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..

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.