Thursday, April 2, 2020

DIY Dog Gate

As I mentioned in my entryway organizer post, the door from the garage into the house opens into a tiny entryway which is at the top of the basement stairs. 

My dog always greets me in this entryway. To ensure she doesn't fall down the stairs, I placed a baby gate.

The gate served its safety purpose, but it was ugly. It was also annoying because I had to remove the gate and set it aside every time I needed to go down the stairs. I wanted a gate I could simply swing open, but I faced a challenge. The gate could not swing into the entryway because it would block the entry on one side or the other. Therefore, the gate had to swing into the stairwell. But it could not swing to the left side because that's where the handrail is located, and it could not swing to the right side because there is a horizontal "shelf" sort of structure in the way. With some thought and the help of Google, I came up with a solution that would allow the gate to swing to the right.

First, I built the gate. I cut a piece of MDF to the appropriate size and then attached 1x3 and 1x4 boards to match the board and batten style of the entryway organizer.

Then I implemented the solution which allows the gate to swing to the right. This solution is... a board! ;) It's a 1x6 board which functions as a sort of gate post. The board is attached to the wall (to the door trim, actually), and the gate hinges are attached to the board.

The gate swings open to the right.

When it's closed, a barrel bolt secures it.

As with the entryway organizer, this was a "Why didn't I do this ages ago? project. Instead of having to remove and replace an awkward tension gate, I simply have to swing a gate open or closed. And it looks infinitely better!
ugly, awkward plastic gate
not-ugly, easy-to-use wood gate

To finish the entryway makeover, I replaced the old door trim with new, wider trim in a simple style. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Entryway Organizer

Some projects have such an impact that I think, "Why didn't I do this ages ago?" Improving my garage entryway was one of those projects.

Because I park my car in the garage, I always use the garage door into and out of the house. The door opens into tiny entryway which has the basement stairs on one side and a wall on the other.

The entryway poses some real challenges. At only about 3 feet (1 meter) square, it provides just enough space for the door to swing open. Unless this door is propped or held open, it closes on its own. And trying to maneuver around the half-open door puts one at risk for falling down the basement stairs. (Safety was apparently of no concern to the designers of my house.)

Safety and convenience were both greatly improved by the addition of a magnetic doorstop. Simply push the door open until it touches the doorstop, and the magnet holds the door open. I love it! :)

To really level up the entryway, I wanted to add an organizer to hold my work laptop, bag, keys, and so forth. There was plenty of horizontal and vertical space on the wall; however, depth was an issue. The organizer had to be shallow enough to allow the door to open completely.

The biggest challenge was finding something large enough to hold my work laptop but thin enough to fit behind the door. Finally, I found a wire basket at the thrift store.

I decided on a board and batten style for the organizer. Using boards, tape, and cardboard, I marked the placement of each element.

I wanted the organizer to serve a secondary purpose of covering prior doorknob damage and a badly patched area where a large dog door had once been. To accomplish this, I attached hardboard to the wall.

Then I attached 1x3 (vertical) and 1x4 (horizontal) trim boards. Hooks would be attached to the horizontal boards, so I ensured that they were screwed firmly into the wall studs. I painted everything grey to match the walls.

I attached the basket and four hooks.

Done! :)

Now, instead of hanging my bag on the back of a chair and putting my laptop on the dining room table, I can keep everything in one place by the door. And it all fits neatly behind the door in a space less than 5 inches (13 cm) deep!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Cubicle Makeover

This is my cubicle at work. The walls are beige. Bleh. On the plus side, they're essentially giant bulletin boards...

making it easy to tack fabric over them. Purple, of course. :) I added the usual office supplies, a storage bench...

and the drawers, desk organizer, and ampersand I recently decoupaged.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tiny Chest of Drawers

Another easy transformation with paint, paper and glue! I found a tiny chest of drawers in a thrift store. Its white finish was chipped and peeling.

I painted the chest black and decoupaged paper on the top, sides, and drawer fronts. The knobs are white... but maybe they would look better painted black? What do you think?

Dumb question. ;) The knobs are black now.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Desk Organizer

This project began with a bare wood desk organizer purchased on Amazon. It has four drawers which I neglected to put back in prior to taking the "before" picture. Oops.

The organizer's size can be adjusted because it is made of two pieces which slide apart. Nifty! :)

I painted the edges and smaller areas with black acrylic craft paint. I decoupaged floral paper on the larger areas and lined the drawers with a polka dot paper. I completed the organizer by adding black drawer pulls.

Friday, January 3, 2020


Hello! My hiatus was much longer than anticipated.

I've had some health problems. Managing them has required some significant changes to my lifestyle. There are things I can no longer do, and accepting those losses and limitations has not been easy. I was offline and disconnected for many months trying to come to terms with my new reality. At long last, I think I'm ready to return to social media and blogging.

A new year seems an auspicious time to start again. In the hope that this is just the first of many posts to come, it seems appropriate to begin with an "and."

Specifically, a wood ampersand:

Fancied up with decoupaged paper, flowers, and adhesive gems:

A tip for decoupaging complicated or oddly shaped objects: Don't bother trying to cut the paper into the exact shape of the object. A rough approximation will do. Apply glue to the object, then adhere the paper. Allow the glue to dry, then use a sharp razor blade to trim the paper to the perfect shape.