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.

January Round Up – the good, bad and ugly.

Greetings fellow renovators. I thought I’d drop by and post a quick update on what’s going on at the MisAdventures renovation. There was some good, some bad, some ugly and some plain stupid.

1-feet-upWe’ll start with the ugly – as in my shoes my wife tries to throw away, but I keep fishing them out of the trash. Hey, they’re my lucky shoes, OK? You can see a peek in the Kitchen over my chop saw – but that’s for another post. But I did get the paint on the ceiling and all 22 lights installed in there.

2-top-view-tv-cabBut we’ll focus on that cabinet in the sun room with the retractable screen. Here’s looking down on the plywood top we want to cover with a nice piece of local hardwood. So I made a cardboard template and took it to a local craftsman that has a sawmill.

3-cherry-top-startAnd he popped out a nice Indiana Cherry top, complete with a hinged door for the TV lift. The front is 6/4 1 1/2″) stock, the back part and the hinged lid is 3/4 stock. Great.

4-top-installedNow the stupid part. I needed to get this wood sealed right away  – to keep the twisting to a minimum. No problem – I just grabbed a can of Waterbased clear coat and gave it a good seal coat on all four sides. Done – not so fast, stupid. (That’s me, not you)

5-first-finishYou see, a waterbased finish on cherry is like motor oil on a hot fudge sundae. It might look good from a distance, but you’ll notice something’s not quite right when you get a little closer. The waterbased finish left the cherry looking bleached out and flat.

6-paint-stripperSo we prance right out and get some of this stuff. It works great, and much less toxic than traditional paint strippers.

8-sanding-the-topA couple hours off my life, and we’re back to bare wood. No fun.

9-more-sandingBut no, it doesn’t end there. I laid on a coat of wiping oil made from boiled linseed oil, varnish and mineral spirits – and it looked great! Well, except for all of the scratches my scraper left behind. So this is the second full strip and sanding job. I then made another mess using some fast dry varnish – so another sanding job was needed. I finally ordered some wiping varnish from Rockler called Arm-r-Seal that lots of guys seem to use on YouTube – we’ll see how it comes out when I try my 4th attempt. I’m too old for this stuff.

10-tile-instalSomething did go right in the month of January. I finally got the tiles that I had made installed in the pilasters of the bookcase.

11-tile-detailThe stoneware tiles have a Lupine flower design and were made by Terra Firma tiles. This plant was native to Indiana, but you don’t see them very often here. I plan to have these in the garden outside the sunroom eventually.

12-rh-light-boxNow here’s something that went bad – and then good for a change. I had ordered a pair of Restoration Hardware Library Sconces to go over the windows in the bookcase. I ordered these in 2014 – but they were never checked. So the first of January  I decided to get them out to install. The box said it had a Polished Nickel Double sconce inside.

But I got one of these instead – A table lamp? Well, the package was a different shape than the other one. OK, let’s open the other one.

15-broken-library-lampAnd of course it’s the right one – but broken. Well, that’s just dandy. I have a Restoration Hardware shipment that was sent in 2014 that has one broken light and one table lamp. It is now 2017 – you do the math. But I have a Trade account with them so I sent an email and explained what I did (and didn’t do) and what do you think happened?

16-rh-library-double-sconce-installedThey picked up the original packages and sent replacements within 3 days! No charge! So these are now installed on the bookcases.  Now you know why I have so many RH lights in this house.

 

New Year – time to get busy

OK, my last post was my thumb with a smiley face on it – right. Not particularly relevant to this renovation blog – except to celebrate that I have been able to keep all my fingers and both thumbs while using power saws and nail guns. So let’s hope my good fortune continues into 2017.

1-sunroom-cabinetI have yet to get the plumber over to get my fireplace installed – no roaring fire yet. So let’s hop over to the next room and get that TV lift cabinet sorted out. That’s the lift mechanism in that dusty box on the floor – it’s been there for three years – that’s why it’s dusty.

2-cabinet-baseLet’s go over why this thing looks like this. This is used to house a retractable 55″ TV and there is also a cold air return built into this cabinet. The two rectangle boxes actually go through the floor and are connected to the return air plenum for the HVAC. The air returns from the top of the cabinet behind a false wall and the back plywood panel. It’s pretty convoluted, but the calculations for air flow are pretty good. Now the return air vent is on top of the cabinet and out of sight and the room can breathe – so it’s a win-win.

3-face-frameWe’ll start by making the face frame and doors out of poplar since this will be painted. The frame is cut and joined with kreg screws. The doors will be routed and have a panel. Here is the first door test fit. These are inset doors, so the fit is more critical than an overlay door.

4-door-partsI used a shaker router bit set to make the stiles and rails for the doors. A plywood panel will fill the rest.

5-face-frame-test-fitA test fit to check the fit of the doors. The door is not glued yet to just be sure.

6-face-detailThe face frame has a single opening with two side panels to cover the duct-work boxes. I’ve routed the back and added a ply panel on each side of the opening.

7-detail-close-upI cut down some poplar to make the cross detail. This is a simple applique glued and nailed to the panel.

8-frame-with-doorsAnother test fit of the doors and face frame.

9-doors-openHaving the door opening with no stile allows full access to the TV lift. I ran the speaker wires and communication cables to the cabinet, but decided to put the AV Receiver in the finished crawl space below this cabinet. So only a couple wires will enter this cabinet.

10-door-overlap-detailI made the doors slightly wider so that I could have them overlap. This is the same detail that is on the original fireplace cabinet doors.

11-working-roomI really like working in this space on a sunny winter day. One day I’ll have furniture in this place instead of tools.

12-paint-startIt’s a good time to get a couple of coats of paint on while this cabinet face is still unattached.

13-interior-paintI also painted the inside of the cabinet to make cleaning easier. The wires on the left go through a chase to the top of the bookcase. They might come in handy in the future for something – at least it will be there if I need it. The blue switch box and metal receptacle box on the right are for powering the lift and for a switch for the library lights over the windows in the bookcase..

14-hinge-detailHere’s the back of the face frame. You can see the kreg screws and the recessed panel. The inset hinges require this mounting plate attached to the face frame of the cabinet.

15-hinges-installedIf you had a frame-less style cabinet the plate would be mounted directly to the side of the cabinet box.

16-hinge-cup-hole-drilledThe doors are drilled for the euro style hinge. These are self-closing hinges from Blum. These are clip top, which allows you to remove and install the doors easily. They also have a three way adjustment that is important – especially on inset doors.

17-side-detailI’ll add some details to the cabinet sides to integrate it into the bookcases.

18-lift-installedI was thinking the TV lift was going to be complicated, but it’s pretty straightforward. I mounted the lift onto a 1/2″ ply backing board with carriage bolts. I then screwed the board to the back panel. This will make installing and removing the lift a lot easier, as the lift mounting bolt location is too low to get to easily.

19-lift-with-doors-closedSo here’s where I am as of yesterday. I’m thinking of a thick walnut or contrasting wood top – the center of which hinges open for the TV. There will be a piece of art hanging behind the lift, so when not in use I can look at something prettier than a black rectangle. That’s the plan – we’ll see if I measured this funky cabinet right, or did I miss something? Time will tell.

More to come – stick around.

Fireplace Freestyle Fiddling #4 It’s Mantle Time

I know this is a long drawn out series – but there’s more components than average to this build, due to the flanking bookcases.

1-checking-the-taperThe tops of the bookcases are slightly sloped intentionally – and because of this the side panel will need to be tapered. First a level is placed on top and the gap is measured for the taper. This is how much we will remove from the bottom to make the top level.

2-trper-jigI use a tapering jig, but you can use a homemade version just as well. This will add a slight taper to our side pieces.

3-squaring-the-sideOnce we have the pieces cut we then need to square the sides to the window casing. I used a framing square and shim out the side piece so everything is now square.

4-tapered-sideA piece is cut for the side top reveal.

5-side-paintedAn additional piece is cut to wrap around the front of the marble top. It is then painted before attaching.

6-mantle-roughNow we’re ready to make the mantle. This is a 5/4 (1″) X 10 clear white pine board. I just set it up to get an idea of the overhang.

7-back-band-cutI decided to make a back-band to go at the back of the mantle. I used a router to add some detail to the top and then cut the three pieces. Here I’m test fitting the cuts.

8-mantle-sides-joinedThe three back-band pieces are glued and nailed together, I then joined the front mantle to the side pieces with a biscuit and glue.

9-mantle-glue-upThe mantle and back band were all assembled as a one piece unit to keep everything flat and straight.

10-test-fit-mantleThen the assembled mantle was test fit into place.

11-painting-back-bandThe back band is finished and a hole was drilled in each side leg of the mantle. I made the side mantle top slightly narrower to make the joint easier to finish and not have to be concerned about the joint separating.

12-mantle-wiringWiring from a wall switch is run under the mantle to both sides of the fireplace for the final test fit.

13-sillite-receptaclesThe wires were for these. Called Sillites, they will allow us to plug in Christmas lights or other decorations on the mantle.

14-attaching-the-mantleOnce the wiring is run we can finally glue and attach the mantle.

15-mantle-in-placeTime to start sanding and finishing.

16-fireplace-side-detailOne more detail is added to the side of pilaster to mirror the design in the sunroom.The paint is BM Ice White in Impervo enamel.

17-shell-detailI’ll sand and paint this a total of four times. I start will 100 grit and finish with 400. It is tedious, but when it’s finally done you can feel the difference.

18-sillite-receptacleThe Sillites have a cover when not in use.

19-finish-paintingSo you think we’d be done – but nooooo – we still have to finish the original details on the bookcases – and slide the fireplace in there.

One more post on this thing and I’m outa here – promise.