Mini DIY Projects for the Urban Dweller: Small Storage and Vinyl Tile

Right now, we’re in paint stripping mode again. Just a few weeks ago, our renovation was at a virtual standstill because of other projects and our hectic guest schedule. As I said in my last post, however, I did find time to tackle the smaller DIY projects I had in mind. Small projects have the advantage over the bigger projects in that they are finishable. (Is that a word? Well, it’s the sentiment behind it that counts…)

So, while their impact is small in the grand scheme of the whole apartment renovation, they do put a big-ass smile on my face every time I see them. On most days, anyway. Some days, really, only a glass of wine will do.

Mini-DIY #1: Tile Under the Stove

First up, a project that was a loooong time coming. I had been thinking about this for quite a while. And while there is something a bit skeevy about covering bad tile with good, that’s exactly what I did. With no prospect of disconnecting the stove and completely re-doing the tile underneath, I had to resort to this quick-fix: Vinyl tile under the stove.
IMG_0230   The tile underneath in the stove floor of the stove area has been giving me agita since we moved in. it was gunky, grimy hexagonal 3/4″ tile (clearly left over from the bathroom) that was cracked in some place, missing in many others – I never liked  to step too close to the stove because it felt a bit like there was a grimy, homeless person lying on my floor, looking up at me with a toothless, rotting grin. Ew.

I am so, so, so happy the bum/ floor has now been covered up with very cool vinyl tile. Again, the whole process was so easy, it hardly warrants a step by step.

Self-adhesive vinyl tile is available in any big-box hardware store. (Yes, that one.) But they come in square foot measurements. Using a whole square foot for the area (roughly 3 foot by 4 foot) would have been easier, of course. But it would not have given me that checker board look I was after.

Luckily, vinyl tile is easy to cut through with a box cutter. I believe they make special cutter for such tile, but I didn’t much feel like buying yet another tool. so box cutter it was. I cut 12″x12″ tile (I got equal amounts of plain black and white) into four equal (6″x6″) squares.

Next, I prepped the floor. This was the most difficult step of the entire process. Reason being, I was too lazy and inept to disconnect the stove and move it out of the way. Actually, I believe only a professional plumber should be messing around with gas lines, so it’s a good thing I was too lazy to consider doing it myself.

We propped the stove up on two-by-fours we happened to have lying around. This gave us enough height to clean thoroughly under and around the stove using strong chemicals and a creative contraption of scrub sponges attached to a Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush toilet wand.

Then, I took some DAP Vinyl Spackling paste and filled in any cracks and spaces where tile was missing. As some holes were quite deep (the original tile was 3/4″ thick) I let the paste cure for 24 hours.

After 24 hours (give or take) and the paste completely (more or less) dry, it was time to lay out the tile. This was a pretty straightforward thing: peel and press. And there you go.

Mini-DIY #2: bathroom storage

Though we haven’t even begun to think about what to do with the hallway, it’s pretty obvious that our long-ass hallway will need to  function beyond just conveying people from one room to the next. That, to us, always meant storage. I had been thinking about how to incorporate linen and bathroom storage in the narrow hallway but everything looked off, and clunky, and in-the-way in such a narrow (3 foot wide) hallway. Fortunately, pre-war apartments have such great architectural ideas built into them. Like the idea that a bathroom shouldn’t open directly into the hall, but rather, have a vestibule leading in and out of it.

In a small home, every square foot counts. And if there is a store that understands about making square footage count, it’s Ikea. We’ve used Trones shoe storage in past for, um, shoes. But they’re really good for storing anything at all. They are shallow and light weight, but also sturdy and kinda stylish. Right now, they pretty much just blend into the white wall. We attached them to wall on the door’s hinge side, which is actually dead space.

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