Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kitchen Eye Candy

I'm still illin', but the kitchen reno is creeping closer and closer and I can't stop thinking about it.  Wanna see some kitchens I like?  I know you do.....  Let's discuss.

First up is this beauty:

Source: via Carol on Pinterest

See that 'X' detail on the end of that pretty island?  I'll be doing something similar on the ends of both of my peninsulas.  I'm sure I'll get annoyed with the dust that collects in the deep, little grooves, but I'll take my chances.  I don't know how I feel about the hanging glass pendants or the light flooring.  I'm carrying the dark flooring from the rest of the house through the kitchen and need to keep that in mind when I'm choosing my counters and base cabinet color.

That's right base cabinet color.

I'm a sucker for darker base cabinets in the kitchen and one of the kitchens that I'm loving HARD is this one:

Can you believe that gorgeous grey on those cabinets?  The finish is unbelievable (check out her blog, she talks about the paint used when she had them sprayed) and the color really does blow my mind.  Again, light flooring, and I desperately want to know if my darker flooring would marry well with that amazing color without seeming too bottom-heavy.

I lovelovelove her kitchen, so let's take a look at a couple more views:

The silver handles look great with the darker tone and the subway tiles are such a cost-effective way to create a classically beautiful backdrop for the walls.

Now, since I'm all bananas about my dark floor, let's take a peek at what a dark floor does for a kitchen.

The darker floor really anchors the room and it seems like lighter cabinetry for the base cabs keeps the room feeling spacious.

With the photo above, the darker floors seem to blend in with the dark island, but the surrounding cabinetry stays light.  This definitely helps to expand the room around the center island.

I don't know.  Any thoughts on a dark floor with semi-dark lower cabinets?  I might have to do some test painting to see how the combination works.

I have a sniffly six-year-old waiting for me in the other room, so I'll leave you with this gorgeous backsplash image:

I know, right?  The unfinished trim/tile near the window is making my eye twitch a little but isn't the tile itself pretty?  I have the overwhelming urge to pet it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Little Bit Of Column A (Before and After)

It's like I'm having a contest with myself to see how long I can go without posting.

I win.

I'm dealing with a gross cold so this post is coming to you whilst inebriated with NyQuil.  Lots and lots of NyQuil.  I'm dead serious.  I've only gotten off of the couch about eight times today.  Most of which was to crawl about ten feet over to the landing in an effort to finish staining and poly-ing the stairs.

I'll try to make up for the last few weeks with one obnoxiously long post.  You're welcome.

One of the biggest and ugliest challenges with this whole-house reno has been the dreaded posts at the base of the stairs.

It's beautiful, right?  Don't you want one, too?  The scary-ish thing about these posts is that they're primarily responsible for keeping the second floor on the second floor.  It still boggles my mind that a handful of 2x4's can transfer that much weight.  Sure, there are other points within the house that help to transfer weight from the giant yellow LVL beams, but they're hidden and I don't see them every single day.

I knew I wanted to create stately, dramatic columns, but frankly, I've never really done it before.  I've played with moldings and trim to come up with some pretty profiles before, but this was new territory for me.  I pinned my heart out with images of columns and bases to get my brainz wrapped around how I was going to tackle them, but I was considerably freaked-out at this project and I let it sit.  Until just a couple weeks ago. That's almost five months.  Five months of yelling "Don't touch the posts!!! You'll get a splinter!!!" every time the boys hung onto them like a firepole.

Enough was enough and it was time to just dive the heck in.  But there was one step that needed to be completed before I could start:  I needed to address the landing issue and the lack of flooring on said landing.

We were originally planning on carpeting the stairs and landing but I nixed that idea mid-stream, leaving me with a REALLY rough starting point.  I didn't want to lay the floating flooring down that I was doing on the rest of the house because I thought it would clash with the steps going up and look ridiculous.  I thought about just painting the plywood and calling it a day ("You're a DAY!") but I knew that would look cheapo.  So, I came up with a plan to lay some faux painted plank flooring.  Although, I don't know if it's really faux.  It's wood.  It's cut in planks.  It's painted.  It's faux sho' on the floor.  So, technically, it's the real deal.  Right?

John ripped a sheet of 1/8th-inch plywood down to four-inch strips and I got to work gluing and nailing them down on the landing.

I used two dimes at either end for spacing because I wanted to keep a visible seam after I painted.  I also added a piece of 1x2 mdf on either side of the landing as a sort of bullnose to mimic the profile of the steps.

And then I got to painting.

I like the idea of possibly doing a decorative paint treatment on the landing, but the rustic charm of the plank floor looks pretty sweet as-is.

Back to the columns.  Did you forget about them?  Are you still with me?  ...tap, tap, tap....  Is this thing on?

Now that the landing had flooring, I could get started on those damn posts.  I started by sitting down and staring at them.  For a long, long time.  Then I dug through my mdf scraps and got to work putting together my column puzzle.

Creepy, blue tint courtesy of my awesome camera skillz

And in the almost-end, I have this:

I added a funky 'X' detail to the outsides of each column.
They'll tie in with another project I have in mind for the kitchen.

I still have a few bits of finish work to do before I call the landing complete:

  • Caulk, caulk, caulk and add a final coat of paint
  • Finish the risers for the bottom stairs
  • Add a coat of poly to the landing
  • Finish the trim for the outside of the landing
  • Change out the almond-colored receptacle for a white one
I'll do a 'final reveal' post soon with all of the finishing touches once I get over this stinkin' cold and muster the strength to get off of the couch and actually do the items on the above list.  For now, I'll just stare at all of the hard work that's finally behind me.

(Linking up to YHL's fantastically awesome 'Pinterest Challenge'!)

Friday, February 8, 2013

How To Keep From Falling Down A Staircase

The alternate title for this post could have been 'Building Another Bookcase', but where's the fun in that?

Let's start with the finished product and get it out of the way.

When we first added the second floor, I was totally all about a long row of pretty, white pickets and a monstrously beautiful newel post at the top of the stairs.  But then a couple things popped into my brains:  1. I have a pretty good fear of heights and I just didn't like seeing the drop all the way down to the first floor.  2. It wasn't particularly original or practical to do the picket thing.  The beauty of choosing to do all of the interior trim work ourselves means we can do whatever the heck we want (within building code, of course).

John wanted to do a regular half-wall, but he knew I wasn't going to be down with that.  It needed to be special and meaningful for our family and considering our massive book collection, the bookcase wall idea seemed like a total given.

We did this particular project quite a while ago, so my photos are pretty sparse, but I did manage to get a few.  We began with a safety hazard.

That's it.  Just a couple 2x10's nailed up.  Scary.  The boys weren't allowed to go up there without one of us, so I didn't have to worry about one of them taking a nose dive.

John then built some bases out of 2x4 lumber and screwed them into the floor.

And this is where the picture taking practically stopped.

Wop. Wop.

Just to give you an idea, we built the frame of the bookshelf and I made a counter-like top out of PureBond plywood, which sanded and stained beautifully.  I then put pine planks on the back of the unit and stained those, as well.

 Nevermind that side bit of trim, I was testing out ideas for finishing the sides.

The next step was building shelves and I did them exactly like the sunroom/family room unit.

Finished with a couple coats of paint and a whole whack of caulk.

And this is what she looks like right this very moment.

Taken at night.
With a camera phone.

Yes, I know, I spoil you.

Apparently, I kinda gave up on styling the bookcase once I got to the end.  Looks like I was just shoving books in there.  Which is probably exactly what I was doing.  I love all of the color and texture that it lends to an otherwise neutral hallway and yes, books are decorations to me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Evolution Of A Laundry Room

The laundry room/mudroom is far from done, but I think I'm on the right track.  Let's take a minute to show you what I started with:

I know, I know.  You're overcome with feelings of jealous rage, right?  I can't say that I blame you.  Who *doesn't* want a dimly lit, uninspiring place to do their laundry?

First things first, I needed to paint, install a couple wall cabinets, and ask John ever-so-nicely to hang a more practical light fixture.

Getting better.

I've been seeing black interior doors everywhere lately and thought it might add some much-needed contrast to the room.  Here's the 'before' of the back door leading to the garage.


After painting:

Next, it was time to address that dang ol' OSB floor.  For those of you not familiar, OSB stands for oriented strand board.  It's basically a process by which various strands or flakes of boards are glued together and kiln-dried.  It results in an affordable and strong product that is most commonly used as flooring, walls and in the construction of roofs.  It might be strong, but it sure ain't pretty.  Time to cover it up.

I toyed with the idea of running the flooring that I was using in the rest of the house right up to the door, but I changed my mind at the last minute when I thought of the amount of snow that we bring in through that door during the winter.  That spot gets soaked.  In the spring, summer and fall when I'm working on the landscaping I track in so much mud it's almost scary.  Plus, I wanted to do it quickly and most importantly, on the cheap.  I decided to keep costs crazy low and go with a vinyl floor tile.  I'm planning on putting in a stone tile for that area in the future, but for now, I just needed something (anything!) other than that OSB.

I found a nice 18x18 concrete-look tile at Lowes and started the process.  The first step was to prime or seal the floor.

Done.  The next step was to let it cure.  Really?  Oh, come onnnnnnnnn.  I don't have all day for this!  The floor there is unimaginably cold.  I set up a little space heater to help the process along and after an hour or so, started laying tiles.  As a word of warning, I would advise AGAINST doing it the way I did.  The primer/sealer definitely needs adequate time to cure on a room-temperature floor.  

I laid out my tiles to see where I wanted the seams to end up.  I knew that I wanted them to overlap the subfloor's seams, so I started there and worked my way out in an offset pattern.

Once I was satisfied with the layout, I started peeling and sticking.

After every tile, I did a little bow-legged dance to really press it down and secure it to the floor.  The instructions said to use a 100lb roller and since I'm just a smidge over 100 pounds (shut it) I figured sliding around on it would do the trick just as well. 

After a few minutes (literally) I had this little section finished:

This was one of those super-fast projects that offered immediate gratification and I honestly think I need that once in a while.  It can be a real challenge to stay excited about the billions of other projects that I have to do all over this house and having a quick one to get out of the way totally helps.

Once the flooring was down, I put down an equalizer strip and then it was time to bang out the laundry counter.  Surprisingly, I took almost no pictures of this process.  I think I just got into a zone and got to work.

I started with laying out a sheet of 1/2" plywood along the length of the area that I wanted to cover.

The sheet was *exactly* 8 feet long.  That meant that I wouldn't be able to clean up the edges like I wanted, but I planned on added a bullnose the same way I did with the built-in bookcases before.

I made two support/base units out of MDF and fit them over the washer and dryer.  I made sure that they didn't actually touch the washer or dryer since the washer really gets hoppin' along when it's on its spin cycle.  I didn't want to risk damaging the base units or the counter with all of the jiggle wiggle.  These units will also be attached to the end wall, as well as the back wall this spring when we re-route the ducting for the dryer and slide the whole counter back.

While I worked on the units, I also worked on finishing the board and batten in that area - and this is where we are now:

Sorry about some of the glare-y shots.  I took some daylight ones that were just meh.

There's still quite a bit to do in this room (hello, glaring dryer plug) and I'll post a 'Review and To-Do' on this room later.  For now, let's take a quick look at that 'before' one last time:

Whew, glad the hard part's over!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Another One Bites The Dust - Part I (Before And After)

The dust is still settling on my most recent project.

In an effort to officially occupy Wall Street my house, one of the town's parameters is that my addition/renovation meet certain criteria.  One of those criteria is that the flooring be impermeable to water.  'Impermeable to water' can count as carpet, tile, sealed wood flooring, paint, etc.  Pretty much any flooring you can think of is acceptable.

I've been staring at a carpeting swatch for the upstairs hallway for a couple (or maybe it's been a few) months now knowing that we've budgeted to order it in the spring.

But I got a little antsy this morning.  Shocker.

It started with filling the gigantic cracks and knot holes with several types of filler.

Why several types?  Because I had an assortment available to me and I was just runnin' through 'em.  I started with wood filler, moved on to a larger gap filler (keep your mind out of the gutter), then finished up with a plain old spackle compound.  My goal wasn't to do a perfectbeautifulawesome job.  It was to cover the damn floor because guess what?  It sucks getting splinters in the middle of the night.  For realz.

And then, while I waited for the the fillers and spackles to dry, I did the unthinkable.

I went on Pinterest.

And searched 'painted floor'.

The heavens opened up.  Unicorns sprung from rainbows.  Fairies sprinkled glitter all over the land.

Okay, can you believe the yellow and white flowers?  Seriously.  Seriously.

Remember how I said it wasn't going to be perfectbeautifulawesome?  Oh, it was on now.

But, like all good things, everything has to happen in steps.  I'm learning every day that awesomeness comes in layers.  I immediately regretted my first two layers.  I wish I would have spent more time filling in all the gaps and cracks a little better,  But, I didn't.  I wish I used a better first coat of paint.  But, I didn't.

Moving on.

I took my trusty palm sander and 100 grit sandpaper and got to work.

I went over every inch of the hallway and the haze proves it.

I swept things up, ran the vacuum and got ready to be locked out of the hallway for a couple hours.

{Hey, don't mind that bookcase.  Pretend you don't see it.  I planned on writing about how we built it later this week.  Act surprised when I show you.}

After one coat of paint, this is what I have to work with:

I'm undecided with the design that I want to paint on the floor. It's like a giant, blank canvas.  By town code, it officially satisfies the occupancy guidelines, but now it's time to take it up a level. Thoughts?  What would you do?  It's definitely an upgrade from it's previous life:

What's left to do in the hallway:

  • Hang guest bedroom door
  • Hang bathroom door
  • Paint all doors
  • Finish installing baseboards and trim
  • Paint a spectacular pattern on the floor
  • Hang additional artwork
  • Figure out what to do with the awkward nook on the other side of the column

What about you?  Have you ever painted a floor?  Any success or horror stories?