Epic Locker DIY

Today I'm going to tell you a tale of my 2 year-long journey to find an affordable and attractive piece of storage furniture for our bathroom. Forget the Hobbit, this shit is EPIC.

It all started in the urban shire that is our rental apartment in Brooklyn. Our bathroom is quite small- with a pedestal sink and about 18"x15" of square space between the wall and the toilet. Since we moved in, we'd been using one of those plastic bins from Target for the necessary bathroom storage. And for a long time, I searched for something thin enough, tall enough, cheap enough, oh and also attractive.

Somewhere along the way I came the decision that a locker would be a great option. I searched for one that was tall with lots of cubbies to no avail. Eventually I found just the perfect vintage one on Ebay- 7 ft. tall with six separate cubby holes. Immediately I knew I'd leave the top half as open shelving. I was already imagining it in my bathroom. Love at first impulse, I bought it.

The locker arrived and we promptly left it in the corner of the apartment for, oh, 9 months. The gestation time of a human. Not that there were any humans gestating in our apartment, but that's how long it sat neglected in the corner.

When I finally got to working on it, the first thing I needed to do was remove the top 3 doors. As you can see the locker wasn't in great shape. The previous owner had painted it w/ regular wall paint, which was lookin' skanky. Also, some of the door latches were so crooked you couldn't even open the doors.

The bolts and screws were little fuckers... IMPOSSIBLE to loosen. I ended up having to order something on Amazon called a nut splitter because the painted-over, square nuts were not going anywhere. So yeah, I'm a nut splitter now.

After looking at the lousy paint job, I began to realize I didn't want to just spray paint. Online research pointed to powder coating as the proper way to paint sheet metal, so I contacted Jose from Pride Powder Coating (maybe this part took me a couple months... the timeline's a bit fuzzy). Of course they needed to see the piece in person, so Jon and I loaded up all 7 feet of the metal sheets and took it over. Jose was very knowledgable, reasonably priced and honest. He told us that because the locker had been painted, we would need to get it sandblasted before we could powder coat it.

UGH! D-I-Whyyyyyyyyy?

No turning back, we're in too deep.

So we contacted Evan Eisman based on Jose's recommendation. He has a sand blasting shop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was really cool and had a fantastic view of Manhattan. From the looks of his other projects, I'd say he has an upscale corporate clientele in a variety of businesses. I also got the feeling there weren't a lot of residential DIY enthusiasts banging down his door. Five months later we decided to go for it- not that we were mulling it over for 5 months but shit happens.

Ultimately he did a fantastic job on the locker. It wasn't cheap, but after seeing what he needed to do to it, I can understand. Sandblasting is a labor-intensive process.

The finished product looked really cool- the sheet metal was a matte gray which Jon and I liked enough to say forget the powder coating- let's just keep it this way. Evan gave us a recommendation for some Minwax oil we would need to treat the metal with to avoid rust.

Then my hero of a husband slaved for a few days (or weeks?) on re-assembling and oiling. The nuts and bolts were no easier to get on than they were to get off.

Miraculously Jon still loves me.

Finally we had it together! And it looks awesome in our bathroom now. Because it's a damp environment, I'm not sure how long it'll last before it starts rusting- hopefully as long as we live in this apartment. I have to keep an eye on it and expect we'll need to apply more oil periodically, but I love the result:

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Beth's 2013 No B.S. Gift Guide

It's that time of year again! Once Thanksgiving rolls by, we are suddenly stupid with gift guides, aren't we? Gift guides for the techie, for the bookworm, the functionally-alcoholic, ethnically ambiguous, hygienically confused and lactose intolerant. We all have our things, I get it.

So why should I make another gift guide? Because I have great taste? Yes. Because I want more things than I can buy? Yes. Because I won't put some fucking $495 blanket on the list as if anyone. anywhere. ever. bought someone a $495 blanket as a holiday gift (let's be honest, everyone secretly prefers their Snuggie anyway). YES!

So here it goes, some cool shit for your family and friends that you like not enough to spend $500 on. There will also be no phone covers on this list. I believe phone covers are way too personal.

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1. Tribal Queen Necklace - $65
This looks more expensive than it is. It also toes the fine line between versatile and statement-maker. I'd wear the shit out of this.

2. House Wine Carafe - $58
I love the organic shape of this wine carafe from Jayson Home. It's unique. And it looks expensive. Not bad for $58.

3. Personalized Leather Luggage Tag - ?
For the fancy traveller with the non-descript suitcase.

4. Tom Dixon Candle - $80
Ok, I know. This is an $80 candle. That's kinda ridiculous. BUT, it's really gorgeous and you can save the vessel with marble topper/stand for all posterity. Consider this for the label whore (ME!!!) who knows who Tom Dixon is and can appreciate it.

5. 80's Subway Print - $25
I spotted this at the Union Square Market this weekend. It was photographed by John Conn in the 80's. He's got a bunch of options, but this one stands out. For the artsy part-time serial killer in your life.

6. Olloclip iPhone Lens - $70
The obsessive Instagrammer will go nuts for this lens. Sure you may regret gifting this, but (s)he'll be might happy to have it!

Your cat lady-friend will swoon for this one. Or cat man-friend. Actually this one might be best for marrieds and committeds. Kinda awkward if the poster outlasts the relationship...

8. Oree Wireless Power Pebble - $200ish
This is the most expensive thing I put on this list. BUT IT'S AWESOME and if you like someone $200, then consider this. It's a wireless phone charger that is not ugly. There are lots of ones out there for $50 but they will stab your eyes. This is European so naturally it is prettier. It's so European it's sold in euros, hence the "ish" after the price. Exchange rates, amirite?!!

9. Architectural Candles  - $40 - $100
Don't we all have a hard-to-shop-for architect in our lives? These candles are so cool I would never ever light them. I want them all, but for like $40-$100 just start with your fave and go from there. Plus, it could be like a collection. Gift giving solved for the next 20 years.

10. Cashmere Pop Top Gloves - $88
You can probably find these lots of places. These are from Catbird and I saw them in person so I am vouching for their awesomeness. I have a pair of Catbird pop top gloves from last season and I love them so much. Gorgeous mittens, easy access to fingers. Plus if your gift recipient is like me, I never splurge on boring things like gloves, so I need someone else to do it for me.


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1. Vampire Luck Necklace - $90
A necklace for the Twilight / 50 Shades fan in your life. This is from Verameat, one of my fave lines for quirky, offbeat jewelry. You might recall another Verameat stunner from my wishlist last year- the Dino Eating Fried Chicken Ring. I'll have you know I'm still waiting for it.

2. Ciate Mini Mani Month - $58
This is so freaking cool no one will care that technically they should have received it on December 1st. It's an advent calendar with mini bottles of Ciate nailpolish, including their caviar beads kinds. If you don't know what caviar bead nail polish is, don't worry, you're just totally out of the loop.

3. Bill Murray Print - $25 - $56
I love this Bill Murray print, as will the comedy-loving SNL freak in your life. If you can't figure out why someone would want the deified image of Carl Spackler from Caddyshack displayed for all the world to see, read this and then tell me you don't want it.

4. Child's Own Softiemaker - ?
This is one of the coolest things ever. This company, Child's Own, will take a picture that your child has drawn and turn it into a stuffed toy. Check out their website for more examples- they're amazing. I don't know how much it costs or how long it takes but moms AND kids will lose their shit for this. OR, maybe your mom saved a pic of something you drew years ago- how much would she love to see it come to life?

5. East vs. West Cuff Links - $32
Biggie Smalls and Tupac (may they rest in peace) cufflinks. Need I say more?

6. Fresh Sugar Keepsakes Set - $25
These Sugar lip balms are my absolute favorite. I don't like the feel of most lip sticks / lip glosses but this neutral tinted balm with SPF is amazing. Bloggers go crazy over this, as do salespeople at the Fresh Store. I kinda didn't want to try it at first because everyone was all "OH THIS IS SOOOO AMAAZING YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE HOW IT FEELS ON YOUR LIPS" and I don't like pushy, weirdly sensual statements like that but, alas, it's true.

5. 4-in-1 Travel Adapter - $25
Well designed, attractive and useful for the world traveler. I'd expect nothing less from the MOMA Design Store.

6. Rita Hazan Pop Color Spray - $18
For the wannabe-a-rockstar-on-weekends-or-Spring-Break-only, this looks like a lot of fun. 

7. Modern Art Print - $60
This 11x14 print by Craig Damrauer is a great example of life imitating art, or art imitating life, or art imitating life imitating art... Basically it's good for someone who probably has bare walls but a full sense of humor.

8. Dapper Dopp Kit - $51
This is a great gift because Dapper is a great word. It can describe a boyfriend, a husband, a father, a brother, a cousin, a gay, a straight or anything in between. Just a great word.

There you go... my no B.S. gift guide for the lovable weirdos in your life. 

If you have a particular weirdo you're struggling to buy for that doesn't fit the weirdo parameters I have outlined in this post, shoot me a comment or a message. I'd be happy to make some suggestions within your budget!

Riot on,

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