it to our friend who came to the party, she said she swears she saw it out on the street on the other side of the city the week before, and tried to take it but it wouldn’t fit in her car. Luck for me it made the rounds through the trash-picking scene and right into my heart.

bar cart - before

bar cart - before

After cleaning it up a bit, I painted the fake wood parts white, and left the chrome frame untouched. I also covered the surfaces with some paper from The Paper Source and topped it off with clear contact paper to make it water resistant. It came out pretty nicely for a first try I think. I’m still not sure how all the colors look together, the chrome feels a little too busy, so I might eventually wind up painting that too.

bar cart - after

bar cart - after

bar cart - after
Now the big question is where to put it?

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oh sweet completion

Bedroom: done! And just in time for a weekend visit from my brother and his family. There’s nothing like having overnight guests to get your ass in gear with the house. Although it was stressful toward the end when we were quickly running out of time, now we can sit back, relax and enjoy our lovely new bedroom. I wish these pictures came out better, but we’re hard put to find a sunny day in Philadelphia these days.

The room isn’t actually 100% done, but it’s mostly set. All that’s left is putting shelves in the closet, new curtains, and a rug. Oh, and replacing those ugly doors, but that’s a slightly bigger project.

I dare say that this was the smoothest experience we’ve had with the house. We took our time, did everything about as properly as possible, and didn’t settle for a color we didn’t like, even after painting almost an entire coat. We completely emptied out the room and covered the entire floor with plastic – a much better method than trying to work around the bed and hopping from one piece of plastic to another, spilling big globs of paint in between. Granted, it feels like it’s taken forever, but I think it’s worth it in the end.

And now a well-deserved rest this weekend.

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