CELEBRATING A BLOGIVERSARY!

This month I am celebrating the third anniversary of this blog! I must admit I haven’t accomplished all that I’d hoped to at this point, but I’m chugging along doing the best I can. Thanks to everyone who has read my posts, tried my tutorials and contributed comments!! I appreciate it!!

I decided to use this opportunity to share the most popular posts from my blog over the post three years. So sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy perusing the site! (Click on each photo below to learn more.)

THE 10 MOST POPULAR POSTS FROM STUDIO 36

WEST ELM INSPIRED DIY DINING ROOM TABLE

DIY CUSTOM BATHROOM VANITY TUTORIAL

MY NEW DINING ROOM REVEAL

MANTEL STYLING TIPS

MY POPULAR IKEA HACK BUILT-IN

TUTORIAL: DIY MEMO BOARD

I’ve been doing some work on my daughter’s bedroom makeover and I finally have a project to share with you! One of the items my daughter specifically requested in her new room was a memo board. So I decided to make her a unique one that will fit with the mix of modern and traditional decor in her new room.

Here’s what I came up with…

I took this framed painting I found on Craigslist:

before

And turned it into this unique memo board:

after

I removed the painting, added some metal dowels in a grid pattern, and spray painted it all gray. This was a project that I kinda just saw in my head and figured it out as I went. Once I figured out the details, it actually became a really easy project.

I think there are a lot of possibilities with this memo board. It can be painted any color to match your decor, but I also think using a stained wood frame and just leaving the dowels unfinished would work great for an industrial or farmhouse look. You could easily paint the dowels one color and the frame a different color too. The style frame you choose can also change the look of the memo board, and you can try different patterns for the metal dowels (see some options in the directions below).

materials + tools

wood frame of your choice
pencil
paper
1/8” x 4’ aluminum metal dowels (the number of dowels you need will depend on how large your project is but I used 4)
drill
hacksaw
miter box
Gorilla Glue
spray paint/primer (optional)

directions

back of frame

ONE. Start with a frame that’s made from wood. It can be a photo frame, but mine happened to be a framed small canvas painting that I found used on Craigslist for $20. The painting itself is boring, but I purchased it just for the frame. I love the ornate detail and the large size (overall it’s about 22”x26”)!

Remove the framed print, any glass and any hanging wire on the back so all you have is the wood frame.

TUTORIAL: DIY BATHROOM DOUBLE VANITY

the old vanity in my kids’ bathroom

As you all should know by now, I recently gave my kids’ bathroom a renovation on a budget, and one of the biggest challenges of this reno was figuring out what to do with the old builder grade vanity. I hated the vanity, but my budget limitations made me consider keeping it and just altering it to look better. I considered painting it, updating the hardware, adding some faux feet, and installing new faucets. But that still just felt so blah to me. If I was going to spend some time and money changing the vanity, I wanted to make it something I LOVED! My goal with all of my makeovers is to bring a major transformation to the room creating a space I truly love for an affordable price. My goal is NEVER to create a room that’s just acceptable or slightly better than what was there. Altering the existing vanity would have made this slightly better than what was there, not something I LOVE.

Based on my boho modern design for this bathroom, I felt like a vanity like this (in a different color) would be something I love:

source

However, the $1275 price tag (and that’s on sale!) for this vanity was most of my entire budget for the whole bathroom reno! Yikes! Plus I wanted my vanity to be a different color, and I also wanted it to be a little shorter than the standard 60” length. I realized the only option that would fit my space, style and budget was to make a vanity myself from scratch. I couldn’t find a tutorial online for a double vanity that I liked so I made my own tutorial. Follow along to learn how you can make your own custom bath vanity for a fraction of the price! This cost me about $200 for materials!

elevation of vanity wall in bathroom

 

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS VANITY IS YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK IN ALMOST ANY STYLE BATHROOM

—RUSTIC, FARMHOUSE, TRADITIONAL, MODERN, BOHEMIAN, INDUSTRIAL—SIMPLY BY CHANGING

THE MATERIALS AND DETAILS.

important notes before you begin
  • My vanity was designed to be used with vessel sinks which will sit on top of the countertop. I have made this vanity 30” tall because my countertop is 1 1/8” thick and my sinks are 5 1/4” tall, giving a total height of nearly 37”. If you are going to use drop-in sinks with this vanity then you will definitely want to adjust the overall height of your vanity in order for it to feel more ergonomically correct. Try 36” tall or whatever feels comfortable for you. (That’s the great thing about making your own vanity, you can customize it to what you like!) Also, if you’re using drop in sinks the top row of drawers in the vanity will not be usable because the sinks will be in the way. You can turn the top drawers into faux drawers with fixed in place drawer fronts.
  • Note that the enclosed area of this vanity (where the drawers are) is 16 3/4” tall. I specifically made it this tall in order to fully enclose all of the plumbing so it’s not visible. Since everyones plumbing can vary, it’s a good idea to verify that 16 3/4” will conceal all of your plumbing (the bottom of the enclosed area is 13 1/4” from the floor). If not, you’ll want to adjust that dimension on your vanity.
  • This tutorial is for a custom 56” long double vanity, but this can easily be turned into a standard 60” vanity by adjusting the length. You could also adjust the length to turn this into a single vanity (it would actually be an easier build 🙂 ).
  • My countertop for this vanity is solid wood because that is what goes best with my design. I have not tried using this vanity with a very heavy countertop like marble or granite. I assume it would be sturdy enough to hold the weight, but if you are planning to use a stone countertop I suggest verifying it is able to hold the weight before installing an expensive countertop. Like I said, it should be fine but I’m just letting you know I haven’t tried it.
  • I personally wanted plain front drawer panels to create a minimal modern look in the room, but you could easily add molding or reclaimed wood to the drawer fronts to change the style of the vanity. What I love about this vanity is you can make it work in almost any style bathroom—rustic, farmhouse, traditional, modern, bohemian, industrial—simply by changing the materials and details.
materials list

(8) 2” x 2” x 8’ boards
(1) 1” x 2” x 6’ board
(2) 1” x 6” x 10’ boards
(1) 1” x 6” x 6’ board
(1) 1” x 8” x 10’ board
(1) 4’ x 8’ sheet 3/4” thick plywood
(1) 4’ x 4’ sheet 1/4” thick plywood
4 sets of 14” drawer slides
4 drawer knobs or pulls
2 1/2” pocket hole screws
1 1/4” pocket hole screws
1 1/4” wood screws
1 1/4” nails
Wood filler
Wood glue
Sandpaper
Primer/paint or stain

tools list

Circular saw
Miter or chop saw
Jig saw
Drill
Kreg Jig
Electric sander
Nail gun
Carpenter’s square
Level
Measuring tape
Pencil
Safety glasses

cut list

(6) 2×2 @ 53” — long rails
(4) 2×2 @ 30” — legs
(10) 2×2 @ 19” — short rails and braces
(2) 2×2 @ 13 3/4” — stiles
(2) 1×2 @ 25 3/4” — mid-rails between drawers
(16) 1×6 @ 12 3/4” — drawer sides
(8) 1×6 @ 9 3/8” — drawer backs
(4) 1×6 @ 6” — drawer backs
(4) 1×8 @ 25 1/2” — drawer fronts
(1) 3/4” plywood @ 53” x 19” — lower shelf
(2) 3/4” plywood @ 13 3/4” x 19” — side panels
(4) 1/4” plywood @ 24 3/4” x 13 1/2” — drawer bottoms

front


back (with drawers removed)

The open back of this vanity leaves room for the plumbing.

step 1: ASSEMBLE BOTH SIDE PANELS

If you don’t do carpentry projects often, then let me begin by stating the following:

  • All pocket holes drilled are made with a Kreg Jig and should be facing away from the visible side of the vanity. 
  • Test that the vanity is level as you go. 
  • Use your carpenter’s square to make sure all connections are at a 90 degree angle. 

If your connections are not at a right angle or your rails are not level, then your vanity could end up lopsided and pieces may not fit together correctly… and no one wants a lopsided vanity 🙁 !

Use 2 1/2” pocket screws and wood glue to connect two of the 2”x2”x30” legs to the top 2”x2”x19” rail.

Then attach the plywood panel to the legs and top rail using 1 1/4” pocket screws and wood glue. Be sure to keep the plywood flush with the back face of all of the 2x2s. This will make the front face of the plywood recess 3/4” from the outside face of the 2x2s giving it a recessed panel look.

Now slide in the lower 2”x2”x19” rail and attach it to both legs (using 2 1/2” pocket screws) as well as the bottom of the plywood panel (using 1 1/4” pocket screws).

Next, attach a 2”x2”x19” rail with 2 1/2” pocket screws and wood glue exactly 3” from the bottom of each leg. This will be used to support the lower shelf.

Just a note here to say that after my messy kids started using their bathroom I discovered lots of trash, missing socks and lost clothes underneath this vanity (yes, my son is super messy!). I discovered it’s kinda hard to get everything out from under the vanity with only 3″ of clearance. In retrospect, I wish I had made the lower shelf a little higher so it would be easier to clean underneath it. So if you think this is something that will bother you then you may want to raise your shelf a little higher. If my kids weren’t so messy it wouldn’t be a problem!

Repeat all these steps again to make the other side panel.

DIY WOOD COUNTERTOP

In case you missed it, I recently gave our upstairs hall bathroom a major renovation. I made my own wood countertop for the vanity (which I also made myself… tutorial coming), and I love how it turned out!

The countertop ended up being one of my hardest decisions for this reno! I considered going with a white quartz or marble countertop hoping to find a remnant for a discounted price, but I’d still have to pay someone to install it so the price was creeping higher than I wanted. I then considered doing a wood countertop because we have friends who installed wood countertops in their kitchen themselves for a low price and it looks great! I realized that regardless of the price advantage, the wood countertop actually fits the boho modern casual style of the room better than the marble or quartz does anyway.

My only hesitancy was whether the wood counter would be durable enough to withstand repeated exposure to water and all the products that tend to get used in a bathroom, especially because this is the bathroom my children use and they are not the best at cleaning up after themselves 🙂 . So I ended up doing some research to figure out the best way to make a wood countertop as durable as possible. I came up with three things I could do to help make sure it was able to withstand the conditions of a bathroom:

  • I chose to make my countertop from hardwood instead of a softwood like your standard pine is. Hardwoods are more durable and less porous than softwoods.
  • I made sure the joints between each plank were nice and smooth and tight with no cracks for water to seep into.
  • I sealed the countertop with three coats of Waterlox Original Tung Oil. Based on all of my research, this seemed to be the sealer that gives the most durable finish.

I actually ended up spending a lot of time researching EVERYTHING about wood countertops—from lumber options, to construction, to how to install them. If you’re considering using wood countertops in your home, here are some tips and instructions based on what I learned from my research and my experience making my own wood countertop. Hopefully it can give you some insight and save you some time!

01.

The species of wood you choose for your countertop is important because it will affect both the durability and the overall final look of the counter. As I mentioned, wood species are generally divided into two categories: softwoods and hardwoods. Softwoods include spruce and your common pine, and as the name suggest they are usually softer and more porous, making them easier to nick or absorb water. Hardwoods include wood like oak and walnut, and they are generally more durable and denser, making them harder to cut or drill through.

I highly suggest going with a hardwood for your wood countertops. It will not only give you a more durable countertop, but it’ll also offer a wider range of choices in color and grain to get the exact look you’re going for. Your local big box home improvement store is not going to offer many choices of wood species so you’ll likely need to go to a lumber store.

I considered using walnut for my countertop because I’m a big fan of the look of the wood in general, but it was more money than I wanted to spend. I ended up going with ash instead. It’s a wood commonly used to make furniture, it’s very durable, and has a really nice grain to it. Plus it was about half the price of walnut! I went to a local lumber store where I could look at all of the pieces they had in stock and choose the exact boards I wanted (some boards had a much prettier grain than others).

chosenlumberone of the boards of ash I chose