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(The Printer Isn’t) Trapped in the Closet

A few months ago, I revamped my closet as one of the first steps toward completing Kim’s Stu-Stu-Studio makeover. Things went very well at first, but I slowly realized that while the bones were good, it would need some tweaking. In all honesty, things had gone downhill pretty quickly.

Jump forward a few months, and as the studio progressed, we realized that Kim would need to upgrade her printer to one with higher resolution. We settled on the Canon Pixma MG6120. It has wi-fi connectivity, all the functionality we need, and scans Kim’s work beautifully. The printer is, however, about 40% larger than our old model. This presented a problem, as the studio space remains about 40% smaller than an average bedroom.

Up until last weekend, here’s where we stood with a printer crammed under Grandma’s chair, and my closet overflowing with nonsense.

From there, the plan was simple: I gut my closet, reconfigure the shelves into a more usable orientation, pet Jack while I work, and hide the wi-fi enabled printer on a little wheelie tray inside the closet so that it’s (functionally) out of sight 95% of the time, but can be rolled out into the room for Kim’s weekly portrait scanning sessions.

Before and afters are great, no? This only required the purchase of one extra shelf, two extra supports, and about three seconds with a miter saw to chop one existing shelf in half.

The same day we went to Home Depot to pick up the extra shelf supplies for my closet, we picked up a small piece of project-plywood that started out 24″ x 24,” and we had HD cut it to 15″ x 19″ – just slightly larger than the printer itself. We also grabbed a small brass pull handle, four swivel castors, a white extension cord, a cable cover kit (more on those later), and a Behr paint sample in Juicy Passionfruit. Seriously. Juicy Passionfruit. I know, right?

As with all trips to Home Depot, the biggest time-suck of our journey was Kim’s raging internal debate between two identical shades of peachy, orange-y, coral-y, paint. (Love ya!) But we eventually checked off all the boxes on our list and were on our way home.

Upon our return to the tiny homestead, I  sanded the edges of the plywood smooth to remove any splinters and spackled the edges to finish things off nicely and keep the plywood from separating.

After I wrapped up the edge finishing and gave things a quick final sanding, Kim put on 1 layer of Zinnser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer, 2 coats of our Behr sample and 2 coats of Polycrylic in semi-gloss (to protect from scuffs and counteract the flat finish that’s the only choice in the sample size).

You keen observers might also notice a longer, narrower piece of hardwood (that’s what she said?) in the background of the photo below. You’d like to know what that’s for, wouldn’t you? You will. Soon.

We gave everything ample drying/curing time. Like, an entire week ample since we’re trying this new thing where projects are largely reserved for the weekends to avoid burnout. I gotta tell you, it’s pretty great. At any rate, 3 days is more than enough time for primer, paint, and poly (alliteration!) to cure under normal circumstances.

The next step was to wrangle 16 tiny matching screws from the grandpa jar. This is the fastener equivalent of finding 16 needles in a haystack. A sharp, rusty haystack. But hey, all of our projects are done on a budget with as many repurposed items as possible. Plus, I’m up to date on my tetanus shot, I think…

Here is a rare photo of Kim using a drill. The bottom half of her face sure is pretty, huh? This is where we affixed the four little castors to the bottom of the plywood section (which we didn’t paint not only to save time, but we would never actually see it).

This is where the cable cover and extension cord came into play. There is obviously not an electrical outlet in the closet, so we had to run the extension cord from the nearest outlet.

This stuff works pretty well, huh? With Grandma’s chair back in place, you can hardly see the cord.

So, here sits the printer on a piece of plywood, with four swivel castors and a tiny brass pull handle to ease it’s exit from the closet.

Like so!

In all honesty, the handle isn’t perfectly straight. Since plywood is essentially a stack of thin, glued-together pieces of wood, sometimes you just need to let the screw go where it wants to go to avoid splitting and cracking.

All said and done, we’re super happy with how things turned out. The printer is no longer trapped in the closet, we can print wirelessly, and I somehow actually gained some shelf space in this transaction. All’s well that ends well.

Is anyone else working on a hidden electronics project?

  • heather s. - July 20, 2012 - 7:13 AM

    Great job! I did this years ago with a piece of closet shelving (like what is in your closet above) and casters to keep my printer under my mammoth desk. I rolled it out when necessary and pushed it back under (and against the back wall) when not in use. It worked great.ReplyCancel

  • Taryn - July 20, 2012 - 7:55 AM

    This looks fantastic! I swear, you guys are such an inspiration to those with a small space!

    Quick question though – how have you attached the cord to the wall? Have you done a post on it previously?ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - July 20, 2012 - 8:46 AM

    Oh, I love this! You guys are so. cool. And can I just comment, that is the perfect peachy-coral color. ;)ReplyCancel

  • kasey at thrifty little blog - July 20, 2012 - 2:28 PM

    Hey, my printer *is* trapped in the closet. What a good solution!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - July 20, 2012 - 4:45 PM

    Brilliant! I may need to do this for my printer, because right now it’s not really hidden on the bottom shelf of my little half bookshelf. :)ReplyCancel

  • Holyoke Home - July 21, 2012 - 4:02 PM

    What a GREAT idea! seems such a shame to not use every single inch of storage and you’re doing just that! Um… that a flor rug? I am LOVING it!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - July 23, 2012 - 10:17 PM

    So smart, it looks great!ReplyCancel


About That $2 Chair

As first mentioned in our tweaking post, we added a $2 chair to our living room set up. It’s a little funny that we’ve grown our furniture collection with a yard sale find – only to have our own sale in August, isn’t it? In any case, we spotted her a few weeks ago, we decided the last thing we needed was another chair (for where?, we said), but we bought her anyway. A couple dollar impulse buy never hurt anyone.

She needs some work. But since bringing her home, we’ve been focusing more on our backwards learning rather than rushing through projects, so still she sits like this:

The sign reads CAUTION, because the seat is no longer attached. You can see she’s even missing a fourth screw to hold the bottom in place, and the holes themselves have been tirelessly gouged over time; they are far too large.

The black vinyl seat is spotted with old paint (we think), the backrest has been poorly stained with a shiny, honey color, and the iron frame, while sturdy, is pocked with rust, nicks, and mismatched screws.

We think this’ll be a quick fixer upper, and a few hours in an afternoon will have her looking pretty again. Stripping the old polyurethane off the back (and likely re-applying a dark walnut color) is a given, but Scott and I have gone back and forth on the frame and seat.

Originally, we thought a clean, white frame could add a breath of fresh air:

But… what if we went bold and bright instead? (Think apple red, sunny yellow or kelly green.)

Or we could pair the happy color with a sleek white seat. While running errands this weekend, we actually found a remnant swatch of white vinyl and surprisingly, we loved it. It’s easy to wipe clean, and on such a small surface, it won’t feel hot and sticky on a warm day. We didn’t buy it at the store, but after waffling on the idea for the afternoon, we’ve since ordered a yard from

If we go with the white vinyl, we could always mix the old with the new and leave the original black frame as is and update the seat. (Again, keep in mind that the backrest will be stained a dark walnut with a less shiny, abrasive finish.)

Scott admitted he actually liked the rusty, old frame – we’ll call it, um, patina – and I agree. We’re leaning heavily towards the graphic colors of black + white, which leaves the option open for a fun, colorful pillow (always a good thing!).

Because the chair is hanging in our tweak-in-process living room, we’re keeping in mind our ultimate goal: toning down the dark, wooden window blinds, our once-gold curtain panels and colorful photo frames as to no longer compete with our already vibrant media wall. We’re always on board for punchy accessories (ahem, pillows!), but maybe it’s time we approach our tweaks with a minimalist approach, this chair included.

What do you think? How would you tackle this mini makeover?

  • katie - July 18, 2012 - 7:27 AM

    i actually tried to buy a set of similar chairs on craigslist a couple of years ago – i think the set i was looking at were paul mccobb chairs. i just tried to look this up again and come across this:

    just thought you might be interested.

    and i think i would leave the frame as is unless it is really bad. i debated spraying a metal fire place grate, but once i had it installed, i discovered that i really liked the patina.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - July 18, 2012 - 8:33 AM

    I really love the look of the last option (original black frame, white cushion). Adding a punch of color with a pillow seems like the perfect solution to me! Great find, btw…ReplyCancel

  • Marti | - July 18, 2012 - 8:34 AM

    Katie: That how-to-identify-a-McCobb post is really interesting and helpful! Thanks for linking to it.

    Kim: I also agree with the leaving the frame as-is.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 18, 2012 - 9:16 AM

    Katie, awesome link, thank you! We most definitely have a McCobb knock off, and like you, Carrie and Marti, we’re loving the patina look too.

    It’s just too much fun to Photoshop a few other options – just to be sure!ReplyCancel

  • Zandi @ Radical Possibility - July 18, 2012 - 10:07 AM

    I love the last option!!ReplyCancel

  • Alexis - July 18, 2012 - 12:21 PM

    I was leaning toward the bright and bold until I saw the last option. Love the pairing of Black, white, and the wood.
    Can’t wait to see what you pick!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 18, 2012 - 12:32 PM

    Thank you for the feedback, everyone! The graphic mix of b&w with a dark wood tone will look awfully pretty…ReplyCancel

  • kaylan - July 18, 2012 - 12:38 PM

    i love that chair! i think i’d take a different direction entirely – grey frame, canvas fabric for the seat in a fun design, and a whitewashed backrest.

    i’m so with you on eliminating the dark and heavy. i’ve spent the last year redoing or replacing all of our dark pieces – it’s amazing how much bigger our tiny apartment feels when there isn’t so much competition for your eyes.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin @ Desert Domicile - July 18, 2012 - 12:53 PM

    Such a cute chair! I really love the last option paired with a colorful pillow :)ReplyCancel

  • Haley @thedistractedblogger - July 18, 2012 - 5:41 PM

    I love the last option as well!

    I also think something natural colored, tall, and textured would look good on the wall to let the eye travel upward when looking at the wood tones. The first thing that comes to mind is a fan we used to have with a long handle. Sorry I cannot find a picture.ReplyCancel

  • Kalli - July 18, 2012 - 6:10 PM

    I like the last one – white vinyl and black frame. Since the black is already kind of scuffed up, you could also consider sanding it or really subtly dry brushing it with some gray or dark brown paint for a gentler, chalkboard kind of effect instead of solid black.

    If it were my chair, I might also be tempted to draw on some design to the plain white vinyl like this: with permanent markers.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - July 18, 2012 - 6:20 PM

    Kalli, you are braver than me! Although, I like the idea.ReplyCancel

  • Carrie @DreamGreenDIY - July 26, 2012 - 11:06 AM

    Random – But I found a look-a-like to your chair on a blog just a second ago, and had to share:

    (scroll towards the middle) Looks like that one has just a plain wooden seat. Not sure if you’re interested in doing something like that, but thought I’d send it your way for comparison’s sake!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 26, 2012 - 12:15 PM

      Hey Carrie, I can’t seem to find it in the link you’ve sent along?ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - July 27, 2012 - 8:28 AM

    Oh oh oh! I think you should to this to your chair

    How lovely is that!?ReplyCancel

  • Lesley - July 31, 2012 - 7:30 AM

    Love this chair and I would swear it is the same chair my mother’s best friend had in her home during the 60′s and 70′s.ReplyCancel


At the Moment with Elembee Creative

Today, I’m sharing the things I love At the Moment with Lisa Butler of Elembee Creative. I gush excitedly over hockey, lipstick and Mariah Carey (Scott has absolutely nothing to do with the latter! Or the lipstick, for that matter), and I even share a snippet of what the future holds for The Pet Shop.

Go right here for the full interview, or just click on the photo above.

Thank you, Lisa, for having me!