Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two - 4 Problems With The Original Design

It's always wise to go into a room makeover with a clear budget in mind. But as we quickly learned, hyper-focusing on getting the biggest bang for your buck to meet that budget without an equal focus on the function of the space will more than likely lead to a second makeover. So it comes as no surprise that this post is about our Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two - 4 problems with the original design.

We loved our original Basement Laundry Room Makeover On A $500 Budget and were so proud of the transformation on such a tight budget BUT it didn't take long for us to realize there were some major flaws with our design.

Can you pick out the function problems in the photo below?
Basement Laundry Room Makeover 1

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two - 4 Problems With The Original Design

Before I go picking the makeover apart, here's what it looked like before...

Basement Laundry Room Before First Makeover

A HUGE improvement wouldn't you say? But now take a look at the room AFTER we improved the function. Big difference, right?

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two Cabinets

We were able to salvage most of the original makeover elements but just by moving the appliances and cabinets, it completely opened up this space.

Disclosure: I've included affiliate links in this post so you can find the products I used or recommend for this project. See my disclosure policy.

Let's take a closer look at the four problems with the original laundry room makeover design.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Flaws

Problems with the original design

Problem 1: Counter depth

After getting our new appliances, the obvious choice at the time was to build a countertop over the front loading washer and dryer. I was so happy to finally be getting a spot to fold laundry, I never gave any thought to how a 36-inch depth would make it near impossible to reach the electrical plug on the backsplash for plugging in the iron.

Problem 2: Inaccessible upper cabinets

Because of the counter depth, reaching anything towards the back of the upper cabinets was impossible without a step ladder.

Problem 3: Sink tucked in the corner

I felt like I was stuck in the corner for a timeout when using the laundry room sink. Aside from laundry, I also use this sink to clean paintbrushes when doing furniture makeovers in the adjacent workshop. I had to walk the length of the room holding dripping brushes to access the sink.

Problem 4: The black elephant in the room

At 28-inches deep, our upright freezer stuck halfway into the room, making the space feel tight and awkward. To the left of the freezer is a pocket door leading to the hallway and the freezer wasn't the nicest sightline from the media room down the hall. But the biggest annoyance was to access the sink you had to walk around the freezer.

The inspiration for the second makeover

While in the planning stages of reconfiguring the room, I received an email from Michele at The Redesign Habit telling me about an e-book she recently published called The Redesign Toolkit: A DIY Guide To Budget Friendly Interior DesignShe couldn't have timed that email better. In the book, she includes a helpful room evaluation worksheet and so I filled it out.

She asks questions like:

What things do you like about the room?
  • laundry sink
  • upright freezer,
  • front-loading appliances
  • long laundry folding counter
  • white cabinets
  • a window
  • clothes drying rod
  • easy access from basement and back landing

What things do you not like about the room? I answered that question above in problems 1-4.

What are the storage needs for this room?
  • closed upper cabinets for iron and laundry supplies
  • tall lower cabinets for a garbage can, drying rack, tall laundry product containers
  • open shelving for towels and laundry room decor
  • spot for storing ironing board and basket when not in use 
  • clothes drying rod
  • paper towel holder
  • towel bar near the sink

How do you want your space to feel when it's finished?
  • spacious with a functional work triangle between appliances
  • easy access to everything in cabinets
  • bright with pops of color
  • a pleasant room to be in 
Those four questions helped me determine the lack of functionality of this space, what elements to keep, and how to reconfigure those elements.

Michele also offers a The Redesign Toolkit which includes a scaled floor plan guide and furniture cutouts to help figure out the best placement before breaking your back doing the real thing.

Solutions For The New Makeover

Solution 1:  Stacking the washer and dryer

By purchasing the stacking kit for our front loading washer and dryer, we were able to make room for the upright freezer beside them. This change alone remarkably improved the spaciousness of the room, traffic flow, and work triangle.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Stacked Appliances

Solution 2: Adding lower cabinets

By moving the appliances against the back wall, it opened up the other wall for a bank of lower cabinets. Home Depot was clearing them out and happened to have the same door profile as our existing upper cabinets, purchased elsewhere. I love the open industrial feet which add to the spacious feel of the room.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two Lower Cabinets

Solution 3: Salvaging the upper cabinets

The upper cabinets and open shelving were salvaged to fit above the new bank of lower cabinets by modifying the depth and width.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two Upper Cabinets

Solution 4: Salvaging the countertop 

Thankfully we were able to reuse the old countertop by decreasing the 36-inch depth to 24-inches and decreasing the length to fit the new lower cabinets. To do this we used a straight edge jig clamped onto the counter and cut it with a skill saw. We found black melamine pre-glued veneer edging that matched the existing veneer and applied it to the exposed edge.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two Counters

Solution 5: Moving the laundry sink 

The sink is now located next to the sliding pocket door leading to the hallway. No more walking through the entire laundry room with dirty paint brushes. We also added a much-needed towel rack onto the end of the lower cabinets.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two Sink

Solution 6: Changing the backsplash

Unfortunately, we were unable to salvage the old Twill White Field backsplash tiles, which I loved. We found these 4" x 16" white subway tiles for a good price and I like the simple clean look.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two Backsplash

Adding some fun elements

At the end of the upper cabinets, we added a chalkboard for funny messages or shopping lists. I painted the end of the cabinet with black chalkboard paint and framed it with wood trim painted the same color as the cabinets. I had a burlap pouch in my stash and wrote CHALK with a Sharpie marker and hung from a small hook to store extra sticks of chalk.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two DIY Chalkboard

The open shelving is perfect for storing extra folded towels for the adjacent bathroom.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two Open shelving

We were able to keep our DIY Suspended Clothes Drying Rod on the window wall pictured below.

Basement Laundry Room Clothes Drying Rod

While it was unfortunate that we hadn't considered function over form when doing the original basement laundry room makeover, I am so glad we were able to salvage most everything from the original design. These changes added less than $100 to the cost of the original $500 room makeover.

Basement Laundry Room Makeover Two

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Farmhouse Cane Back Chairs

It's time for another edition of Themed Furniture Makeover Day.  I always look forward to this day but I have to admit, this month's theme was a stretch for me because it is Farmhouse.

Don't get me wrong, I love the farmhouse look with all that vintage chippy goodness but my home is a mixed bag of Traditional, French Provincial, and Shabby Chic.

I found a couple of chairs in my stash that I thought would fit the bill after some chalk paint magic and grain sack stripes.

Farmhouse Cane Back Chairs

Farmhouse Cane Back Chair Makeover

This is what they used to look like...

Cane back chairs Before

Oh my goodness, the stinky dirty upholstery had seen their better days.

Original fabric on cane back chairs

I painted them with three coats of the color Vanilla Frosting chalk paint by Country Chic Paint. Once dry I hit the edges with a 220 grit sanding block for a light distressed look. I thought about going all chippy with it but my traditional side kicked in.

Vanilla Frosting chalk painted Farmhouse Cane Back Chairs

I used a brush to paint the cane, although spraying it would have been easier. I couldn't risk the chance of overspray because I have three projects on the go at the moment, some of which are for clients.

Chalk painted cane on Farmhouse Chairs

Recently I shared our Master Bedroom Window Seat ReMakeover. When I reupholstered the new seat cushion I kept the fabric from the original Window Seat Design. I'm so glad I did because it was perfect to reuse on these chairs.

Farmhouse Cane Back Chairs with salvaged drop cloth upholstery

I made the cushion cover with a drop cloth and painted grain stripes.

Salvaged drop cloth to upholster Farmhouse cane back chairs

Because of the way I had randomly painted the stripes on the bench cushion, I wasn't able to cut the fabric so the stripes matched perfectly on each chair.

Farmhouse Cane Back Chair on the left

  ...but I came close.

Farmhouse Cane Back Chair on the right

In May I am selling at my first outdoor market and these will definitely be coming along.

Farmhouse Cane Back Chairs Makeover

If you like my Farmhouse Cane Back Chair Makeover please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

Furniture Girls Themed Furniture Makeover Day
Do you think they fit the Farmhouse bill?

Let's head over and see what the other DIY Furniture Girls created for their Farmhouse piece.

Furniture Girls Themed Furniture Makeover Day

Please pin directly from their blog post rather than the links below.

You'll find this project linked up to these fabulous PARTIES

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A Quick And Easy Fluted Tin Flower Pot Refresh

I've got such an easy peasy project to share with you this week on Frugal Decor Tuesday.  It was so easy I'm almost embarrassed to share it with you but it's too pretty not to.

Tin flower pot refresh with chalk paint

A quick and easy Fluted Tin Flower Pot Refresh

This pretty but dated tin vase has been collecting dust in the corner of the workshop for almost a year. The original retailer's price tag read $24.99 and I think we paid $2.00. I loved the pretty feet and fluted top but wasn't a fan of the patina.

Tin flower pot before

It never ceases to amaze me how a fresh coat of paint can completely transform a piece and this was no exception. All I did was brush a couple of coats of Simplicity White chalk paint on it. Easy peasy, right. After the paint dried I hit the embossed details with 220 grit sandpaper for a distressed look. 

Distressed white painted tin flower pot

The exterior was protected with clear wax and the inside with two coats of  Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Matte Clear spray.

Chalk painted flower pot inside view

I slipped a dollar store glass cylinder inside and filled it with Spring flowers that were on clearance at our local grocery store.

Painted tin flower pot and Spring flowers

It was the perfect addition to my simple dining room Spring vignette.

Tin flower pot refreshed

Would you consider it a vase or a flower pot?

Whatever it is, next time you see these tin pots on the thrift store shelves, think twice about walking right by it.

You'll find this project linked up at these fabulous linky PARTIES.

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Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder

A few days ago when trying to come up with an idea for this month's Spring edition of the Power Tool Challenge (talk about flying by the seat of my pants), I was rummaging through my wood stash when I came across a bucket of antique chair parts.

Taking a closer look at the pressed chair back, it reminded me of a butterfly. I stood staring at it while sipping my morning java and wondered what I could make with it. Just then I heard a bird chirping from the open window and that's when a lightbulb went off in my head.

Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder

Antique chair back bird feeder

If you haven't heard of the Power Tool Challenge, it's a group of talented tool savvy, skill sharing female DIY bloggers who come together each month to empower our female readers to step out of their comfort zones and try simple projects they can make themselves using a power tool.


Miter Saw
Brad Nailer
Mouse Sander
1-inch chisel


Antique Chair Back
Pine plywood
1 1/4-inch Brad Nails
80 grit mouse sander pads
Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in the color New Life
Country Chic Paint in the color Dark Roast
Tough Coat protective finish

How To Build A Bird Feeder with a chair back

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of me doing each step because working alone and trying to take pictures was far too challenging. Also, note that the pictures may not appear to be in sequence with the steps.

Why? Because I was making this project up as I went along and it wasn't until afterward that I realized a much smarter way of building it. So follow the steps in chronological order and refer to the pictures for guidance.

Let's talk a bit about safety first

  • Make sure you have a wood cutting blade on your jigsaw.  If not, unplug the saw before changing the blade.
  • Always secure the piece you are cutting with clamps onto a sturdy work surface.
  • Wear protective eyewear - even if you wear glasses.
  • Wear hearing protection when operating power tools.
  • Start the saw first before making contact with the piece you are cutting.  Take your time and do the cutting in stages if need be.

Step 1: Cutting the chair back

Cut the bottom of the Antique Pressed Chair Back straight across (mine was cut 1-inch from the bottom).  I used a jigsaw because, in all honesty, I'm still uncomfortable operating a table saw alone, especially making a cut on a curved piece of wood.

Cutting chair back for bird feeder

Step 2:  Building the base

Cut a piece of pine board 5" x 8 1/2" - this is the base of the bird feeder.

Pine base for antique chair back bird feeder

Step 3: Marking the curvature of the chair back

Now I'm not going to lie, it took some time to get the curvature of the chair back onto the base of the bird feeder so they fit perfectly when assembled.

Hold the chair back upright onto the back of the bird feeder base. With a pencil, draw the curvature onto the wood.

Marking chair back curve onto bird feeder base

Using a jigsaw (make sure the wood is securely clamped onto your work surface) cut the curve.  Take your time because cutting a curve can be a little more challenging.  Chances are it won't be a perfect fit.  If yours was, hands up in the air from me to you!

This is where a mouse sander comes in VERY handy. Slowly work away at the parts that need to removed until it fits nice and snug against the chair back. It took me several attempts to get it right. The goal is to not have any gaps between the bird feeder and the chair back or the seeds are going to runneth over.

Cut and sand bird feeder base to fit chair back

Step 4: Cutting the front and side pieces

You will need three pieces of pine plywood cut as follows:
Front = 10" long x 3 1/4" high
Sides = 5" long x 3 1/4" high
I used my miter saw to cut these.

Note: I had some cedar scraps and grabbed those instead.  In hindsight, I would have preferred using pine to match the base.  Both types of wood were the same thickness so all is good.

Cutting sides for chair back bird feeder

Step 5:  Assembling the front and back onto the base

I applied Gorilla construction glue onto the bottom of each piece before assembly. Using a brad nailer with 1 1/4-inch brad nails, I attached the pieces from the bottom of the base. Clamps will be your friend for this part to hold all the pieces together.

Chair back bird feeder assembly

Step 6:  Adding decorative trim to the feeder

I had some wood trim in my stash with a similar profile as that of the chair back.  Using a miter saw, I cut the corners at 45° angles and glued them around the base of the feeder,  I then secured them in place with the brad nailer.
Front Trim Piece = 10 1/2-inches long
Side Trim Pieces = 6 1/8-inches long

Adding trim to chair back bird feeder

Step 7:  Notching the chair for feeder attachment

Hold the bird feeder up against the chair back and mark where your sides meet up with the chair back. Mark the notches with a pencil.  Mine are 1" wide x 3 1/4" high.

Using a jigsaw, cut out the notches.  Again, secure the chair back onto your work surface and take your time.  You want to first make the two end cuts.  Then make thin slices all across the middle up to the top mark (see picture below).

With a 1-inch chisel, remove the slices.  Repeat this on the other side.

Notches to join bird feeder with chair back

Step 8: Attaching the bird feeder to the chair back

Apply glue to all the parts of the feeder that will make contact with the notches. Slip the feeder through the notches and attach with a brad nailer.

Run the mouse sander over all of the edges and the where the sides slip through the chair on the back to smooth everything out. Apply wood filler to all the joints and sand smooth once dry.

Sorry, I did take a picture of it all assembled before painting it but I must have accidentally deleted it. You get an idea of how they fit once assembled in the picture below.

Chair back and bird feeder box assembled

Step 9:  Adding the pretty

For the safety of the birds, the inside of the feeder was kept natural. The rest of the feeder was painted with chalk paint, which has low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), in the color New Life. According to some research studies, green bird feeders attract the most birds.

With a small stencil brush and chalk paint in the color Dark roast, I got paint into all the details using a circular motion and wiped away the excess.  I love how the paint made all those details pop!

Aging chair back bird feeder with brown chalk paint

Once dry, I applied two coats of Tough Coat protective finish (which is suitable for outdoor use) on the painted surfaces ONLY.

Step 10:  Adding typography

I had to add fun typography onto the front of the feeder. The "served here" is part of a stencil from the Funky Junk Interior stencil line.  I used the same Dark Roast chalk paint color from Step 9.

The "SEEDS" graphic I made in PicMonkey and printed it onto bond paper.  Using carbon paper, I traced the letters onto the wood.  With an art brush, I painted each letter with the same Dark Roast chalk paint.

Typography added to chair back bird feeder

Step 11:  Adding a hanger to the back

Measure to find the center of the chair back and mark it with a pencil.  Attach a D-hook onto the back.  The bottom of the D-Hook measures 2 1/2-inches from the top on mine.

Step 12:  Hang that baby!

Hang it from a fence or tree.  I hung mine from our fence far away from normal foot traffic so the birds won't be scared away while enjoying their feasts.

Chair Back Bird Feeder in the backyard

Eat little birdies while I enjoy watching you from afar!

Antique Chair Back Bird Feeder hung outdoors

Now it's time to see what my talented friends made for the Spring Power Tool Challenge.

Please press the links below to see what my talented friends have created for Spring.

Chevron Wood Easter Egg by Kim Six Fix
Fruit and Vegetable Bin by Designs By Studio C
Wooden Swing Shelf by Domestically Speaking
Wooden Easter Eggs by Create And Babble
Repurposed Easter Cross by Prodigal Pieces
Planter Box Centerpiece by Refresh Restyle
Upcycled Drawer Front Planter by Confessions of A Serial DIY'er
Rustic 3 Panel Wall Decor by Designed Decor
Baseball Bookends by Virginia Sweet Pea
Chair Back Bird Feeder by Interior Frugalista
Wood Slice Rolling Plant Stand by My Repurposed Life

*affiliate links included - see my disclosure policy.

You'll find this project linked up at these PARTIES.

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