The reveal for my Fish Room, aka the new Craft Room makeover, is long overdue.
I finished this craft room makeover last December but by the time I finalized one or two last minute touches, it was too cold to photograph! Because it’s only accessible from the outside and it’s so small, I have to take most photos from the doorway and snow was blowing into the room like crazy. But I actually think that this delayed reveal is perfect because I can now tell you with confidence that our watercolor-inspired DIY plywood floors are awesome!! We load our firewood in through this room so all winter long we were trudging in and out wearing mucky, soggy boots. There is only one little dent where one of us dropped a log – hard – on a plywood floor plank. But the hardwood floors in the rest of our house have a million dents from much smaller objects, so I am seriously impressed with the durability of our DIY plywood floors. The finish held up perfectly too. Even with pretty rough use, these floors look exactly like when we installed them (which was always a little imperfect, but so damn cool).
Here’s a reminder of the old vinyl tile floor we covered up:
I wish you could see these plywood floors in real life because photos don’t capture how gorgeous they look. The blue wood stain is actually richer than it photographs and it really makes the wood grain pop. Thanks to the multiple coats of hard-wearing finish we applied, the wood has a beautiful luster. In photos the floors seem more faded and flat – and a little more denim blue…
You’ll just have to try this project and see for yourself!
I am so happy that I followed my heart with this nutty plan to stain plywood with a swirling, marbled design because this whole DIY flooring project just exceeded my expectations. When I walk into the formerly dreary fish room now, I just grin from ear to ear. I love this craft room makeover, for so many reasons!
But let’s backtrack a little: for all of my new readers, this craft room makeover was dubbed the “fish room makeover” for so long because this weird little room (with two exterior doors, no interior access to the house, and a sink) was designed for gutting and cleaning fish. It makes sense for this lakeside location, but not for us.
And here’s a look at that same angle now:
I almost forgot to snap a before from the other angle, so some of the cabinets had already been removed when I took this picture:
And now we have this:
Although I have an ambitious renovation plan for this room (which you can read all about by clicking here), for now I wanted to reclaim this space as a room to hold DIY supplies. I wanted to keep this little craft room makeover as budget-friendly as possible, especially because it’s temporary(ish), so you’ll spot lots of money-saving ideas – although I have to admit that I did get lucky, not only with some blogger perks, but also kismet. My Mom was downsizing, so I snagged the old IKEA furniture from her. It was a little dinged up but fit so perfectly in this craft room makeover, that I’m convinced it was meant to be. But similar IKEA cabinets have flooded the classifieds everywhere, so I’m sure I could have purchased something similar for very little money.
The sink upgrade in this craft room makeover almost didn’t happen because at first I thought I could keep the cabinet and maybe scrub the sink…? Sometimes I’m a little too ambitious.
Luckily my Mom was here helping us tear out the old cabinets and at the last minute – the truck was already loaded up and ready to go – she hollered, “RIP IT OUUUTTTT” and so the three of us tore that sink and cabinet out. And you know what? Mom was right. I waffled so much on this decision because I wanted this room to cost approximately $0, but in the end I bought a new utility sink for like $50. So worth it!
To hide the cheap legs, and create a little extra hidden storage for paint cans, my Mom and I cut up a linen shower curtain I was hoarding and sewed an easy DIY sink skirt that affixes with velcro. Delta provided the faucet, towel ring and hooks and now I can’t believe that I ever considered keeping the old sink!
The dated pine cabinet was given a lakehouse-friendly makeover with Rust-Oleum “Chalked” paint in Serenity Blue. I chose that color because it echoes the pale blue trim on the IKEA glass doors, which helps the look feel less hodgepodge. Then I made (free!) DIY shelves using leftover plywood and edge banding – the previous owner had even left those brackets behind! I painted them white and installed the shelves so they line up with the IKEA cabinet shelving to keep the random assortment of furniture looking more like an intentional choice and less like I had to beg, borrow, and steal everything that’s in here.
You probably already noticed that the dirty beige walls and oak trim were freshened up with white paint (leftover from another room makeover). The creamy white instantly made this room feel brighter and cleaner.
On far end of the room, I removed the blind and scrubbed it outside before giving it a blast with a pressure washer. Turns out it was about eight shades lighter than I thought! I had planned to replace it but just scrubbing it clean gave it a new lease on life and saved me money. Here’s the view out that window:
I already had the little wood lamp and I love how it picks up the wood grain from the floor. I considered painting it Serenity Blue, but I like how it adds a little warmth to my typically cool color palette. The artwork you might recognize from the townhouse. The top etching is of Lake Superior (so it’s finally at home), and the bottom one is from Budapest, Hungary.
I added the lucite swan tray, which refused to sell in the Etsy shop. Apparently we have swans on Lake Superior so maybe this homage will lure some swans here and they can replace those horrible, horrible geese.
Around the corner was previously dead space, so with the two massive sets of drawers we added a ton of storage and then on the wall I hung a trio of Trigg wall pockets to keep some of our favorite (ahem, cutest) bits and bobs close at hand.
I’m planning to paint out the brass – I was on the fence but over the winter my heart said “Serenity Blue” (insanity later). The brass just doesn’t work in here and it’s not really my jam.
This room has a nice sized window but until we add an exterior door that lets in better light, it can be a little dim in here so we traded the old fluorescent light for a modern track light which really brightens up the space.
For textiles, I kept things simple so that the bold, blue watercolor floor can shine. The storage might have been the most expensive line item for my craft room makeover because I spent quite a bit on these matching storage bins – but the two sizes they came in happened to be the perfect sizes for the new shelving and the cabinets, plus the vintage-inspired fabric was really calling my name. I still love tweed (and anything with a similar texture) so much!
I decided to store my wool rovings in giant blue seagrass hampers (provided by Pier 1 Imports). I am getting obsessed with this style of woven, lidded storage hamper – we use two in the bathroom for laundry, two out here, one in the office for storing paper to shred, and then another one to hide the dog food bag in the mudroom. These blue ones are expensive, but it’s easy to find affordable woven hampers – they’re everywhere now!
We’re planning to seal off the second exterior door before our new siding goes up and then buy a new door for the remaining entrance – I want the same mid-century inspired exterior door we have for our front door to let in more light and keep a cohesive aesthetic outside. Other than those changes, this craft room makeover is done – until we renovate it into our laundry room and add our secret door…
I’m so thrilled with how my new craft room makeover turned out – especially because I managed to cobble this together on a really small budget, thanks to some hand-me-downs, some fun DIY projects, and a few sponsored perks (which I could have found really inexpensive replacements for, by trolling the classifieds and discount retailers like HomeSense). I love everything about the former Fish Room now, but those floors are my favorite feature because they’re such a unique DIY project.
Wall Color: White on White c/o CIL | Cabinets: IKEA | Paint on Cabinet & Shelves: Chalked Serenity Blue c/o Rus-Oleum | Sink: Home Depot | Faucet, Towel Ring & Hooks: c/o Delta | Blue Storage Bins: Walmart | Evie Blue Seagrass Storage Hampers c/o Pier 1 Imports | Wood Lamp: HomeSense (but this one’s aqua) | Lucite Swan: Vintage (here’s a lucite sailboat though!) | Wall Pockets: Umbra c/o Lowe’s
DIY Project Tutorials: