Ikea Bygel Utility Cart Makeover


A while back, I showed a post about the bar cart that Joey and I revamped. We love it, and as it turns out, so do most of our friends.  It gets a lot of compliments. So when some of our closest friends bought their very first house, we (or maybe just I….Joey didn’t really have a choice in the matter) decided that we had to make them a bar cart as a housewarming gift.  But I wasn’t having luck finding a good frame at the thrift stores, so I had to take a different approach – IKEA!! I love Ikea, and it turns out their Bygel Utility Cart makes a pretty good bar cart. I saw some cool makeovers on Pinterest, so I decided to give it a shot.

We started by assembling the basic cart. As you can see from the photo below, it’s a little boring.

Utility Bar Cart

That is where the wonder of contact paper and chalkboard paint came in.  You might remember my stainless steel contact paper backsplash from a few years ago.  Well, I borrowed from that idea and covered the bottom two shelves for a stainless steel, industrial look.  Then I busted out the chalkboard paint.  I gave the top shelf a few coats of paint.  After letting it dry, I handed Joey a piece of chalk and told him to draw whatever he wanted. He complained a little bit, but I know he secretly loves all the projects I drag him into.  He came up with a great design in like 10 minutes.


If our friends decide they want to change up the look, they can just erase it and have Joey draw them something else — although they might have to bribe him with some drinks first, but I’m sure he will eventually agree to draw something new.


We brought it over to our their house last week, and they love it.  It was a simple project, inexpensive project that will definitely be put to good use.



Bathroom Renovation: The After

It’s been about a week since we completed our bathroom project. It’s taken me a while to write this post, mostly because I’ve been incredibly lazy, but I figure it’s time to share the grand unveiling of our beautiful, new bathroom…. tada!


You can see in the before that it was a very cramped bathroom.  Here is another look at the before. We could barely open the bathroom door all the way, because it was so close to the vanity.


Now, thanks to our new Ikea vanity and cabinets, we have plenty of room. It’s made a huge difference.


Oh, and before anyone freaks out, we saved the huge mirror from the original bathroom and now have it in our guest bedroom/office.  It was a great mirror, but it didn’t offer any storage, so the Ikea medicine cabinet is much more practical.

I’m proud to say, the entire remodel cost under $1,000! I do work in finance, so of course, I kept a very detailed journal of our costs.  Here is the breakdown.

Ikea Total Cost: $469.74

  • LILLÅNGEN Sink Cabinet
  • DANNSKÄR Faucet
  • LILLÅNGEN Mirror Cabinet
  • LILLÅNGEN High Cabinet
  • LILLÅNGEN High Cabinet Legs

Home Depot Total Cost: $491.06

  • 3 Boxes of SomerTile Victorian Hex Porcelain Tile
  • Drywall Repair Patch
  • Taping Knives
  • Joint Compound
  • Wall Texture
  • Sink Valves
  • Non-Sanded Grout
  • Thin Set Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Sealant
  • Tile Cutter
  • Grout Float
  • Caulk
  • Sponge
  • Baseboards
  • Hole Saw for Power Drill
  • Finishing Nails

Things we Already Had: Free

  • Paint
  • Caulk Gun
  • Tool Set
  • Power Drill
  • Screws
  • Labor

TOTAL COST: $960.80

I think that is pretty good, considering we installed tile and tore out pretty much everything but the bath and toilet.  A few years ago, I would have balked at the thought of spending $960 on a bathroom remodel.  It’s funny how things change when you get older. I guess it’s not so much that we are older, but it’s more that we both have full time jobs and can afford to treat ourselves every once in while – although, I’m not sure if Joey considered this a treat since he did most of the work.  Even so, I think we can take pride in the fact that we completed the remodel all on our own.


I have some more remodeling projects in mind, but I think I’ll give it a rest for a while.

Bathroom Renovation: Installing Tile

Installing tile is not fun–I knew it was going to be rough, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so painful. The results are beautiful though, so I think it’s worth it.

The tile I picked out is a white hexagon style.  It’s called Merola Metro Hex Glossy White Porcelain Tile and is on sale for about $50 a box at Home Depot.  I ordered 4 boxes, which turned out to be the perfect amount to cover our small bathroom.


When I went into Home Depot to pick up my order, I basically told the sales woman that I had no idea what I was doing and I needed a crash course in tiling.  She was really, really helpful and explained all the tools and materials that I would need.  The first think we established is that because the floor is concrete, I didn’t need to lay any sub-flooring.  That was a big relief.  Then we talked about how to spread the mortar and space the tile.  She explained the different types of grout, and we decided to go with a non-sanded gray color. I also bought a sealant to protect the tile.

When I got home, I told Joey that I was an expert at tiling.  He was a little skeptical, to say the least, so he did his own research.  Everything he found was in alignment with what the Home Depot employee told me; however, Joey is a massive perfectionist, so he didn’t trust me to space the tile correctly.  At that point, he pretty much took charge, which I’m not complaining about.

We first laid the tile out to figure out the best layout  Then Joey used a tile cutter to make the necessary cuts.  The next morning, we took the baseboards and toilet off, spread the thin set mortar and placed the tile. We had to let the mortar dry for 24 hours, which was a HUGE pain because we only have one bathroom.  Not having a toilet is really hard. Luckily, we have some friends that live in the building next to us. They let us use their bathroom while we waited for the mortar to cure.

The next day, we began the grouting process.  The hardest part of the process was mixing the dang grout… the instructions said to stir continuously for 5 minutes — 5 minutes is a long time, so I think we cheated a little and only mixed for about 2-3 minutes.  Then we started grouting.  We had a nice little process going. Joey would spread the grout and I would follow him and sponge off the excess grout.  I also took a lot of breaks to drink water, watch Netflix, play with Zuzu, etc… Joey wasn’t so jazzed with my apparent lack of dedication. But honestly, there wasn’t much for me to do.  We only had one grout float, so it was pretty much a one man job.


After letting the grout dry, we put the toilet back on.  Unfortunately, we discovered that we hadn’t tiled close enough to the toilet, so there were some pretty large gaps.  That was a major disappointment.  We took the toilet back off and finished tiling where we had missed.   Then we went to a Super Bowl party, where we were in for more disappointment – the Seahawks lost!! It was a pretty depressing day.

Luckily, the next day was much better.  We put new baseboards in and installed the toilet once again. This time, we had no issues.  The last step in our tiling escapade was putting the sealant on.  Then we sat back, relaxed, and congratulated ourselves on a job well done.


The only think we have left to do is to install the sink and cabinets.  I’m hoping to get that done in the next few days because we are having a party at our house on Saturday.

Bathroom Renovation: Repairing the Walls

After the “demo” of our bathroom, we had to repair the drywall and paint the walls.  I was really worried about this step, but it turns out it isn’t as hard as I anticipated.  I went to Home Depot, explained our situation to a sales associate, and within 10 minutes, I was out the door with all the supplies I needed.

To patch the largest hole, we used a self adhesive patch.


We covered the patch with drywall joint compound, and then used the drywall joint compound to cover the smaller imperfections.  We left it overnight to dry. Then we sanded patches until they were smooth.  To help camouflage the patches, Joey sprayed the walls with drywall wall texture.


After letting the texture dry, we painted.  It took about two coats and some touch-ups.


Now that the walls looks great, we can move on to the next step – tiling!! I ordered tiles online, and they are supposed to arrive on Thursday.  Joey is out of town, so I was planning on surprising him by finishing the tiling when he was gone. But he specifically asked me NOT to try laying the tile without him.  He doesn’t trust me, which is probably wise. I tend to be more impatient than he is, and I’m prone to mistakes, which means he often has to re-do my work.