Mudroom Details – it’s the little things

Greetings and salutations my fellow renovators. Sorry for the late posting, it’s just that the things I’m working on are not so photogenic. I did get around to finishing up most of the mudroom.

These are the three steps that go from the mudroom into the kitchen. You can see the old brick foundation and original floor framing members. I have a toe kick installed for a HVAC vent.

Adding the risers and cut out the vent opening. This is a 2 1/2″ X 14″ toe kick vent.

The door to the right goes to the woman cave. The textured glass lets more light in the stairwell. It matches all the other glass doors.Up the steps to the kitchen you see that pesky shoe storage bench and coat hooks.

I am obsessed with little details. I like everything to be precise and finished. Here I milled small trim pieces to finish off the tile edges. The thin strip under the window ledge is made from of PVC, to make sure there’s no water damage from a wet counter top.

Instead of getting an expensive plugmold power strip. I cut a piece of wood at an angle and used this power strip. At 17.00 it’s a lot cheaper.

The Leland Single Handle faucet works well.  The small soap pump and the electronic garbage disposal switch has an auto turn off after 20 seconds.

I used very simple polished chrome knobs on all of the cabinets. These were 2.80 at Menards.

So there you have it – a nearly finished mud room. Sure I started building it in 2010, but hey, a guy has to take his time.

I promise better posts in the future. We’re just getting started.

 

Looking Up – the Kitchen Ceiling

I was perusing my favorite blogs the other day and was reading about my friend Dan’s project over at With The Barretts showing his great (and fast) renovation. In this post he includes a couple of photos of his kitchen ceiling – as well as his nearly completed Kitchen – and his new floors and everything else they’ve got done in the same amount of time it has taken me to renovate one room. Oh, well – what can I say.

But I do Have a Kitchen Ceiling

1-feet-upYou saw my stripped – to – the – walls kitchen over my lucky shoes in a previous post. And my wife likes to keep these plants alive during the winter by having me put them in the kitchen as well. More crap to fall over.

2-ceiling-paintedAnd I too have new floors – they’re just still in large piles. That makes maneuvering to paint the ceiling and install the lights just a little more challenging. But I was able to prime and paint the new dry-walled ceilings without falling off the ladder again. That’s the same ladder that put me in a wheelchair for half of 2013. Bad ladder.

2-ceiling-speakerI added a couple of stereo speakers in the ceiling as well for the TV or ambient music.

4-schoolhouse-lightsNow I know most kitchens have pendant lights that hang down – usually over the island or counters. I have pendant lights too – they’re just really short.

5-ceiling-lights-onand they don’t hang over anything. I placed school house lights that follow the path of the walkway. There’s 5 of them that are centered between the wall and the center island and spaced over the 27′ long kitchen. You could see that if I was like Dan and had my kitchen island in place – which I do not. Visualize, people.

6-ceiling-lightsBeing the obsessive, layer – the – light kinda guy, I have 22 lights in the Kitchen. The ones on the left are general lighting LEDs. The center group are pin spots that will shine directly on the natural quartzite tops.The island is 14′ long, so I have 7 lights for this section. And finally the schoolhouse lights.

Is it bright, you say? Well – yes.

But at my age you need lighting like a surgical theater to keep knife mishaps to a minimum.

There’s always dimmers. Grab your sunglasses and stick around. I might have another ‘bright’ idea.

Building a Bath Vanity out of scrap wood

Greetings fellow renovators and handy people! Warning! Long post.

As I mentioned in my last post, we’ll be building a bathroom vanity from scrap wood for the Woman Cave bathroom. Now scrap wood might be a misleading title, as I have a lot of nice scrap wood lying around due to an 8 year whole house remodel.

1-vanity-designFirst things first. A little inspiration. I checked out all kinds of vanities online and picked a few images I thought had some of the features I wanted. Then grab a scrap piece of paper and start doodling and ciphering. Next we make the outer frame.

2-front-face-frameAnd here’s what we get. I made a pair of inset doors with a rail and stile router set and plan on having 4 drawers on the side. The face frame is assembled with Kreg screws.

3-vanity-mock-upNow we prance down to the basement and see what it will look like. You can see my invisible wife reviewing the vanity. (Not really – it’s just her slippers) The design has one sink -offset with ample space to the right of the sink for girly stuff.

4-cabinet-interiorWith the design finalized it’s time to dig out some 3/4″ UV coated plywood. It’s really a lot heavier than needed, but it’s what I had on hand. This will form the sides and bottom of the compartment accessed by the doors under the sink.

5-basic-vanity-structureThis ‘U’ was installed with a side panel made from 1/2″ plywood.

6-vanity-with-doorsThe doors were assembled and installed with self closing inset hinges. I’m not certain why I make everything with inset doors – overlay doors are much easier to make. Maybe that’s why…

7-drawer-detailThe drawer face frames were made from scrap poplar and fastened with glue and a single Kreg screw. The back will be routed to insert 1/2″ plywood.

8-drawer-frontsEach inset drawer face was made slightly larger than the cabinet to allow trimming to fit. The sides of the vanity that are against the wall have plywood mounting strips to screw in the wall studs.

9-building-drawer-boxesI used 1/2″ poplar for the drawer sides and used a dado blade on the table saw to make all the cuts. The corners of the box used a dado and tenon joint which is stronger than a traditional dovetail joint – although not near as pretty. I used 1/2″ plywood drawer bottoms – way more than needed, but that’s all I had laying around.

10-back-notchI used Blum Tandem under-mount drawer slides which requires a notch and hole to be placed at the back of the drawer box. I ran the boxes through the table saw and broke out the notch, then cleaned up the cut with a razor knife.

11-drawer-locksThese are the locking mechanisms on the bottom of the drawer. The slides fit on the drawer (see notches at back) and simply push in to lock the drawer in place. To remove the drawer, you squeeze them to unlock and remove the drawer.

12-drawer-lock-closeupSince I’m using inset drawers I opted for the adjustable locks which allow you to move the drawer box inside the frame to get the right reveal around the face frame. You can see the dado and tenon box joint here.

13-vanity-paintedFor finishing, I used 4 coats of water-based polyurethane clear on the drawer boxes. The vanity was painted with BM Sterling and then coated with 4 coats of the same water-base polyurethane. The finish was then wet sanded with 400 grit sandpaper and polished with an 800 grit buffing pad. It’s smooth.

14-vanity-top-templateI’ve got the vanity in place and making a template for the quartz top. The sink is centered over the doors and allows counter space to the right. I used square chrome knobs for easy opening.

15-sconce-relocationOf course, there’s always a problem. I placed this sconce too far to the left. Oops.

16-electrical-boxSo we’ll remove the box on the left and get an old work box for the proper location. The only problem is that there is spray foam that buried the wires. Not as easy as I thought it would be.

17-foam-insulationSo we’ll make a bigger hole. Dig the sconce wire out and patch it all up. Move along – nothing to see here.

18-sink-faucetWhile I was wrestling with the sconces, the counter guys made a quick job with the top and got the Porcher Marquee sink in place.  I bought the sink a couple of years ago and it’s no longer being manufactured. The faucet is a Moen Eva in chrome.

19-vanity-installI plumbed it up over the weekend and all is fine. I have a few more items to add in here (like a tilt mirror) and we’ll call this one done. The medicine cabinet on the right wall might look a little strange. I put it there because I couldn’t recess one behind the sink due to the spray foam.

Sorry for the long post -if you’re still with me. I just wanted to get this one out of the way.

Stick around – it might get interesting.

 

 

 

Mid February Recap

Hey gang – thought I would drop in and pop a few pictures up on the progress at the old Misadventures project.

1-top-finishI thought I would start by finishing the post on the finishing of the problematic Cherry top I’ve been wrestling with for days. I got great results – it just took four tries.

2-notch-backOf course – I had another hiccup along the way. I forgot to allow for the thickness of the hinged top – which required notching the top 3/8″ But it worked out.

product-image-oil-based-top-coat-arm-r-seal-2014-general-finishesI mentioned I started using a mixture of 1/3 Boiled linseed oil, 1/3 varnish, and 1/3 mineral spirits. It doesn’t produce a durable finish, but does add depth to the wood. For the top coats I used this stuff. Arm-R-Seal Topcoat. Now there are multiple ways of how to apply this. Some brush it on and leave it alone – others wipe it on and leave it for 12 or 24 hours. But I found this guy on YouTube here that used a technique similar to French Polishing – and that’s the way I applied it.

3-polishing-productsThe finish goes on and dries in about four hours. I used several coats to build up the finish for the next sanding steps. After 4 coats I used a light scuffing of 400 grit sandpaper then added a couple more coats. We’ll be using 800, then 1500 and finally 2000 grit sanding. You can get these items at any auto supply store.

4-800-gritAn 800 grit sanding pad makes the surface pretty smooth.

5-2000-gritThe 1500 and 2000 sanding sponges will take out the fine scratches. I used Semi-gloss because I wanted a luster smooth finish.

6-finished-topAnd the result is a very smooth surface that looks like it was sprayed on. I’m happy.

7-final-trimI added the final trim pieces and this room is almost done. Just some touch ups and we move on to a new project.

Next we’ll build a bathroom vanity from scrap wood.

Fireplace Freestyle Fiddling #3 Almost there

If I’m going to have a roaring fire in this thing by Christmas, I better get a move on finishing the surround.

Let’s Continue, Shall We?

1-fireplace-blockI added small extension blocks to the tops of the pilasters to create some depth and add some dimension. The pilasters are just press fitted to the side pieces that have been attached to the fireplace. The crosspiece is not installed.

2-fireplace-corner-blockA little silicone is used to attach the carved corner decorations to the corner boxes. Again, I used silicone in case I had to pry these puppies off and keep damage to a minimum.

3-pilaster-baseI added a small foot to the base of the carved facing pilaster. Behind the ornamental element is another piece with a bevel cut to match the foot. The base is pre-painted to make final finishing easier.

4-finished-pilasterAll the design elements are in place for the pilasters. The floating crosspiece is slipped in and two scrap sticks are used to keep it in position.

5-pilaster-alignmentHere’s where those floating front pieces come into play. The top crosspiece shows how crooked the face of the pilaster is in relation to the fireplace front at the top. The base of this pilaster is flush to the fireplace – pretty skewed.

6-pilaster-daddoBecause we didn’t attach the front piece to the side we can pivot this just a little to square the face to the front of the fireplace. Since the fireplace is a little skewed you can see the top is slightly out of the bottom of the dado.

7-aligning-fireplace-pilastersBy clamping and attaching the top crosspiece to the pilasters we can tighten the legs and remove any gaps between the pilasters and fireplace. The lower crosspiece is still not attached. Make sense?

8-crosspiece-frameNow we can make the crosspiece overlay. This will be mounted to the main face crosspiece that has yet to be permanently attached.

9-crosspiece-optionThe piece is constructed to frame the center carving and have two side elements. I originally thought I would have two raised panels, but didn’t like the design.

10-fireplace-first-assemblyThe crosspiece frame we just made is attached to the floating crosspiece. The frame is then attached to the top piece that bridges the pilasters. Only now are all the elements attached to each other. That’s a lot of steps to put three sticks together.

11-routed-trim-moldingSince we made recessed panels on either side of the center carving, we need to add the same detail to the recessed edge that the carvings have. A small router bit created the profile and then two trips through the table saw makes the proper shape.

12-trim-molding-set-cornerThe pieces are cut and fitted to the inside of the recess.

13-trim-in-placeNow the recessed panels match the carvings.

One more post and we’ll be on to the next – come along – it’s getting interesting.

Fireplace Freestyle Fiddling #2 Design Fail

First I want to thank you for your kind comments – it’s encouraging to hear from some of you who follow along this 6 + year renovation – my,  you sure have long attention spans.

Remember that anyone can do what I do – it’s not difficult if you take your time and be precise in measurement and cutting – or build in some wiggle room in the design like I have on this project. If I hadn’t put in the daddo (groove) in the back of the legs on this fireplace but instead built it on a flat surface – it just would not have worked.  One other thing – be prepared to make changes in the design – especially if you have no clue as to what you plan to do –

See Below

So we left of here.

6-start-of-fireplace-designThe two side legs (pilasters) are removable and the crosspiece is loose. I’ve built small square boxes attached to the front of the pilasters – now we start to figure out our design.

2-fp-designFail # 1 – This seemed like a good idea on paper, but when I glued these on the fireplace I knew I made a mistake. Waffles anyone? I was trying to tie in the design of the cabinet doors.

3-fp-designFail #2 – OK, so maybe if I just move the center element to make a central rectangle and use a simple molding under the mantle.  Nope.

4-fp-designFail #3 – The fluted pilasters are the original pieces that will go on the cabinet frame. So maybe we could make a wider version to fit the pilaster. Still trying to salvage my waffle, I thought maybe I could place a center square of some kind of design. Not feeling it.

5-fp-designSemi Fail #4 – How about making the waffle go away and add a square design element? The flat fluting has got to go away. This thing looks too square.

6-fp-designFail #5 – So let’s put a rounder element in the mix. I had a couple of stair balusters, so why not add these. It will soften the look of all the sharp corners. No, no, no.

7-fp-designGetting warmer – Let’s just get back to basics. I cut some cardboard and mocked up the design elements – we’ll figure out what they are later. I want three elements to mirror the three Ginkgo leaves in the stained glass windows. Also in the photo I’m in the process of adding rock wool insulation up the chimney. This high-heat insulation will help keep the cold out. This is a direct vent fireplace, so the two silver pipes are for venting.

8-fireplace-design-1Fail #6 – My first thought was to use some type of flower to to tie in the leaf theme of the windows. I found a great wood shop out in Oregon that makes stock carvings that I thought I could incorporate. The company is Heartwood Carvings. This was nice, but too far from the arching design the Ginkgo leaves have.

9-fireplace-design-2Fail #7 – We’re getting closer. The palmetto flower had sort of the design I wanted, but I really liked the central scallop shell design.

10-fireplace-final-designI’m tired, my head hurts – let’s just go with this. I found matching scallop shells in a square block and thought that they mirrored the Ginkgo leaf design. My wife was from an island and she eats scallops – so why not?

11-wood-carvingsSo I put in my order and in a few days I got these. Two carved pilasters 4″ X 36″ – Two 5″ square corner blocks and a 5″ X 12″ center block.

12-wood-pilastersTime to get busy and build this thing.

More to come – stick around.

Fireplace Free Style Fiddling #1

Now that we have the woman cave kinda finished, let’s move on to the 1st floor. Time to tackle the living room fireplace.

It looked like this when we bought the place in 2009.

It looked so cute, but looks can be deceiving. The rug on the hearth hid the fact the whole fireplace was crooked. It had a gas insert that was not to code, painted brick that was poorly built. The old double hung windows were drafty and no insulation made this part of the room cold. We’ll fix it.

1a Old roomAs always first we tear it apart.Which also included resurfacing the ceiling and two walls because of plaster damage.

5 windows doneI  removed the windows and added energy star units that didn’t open – added stained glass windows to hide the neighbor’s house and used the original cabinet doors and made new boxes to go on either side of the fireplace.New insulation and drywall was placed to repair all of the damaged and lost plaster.

1-fireplace-concrete-boardI used thinset to attach  hardibacker with tapcon screws over the uneven brick surface and ran two air lines for the direct vent fireplace and put a new cap on the chimney, ran a new electrical line to the right side of the fire box and had new gas lines with a code approved floor shut off added.

2-marble-installedAgain I dragged my wife to Nashville to look at some stone and came home with this carrera marble slab. They cut the three pieces so the grain and pattern of the stone matched.

The hearth is a piece of leathered finish black granite. The original hearth was limestone, but in really poor shape and was 1 1/2″ out out square.

3-bookcase-topThe tops of the bookcases were capped with part of the same slab.

4-stone-installed-fireplaceThe hearth got a skirting of the same granite. It will match the black fireplace surround. The floor dipped on the right hand side about 3/4″ so that was fixed when I added the 1/2″ CDX plywood overlay. Now the new hardwood will be flat and level.5-marble-bookcase-topAdditional pieces of marble were placed in the sunroom bookcase windows.6-start-of-fireplace-designThis picture represents a week of doodling and trying to figure out what to do with this thing. After a lot of head scratching I got this – not much to look at. The reason for all the doodling? Nothing on this brick fireplace was square, level or plumb. Instead of building this surround as a one piece unit, the pilasters and crosspiece are not permanently attached to each other so that I can make adjustments to make square. Nothing is glued or installed yet. All I know that this is the general scale and shape of what’s going here.

1-side-railBut I have to start making this a permanent thing, so just to be safe I started with the side pieces that will intersect with the cabinet frames. You can see the cuts to fit over the marble tops and granite hearth. I used silicone here for a couple of reasons – mainly because if I’ve made a mistake I can get this thing back off the fireplace. If I would have used polyurethane glue – I would have to destroy my fancy cut-work

2-side-installedThe sides installed we can start building our floating fireplace parts on this foundation. Since I don’t know what the final design is, I’ll put on elements that I know will have to be in place before the next piece of this puzzle goes on.

7-base-cap-start

The front piece of the pilaster is dadoed on the back to fit in the side piece. It is not glued or attached and this allows for it to ‘float’. This will be how we adjust for the out of square parts of the fireplace structure.

I know we’ll need base caps, so let’s make those.First we make the side base. This is notched over the hearth and is dadoed into the face of the fireplace pilaster. The front piece sits proud of the side piece because they’ll be an additional detail there.The side cap is cut to rough shape and temporarily put in place.

8-base-cap-detail

A sample block of the front of the cap is used to mark the side piece for cutting.9-finished-base-cap-corner

Once the side piece is cut it looks like this.10-base-cap-installedBefore final installation I paint the pieces that are next to the granite, so final painting will be easy to do.

Bored yet? More to come.