Saturday, June 28, 2014

Artwork on the Walls!

Hey all! I've finally gotten to putting up some artwork in a few of our rooms. I really feel like a room is "done" once I get some art up. I can't say that I won't get the itch to change a tiny something here and there, but it does add a nice finishing touch to the room. I can say that after two months of living in the new house I've put art up in three rooms. Oops. Boy, can that be correct? Well in my defense I am trying to redo the room before I put the art up. :-) 

I'll include a few things I like to think about when deciding what art to put in the wall. You can call these tips I guess. 1) Only put up art you love! This seems like a no brainer, but I think sometimes in an effort to fill a space we fall prey to bad art. 2) If you don't love the art, try it in a different spot. Sometimes it is just the lighting or the other colors that surround it. 3) Don't be afraid to mix and match different types of art styles, colors and textures if it makes you happy. 4) Pick up art from your travels and you'll have a really great memory of a trip!

This is in the master bedroom. I found the framed art at a garage sale last month. I've had the metal stars forever. I got them at an antique store in Duluth, MN on a trip with my mom when I was 17. I traveled there for a band festival that I participated in during my junior year of high school. I loved them then, and I still love them!

The night stand is one I just recently refinished for Joe. You can read about it here. The Chinese scroll was a thank you gift from a friend who visited me from China when I lived in Thailand. It reads "I am the Vine, you are the branches." 

This is one of my favorites. This was painted by an elephant. Yes, an elephant. I got it when I lived in Thailand. If you look closely you can see a photograph within the frame. It is a picture of Ruby, the elephant, doing this very painting at the Chiang Dao Elephant Preserve. 

This little painting came from my visit to Pearl Market in Beijing. 

Lest you think that I am ignoring Joe, I have a lot more artwork downstairs to put up once I get that area painted. It includes a number of pieces that I've gotten with Joe, including a few prints from our friend we recently got on out trip to California.  Stay tuned for future art updates!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Small Bathroom Redone in a BIG Way!

Hey all! It's done!!! The master bathroom is really truly done. Well, I do want to make a curtain to close off the closet area, but I promise, that's it.  This was a big undertaking for me, but I had a lot of help from borrowing tools from the neighbor (thanks Ken!), to Joe dealing with a torn up bathroom on and off for a month (thanks Joe!), and then there were the 4 days my dad was here supervising the tiling job (a HUGE thanks Dad!). Also thanks to all of you for the encouragement and ideas on the tile choice. I think it makes such a difference. 

Here are some pictures of the bathroom before the remodel. The floors are green vinyl, the walls are yellow, and yes, you see a really sweet porcelain soap holder, and there is a toothbrush holder next to it. They were clean and worked still, but they just weren't my style.

This is a small bathroom: 30 square feet of open floor space. I understand why they only had one towel holder because that is the only open wall space big enough to hold it, but really, this is a master. Usually two people share this room. I took this towel bar off and put up a double towel bar so we can both hang our towels now.

I started the renovation by removing the trim so I could paint the walls and tile the floors.

Look at the color of the air vent. Yep, I painted that white one day when I was outside painting doors.

I even uncovered a little area of the wall outside of the shower that just crumbled off. Fortunately there was no mold, and I found the leaking spot in the shower and sealed that with some silicone caulk. We were able to put a little drywall patch up during the tiling job. I even took off all of the old caulk in the shower, reglued one of the sides that was coming off and then recaulked the entire thing. Everything should be nice and waterproof for a while now!

Remember those porcelain wall mounted holders. Yeah, I tried to forget them too. I used my trusty pry bar and got them out of the wall. No more hitting my hand on those things when going to turn on the water. :-) I had to do two drywall patches using a metal patch and joint compound. It ended up nice and smooth. And the upside is that some nice person bought them off of Ebay for $12. One man's trash...

I also really wanted to change this light. I was just not feeling the polished brass in this room with everything else being either blue, white or brushed nickel. I didn't want to spend a lot of money overall though, and I liked the shape of the light fixture. So I decided to try spray painting this with a nickel finish. I think it turned out really well. I know it's hard to see with the lights on, but you get the idea.

My next step was painting the walls in Valspar Lucy Blue. It was the color I had planned on using as the accent wall in the master bedroom, but it just didn't look right there. I think it looks pretty good in here!

The biggest part of this bathroom redo was the tiling. I love tile in bathrooms. I think it's just a really nice finish. I also admit to wanting that green vinyl covered up ASAP! This is where my dad's help came into play. He's tiled a lot of rooms, and I've even helped him in the past. So, I asked him last month if he had any time to come and help me out. Yep! He sure did. This is a small space, so he said he'd supervise and cut the tiles and I'd do the work of laying the tiles. I was certainly amenable to that arrangement since I wanted to learn how to do it for future jobs.

The first thing we did was lay the underlayment. Now if you've ever tiled before, you'll know that usually you have to tear up the vinyl and possibly the flooring that the vinyl is laid on, and then you lay concrete subfloor and then the tile. Well, my dad discovered this product that made the prep work a breeze. He used it successfully in a bathroom of his own a few years ago with wonderful results. This pretty orange plastic waffle is called Schuter Ditra. It's part of a whole system designed to be the subfloor for laying tile instead of concrete subfloor. It's incredibly easy to work with and it's designed to be waterproof. You can install it over the old vinyl with thin set mortar and start tiling immediately. You cut it with scissors or a utility knife. It's about $1.50/ sq. ft. and it's worth every penny. It's also supposed to make your tile last longer and prevent cracks in the tile and grout. It's designed to move with the contraction and expansion of your house unlike concrete subflooring. Really, I can't say enough about how great this product is. 

After the getting the Schluter Ditra installed, it was time to actually tile. Of course I chose a small mosaic tile which is some of the most difficult tile to work with. What a smart move on my part. Sure, go ahead and pick a difficult tile for your first tiling job. Why not? The thinset mortar kept oozing up between the tiles, but I'm more stubborn than mortar. With a lot of wiping and careful placement I finally got all of the tiles laid. I know it looks impressive to see all of those individual teeny tiles, but realize they do come in a 12"X12" square with the tiles joined together with little rubber joints. It made spacing and laying them much easier. In case you're wondering, I got this tile at Lowes. It's American Olean Sausalito White Ceramic Tile on the floor and American Olean Starting Line White Gloss Ceramic Bullnose Trim on the wall. 

The finished tile before grouting

The final task that I had to do after tiling was to grout the whole thing. Again, did I pick an easy tile for my first tiling project. Nope! Look at all of those wonderful grout lines. Ugh! But again, I'm more stubborn than grout, and I was determined that this was going to work in the end. I went with Keracolor Sanded Grout in Pearl Gray. It needs to be sanded grout if it's on the floor, and I went with gray to make the white tiles pop. I mixed Grout Boost in right away which supposedly means that I don't need to seal the grout in the end. (If you've used this and discovered that to be untrue, please let me know and I'll seal my grout!)

So here is how the bathroom turned out!

Isn't that such a nice double towel bar?

Bad lighting, but from the other direction. So much more space by the faucet handles without those porcelain wall mounts.

Thanks for checking out the bathroom remodel. Maybe I'll add a final post once I get that curtain made for the closet. I'm close to having my sewing desk painted and set up. Maybe next month?

I'm sharing this with:
TDC Before and After

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Free Cabinet Renovation

I'll admit it, I'm addicted to watching the free section on Craigslist. I see dogs, cats, ferrets, rats, firewood, free garages and manure and occasionally furniture. It goes quickly though. This is the first thing that I've ever actually gotten for free:

It's a laminated piece with a pretty dinged up top.

I'm not a huge fan of the door.

Check out that drink tray! :-)

It clearly needed some TLC. I just happened to stop at a furniture restoration shop in our little town called This Old Couch on my way home from picking up my new treasure. I got to talking to the shop owner, and she showed me a few projects that she was working on. One of them had wrapping paper mod podged to the top that she then scuffed up to give it more of an antique look. I immediately thought of this project sitting in the car. I've never mod podged before, but I thought I'd give it a try. I removed the door, and then I used the paper on the interior and top and painted the sides with my Sherwin Williams ProClassic Semi-Gloss in Dover White. I can't say that it's perfect, but hey, this was free and a great thing to try it on. If and when I grow tired of this piece, I won't feel badly parting with it because it cost me a total of $7 in materials and not that much in terms of time. I did end up trying a bit of antiquing on this piece. I used some sand paper to scuff it up a bit and the used both a wipe on stain and some shoe polish to mark it up. I covered the top with three coats of wipe on poly and moved it up to use as my side table while I work on refinishing a different side table for myself. I'll ultimately move this into the guest bedroom or maybe between the couches in the living room. I think it would be a good place to place extra blankets and it has the pull out drink tray.

My basement refinishing area

In place next to the bed. I don't have anything on it yet as I want to let the polyurethane cure. 

You can see some of the antiqued look in this picture.

And just for a fun master bedroom update to finish this post, I hung some art work finally and moved the other refinished side table to Joe's side of the bed. Last night he said that he really liked it there! Yay!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Makeover: Guest Bedroom Retreat

This week was a big week. I got one room pretty much completely started and finished. I decided to tackle the guest bedroom this week. Here are the before pictures. 

It had a "charming" wall paper border that matched the blue carpet.

The doors and trim all needed to be painted.

The walls were very dirty and the outlets and switches needed to be replaced. Don't worry, the water runs are from removing the wall paper border. We didn't have a burst pipe or leaking roof.

I started in the room by replacing the one light switch and three outlets. It went so much faster this time because I knew how to do it and what to do. I'm happy to report that they all work too! Yay!

The finished product of the new switch!

After doing the electrical work, I spackled the walls and ceiling. I wish I had taken a picture of all of the holes that got filled. Yikes! I then painted the trim, the ceiling and then the walls. I used the same Valspar Woodlawn Bedroom White for the trim and ceiling and then I used Valspar Woodlawn Colonial Gray on the walls. Its a slightly lighter version of the gray I used in the master bedroom. It's on the same paint chip, but my sister and I actually picked it out on a separate occasion and just happened to pick the same paint chip. I guess I am drawn to that color palette right now. 

I finished this room by hanging new mini blinds and some black curtains that I found at Lowe's on clearance. I don't know if anyone else watched the TV show American Dream Builders on NBC or if I was the only  one addicted, but after watching that I wanted the curtains to hang from the ceiling. I think that judge Nate Berkus commented every week about the fact that the curtains needed to be hung the whole length of the wall. I was determined to follow what seemed to be a curtain commandment. These curtains were about 4 inches shy of that goal, but there was a very large pocket with wouldn't you know, about 4 inches of extra fabric. I got out my handy dandy seam ripper and set to work. About 30 minutes later I had the curtains rehemmed and hung "correctly". I hope that Nate Berkus is proud. :)

I apologize in advance for the following pictures. I'm having the hardest time getting the lighting right with the window in the background using my iPhone for a camera, but you'll probably be able to get the idea of how transformed this space really is.  

If you're ever in the Dayton area, or if you just want to come visit us, well now you know how lovely your guest room accommodations will be.  Please do come visit! We'd love to have you.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Before and After: A Refinished Side Table

I bought this side table from my friend Melissa last year for I think $5 (she may have just given it to me too) when she was moving out of my place. Thanks Melissa! It's really a great piece, solid wood and very sturdy. The drawer slides well and everything. Really the only problem with it was the top was very beat up as you can see. I think that it turned out really well though! 

The first thing I did was to sand it down to the bare wood. I got a little Black and Decker Mouse Sander which worked pretty well. I wouldn't do anything bigger than this though with that sander, but as advertised it did get into nooks and crannies easily. Even with the electric sander it still took me about 5 hours to get it sanded properly. I started with 80 grit, moved to 120 grit and finished with 220 grit for a smooth finish. I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to finish it until I had it down to a smooth wood. 

I decided to try staining the top and nice mahogany color and painting the bottom white. So my next step was to do the top first because if there were any drips or runs I could easily sand it and cover it with paint. As you can see I taped the top off and got to staining.

I did two coats of stain, waited 24 hours and then did two coats of wipe on polyurethane to seal and protect the top and hopefully prevent the same kind of damage that was there before. I allowed the whole top to dry for a few days so the poly was totally cured before I moved on to the final step of painting the bottom. I wanted to protect the top though, so I carefully covered it with newspaper and taped it with Scotch Blue Painter's Tape. I started with one coat of a spray on primer, and then I moved it to the basement and finished with two coats of Sherwin Williams ProClassic Semi-Gloss in Dover White. This paint is designed for trim and doors and has an enamel finish so you don't have to put on a clear protecting coat of a poly. It's a little pricey, but it went on beautifully, I only used about a 1/4 of a quart for the whole thing, and it cuts out a step.

So without further ado: Here is the finished product!

Before and After