Romantic weekend

Because Aaron and I are so in love, we spent this weekend doing home improvement projects I had sent my mind upon. Or, rather, we spent Saturday on projects and I spent Sunday recovering from Saturday. We decided a few months ago to replace the toilet on the main floor. The old toilet was impossible to get truly clean and Madison is offering $100 to any household that replaces an old toilet with a new, low-flow toilet. We were promised this project would be easier than it turned out to be. Although the new toilet is in place and there has (knock on wood) been no leaking thus far, it is the second toilet we bought yesterday. The first was both too big (ie the door couldn’t close once it was installed — not good for a prude like me) and not a low-flow toilet, as it had said it was on the box. Plus, the initial installation led to water coming out of a light fixture in the basement. Oops. Turns out that wax ring really doesn’t like to be moved. But, after an evening return trip to Home Depot, a new toilet and my assistance in reading the directions (strangely absent in the previous box) we are in the business of having a new, environmentally-better, clean toilet. Of course, the door still can’t close when the toilet seat is down, but we’re saving that issue for another day.

The other project of the weekend was my insistence, inspired by a recent Real Simple article (subscription given to me by my lovely mother-in-law), to reinvent the coat closet in our condo. I think of the closet as large for a coat closet, approximately 48″ wide and 24″ deep, but according to virtually any closet organizing system, it is apparently the smallest closet any closet artist contemplates. Undeterred, we spent a significant time in the woefully understocked closet section at Home Depot. Despite what it may seem like, I am not in love with Home Depot. Frankly, I wish we had a large, local hardware store. Or a Lowe’s. In any event, yes, we shopped at Home Depot and bought lots of metal accoutrements to remake this closet.

Before closet

Before closet

Ok, so in my haste to remake my world, I forgot to take pictures of the closet with all of the coats and crap in it, but you get the idea. Aside from one hanging organizer, the closet was the same as it was when I moved in in 2005. There was the high shelf, as you can see, a closet rod, as you can also see, and two of those white wall-mounted organizer things. And, with the addition of the hanging organizer from Ikea I added, that was the closet. So, I decided that I first needed a little more wow in the closet. Taking my cue from the Real Simple article, I ordered self-adhesive wallpaper. Although the pattern choices were few, they were really great. Because the closet is on wall painted a lemon yellow, that meets a wall painted grey, I opted for a darker grey wallpaper with a lemon yellow tree-bird pattern.


Now, this wallpaper was not nearly as easy to install as the company — tempaper designs — makes it seem. At least not for me. But, because I was installing it in a closet that was going to contain a million things, I figured the bumps I couldn’t get out would not be really visible. I really do recommend these papers. They are gorgeous and look so amazing. This is my first experience with any kind of wallpaper and I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

Next up, the installation of all of the crap. This is where things got even harder. We bought these screw-anchor things that are meant to be used so that you can hang heavier items without having to drill holes and without having to find studs in which to drill holes. Genius. But they really weren’t working for us. I don’t really know what the problem was, but it seemed as though the holes in the anchors were not large enough for the screws to fit through. Hmm. Anyway, after total frustration and the use of two different types of these screw-anchor things and me asking Aaron for help, the base structure of the closet organizer was finally affixed to the wall. Then I added the shelves and the drawers. I filled the shelves and  the drawers. I added the cubby boxes from the Ikea organizer and filled them with bike lights, tennis balls and camera equipment. My purses are upright and in cubby boxes. All of our scarves, hats and mittens are in sliding drawers. Spring coats and an umbrella hang from the high shelf.

After closet

I realize it might look a little chaotic, but it really doesn’t feel chaotic. I want to redo all of my closets now.

After closet

Drawers and shelf

It really feels much more calm, contained and useful. I know I could swap out all of the winter items and store them in the basement, but I like minimizing how much I need to change things around with the seasons, if I can. In Wisconsin, we know winter can come at a minute’s notice, so having a toasty scarf nearby makes sense to me.

After closet


11 Responses to “Romantic weekend”

  1. 1 Raoser May 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Oh my goodness! What an eventful weekend! As if the toilet extravaganza wasn’t enough. I love this wallpaper idea and I super-love re-organizing closets that allows for purses upright and the minimizing the moving of seasonal clothing.

    Now, do I need this Real Simple article? It would seem so.

  2. 2 kateandgracie May 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Haha! It was pretty inspiring – the article highlighted three closet redos – 1 was a coat closet, 1 was a bedroom closet that they brilliantly turned into half closet/half vanity area and the other was a kid’s closet that I found rather useless. Even if I had kids, I didn’t think it’d be that valuable.

  3. 3 Raoser May 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    BEDROOM CLOSET!!! My bedroom closet needs a lot of help. Frankly, so does my coat closet, and my storage closet… or I could just move…

  4. 4 Sara H May 23, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Props to anyone who attempts to install a toilet! Sounds like a great weekend – I think being awesomely productive does make more time for romance. 😉

  5. 5 kateandgracie May 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Ha! It was an incredibly romantic Sunday. I spent all of it in ugly pajamas and glasses reading the Times, watching the Housewives and napping.

  6. 6 gwendolyngarden May 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I superduper heart the wallpaper. Excellent choice.

  7. 7 kateandgracie May 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you! I’m totally in love with it.

  8. 8 Kristin May 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I am also so, so in love with that wallpaper. And those black and white boxes are so pretty. Fabulous job!

  9. 9 Mary Lloyd May 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    What a fabulous job. I LOVE it all. Congrats on the toliet. Never would have attempted any of that.

  10. 10 Heather Certain May 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I can’t believe you installed a toilet! We have a broken toilet SEAT that I don’t think we can handle repairing. We are looking around for a good handyman because we just can’t do the simplest of projects (i.e. installing new blinds), but now I can just hire you for another romantic weekend! And, the closet looks fantastic.

  11. 11 Jane Roe May 27, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I love the closet. I am inspired to try working on my own closets.

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May 2011

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