Teenage pad to calm guest room

Painting over those loud blue walls and the funky green on the dressers completely changed the energy of this room.  The green chair stays until I can find a more suitable replacement.

For a couple of amateurs the upholstered headboard didn't turn too bad!
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From Dated 1970's Basement Rec Room To Home Theatre

We lived in this house for over a decade with an ugly dated 1970's Basement Rumpus Room (remember those) with flower power carpet and mismatched wood paneled walls. It was hideous and embarrassing and used mainly by the kids.

Now that the kids are in their teens, it was time to give them a room they would not be embarrassed to bring their friends over for movie night. Instead of building another Rec Room/Family Room, we decided to pull out all the stops and build a Basement Home Theater complete with built-in surround sound and a movie style popcorn makeover..

This is what the room looked like before... 

A dated basement rumpus room

I can't believe I hosted Christmas dinners down here. See that lovely carpet and don't get me started on that beautiful mismatched wood paneling!

1970's Basement Rumpus Room

In the picture above, on the right hand side, you can see an IKEA shelving unit we were using for the television and audio visual equipment. Unfortunately I couldn't find a better picture.

Here it is again after our IKEA Hack. We added sides and doors to the unit on the left that used to be open shelving Both were painted white and pewter feet added to the bottom. All the audio/visual equipment is housed in the unit on the left and with glass doors, the equipment can be turned on and off with the remote controls.

The unit on the right stores the kids movies, DVD's, CD's, video games and gaming equipment.

DIY Basement Home Theater

Here is the other side of the room. The leather home theater style seating I got for a steal of a deal at a local furniture wholesaler. IKEA frames with movie posters are a great for inexpensive art work on the walls.

DIY Home Theater Room

We made a snack station by recessing a cupboard, microwave, and bar fridge into the wall, adjacent to our storage room. Everything you need for movie night is at your finger tips.

DIY Home Theater with snack station

The paint was barely dry on the walls before our daughter hosted a movie night with her friends. Now the kids are fighting over this room! Once in awhile Mom and Dad get a chance to enjoy a movie when the kids are out of the house.

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Basement Laundry Room Makeover On A $500.00 Budget

After living in our home for over a decade, our almost twenty year old appliances needed to be replaced. The thought of putting a shiny new red washer and dryer and upright freezer into the dark dungeon we called a laundry room didn't sit well with me.

Unfortunately, after paying for the appliances, there wasn't much room left in the budget for a room makeover. Determination is my middle name and so Mr. Frugalista and I put our heads together to come up with a way we could update the space on a very tight budget.

We managed to completely transform the basement laundry room on a budget of $500.00.

Laundry Room Makeover on a tight budget

This is what the room looked like before...

Basement Laundry Room Before Makeover

It was cold, damp, and a room you didn't want to spend much time in.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover On A $500.00 Budget


  • The carcasses were built with off cut pieces of melamine purchased at Home Depot.
  • The cabinet doors were purchased at the Habitat ReStore for $5.00 each.

Laundry Sink 

The biggest splurge was the deep stainless steel sink at a cost of  $70.00.


The subway tile is called Twill White Field cost just under $1.50 each.

Counter Top

We built the counter top ourselves with a sheet of plywood leftover from another project and a sheet of stock laminate from Home Depot. It cost us less than $50.00 to back.


The ceramic floor tiles were leftover from our back landing makeover. 

Ceiling Tiles

The suspended ceiling tiles were being discontinued and so we got them for a fraction of the original cost.

Light Fixture

The light fixture was a clearance item for $30.00.

Another splurge was the cost of the vinyl letters. It was a fund raiser for my daughter's cheer team so it went to a good cause. Besides, like the sign suggests, somebody has to support my Starbucks addiction!

This is the nicest laundry room I've ever. No more is the dreaded laundry day in the bowels of the basement dungeon. Our clothes hampers have never been so empty!


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DIY Ottoman

 How to build an upholstered ottoman

This was a fun project and really not that difficult. I got the idea while watching the Steven & Chris show on CBC.

Dressing up a DIY upholstered ottoman with wood trim

We modified ours somewhat from their plans by adding wood trim embellishments along the bottom.

We found the feet and rope trim at Home Depot.  The mini castors were purchased from Lee Valley Tools. The beautiful striped fabric was purchased at Fabricland and with my membership I got it for 50% off - score!
Our only regret is that we ignored the instruction to use 4" foam. Being consummate budget conscious DIYers we opted for a less expensive and readily available 3" foam that was on sale 50% off at Fabricland. I don't call myself the Frugalista for nothing!

Here is the link to the instructions we used:
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90's Golden to Mission Oak

Because we were going darker, we didn't sand to the bare wood. We did, however, apply Heirloom Furniture Stripper and used a putty knife to remove the varathane finish.

The dining table used to be golden oak as well. I stripped it down to the bare wood before staining because I wanted to remove some knicks and scratches.
Hmmmmm, the room seems rather brown-on-brown-on-brown!  It definitely needs a punch of color to liven things up and give it personality.
Like the cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, I need to find my courage first!  I'm thinking I might tackle repholstering the parsons chairs in a sexy fabric.
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70's Dresser & Hutch Makeover

From Drab...
Dresser Makeover Before

...To Fab

Painted Dresser Makeover

These were one of my first purchases in the late 70's. I removed the big bulky mirror that was attached and stripped the high gloss finish during a makeover in the late 80's. Being of solid wood construction they warranted another makeover. For a touch of glam I installed glass hardware that echoes the crystal lamp (Lee Valley Tools).

Bedroom Hutch Makeover Before

Painted Bedroom Hutch Makeover

Painted with Benjamin Moore Aura Paint in Cloud White. Oops, just realized the top is missing from the glass vase! What can I say, it was being repurposed on another in the dining room during the holidays!
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China Cabinet now Island & Pantry

Our small kitchen desperately needed more storage and somewhere to sit and enjoy our morning coffee. The obvious solution would have been to remove the china cabinet and add a bank of cabinets to the wall. Realistically however, that idea was not in our budget.  Besides, this little china cabinet had sentimental value. A few days before Christmas in 1990 I was out for the afternoon and when I returned my nine month old son was sitting in the middle of a brand new dining room table wearing a Santa hat.  This was the hutch that went along with it.  Our son is now 23 years old and this honey oak hutch was showing it's age!  It would have looked amazing painted with milk or chalk paint.  But I had other ideas...

I spent months trying to come up with an idea on how we could keep the cabinet, gain more storage and have room for a small eating nook. Oh, and all this had to be accomplished on a tight budget.

DIY China Cabinet to Small Island-Kitchen Pantry Before

So this is what I finally came up with!

Before and After picture of china cabinet makeover

We separated the top and bottom pieces of the china cabinet. Then we built a melamine base cabinet with three cubbies that would accommodate the top of the china cabinet. We screwed them together and added oak veneer to the sides of the entire unit. Custom oak doors were ordered to match the profile of the existing ones.

I love our new pantry! It has provided ample storage and the upper section is great for displaying serving bowls and crystal.

China Cabinet repurposed into a pantry

This project was completed only a couple months before I discovered chalk paint. Otherwise, this baby would definitely have been adorned in chalk paint goodness!

China Cabinet repurposed into a Small Kitchen Island

The base of the china cabinet was repurposed into a small island. We attached four feet, added some wood brackets and recessed a small 6-bottle wine fridge into the side. The granite slab was found hidden in the back of a custom cabinet yard in the dead of winter...I'm talking -20C! It was a perfect match to our existing granite counters.

To finish it off we added pendant lights above. That happened several months later because the electrical box had to be moved.

China cabinet makeover to island and pantry

This little island has become the heart of our kitchen - I just love it!
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