Our guinea pig room

My lack of posts lately is not for lack of projects. So much has been going on around here lately that I haven’t had the time to blog about it! I’m going to split up all these projects into separate posts so that it is (hopefully) an easier read than one huge, long post.

As I’ve said before, our game plan for deciding what projects to tackle first on our huge to-list is whatever bugs me the most. And also, as I have said before, the thing that bothered me the most initially was lack of storage. So the first big project we did was add cabinets to our laundry room. As a result, the laundry room has kind of become the “guinea pig” of the house. It is the room that Nick has tried some different techniques that we are going to carry out throughout the rest of the house. That way, if any of the projects turned into a disaster (which thankfully, didn’t happen!), we could just shut the door to the laundry room and forget about it.
So first up, we installed cabinets in February. Remember when we had that crazy coldsnap with all the ice and blackouts? That extra time off of work really came in handy for installing and painting. So, you may ask, why am I only just now getting around to posting a project that we started in February? This project has been in various stages of “finished” for a few months now. Only when my girl’s bible study was scheduled to come over last Wednesday did I finally get kicked into overdrive to finish decorating it and call it done.
So lets start from the beginning. This is why this project took top priority:

As a result of our super small pantry, this room kind of became the catchall for odds and ends that didn’t fit anywhere else. I am a clean, clutter-free type of person, so this disorganized chaos was driving me nuts.

Then, one glorious day, on one of our many trips to Home Depot, I passed by the unfinished cabinets section and realized that they are actually pretty affordable. So we started planning (which explains the blue tape on the wall, marking where the cabinets would eventually be installed). We decided to get two upper cabinets to go above the washing machine/dryer, and a tall shelf with drawers for the empty space to the left.

So once Nick mustered up the courage to tackle a project labeled on the online how-to’s as “advanced,” we bit the bullet, bought the cabinets and got ready to install them 🙂

First up, Nick removed the shelves that came with our house. Yay demo!


You know he’s really getting into it when he starts sticking out his tongue as he works 🙂


We actually saved all of the shelves we demo-ed, and as I type, Nick is actually out installing the shelves in the garage! Yay for more storage and a handy husband who makes it happen!

So once the old shelves were down, Nick did a lot of measuring and spent a lot of time determining where the studs were, because the screws would need to be screwed into the studs to ensure the cabinets are extra-sturdy.

He saw a trick online to help you hold the cabinets up and ensure they are straight while you are installing them. You get a plank of wood and nail it directly under where the bottom of the cabinet will be. That way, the cabinets can rest on the plank while you add the screws (so you don’t have to balance heavy cabinets while you are trying to add the screws).

You can kind of see the plank of wood I am talking about in this picture below:

That made the whole thing so much easier! We really didn’t have many problems at all getting the cabinets installed.

Then came the fun part of painting all of it. And yes, that was exclusively my job.


I really should’ve primed it first, but I didn’t. Hey, you live you learn. Told you this room was our “guinea pig” room! I kind of knew I should’ve primed, but I was being lazy. If only I realized then that it is actually MORE work not to prime, because the wood just absorbs the paint and it forces you to do about a hundred coats. Not exaggerating. (Well, okay, maybe slight exaggeration ;))

I also think I would’ve gotten a smoother result had I primed. Oh well. Lesson learned.

Anyway, the painting process took forever. And you are suppossed to let it dry completely before putting the doors back on (as in, at least a couple days after the final coat of paint). Yeah, I didn’t have the patience for that, and we are probably still paying for it, because the doors still sort of stick to each other. I figure that will eventually wear off though. Does anyone out there know what I could’ve done to solve the sticky problem? I’m learning as I go!

So finally, we were able to see the finished product! Oooh, ahh! 🙂

Definitely a HUGE improvement. And there was plenty of room for everything that needed to be stored. Oh man, this added storage took my stress-level down by leaps and bounds. There is just something so freeing about everything having a place 🙂




One of the main reasons I decided on this particular tall cabinet was because it had two drawers. Everyone needs to have a junk drawer, and so yes, I will happily admit that I picked this cabinet for its junk drawer capabilities 🙂

We keep Lucy’s dog food in the bottom shelf (you can see the green bag in the above photo). After I took this picture (many months ago), we bought a plastic dog food container like this:

And its been pretty amazing! It looks 100x better, and its so much easier to get the food out than having to wrestle with the bag. I am sure that is not at all a new idea to any of you, but its something that still makes me happy every time I go to get her food, so I thought I’d mention it.

Moving on… the next stage of the process was for Nick to add crown moulding to the tops of the cabinets. Newsflash: crown moulding is hard. Its hard to get the angles just right. So this was a good project for Nick to practice on since (hopefully sooner than later) he will be adding crown moulding to our ceilings.

Now for phase two of our guinea pig project. I have known since before we even moved in that I want to eventually add some type of wainscoting to the breakfast nook area. And what better place to practice this technique than in the laundry room!

We took our inspiration directly from this post by the Thrifty Decor Chick. I really liked that it looks very finished, but still more casual than some more traditional wainscoting styles. Plus, it looked easier, and that is always a bonus.

One thing we added that I have found most how-to’s do not include is a very thin piece of wood behind the boards. Most instructions say to just paint the wall behind it white, but I wanted that smooth wood look (not the textured wall look), so we added that extra step and haven’t regretted it.


So once that was done, Nick added the board on top of it.

And added some wood putty to the edges to smooth everything out:

Then thats where I came in. I painted everything. And once again, I didn’t prime, so it took many, many coats. I hadn’t learned my lesson just yet…

Once everything was painted, that is pretty much how the room sat until two weekends ago, when I finally added some color to the walls and a few fun, decorative touches.
And now, I will leave you all in suspense. The final, decorated reveal is up next!
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2 thoughts on “Our guinea pig room

  1. Pingback: Pantry love | Keeping Up With The Joneses

  2. Pingback: What’s in my drawers… | Keeping Up With The Joneses

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