Wednesday, March 13, 2013

using what you've got {dated built-ins}

It's spring break and I'm elbow deep in (starting) projects, but Emily is having a "working with what you have" party, and I couldn't resist joining in. I'm not much of a preacher, but there is one thing I simply can't say enough:

making do with what you've got isn't really a choice so much as it is a way of life.

You will ALWAYS save money, feel prouder and look thinner (I may have made that part up) when you use what you already have. That's true for getting dressed in the morning, pimping your presents, deciding what to make for dinner

or

dealing with gun-cabinets. Welcome to Texas.

For those of you who have been around for awhile, you'll recognize this beast. 
Our beloved 1968 built-in monstrosity. 
A million feet across, the focal point of the living room and oh oh OH so brown.

camping on the floor, move-in day 2008

One week later I was priming the paneling, but note that I skipped the built-ins.
No since wasting my time on something I was gonna get rid of anyway, right?


But the reality is that feeding five kids will always come before fancy shmancy new cabinetry,
so the primer and paint came back out and we lived with them like this for awhile.

(Hayden, eating chocolate Teddy Grahams and breaking my heart with his little baby self...he'll be 9 in May)

 Eventually the guts got painted a dark terra cotta color,


and although the shelves are constantly evolving, it's always things that sing to my soul:
falling apart vintage books, kids creations, and newer favorites.
Yes, that's a Napoleon Dynamite quote book stacked in the basket. If I love it, it works.





Eventually the TV down below died and we had to get creative about how to fix that problem. Removing the glass doors. Putting some baskets where the old set used to sit. The wood and paint were from the garage, so the only thing purchased was some new drawer pulls.



Total cost: about $25

(or $9 billion less than replacing the whole shebang)


 



Head on over to Emily's to see more working-around-what-you've-got inspiration.



29 comments:

  1. Your as clever and crafty working with bookcase built-ins as you are with wrapping presents ... and that's say a lot. Love how the bookcases have pragmatically evolved over time {TV dies, replace with shelves and baskets}. I have a very similar bookcase story that I just posted about too; as much as folks claim to love those built-ins I think many of us struggle with them daily. Enjoy spring break :)

    Robin
    happilyhomeafter.blogspot.com

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  2. People pay a lot of money for custom builtins like that. You definitely turned ugly into beautiful on a dime. Cheers!

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  3. I love your mantra of using what you have! It is so true that it becomes a way of life. The transfomation of the built-ins in your home has been eye opening...so many good ideas! And so many good books that I count as my favs too!
    Great job :)

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  4. I think you have missed your calling. You are so creative and have such a bubbly personality that you would make a great designer or upcycler. I can picture you now with your own little shop and greeting customers and helping them decide what to do with their old brown......you name it. Have a great week!

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  5. What a spectacular re-make! It's gorgeous now :)

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  6. Simply amazing! Love your blog.

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  7. Very, very nice make-over, make-do. I kept scrolling back and forth between before and after to make sure you really didn't replace it! ~Ann

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  8. I love this post for so many reasons :) Your built-ins look like you had them custom built for your family. I'm so glad you didn't give up on them and decided to feed your kids instead. Ha! Thanks for linking up.

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  9. What an amazing transformation! Always so amazed at what paint can do!

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  10. I love built ins! The extra storage always makes me happy. Although, I think this particular built in might have overwhelmed me...and I would have been completely thrown off by the gun cabinet. You did an amazing job. The finished result is gorgeous!

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  11. I have similar wood paneling and built-ins, did you have to sand it before priming?

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  12. Brilliance!!! Why buy new when you can make old look so perfect???

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  13. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what you did! It looks so awesome!

    You are so talented and creative!

    PS--Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!

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  14. Love what you did with it. Beautiful job! I see such potential in things sometimes, I want to "garbage pick" some old things and do 'something' with them, but hubby isn't crazy for that idea and I just don't have the space. I do need something for our tv to sit on rather than what we have so, I'm keeping my eyes open. Who knows maybe I'll find something and "fix" it while hubby is out of town one weekend. LOL

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  15. I would love your re-done built-ins. You have a great talent for making the mundane look spectacular!

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  16. Yes, I'm totally on board with using what you've got. We 'remodeled' our kitchen with paint and accessories and I'm perfectly happy with it. Meanwhile, our neighbors have had handymen at their house every day for the last two weeks ripping out their kitchen that they already completely remodeled about 12 years ago. We just stand at the window, watching the dollar signs adding up and are perfectly content with our already paid for kitchen.

    Your built-ins look fabulous, by the way. Talk about using what you've got!!!

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  17. That is the best redo I've seen to date. I wish I had built-ins...I've got lots of flat walls that are jealous now.

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  18. The house we moved from 2 years ago had those builts but we had block paneling. We did eventually not out the built ins. I never really wanted to paint but yours look really awesome. I like how you added the splash ofcolor to the insides of the built ins. Very nice.

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  19. Love this post! The built-ins look great, honestly.

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  20. Hi!! I´m Laura from Spain, and I have a little blog: littlefew.blogspot.com

    I´ve met you through Jenny´s blog, "sugarshellandbutterknife", and I really love your blog and this post too!!! So, you can visit my blog too, and we can follow each other, because I´d like to share all pretty things of our lifes! Have a lovely week and nice to meet you! :-D

    Laura
    littlefew.blogspot.com

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  21. Wowza...amazing transformation! Lots of work but the paint change is amazing and so is your styling!

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  22. Wow- what a great makeover! Absolutely love the orange color on the back. It's so much fun to take a little risk and see it pay off!

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  23. Amazing! You did a great job! Love the way you styled the bookcase too! Well done!

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  24. These are beautiful. I wish I had a hideous built in gun cabinet in my living room that I could transform into an elegant off-white built in storage & tv unit. Seriously, I would pay money for that, which is saying something.

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  25. Wowza!! Emily said we had to see the 'before' and I agree! It looks amazing!!! Great job, and thanks for sharing!

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  26. I think you've done a remarkable job with it. Of course my husband would LOVE to have a gun cabinet in the family room. Couple of deer heads, dead fish on the wall... I like your solution better than a lot of new cabinets I've seen.

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  27. Good job and post. Amazing what a "little" paint and work can do to transform a living space into a comfortable living space!
    Regards,
    jean

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