A June Bug Update And A DIY Space Saving Garbage System

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about our tiny vintage Airstream trailer – a 1966 Caravel that we call “the June Bug.”

Vintage Airstream

In these times when travel is difficult, I appreciate the June Bug more than ever.  This past summer was filled with small and safe local camping trips.

It has been fun to rediscover some of the beautiful places that are closer to home – places we often overlook because we could see them any time.  And so we rarely do.

Vintage Airstream

The June Bug is a work in progress, and traveling closer to home has given us a chance to fine tune some of the small-space systems so necessary in such a tiny trailer.

In addition to some mechanical upgrades, we’ve recently replaced the stovetop with a full trailer oven that Chris found on eBay.  Even a small microwave took up too much counterspace and now, with the full oven, we don’t need one.

We also installed a larger sink and a more practical kitchen faucet.  Now it’s so much easier to wash dishes and pans.  We made a few other minor aesthetic changes to the kitchen.

And I made fun ladybug curtains that let in a little more light than the old curtains did (although I also think a Scandinavian-inspired fabric would look great in here).

Airstream interior
June Bug interior

So, this tiny kitchen is just a little nicer and less cluttered than it was before.





We’d always struggled with the fact that there is no room on the floor or under the sink for garbage and recycle bins.  We tried different locations but, no matter where we put the garbage bins or bags, they always seemed to get in the way.

Recently, I came up with a simple and cost-free solution that seems to be working.

I have to warn you, though, that it’s kind of a silly project.  I thought twice about even sharing it, but here goes:

A Lightweight Vertical Garbage System

This post contains affiliate links.  For more on my affiliate links, please see this page.

Any garbage system for the June Bug needed to be lightweight (because we tow the trailer) and shatterproof.  It also needed to be compact and, most of all, take up no floor space whatsoever.

So I decided to make something that I could hang from a coat hook in front of one of the June Bug’s two narrow coat closets.

A fun challenge and, to make it even more fun, I challenged myself to use only items that I already had on hand.

Starting With Baskets

In storage, I found these two hand baskets.  I’d had the baskets for years.  For a previous project, I’d removed one handle from each basket.

I would tether them together vertically and use the larger basket for recycle and the smaller basket for garbage.

But the baskets didn’t match, and that bugged me.

Making Them Match

I wanted to paint both of them white, but I also really loved the natural look of the larger basket. Then I realized that I could have the best of both worlds.

I just carefully measured and masked the larger basket so I count paint only the lower portion white.

Masking off the basket for painting.

I wanted to use spray paint, but it was too windy outside.  So I used DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint in Warm White, which I had on hand, with a small foam roller followed by a small paintbrush for anything the roller had missed.

I’ve never liked the look of the second, smaller basket, so I painted that entire basket with the same paint.

I should have primed it first, or perhaps used chalk paint instead, because I was fighting a bit of bleed-through with the red color.

Of course the handles on the baskets didn’t match, so I removed them.  I found an old belt that I never wear.  It would work well for creating a handle on the top basket and tethers for attaching the lower basket.


Adding Tags

It would be easy to get confused about which basket would be for recycle and which would be for garbage.  So I decided to label them using some chalkboard paper tags (similar to these) that I had stashed with my gift wrap.

Using the same warm white paint, I just stenciled a “G” (for garbage) on one tag and an “R” (for recycle) on the other.  (I used a stencil similar to this one.)

To make the tags a little sturdier, I coated each tag several times, front and back, with Mod Podge.  The paper tags wanted to curl up a little when I applied the Mod Podge, but I just carefully straightened them before they dried.

Then I attached the tags to the baskets using vintage buttons.

The Result

Here is the new “recycle” bin.

And hanging from it is the new “garbage” bin.


In the trailer, our new garbage system hangs in front of a narrow coat closet that is located between the accordion door to the bathroom and the shower curtain.

It is in such a small space that it was difficult to get a good photo.  I almost had to climb into the bathroom sink to get this one.

But in this tiny corner, the garbage system is tucked completely out of our way – yet it’s still arm’s length from the kitchen (although, honestly, just about everywhere in the trailer is arm’s length from the kitchen).

It’s not taking up any floor space.  I also like that it is cuter than a plastic hanging garbage system – although I must say that this one on Amazon looks like a very practical alternative.

We can still access the closet with the garbage system hanging here although, if we really need to rummage around in the closet, we just move the baskets to the coat closet on the opposite side.

But, in a tiny trailer where the sofa converts to a bed and the dining table folds away, being flexible is what it’s all about.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel









7 Upcycle Projects That Helped Me Get Organized

I love working on upcycle projects because they breathe new life into objects that might otherwise end up in the landfill.  I also love getting organized.  So, when an upcycle project actually helps me get organized, I know it’s a winner.

If you’ve been visiting my blog for a while, you probably know about my most recent upcycle project – where my husband and I took an old dresser and two salvage shop kitchen cabinets and turned them into built-ins for my dressing room.

Those built-ins made it easy to organize that room.

So today I’m rummaging through the attic of this blog and pulling out some of my older posts about upcycle projects that helped me get organized.

Before we start, I must warn you that some of my early photography was pretty horrendous.  But I’m going to show you anyway.

Okay, let’s see . . . ah, here’s a good one to start with.

1.  DIY Shoe Storage Upgrade

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We took a small bookshelf and converted it into much-needed shoe storage for our mudroom.

A small bookshelf converted to shoe storage


2. A Vintage-Inspired Laundry Hamper From An Old Lamp Shade

This laundry hamper project required a little sewing, but if was fun and easy.

A vintage-inspired laundry hamper made with the frame of an old lamp shade

This hamper now sits in our recently-remodeled laundry room.

3.  Jewelry Organizers From Old Frames

This idea has been around for a long time.  But these jewelry organizers were fun to make – and they were a great way to use my vintage button collection.

Jewelry organizers made with upcycled frames



4.  A New Life For An Old Trailer Sink

In this project, we repurposed an old trailer sink into a much-needed potting bench sink for my greenhouse.

An old trailer sink gets a new home in this potting bench.

It has a water source and a very simple and practical way to drain.

Having this sink really helps me keep the greenhouse in order, and I use it all the time.

5.  An Old Stereo Cabinet Converted To A Liquor Cabinet

My husband, Chris, did this elegant conversion.  I always admire his attention to detail.

An Old Stereo Cabinet Converted To a Liquor Cabinet

Now there is a handy place for everything.


6.  A Chalkboard From An Old Cabinet Door

We simply couldn’t chuck this cute old cabinet door that was original to our house, so I turned it into a chalkboard for our kitchen.  We use it every day to keep track of our grocery needs.

This post also talks about a couple of mystery chambers that we found during our laundry room remodel.  Old houses hold many secrets!

7.  Kitchen Storage With A Vintage Twist

I still can’t believe that I found this vintage cabinet for only $5 at a garage sale.  Sprucing it up and tucking it into an underused kitchen corner helped me get my serveware organized.



Thanks for helping me sort through my blog’s attic today.  My plan is to continue to organize the attic, so I’ll be posting more roundups from time to time.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel






Organizing My New Dressing Room

Happy New Year, dear readers, and welcome to a new decade.  I  can’t believe we’ve entered the 2020’s!

Thanks to having participated in the One Room Challenge last fall, a six-week challenge during which Chris and I completely remodeled my little dressing room, I can at least say that I’m starting this new decade with a neatly organized wardrobe.

And while I certainly can’t claim to be an organizing guru, I did pick up a little inspiration from tidying expert Marie Kondo.  My takeaway:  Think vertical.  So here, I’m sharing some of the simple ways I organized my clothes and jewelry as I moved them back into my newly revamped dressing room.


Starting with A Clean Slate

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Before I started organizing, I donated all of my clothes to charity, and then I went out and bought a brand new wardrobe to go with my new dressing room!

Wait, no.  That was just a dream.

Actually, when the dressing room remodel was in its final stages, I began to do laundry – lots of it.  Although most of my clothes were already clean, I washed every piece that was going back into that room.  I just wanted everything to be fresh.

This process helped me take stock of exactly what I had in my wardrobe.

I lined the dresser drawers with a cheerful retro floral shelf paper.

And I tossed a charcoal air freshener into each drawer.

Then it was finally time to start organizing.


Ombre Denim

We put a lot of thought, but not a lot of money, into this dressing room remodel.  I love the south wall “built-ins” that we created by combining two salvage-shop kitchen cabinets and an old dresser.

Dressing room remodel

These new built-ins are intended to look original to our 1920’s house.  They frame a small window and work well with the sloped ceiling.

I was looking forward to using this upper cabinet for purses.

Vertical walk in closet storage

But then I realized it was suited to a more practical use: Denim.  I have way too many pairs of jeans, but I wear them all.

organizing jeans

In my new vertical cabinet, the jeans are stacked on top of one another.  But, unlike being stacked in a dresser drawer, they are all visible.  And they are organized by color and saturation.

organizing jeans

I fold them so that the pockets are always on top.  Since many brands of jeans have distinctive pocket stitching, I can quickly find the pair I want to wear.


Vertical Sweaters and T-Shirts

My sweaters and T-shirts are folded and placed neatly into drawers in the large wardrobe on the north wall.

But they are positioned vertically, as Marie Kondo suggests.  So, just like with my jeans, I can quickly see what I have.  Now nothing gets buried and forgotten.

organizing shirts

I use a charcoal air freshener as a spacer when I remove a shirt.  This keeps the other shirts neatly in place.

A charcoal air freshener, used as a spacer, keeps the vertically positioned shirts in place when one is removed.

I use expandable drawer dividers to define separate spaces for long-sleeve T-shirts, short-sleeve T-shirts, and tank tops – and for creating zones inside of drawers for things like purses and scarves.

Drawer organization

Velvet Hangers

I love the look of vintage wooden clothes hangers, and I use them on the open clothing rod on the north wall.  After all, I want this room to make me happy – not just be functional.  I love the look of this rustic pipe rod with the vintage hangers.

Vintage inspired clothing rod

But, in the enclosed hanging space inside the large wardrobe, I use space-saving velvet hangers similar to these.  I was a little skeptical about them at first, but to me it seems that they really do save space.

The velvet makes them grippy (sometimes almost too grippy), so clothes don’t slide off.

clothes on velvet hangers

And I love that these clothes are in an enclosed wardrobe.


I wanted a lot of enclosed storage in the dressing room because, before, the room always looked cluttered.  And all that clutter tended to gather dust.

Vertical Necklace Storage

Another enclosed storage area is this little vintage cabinet that we retrofitted into the northeast corner.

Vintage leaded glass cabinet

In it, Chris installed dozens of hooks for hanging necklaces.

organizing necklaces

Now, necklaces don’t get tangled, and it’s easy to see what I have. The shelf is also a good spot for the earring organizer I made a few years ago when I was going through my vintage button obsession.

A Victorian-era butter dish, so rustic that it’s silver plate is wearing off, holds a couple of fun vintage treasures inside.

Victorian butter dish


Vintage pins
Vintage pins.

On the shelf below, stackable jewelry trays similar to these hold other pieces of jewelry.

stackable jewelry trays

I just love that this room feels more airy and spacious than it did before the remodel, even though it holds the same amount of stuff.

Now if only the rest of my house was this organized!

For more on my dressing room remodel, see my posts below.


Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Dressing Room Remodel
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel



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Our New Coffee Station

Last fall, a cousin invited us to her party and made me cup of coffee with her little Nespresso machine.  Specifically, she made me a lungo – which, to me, is a cross between a shot of espresso and an Americano.  It was a strong and delicious cup of coffee, with the water steamed to a light froth.

It reminded me of Europe:  The hotels where we stayed all had these nifty coffee machines in their breakfast rooms that, with the push of a button, could produce lungos, espressos, cappuccinos, and more – on demand.  These were small cups of coffee – six ounces at most – not the grande-sized drinks we are used to here in the States.

So when Chris found a barely-used Nespresso Lattissima Plus on eBay, he surprised me with it on Christmas.

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used in this post.

It was one of the nicer Nespresso models and could make both milk- and water-based coffee drinks.  (This model is also currently available, new and used, through Amazon.)

Worrying – It’s What I Do Best

I was excited about my gift but also hesitant.

First of all, even though it was a small machine, it was still something that would take up countertop space (and an electrical outlet) in our kitchen.  And since this little machine would only make single cups of coffee, and short ones at that, it would not take the place of our existing coffee maker.  So we’d have to keep that one as well.

Secondly, Nespresso machines use coffee capsules, and the used capsules cannot be sent out in our curbside recycling.

Lastly, cleaning the machine, specifically the milk spout, looked like a lot of work.


No Worries

Chris immediately dispelled my concern about cleaning the milk spout.  He showed me the button to push to automatically clean the spout with steamed water.

“Now just try it,” he said.   “We don’t have to keep it.”

Moments later, while sipping a delicious lungo, I said “Oh we’re keeping it.”

So I pushed aside some of the serveware on the hutch countertop and plugged the Nespresso in there.

The clutter was not ideal, but it was wonderful to be able to make espresso drinks so easily.

A demitasse filled with espresso and cream.


And I learned there are several options for recycling Nespresso capules.


The Coffee Station

The hutch countertop remained cluttered until recently when we added this vintage cabinet to our kitchen.  It now holds most of our casual serveware.

This freed up space on the hutch countertop for a prettier coffee station.

Coincidentally, my mom Erika had been organizing recently too – in her craft/sunroom.  (We’re going there, by the way, in a future post.  Her sunroom is so pretty that I have to show you.)  She offered me one of the beautiful landscapes she paints.

When I got it home, I set it on the hutch until I found a place for it – and then I realized that the hutch is the perfect place.  (Lately I’ve been loving the casual look of simply propping art against walls on tables and countertops.  It makes it so easy to “layer” the pieces with more art or move pieces around.)

I found a new tray with colors that complement the painting.

And we finally had the perfect place for our cute vintage Dienes coffee grinder.

We don’t do syrups in our coffee, so I kept the coffee station simple.  The Frango tin holds a bag of powdered cocoa for the occasional mocha or hot chocolate.


As far as the machine itself goes, my only small issue is that sometimes the steamed milk could be a bit warmer.  (And I keep forgetting to put the detachable milk carafe back in the fridge after making a milk-based drink.  But I can’t blame the machine for that!)


Overall, we’ve really upped our coffee game around here, and I’m feeling better about keeping the machine.  Coffee anyone?


There are many varieties of Nespresso machines out there, some of them smaller and simpler than mine.  But I would advise visiting a Nespresso boutique for a taste test before making a purchase.



Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials or endorsements.


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

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Kitchen Storage with a Vintage Twist

Today  I’m sharing a fun little organizing project that I’m very happy with.  I always love it when wasted space finally gets put to good use.  And this time, it was . . . 

An Underutilized Kitchen Corner

Although we remodeled our kitchen several years ago, there is one space that we could have done a better job of thinking through:  The bland, empty corner where the cabinetry ends on the north wall.

The heat register, the light switch, and the traffic flow from the kitchen to the hallway all made this corner a bit challenging to plan.  At the time of our remodel, we had so many other decisions to make that we didn’t give it proper attention.

It became a feeding station for our cats – which actually was great since, for the most part, it kept our little darlings away from the food prep area.  But now our only cat is the lovely Priscilla, and she prefers to eat her meals upstairs.



I was thrilled at her choice because I could finally do something more with this underappreciated corner.  But what? Since shelving wouldn’t block the heat register, I was considering attaching shelves, or maybe a floating bookcase, to the pantry cabinet on the left.

I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

But Wait – A Better Idea?

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Around the same time, Chris started asking me when I was going to do something, anything, with the vintage cabinets that I’d had in our garage for the past couple of years.

Salvaged fir built-ins.

We’d picked these two cabinets up at a garage sale for $5 apiece.  Since each cabinet only has two “good,” finished sides (the front and one side), my assumption is that they were actually built-ins that had been pulled out of an old house.

The flush-mount cabinet doors, the glass knobs, and the leaded glass fronts, are all similar to the original dining room cabinetry in our house – which was built in the 1920s.

So to me, buying the cabinets was a no-brainer.

I just had no idea what we were going to do with them.  There didn’t seem to be any good place to put them if we were going to keep them together.



With Chris wanting his garage space back, and with the cat bowls gone, it finally clicked.  I took measurements and, sure enough, one of those vintage cabinets (the one with its “good side” on the right) would fit in that blank kitchen corner without obstructing the light switch – if we put legs on it so that it would clear the heat register.

But that old cabinet would need a lot more than just legs.

Paint or Finish?

I originally wanted to paint the cabinet the same white as our kitchen cabinets.  But then I noticed that it had been painted – and someone had gone through the painstaking work of stripping the paint and sanding it.

And the wood was fir – like our floors.  Since someone else had already done all the hard work, I decided to apply a finish to the exterior and paint only the interior.

(I went ahead and worked on both cabinets at once – even though my plans for the second cabinet are still in flux.)


A Danish Oil Finish

For the exterior, I used Watco Danish Oil in Natural.  It can be applied with a rag, which I find so much easier than using a paint brush – at least on non-ornate surfaces.

Danish oil is not like Polyurethane, and I found this post that explains the differences.  And this post has helpful tips on the proper method of application – which I followed – as well as the proper way to handle application rags since – yikes! –  a wadded-up oil-soaked rag could possibly combust!

Applying the oil with a rag was easy, but the wood was very thirsty.  I probably applied 10 layers of the oil over the course of several days.

Cabinet doors prepped for finish.

Prime and Paint

I painted the interior with three coats of primer and two coats of white paint.

Cabinets after three coats of primer.

For smaller flat surfaces like this, I prefer to use a Shur-Line paint edger instead of a roller because it gives me a smooth, even finish.  Then I use a small paint brush for the hard-to-reach areas.

The white paint is a custom blend that matches our kitchen cabinets and is the same paint I used on the walls for our laundry room remodel.


Finally the fun part:  A stencil!  I just wanted a simple accent and, since I couldn’t find a stencil I liked, I used one I’ve had on hand for years.

I practiced a little and experimented with color combinations.

But in the end I kept it simple with a Navy Blue by FolkArt and a little dot of Tuscan Red by Americana.


Now the cabinet needed legs.  Chris and I looked online.  We visited big box stores and specialty lumber stores.  But we wound up buying these legs on Amazon.

Legs with the first coat of Danish oil drying.

They were unfinished, so I applied countless coats of Danish oil on them as well.

Now it was time for Chris to get to work.

He attached the legs to the cabinet.

To give the piece character, Chris made sure the knot in one of the legs was placed so that it would be visible.

And then, because we live in earthquake country, he secured the cabinet to our built-in pantry.

Refurbished fir cabinet.

The Result

I moved the Fiestaware that my Mom gave me for Christmas, and many of our other blue-and-white serving pieces, into the cabinet.  This is where our fun, casual, and colorful pieces live now.

Refurbished fir cabinet with vintage serving pieces.

The cabinet is recessed enough so that it doesn’t impede traffic flow from the kitchen to the hallway.

Refurbished fir cabinet.

And it adds charm.

Refurbished fir cabinet as kitchen storage.

I’m glad I kept the wood exterior.  It works well with the floor and the built-in hutch’s wooden countertop.

Refurbished fir cabinet as kitchen storage.



Vintage serving pieces in a refurbished fir cabinet.

Adding this little fir cabinet has caused a happy chain reaction:  There is now more space in all of our overhead kitchen cabinets.

And I even reclaimed some countertop space on the hutch – enough for a snazzy new coffee station.

As for that second vintage cabinet, I found the perfect spot for it in my newly remodeled dressing room!


Here you’ll find seasonal goodies, my current decor obsessions, and more!


Thanks for stopping by and, while you’re here, hop over and check out my brother’s fun DIY garage rebuild.  I’m so proud of his work!

In Other News

I love to support artists, and I buy vintage instead of new whenever I can.  That’s why I’ve always been proud to be an Etsy affiliate.

But now I have another reason to love Etsy:  It has become the first online retailer to offset 100% of their carbon emissions from shipping. That’s amazing.  Let the guilt-free shopping begin!

I hope other online retailers follow suit, but right now Etsy is leading the way.


Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.


Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

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From Cluttered to Cute: Ravamping a Walk-In Closet

Storage space saves marriages.  Okay, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic.  But storage space is rarely a bad thing.

Which is why Chris and I recently took on a little rainy-day project:  Revamping a small walk-in closet to make it more efficient.

But before we even get started, I have to apologize.  Because this closet, with its tricky lighting and tight space, was really hard to photograph.  So please excuse these grainy photos.

Too Much Bedding, Too Little Shelving

Our TV/guest room has a daybed with a pop-up trundle.  I love it because it makes the room so versatile for guests.  It can be a twin-size bed, or convert to a king-size bed, or we can set up the room dormitory-style with two twin beds.  Any other time, it’s the comfy daybed where I watch TV.

But all this versatility means that we need to store bedding for a king-size bed and two twin beds.

And this is what led to the closet looking like this.


And this.

Occasionally, our TV watching was interrupted by an avalanche of precariously stacked bedding falling from the closet shelf.



Putting a Blank Wall to Work

It was pretty easy to see what the problem was with this little closet.

There was only one shelf on the south wall.  And the west wall was blank except for an ugly drain pipe.

Lots of wasted space on the west wall

So we decided to extend the existing shelf by eight inches and add another shelf above it.  And then add two 10-inch-deep shelves to the west wall.

And when I say “we,” of course I mean Chris.  Here is yet another instance where he did all the heavy lifting while I followed him around with a camera.

The result was two L-shaped shelves.

I didn’t want the shelves to look new.  I wanted them to look like they’d always been there.  And I think Chris achieved that.


Painting and Unpainting

Once we knew where the shelves would go, we removed them so I could paint the closet a cleaner white.

And while we were at it, we thought, we might as well spray paint the ugly drain pipe white to minimize its impact.  I didn’t want to paint the small copper pipe behind it.  Painting copper just seems wrong to me.

But there was something we wanted to un-paint:  The hardware on the little pocket window had received many coats of paint over the years.  Who paints a window chain?  Apparently everyone.

The chain and latch look so much better now that the paint has been stripped.


Moving Back In

Bedskirts, mattress covers, quilts, blankets, sheets, pillows, shams:  There is space for everything now.



And that little blue dresser that sat piled high in the closet before?  We put it back.  It is now almost empty, so it will serve as overflow space for guests to unload their suitcases.

Above it, a little surprise for guests:  A vintage mirror.  An extra mirror is always a nice touch in a guest room.

(I was tempted to style the top of this dresser for the photo – until I heard my little voice of reason say, “Oh please.  It’s a closet!”)

Not the most glamorous home improvement project in the world, I know, but I’m happy that there is just a little less clutter at our house.

Before and After

Before: One shelf on the north wall.


After: The existing shelf was extended by 8 inches, a shelf added above it, and shallower shelves added to the west wall.


Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

About the Pop-Up Trundle Daybed

Disclosure:  Affiliate links are used below.

I have plans to refresh our TV/guest room a bit:  A new rug, new curtains, and fresh paint.  It should be a fun little project.

But one thing I don’t want to change is that pop-up trundle daybed.  It’s been a while since we bought it, but it is a lot like this one on Amazon.  The mattresses were not included, and we added our own headboard.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel

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Second Tuesday Art Walk #6 – Discovering A Home’s Hidden Storage Areas

Welcome to the January edition of Second Tuesday Art Walk.  This time we’re on a treasure hunt to find that precious commodity:  Hidden storage space.  But what we’re looking for is hiding in plain sight, because it’s easy to scout out those little underutilized areas once we take a fresh look at our homes.

The possibilities are endless, but today I’m sharing five.  Let’s get started!

1.  Covered Porches and Protected Entryways

I always strive to make my front porch look welcoming.  But, without sacrificing style, I could do a lot more to make it functional – a place to store umbrellas and mud boots so they never have to come inside.

In a protected outdoor area, it might even make sense to add a simple hat and coat rack like the one that Sara built.

Photo courtesy of Twelve on Main

It took her less than 20 minutes to make it herself.  The tutorial is here.

2. Small-Scale Vertical

When I think of vertical storage, I usually think large-scale, like closet organizers and wall units.  But small-scale vertical storage can make life so much easier.

I could get rid of the lazy Susan next to my range if I had something like Amy’s DIY backsplash shelf and organizer.  I love that it takes up zero counter space.

Photo Courtesy of Her Tool Belt.

3. Re-evaluating Closets

This suggestion might seem obvious, but how many of us actually do this?  And what a difference it would make.

Beth and Nick took this basic builder-grade closet . . .

Photo courtesy of Reality Daydream

identified all the unused spaces, and then created custom DIY shelving that uses every possible area.   “After” photos and the tutorial can be found here.

4. Areas Behind Doors

Taking the door swing into account, my husband Chris created this shallow, L-shaped shelf to fit in the small space behind our laundry room door.  Here we stash cleaning tools and supplies, an iron and an ironing board.

And this hard-working little space doesn’t feel cluttered.  This area is part of our recent laundry room remodel.

5. Recessed Dressers and Cabinets

Our house is what is called a “one-and-a-half story house.”  That is because some of the upstairs portion of our house is finished, livable space, while other parts are unfinished attic space.

Since we have little doors that lead to those unfinished spaces, I store things there. But it’s awkward creeping around in these dark, low-ceilinged areas, and I usually bump my head or get scratched by an exposed nail.

That’s why I so admire Sarah’s recessed dresser.  She’s using space in the unfinished attic to store things, yet she can access those items from her bedroom.

Of course you really have to know what you’re doing to work around wall studs, wiring, or other things that might be hidden in the wall.

Photo courtesy of Simply Sarahdipity

Another advantage to this recessed dresser is that it takes up zero floor space in the bedroom.

How I love saying that.  Zero floor space.  Now I have all sorts of ideas for similar projects at our house.

Posts on this website are for entertainment only and are not tutorials.

Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
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A DIY Shoe Storage Upgrade

Before this house, I’d never lived anywhere that had a real mudroom.  And although our mudroom is small, I just love it.

But its best feature is also its biggest drawback:  The large windows.

Mudroom windows

All the wonderful natural light means very little wall space to work with.  As you can see from the photo, the limited wall space makes it difficult to keep things organized  – not that I’ve been trying very hard.  The room is a haphazard mix of random storage baskets and bins.  I’ve never really made it a priority.

Well that is about to change.  I’m in the process of reworking the mudroom – starting with the taming of the shoes.

Invasion of the Shoes

My husband, Chris, likes to keep the shoes he uses most near the back door.  The problem is, the shoes seem to multiply when no one is looking.  And yes, he really uses all of these.

Boot bench

A while back, in a half-hearted attempt to get organized, I added a flimsy thrift store rack to the top of the boot bench.  It doesn’t look good, and now we can’t sit while putting on shoes.

The small wooden shelving unit near the door was too shallow to house his shoes.

Mudroom shelving unit

A New Angle

What to do?  My mom suggested a shoe rack in place of the shelving unit.  It should have angled shelves, she said, so that the shoes would not interfere with the door swing.

It was a great idea, but most angled shoe racks I found were more suited to a closet than a mudroom.

And then I wondered about our little shelving unit:  Would it work to simply reposition the shelves at an angle?

plywood shelving unit

I asked Chris to give it a try.  He carefully removed each shelf and then repositioned them at about a 30-degree angle.  He used screws to secure them.

And it worked!  The shoes would be nicely contained on the newly-angled shelves.

DIY Shoe Storage

Now we just needed to make this basic unit a little prettier.

A 99-Cent Upgrade

A reclaimed wood top would elevate the look.  I checked the nearest salvage shop and found all kinds of beautiful wood – all of it too shallow in depth.

The next salvage shop was way across town, and I started to wonder if I was on another one of my fool’s errands.

While deciding whether it was worth the drive, I stopped at my local Goodwill.  There I found a piece of fir in the right depth – with a nicely finished edge.  It had probably been a shelf in a former life.  

Anyway, it was only 99 cents!  I could not believe my luck.

Fir panel

All we would have to do is shorten the length a bit.  Reclaimed wood at Goodwill: Who’d have thought?

Adding More Character

Then I got it in my head that, since the mudroom is next to the kitchen, the exposed side of the shelving unit should be attractively paneled to match the style of our kitchen cabinets.

I tease Chris for keeping all kinds of scrap wood pieces, but it came in handy for this project since he had just the right scraps onhand to create the panels.

Then I painted the bench the same white as our kitchen molding – a color custom-blended to match our kitchen cabinets.

And here is how it turned out.

DIY Shoe Storage Unit for a Mudroom

A DIY Shoe Storage Unit

It’s perfect for the overflow shoes, and it frees up a lot of space in the boot bench.  There is even enough room for some of my shoes.

DIY Shoe Storage Unit for Mudroom

And for 99 cents out of pocket, it’s a nice upgrade for a plywood shelving unit that once looked like this.

Plywood storage unit

This small change is already improving the flow of the mudroom, but there is more to come, including a snazzy upgrade to the concrete floor.  So stay tuned!

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Want to see more? Browse my photo gallery or check out these categories:

Our Kitchen Remodel Series
Our Master Bath Remodel Series
My Shop
Dan’s Workshop
Decorating and Holidays
Our Little Sunglo Greenhouse
Floral Design
Garden Design
The June Bug Diaries
Our Laundry Room Remodel


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A (Slightly Over the Top) Wrapping Station Revamp

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using these links


Have you ever had a project that started out small and wound up snowballing?  All I wanted to do was organize my wrapping station.  Simple, right?

I have a little wrapping paper cart in an alcove on our upstairs landing.  I had always wanted one of these carts and was very excited when I bought it several years ago.

But I save every little ribbon, gift bag, and scrap of wrapping paper. So over time, the wrapping cart got jam packed.  Things were getting lost or crushed in the drawers.

Wrapping cart before

So I decided to organize it.  And then I figured that while I was at it,  I might as well do something about that color.  I must have liked the reddish-brown color when I ordered it, but now I can’t remember why. The color didn’t work with the creams and golds of my home office just across the hall.

Painting the Cart

That dark color would be hard to cover unless I used chalk paint. Chalk paint requires very little prep work – even priming isn’t usually necessary.

For more on my chalk painting experiences, including the best application tool I have found, see this post.

I used a buttery cream color called “Bavarian” by folkArt. It still took about three coats to cover the cart.

And it looked nice.  I should have stopped there but instead I discovered “Metallic Gold” chalk paint, also by folkArt.  A metallic chalk paint?  I was very intrigued and had to give it a try.

Chalk paint is wonderful for creating distressed finishes.  So I painted over the Bavarian on the drawer fronts with the Metallic Gold and then distressed them with steel wool.  Then I added a few brush strokes of the Bavarian and distressed the drawer fronts again. Finally I added a few brush strokes of the Metallic Gold and distressed them one last time.

I finished off with a coat of the folkArt Clear Wax following the instructions on the label.  Of course, with drying time, all of this took several days.  And all for a wrapping paper cart.

And this is what I got.

Chalk paint projects - drawers finished

Adding Hardware

You might have noticed the hardware that I added to the drawers. When I finally finished the painting, the drawers looked too modern for the finish I had created.  So I needed a little more old world charm.  And I do love the fleur de lis knobs that I found for $2 each at a salvage shop.

Chalk paint projects - salvage shop hardware added

I also picked up a handle for the large bottom drawer for $2.

chalk paint projects - handle added

It originally had a chrome finish so I spray painted it with Rust Oleum “Pure Gold Metallic” and antiqued it with a folkArt craft paint called “Wrought Iron.”

My long-suffering husband, Chris, installed the hardware for me.

It did turn out to be a fun and girly look for the wrapping paper cart.

chalk paint projects - finished wrapping station

But I wasn’t done.

A Basket

I found a cute wire basket at a craft store and spray painted it with Rust Oleum “Gold Rush Metallic.”

Chalk paint projects - basket added

Attached to the side of the cart, it is attractive – and perfect for holding gift bags.

chalk paint projects

A Fabric Liner

Then when I put everything back together after painting, the little compartments in the top tray still needed something.  I had come this far, so why not?  I lined them with a whimsical calico fabric.

chalk paint projects - fabric lining for compartments


chalk paint projects

But I needed to add one last thing.

A Wall Cubby

To add more storage to my wrapping station, I found a small Pottery Barn wall cubby at a thrift store.

chalk paint projects - wall rack before

I painted it with the same paint treatment as the cart drawers and covered the corkboard with a fleur de lis burlap.

chalk paint projects - wall rack after

Now it holds tissue paper, gift tags, and lengths of ribbon – anything small that might get lost in the cart.

chalk paint projects

Lesson Learned

For the time I invested, I should have chosen a furniture piece worthy of the effort.  For this modern piece with such simple lines, I should have stayed with my original plan, which was to paint the cart and the wall cubby with the Bavarian and add the basket.  Period. Instead I was led astray – dazzled by shiny things: The Metallic Gold chalk paint.

chalk paint projects

At least this wrapping station is unique – and more organized. And now it’s finally time for me to step away from this project.

chalk paint projects - wrapping cart

chalk paint projects

Not that this experience will stop me from trying the Metallic Gold on more worthy pieces.

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Getting Organized is Bunk

When I found this $7 bunk bed ladder at an architectural salvage shop, I knew I wanted it.  I just wasn’t sure why.

Ladder beforeIt wasn’t like other ladders.  It was very solidly built, and it seemed to stand more vertically rather than having to lean at an angle.  That made it perfect for some kind of vertical storage function – after a little facelift of course.



The Facelift

I wanted to paint it with Valspar Greek Tapenade – a cheerful color and the same one I used on my file cabinet.

The ladder had a dark stain and a glossy finish, so I sanded it and painted it with two coats of primer.  After that, it took three coats of paint.

I had some little green storage bins that I had purchased a couple of years ago online.  At the time, they turned out to be too small for the project I had in mind for them, but because they were nicely made and came at good price, I hung onto them.

Closet organizing

Their size turned out to be perfect to fit on the ladder rungs.  My husband, Chris, installed them using small brass nails.

closet organizing ladder closeup

A Closet Organizer

I’m slowly chipping away at getting my closet organized and finding just the right solutions for the space I have to work with.   But this little ladder is a great start.  It doesn’t take up much floor space at all, and it holds the little odds and ends that wind up cluttering up my closet.

closet organizingcloset organizing

Other Uses

I’m still torn on whether it should stay in the closet.  It would also be great in our smaller bathroom holding toiletries and towels.  And it would be adorable in my greenhouse holding blooming annuals.

So I’m on the lookout for more bunk bed ladders.


From Amazon, here are a couple of other fun storage ladder options and one cool display ladder made from reclaimed wood:

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