November Ramblings in the Mis-Adventure House

Well, another month has gone by and I made a personal goal to stop and post about the projects – interesting and uninteresting – at the close of November – so here you go. It’s a long one.

Let’s start here. I’ve posted about this staircase a lot over the years, and one day it’s going to be finished. Not today, but some day. We’ve got the handrail in place and I’ve painted the skirt boards and polished them to a nice 800 grit sheen. I’m not sure why, but I like a highly polished skirt board. It’s a quirk in my personality I suppose.

I’ve also painted the risers as well. The center area of the stairs get a carpet runner, but the paint on the risers has to be uniform nevertheless. Now to attach the majority of the treads I’ve decided to use pocket screws from underneath.

I figured out a way to do this by myself. You just reverse a bar clamp’s jaws and now it’s a handy Kreg jig holder.

So the calculations are 108 Kreg holes need to be drilled in the stair stringers – 9 total for each tread. The bad news is that each hole needed the Kreg jig re-positioned and clamped. And the positioning of each hole had to be done above the stairs, while the drilling of the holes needed to be down below. For each hole it was up the stairs – reposition the jig and clamp, then down the stairs and underneath to drill the hole. Then back up top to reposition and down again to drill the hole. The good news is I only had to do that 108 times – it took awhile.

Now that we have all those holes drilled, it’s time to finish the stair treads. We trimmed these to size and fitted each to the stair in an earlier post. Now it’s time for finishing.

The stain color is a mix of Golden Oak and English Chestnut on white oak. I added and subtracted the ratios until I got a color fairly close to the floor color.

So we dive right in, after opening the grain with a 50/50 mix of denatured alcohol and water.

Now the one thing I miss the most about the renovation is that I can no longer stand in the middle of the living room and flail away, making mounds of sawdust. Nope that will never happen again, sadly. But I still can use our old house’s living room as a drying rack for my stair treads.

So while the stair treads are being finished we hop back over to the Reno house and do some plumbing. I know the younger set like that fancy plastic pipe (PEX), but us old dudes like to get out the torch and live a little dangerously. After all, you can’t burn down your house with that plastic pipe.

This is a closet the opens under the stairs and is the back wall of the kitchen. I left this open so I could run all my plumbing and electrical. This is what I have to work with. Drain beside the two water supplies. I cut out a wall stud and added a header here to give me more space to work.

After a few cuts and fiddling with some fittings, we have everything in a more conventional place. 

Getting bored with plumbing, it’s time to start clearing out the space for the kitchen.

I’ve built all of the cabinets and vanities in the house, but on this I hired it out to some Amish cabinetmakers. I wanted to build them myself, but my wife wanted them done within her lifetime. I can see her point.

A large Amish community is about an hour away, so after a few trips and drawing out my designs the kitchen finally starts to go in.

The sun room opens into the kitchen with the living room off to the right. Handy when I need a snack,

The wine and coffee bar cabinets go in. I still have lighting and tile work to do, but it’s progress just the same.

Within a few hours the cabinets were in and they were on their way home. Now I have to take over.

The two level island is just a bank of drawers on the lower side. This is table height, so a standard dining room chair will work as seating on the end. The island is about 17′ long overall.

I’m test fitting the appliances before I finalize the water connections. Still a lot to do.

Floating shelves, under cabinet lighting, tile work and lots of little details to go. I like to make shadow lines and break up the depths of the cabinets to make it a little more interesting. 3 sets of cabinets have lighted glass uppers and three sets have solid doors with mullions to match the glass doors.

The cardboard mock-up really helped to visualize where everything should go. Several changes were made during this process. But I won’t know until we have the counters in place and it finally becomes a working kitchen.

So there you have it – the going-on in November – we’ll keep marching along, one step at a time.


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One Shot Post


It’s Thursday afternoon and working on kitchen cabinet details…

Stay tuned..


OK, Kitchen – I Need A Kitchen. Suggestions?

Now that the floors are in and finished with 2 coats of clear. We need to get on with designing a kitchen for the space. I have a pretty good idea in my mind’s eye. But what looks good upstairs might not work so well in reality. So I’ll lay out my plans and you can all chime in on what, when, how. If you’re a cook, all the better – I need your insight. I’m not the best of cooks, but I do make one mean scratch made Cream Puff. I’ll make you some if I ever get this place done. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Here’s the space as it sits today. The water supply and drains are in place for the island. The bucket is full of electric for the dishwasher, garbage disposal and receptacles as well as controls for the ceiling speakers.

Now most of you probably draw out your designs or use sketchup or some other fancy visualization 3-D whoop whoop software. But down here in southern Indiana we use a little more primitive technology. OK, work with me now – the door is the refrigerator. Those half sawn doors with the cardboard flap – that’s the stove. Squint real hard – can you see the shiny new kitchen?

OK, maybe not – here’s a reverse angle. The 2 legged table is cabinets with drawers. The white slab of cardboard above is a cabinet for a toaster oven and microwave. An island runs down the middle.

I’m sure by now you can almost smell the bacon frying. The shelf on the left will be lowered a little – to hold cooking oils and salt and pepper stuff I suppose. The right hand shelf  is for plates and bowls so they’re handy when I make my fried baloney sandwiches. A prep sink will be to the right of the stove so I can wash off my food when it falls on the floor.

The range hood has a 8″ duct that goes straight up through the roof. I’m working on adding an automatic make up air system to replace the air in the building when this thing is turned on high. Didn’t think about it until now. Most building codes require a make up air system if the range hood is rated over 400 CFM – I have a KOBE hood that’s rated at 840CFM on high.

And the space between the sunroom and living room is a coffee / wine bar. Humm.. 3 sinks in one room – maybe I should have thought this through a little more. But the plumbing is there and the sinks and faucets are bought. This will have a small sink with a wine refrigerator below on the right. Above are a couple of open glass shelves and the rest is cabinets for pantry items. The thing is – I don’t drink wine or coffee. Maybe I better get a beverage center so I can chill my Diet Coke.

The Drawings

So after I built the mock up I did make some drawings. Look professional? Just a little bit? OK, well you’re right they’re not. I used my trusty Microsoft Publisher from Office 2000 to make the scaled drawings. I guess you’d call that ‘Old School’?

I plan on making the island on two levels. The sink side is 36″ and the lower side is 30″. That’s a standard table height. My wife is only 5’2″ and I thought the lower height would make it easier if she ever decided to cook something. The lower level can also be used as a table with regular height dining chairs if we needed more table space. I thought about exdending the end of the counter so I could get a couple of stools under for a place to eat.

The layout is made so you don’t have to walk through the working spaces to get to other rooms in the house. The back mudroom entrance allows you to go to the sunroom and living room by walking straight ahead, or going to the two offices, bathroom and upstairs by turning left.

So that’s my plan. I’d appreciate all of you creative people’s ideas. Bonus points if you know how to cook.

 

 

The Kitchen – Yes, I’m Still in The Kitchen

Well, I’m still fiddling in the kitchen – this is the last post in here until the floor is installed. So let’s get this post out of the way. We’ll move to the mudroom next and finish those cabinets that were built several years ago.

First up is finding an old picture light and painting it black. Being in the art business, I have lots of picture lights laying around. But most are just too pretty for this space. I’m using an old trade in and painted it black. I’ll add a ledge and light switch somewhere on the frame.

But right now we have to finish the trim and paint in this space.

Above the shoe bench and to the right of the storage space I added a deep shelf. I plan to use this to hold a big piece of Italian majolica.

Like this example I have in my gallery. This one in particular if no one takes it home first. It’s 24″ tall and just fits the space…how did that happen?

Now to take care of some things that were bugging me about the design. I made this pilaster / wall cap stepped back above the wainscotting. I wanted a little more room visually, so I thought this would work. Looks dumb.

So grab a scrap piece of wood and carefully cut out the profile.

And fine tune it to fit the column. I feel better now.

But not that much better

I painted the whole kitchen with  SW Egret White. It’s the same wall color as the sunroom walls are painted.  I painted two coats on all the wall trim, panels and battens. Sanded that and then coated everything with two coats of Varathane satin finish. I use a small brush, as it gives it a more authentic finish than using a roller – It took a long time. But now, I’m not feeling it. The paint has a tinge of pink I think.

So I had to make a test patch to see if I could live with the slightly pink color – pastels are in right now, right?

I couldn’t

So here you see me with my 2 1/2″ brush doing to whole thing over – twice.This is a BM custom white in a pearl finish. The custom color is actually a match of Valspar ceiling white – which I painted the first floor bathroom and mudroom. Why I didn’t do it here – I’m not sure, but it was a color mistake that cost me about 20 hours.

I feel better and I’m ready to move on. Mudroom’s next – so stick around..

 

Still Hanging in the Kitchen – Shoe Storage

My original plans were to breeze through the kitchen area and march right upstairs to get this place done. But sometimes my intentions and my “what if” thought process do battle – and usually the thought process wins.

Like This Time

The main wall is paneled and painted and the clear coats are on – great. But down at the end where the mud room is I have a little alcove area when you come up three steps to enter into the kitchen.Here’s that space a long time ago.The little alcove area is about 12″ deep. My original intention was to put a little table there and call it a day. But then I thought “What will I do with my wife’s gazillion shoes?” I have two pair – my lucky ones you have already seen and one other pair. But my wife on the other hand has ‘countless’ numbers of shoes that all look the same to me and pile up at the back door. We’ve got to find a way to hide some of them.

OK

We’ll think about what we’ll do about the shoe problem, but first I’ll finish this storage area that is 3’X3’X8′. This space is over the basement stairs. I’ll make a pantry or something out of it. First we gotta finish the drywall and paint.

Done – and the casing is added around the opening. I intend to make a pair of doors for this.

After a couple days of research and head scratching, I came up  with this idea. A shoe storage bench. I found the pivoting shoe caddy brackets at Lee Valley Tools. This thing was hard to get right. The sides are 3/4″ plywood and the other pieces are 1/2″ plywood. Stuff I had laying around already. I’ve made up the basic carcass – and my shoes fit. (That’s my other pair).

I then made a front face frame from 3/4″ poplar and an inset of 1/2″ plywood.

The fitting is pretty finicky, but I got it to work. That’s another pair of pivot hinges- just in case I messed up the first pair. They’re made from ABS plastic – I wanted something more substantial, but couldn’t find anything. I thought if these broke I could use the second pair as a pattern and make a set out of wood.

My idea was to incorporate this into a bench. You can sit and take your shoes off and have a place to put them.

I made this so that it can be removed for the hardwood floor to be installed. You never know, I might want that table back as I originally intended.A little more adjustments and it works as intended. It holds 18 pairs of shoes. I hope she doesn’t need any more than that at the back door.

Now we’ll take a break and work on the chalkboard. Here’s the frame I made from an old 2X4 that was removed during renovation. I looked around for a piece of real slate to use, but couldn’t find any.

So I went out to the garage and cut a piece of cement board and gave it a few coats of chalkboard paint.

I’ll add a little picture light and a chalk ledge for this when we get closer to the finish.

Since I now had a can of chalkboard paint, I thought I might as well make this whole wall a chalkboard as well. At least I can doodle while the bread’s in the oven.

And I added another chalkboard painted area above the bench. We’ll just keep going – and hope the “What if” thoughts stay away until we get upstairs.

Hang in there, we’ll get to the pretty parts one day.

 

 

 

Another Kitchen Wall – it’s even more complicated

As we continue to work our way towards finishing the walls in the kitchen – it’s time to paint something!

I’m using the same paint as the sunroom walls. Sherwin Williams Egret White. The two offices on this floor have color on the walls, but the main living rooms are all done in a very neutral pallet – that’s because I have a lot of art that goes in these spaces and I like the walls that don’t get art to have a tone on tone texture. I’m trying to let shadow lines not color add the detail. I hope this works out.

The paneled wall gets two coats of the color paint and then two coats of water based Varathane polyurethane in a satin finish. The water base is used as it doesn’t yellow over time. The clear coat changes the color and texture, giving the walls a very smooth finish.

Of course, the plants are still there, but they’ll move outside soon – probably as soon as I finish the room.

As I work my way around the kitchen walls I have run into a legacy problem.

When I started the first floor bathroom renovation, I worked hours and hours to try and straighten out the common wall with the kitchen and first floor bathroom.

It looked like this after I noodled and fiddled and made it workable on the inside. I built the recessed medicine cabinet with a mirror for the back – I didn’t want a stray nail or screw to come through from the other side.

This is the other side of that wall. My plan was to add a half wall of panel and finish the upper section with paint. Once I got the banding temporarily in place I realized the wall was pretty wonky. Time for plan ‘B’.

I decided to build the wall in one piece instead of attaching each individual piece. This will give me a straighter finished wall – I hope. I used Kreg screws and glue to attach the top and bottom bands as well as the three cross pieces. I then cut glued and nailed the plywood panels in place.

The panel is 54″ tall and a little over 8′ long. The cutouts for the light switches and framing around the air vent are in place. The recessed TV mount is fully articulated and wired.

The cutout for the receptacle is in and the whole assembly is polyurethane glued in place. Screws were used to attach the banding and braces in place to apply pressure to the wall. Sections of the wall were a no-go for nails or screws because of vent pipes and that recessed medicine cabinet.

And now I have to figure out this storage area that is above the basement stairs. Another puzzle to figure out.This space is 34″ deep and 36″ tall and 8′ long.

The top of the wall is painted a flat black enamel. This will help the TV blend in to the space – hopefully. This section is painted now so the pre-painted wood banding that goes around this area can be installed for a clean look.

Hang in there – something will happen, as soon as I figure this out.