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Jul
12
2016

We are back with our second installment in the AVE Raw series, giving a gorgeous set of pieces from Ave Home a fab new finish and sharing all the details along the way! As a group of like minded people, we certainly have use of a good furniture finish more than the average Joe. I am particularly excited about this project because it may very well be the easiest solution for a durable paint finish that sprays, yet doesn't require expensive equipment to apply and isn't difficult to work with or clean up. In fact, I can't believe this didn't occur to me earlier. 

I chose the Mollie Nesting Tables and they did not disappoint. Nesting tables are the ultimate multi-purpose tables, in my opinion. Use them as a chic end table, an accent table with extra display space or separate and scatter them about, you have 3 tables to work with, so go crazy. 

The unfinished state the pieces from the AVE Raw collection arrive with is flawless. This is not an exaggeration. My thought is that if you are planning a finish that typically requires an immaculate sanding prior to application - you would be well suited to leave it well enough alone because it will be exactly that when it lands on your doorstep. If you plan to stain, then a good cleaning with a special thinner would be a great idea. It will remove any oils or dirt that occur during transit and packing, but otherwise - don't touch with a sander as you run the risk of having any irregularities show once the stain has been applied.

That being said, a paint finish is an entirely different animal. The one thing you will experience regardless, is that when you apply a finish to a raw wood surface, it will open the pores of your wood and may cause that slightly rough textured appearance until you give it another coat of paint or a sealant. Many product lines suggest a light sanding in between coats and this is to solve for that and to help your second coat adhere to the first. But what about those products that do not want you to sand in between? Well no worries, another coat or two usually does the trick. This was certainly the case for the finish I used on these gorgeous nesting tables.

I think we are all in agreement that an oil based finish is going to be far more durable than one that isn't. But applying an oil based finish with a natural brush is no walk in the park. If you must go the way of applying your finish with a brush - switch to a roller with an ultra smooth nap and pretend you didn't that portion of the instructions. Trust me on this. No amount of self-leveling properties the paint may have will actually solve for the brush marks and that doesn't even take into account the cleanup. Enamel paints aren't typically the most user friendly if you aren't a pro in the finishing industry. I knew I needed the durability of a true enamel oil based finish for these tables, so I set out to find an easy solution for this and stumbled upon spray cans of oil based automotive paint. Duh. How did this never occur to me? It was the ultimate face-palm moment and once I set my sights on the color and sheen I was looking for, I was chomping at the bit for my paint to arrive. 

I used a matte black enamel automotive spray paint, and it is the most glorious finish you have ever laid eyes on, that wasn't done in a professional setting. I always start a spray finish on the bottom, with my piece turned upsidedown.

This particular type of paint suggests a mere 15 minutes in between coats, which is fantastic since that is approximately the same amount of time I normally wait regardless of the suggestions on the can. I will chalk that up to my lack of patience. I continued to spray very light coats on the bottom sides until they appeared to be fully covered and the finish looked solid. If you have ever worked with an oil based paint, you will know what I mean by solid... hardened might also be a good word to describe what I mean. I let the finish cure for about 45 minutes before I turned the tables right side up and began the coat the top and any nooks and crannies that aren't accessible from the bottom. I used 5 cans of paint to finish the three tables and they are glorious. I always use a spray can trigger when I am working with spray paint and it helps with fatigue - which allows for a smoother finish in the end. 

It is always recommended that you use a primer on raw wood, but I did not and it is flawless. I would definitely suggest you do though, since it will likely solve for the open pores and help with adhesion - making your finish more durable and lasting. A primer is always the way to go if you have the option and in the case of automotive enamel... you do have the option! Since these are oil based products, you will definitely need to work in a well ventalated space, and preferably outside. No amount of venting for a standard space will actually help so get outside and get yourself a good respirator mask and you will be set!

The thing about a matte finish is that it's a bit hard to capture on film. It doesn't play nicely with the light and tends to refract it, so you will have to take my word for it when I say that it is indeed glorious and smooth like glass. Of course this is entirely, due in part (you like what I did there?) to how pristine the pieces are from the AVE Raw collection from Ave Home. Major heart eyes for everything in their online shop. Lucky for all of you fine folks - if you use the code DESIGNCONF at checkout you will get an amazing 20% discount for the next 2 weeks, on what I consider already fantastic prices... so if you are on the fence - run, don't walk and plop yourself in front of your computer or grab your phone and get to clicking! You will be so happy you did! 

Jun
02
2016
The Design Confidential x Ortho Fight the Good Fight Against Bugs and Weeds via @thedesconf

Got pests and weeds? Ortho has you covered. Trust the Ortho® family of products to provide solutions to pest and weed problems in and around your home. Visit Ortho.com to learn more

When last we left off, nature was creeping in at a rapid pace and crashing our party. Not unlike rock stars trashing hotel rooms, these unwanted guests were making a mess of things and skipping out on the cleaning bill after the fact. So rude…but then!

The Design Confidential x Ortho Fight the Good Fight Against Bugs and Weeds via @thedesconf

Fear not! The party-crime fighting duo – Ortho Home Defense Max Insect Killer and Ortho Weed B Gon – came to our rescue, to help us right the wrongs of our unwanted visitors. One fast and easy application of Home Defense MAX around the perimeter of my home and our house has long-lasting protection against ants, spiders and our latest and greatest irritation - springtails!  BOOM!

The Design Confidential x Ortho Fight the Good Fight Against Bugs and Weeds via @thedesconf

THEN, Weed B Gon leapt into action to reclaim our lawn, taking out crabgrass, clover and the ever deadly foot killer – thistle – left and right. . If you are fortunate enough to nary a single one of these horrid additions to your backyard -I’m jealous! If other varieties are your culprits, not to worry - Weed B Gon works on a ton of other unfriendly weeds! It’s got you covered! The best part? There was no sign of the epic fight that ensued on our grassy battlefront. Weed B Gon is guaranteed to not harm your grass! YAHOO!

The Design Confidential x Ortho Fight the Good Fight Against Bugs and Weeds via @thedesconf

After a satisfying victory, our resident superheroes went back to their humble abodes (the garage – duh!), and we live to fight another day doing what we do best and enjoying our outdoor space without worry of irritating pests and weeds.

The Design Confidential x Ortho Fight the Good Fight Against Bugs and Weeds via @thedesconf

Ah, the good life… because everyone deserves to be able to mow the lawn as they please…. in peace and quiet, and then ride off into the sunset to revel in the glory of a weed and bug free home.

Outdoor 
May
28
2016
The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

We are a community of Makers here at TDC... wouldn't you say? Of course by 'we', I truly mean all of you - in addition to me! As it happens, a great many of you - hundreds and hundreds to be exact - contact me on a regular basis to ask where you can purchase ready made pieces of furniture or custom furniture because you aren't able to build, or simply don't prefer to. I know you will flip your lid and jump for joy when I share all of the juicy details about the exciting launch of AVE Raw by Ave Home. Created specifically for the DIY'er and Designer who want high quality pieces for your own custom finishes.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

I have had the pleasure of getting to know a few of their pieces, on an intimate level, and the craftsmanship is nothing short of amazing. I have often complained of the difficulty of staining pine, and that is no joke - it is tough, especially if you are a beginner. But through the process of finishing this gorgeous table for outdoor use, I stumbled across a new technique that I will be sharing with you shortly and reaffirmed my belief that 90 percent of your staining success, involves sanding. The Jax Pedestal Table you see here, sitting so pretty, arrived in a state of flawless sanded bliss. It was so perfect in fact, that I didn't dare sand it any further and contemplated leaving it be entirely...

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

Alas... the weather and climate in Northern California don't really allow for that, so I chose the next best thing - a clear, waterproofing sealer with UV protection, and a light varnish suitable for marine use. The original state of this table made for the easiest most seamless finishing process I have ever experienced. The. End. Inclement weather not included of course, and that alone made for prolonged drying times and tricky timing in between sporadic spring rain and humidity.

The Design Confidential x AVE Home In the Raw // Beautiful Pieces Both Custom + Convenient

Delivery was fast, like lightning speed and the price points are marvelous. As you enjoy Memorial Day weekend here in the US, take a moment to check out their goods - shipping is free for the newest member of your household through June 3rd, so get clicking and start browsing. Based in beautiful New Orleans, all of the AVE Raw pieces are available for purchase online and it is a mighty fine collection of pieces at that.

This project created in partnership with Ave Home for the launch of AVE Raw. Thank you for supporting the brands that help bring fresh new content like this to The Design Confidential, I heart you guys!

Sep
28
2015
The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

You guys!! I am in love with this project because it's pretty, but it also happens to solve a major problem in the setup of my master bathroom - which is that there are no towels racks within easy reach of the shower. Our shower is long and while there is a towel hook inside the shower area, it is too high for me to reach, and not long enough for me to try something fancy. This leaves a towel bar outside of the shower area, but it's outside the shower just enough that I have to fully get out to grab a towel and that is just not my fave.

So today I bring you my easy solution. If you need a similar solution or you need a place to hang blankets, this is a great project for you too! If this is your first time checking in on this series, you can catch up here and here, but essentially I will be bringing you a new project each month using one of the many fabulous Bernzomatic Torches! It is a whole new skill set for me, and maybe for you too so we will learn together along the way! Today our project brings a whole new type of metal joining in brazing which is similar to soldering, only it tends to form a stronger joint. This is important for us here since we don't have a typical joint with metal inside of metal but two independent pieces that we are joining.

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

Here is what you will need to make this project happen...

Safety is extremely important when you are playing with fire... so be sure to wear gloves, goggles and glasses to shield yourself from debris and burns. For this project in particular, it has tricky angles you will be working on so having a flame protector will let you work in an outdoor area without damaging your concrete or stone.

MATERIALS //

2 - Copper Pipe - 1/2" x 10 feet

2 - 1/2" Copper Pipe Caps

4 - 1/2" Copper Elbows

Pipe Cutter

Bernzomatic TS8000 Self Igniting Torch Head

Flame Protector

Sanding Cloth

Metal Files

Safety Glasses / Outdoor

Gloves

Map-Pro

Flux

Copper Brazing Rods

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

Cut your pipes to length and attach your pieces. You can cut your pieces to any length that works for your space or needs, just remember that whatever you use this for will probably need room to hang down a bit. My cut lengths are 4 feet for the tall legs and 3 1/2 feet for the shorter legs - you will need 2 of each of these. My mid sections are 20 inches and 19 inches.

Attach your elbows to the tops of both shorter legs and then attach your shorter mid section. It will make a U-Shape. Do the same for the taller section with your longer mid section.

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

Once you have both sections formed, you will want to find your best angle. By this I simply mean that whatever your lengths ended up being, they will have their own set of angles they will rest at, without being wobbly. To find my angles, I wrapped the legs together with some string placing the shorter legs on the inside and simply adjusted till they felt sturdy enough. They were roughly 22 inches (my taller leg) and 25 inches (my shorter leg) from where they met to the ground which means they were not making a perfect X-Shape and were instead more horizontal on the shorter leg.

Since this project precludes you from using clamps or a vice grip, you should mark both of you legs with lines that represent the angle of the other leg and then the actual dot point where they will connect. Mark them on the outsides of the legs so you can leave your markings intact when you clean your pieces. This will help you later when you need to re-position them since leaving them tied isn't an option either...

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

Once you know your angles, you are ready to clean your pipes - yep I said it. Use your sanding cloth and sand until it shines my friends, but try and avoid sanding off your marks. If you want to sand your entire piece now before you braze, go for it, just keep in mind you will have to re-sand a relatively large section afterward to remove the heat marks. At a minimum you will need to sand the area where your legs will meet and the entire area around your joint. This is to ensure a good connection and will help your brazing rods do their job.

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

Once you are ready to roll, lay out your flame protector and position your legs according to your marks. You don't have to leave your sections connected for this part, and in fact you would be doing yourself a favor by removing the elbows and mid sections for each unit while you braze these babies together.

// You will want to have a bucket of water nearby - just in case - or if you are outside, you can use your hose. If you are working near flammable materials - move them or move your work area - and if you have plants, trees, or mulch that might catch fire, you should give your surrounding area a good hosing before you get started.

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

You will want to flux the heck out of your pipes and you may even want to dip your brazing rod into the flux because heat and oxygen equal oxidation which is the enemy of brazing effectively. Trust. Brush it on and ready your torch because you won't want this to sit too long before you get to work. It makes a difference.

For a snippet about using your torch, follow the instructions on the package, and also read here - It took me a second to figure out the trigger (because duh, I didn't look at the diagram, and only read the directions...)

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

The main difference between our last project and this one is that brazing produces a stronger joint, but it also has a higher melting point so it will require more heat to melt your brazing rod. Just as we did with soldering, we will heat the joint and when it's hot enough, the joint will melt the rod. We won't heat the rod directly. So light this baby up and start to move your flame over the section of your pipes where you have your flux. You will want to heat your joint until you see it glow, which is far longer than necessary with solder and for me this part took a couple of minutes at least.

Once you see your pieces glow, move the heat to another part of your pipe so it continues to heat but isn't heating where you will be working. Then touch your brazing rod between the pipes and see if it is hot enough to flow. It took a few tries for me to get to this point where my pipes were hot enough to actually melt my brazing rod so if you see that it isn't happening, move your rod aside and heat a bit more, then try again.

If you notice that your pipes have oxidized before you manage to melt your rod, let them cool so you can clean them and flux them again then apply your heat in the same manner you previously did. This will help you get to where you need to be since the oxidation keeps the brazing rods from working their magic.

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

Once your joint has been created for both leg units and your pipes look thoroughly charred, let your pieces cool completely and use your files to remove any clumpy sections of your brazing material. If you don't have any clumpy or messy spots, then simply use your sanding cloth to remove your heat marks and you are ready to piece things back together!

The Design Confidential DIY // Freestanding Copper Towel Rack

If you want to spray your towel rack with a waterproofing sealer, go for it. The oxidation and patina of copper is quite beautiful, but I hardly thing you want rusty towels. Enjoy!

This awesome-sauce project was created in partnership with Bernzomatic and is part of an ongoing series between that fabulous company and The Design Confidential! Yahoo. All crazy talk and opinions are 100% my own... you know - as per the usual.

Aug
29
2015
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

I mentioned a while back I would be partnering with Bernzomatic to bring you guys a new project each month and would be working to develop my metal working skill-set... I am pretty excited to share today's project because I really put those skills to the test and learned so very much in the process. The result is a fabulous shiny new solution for the mess that is our entryway... especially during the colder months, which we are about to enter (4 months from now).

Let's get real for a minute - I was terrified about using this torch, and I have actually used a torch many times before. You see, I took a metalsmithing class in college and I loved it so very much, but everything was set up in a space that was used exclusively for working with fire and acid and all of those crazy things that sound terrifying to use in my own home and those torches used a manual striker to light so much harder and a lot more scary. I mean, eek, right? But I set up a work space that felt safe and took a few extra precautions that in hindsight were probably a tad much, but you can never be too safe when you are playing with fire so I am glad I did. Turns out there was nothing to worry about and jumping back on that bike was a cake walk. They say most things come back to you, just like riding a bike, and this was true for soldering... though I am fairly certain I have actually forgotten how to ride a bike, so who knows. Also, the new and improved torches have an easy on / off trigger so you don't have to start the gas and then spark it with a striker, so that alone makes this sooooo much better.

So I will walk you through the steps for this project and a few of my tips for getting started with soldering and torch work because... that is the part you are likely to be nervous about at first. Promise it's so much easier than it seems!

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Here are the supplies you will need for this project. Keep in mind that the techniques here will work for any variation so feel free to make your fabulous creation if you prefer that!

MATERIALS //

Copper Pipe - 1" x 2 feet

Copper Pipe - 1/2" x 5 feet

8 - 1/2" Copper Pipe Caps

Pipe Cutter

Drill Bits with 1/2" Bit

Bernzomatic TS8000 Self Igniting Torch Head

Sanding Cloth

Metal Files

Safety Glasses / Outdoor

Gloves

Ceiling Hook

Nylon String

Soldering Kit //

Bernzomatic Plumbing Kit - I purchased this kit and used it with the torch head listed above, but if you prefer to purchase the pieces individually, they are listed below.

Individual Kit Pieces //

Map-Pro or Propane

Flux

Solder

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Safety is extremely important when you are playing with fire... so be sure to wear gloves, goggles and glasses to shield yourself from debris and burns. You will also need at least 2 drill bits - one small bit like 5/64" and one 1/2" larger bit that are appropriate for metal. A center punch is also extremely helpful when you are drilling metal, so your bit doesn't slip or twirl, but if you don't have one, any screw with a nice tap from a hammer in the center of where you plan to drill your hole will also help.

Let's get to work! Start by laying out where your pegs will go on your 1 inch pipe. I chose to put two holes per side and 4 approximate sides for a total of 8 holes. I varied the locations on each side for an organic look. Use a small piece of your 1/2" pipe to trace a hole in each of these 8 locations on your 1 inch pipe.

You can cut your 1/2 inch pegs to length using your pipe cutter. You will need //

3 - at 7 inches

3 - at 5 inches

2 - at 3 inches

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

I gave each future hole a tap with a screw and then used the smallest bit in my assortment to drill a tiny pilot hole. You probably won't drill all the way through, so watch the pressure you apply as you are drilling or you will go all the way through whether you want to or not.

Once I had my pilot hole drilled, I switched to my large 1/2" bit and opened the hole up quite a bit.

Then use your rounded metal file to give it more room and to smooth it out so your pegs will fit nicely. You can do a dry fit to make sure you are on the right path.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Once you are finished cutting your pegs and drilling / filing your holes, you will want to prep your surfaces for soldering. This means you need to clean the area where the joint will be and you need to clean both your pegs as well as the large 1" pipe, in and around all of your holes.

You will do this using your sanding cloth and you can simply wrap it around the ends of your pipe and sand (clean) until it shines. For your 1 inch pipe, sand inside your holes and the entire area around each hole. Try not to touch or dirty these prior to soldering. If it's helpful to do each peg as you go along then that works as well - I found it easiest to set up for soldering both pegs along one side at the same time. Which reminds me, it might be helpful to decide how you want to arrange your various sizes of pegs around your pipe. I never put two of the same size on the same side and tried to think about what we might be hanging up (hats, scarves, jackets) so that I could figure out my arrangement. Obviously having a sweater hanging above a hat is tricky so put that shorter hat peg on top, or on a different side from your longer pegs.

// You will also need to set up your work space. I found it easiest to work on concrete and set my pipe on two pavers that were standing up on end. You will want to have a bucket of water nearby - just in case - or if you are outside, you can use your hose. If you are working near flammable materials - move them or your work area - and if you have plants, trees, or mulch that might catch fire, you should give your surrounding area a good hosing before you get started.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

After you clean with your sanding cloth, you will apply your paste flux to the end of the peg that will sit down into your hole and the area around the hole as well as the edges of your hole. Use the silver brush that comes with your flux do this and then move your flux and brush away from the area where you plan to work.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Your Torch Head will screw onto your Map-Pro or Propane tank easily and there are directions for setting things up in the torch head package. Follow those directions and you should have no problem! Basically, you will begin with your torch head and tank separated, make sure your trigger on your torch head is set to the off position, then turn your valve clockwise all the way so that it is shut off. Then attach your torch head to your tank and tighten by hand. I will note that I didn't quite understand where the trigger was - not sure why this little fact was over my head - but just in case you are blonde like I am... the trigger is the same button you turn in the on and off position (the only one so you can't miss it). Once your tank is attached, you will simply open your valve all the way, then turn your trigger to the on position and when you are ready, press your trigger to ignite. It all works so smoothly and easily that you will absolutely love it once you realize it really isn't scary at all and the process is a cake walk. No guessing or difficult steps.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack
The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

With your flux applied and your flame lit - you will now actually begin to solder. You want to hold your torch in one hand and your solder in the other for the easiest manner of handling things. You should have a decent portion of your solder unrolled and extending away from the remainder so you can easily let it do it's thing without burning your hand.

Start by heating your joint. You will want to heat the area evenly all around your joint rather than heating your solder directly. Since your peg will sit down into your hole, you will heat your peg and the 1 inch pipe in the immediate vicinity. Keep your flame moving and you will start to see the flux begin to bubble a bit, this takes a few seconds or more and you can then see if your solder will run.

To do this, remove your flame from the area and let go of the trigger so it stops. Then touch the end of your solder to the joint and you will know you have heated the area enough if when you touch your solder to the joint, it runs easily into the joint and looks a bit like liquid. If you touch your solder to the area and nothing happens, you will need to heat it a tiny bit more so you will remove your solder, then ignite your flame again by pressing the trigger and heat your joint by keeping that flame moving evenly over the area you are working. When you are ready to try again, let go of your trigger and remove your torch while you touch your solder to the joint with your other hand. It should flow beautifully right down into your hole and will run around the edges. It's so utterly gratifying. Promise!

// It may not make it all the way around so you will likely need to let it cool, and once it does apply another round of flux, then heat the joint and finish it off with your solder. Just try to avoid directly heating the area you have already soldered or it may run or overheat and ball up a bit, leaving you with yet another area that isn't soldered.

It will take a bit of practice with how much heat you need and in controlling your solder, but not to worry because those colorful heated areas and messy solder can all be fixed!

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

If you have an area that has a large clump of solder, you can give it just a little bit of heat and it will run just enough to flatten out a bit. It will likely run down onto your pipe, but that is far easier to deal with than a huge clump that needs to be filed down.

For everything else, use your rounded file to smooth out the solder around your joints. You can see above one that I filed to fix a big run and clump versus one that hasn't been filed yet.

The Design Confidential DIY // Copper Hanging Small Space Coat Rack

Finish off your piece by sanding the entire thing with your sanding cloth. This will remove the colorful sections and any crazy marks from filing your solder. Try to work it in a uniform way so that it looks more perfect ultimately. I chose to sand in an up and down manner and as you can see above it turned out beautifully!

Clean everything off with soapy water or a water and vinegar mix and then add your caps to the ends of your pegs. Drill your holes at the top for hanging, using a medium sized drill bit (maybe a bit smaller than 1/4") and for this one you can drill all the way through. Now you simply need to string it up and hang from your ceiling hook! Yahoo

This awesome-sauce project was created in partnership with Bernzomatic and is part of an ongoing series between that fabulous company and The Design Confidential! Yahoo. All crazy talk and opinions are 100% my own... you know - as per the usual. 

Feb
13
2015
Easy DIY from The Design Confidential for Sleek Hanging Closet Rods

Sorry for the radio silence my sweet friends... it was D-Day for the wisdom teeth removal and I was a complete loony toon in a crazy amount of pain there for a bit. I am still a loony toon (thank you pain meds) but at least now I can move my fingers without fear that it will hurt my face, so we can return to some of our regularly scheduled fun!

This project probably lets the cat out of the bag on what I have been working on, but yahoo, a major closet overhaul is under way and it is looking mighty fine so far! Like - damn girl, you fiiiine - kind of fine, which is perhaps appropriate given our impending heart shaped holiday? There are a dozen and one projects on the web for creating hanging coat racks, closet rods, and other awesome but similar things. Rather than jumping right onto that bandwagon and giving you my take on the same sort of thing (same, same only different - as they say in the East), I thought I would give you more of a recounting of the materials I chose and why, where you can find them, along with some tips (that I learned the hard way of course) for doing this successfully and in a way that will work for real people with real wardrobes. Not that I don't look longingly at those other DIY project beauties, with their 5 items hanging on them, because I do... they are so good-looking with only 5 items hanging from those cute minimal rods with all of the items only in black or beige. Oh to be that gal, am I right? But of course, I'm not, and you probably aren't, and in fact they might not be either and might just pull out the rest of their clothes once the photoshoot is over... so I guess in a round about way, this is a project for all of us while we daydream about being all of them, who may not even be 'them' in real life, and who clearly don't have children climbing the walls and swinging from your favorite sweater while you race to get the remaining items hung. Le Sigh.

Materials Needed for Easy DIY from The Design Confidential for Sleek Hanging Closet Rods

Let's talk turkey... or paracord, whatever - same diff. The materials I used for my sexy sleek hanging rods cost around $30 to make 2. This price goes down for each additional pair of rods you plan to make since some of the items allow for multiple rod making.The most expensive item on this very small list is definitely the hooks. They run about $6 per hook for a swiveling ceiling driller toggle hook that is rated for holding at least 50 pounds and preferably 90 pounds. Just consider what you will hang on your rod and purchase accordingly. This is where the cost will add up since you need 2 per hanging rod (duh), but is quite frankly the lynch pin for the success (or failure) of this project. If your ceiling is made of drywall, which for 99% of you is definitely the case, and if you plan on hanging real clothing from your rods, which 99% of you probably do, then you need these hooks to be heavy duty and have this toggle bolt functionality to be as secure as possible. The braided cord is actually very inexpensive and comes in a fun assortment of neon colors as well as some basics like white or black. Now the item I chose to use for the rod portion is indeed actually a closet rod and is adjustable in length which means that when you purchase it, it comes in a package with two separate rod pieces so you can essentially buy one package and get 2 rods from it. You will need to remove a screw at the ends (where the rods would connect if you were using this traditionally) and otherwise there is no cutting, painting, or drilling involved with this project whatsoever. This is always a yahoo in my book because this means that the project will come together quickly and easily - as in - under 5 to 10 minutes maximum to whip this together quickly, kind of quickly... ha. Of course you can use many different things for the rod portion, like copper or steel and even a dowel would work so get creative if you like.

I created one big loop of rope that I threaded through the rod looped over the hooks. To secure the ends of this big loop together I simply tied 3 knots and then cut a separate piece about 12 inches long and made a gathering wrap to sit over the top of this. Then I got to play with fire for a bit and used a lighter to melt the cord at the ends as well as around the gathering wrap so I felt extra sure that baby was nice and secure. I let that knot sit inside the rod to hide it.

Sloppy Closet Before Makeover for Easy DIY from The Design Confidential for Sleek Hanging Closet Rods

So now that you know what I used for this project, let's take a peak back to the beginning and gaze at my wiry slobs (the before shot).

The hardest thing about planning for this space and in deciding to completely gut it and start from scratch in here, was coming to the realization that even though there was a crap ton of completely functional wire shelving in here, that it was not being used well. I have lived with it for 2 years now and kept thinking that the problem was me, and the busy life I lead (which is partly true, to be sure). I had plenty of space to hang things, plus a ton of surface space and shelving for the clothing that will be folded. But, when you are using shelves to store your folded stuff instead of drawers, this inevitably means that the minute you are in a hurry and can't find something, you make a complete and utter crazy mess of things. That is a losing battle, because it means my closet looks like the image above virtually all of the time. Not to mention that when Mike does the laundry and puts things away, he gets completely confused about how to sort things since items like tops (at least for us gals) should be sorted by purpose to keep the stacks from getting too high. Who can blame him, this is a very specific type of organizing that most people find impossible to do for someone else.

Completely Gutted Closet for Easy DIY from The Design Confidential for Sleek Hanging Closet Rods

It is pretty difficult to make the decision to get rid of things that should, in theory, be working beautifully, but just aren't. For a gal like me who feeds off of functionality and hates to spend money on things that I don't really need, this was initially a painful 'coming to terms' decision. If it isn't broken, then why try to fix it, am I right? But once I decided to take a good look at this space and try to figure out what on earth it needed to make it better, I was able to see that ven though it wasn't technically broken (physically), it was still in fact actually broken (mentally perhaps) because it wasn't working, for me.

Once I have this sort of light bulb moment, it's on like donkey kong and I embrace change like a champ. If it means the possibility for improvement, then I am all for it. The Mister, on the other hand, apparently hates change (who knew? certainly not me until this project came along) and takes much longer to warm up to an idea. Removing all of the functional and plentiful wire shelving and rods, it appears, is one of those things he doesn't find easy to jump on board with. Subsequently, I started this project on my side, and he has been able to warm up to all of the possibilities, by seeing the actual changes as they unfold - on my side.

Simplified and Streamlined Closet for Easy DIY from The Design Confidential for Sleek Hanging Closet Rods

And so... this closet was entirely gutted - on my side (3 walls) - and where there was once chaos, now there is utter beauty and simplicity. My original inspiration came from a recent shopping trip to HomeGoods, where I stumbled upon a gorgeous selection of velvet hangers. I thought to myself... I love when all the hangers are the same, and everything is awesome... and great (a little Lego Movie throw back). In that moment the seeds of change were planted and a simplified wardrobe and lifestyle were born. I purchased 100 of these velvet hangers (4 packs of 25) and decided that Mike and I would each get 50, and have no choice but to slim down our wardrobes accordingly. No exceptions. And of course, if we could streamline our hanging items and cut them down below our individual limit of 50 hangers, well that would be a lovely bonus as it would greatly simplify and reduce the number of things we have to launder and put away each week. Win, win.

I took a fine tooth comb to my clothing and forced myself to part most of those things I have been hanging on to for far too long. Turns out hanging onto things for the possibility of needing those things at some point in the future is not all it's cracked up to be. Having so much of this type excess was weighing me down. I cut myself some slack throughout this process and allowed myself to keep some of these items that were particularly hard to part with, and gave myself time to come to terms with giving up those little bits of my past life. I think this left me the space I needed to mentally deal with moving on from my youth and into a more current version of me. As I have been forced over the last couple of weeks to take the time to hang these items and watch my once light and loosely packed rods become full and cramped, it has become much easier to part with these pieces of my former self. I have definitely embraced this new found simplified life, wholeheartedly. It seems to be the good life, so far, and I haven't once looked back in regret at donating those someday pieces. Just wait till you see the other areas I worked over in this space. Can we say, downright skimpy? Yes we can - but in a good way of course...

To view all projects in this closet case series, in order, check out the articles below to see how far we have come!

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light // Easy Lighting Update

DIY // From Wiry Slobs to Sleek Hanging Rods

Just Add Shelves // Easy DIY Shelving for Stylish Shoe Storage

Closet Case // Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Closet Case // Measuring Up and A Bit of Reflection

IMAGES // Rayan Turner for The Design Confidential

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