And the changes continue – with some stair stuff

As the renovation at MisAdventures continues and the sawdust making elements diminish, I have to entertain myself by continually moving stuff around. Mind you, the kitchen is still not in – I made some last minute revisions just this week and changed out the range venting. The cabinet makers probably are not used to an old man with OCD- but these are easy going Amish folk who seem amused by my attention to detail and constant ‘what if’s”.

So on we march – one step forward, two steps back.

You may recall I ended up at the close of my last post with this arrangement. Well,..

I’ve noodled this arrangement as of today – but no guarantee it won’t change.

This was my original selection for the living room – I was happy with this.

Until I came home and this subtle hint was waiting for me. The artist is the same, so I guess I can take the hint. The original selection is a local hardware store, the new oil painting is a Cathedral in Sienna, Italy. I think it’s a girl thing – I’ll find a place for my hardware store somewhere.

Other changes – This lamp in my wife’s office was nice, but she wanted something with a little more style. OK.

This is what happens when you leave an old electrical box in the plaster ceiling – not a problem unless your wife selects a light that’s not compatible.

Three hours later, the new box is in – with plaster ceiling intact. The things we do for love – and to stay out of the dog house.

And 20 minutes later her new light illuminates her makeshift bed sheet curtains. One project at a time dear.

And the lamp from her office makes it’s way upstairs the the master bathroom. Will it stay? Hard to tell.

Hercules the plant stand also made a move from the sunroom up here as well. I think this is where he’ll stay.

Enough of musical chairs, let’s get back to building something.

I decided to use stepped oak rails to bring the iron panels up closer to code. The rails were assembled and screwed to the floors. The rails were drilled and lag bolts were used to attach to the oak. The bolts were rust treated to match the rail finish.

As usual, I put the piece in place to figure out what to do next. Freestyle design takes a little bit of trial and error.

Vertical Oak rails were added to the back and long lag bolts attach the railing into the wall studs.

I had built a pair of pine square columns, but decided these oak newel posts off the shelf were a much better design. I like the scale and keeps the railing compact.

The posts are marked and a newel post bolt is used to secure the post to the floor. The bolts are screwed at an angle into the floor joists below.

The posts are drilled and fastened to the floor.

I had some railings from the old house that I will use for the caps. The top rail height is now fully compliant to modern building codes.

I’ll use an oak base rabbeted on both sides to fit the top of the panel and also to hold the top rail in place. The newel post is scribed and cut to fit the cap to the post.

Clamps hold everything in place until the design is finalized. Still a long way to go…

Come along – pretty things to come.

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July Updates – the Art Edition

Since I’ve been trying to increase my posting frequency, I thought I’d pop in this Saturday with a July-ish update. This is a strictly art roulette edition, with a time frame from Mid-June to present. It’s more of a game of musical chairs with pictures, so if you’re looking for a DIY tip or special instructables – this post isn’t it.  We all have that one (or two or more) things we obsess over that other people just don’t understand. Art and antiques are mine.

But I have an excuse – this is what I do for a living – I look art art and doodads – buy art and doodads – and sell art and doodads. It’s my occupation, my interests and passion as well. So please  forgive my preoccupation and I’ll get back to making sawdust in the next post.

Back in April I posted this photo of a painting that I thought would be displayed in this spot along with my old wooden horse. I actually had this painting in mind when I designed this sunroom, with the wall large enough to hold this 4’X5′ painting. But as usual, after a couple days it was time to change things around.

The next idea was to make this a nature theme. So I brought in a large landscape and a couple more that my wife liked.

Here, clearly, I’m making progress. I’ve found some more paintings in storage and decided this combination would be a possibility.

But then I pulled this large oil by Robert Kingsley from storage and my wife said that’s the one she wants displayed. OK. Now something I just noticed.that the TV monitor visible just above this painting is showing the exact same image during a slide show. Coincidence?

And over in the corner was this Chinese Altar Table from the 1880’s. That might as well come home too. Time to make some more art adjustments.

OK – now they’re home. And the gymnastics begin. The painting is nearly 5X6 feet and wall anchors need to hold it up there – that I will move 3 times before I’m done.

I then added some little landscapes by artist Jeffery Little – so they were really Little Landscapes. But the arrangement looked a little uninteresting.

So to give my mind a little rest, I thought I’d work on the art in the living room. The sunroom painting was moved in here, along with a couple other single women paintings.

On another wall in the living room I added these two oil portraits of Indiana artist Kieth Klein’s daughters. Then promptly removed them to use upstairs.

And put these two paintings in their place. But I have decided the girls should stay with the girls so I’ll revert to my previous image. So you see how this art roulette goes? Most folks would hang something on the wall and call it a day, but not yours truly.

So I wrangled these big oil paintings into place and I’m OK with the placement. But now that painting over the fireplace seems out of place. Time to dig into the storage bins – some of these pieces have not seen the light of day for 30 years.

With a little more digging and a lot of re hanging I’ve got this arrangement I’m fairly happy with. A mixture of artists and mediums and subject matter. I’ll try to finish the pile of stair treads under the window sometime soon. And now I am contemplating painting this wall the color of the sample above the Altar table to give the art a little depth in presentation. So you see, this is the kind of tom-foolery that consumes my days.

Moving things around also allows the chance to see things in a new light. I’ve owned this old altar table for decades and never noticed the old red paint and gold leaf still visible when the sun illuminates it in the late afternoon. This makes me happy. Art is my life and livelihood, so I guess in some ways it’s a good thing.

Enjoy something beautiful today.

A Really Late April Update

Well, time flies and the old MisAdventures posts haven’t been appearing on a regular basis. Not that things aren’t going on, they’re just little things that aren’t that particularly interesting. But let’s see if I can do my best to catch up on where we are –  and keep our fingers crossed that  I’ll have this place done this year.

As was covered in a previous post on baseboards, I’m doing the same thing upstairs. The base is laid out and scribed to the floor, then the bottom edge is contoured to match the floor surface. Since the floors are finished, I have to take the baseboards outside to trim and check again. Lot’s of exercise on this little detail.

I’m still figuring out how I’m going to use these old French iron panels at the stairwell. For now they’re just clamped in place.

I looked for several years to find something the right size that would go here. These French panels from the 1880’s seemed just right. The problem is these things weigh more than 100 pounds each, so they’re a little hard to maneuver. I want to get the design exact before I start lugging these things around.

The pocket doors had to be reworked with the new floor level – something I though I had accounted for, but missed by a smidgen.

All of the floors on the first level will need one more coat of floor finish before we can bring in permanent furniture. So to divert my wife I repaired and painted up this little hall table so she could pretend we had a living space here with real furniture.

Another make it homey touch was to bring over some of her favorite orchids to place on the sun room bookcase. Now she understands why I put those library lamps above the windows.

Also a new privacy fence was put in. This is a definite DIY project, but to get it done within the decade, I hired this out.

My OCD and perfectionist traits were all over this fence. It serves the purpose, but not how I would have built it – but it went up in a day and that is important. I’ll fashion some small copper caps for the tops of those flush-cut posts.

Since the imperfections of the fence install were on my mind, I thought I’d distract myself by putting on the last pair of door plates. Of course I’d have to use a laser level to line up the screw holes.

So the door plates are on straight and I can close the door on the Month of April, with a promise to post  May’s progress by the end of June.

 

Perhaps not my most spectacular post

Greetings! Fear not my fellow renovators and spectators, my infrequent posts are not a sign that I am growing weary of this nearly 10 year renovation marathon. No, indeed I’m more energized than ever to complete this adventure in my lifetime. The problem is, I have nothing wow-worthy to show you. Take this post for instance. I suggest you get comfortable, grab a beverage of your choice and be prepared for a incredibly entertaining post about…

~ Baseboards ~

Yep, the baseboard. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that my next project on the list was putting in new baseboards after the floors were installed. I’m using 1X flat stock of poplar, 10 feet long. This is a simple squared off design, so no coping the corners, no this should be a simple install 1-2-3 done! But are we forgetting something? Anything? Well, yes – this is no mere baseboard – this is part of our ongoing art project. Add a little OCD in there and this easy project become a little more complicated.

First we size up some boards and give them a coat of primer and a couple of finish coats. It’s a lot easier to finish them on the sawhorses than on my creaky old knees.

Second, we bevel the bottom at an angle so that the base comes to a point at the front. This will make removing any wood easier.

After we cut them to size, it’s time to scribe the base. Having done this many times. I just use a pencil and position my hand to make the marks.

If you’re a little unsteady in the hand department, you can also use a scribe tool like this.

Scribing the base will show the high spots in the floor in relation to the base, so to remove the extra material, we get out a sander and sand to the line.

Now that we have the pieces scribed to the floor, we make a mark for the scarf joints on the walls that are longer than 10 feet – which is most of them.

Once we get them cut to the right length, we glue and nail the scarf joints together. The joint is cut to land on a wall stud for extra strength.

I use trim head screws to attach the baseboard to the wall through the wall studs for a tight fit. I use Ready Patch to fill the holes. I really like this stuff, but buy the smallest can you can, because it will rust in the can. That’s three ‘cans’ in the same sentence – impressive.

Everything goes slower now that the floors are partially finished. I use a drywall knife on the floor to make sure my disc sander doesn’t have an accidental meeting with the floor.

Once the scarf joint is sanded it is primed and given a couple coats of paint.

So after several hours crawling around on the floor like a worm, we get to see the fruits of our labor. We still have filling and sanding to do. Now no one will see this unless they drink too much or I fall asleep while renovating this place – but then my OCD can take a break.

While I was wrestling with the baseboard, these two guys showed up.

And delivered my new gas range to my imaginary kitchen – boy, I can almost smell the bacon now.

And once the baseboards were in I started to fiddle with the TV lift and connections. I’ve bolted on a 32″ TV to work out the bugs before I put the 55″ one in that belongs there.

So there you have it – another fascinating glimpse into the  MisAdventures world of Remodeling.

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy weekend!

 

January Update just some stair stuff

Greetings for the New Year! I’m just getting back to the MisAdventures project after our busy Holiday season. Since I have a real job and have a retail business, it’s taken awhile to get back over here and get to work. I hope everyone made a NewYear’s resolution – and you haven’t broken it yet. My resolution is to get moved into this place in 2018 – so fingers crossed that will happen. Now were was I? Oh, yes the header says something about stairs. Yes, that’s it!

But we’ll start with the master bath and the stereo speaker is added to the ceiling. This will be linked to the Bluetooth AV system so music can be streamed from my wife’s phone while see lounges in the bathroom.

We left the newly constructed staircase like this. (That was in 2013) I stopped with the addition of the skirt boards on either side and the risers cut and fastened. Time for some new stair treads.

The risers are 3/4″ poplar the three lower steps extend past the left hand wall.

The 1st tread in place. These are 1″ solid white oak treads. I looked for a local supplier, but found only one here and pretty expensive. I found a fabricator not far away in Tennessee that made them for half the locally quoted price. The Blackford & Son web site is here: http://www.hardwoodstairtreads.com/

I picked up this tread tool at Home Depot to make measuring the treads more accurate.

The tool consists of two plastic end pieces that clamp to a piece of 1X3 lumber. You clamp the end pieces tight against the skirt boards and the riser and you have an accurate template.

Place the template against the riser (these are the longer ones in the mudroom). Mark the ends of the template and cut. Simple and fool proof.

Three cut and 12 more to go. These are only placed in position. They will be removed and stained by the flooring guys before final installation. I wish I would have had this tool to cut my risers. It would have been more accurate and I wouldn’t have to caulk the riser/skirtboard joint. Live and learn.

The last three steps require a little more cutting. I ordered three treads with left hand returns to fit the exposed end treads.

The left hand returns have a finished lip that extends over the side of the stair. This has to be field cut and fitted to the return trim on the wall.

The treads are marked and cut to fit. The finish and quality of the treads was very good.

So that brings us up to date. Right now we’re in the middle of a snow ‘event’ with temps dropping from 60 degrees this past Wednesday to a -6 coming mid-week. Ah, life in the Midwest.

Stay warm and I’ll see you soon.

 

A quick update

Greetings fellow renovators and spectators! Sorry for the delay in posting. I haven’t given up the ghost, or finished the MisAdventures project – just yet. As I have a real job (besides doodling around here). I’ve had projects for the last few months that have taken up some of my sawdust making time. So I’ll just post a couple photos of an art display project that I haven’t had time to finish.

My original idea of renovating this house was to have a place to display my collection of art and antiques. So this project is to get this up on the wall. This is a large wood and gesso Tang Style horse that was made in the 1940’s for export. It is my Chinese Zodiac sign and was the second antique I ever purchased when I was 17 years old – that was 46 years ago.

So the plan is to get this old horse to stay way up there where my cardboard cutout now resides. When I have time, with a little experimentation and some construction, we’ll have him hanging around. It will be nice to have this old horse displayed for the first time in nearly half a century.

I’ll be back here full time soon to finish up the inside of this now nearly 9 year project.

What’s that? 46 years to display an antique, 9 years to renovate a home – perhaps I’m a little slow – but then again, that’s all relative. Stick around.

 

 

The Pointy Closet #3 where we are as of today

Here is the final post for the pesky pointy closet. As I write this, I’m still working on this space. The final floors will go in soon on the second floor, so all is ready for this final step. So let’s finish this up, shall we?

We left off from post #2 looking like this. Well, it’s pointy enough, but this is a vintage house built in 1935. Seems like it needs a little more character than just drywall everywhere.

So since I have several rooms with wood on the ceiling and walls, let’s panel the front wall with a little board and batten. We’ll cover the surface with plywood and make it look and feel authentic. OK.

Once the front wall is done, we might as well do the back wall as well….and what the heck…

Let’s just panel the whole room. This will give it a little more of the vintage feel – and will take a couple more weeks to get to this point.

And we just keep covering the wall/ceiling with 1/4″ plywood and rabbeted wood battens. I added a light block to the front wall and a little wall sconce above the window.

In my mocked up design I’m planing to add a shelf along each side over the ‘wings’ that protrude out from the sides of the closet. I contemplated a painted shelf, or some type of wood. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the shelves. They’re 10′ long on each side.

So I went to Menard’s and looked through the lumber section for some ideas. I came up with some cedar that I thought would work, but it wasn’t wide enough.

So I went through the whole stack and found 2 pieces of 1X10’s and 2 pieces of 1X6 that were nearly a perfect match. I glued them up and sanded then down and they look pretty good. You can see the seam running down the middle.

A test fit to see if the shelves are the right width. I made these 12″ wide. The closet is not very practical, so we’re going to make it as useful as possible. I thought the shelves would be slightly helpful.

Having the shelves test fit out of the way, we can add a little finish to the sanded shelves. A mixture of boiled linseed oil, varnish and mineral spirits give the grain a little depth before the final finishes go on.

While the shelves are being finished, the board and batten details are added to the lower sections of the closet. We had to make a little do-dad detour around the vent as well.

The finishing is going on. A mixture of 50/50 latex paint and water. This is put on to allow the grain to slightly show through.

A few coats of wipe-on polyurethane and we have the shelves ready to go in. Now we just have to finish the walls.

The white washed walls are finished. The openings on either side of the wing area will get fitted drawers and shelves – something I haven’t made yet.

All of the whitewash is on the ceiling/walls. So now we’re going to add a little color.

And what would be better than a nice coat of Tiffany Blue.

The first coats go on to give the room a little color.

All of the surfaces get a good sanding to 220. This lets some of the grain show through.

This is why I paneled the whole room. The wood panel grain showing through is the vintage feel I was looking for in this pointy little closet.

The high gloss finish on the shelves enhance the grain of the cedar. Also the bottom of the shelves are recessed. I plan on using blocks of cedar that are removable that can be recharged with cedar oil to make this a cedar closet.

As usual, I looked for a long time to find this little light fixture. I thought it had a vintage, almost Scandinavian design. It has a frosted glass shade which I also like. I’m thinking this light will be used as a night light when everything is finished. Also, this blue was antiqued and over-glazed several times to give it a texture of a wall that had been painted many times over the years.

Six foot closet rods are added between the wings for hanging space.

One on either side will give us 12′ of usable hanging space.

8 coats of satin Varathane clear coating is needed to get a uniform sheen, with sanding between coats and finishing out at 400 grit. Does it take time? Yep, but that’s what this art project is all about. I modified the two pendant lights to make them fit the space.

So that brings the pointy closet up to date. I’m waiting for the floor guy to come back and finish installing the floors. And to make this space even more impractical all of the floors on the second floor are white.

Stay tuned, no telling what’s going to happen next.