21 October 2014

Fauxdenza (Part 2) - Staining and Styling


Our fauxdenza is finished and we couldn't be happier. In the last post, I showed you how we built the cabinets and hung them along the wall in our kitchen. 


For fun, let's rewind even more and see how things looked pre-shelves. Back when we just had a teeny bar cart.


Don't get me wrong, I love that bar cart and it was an awesome thrift find. Unfortunately, things looked so awkward when we just had the bar cart alone because it was so small and that space is so large. We were in need of a larger, more practical storage solution.


Now that the fauxdenza is finished, that side of the kitchen finally looks complete. The fauxdenza looks like its always been there. I can't quite explain why, but that part of the kitchen also looks larger to me, now. I think choosing a narrow storage solution that ran along the length of a big wall was a smart choice over adding a hutch or large piece of furniture that came over a foot from the wall. 

We spend so much time in our kitchen that it feels good to have this project complete. (Now to find time to work on those french doors next..)


So how did we finish it? 

Once the cabinets were hung, all we had left to do was stain and install the top. I found this gorgeous solid wood panel at Lowes. It was made for staining and the design of the wood planks is gorgeous. By luck, it just happened to be 1'x6', the exact measurement of our fauxdenza. (As a side note they also had other sizes with smaller or larger lengths and widths. )


Once I saw the planked design I was sold and you couldn't convince me to get a piece of wood cut down to size. Here is a closer look at the design of the wood, pre-stain.


And how things look mid-stain. The color I chose was Rust-Oleum American Walnut. I wanted something that would compliment the kitchen table set and my usual go-to for all things stain (dark walnut) just wasn't going to cut it here. I needed a warm, red tone. This is actually the color I should have done our dressers in our bedroom to better match the nightstands, but oh well. 


Three coats of stain and two coats of polyurethane (with a very fine sand between, this is key) was all it took before the top was finished. I couldn't wait to put the top on and start filling up those cabinets and styling the top. We decided right away that this was going to serve as a bar in our kitchen.


We opted not to add wood pieces to the sides of the fauxdenza because we liked the look of a single wood top better. For the look of our kitchen the wood sides would have been too much. The styling of the fauxdenza needs some tweaking, but for now I'm happy with how it looks. I also love the pop of color from my Honey Lake Studio print. 


To prevent drips from ruining the finish of the wood, I'm storing all our bottles in this metal tray I scored from Target a few months back. I'm excited to finally get to display some of my pretty glassware from Anthropologie.


A big pro to having this fauxdenza is that we now have a lot of additional storage space in our kitchen. I wanted to be able to store glassware and other bar accessories in the same area as our 'bar' as opposed to keeping them in the dresser in the adjacent room. Now we finally have everything in one place. 


You can see the vast amount of storage we now have. I'm not done filling those shelves, yet, but I was happy to clear our cookbooks off the top of our fridge and to be able to tuck some of the lesser used bottles away.


Yes we have a lot of booze, but Jordan and I both work (well I used to work) in the booze industry. In the words of Bethenny Frankel "Booze bought this house." So for us it's totally appropriate to have a piece of furniture dedicated to our booze.  


A few shots of the beautiful wood top, because I'm pretty proud of my stain job here. I have definitely improved my staining skills since tackling the dressers. This top is so much smoother and looks so much nicer than my last project. As I mentioned above the key is a good, fine sand between poly coats. Makes a huge difference in the feel of the finish.


Many of the tutorials I read used a veneer edging on their wood tops, but we liked the look of the raw edge and decided to keep it as is. 


I'm still deciding if I want to keep the shelf and frame on the wall next to the french doors. The hooks are convenient for holding the dog collar and leash, but I'm wondering if it looks too cluttered now with the fauxdenza. We are also still contemplating installing a long shelf above the fauxdenza to store some of our pretty glassware. This would mean we would need to find a new home for our painted canvas.


What do you all think? Keep the painting or install a shelf? Keep the small shelf or find a new home?

09 October 2014

Fauxdenza (Part 1) - Building & Installing the Cabinets

I hope you're ready for a photo overload because this post is jam packed. Side note: if you don't already, but sure to "like" A Simple Kind of Life on Facebook (link to the right). Throughout this process I was posting sneak peek shots of our progress. I also often share behind the scenes photos that don't make to the blog and sometimes not even my Instagram account.


Part 1 of our fauxdenza DIY is complete. We have all three cabinets built and hung securely on the kitchen wall behind our table. We still need to stain and install the wood top, but I wanted to share our progress so far. Tuesday was fauxdenza day in our house. My mother in law took the girls for a few hours so we could tackle the project.


The cabinets themselves were actually very easy to assemble and with us doing them together, took no time at all. We did not attach the doors or insert the shelves at this point as we needed to hang them on the wall first.


Once the cabinets were together, it was time to hang. We purchased a suspension rail from Ikea to mount the cabinets. Each cabinet measures two feet wide, totaling 6 feet for the entire fauxdenza. The suspension rail is about 80" wide so it needed to be cut down.


Since our floor isn't smooth we stacked the cabinets vertically so we could line the suspension rail up against the cabinets and mark where to cut. Our reason for measuring against the cabinets and not just cutting at 6 feet is that we wanted the rail to be slightly smaller than 6 feet so you wouldn't see it from the sides of the fauxdenza.


Ikea suggested using a regular manual saw to cut the suspension rail, but we quickly saw that option wasn't going to do the job. Instead, Jordan used a scroller saw and with the exception of a few hiccups where the blade came out, the saw worked great and was pretty quick to cut the rail.


With the rail cut, we now needed to decide the height that we wanted the cabinets so we could measure where the rail was going to have to be installed. Because of the length of the fauxdenza (6 feet), we lucked out that we were hitting 4-5 studs in the wall meaning this was going to be pretty secure. Using the instructions from Ikea we marked out the spots on the wall and prepped to hang the suspension rail.


That's when we hit a bump in the road. We always have a bump in the road with every big project we tackle.

Drill round one. 


Whoops. Apparently when I took photos of our mudroom progress I forgot to plug the drill charger back into the wall to charge the battery. That and the backup batter was already dead. It wasn't long before we realized that our progress was stuck and we didn't have enough juice to install the anchors for the rail. After a lunch break and the realization that it was going to take several hours to charge the drill enough to do what we needed, Jordan decided to run to Lowes and purchase a drill that could be plugged in.

Drill round two = success!


After hanging the suspension bar we attached the cabinets, using Ikea's instructions. Once all three cabinets were hung, we noticed a slight gap between the the middle and right cabinets. This is when we realized that our wall isn't completely flat. 


The gap was too big to just let be (we wanted it to look as seamless as possible from the front so you couldn't tell that it is actually made of three separate pieces), so we opted to adjust where it would be easier to hide.


We lifted the suspension bar away from the wall until the cabinets were flush. It looks like a huge gap, but it's actually less than an inch (about .75"). We briefly considered shimming the gap with some wood, but because the rest of the cabinets are so secure, we didn't feel it was necessary and also didn't want people to see the wood looking sloppy. The screw is long enough that it is still very secure into the wall, plus it hits an anchored stud for extra support. In addition, there are 5 very secure screws along the rest of the fauxdenza to hold it in place on the rail. 


As you can see the results were much better. The Ikea cabinets came with screws so you could screw side by side cabinets together in the inside, also tightening any gap that may show between. 


Once finished the cabinets looked great and smooth.


Here's a shot of how our kitchen looked most of the day while we tackled the project. 


The last two steps were inserting shelves and installing the doors, both of which were fairly simple and straightforward. This is the point where we decided to call it a night. It was past dinner time and the kids were home at this point.



So you can see where we stand with the fauxdenza. It already looks amazing and I'm excited to finish the top, fill those shelves and style the storage unit.



This morning I stop by Lowes and picked up all the supplies needed to finish the fauxdenza. I'm hoping to finish this weekend with results first thing next week. 


What do you all think so far?


07 October 2014

Mud Room Update

I thought today would be a good day to give a quick update on the progress of the mud room. We aren't working on this room full force, but I have been adding pieces here and there and there is definitely a difference in how the room looks now compared to before.


In case you forgot, here is how the room looked after we moved in and sort of threw everything there.


And here was the mood board I shared showing my plans for the space.


Now the room is looking much better and is starting to reflect the plan! 

Sorry for the poor lighting in these photos. I had to work with whatever came in the windows and any light I could steal with the garage door propped open.


You can see I swapped out the baskets for under the bench. I originally wanted striped baskets, but when I saw these at Homegoods I knew they were the perfect size, shape and color for our mud room. They will be used to store hats, gloves, scarves, etc.

I love, love these pillows. They are so beautiful that at first I wasn't sure I wanted them to be in our mud room, but I really want to make this a cozy, finished space since it's the first room we enter every time we come home. Plus I like the idea of having pillows to lean against to sit and take shoes off. Be sure to check out BohoPillow on Etsy for more of these gorgeous covers.


I'm so glad I purchased this West Elm rug. I waited for a bit for it to go on sale and once it did, I snatched it right up. It offers the perfect combo of pretty and durable. I won't mind people trudging their wet shoes over this rug as it's made very well. 


I snagged some succulents I had on our front porch and relocated them on this sunny spot in the mud room. I like the idea of having some greens in this space. I don't want the mud room to be a cold pass through room where we just dump shoes and coats. I want it to feel like we put a little love into the space, too.


I'll admit the rest of the room is still a mess, which is why you are only seeing this small corner. It's still huge improvement from before.


Here's a peek inside the Ikea wardrobe where I'm storing my craft supplies for easy access when I need a quick kid distraction. I can always rely on paint, scissors or felt to settle a meltdown or give me some time to clean up or put Mila down for a nap.




We still have to tackle the curtain wall I mentioned before. We just haven't gone out and measured and priced out a track. I also did buy the Crate and Barrel pendant light when it went on sale a few weeks back. We have it ready to hang, it's just still sitting in the box. :)

Now we're off to start building our fauxdenza. Look for some updates this week!