Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Beds (Page 1 of 3)

Let There Be Light


Howdy, friends and family! We had another winter storm and it is really cold! One good news is that even though the weather is significantly colder, we still paid 20% less for heating in January compared to last December. I think the attic insulation we recently added is doing its job!

The weather really slowed down our office renovation – we can not do wood work inside with windows and doors shut, and the garage is pretty cold to work in now. Unsatisfied with the lack of progress, we revisited our office to-do list to see if there is anything we could work on without making sawdust:

1. Frame the new opening between office and living room
2. Patch the hardwood floor
3. Drywall and trim around the new opening
4. Hang doors
5. Install new lighting and window treatment in the office
6. Build baseboard drawers for the bookcases
7. Trim out the bookcases
8. Build a new desk w/ storage cabinet
9. Enlarge office window (phase II)

It did not take long for us to identify the obvious choice: the lighting! We have been wanting to try the PS 2014 lamp from IKEA, and Slav’s room seemed to be a good spot for it.


While browsing lighting in IKEA, we also found this sleek Barometer track light. Slav was leaning towards using this track light in the office since PS 2014 does not give out too much light.


Office lighting

We assembled both lights. The PS 2014 comes in many pieces but was fairly easy to assemble.



Here is our old overhead lighting in the office, which is apparently called “nipple light” in US.


Slav took it off and found the ceiling above it was not painted. So I cleaned the ceiling with some TSP solution and sanded it a bit, then gave it a coat of white paint.


The existing ceiling color reads a bit more flat, probably due to the age of the paint. We plan to paint the whole main floor down the road so a bit difference in texture did not bother us.


Slav is right, the PS 2014 hung way too low in the office. Not only Slav, but also I have to duck when passing it. So track lighting it is.


The new light looks much better. The brass color is masculine, fits the color of the bookcases, and the smooth and modern lines balance the rather traditional shelves very well.


A pretty big difference between the “nipple light” and the new Barometer.



Bedroom lighting

With the track lighting installed in the office, we decided to hang the PS 2014 in our bedroom. Slav got to take down the second “nipple light”.



The bedroom light left a more obvious mark on the ceiling. It took two coats of paint to cover the yellowish ceiling.


I painted with a brush and intentionally left the brush mark to match the ceiling pattern.


It dried to almost the same color.


Slav hung the PS 2014 and we were very impressed with the effect it gives.


Make you think of the Star Wars movies, right? This lamp is popular for IKEA hacks and the most creative I’ve seen might be this “death stars” project.


You can use the two strings on the bottom to adjust how much it opens:



And it leaves the prettiest pattern on our ceiling:


It hangs pretty low, but we do not mind since it was mounted directly above our bed. It is also a fairly dark light. We used a 95W equivalent LED bulb, and even with the lamp shades fully open, you should not read under it.


However, it is perfect for bedroom use. When the lamp is mostly closed, you can turn it on in the middle of darkness without hurting your eyes. I usually goes to bed a lot earlier than Slav. With this light, he could turn it on without waking me up.

Garage lighting

We also recently upgraded our garage lights – about a months ago? It was too small of a project to report, but it actually made a big impact. Gosh we are on such a lighting rush now!

The garage lights are actually the ones that really needed an upgrade. We changed all the light bulbs in the house to LED as soon as we moved in, but the old garage lights are these tube lighting and they do not take LED bulbs. They were not only inefficient and dark, but also dirty and covered with rust.


LED work lights are not cheap, but we really wanted LEDs so we took the holiday sales and got these.


Slav mounted all the new lights flush to the ceiling beams – the old ones were suspended on chains (!!!). Mounting the new light higher also helped to hide loose wires. They made the whole garage look neater and more pleasant to be in.

We are very impressed with these lights. They are very bright. We got four with the assumption that we might need to add additional task lighting over the work benches. But in fact, four of these lights brightened up the whole garage (18″ x 24″) without any dark corners (mounting them higher also helped).  These lights made it possible to work in the garage at night, even on the work benches without other task lighting. We also picked warm white (2700 Kevin), so although these light are bright, it does not feel cold or sharp.

With all the new lighting in the office, bedroom and garage, we have upgraded 50% of lighting on the main floor. We are still searching for additional light source for the living room (the only room without overhead lighting), and we cannot wait to upgrade the lights in our kitchen and hallway. But for now, it makes us smile everything we turn on the bedroom light and see the “star”.


Soft Grey


Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you are relaxed, rested, well-fed, and enjoying a great time with your families! We are having a white Christmas here with quite a few inches of snowfall the night before Christmas Eve. I am so grateful to be living with real winter again!

As usual, Slav and I are working normal hours through holidays. Slav always has deadlines right after the New Years, so we take time off in January instead between Christmas and New Years. But I still want to do something fun for Christmas. It is a long weekend this year and it is really nice to stay home for three day straight without any obligations.

I still got our bedroom on my mind since last weekend’s small update, and honestly, I’ve been itching for some woodworking since the last build. So I decided to build a padded headboard for our king size bed, in order to bring some softness into our bedroom.

The design

When we got our storage bed a few months back, we decided to pass the matching storage headboard and DIY something softer instead. We had a padded and tufted headboard in the past, and we liked the warmth and support it gave. It was an easy decision to replicate it. Thick padding and soft fabric offer comfort, and keeping it mono-colored and simply tufted with buttons maintain the minimalism look in the bedroom.

First I drew the plan in Sketchup:


The plan includes a pair of sideboards with integrated lighting and nightstands. The light blue rectangle represents a window, which is 57″ off the floor. Our king bed is over 20″ tall with the mattress (represented by the box in front the headboard). I designed the headboard to be long and narrow (32″ x 78″) to accommodate the short distance between the mattress and the window.


This is the view from the back, without the sideboards. You can see the window on the top, the headboard right below, and existing bed frame at the bottom. The headboard will be hanging directly on the wall. You can also see the cut dimension of the 2″ x 4″s framing the headboard from this view.

The frame


I cut 2″ x 4″s to size using a miter saw, and dry fit them together. The middle bracing was made from 2″ x 4″ scraps and for attaching the pegboard pieces later.

To join the 2″ x 4″s together, I decided to give pocket hole joint a try. I’ve purchased the Kreg Jig a while ago but had not used it before this project. I was a bit intimated, which is silly – because the instruction was very straightforward and easy to follow.


I practiced on some scrap wood first:


The first pocket hole I made was terrible. It was not smooth and did not even go through the bottom. But the next few got better.


Twenty minutes and lots of saw dust later, I connected my first pocket hole joint! The frame quickly came together after.


The next step was to cover the frame with a flat surface for the foam pad to attach to. DIYers use different materials – plywood, MDF, pegboard, or old headboards the,selves. I assume a few strip of wood would be OK too, especially if you are not going for the tufted look. I decided to use pegboard because we have some leftovers from our garage organization, and more importantly, it makes the tufting part easier.


I screwed one piece of leftover pegboard onto the frame and used jigsaw to trim the excess off. The cut was not very straight – I still need to get better at using jigsaw or circular saw without a guide. Fortunately the edges will be covered by padding and fabric later.

I next attached the other piece of headboard.


This is what the headboard frame looked like finished:


The Material

Up to this point I was confident on what I am doing. But the upholstery, not so much. I had very little experience with sewing and fabric in general, and the experience I had was all failure. Thanks for the internet, I was able to find a few really good tutorials. I got my materials based on recommendations in this tutorial, and followed similar steps in this tutorial for a similar modern look. If you are interested in more of a traditional look, this one demonstrated really well how to do diamond tuft and offers many good tricks.

The material I used for the project includes a king-size mattress pad ($60), a large but light-weight quilt batting ($20), a bottle of adhesive spray ($17), and of course, a piece of suede fabric ($60). For the tufted look, I also got button cover kit ($10), craft needles ($5), and waxed nylon cord ($4). As you can see, this headboard did not come out cheaper than a pre-made one, and it is partially due to the size of the frame and how thick I want it to be. I chose king size pad and large batting to get two layers of coverage of both (see the 2nd picture below), but twin-size pad and smaller batting should be sufficient for a slimmer headboard with a much cheaper price tag. I also bought everything from JoAnn, which is more expensive than Amazon or Ebay. So if you could wait a few days for everything to arrive, you can probably save $20 more getting everything online.


The Upholstery

I laid the headboard down in the living room with the pegboard side up and dry fit everything first. You can see that the king size mattress pad gives us two layers of full coverage.


I then sprayed the pegboard generously with the adhesive and glued both layers on. Because I used pegboard, I laid down some protective plastic underneath so my rug will not get sticky.


I did one layer at a time and trimmed the excess with a scissor after each layer. This adhesive is the “re-positioning” type which allows me to adjust for a long time, which is nice. The adhesive spray is not necessary if you are only doing one layer and the foam you use is bigger than the headboard itself. I can only find 76″ foam for my 78″ headboard so I had to glue a portion down, stretch a little, then glue another portion, and do this with two layers. The adhesive spray definitely made this process a lot easier for me.


The next step is the batting. I laid it on the bed, put the headboard on it with the foam (and pegboard) side down, then stapled it around. I tugged it pretty tight to make sure that the batting pressed the foam tightly against the pegboard.


It looked pretty neat at this point and I was gaining a bit confidence.



The Tufted Look

The most intimidating part of this whole project might have been choosing the fabric. I do not know fabric at all. After spending an hour unrolling and rolling up fabric samples, I brought my choice to the cutting center, feeling anxious. I told the woman working at the cutting counter my plan for the fabric and she said “this is a gorgeous piece for upholstering headboard with” and I was so relieved! I think the color also worked out OK with our bedding.



The next step was pretty straight forward: lay the fabric underneath the headboard and staple around. I took caution to make sure the corners were tight and neatly tucked.



The Buttons!


A simple headboard could have stopped right here. But since we decided to add buttons for a gentle tufted look, I laid out all 14 buttons and marked their locations.


Making buttons was a bit tough on fingers, especially with such heavy fabric. But it got done.


Slav helped me to put all the buttons on using long craft needles and waxed cord. It was a two people four hands job so we did not take any photos. Please visit the tutorials I linked above if you are interested.

The Finish

We decided to use this Hangman heavy-duty mirror hanger for easy adjustment /removal of the headboard. It can take 300 pound weight which is plenty enough for our headboard. It also comes with a built-in level which makes hanging it very easy.


This product is pretty much a french cleat. The other part was screwed onto the headboard frame:


And here it is!


Our soft headboard:


The light grey plays well with the grey curtain and blue painting.


We hung it on Christmas eve and it was such a treat for Christmas!

The Art of Airing Out

“Airing out” by Ka Fisher

I am letting out a big secret today – I don’t wash my clothes after each wear.

Of course I wear fresh underwear and socks everyday. But for pretty much anything else – pants, tops, skirts, jackets, as long as they are not visibly dirty or smelly, I do not wash them after just one wear. What I do, is to hang them up, and air them out between use.

I grew up airing out my clothes. My family did not have a washing machine when I was little, so all the clothes, towels, and bedsheets had to be washed by hand. Every Sunday, if there was no rain in the forecast (we also dried all the clothes outside), my grandma would pull out a big wooden bucket and a couple washboards. My grandpa would fill the bucket with water, and they’d sit down and wash for hours. The labor and the wear to clothes discouraged washing them after just one use, and this habit lasted in me even after I had washer and dryer. I still have an old picture showing the 4-year-old me washing handkerchiefs next to my grandpa. You can see the excitment on my face that I was finally trusted to take on such a big responsibility. I must have begged them and practiced so many times before my grandparents finally trusted me to wash handkerchifes for the family!


I also grew up airing my bedsheets. I was taught to open the bedroom window and make my bed every morning by folding my comforter outwards, leaving the side touching my skin at night facing out. I was supposed to place the folded comforter under my pillow, so every inch of the bed that had been covered at night could be exposed to fresh air. It is considered sanitary to let the moisture out of the sheets, comforter, and pillows during the day. A light dusting before going to bed in the evenings should remove any dust might have accumulated.


Such traditions may not make much sense nowadays, but I still live out of my old habit. When I arrive home after a day in the office and take off my jeans, which often still smells like laundry detergent, I do not think it belongs to the “dirty” laundry basket just yet. Even though this pair of jeans is not going to be washed by my grandma, with her hands cracked from using the harsh soap and her back hunched, it still feels like a waste to me to wash something that is mostly clean.

I know this is considered lack of personal hygeinge in U.S., so I am careful not to wear the same top to work two days in row. This results lot of worn-only-once clothing all over our bedroom. So last weekend, I brought in an old ladder to help with the mess:


I bought this ladder in North Carolina back in 2011 to use as a towel rack in the bathroom. Once Slav moved in, this ladder became too small to dry two big towels. so we kept it as a drying rack for delicates in the laundry room. It was in a rusty red color, which is really cute. But I want to keep our bedroom mostly monochrome and calm. So I painted it black to match the bed and the mirrior.


I do not think I’ve showed you this IKEA mirrior yet. It was only $30 and I like how simple and big it is. We like to keep the bedroom dark with only accent lighting, so I wrapped some solar-powered string lights around it to dress it up a little.


It works pretty well as a night light – just bright enough to walk around with, but not too bright to interrupt our sleep.


This light pretty much operates itself – the solar panel has a sensor, and we mounted it against the window facing outside. It will turn on by itself after sunset and off with sunrise. Since it uses solar, I do not feel guilty leaving it on all night long. For just $13, I think it is a great hand-off solution for bedroom lighting.


We also had this metal deer antlers mounted in our bedroom.


And lately, it has been used to air out Slav’s wifebeater:


I know, what a ridiculous name. Wifebeater. OMG. I tried to call it “undershirt”, but Amazon does not give me the right search results unless I use the old terminology. I got Slav these in black since he likes to wear them for sleeping – I think they look a lot less offensive than the white ones, what do you think?

Here you have it, our little airing-out corner of the bedroom. It is cozy but not messy, jus the way I like it. I know that airing out clothes is not everybody’s thing, but we have been doing it for years and no one has ever complained about our smell. Besides, our dogs love it. Charlie loves napping under my pajamas. I think it is so sweet!


Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén