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Bedroom closet - beforeBedroom closet - after

Closet cleaning isn’t a flashy subject, but I can’t help it: I’m in full organization mode. I blame the new year. I simplified this closet by chucking old clothes and sticking with just one type of hanger (padded hangers and skirt hangers are on the left side).

Shoebox shelf unit

The solution to the shoe mess: plastic shoe boxes from The Container Store. Plastic shoe boxes are also available at OrganizeIt.com and Organize.com. I built a simple shelf unit for them out of plywood that I got on Freecycle. Rick at The Barn Woodshop was kind enough to cut the wood. Once the pieces were cut, assembly was a cinch. Read more »

Shelf unit with basket drawers

My brother and I custom built this unit. I couldn’t find the right piece of furniture that had small drawers and deep drawers. I found these Branäs baskets at Ikea, but Ikea doesn’t make a unit like this to hold them. So, I drew up the plans to build this shelf unit. Read more »

Kitchen drawers = bookcase

I picked up these drawers on Freecycle. They were salvaged from the kitchen of a 1940s house that was demolished. My original plan was to put the drawers on wheels and use them as under-bed storage. Turns out, no two drawers are the same height, which would look janky. So I tried stacking them vertically instead (anchoring them to the wall, of course). You could also hang these drawers as individual shadowboxes. Read more »

Kelly and Sarah, two former Sunset coworkers, planned to use this shabby bookshelf in Sunset’s Menlo Park Idea House last summer. After removing the doors, which were in a dire state of disrepair, they painted it. Paint: Benjamin Moore Aura Steam (AF-15) and Caliente (AF-290). Then they decided to kick it to the curb. Knowing I rescue dilapidated furniture, Kelly offered it to me.

It sat in my living room while I hunted for keyhole covers (notice the keys were stuck in rough holes cut in the wood). Finally, I found the perfect keyhole covers (called escutcheons) with finger pulls on eBay. After three days of scraping, gluing, sanding, painting, and reassembling, the doors are hung at last.

Keyboard stand

Unfinished shaker sofa table

A few years ago, I achieved my dream of owning a Yamaha DX7 keyboard, the synthesizer behind that bell-quality sound of 80s pop music. But, I couldn’t just plop it on top of any keyboard stand. A former roommate gave me an old piano bench, and I found an unfinished Shaker sofa table to match. I shortened the table legs three inches (for correct piano height), then painted both pieces black.

To finish off the scene, I bought black frames at Michael’s and grouped photos of my favorite pilots—including my grandfather—on the wall. Now all I have to do is learn to play something other than Jingle Bells.

Bathroom makeover - after

Bathroom makeover - before

With a wall-mounted sink and no storage to speak of, my small bathroom needed a little help. Paint isn’t an option, and the neutral tile colors limited my color choices, so I decided to go with natural wood and the colors of seashells. I found the spacesaver on Craigslist, the jars at Ikea, the waffle-weave shower curtain at Kmart (Martha Stewart’s line), and the basket at Michael’s. The seashells are strung with twine through holes drilled in each shell. I sewed a canvas cover for the wicker tissue box and attached it with wooden buttons. I also made the seashell shadow box. Read more »

Tray tables

I’ve seen many new tray tables on the market recently. They inspired me to make my own. Top row: Julian Chichester, Ralph Lauren Home, William-Wayne & Co. Middle row: Oly, Malin Westberg, CB2. Bottom row: Svenskt Tenn, Iron Accents, Target.

DIY tray table - after

Plant stand

My neighbor gave me this rusty old plant stand, and I knew it could make a perfect base for my round metal tray. All it took was a little elbow grease, paint, and fasteners. Read more »

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