Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cabinet Upgrade

I like my apartment, don't get me wrong. It's in the ideal neighborhood for me--quieter than Dallas' West Village or Uptown, but by no means boring. The building is small and quiet, I rarely hear my neighbors and that's great. And the layout is fairly ideal for me. But, I'm not a huge fan of the white walls (there's a very strict no paint clause) and beige carpets. It's so bland! And I'm such a fan of color, texture, patterns, eye-catching elements... That's why I insist on undertaking projects that, yeah, I could live without, but that bring extra colors and patterns into my home.

When I moved in to this apartment, I was thrilled that the bathroom has turquoise tiles (a lovely escape from the white-on-white scheme that rules the rest of the pad). But I was fairly depressed by the bathroom cabinets under the sink. The hardware couldn't have been more boring if they tried and, to make things worse, the cabinet doors didn't match up and close correctly, meaning my cleaning supplies were always visible!

If you've never ventured into the cabinet-hanging world, I urge you to avoid it at all costs. On a previous house redecorating kick, I took down about 14 cabinets, thinking it would be a breeze to re-hang them. Boy was I wrong! Apparently, it takes an engineering degree to get the doors to line up perfectly and also to shut correctly. Thankfully, in my apartment's bathroom, I only had one cabinet to re-hang and I got through the whole process without cursing or pulling out any hair.

And now for the fun part of this project...

I wanted the bathroom cabinets to have color and different handles. I'd been looking around for hardware at various stores (Elliot’s True Value, Restoration Hardware) and online. I found some great handles at Anthropologie's winter clearance sale and they were cheap, so I snapped 'em up. They are an ivory-colored bone-like material, in a very classic shape. I bought a roll of Caspari wrapping paper to cover the cabinet faces and added in the handles, and voila a very refined looking collection of bathroom cabinets. To cover cabinets with paper, you should use a high quality double-stick tape. Often in the scrapbooking section of a craft store you'll find the kind of tape I'm talking about. Make sure, though, that you don't use a "puffy" tape, or else you'll be able to see the tape when the project is finished. Cut the paper to fit the cabinets (whether you want a little to wrap around the sides or a small border of the cabinet underneath is your choice), carefully place the paper on the cabinet, flatten out any wrinkles, and then cover with clear contact paper, for a lacquered look.

At right is a "before and after" picture of the cabinets when I was half-way done with the project. It's such a typical before and after shot because it was taken in low lighting and doesn't look very good, kinda like those pictures of people before and after a diet or tooth whitening--in the before, they are wearing ugly clothes, without their hair done and frowning, and in the after they are totally glamour shots. I liked the way this turned out so well, I might just do every cabinet in the apartment this way!

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