DIY walk-in closet

closet makeover in at home magazine

Hey everyone! Today I’m talking about one of our recent home projects that was featured in this month’s issue of At Home Magazine: the making of a walk-in closet in our home’s master bedroom!

closet makeover snapshot

Let’s start from the beginning…

The master bedroom in our home is fairly large. A dream for most homeowners, right? Well, that’s not always the case. For us, the issue was that the room being so large presented a lot of unused space yet didn’t solve our need for a larger closet. (Check out this old blog post to get an idea of the space).

closet before

For the three (almost four) years we’ve been living in our house,  I used the small-ish closet in the master (pictured above) combined with a dresser placed in a different part of the room, while my husband used the closet in the guest room across the hall to store his clothes. But with a baby on the way who would be taking over that closet, I knew we needed to address the situation sooner rather than later. The first option was for me to heavily pare down my wardrobe to make room for the hubby’s clothes. (What fun is that?!) Instead, I had a better idea…

closet before

What if we demolished the current closet, built a wall to close off that part of the room, and ultimately created a full blown WALK-IN  closet? My husband thought I was crazy and pointed out that by building a wall we’d be blocking a window in the room. My solution? Simply have the opening be directly in front of the window and use a door that had a glass pane on top to let light shine through. He couldn’t argue with that and started coming around to the idea. And thus the project began…!

closet makeover steps

The first step was to demo the existing closet, rip up the carpet, and start with a clean slate of space.

The second step was to build the frame for the closet followed by hanging drywall. To save money, we tackled all the above DIY style and enlisted the help of a fellow DIY-savvy friend. (Thanks, Ryan!)

closet makeover progress

From there, we hired a few professionals to do the mudding, taping, (this included scraping and refinishing the ugly cracked popcorn ceiling) as well as installing electrical (two LED ceiling lights + a dimmer switch). These weren’t costs we anticipated at the start of the project, but they were well worth the investment in the end.

damaged floors

After that, it was back to DIY. We took on the painting, trim install, laminate floor install (the plan was to keep the original wood flooring we found underneath the carpet but it was damaged beyond repair — see photo above), closet system configuration and install, and finally the door install.

sliding closet door

sliding closet door

The door was an original storm door on my grandpa’s house that had been used as yard décor in my mom’s garden. She was generous enough to give it to us knowing it was just what we were after. We gave it a good cleaning, cut it to size, painted it, and hung it on sliding door tracks that we bought off of Amazon — luckily these are much cheaper now than they were a year or two ago! (Psst — you can see the other DIY sliding door in our house here.)

closet after

closet after

closet after

The last part of the project came down to organizing and accessorizing. To make things orderly and easy-to-find, I opted for a variety of bins and baskets rounded up from around the house, DIY chalkboard labels and matching no-slip hangers that were on sale at Costco ($8 for a 35 pack!) Adding a rug, floor mirror and an assortment of décor items I already had on hand completed the project.

closet after

closet after

closet after

closet after

The bedroom is now better suited for our needs and we have more closet space than we know what to do with!

Side note: Shortly after we wrapped up this project, I saw interior designer Tera Janelle had completed an almost identical walk-in closet project for one of her clients. It’s crazy how similar it is! Check it out here.

SOURCES:

  • Laminate floor: Home Depot
  • Closet system: Easy Closets
  • 8-cube cubby organizer: Target
  • 2-drawer stackable floor organizer: garage sale find + added wheels (find it at Menard’s)
  • Baskets + bins: from Target, Home Goods, garage sales
  • Closet door: vintage, gifted
  • Sliding door hardware: Amazon
  • Paint color: Herringbone by Valspar
  • Mirror: Home Goods
  • Black non-slip hangers: Costco
  • Shag rug: Target
  • 2-bag laundry sorter: Amazon
  • ‘Oh la la’ wall art: Hobby Lobby
  • Necklace holder: garage sale

Check back soon for my next post featuring how this closet project changed the layout of the rest our bedroom!

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updates & things.

This has definitely been the “year of projects” at the Caban casa which has been making for lots of fun and exciting changes around our home. The issue? I haven’t been updating this blog with the deets! Once one project ends, a new one begins, or so it seems anyways. And who has time to document it all when you’re knee-deep in a DIY?! It also doesn’t help that my laptop copped out recently…

So rather than put each project posts out one by one, for now I am going to give a brief overview of what’s been done and what’s currently going on (you can see a few snapshots above, but I have more detailed pictured posts coming soon).

Here it goes:

You saw some of the summer projects I tackled here which included a fire pit makeover, installing [the start of] a stone path along the side of the house + an arbor, adding patio lights, sprucing up the garage door with some hardware, and making a DIY nautical wreath for the front door. There were also some other things that weren’t documented like a few landscape updates and new house numbers.

Other projecty/DIY things that took place in the last few months or so:

  • Install of a new AC (not very exciting but yay for energy savings!) as well as a Nest thermostat (read more about the Nest over on the Young House Love blog, which is where I first learned about it).
  • New bath + shower installed on second level. This was definitely not a planned project. A crack in the tub and a leak going through to the ceiling below made this a “neet to take care of NOW” project that we hired out.
  • New black matte door knobs installed (see here) on the main floor to replace the antique brass lever ones that our dog could open. Up next is the bedrooms + bathroom on the second level.
  • New paint in the basement. When we first moved in I painted the room a teal color (see that here) but later decided it wasn’t the best choice (for my taste) in that room. I opted for a more earthy-tone and painted it a subtle olive green in the shade ‘Curly Willow’ by Behr.
  • Kitchen makeover, part 3! Installation of new flooring + appliances. You can see my past kitchen projects here & here.
  • A few new light fixtures installed: eat-in kitchen (brushed nickel warehouse pendant), main floor bathroom (allen + roth 2-light hainsbrook standard vanity light), master bedroom closet (LED ceiling flush mount light).
  • At the tail end of fall I helped my mom with some curb appeal projects. This included installing the same garage door hardware I used for my house, plus picking out custom shutters & a gable vent to spruce up the house’s facade (see a snapshot here). She has a few other projects she’d like me to help with this spring that includes replacing the house numbers for a more modern option, adding window boxes, and possible opting for a new front door color.

Current projects:

  • For the past month now we’ve been making updates to the master bedroom. What started out as a “simple DIY closet expansion” one weekend has since turned into a full-blown room makeover with new flooring, lighting, scraped ceiling, a new furniture arrangement, etc. The end is finally in sight with this project and in the meantime, you can follow updates on my Facebook page!
  • Organization nation. I’ve been on an organizing kick since the start of the New Year. This entails getting rid of things that aren’t serving a purpose and making it so everything has a place. Some of the areas tackled so far include the pantry, bathroom vanities + medicine cabinets, the linen closet, bedroom closet, plus more. (Side note — I have yet to read the Marie Kondo book about the “KonMari” method of organizing, but would definitely like to in the near future! Have you read it?)
  • I am now writing monthly features for Rochester’s At Home Magazine. You can view the recent ones I’ve done here:

Upcoming projects:

  • See this wall right here? Well it’s coming down. Partially, anyways. To make the feel of our kitchen + dining space in the adjoining room more ‘open concept,’ we’ve elected to do a partial wall-knockdown from above the chair rail. Since the wall is load-bearing and likely has electric + plumbing running behind it (wah, wah, wah), we’re hiring this one out to the pros.
  • Project nursery. That’s right — a baby will be in the mix soon (July 2016), so transforming one of our guests bedrooms into a nursery will be next on the to-do list.

So that’s my latest project recap in a nutshell. I look forward to updating you with some detailed photo posts soon. Until then, however, follow my Facebook page for updates as that outlet gets posted to much more often than the blog.

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pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (vegan).

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

It’s fall which means all things pumpkin have made their way to the local grocery stores and coffee shops, and — if you’re like me — it has even invaded your kitchen, too!

Today I’m sharing a recipe I am loving that would be perfect for a fall potluck or just to have for a grab-n-go breakfast around the house. The whole wheat flour gives the muffins heartiness and the coconut sugar plus chocolate chips give them a perfectly balanced sweetness.

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (vegan)

Makes approx. 15 muffins

Ingredients — always use organic ingredients when possible!

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 can pureed pumpkin
  • 1 ½ cups coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 Tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, ground flaxseed, melted coconut oil and spices. Slowly add the flour, baking soda and baking powder while stirring. Add the chocolate chips last. Pour mixture into prepared muffin pan lined with cupcake liners and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

NOTES: You could use a different sweetener (maple syrup, agave, or cane sugar) in place of the coconut palm sugar, but I opted to use coconut for this reason:

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, “Coconut sugar is 70 to 79 percent sucrose and only three percent to nine percent each of fructose and glucose. This is an advantage, because you want to keep your consumption of fructose as low as possible, and cane sugar is 50 percent fructose.”

Coconut sugar has a taste similar to that of brown sugar and can be substituted for cane sugar in most recipes. Find it at your local Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or co-op.

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fire pit makeover + other DIY outdoor projects.

It’s been since March since I last posted?! How did that happen? I gotta hand it to all those bloggers out there who are able to carve out the time to make multiple posts each week, or just once/week for that matter. I certainly am not one of them — (read more about that here). But to that note — I do make a point to update my Facebook and Instagram relatively frequently, so if you want any “Simply Chic” updates, I encourage you to follow me there!

Anyway, with fall on its way, I figured I’d better take the time to highlight a few of my outdoor projects from the summer before snow is falling and they’re a distant memory.

before and after fire pit

First up is the outdoor fire pit! This wasn’t really a planned project, I just got impulsive one day and decided it needed a makeover. The fire pit was so rusted that ashes would fall out of the bottom and the cinder blocks surrounding the pit were noticeably uneven.

firepit before

I decided to start from scratch so I tossed the fire pit and removed all the rock and cinder blocks. (This was no easy feat!)

fire pit makeover progress

After I removed the pit, rocks and cinder blocks, I decided to widen out the area surrounding the pit to make it slightly larger.

DIY fire pit - after

I purchased a galvanized fire ring from Menards (I figure this won’t be as susceptible to rust like the one we had before) along with some pea gravel and used larger rocks found in the gardens around my yard to create the new fire pit. A few hours later and ta-dah — we had a new outdoor fire pit! All in all, the project only costed me the fire ring and a few bags of pea gravel, bringing the total cost to right around $50.

What do you think of the transformation?

—-

So while I’m here, let me show you a few snap shots of other projects I tackled this summer:

arbor

While I was at Menards getting the needed supplies for the fire pit makeover, I spotted this arbor that was on sale plus had a $40 mail-in rebate. I’d been wanting to get an arbor for the side of the house for quite some time, but all of them seemed to be around $200 which I wasn’t willing to spend. With the sale and rebate, this particular one came to only $50, so I pulled the trigger!

I had acquired some flagstone rocks that I used to start a pathway that will eventually go along the whole side of the house. I also plan to grow a clematis up the side of the arbor. One step at a time!

nautical wreath

Not too long ago I bought a pretty beaten-up wooden ship wheel from Goodwill for about $3 that had a bunch of corny beach-themed stuff hot glued onto it — something like this — but worse. I knew it could become something cool so I snatched it up. I pulled off all the attachments, sanded it down and spray painted it. Lastly, I wrapped some twine around the outer part and viola — a nautical summer door wreath!

DIY outdoor patio lights

If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen that I’d been talking about wanting to string patio lights on my deck. The only issue was I couldn’t figure how I was going to attach them to the side of the deck where the railing only goes a few feet up. I searched my Pinterest board and found this tutorial that gave me the idea of simply attaching long wooden lattice pieces to the side of deck and adding a some eye hooks to string the lights through. (You could put the wooden poles into the centers of planters like they did in the tutorial, but I didn’t want to clutter my already-narrow deck so I opted to screw them into the deck rail). So with the two boxes of string lights I got on sale at Target plus the wood pieces and eye hooks, this project came in at right around $25.

You can view a few of the other changes we’ve made to the deck HERE. Next up is a new coat of deck stain or paint (the one we went with last year had been peeling off, ergh) and possibly DIY built-in pallet seating in place of the dining set. Check out this example!

adding garage door hardware

Last but not least, I purchased a garage door hardware kit from Home Depot to add a little somethin’-somethin’ to the look of our garage. For a mere $19 plus 15 minutes of my time, this gave the garage door a major upgrade and custom feel. This is a great solution for any one looking for cheap + easy ways to enhance their curb appeal!

So there you have it — a roundup of some of the main outdoor projects I tackled this summer! Would you consider adding any of these projects to your to-do list next year? I’d love to know!

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closet clean-out & DIY shoe shelves.

Is any one else in spring-cleaning mode? In the last month or so I’ve been on a mission to tackle a lot of the projects I’ve been putting off far too long,  primarily the ones that are easy to ignore because guests of the house don’t see them, i.e. behind closet doors, cabinets, etc.

I realized I’ve done quite a few “big” projects and room makeovers around the house, so it was finally time I start tackling the smaller, not-so-fun guys. Exhibit A: our front coat closet.

coat closet beforeThe only thing this coat closet had going for it was the matching wooden hangers (thanks, IKEA), but it lacked organization and functionality. The walls were still sporting the sponge paint from when we moved in (see more of that repulsive paint here or here), shoes were always falling off the rack, the hanging shoe organizer was dirty and falling apart, and the shelf in the closet was too high for there to be a large enough clearance to get anything on top of it without spending five minutes shimmying it up there.

coat closet makeover

The first thing I did was take absolutely everything out and gave the close a fresh coat of paint to match the predominant color that we used throughout the house. From there I re-installed the upper shelf and coat rod, but hung it slightly lower so that there would be a larger clearance to easily fit bins up top.

DIY shoe shelves

After seeing this awesome closet makeover, I decided the best way to house all of our shoes was to make built-in shelves.  This was super easy and something I would recommend for anyone with a similar closet layout. I bought two long boards at Lowe’s, had them cut to the size I needed, and gave them a few coats of paint. While the shelves hold quite a few shoes, there still wasn’t room for all my flats (what can I say, I have a thing for shoes!), so I purchased a new shoe hanger to store the ones that didn’t fit on the built-ins.

DIY chalkboard labels

Lastly, I made chalkboard labels for the up-top storage bins to store out-of-season shoes and winter apparel. To make the labels, I taped off a section on wood planks from the craft store and painted them with chalkboard paint. I then hot glued them to these plastic crates I had bought on clearance at Target.

coat closet makeover

The one thing I have yet to do for this space is to install a row of hooks (something like this) along the left inside wall to hang things like backpacks, purses and umbrellas. I like packing as much storage and organization capability into a space as possible because a) it only makes keeping the house tidy easier, and b) it helps the home’s resale value.

What do you think of the transformation? Is this a project you’d consider tackling in your own home? I’m not going to lie… this particular closet clean-out now has me wanting to do a revamp of all the closets in the house…

Stay tuned for more spring cleaning and DIY projects!

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basement living room before + after.

Hi friends! I thought I’d take this lazy Sunday to show you a room makeover, as well as a mini gallery wall project I finished a few months back, which you saw a sneak peek over on my Facebook last week.

But let me give you a bit of background on this room first…

When we moved into our house, the basement was considered “finished,” but you’d never guess it by looking at the cold cement floors (covered with accent rugs), stark white walls and the surplus of cobwebs, not to mention all of previous home owners’ furniture and decor that wasn’t living up to the room’s potential.

Within the first week of moving in, we did a cleaning overhaul, threw some some color up on one of the walls for a pop, and had carpet installed from Lowe’s. The next phase was finding furniture that best fit the space (there’s already been some changes, including the coffee table switch-out which you saw here, and a chair swap which you’ll see below), and my favorite — adding in decor!

So are you ready to see how this space has transformed? Take a look!

BEFORE (MLS listing) PICS:

basement3 basement2  basement1basement4

PROGRESS PICS:

029002  024 026

Above shows what the room looked like a few months after we moved in. It was definitely an improvement from the ‘before’ state, but it still didn’t have that “finished” feeling and I soon realized a few of my furnishing choices (i.e. bulky coffee table and swivel tub chair) weren’t helping any. Fast-forward to today…

NOW PICS:

basement

You already saw ^this picture^ from the trunk makeover post, but I went ahead and took some of the other sides of the room so you could see the full monty.

basement

basement bar

basement

^cafe curtains disguise the electronic storage area and the ‘LOVE’ wall art conceals the electric panel.

reading nook

^need an ottoman? turn a wicker basket or wooden crate upside down and add a pillow!

The main goal for this space was to make it a hang out area which people actually want to hang out in, unlike before. This was achieved by giving warmth to the room with a simple carpet install, adding floor-length curtains (despite the small windows), making it feel homey with the right use of furniture and decor, and of course — adding in the “fun” hang-out features, i.e. a bar, mounted TV and surround sound.

As you probably could’ve guessed, I’m not calling this room “complete” by any means because there will always be an impending project just waiting to happen… Some ideas include painting the cabinetry below the TV, giving the countertop some sort of treatment (cement, perhaps?), and/or changing the accent wall to a new color. I’ll keep you posted!

Check back again soon!

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trunk makeover.

Hello! I’m back today with a new DIY/makeover post!

You might remember seeing my Facebook post about this trunk a while back. Here’s the full story… After realizing that the coffee table/storage ottoman we were using in our basement living area (this one, to be exact) was too large and didn’t really fit the style I was am trying to achieve in that room, I decided to hunt for a replacement.

I knew I wanted a piece that would still offer storage but not be as bulky… or brown. I figured, what better than an old trunk! I came across a few selections at local antique stores but they were priced at more than I was willing to spend ($200+), so I opted to go with a cheaper option that I found at Dwell for $60. But it needed some love…

BEFORE:

trunk before

The previous owner of this trunk slapped on some red and –gasp– painted over the top hardware. With some sand paper, paint & elbow grease, I was able to give it a new look…

AFTER:

trunk makeovertrunk makeover

trunk makeover

trunk makeover

trunk makeover

Luckily, I was able to sand off most of the red paint from the hardware. The remaining part of the project involved spackling the cuts on the top (as seen in the ‘before’ pic) and simply giving the trunk two coats of white paint (w/ primer). I have yet to add polyurethane to the top and line the inside with contact paper, but I’d say it’s made quite the improvement from its former look! What do you think?

See my other “trunk transformation” HERE.

More posts coming at you soon! Until next time…

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utility room makeover.

Hey all! It’s been a while since I’ve posted (what’s new, right?) so today I thought I’d show you a project I finished quite a while back but neglected to put on the blog. I suppose it’s because this particular project isn’t the most exciting… it’s a basement utility room after all.

I gave you a little glimpse of the ‘before’ state of this room in this post, but today I’m showing you the whole shebang! I was originally inspired to give this room a facelift after seeing how Jen spruced up a storage room in her house over at the I Heart Organizing blog.

BEFORE:

utility room, before

AFTER:

utility room makeover

So I just realized I didn’t take the time to mop the floors before taking this pic — whoops! The blame is on the dog!

BEFORE:

utility room before

AFTER:

utility room makeover

BEFORE:

utility room before

AFTER:

utility room makeover

BEFORE:

utility room before

AFTER:

utility room makeover

utility room makeover

BEFORE:

utility room before

utility room before

AFTER:

utility room makeover

utility room makeover

BEFORE:

utility room before

AFTER:

utility room makeover

So to give you a run-down of what was done to makeover this space:

  • the dingy floors were painted a clean gray using concrete & garage floor paint from Home Depot
  • the tile along the back of the room received a good wash and a fresh coat of white paint (as did some of the pegboard walls in the room)
  • the under-the-stair storage areas were organized and concealed with curtains
  • one wall received a coat of chalkboard paint
  • loose wires hanging from the ceiling were tied up
  • the large utility work bench that was accumulating clutter was replaced with two IKEA shelf sections to hold select kitchen appliances, bulk food & household items, etc.

The new space feels much brighter, cleaner and the added storage is definitely a game-changer! What do you think — would you consider giving a utility/storage room in your house a makeover? A little organization and a can of paint can go a long way! For more ideas, check out my ‘Garage / Workroom’ Pinterest board.

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board & batten in the guest bathroom.

Hey guys! Remember a while back when I showed you our guest bathroom makeover? Well it got another upgrade… a board and batten towel hook wall!

Check it out…

before

I ended up selling my DIY towel hook you see above and figured it was about time to clean the dust off my nail gun…

progress ^progress pic taken on phone

after

board and batten wall

board and batten wall

^ a view from the outside of the bathroom

guest bedroom

I bought the lattice strips for around $10 at Home Depot and I scored the hooks for 50% off ($2.49/ea) at Hobby Lobby. Since I already had a nail gun, paint & caulk, the total of this project came to just under $20.

For a detailed board and batten tutorial, I recommend this one.

Now I am on the search for three matching frames to do something like this above the hooks to make the wall feel complete.

And in case you’re curious or missed it,  you can view my DIY industrial sliding door post HERE.

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30-day vegan challenge.

vegan

Happy Monday! My apologies for the lack of posts lately, but you know my blogging style

Anyway, I’m taking a break from home / DIY posts today to talk about something on a different topic: veganism.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, it’s no secret that I am a vegetarian with a passion for healthy + organic living. I became vegetarian when I was 18-years-old after discovering the negative impact that consuming meat has not only on our bodies, but on the environment as well. Fast forward to today, seven years later… The several books I’ve read (i.e. Crazy Sexy Diet, Skinny Bitch, Eat Pretty, etc) along with the documentaries I’ve watched (i.e. Forks Over Knives, Food Matters, Food Inc., Vegecated, etc) have supplied me with substantial evidence for why a plant-based diet is so beneficial for a variety of reasons. (I won’t get into those reasons, but I highly recommend reading or watching any of the titles listed above for a plethora of valuable information).

With all that info that I can’t “un-know” subtly taunting me at every bite of a grilled cheese or omelette, I can’t help but feel a tinge of guilt. While adopting a vegetarian lifestyle (with an emphasis on buying local and organic) has definitely been a step in the right direction for me, I’ve always had a nagging feeling I could be doing more. More for my health, more for the planet, more for the animals — and in that order. (To elaborate — environmental sustainability and compassion for animals is indeed important to me, but the ring leader in all of this is the health factor. Just read a few of these success stories and tell me you don’t feel compelled to eat a more plant-based diet…)

Which brings me to the root of today’s post: I am embarking on a 30-day vegan challenge. I read this book and tried the challenge earlier in the year but only made it just over two weeks. This time around I am aiming for the full 30 days (hence the public blog announcement for accountability…) and possibly even adopting this new way of eating permanently. Key word: possibly. Update to follow, post challenge.

I’m excited that a co-worker of mine has also decided to join me on this challenge and even my husband (a full-fledged meat eater) is giving it a go for one week! —> *impressed wife*

As for what I’ll be eating, I am keeping a daily food journal (let me know if you’re curious/interested and I can give brief week-to-week updates or an overall 30-day review) and I’m sourcing recipes from a variety of my favorite food blogs, i.e.: Minimalist Baker, This Rawsome Vegan Life, The Simple Veganista, My Whole Food Life, etc.,  as well as my go-to vegan cookbooks, i.e. Chloe’s Kitchen, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, and Oh She Glows.

What do you think — would you ever consider doing a vegan (or even vegetarian) challenge?

quote

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