Friday, June 29, 2012

I "Shutter" to Think

...what I would do if I actually took a vacation during breaks from school.

Yes, it's a cheesy title. Hey, it's 109 degrees in the shade and I've been working outside since 7 a.m. I'm allowed to have cheesy titles when I have brain fry.

I will post the project I've been working on all week soon, but just so you know I'm not resting on my laurels....

Wait, do I HAVE laurels? What the heck are laurels anyway? Wait until after you read the rest of this before you make clicky to go see what laurels are. Oh what the heck, go ahead and look now. You know you want to. I'll wait here. Good. You're back. That definition didn't really help much, did it? But aren't idioms fun?

Okay, so back to the project. We have a water heater in the garage (soon to be Dan's newly remodeled office). It's not very attractive to look at, so I decided to buy some shutters to make a folding screen to hide it. This was my inspiration piece, as seen on Pinterest, of course.
Expensive store screen
cheap vinyl shutters with potential
Pier One wanted $260 for that folding screen, so of course buying it was out of the question. Plus, I need my shutters to fold around the water heater, so I'd have to redo the hinges. I wanted the middle one to stick out in front and the other two to fold back from it on either side. SO, I searched Craigslist and Facebook to see if I could score some wooden shutters or bifold doors.

I found these for sale for $25. They're vinyl and I was really hoping to find wooden ones, but so is everyone else who pinned projects like this one on Pinterest. I figured I could make this work. I really wanted them to be red like the ones above, but we're thinking about a concrete stain for the floor that has orangey-brown sunset-type colors in it. Dan and I were afraid the red would clash. So, I spray-painted them black. The decor in his office (like the music room and laundry room that connects them) is red, black, white, and gray, so they will match that without clashing with the future (hopefully not-too-distant-future) floor. Right now we're rethinking the whole acid-stain thing, AND we're installing a bathroom which requires busting up the concrete, which means that project has to be done before we can even start the others, which means we're at the mercy of really busy plumbers, which means we're in an indefinite holding pattern right now on the office remodel, which means I'm going me crazy. So, back to the shutters, one of the projects on my To-Do list that I can actually do without waiting for plumbers.

I went to Ace Hardware to buy some hinges. I like to go to Ace instead of the big box stores like Lowe's and Home Depot when I know there's something very specific that I'll need help with. One of their managers named Nate is extremely helpful and never makes customers feel like he's doing them a big favor by waiting on them. He helped me pick out the hinges I would need.  I couldn't use bi-fold hinges (like for a closet door) because the shutters are pretty thin. Also, I had to think about how the shutters needed to fold out from the center, unlike the screen above. Hinges in hand, I came back home to drill the holes. I love using power tools. :-)

After a couple of false starts (no one will ever notice the "oops" holes from my first attempt that didn't line up quite right), I managed to get them together. Here's what they look like finished:

Not bad from this angle...
...but this angle shows the true story.
They hide the water heater and match the room, so mission mostly accomplished. However, they do not hide the pipes up above the water heater. That board with the dust pan and stuff hanging from it will be gone when we redo the garage, but the pipes are there to stay. If I had this to do over again, I would not buy shutters. Instead, I'd keep searching until I found some old louvered bifold closet doors because they're tall enough to hide more. But, for $25 and a can of paint, I'm happy that I don't have to stare at the water heater behind it.

Stay tuned for more summer projects, including: painted wrought iron furniture, patio powerwash, laundry room makeover, garage/office makeover, and more. I'm running out of summer!!!

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