Tuesday, June 13, 2017

$50 Deck Fix

I’m still slowly putting my office back together, but with the weather finally cooperating we’ve spent a lot of time focusing getting the outdoors summer-ready.  Last year we created plant beds and filled them with mulch and this year our goal was to fill them up!  We’ve got almost all of the plants bought and in place, and a couple weeknights, or one good weekend, we’ll have it completed!

A last minute scope addition was to paint the posts and some of the girders of the deck.  It’s no secret that I’ve hated the deck stain since the mis-tint fiasco of 2015, but one thing that has bothered me even more is our laziness (time-crunch + frustration with the color) in not staining the posts and some of the beams the same color. 

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As we were finalizing our plant plans I came up with a crazy idea to stain these posts/beam black so that they almost disappear.  Also, since they are covered from the elements we won’t have to restain them every time we do the rest of the deck because they won’t wear at the same rate, win-win!

I stopped by Sherwin Williams and grabbed a gallon of SuperDeck tinted black (I initially made the mistake of getting semi-transparent and it was way too transparent, I went back and a total of 3 oz of black made the stain almost solid – learn from me and just go solid!).  While Mike planted some shrubs near the front of the house, I got to work painting the posts.  When I stepped back, it was such a huge improvement I couldn’t believe we didn’t think of it sooner!

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After I worked my way down the line, Mike was right behind me digging holes and planting everything, so it was even more of an improvement.  The black worked really well because the posts fade into the shadows underneath the deck, and it blends with the black mulch.

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This area is behind where our garbage containers sit and the rubber matting is where the snow blower is housed during the summer.  The black stain really hides everything now!

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On the other side we had this area that Mike wanted to keep open to store things, but it was such an eye sore for our sweet neighbor.  I convinced Mike to part with the old plastic chairs (that were such a hassle to get in and out) and he organized the ladder extension a little better as well.  We added some stepping stones to allow him easier access to getting the ladder and we’ll add some hostas that will make the area more tidy, but not to precious if he tramples them every once in a while. 

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The additional arborvitaes really hid the underside of the deck, but painting everything black just helped camouflage even more.  Also, I hope I never have to paint behind them again now that they are all in place!

Overall, it took two afternoons to paint everything since we were doing it after work. But now that it’s complete I’m so happy with my last minute idea!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Office Progress | Walls Painted

I wasted no time after the doors were cured and rehung on their respective frames to paint the office walls.

Office Painted SW6203 Spare White

When we bought the house 7 years ago we painted everything before moving in.  Which means I had to pick every room color without any furniture.  Seven years ago I would have never painted a room white and while I knew I wanted this room to be neutral, beige was my safe choice.

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Now, (like everyone else) I find myself drawn to white rooms and I chose Sherwin Williams - Spare White (SW6203) which is a creamy white with a slightly gray undertone.  My first thought was to use SW Alabaster like my sister did in her family room, but it has a beige undertone and living with beige for so long I wanted something that read a little cooler.

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Even though the color wasn’t too dark before, it took 3 coats to get full coverage, also the paint was really thick which I don’t usually have trouble with so maybe it was just a bad can.  Either way, it was worth it because the room looks and feels completely different now.

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Spare White is just gray enough to offset the true white trim and everything looks so clean and modern now!  I’m super happy with the black doors in here and can’t wait to add gold accents and some greenery as well as more white and wood from the furniture I’ve selected

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The room is a small rectangle, only slightly longer than it is wide, so it’s hard to take photos in, but there’s a small closet, 1 window and the door to the hallway.  Our neighbor cut down the tree that used to be outside this window a couple years ago which was sad for the privacy/greenery, but it’s also allowed a lot more light to come in as well which has been nice.

I took all these photos with the overhead light on and the walls read a tiny bit warm.  With no artificial light, the walls are definitely a creamy, cool white.

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I’ve already laid out the rug and spent the weekend building the Ikea furniture, so I’ll share that progress soon, as well as another furniture piece which was a craigslist find that I’m hoping to paint this week.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Interior Doors Painted

Now that you’re caught up on the door saga, lets talk paint.  As I mentioned when we were modifying the doors 5 years ago, the plan was to paint them white.  I’ve waffled back and forth between a few different options, but for a while I’ve wanted black doors.  Mike and I recently were talking about this and he was a little concerned they would be too dark or too trendy.  I told him that black is actually a very classic door color and after 5 years I was pretty sold on the idea, plus I already had the paint!

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The doors in their raw wood state were actually really great and I had thought that maybe I could add some sort of matte wax to protect, but keep the color we had going on now.  Ultimately, I decided that while the doors might look good (they’re cherry so I wasn’t sure if I could add wax/sealant without going too red), they would probably clash with the finished floors.

While still wanting some of the wood integrity I decided to try some ebony stain.  I thought this would be the best of both worlds since some of the doors had larger Bondo spots from the modification process.  Mike must have told me 27 times that stain might not be a good option because the plan at the beginning was paint and he wasn’t necessarily treating the modification process with any other option in mind. 

I bought some ebony stain and some matte poly and even though I was up at 4:45 in the morning for a work deadline I got enough energy to sand and stain the first door.  I coated the entire door with a brush and was feeling good (even though it was a little red for my taste) until I finished and started wiping it off.  I knew I wanted a dark, saturated color so I didn’t rush, but the spots where the wood glue wasn’t completely wiped off made for more than a couple streaks.

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Mike seemed almost apologetic when he kept telling me he wasn’t exactly careful because the original plan was to paint. 

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I really wasn’t too bummed because the ebony stain definitely was picking up more red tones than I cared for, and I was only disappointed because now I had to use an oil-based primer. 

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For those wondering why I didn’t just sand the glue streaks out, you have to remember that this is just cherry veneer and sanding too much (I had already done a thorough sanding before this stain) would risk sanding through the veneer (which was actually happening towards the bottom at the spot Mike cut/modified). 

While I thought I was compromising by getting the dark look I wanted but keeping the wood grain, it wasn’t meant to be in the end.  I bought a gallon of Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 Primer (oil-based) and ProMar 200 in Eggshell – tinted to Tricorn Black (SW 6258). 

I painted everything in two batches – 3 doors at a time.  I sanded/primed all sides first, then it took 3 coats of black paint to cover completely.  I had hoped for a smooth matte finish, but the first 3 doors were almost chalky (I did add some Floetrol to prevent brush marks so I’m not sure if that was the reason) and every touch left little grayish marks.  I realized these couldn’t be babied forever, so I did a final coat of RustOleum Pro Finisher Water-Base Polyurethane for Floors in Satin (which I had left over from painting the basement stairs).  It left it less matte than I had originally wanted, but the extra protection is worth it.  I did all the black/poly coats per door, then flipped over and started over.  For the second set of doors I forgot to add the Floetrol and it wasn’t chalky (in case anyone else is thinking of painting a boatload of doors in their future), but I still think I would have wanted to add poly even if I had had the choice at this point, for the added piece of mind.

Overall the process took me over 3 weeks because of drying times and well, life, not to mention that 5 coats per side x 2 sides x 6 doors = 60 coats of painting!!

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Overall I’m really happy with the black doors and they look really great against all of the white trim and our medium stained floors!

The final poly coat left them a little streaky, which can only be seen when light directly shines on it from the right angle, but of course as the painter I see them all the time.  I tried doing a second coat on one panel which made it read a little blue but I think it just wasn’t completely cured at that point.  If it dries clear, I’ll probably do a second coat on all the inside panels which is where it’s most noticeable.  If I do, I’m doing it quickly before I lose steam and another 5 years passes before these doors get finished (just kidding!).

I’ll share more door photos when I show the office progress which will be later this week, because as crazy as it sounds, once all these doors were put back on the hinges I couldn’t wait to paint some more!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our Old (New) Interior Doors Makeover

Alternate Title: If you give Mal a paintbrush…She’ll probably decide to paint all the interior doors as well. 

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Several months ago I mentioned my next project would be redoing the office and I had a plan of the large pieces and the style direction.  I’m happy to report major progress has been made: new furniture purchased after a trip to Ikea, major purging action of unnecessary supplies, too many Craigslist/Facebook selling transactions to count, clearing out the room, and prepping for paint. 

While I was this close to painting the room and getting one step closer, I decided the empty room was the best opportunity to finally tackle the interior doors.  I made a quick confession of our door situation, or lack thereof, way back in 2011.  In a nutshell, when we first moved in we had planned to refinish all the original interior doors, but after failed attempts to remove the layers and layers of paint, (which were so thick the trim details were basically unrecognizable), we set them aside to deal with later.  That turned into years (yes we lived without doors on our bedrooms for a year or two), and in the meantime we found another solution when we found solid core cherry doors while shopping for our upstairs bathroom vanity at our local construction surplus store. 

We were able to get all the doors needed for a steal (it was so long ago I can’t even remember the total, but I think it was something like $40/piece) and they were similar two-panel style to the originals seen in this really old photo from our first walk-thru:

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But, our 1927 house wasn’t going to make it that easy, and all the doors needed to be modified to the smaller frame dimensions.  Back in 2012, I took photos as Mike modified them so that I could write detailed instructions, but now I only barely remember what’s happening in these photos so I’m going to try my best, ha!  It should also be noted at this point that the plan was to paint all the doors white, like they were when we moved in. This becomes really important later on in the story.  But, on to the tutorial!

The first step was to use the table saw to cut one of the stiles off completely. 

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Since the doors were solid core cherry veneer, the edges couldn’t be modified without exposing the particle board insides.  So Mike did this to get to the inside and modified the center so that all the stiles were still proportionate.

This next part was sort of a gamble, but we couldn’t figure out how to remove the inside panels from the rails/stiles so we figured we’d let gravity help.  Mike drilled holes in the panels (knowing at least that amount was going to be removed to get the final size) and we basically hung it from the ceiling and gently hit it (important to note we did this as uniformly as we could and with a rubber mallet) and the panel slid out from the rails.  This makes more sense looking at the photos:

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It was slow going, and I was there to help “catch” it, but it worked (!) so we continued the same process for the rest of the panels (6 doors x 2 panels each).

Next, he chiseled out the insides from the stile.  This would later allow him to fit the shortened panel back in.

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Then the rails, (top, middle, and bottom) were cut to the correct size.

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The panels were also cut on the table saw, but I didn’t grab a photo of that. 

Everything was lined up and marked for new dowels.

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And, new dowel holes were drilled into the stiles and rails.

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At this point I must have gotten bored because that’s where the photos end, but the panels were gently slide back in and the stile was loaded with dowels and glue and pounded back into place as well.  Bondo was used on any spots that didn’t line up perfectly and lock sets and hinges were added.  Then repeat for all 9 doors (6 upstairs, then 3 for the basement)! 

Once everything was dry we were so happy we had new doors that Mike installed them, raw wood and all!  I do remember very vividly him saying that it was such a pain in the butt to carry each one up two flights up stairs (deck and inside) that I either had to paint them on the hinges or we would have to clear a room upstairs because he wasn’t carrying them downstairs again!

We have been living with them for the past 5 years like this and with the office completely cleared out I figured it was as good of a time as any to finally finish these bad boys.  I’m a little bummed because I could have finished the office by now, but having this giant task done will be really nice!

I’ll be back next time with the story of finishing the doors, and hopefully photos of them installed!  At this point we have half of the doors removed and the paint bought so I have a busy next couple of days ahead of me!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hummel House Progress | Family Room

I’m back with some progress at the Hummel House!  It’s been slow going with any new projects at our house, just not enough motivation to do any big projects.  Instead, I’ve been focusing on organizing areas that have seen better days, like the laundry room or cleaning out the fridge.  Unfortunately, not anything blog worthy.  But something that is worth sharing is the progress my sister and brother-in-law have made at their house!

My sister wanted to first focus on the family room, which is where they watch TV, entertain, and generally spend a lot of their time.  I mentioned that the plan was to remove the carpet and add laminate flooring and paint.  Not only has that all been done, but all the major pieces are purchased and it’s already miles from where it started.

I ran over a couple days ago and quickly shot some photos after work so the lighting was a bit harsh, but I still think it looks great!

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As a reminder, here’s where they started:

Hummel House Family Room - Before

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The flooring and paint (Sherwin Williams Alabaster) have made a huge difference, and small upgrades like new, thicker baseboards and even just quickly spray painting the fireplace screen matte black have gone a long way to upgrade this space.

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Both my sister and bro-in-law wanted a large couch to lounge and one of their first grown up furniture purchases was this super comfortable West Elm Henry couch, in Ash Gray.  They went with the 96” version and that set the scale and layout for the rest of the room. 

Since they have the sliding doors opposite I suggested two smaller scale chairs that wouldn’t visually block the light too much, and still be able to be moved around to get outside when the weather warms up.  We chose these Threshold Windson Wood Arm Chairs from Target but waffled back and forth between a bone color and this bluish gray color.  After weeks of out of stock notices on the bone color, it was an easy choice!  I think it was the better choice and adds some interest to the neutral room.

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Those are anchored by a large jute rug from World Market.  This layout also solves the problem I mentioned when I first introduced the room: two focal points.  The fireplace being one and the TV on the opposite wall, since that’s the only space it’ll fit.  By laying out the seating to face each other, both focal points can be seen from any seat.

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The TV wall is still a work in progress, but my sister and I kicked butt a couple weeks ago and mounted the TV to the wall, installed an in-wall cord system (using this kit suggested by Young House Love), and mounted the storage units which will be finished similar to our fauxdenza, all with minimum phone calls to Mike!

Unlike our fauxdenza which was made using Ikea kitchen cabinets, the TV storage unit here is a three unit Ikea Besta storage system.  These units can sit on the ground with legs, or mounted to the wall.  After I took these photos my sister and I finished poly’ing the top and sides so those should be mounted soon.

We also hung curtains and measured for a couple more items, but mostly this room’s large pieces are done and it’s all accessories from here on out! 

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There’s been more progress in the living room/dining room area (no more red paint!) and the entry, so I’ll hopefully get more photos as those spaces get further along.