Storage

Get more storage out of a plain bookcase

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

I’m a big advocate of making what you have work for you, especially when you can repurpose something without spending too much time or money. This bookcase is a perfect example – it’s very useful to store beauty products and clothes but it’s kind of plain and not very interesting to look at and it could use some more organizing. So to make it work better in the room and get more storage space out of it, I gave it a few upgrades.

Small-bedroom-before-right-side

The first thing I did was to pretty up the back of the bookcase. I used removable double sided tape to secure beautiful wallpaper remnants I had on hand from a previous project. You could also use contact paper, but I find it can be difficult to handle at times to get a smooth finish so I prefer this wallpaper/removable double sided tape. 

Putting-in-wallpaper-with-double-sided-removable-tap

Next I made some small shelves out of scrap wood  – I cut 2 smaller pieces to make the supports, painted them white and used the same removable double sided tape to secure them to the sides of the bookcase, at the back. Then I simply placed the top of the shelf on the supports. 

Putting-in-shelf-support

Putting-in-the-top-of-the-shelfI had some wallpaper left so instead of painting another smaller shelf, I covered it with the wallpaper using Mod Podge. if you didn’t want to make yours, you can buy shelf extenders, most often used for pantries.

Covering-up-the-shelf-with-wallpaper

Smaller-shelf-with-wallpaper

Having those smaller shelves not only makes it easier to see what’s there, it also uses up more of the vertical space. As a result, I was able to free up a shelf and use it for shoe storage. The easiest way to make a shoe rack in a bookcase is to use tension rods.

Putting-in-tension-rods-to-make-a-shoe-rack

I put one in the back and one in the front, with the back one being a few inches above the front one.

Tension-rod-shoe-rack

The tension rods are so simple and they work great!

Shoes-on-tension-rods

The last thing I did was use some inexpensive cloth boxes that fit the depth of the bookcase (about 11″) to store clothes and other nicknacks.

bookcase-bottom-view-with-cloth-boxes

Now the bookcase is much more organized with everything easy to find, all for less than $25!

Bookcase-and-jewelry-storage-small-bedroom-makeover_square

Old IKEA kitchen cart gets a second life

While working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I needed to find a kitchen cart or island to add more counter space for food preparation. I considered buying a new a new island or building one from scratch but I opted instead to reuse an old IKEA kitchen cart that my friends already had. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew I could bring it back to life, and also make it even better by customizing it to work with the new look of the kitchen. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and the cart fit in perfectly in the new kitchen!

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

It started off looking like this and definitely had seen better days.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

Step 1: Removing the top

I removed the top by unscrewing it from the existing brackets – very easy.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-hack

Step 2: Replacing the old casters

The existing casters were worn down and didn’t work anymore so they needed to be replaced.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-before-casters

Because the new casters I bought were shorter (2 ½” inch ones) and had a bigger base, I needed to do a MacGyver fix: I screwed a piece of ½” plywood to the bottom of the legs and used that to secure the new casters to. 

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-casters

Step 3: Making the spice rack

The MacGyver fix for the casters created a shelf of sorts and it gave me the idea to use the space to make a spice rack. I had lots of wood left over from other projects so I used that to make it. First I  added some wood edging to pretty up the sides of the plywood. Then I attached a piece of ¼” thick plywood to the existing shelves to make the back of the spice rack.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-1

For the bottom shelf, I simply glued  a ¼” thick 3” wide pine board wedged between the legs.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-2

For the top shelf, I used small pieces of quarter round molding as supports for 1”x2” and then I glued another piece of ¼” thick 3” wide pine board to complete the shelf.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-3

Step 4: Sand and stain the base of the cart

By using all the different types of wood for the spice rack, the side of the cart looked a bit like a frankenstein.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-4

But by sanding the cart and staining it, it all blended nicely. I used an antiquing stain I had from IKEA that I don’t think they make anymore.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-5

Tip: I made my own sanding blocks by stapling sandpaper to scrap pieced of wood – works like a charm and it’s a lot cheaper than buying sanding blocks.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-stained

Step 5: Building the new top

a) The original top was 23” x 19” and I wanted to make the new top slightly wider and longer. I used four 1” x 6” boards to make a new top that’s 22” wide x 32” long. Because I had limited tools on hand, I kept this build very simple by using 1”x2” furring strips to attach the wider boards together.  I was using SPAX screws that don’t need to have holes pre-drilled but if you use regular screws, you’ll want to pre-drill holes before screwing the boards together.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-1

I wanted to be able to take this apart later if necessary so I didn’t put glue in between the boards. After doing 1 end and one side, I screwed in place the middle 1”x2″ which is cut short to allow the top to sit flush on the sides of the cart base, and I used clamps to keep the boards close together while screwing it in place.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2-part-2

b) Then I screwed in place the other end board and the last side board.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-3

c) The edges look thicker thanks to the 1”x2” but it’s not very pretty to look at so I glued and nailed ¼” thick 1” x 2” boards to the sides for a cleaner look.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-4

d) I stained the top with the semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called Wedgwood which coordinates nicely with the tiles in the kitchen makeover. I didn’t mind if the top got worn over time but you could also add a coat of polyurethane to protect the surface even more. Then all that was left was to attach the new top using the existing brackets.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-staining

It took a bit of time and effort to bring this cart back to life, and the total cost came in around $50 but it feels really great to reuse something that otherwise would have gone into a landfill, plus it gave me the chance to customize the cart to fit the kitchen perfectly and to make it even more functional. Win-Win!

Rental kitchen makeover vertical_front_view_web_watermarked

You can see the complete makeover of the kitchen in this video – enjoy!  

 

While working on a rental kitchen makeover for some friends, I needed to find a kitchen cart or island to add more counter space for food preparation. I considered buying a new a new island or building one from scratch but I opted instead to reuse an old IKEA kitchen cart that my friends already had. It was in pretty bad shape but I knew I could bring it back to life, and also make it even better by customizing it to work with the new look of the kitchen. I couldn’t be happier with the end result and the cart fit in perfectly in the new kitchen!

IKEA kitchen_cart_top_view_close_up_web

It started off looking like this and definitely had seen better days.

IKEA kitchen Cart before

Step 1: Removing the top

I removed the top by unscrewing it from the existing brackets – very easy.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-hack

Step 2: Replacing the old casters

The existing casters were worn down and didn’t work anymore so they needed to be replaced.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-before-casters

Because the new casters I bought were shorter (2 ½” inch ones) and had a bigger base, I needed to do a MacGyver fix: I screwed a piece of ½” plywood to the bottom of the legs and used that to secure the new casters to. 

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-casters

Step 3: Making the spice rack

The MacGyver fix for the casters created a shelf of sorts and it gave me the idea to use the space to make a spice rack. I had lots of wood left over from other projects so I used that to make it. First I  added some wood edging to pretty up the sides of the plywood. Then I attached a piece of ¼” thick plywood to the existing shelves to make the back of the spice rack.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-1

For the bottom shelf, I simply glued  a ¼” thick 3” wide pine board wedged between the legs.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-2

For the top shelf, I used small pieces of quarter round molding as supports for 1”x2” and then I glued another piece of ¼” thick 3” wide pine board to complete the shelf.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-3

Step 4: Sand and stain the base of the cart

By using all the different types of wood for the spice rack, the side of the cart looked a bit like a frankenstein.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-4

But by sanding the cart and staining it, it all blended nicely. I used an antiquing stain I had from IKEA that I don’t think they make anymore.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-step-5

Tip: I made my own sanding blocks by stapling sandpaper to scrap pieced of wood – works like a charm and it’s a lot cheaper than buying sanding blocks.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-spice-rack-stained

Step 5: Building the new top

a) The original top was 23” x 19” and I wanted to make the new top slightly wider and longer. I used four 1” x 6” boards to make a new top that’s 22” wide x 32” long. Because I had limited tools on hand, I kept this build very simple by using 1”x2” furring strips to attach the wider boards together.  I was using SPAX screws that don’t need to have holes pre-drilled but if you use regular screws, you’ll want to pre-drill holes before screwing the boards together.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-1

I wanted to be able to take this apart later if necessary so I didn’t put glue in between the boards. After doing 1 end and one side, I screwed in place the middle 1”x2″ which is cut short to allow the top to sit flush on the sides of the cart base, and I used clamps to keep the boards close together while screwing it in place.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-2-part-2

b) Then I screwed in place the other end board and the last side board.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-3

c) The edges look thicker thanks to the 1”x2” but it’s not very pretty to look at so I glued and nailed ¼” thick 1” x 2” boards to the sides for a cleaner look.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-new-top-step-4

d) I stained the top with the semi-transparent exterior stain from Behr in a color called Wedgwood which coordinates nicely with the tiles in the kitchen makeover. I didn’t mind if the top got worn over time but you could also add a coat of polyurethane to protect the surface even more. Then all that was left was to attach the new top using the existing brackets.

IKEA-kitchen-cart-staining

It took a bit of time and effort to bring this cart back to life, and the total cost came in around $50 but it feels really great to reuse something that otherwise would have gone into a landfill, plus it gave me the chance to customize the cart to fit the kitchen perfectly and to make it even more functional. Win-Win!

Rental kitchen makeover vertical_front_view_web_watermarked

You can see the complete makeover of the kitchen in this video – enjoy!  

 

How to organize kitchen cupboards to display china

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

dc296f1ea217849a68afadce55eb17d473c8fbfc9efbef98ee

A couple of weeks ago I helped my mom move into a new apartment. It’s a wonderful apartment but a bit smaller then where she used to live, so there isn’t enough space for her beloved china cabinet. It housed an exquisite collection of fine china my parents had accumulated over the years, and it was very important to my mom to find a new way to store and display the collection. When I saw the big kitchen plenty of kitchen cabinets, I got an idea to use some of the cabinet space to display some of the china.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-2

I used an inexpensive tension I got at the Dollar Store and placed it about a couple of inches above the shelves, and about an inch away from the back.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-with-tension-rod

Then it was just a matter of wedging the plates behind the tension rod to make them stay upright. They make a pretty backdrop and this also leaves room in front of the plates to either display more china or to store other things.

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-full-view-1

Now my mom gets to enjoy looking at her beautiful collection of fine china every time she opens the cupboards – another win for tension rods!

Kitchen-cabinet-fine-china-display-china-close-up

 

 

dc296f1ea217849a68afadce55eb17d473c8fbfc9efbef98ee

Nine DIY ideas to survive any small kitchen

I’ve experienced my fair share of tiny kitchens, the smallest of which, by far, was the one in my NYC studio apartment which was only 6 ft x 10 ft. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, I came up with a few ways to make that kitchen more functional, and have since added more tricks thanks to my move to a new apartment and dealing with that kitchen’s challenges. Hopefully these practical low budget DIY tips that I will share today will help you survive your small kitchen!

9-DIY-Tricks-to-survive-a-small-kitchen_edited-1

My first strategy in any small space is to use as much of the vertical space available as possible, be it on the walls, the space above the cabinets or the vertical space inside the kitchen cabinets:

1) Wall mounted magnetic spice rack 

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork. You can also easily make your own magnetic spice containers by gluing magnets to the containers like I did here

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

2) Add an extra shelf to your upper cabinets

You can also take advantage of the wasted vertical space in your kitchen cabinets by making a simple extra shelf. This 1 min video shows how easy it is to do without any power tools or making any holes in the cabinets so it’s easy to remove or change up the configuration as your needs change. It also helps to see what you have and makes another great place to store spices.

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-before-after

3) Use the space above the upper cabinets for storage

When every cubic inch counts, that space above the kitchen cabinets can provide a great place to store less-often used items. Using boxes protects the items from dust and grease you can make this low budget DIY project by recycling paper boxes and covering them with contact paper so they can blend in with your decor.

Boxes-above-kitchen-cabinets

Most tiny kitchens are “counter space challenged”, so my second strategy to surviving a small kitchen is to find ways to remove clutter from counter tops or creating more countertop space that’s usable wherever possible.

4) Add a shelf above the stove

The space above the stove often goes unused and in my NYC studio apartment where I had next to zero counter space, adding a small shelf on top of the stove added much needed storage space and freed up my countertop for other things. 

DIY shelf

5) Reconfigure the stove top

If you’re like me and rarely use more than 2 or 3 of the burners on your electrical stove at any one time, consider removing the heating elements from the burners you don’t use and covering them up with glass cutting boards. I did this in my NYC kitchen and having that extra flat surface available while cooking was really helpful – I honestly never missed having those extra burners, making the trade-off a no brainer. 

Add counter space with your stove

6) Unclutter the area around the sink with a tension rod or a curtain rod

Reducing clutter on the countertop will make the space you do have more usable. One way to still have what you need easily accessible but off the counter is to hang them from the wall. You can do this by hanging a curtain rod or even a towel and using bins or hooks to hang items or you can use a tension rod like I did in my LA kitchen. Having things off the counter also makes cleaning much easier!

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

7) Use a wall mounted knife rack

If you like having your kitchen knives easily accessible, a wall mounted knife rack is the way to go. You can use a magnetic knife rack or make a custom knife rack like this one I made for my LA kitchen. It’s very thin so even though it sits on the counter against a wall, it doesn’t take up much counter space compared to the bulkier traditional countertop knife racks.

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

My last strategy revolves around lighting – a tiny kitchen can feel cramped and having better lighting helps to make it more functional and also makes it brighter and feel bigger. 

8) Add under-cabinet lighting

Having task lighting where you need it is a huge deal in any kitchen, and the easiest way to see what you are doing at the countertop is to install under-cabinet lighting. It’s a quick project to do and there are many inexpensive options for LED lights that are low profile and don’t use much energy, like these lights from IKEA that only cost $25. Once you have under-cabinet lighting, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install it sooner!

Finished kitchen lighting

9) Add mirrors 

Adding mirrors in a small space is one of the oldest tricks around but there’s a reason for it: it works!  It will immediately make your small kitchen feel bigger and brighter, especially if you can reflect the light from a window. This trick made a huge impact on how I felt about my tiny NYC kitchen, and somehow made me a lot happier to cook in it and made it feel like it was twice the size. Not bad for just adding a mirror! 

Make a galley kitchen feel larger with a mirror

Hopefully you got a few helpful ideas you can use and I would love to hear what strategies you’ve come with to survive your tiny kitchen, so please share in the comments below!

I’ve experienced my fair share of tiny kitchens, the smallest of which, by far, was the one in my NYC studio apartment which was only 6 ft x 10 ft. Necessity being the mother of all inventions, I came up with a few ways to make that kitchen more functional, and have since added more tricks thanks to my move to a new apartment and dealing with that kitchen’s challenges. Hopefully these practical low budget DIY tips that I will share today will help you survive your small kitchen!

9-DIY-Tricks-to-survive-a-small-kitchen_edited-1

My first strategy in any small space is to use as much of the vertical space available as possible, be it on the walls, the space above the cabinets or the vertical space inside the kitchen cabinets:

1) Wall mounted magnetic spice rack 

Storing your spices on the wall is a great way of freeing up precious cabinet space in a small kitchen. You can make your own DIY wall spice rack by using a cookie sheet or pizza pan with magnetic spice containers – the colorful spices will also doubles as artwork. You can also easily make your own magnetic spice containers by gluing magnets to the containers like I did here

DIY magnetic spice rack 1

2) Add an extra shelf to your upper cabinets

You can also take advantage of the wasted vertical space in your kitchen cabinets by making a simple extra shelf. This 1 min video shows how easy it is to do without any power tools or making any holes in the cabinets so it’s easy to remove or change up the configuration as your needs change. It also helps to see what you have and makes another great place to store spices.

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-before-after

3) Use the space above the upper cabinets for storage

When every cubic inch counts, that space above the kitchen cabinets can provide a great place to store less-often used items. Using boxes protects the items from dust and grease you can make this low budget DIY project by recycling paper boxes and covering them with contact paper so they can blend in with your decor.

Boxes-above-kitchen-cabinets

Most tiny kitchens are “counter space challenged”, so my second strategy to surviving a small kitchen is to find ways to remove clutter from counter tops or creating more countertop space that’s usable wherever possible.

4) Add a shelf above the stove

The space above the stove often goes unused and in my NYC studio apartment where I had next to zero counter space, adding a small shelf on top of the stove added much needed storage space and freed up my countertop for other things. 

DIY shelf

5) Reconfigure the stove top

If you’re like me and rarely use more than 2 or 3 of the burners on your electrical stove at any one time, consider removing the heating elements from the burners you don’t use and covering them up with glass cutting boards. I did this in my NYC kitchen and having that extra flat surface available while cooking was really helpful – I honestly never missed having those extra burners, making the trade-off a no brainer. 

Add counter space with your stove

6) Unclutter the area around the sink with a tension rod or a curtain rod

Reducing clutter on the countertop will make the space you do have more usable. One way to still have what you need easily accessible but off the counter is to hang them from the wall. You can do this by hanging a curtain rod or even a towel and using bins or hooks to hang items or you can use a tension rod like I did in my LA kitchen. Having things off the counter also makes cleaning much easier!

Tension rod over the kitchen sink

7) Use a wall mounted knife rack

If you like having your kitchen knives easily accessible, a wall mounted knife rack is the way to go. You can use a magnetic knife rack or make a custom knife rack like this one I made for my LA kitchen. It’s very thin so even though it sits on the counter against a wall, it doesn’t take up much counter space compared to the bulkier traditional countertop knife racks.

DIY wooden knife rack with Glue Dots

My last strategy revolves around lighting – a tiny kitchen can feel cramped and having better lighting helps to make it more functional and also makes it brighter and feel bigger. 

8) Add under-cabinet lighting

Having task lighting where you need it is a huge deal in any kitchen, and the easiest way to see what you are doing at the countertop is to install under-cabinet lighting. It’s a quick project to do and there are many inexpensive options for LED lights that are low profile and don’t use much energy, like these lights from IKEA that only cost $25. Once you have under-cabinet lighting, you’ll wonder why you didn’t install it sooner!

Finished kitchen lighting

9) Add mirrors 

Adding mirrors in a small space is one of the oldest tricks around but there’s a reason for it: it works!  It will immediately make your small kitchen feel bigger and brighter, especially if you can reflect the light from a window. This trick made a huge impact on how I felt about my tiny NYC kitchen, and somehow made me a lot happier to cook in it and made it feel like it was twice the size. Not bad for just adding a mirror! 

Make a galley kitchen feel larger with a mirror

Hopefully you got a few helpful ideas you can use and I would love to hear what strategies you’ve come with to survive your tiny kitchen, so please share in the comments below!

My LA Balcony – Before and After

How time flies! It’s already been a year since I transformed my balcony from a sad worn out unused outdoor space into a beautiful cozy outdoor room. It was a lot of work but it was well worth it: not only has it given me more usable square footage, it’s also provided a much better view to look at from the inside of my apartment! 

LA-Balcony-before-and-after_edited-1

 

Finished-balcony-front-view-with-flowers-with-speaker

The first part of the transformation entailed sprucing up the walls. I did this by first making caps for the concrete walls – having the back of the caps extend up a few inches prevents things from falling to the ground and makes the top of the walls usable space. This also creates the illusion that my very narrow balcony (it’s only 3.5 ft wide) is a little wider. I made the caps using cedar fence posts and furring strips so they slide right over the walls and I painted them with a solid white outdoor stain. 

LA-balcony-wall-caps-before-after To give the tired looking walls a new look, I used a reed fence to make panels by stapling and gluing them to corner molding at the top and then screwing that into the wall caps. I love how it hid the walls and gave them a tropical feel. 

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 1

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 2Next I wanted to address shade and privacy. For that, I made lattice privacy panels using furring strips that I painted in a white outdoor stain. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-design

 

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-1

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2Since I’m renting, I didn’t want to make any holes so I used sisal rope to secure the panels to the bottom of existing columns and used zip ties at the top.

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2For the side panels, I had to get creative since there were no columns on one side. I ended using cabinet levelers at the top and secured the bottom to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-side-panelsThis video shows in detail how I made the wall caps and the privacy panels:

                  

Next came furniture and accessories: I wanted to create an area for lounging, eating and a little garden and it all had to fit my 10 ft x 3.5 ft balcony.

LA-Balcony-layoutThis required some custom DIY furniture so I first I built a storage lounging bench using inexpensive 2″x3″ and pine boards. By building a trap door for the top, it gave me a storage space to store gardening supplies and other things that can be stored outside. You can see the detailed steps for this project here.

DIY outdoor storage bench

Step-3-Complete-frame

Step-8-finished-bench-structure

Next, I needed a small table for the dining area. I found this inexpensive table from IKEA that was perfect but the top was a bit too small and I didn’t like the black legs. To give it a new look, I used antique gold rub n’ buff on the legs and then I built a new top  that slides over the existing one to make the table slightly larger. 

LA-Balcony-outdoor-table-makeover

For the garden part of my balcony, I didn’t have a lot of floor space to work with so I made a vertical herb garden by attaching metal planters to a trellis, which I then attached to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Herb-Planter

 

Herb-garden-full-side-view

Last but not least, I added some plants and hung a lantern to give my small balcony that outdoor room feel.

Finished-balcony-left-side-

You can see how I built the bench, and the other projects in this video here:

               

All the effort I put into this balcony makeover was so worth it – it has truly become an extension of my living space that I get to enjoy day and night.

finished-balcony-nighttime-

I hope you enjoyed this recap of my balcony project and that perhaps it will inspire you to make the most of your outdoor space if you’re lucky enough to have one! 

How time flies! It’s already been a year since I transformed my balcony from a sad worn out unused outdoor space into a beautiful cozy outdoor room. It was a lot of work but it was well worth it: not only has it given me more usable square footage, it’s also provided a much better view to look at from the inside of my apartment! 

LA-Balcony-before-and-after_edited-1

 

Finished-balcony-front-view-with-flowers-with-speaker

The first part of the transformation entailed sprucing up the walls. I did this by first making caps for the concrete walls – having the back of the caps extend up a few inches prevents things from falling to the ground and makes the top of the walls usable space. This also creates the illusion that my very narrow balcony (it’s only 3.5 ft wide) is a little wider. I made the caps using cedar fence posts and furring strips so they slide right over the walls and I painted them with a solid white outdoor stain. 

LA-balcony-wall-caps-before-after To give the tired looking walls a new look, I used a reed fence to make panels by stapling and gluing them to corner molding at the top and then screwing that into the wall caps. I love how it hid the walls and gave them a tropical feel. 

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 1

LA-balcony-wall-covered-with-reed-fence part 2Next I wanted to address shade and privacy. For that, I made lattice privacy panels using furring strips that I painted in a white outdoor stain. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-design

 

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-1

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2Since I’m renting, I didn’t want to make any holes so I used sisal rope to secure the panels to the bottom of existing columns and used zip ties at the top.

LA-balcony-privacy-panels-part-2For the side panels, I had to get creative since there were no columns on one side. I ended using cabinet levelers at the top and secured the bottom to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Privacy-panels-side-panelsThis video shows in detail how I made the wall caps and the privacy panels:

                  

Next came furniture and accessories: I wanted to create an area for lounging, eating and a little garden and it all had to fit my 10 ft x 3.5 ft balcony.

LA-Balcony-layoutThis required some custom DIY furniture so I first I built a storage lounging bench using inexpensive 2″x3″ and pine boards. By building a trap door for the top, it gave me a storage space to store gardening supplies and other things that can be stored outside. You can see the detailed steps for this project here.

DIY outdoor storage bench

Step-3-Complete-frame

Step-8-finished-bench-structure

Next, I needed a small table for the dining area. I found this inexpensive table from IKEA that was perfect but the top was a bit too small and I didn’t like the black legs. To give it a new look, I used antique gold rub n’ buff on the legs and then I built a new top  that slides over the existing one to make the table slightly larger. 

LA-Balcony-outdoor-table-makeover

For the garden part of my balcony, I didn’t have a lot of floor space to work with so I made a vertical herb garden by attaching metal planters to a trellis, which I then attached to the wall caps. 

LA-Balcony-Herb-Planter

 

Herb-garden-full-side-view

Last but not least, I added some plants and hung a lantern to give my small balcony that outdoor room feel.

Finished-balcony-left-side-

You can see how I built the bench, and the other projects in this video here:

               

All the effort I put into this balcony makeover was so worth it – it has truly become an extension of my living space that I get to enjoy day and night.

finished-balcony-nighttime-

I hope you enjoyed this recap of my balcony project and that perhaps it will inspire you to make the most of your outdoor space if you’re lucky enough to have one! 

Small kitchen ideas: add an extra shelf in your upper cabinets

Small kitchens can be challenging when it comes to storage, but you can easily create more by adding a small extra shelf in your upper cabinets. I did this in my kitchen cabinets in just a few minutes and it made a huge difference in how much I can store in there!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelfHere’s a quick 1 min video on how I did it or below you have the step by step:

Step 1: I cut a 1″ x 3″ pine wood board into 4 pieces: 3 supports for the shelf, about 5 1/2″ long, and one piece to make a shelf the length of the cabinet. I used a miter box and saw to do this but you could have your piece of wood cut at the hardware store, even easier! 

Step-1-extra-shelf-in-a-kitchen-cabinet

Step 2: Since I’m a renter, I didn’t want to make any holes in the cabinets so I used Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape to secure the supports to the inside of the cabinets. I put tape on the top and side edge of each support and on the back of the 2 side supports, pressing the tape to make sure it adheres well to the wood. 

 Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step 3: I trimmed the excess tape with scissors and removed the tape liner.

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-part-2

Step-3-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets Step 4: I installed the 2 side supports in the back corners of the cabinet, pressing them in place, put the remaining support in the middle of the cabinet, perpendicular to the back, and then simply placed the shelf on top of the supports. The tape on the top edge of the supports keeps the shelf in place. 

Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-supportsEasy-extra-shelf-inside-cabinet-finished-shelfThe second shelf makes use of the otherwise wasted vertical space – it’s the perfect spot for spices or smaller pantry items and it makes it really easy to see what you have in your cupboards. And the best part is that it just took minutes to do and it’s easily customizable and removable thanks to Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-side-view

* This post was sponsored by Glue Dots – all opinions are my own *

 

Small kitchens can be challenging when it comes to storage, but you can easily create more by adding a small extra shelf in your upper cabinets. I did this in my kitchen cabinets in just a few minutes and it made a huge difference in how much I can store in there!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelfHere’s a quick 1 min video on how I did it or below you have the step by step:

Step 1: I cut a 1″ x 3″ pine wood board into 4 pieces: 3 supports for the shelf, about 5 1/2″ long, and one piece to make a shelf the length of the cabinet. I used a miter box and saw to do this but you could have your piece of wood cut at the hardware store, even easier! 

Step-1-extra-shelf-in-a-kitchen-cabinet

Step 2: Since I’m a renter, I didn’t want to make any holes in the cabinets so I used Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape to secure the supports to the inside of the cabinets. I put tape on the top and side edge of each support and on the back of the 2 side supports, pressing the tape to make sure it adheres well to the wood. 

 Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets

Step 3: I trimmed the excess tape with scissors and removed the tape liner.

Step-2-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-part-2

Step-3-easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets Step 4: I installed the 2 side supports in the back corners of the cabinet, pressing them in place, put the remaining support in the middle of the cabinet, perpendicular to the back, and then simply placed the shelf on top of the supports. The tape on the top edge of the supports keeps the shelf in place. 

Easy-extra-shelf-for-kitchen-cabinets-supportsEasy-extra-shelf-inside-cabinet-finished-shelfThe second shelf makes use of the otherwise wasted vertical space – it’s the perfect spot for spices or smaller pantry items and it makes it really easy to see what you have in your cupboards. And the best part is that it just took minutes to do and it’s easily customizable and removable thanks to Glue Dots HybriBond Repositionable Mounting Tape!

Easy-extra-kitchen-cabinet-shelf-side-view

* This post was sponsored by Glue Dots – all opinions are my own *

 

DIY outdoor storage bench

I’m very lucky to have a balcony and since I live in sunny California, I definitely wanted to make my balcony feel like an extension of my indoor space where I could eat and lounge to take in the sun. The challenge was to fit all of that into a 3.5 ft wide x 10 ft long space. I just couldn’t find any furniture that would work so I designed and built my own DIY outdoor storage bench to fit perfectly on one end of my balcony. It provides seating for the dining area and it’s big enough for me to lounge on!

I built the entire structure using 2″x3″, 1″ x 6″ and 1″x2″ boards and you’ll see, it’s actually very easy to build: 

Step 1: Cut your boards

I had all my lumber cut at the hardware store to make things easier – you need to have 2″x3″ boards cut to make 2 frames for the sides and 3 frames for the middle, front and back. The measurements I’ve shown are for my bench, which is 39″ x 39″ and 17″ high (minus the feet and cushion),

Step 2: Build the frames

I used a corner clamp to hold the boards together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws.

A speed square helps to make sure that the middle board is at a 90 degree angle.

Step 3: Attach the frames together

I used clamps to hold the frames together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws. You want to put the screws near the outside edge and high enough to avoid the existing screws.

Step 4: Stain the frame and 1″ x 6″ boards

I stained the frame, the boards with a solid white weather proofing stain

Step 5: Add feet

I added feet made from 1’x2″ redwood boards to elevate the bench to facilitate water drainage.

Step 6: Attach the 1″x6″ boards to the frame

Place the first board flush with the bottom of the base and overhanging it to cover the side boards, drilling pilot holes before putting in the decking screws (1 1/4″ long).

I used a 1/4″ thick plywood spacer in between the boards so that the sides would go up past the frame to cover the top boards and to keep the cushion in place.

Step 7: Build the top

I attached two 1″x6″ boards at the back and 1 at the front of the frame.

Then I built a panel with 1″x6″ boards attached to furring strips (1″ x 2″), without leaving any gap in between the boards and making sure that the furring strips are inside enough so they don’t hit the frame of the bench when the panel is down.

I made a simple handle by drilling holes and knotting a string and attached the the panel to the back board with hinges. You need to leave some space between the front board and the panel to give it enough room to open easily.

I use the storage space for my gardening supplies and wood scraps but you could use plastic bins or large zip lock bags to store cushions or other things that need to stay dry.

Step 8: Add cushions

I made a cushion with 2″ outdoor foam and outdoor fabric that repels water – you can see how I made a similar cushion here.

The bench has worked out perfectly and I get so much use out of it, it was well worth the effort  to make it! It was only one of many projects that I did to transform my balcony from drab and boring to cozy and inviting. I gave the balcony walls a makeover and built privacy panels, which you can see here, and you can see how I transformed an IKEA table, hung a lantern and made an herb garden here.

I’m very lucky to have a balcony and since I live in sunny California, I definitely wanted to make my balcony feel like an extension of my indoor space where I could eat and lounge to take in the sun. The challenge was to fit all of that into a 3.5 ft wide x 10 ft long space. I just couldn’t find any furniture that would work so I designed and built my own DIY outdoor storage bench to fit perfectly on one end of my balcony. It provides seating for the dining area and it’s big enough for me to lounge on!

I built the entire structure using 2″x3″, 1″ x 6″ and 1″x2″ boards and you’ll see, it’s actually very easy to build: 

Step 1: Cut your boards

I had all my lumber cut at the hardware store to make things easier – you need to have 2″x3″ boards cut to make 2 frames for the sides and 3 frames for the middle, front and back. The measurements I’ve shown are for my bench, which is 39″ x 39″ and 17″ high (minus the feet and cushion),

Step 2: Build the frames

I used a corner clamp to hold the boards together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws.

A speed square helps to make sure that the middle board is at a 90 degree angle.

Step 3: Attach the frames together

I used clamps to hold the frames together to drill pilot holes and put in the screws. You want to put the screws near the outside edge and high enough to avoid the existing screws.

Step 4: Stain the frame and 1″ x 6″ boards

I stained the frame, the boards with a solid white weather proofing stain

Step 5: Add feet

I added feet made from 1’x2″ redwood boards to elevate the bench to facilitate water drainage.

Step 6: Attach the 1″x6″ boards to the frame

Place the first board flush with the bottom of the base and overhanging it to cover the side boards, drilling pilot holes before putting in the decking screws (1 1/4″ long).

I used a 1/4″ thick plywood spacer in between the boards so that the sides would go up past the frame to cover the top boards and to keep the cushion in place.

Step 7: Build the top

I attached two 1″x6″ boards at the back and 1 at the front of the frame.

Then I built a panel with 1″x6″ boards attached to furring strips (1″ x 2″), without leaving any gap in between the boards and making sure that the furring strips are inside enough so they don’t hit the frame of the bench when the panel is down.

I made a simple handle by drilling holes and knotting a string and attached the the panel to the back board with hinges. You need to leave some space between the front board and the panel to give it enough room to open easily.

I use the storage space for my gardening supplies and wood scraps but you could use plastic bins or large zip lock bags to store cushions or other things that need to stay dry.

Step 8: Add cushions

I made a cushion with 2″ outdoor foam and outdoor fabric that repels water – you can see how I made a similar cushion here.

The bench has worked out perfectly and I get so much use out of it, it was well worth the effort  to make it! It was only one of many projects that I did to transform my balcony from drab and boring to cozy and inviting. I gave the balcony walls a makeover and built privacy panels, which you can see here, and you can see how I transformed an IKEA table, hung a lantern and made an herb garden here.

Small bathroom jewelry storage with tension rods

If you need help organizing your home, tension rods might be the answer. I’ve used a tension rod above the sink in my kitchen to hold my sponges and dish towel and most recently, I put tension rods to good use in my bathroom:

I installed two tension rods ($1 each from the Dollar Store) between the wall and the existing mirror frame and used inexpensive s-hooks from IKEA (10 for $1) to hang necklaces from the top rod. The bottom rod is the perfect spot to keep my hair clips, and watches plus I also had enough room to hang my DIY earring organizer. With this set up, I see all my jewelry options at a glance and I always know where my hair clips are!

If you don’t have a place where you can use a tension rod, you can use a towel rail instead, like this one from IKEA (BYGEL $3), and secure it to a wall or a door.

Going vertical and using the wall or the back of a door for storage is a great way to maximize the space in a small bathroom and to keep your counters clutter free. If you want more ideas on how to use tension rods in your home, take a look at my Pinterest board – you’ll be amazed at what they can do!

If you need help organizing your home, tension rods might be the answer. I’ve used a tension rod above the sink in my kitchen to hold my sponges and dish towel and most recently, I put tension rods to good use in my bathroom:

I installed two tension rods ($1 each from the Dollar Store) between the wall and the existing mirror frame and used inexpensive s-hooks from IKEA (10 for $1) to hang necklaces from the top rod. The bottom rod is the perfect spot to keep my hair clips, and watches plus I also had enough room to hang my DIY earring organizer. With this set up, I see all my jewelry options at a glance and I always know where my hair clips are!

If you don’t have a place where you can use a tension rod, you can use a towel rail instead, like this one from IKEA (BYGEL $3), and secure it to a wall or a door.

Going vertical and using the wall or the back of a door for storage is a great way to maximize the space in a small bathroom and to keep your counters clutter free. If you want more ideas on how to use tension rods in your home, take a look at my Pinterest board – you’ll be amazed at what they can do!

Easy closet customization for renters

Customizing a closet can be challenging when you’re a renter but here’s a quick and easy way to add extra shelving in a small closet without using any power tools or making any holes in the walls:

Step 1: Have 3/4″ MDF cut into 3 pieces at the hardware store: 2 side supports and 1 shelf.

Step 2: Attach the side supports to the wall – since I’m a renter, I didn’t want to use screws to do this, so I used  Glue Dots repositionable sheets instead. They work well to keep the supports in place and since the adhesive is removable, I’ll be able to take out the shelf and supports easily without leaving any marks on the walls when I move out.

Step 3: Place the shelf on top of the supports, and you’re done!

 This was one of the easiest projects of my closet makeover and I love how it maximizes the vertical space at the top of the closet. I think I’m going to be doing this all my closets in the future!

Customizing a closet can be challenging when you’re a renter but here’s a quick and easy way to add extra shelving in a small closet without using any power tools or making any holes in the walls:

Step 1: Have 3/4″ MDF cut into 3 pieces at the hardware store: 2 side supports and 1 shelf.

Step 2: Attach the side supports to the wall – since I’m a renter, I didn’t want to use screws to do this, so I used  Glue Dots repositionable sheets instead. They work well to keep the supports in place and since the adhesive is removable, I’ll be able to take out the shelf and supports easily without leaving any marks on the walls when I move out.

Step 3: Place the shelf on top of the supports, and you’re done!

 This was one of the easiest projects of my closet makeover and I love how it maximizes the vertical space at the top of the closet. I think I’m going to be doing this all my closets in the future!

DIY Charging Station Shelf Combo

With the ever growing number of electronic devices that have crept into our lives, finding a dedicated spot to charge them all while keeping the wires tamed and out of sight can be a challenge. And when you live with roommates, the problem gets even more out of hand. So when a friend with this problem asked for my help, this is the solution I came up with: a DIY charging station/shelf for their entryway. It holds a power strip on the lower shelf where you can plug in the chargers and the devices rest on the top shelf, with all the wires and chargers hidden from view behind the door of the shelf.

Here’s how you can make your own:

Step 1:  Cut a 1″x6″x 6 ft pine board into 4 boards:  2 x 24″ and 2 x 5″ ( I had this done at the hardware store). You could also use 1″ x 4″ boards to make a narrower shelf.

Step 2: Drill a semi-circular hole in the middle of the top and bottom board using a 1 ½” diameter hole saw. Clamping a piece of scrap wood on top of the board before making the hole will help make a cleaner cut. The wires from the devices you’re charging will come out the top hole and the bottom hole is for the cord of the power strip going to the outlet.

 Step 3: Using a large drill bit, make several ventilation holes in the bottom. These will help dissipate the heat generated from the chargers.

Step 4: Before assembling the shelf, add L-brackets to the back of the top board – these will be used to secure the charging station to the wall or a wall panel.

Step 5: Assemble the shelf/charging station by following the same steps that I used to make my stove top shelf and then stain the wood (I used a Minwax stain in classic gray).

Step 6: Add a door – this is optional but it keeps the mess of wires out of sight. To make the door, I used 1/8” thick hardboard material that I had left over from another project and covered it with material from an IKEA curtain panel I had on hand, and then stained it with the same Minwax stain as the shelf. For the hinge, I used ribbon and upholstery tacks and to hold the door open, I used eye hooks and ball chain. I added a magnetic clasp to keep the door closed and for the handle, any knob will do. And now your charging station is ready to hang on the wall!

 This video shows in great detail the whole process of making the door, and the shelf, as well as how I made wall panels to create an entryway:

I love the end result of this project: a dedicated place to charge phones and an organized entryway!

With the ever growing number of electronic devices that have crept into our lives, finding a dedicated spot to charge them all while keeping the wires tamed and out of sight can be a challenge. And when you live with roommates, the problem gets even more out of hand. So when a friend with this problem asked for my help, this is the solution I came up with: a DIY charging station/shelf for their entryway. It holds a power strip on the lower shelf where you can plug in the chargers and the devices rest on the top shelf, with all the wires and chargers hidden from view behind the door of the shelf.

Here’s how you can make your own:

Step 1:  Cut a 1″x6″x 6 ft pine board into 4 boards:  2 x 24″ and 2 x 5″ ( I had this done at the hardware store). You could also use 1″ x 4″ boards to make a narrower shelf.

Step 2: Drill a semi-circular hole in the middle of the top and bottom board using a 1 ½” diameter hole saw. Clamping a piece of scrap wood on top of the board before making the hole will help make a cleaner cut. The wires from the devices you’re charging will come out the top hole and the bottom hole is for the cord of the power strip going to the outlet.

 Step 3: Using a large drill bit, make several ventilation holes in the bottom. These will help dissipate the heat generated from the chargers.

Step 4: Before assembling the shelf, add L-brackets to the back of the top board – these will be used to secure the charging station to the wall or a wall panel.

Step 5: Assemble the shelf/charging station by following the same steps that I used to make my stove top shelf and then stain the wood (I used a Minwax stain in classic gray).

Step 6: Add a door – this is optional but it keeps the mess of wires out of sight. To make the door, I used 1/8” thick hardboard material that I had left over from another project and covered it with material from an IKEA curtain panel I had on hand, and then stained it with the same Minwax stain as the shelf. For the hinge, I used ribbon and upholstery tacks and to hold the door open, I used eye hooks and ball chain. I added a magnetic clasp to keep the door closed and for the handle, any knob will do. And now your charging station is ready to hang on the wall!

 This video shows in great detail the whole process of making the door, and the shelf, as well as how I made wall panels to create an entryway:

I love the end result of this project: a dedicated place to charge phones and an organized entryway!

DIY Over the Door Hooks

The back of doors can provide valuable storage space when you live in a small apartment, and the back of my bathroom door in my NYC studio was the perfect spot for hanging my ironing board using plastic over the door hooks. But when I moved to my LA apartment and tried to use the same hooks on my doors, I discovered that they didn’t work because the space between the top of the door and the door frame was too narrow from too many coats of paint. My solution? Make my own over the door hooks using 5″ x 7″ aluminum step flashing sheets!

And they couldn’t be simpler to make:

Step 1: Use a straight edge to bend the flashing sheet – the edges can be very sharp, so handle carefully, or better yet, wear gloves to do this.

Step 2: Attach the hooks to a piece of wood which will be what you attach whatever you want to hang on the door. In my case, I attached the hooks to my tool organizer that I made to hang on the back of my closet door. I used multi-material screws from SPAX – they work with metal and wood and don’t require any pre-drilling but making a small divot with a nail prior to drilling helps prevent the screw from slipping.

Step 3: Screw the hooks to the top of the door to make sure they stay in place.

The door closes perfectly and my tool organizer gives me tons of much needed storage. You can see how I made it and how I converted a small coat closet into a mini-workshop/storage closet here.

The back of doors can provide valuable storage space when you live in a small apartment, and the back of my bathroom door in my NYC studio was the perfect spot for hanging my ironing board using plastic over the door hooks. But when I moved to my LA apartment and tried to use the same hooks on my doors, I discovered that they didn’t work because the space between the top of the door and the door frame was too narrow from too many coats of paint. My solution? Make my own over the door hooks using 5″ x 7″ aluminum step flashing sheets!

And they couldn’t be simpler to make:

Step 1: Use a straight edge to bend the flashing sheet – the edges can be very sharp, so handle carefully, or better yet, wear gloves to do this.

Step 2: Attach the hooks to a piece of wood which will be what you attach whatever you want to hang on the door. In my case, I attached the hooks to my tool organizer that I made to hang on the back of my closet door. I used multi-material screws from SPAX – they work with metal and wood and don’t require any pre-drilling but making a small divot with a nail prior to drilling helps prevent the screw from slipping.

Step 3: Screw the hooks to the top of the door to make sure they stay in place.

The door closes perfectly and my tool organizer gives me tons of much needed storage. You can see how I made it and how I converted a small coat closet into a mini-workshop/storage closet here.

DIY wall mounted wood knife rack

When you have a small kitchen, storage space is at a premium. While my LA apartment kitchen is a lot bigger than my NYC studio, I wanted to free up some prime top drawer space occupied by my knives. My solution was to design and make a DIY wood knife rack that’s a hybrid between a knife block and magnetic knife strip. And the best part? I built it in just 30 minutes for under $10 without any power tools!

Materials you’ll need:
– a piece of wood: mine was 11″ x 8″ and I used pine board I had left over from another project.
– Lattice moulding: 1 1/4″ x 3 ft ($1.50)
Birch veneer edging pre-glued iron (affiliate link) on ($6.50) or 1/4″x 3/4″ screen molding for $2.
– Glue Dots advanced strength double-sided adhesive sheets or wood glue and clamps

Glue Dots Hybribond repositionable mounting tape (affiliate link) – optional if resting the knife rack on a counter top

Step 1: Cut the veneer edging into strips the height of your piece of wood (8″ in my case) and iron onto the front of your piece of wood, at the edge. Repeat with 3 more strips of edging, ironing them one on top of the other. Repeat the process for the other end. This is optional, but I also added edging on the sides of the piece of wood for a cleaner look.

 Step 2: Determine the spacing for your knives and iron on the dividers the same way as in step 1.

 Step 3: Glue the lattice pieces across the top of the veneer edging dividers, with one at the top and bottom and one in the middle.  To make this project mess-free and go faster, I used Advanced Strength Double-Sided sheets from Glue Dots instead of wood glue and clamps for this step. I cut the lattice with a miter box and saw (affliate link) but you can also have this done at the hardware store.

I love the look of the wood so I left my knife rack as is but you could stain it or paint it. Then all that’s left is to hang it on  your kitchen wall or on the inside of a cabinet door. I rested mine on the counter and used a sheet of the repositionable adhesive from Glue Dots to hold it up against the tile. This was such a simple project to do and I love that I now have easy access to my knives and that I’ve freed up some of that precious drawer space in my kitchen!

If you want to give Glue Dots® a try, don’t forget to enter my Glue Dots® giveaway just for EYS fans! Connect with us on social media through the widget below to enter the giveaway (this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years to enter). One lucky winner will be selected and notified on Monday, June 30th.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected. Don’t forget to check your junk email after we announce the winner!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When you have a small kitchen, storage space is at a premium. While my LA apartment kitchen is a lot bigger than my NYC studio, I wanted to free up some prime top drawer space occupied by my knives. My solution was to design and make a DIY wood knife rack that’s a hybrid between a knife block and magnetic knife strip. And the best part? I built it in just 30 minutes for under $10 without any power tools!

Materials you’ll need:
– a piece of wood: mine was 11″ x 8″ and I used pine board I had left over from another project.
– Lattice moulding: 1 1/4″ x 3 ft ($1.50)
Birch veneer edging pre-glued iron (affiliate link) on ($6.50) or 1/4″x 3/4″ screen molding for $2.
– Glue Dots advanced strength double-sided adhesive sheets or wood glue and clamps

Glue Dots Hybribond repositionable mounting tape (affiliate link) – optional if resting the knife rack on a counter top

Step 1: Cut the veneer edging into strips the height of your piece of wood (8″ in my case) and iron onto the front of your piece of wood, at the edge. Repeat with 3 more strips of edging, ironing them one on top of the other. Repeat the process for the other end. This is optional, but I also added edging on the sides of the piece of wood for a cleaner look.

 Step 2: Determine the spacing for your knives and iron on the dividers the same way as in step 1.

 Step 3: Glue the lattice pieces across the top of the veneer edging dividers, with one at the top and bottom and one in the middle.  To make this project mess-free and go faster, I used Advanced Strength Double-Sided sheets from Glue Dots instead of wood glue and clamps for this step. I cut the lattice with a miter box and saw (affliate link) but you can also have this done at the hardware store.

I love the look of the wood so I left my knife rack as is but you could stain it or paint it. Then all that’s left is to hang it on  your kitchen wall or on the inside of a cabinet door. I rested mine on the counter and used a sheet of the repositionable adhesive from Glue Dots to hold it up against the tile. This was such a simple project to do and I love that I now have easy access to my knives and that I’ve freed up some of that precious drawer space in my kitchen!

If you want to give Glue Dots® a try, don’t forget to enter my Glue Dots® giveaway just for EYS fans! Connect with us on social media through the widget below to enter the giveaway (this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years to enter). One lucky winner will be selected and notified on Monday, June 30th.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected. Don’t forget to check your junk email after we announce the winner!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Easy removable lighting for closets

I’m very lucky to have three closets in my current apartment so I was able to dedicate one entirely to all my tools and materials. This was most definitely a wonderful upgrade from the closet situation in my tiny NYC studio! But the one thing that was missing in the closet was some lighting. After a quick search online, I found the perfect solution: LED battery-operated lights (affiliate link)!

They are very inexpensive at around $15 and can be installed anywhere. They are a great solution for renters like myself to brighten up a closet or a dark cabinet. To make mine even easier to remove later, I installed the LED lights (affiliate link) with a new product I discovered recently at the Home Hardware Show in Las Vegas: repositionable double-sided sheets from Glue Dots. I was given some samples to try and this project was perfect to see how it works.

A full sheet will hold about 2 lbs and the lights are extremely lightweight, so I cut one sheet in half and it was more than enough to hold one light in place. You simply remove the top liner, stick to the back of the LED light,  peel off the remaining liner and you can place your lights anywhere. The great thing about this adhesive is that you can easily reposition it if you need to and it’s easy to remove completely without leaving any residue on the wall.

It took no time at all and was so easy, I wish I had done this sooner. I love having lights in my closet and I think I’ll be doing this in my other closets too!

It took no time at all and was so easy, I wish I had done this sooner. I love having lights in my closet and I think I’ll be doing this in my other closets too!

If you want to give Glue Dots® a try, I’m happy to announce that Glue Dots® set up a giveaway just for EYS fans! Connect with us on social media through the widget below to enter the giveaway (this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years to enter). One lucky winner will be selected and notified on Monday, June 30th.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected. Don’t forget to check your junk email after we announce the winner!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m very lucky to have three closets in my current apartment so I was able to dedicate one entirely to all my tools and materials. This was most definitely a wonderful upgrade from the closet situation in my tiny NYC studio! But the one thing that was missing in the closet was some lighting. After a quick search online, I found the perfect solution: LED battery-operated lights (affiliate link)!

They are very inexpensive at around $15 and can be installed anywhere. They are a great solution for renters like myself to brighten up a closet or a dark cabinet. To make mine even easier to remove later, I installed the LED lights (affiliate link) with a new product I discovered recently at the Home Hardware Show in Las Vegas: repositionable double-sided sheets from Glue Dots. I was given some samples to try and this project was perfect to see how it works.

A full sheet will hold about 2 lbs and the lights are extremely lightweight, so I cut one sheet in half and it was more than enough to hold one light in place. You simply remove the top liner, stick to the back of the LED light,  peel off the remaining liner and you can place your lights anywhere. The great thing about this adhesive is that you can easily reposition it if you need to and it’s easy to remove completely without leaving any residue on the wall.

It took no time at all and was so easy, I wish I had done this sooner. I love having lights in my closet and I think I’ll be doing this in my other closets too!

It took no time at all and was so easy, I wish I had done this sooner. I love having lights in my closet and I think I’ll be doing this in my other closets too!

If you want to give Glue Dots® a try, I’m happy to announce that Glue Dots® set up a giveaway just for EYS fans! Connect with us on social media through the widget below to enter the giveaway (this giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 years to enter). One lucky winner will be selected and notified on Monday, June 30th.  If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new winner will be selected. Don’t forget to check your junk email after we announce the winner!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Easy storage solution for your clamps

I have lots of tools in my tool box and one of the things I seem to always be reaching for are my clamps. So here’s the latest solution I came up with to keep them organized and within easy reach:

 

A simple embroidery hoop (you only need either the outside or inside ring) hung a a hook does the trick – it makes it easy to store and easy to grab a clamp when I need one!

I have lots of tools in my tool box and one of the things I seem to always be reaching for are my clamps. So here’s the latest solution I came up with to keep them organized and within easy reach:

 

A simple embroidery hoop (you only need either the outside or inside ring) hung a a hook does the trick – it makes it easy to store and easy to grab a clamp when I need one!

DIY Hanging Purse Organizer

I was looking for a quick and easy way to store my purses so I could free up some shelf space in my closet, and looking at a length of chain I had lying around, inspiration struck to create this simple hanging purse organizer:

Best of all, it requires no tools to make: all you need is a length of chain (you can get this at any hardware store for ~$0.50 to $1 per ft), and some s-hooks (I got mine at IKEA – 10 for $1 but you can also find these at hardware stores).

To hang it, I used a carabiner (~$2.00 from any hardware store) which works great to hang on a hook or you can simply loop the chain around the closet rod and clip the chain in place with the carabiner.

Then it’s just a matter of spacing out the s-hooks to hang the purses in a way that makes them easy to see. You could also use the same system to hang hats, scarves, etc. And did you notice that my choice of purse colors seems to match the EYS logo? I guess I really do like orange and gray!

 

I was looking for a quick and easy way to store my purses so I could free up some shelf space in my closet, and looking at a length of chain I had lying around, inspiration struck to create this simple hanging purse organizer:

Best of all, it requires no tools to make: all you need is a length of chain (you can get this at any hardware store for ~$0.50 to $1 per ft), and some s-hooks (I got mine at IKEA – 10 for $1 but you can also find these at hardware stores).

To hang it, I used a carabiner (~$2.00 from any hardware store) which works great to hang on a hook or you can simply loop the chain around the closet rod and clip the chain in place with the carabiner.

Then it’s just a matter of spacing out the s-hooks to hang the purses in a way that makes them easy to see. You could also use the same system to hang hats, scarves, etc. And did you notice that my choice of purse colors seems to match the EYS logo? I guess I really do like orange and gray!