Three weeks in to living at the new apartment and I'm about 75% settled with plenty of ideas brewing to get through the final steps... which I'm quite certain will actually take a few months. This past week wasn't exceptionally productive but I did get a lot of sorting done and finished a fun small project while avoiding building the drawers for my bed frame. Which leads me to procrastination... I'm well honed in this skill and can find a million and one ways to avoid things that I don't want to do because they are tedious, difficult or just plain annoying. The drawers are my Everest and will eventually be conquered (there's a problem with the brackets that need to be dealt with...) but in the meantime I have plenty of other things to do like make a new set of switch plate covers!
Affordable and effective upgrade that took only a day to complete. After seeing lots of different creative approaches on this kind of project I figured I'd give it a go. Picked up some plain white switch covers from the local big box store and a couple more cans of spray paint. I already had some washi tape of different widths that I could use and got started!
First up - apply first few strips of tape and create a spray painting container! With all the boxes broken down from the move I have ample options for this. It was also quite windy outside so I figured a smaller box would do for this half dozen.
There was no pattern or reasoning behind where the tape was placed and I had no idea how this would all look after all the layers would be done. The only consistency I was working with was which colour would be which layer. First up - used the aged bronze that was used on the door/drawer pulls in the kitchen. Next, bright blue and finished with shiny metallic gold.
As it turned out I did not take pictures of the last two steps... sigh. Happily though, the end results show the effect. They are all similar but different and I love them!
Now, there was still the task of removing the old plates and replacing them with these shiny new ones... This didn't take long but the cleaning/wiping around the switch totally grossed me out. Clearly, this has never been done before and as an apartment that has had a variety of tenants in the +40 years... many of which were apparently smokers... I had my work cut out for me. So I grabbed out a J-cloth, dampened it with some vinegar/essential oil cleaner and got to wiping!
Well that's that. Relatively quick, very simple and the final effect is great! Now to beat down the procrastination for this week's tasks list and eat the toad first - aka build those damn drawers and get my bedroom in order.
There are many ways to reach the finish line of a big project but the most effective for me is to break it down in to small parts. The little wins of progress help fuel the process to completion. So when I moved in to a dated apartment with 1973 original fixtures I knew there was going to be many mini-projects and lots of elbow grease involved.
Task #1 - Kitchen sink.
I've always appreciated a clean kitchen. By always I mean I can remember as a 10 year old child apologizing and saying to my friends to "not mind the messy kitchen" while they were visiting. Not quite a normal kid thing to say so let's just go with I had some "issues", k?
Sometimes my kitchen is a total and unbelievable mess due to a busy week's schedule but it doesn't stay like that for too long before it drives me nuts. However, this apartment's kitchen has one sink and no dishwasher. Not a lot of space to create or leave a mess to clean up later. So this was obviously the first place I wanted to focus on since I like spending so much time in the kitchen anyways. What did I do first? Take apart and clean the taps on the faucet, of course! The last tenant had lived here for nearly 6 years and I'm 100% certain she never cleaned them. I've met the woman, she seems like a nice lady but she's certainly not a kitchen faucet cleaning freak like me. Ha!
This is such a simple 30 minute project that gave me such joy when it was done because of how much better they look!
Task #2 - Door pulls!
Since this is a rental and I want to keep costs low on these projects I needed an idea on how to make the very well used door/cupboard pulls look better. I certainly didn't want to spend a lot of money or time on them so my logic lead me to spray paint! Found a primer/paint all surfaces spray paint at the local giant big box store that would work for this and got to work.
First - took all the pulls off the doors and gave them a good scrub. So much grossness with caked on food particles on nearly all of them. Let them dry and then attached them to a piece of cardboard by piercing holes through so that the screws would hold them standing up while I sprayed them outside. Genius!
I've already reattached them to the drawers and cupboards but am going to wait to post final photos after I do another mini-project to jazz up the boring doors.
Task #3 - Open cabinets!
A few years ago I lived in a great rental house in another part of the city where the kitchen was beautifully designed by the owners. One of my favourite parts was the open cupboards above and to the sides of the sink and so I figured I may as well make this kitchen pop with a similar idea.
I took off the cupboard doors above the sink and saved all the screws and pulls in a little bag for reattaching when I leave and started the cleaning. How did food and who knows what else gets splattered on the top shelf? I just don't understand. Needless to say my elbow greasin' self got a good work out scrubbing and climbing on the counter-top to reach the top shelves (because of course I don't even have a chair right now let alone a step stool).
Then came the linings... this is not a hard thing to do it's just time consuming and completely frustrating when the cut sheets don't line up properly because you turned the roll around by accident. Sigh... Con-tact paper is the best and worst invention for these kinds of projects and I'm pretty happy with the end results even though there are a lot of nit-picking spots that didn't adhere super smoothly or line up with a previous sheet. Whatever...
So much more left to do but this is great start and I'm pumped on getting some fun lighting sorted out for the living room and bedroom.
I have moved... again. Over the years I've moved across the country a few times, a handful of times between provinces and multiple times within cities... all for various reasons and this has been my "normal" for as long as I can remember. These moving experiences have resulted in developing organization skills that have ultimately proven that I'm quite good at this sometimes monumental task. However, when the inevitable next steps come along: unpacking, organizing, settling in, etc... I find myself at a stand-still and it takes a really long time to feel like I'm home (if at all because I end up moving... again...). Sometimes I find myself doing anything and everything imaginable to avoid this un-fun work because there's always the lingering thought: "How long will I live here?"
Creating a home space that is comfortable, uncluttered, functional, and welcoming at the end of the day is very important to me - and science says it's quite important as well. So... now that a few days have passed in the new digs and the piles of boxes, bags and bins have not magically reduced on their own I've decided to declare some actions. Accountable actions!
Step 1 - Why not blog about this?!? Maybe this series of posts will be funny, terrible, relatable? Whatever the case - I'm aiming for committed and scheduled writing so it makes sense that posting this process is a step in the right direction.
Step 2 - Be real and honest through this process. It's certainly not all going to be picture perfect and that's the point. This is The Experimental Approach... some things are going to fail but chances are some things are going to be awesome.
Step 3 - Schedule it! By consciously and actively working every day towards this goal of creating a home out of this new-to-me apartment will result in a bunch of blog worthy writings - make the notes! take photos! - and draft an entry as soon as possible with a 24 hour window to edit and post. Technology is on my side and I can do this all with the tools I already have!
Keep it simple and when I get off-track (which will happen... because: life) it's not really that hard to just restart. Just do.not.stop or just give up. What's the point in that? *this is me giving myself a pep-talk*
Stay tuned folks - this is gonna be an adventure!