July Updates – a variety of the mundane

Greetings fellow renovators. It’s been a while since I’ve posted any in depth, detailed shenanigans here at the MisAdventures project. And this one will be full of photos and not a lot of dramatic before and afters – more of the tedious type – but we’re getting there.

I did start a FaceBook page, just to organize the 1000’s of photos of the renovation in chronological order. If you want to follow along on my nearly daily posts you can click on it in the sidebar on the home page or you can click here.

But back to the tedious – as in this photo for instance. I doubt that it’s going to be pinned to many Pinterest boards. This is the casing for the big opening from the kitchen into the living room. I like to make the ‘U’ shaped piece by gluing it together and using pocket hole screws before I put it on the wall. And in this case it’s a ‘U’ that is 8′ tall and 6′ wide. I clamped a crosspiece across the bottom so I could move it by myself without breaking the glue joints.

Once fastened in place, it gets another piece of back banding trim and then painted –  it looks better. But maybe it’s because the photo is a little out of focus.

Going up to the 2nd floor master bedroom, I have this slanted door that allows access to the HVAC unit in the finished space behind. Fine, except the door is crappy, and that will never do. I’ll think of something that doesn’t look so much like a – well – like a door would be better. What, I have no idea yet.

But. we’ll  tear it out and figure it out later. But I will patch the floor before we put another 1/2″ plywood floor on top. This was cut out to add a recessed light in the ceiling below.

Of course, that requires moving these two antique French balcony panels for the countless time. I bought them several years ago at a Philadelphia auction house after a several year search for just the right size. They are cast and wrought iron and heavy! But then I like heavy things.

I bought these by telephone and had them shipped. I think I got the pair for 150.00 – and it cost 165.00 to ship. We’ll find out in a week or so if they will work as intended.

The floor is patched and It’s time to add some plywood. The areas under the eaves was an unconditioned space, but now all areas are insulated and conditioned.

The 1/2″ layer of plywood goes over the entire floor to strengthen the areas that were cut out to add ductwork and electrical.  Each panel is glued in place with PL glue and screwed every 6″. 4″ on the perimeter.

The plywood goes throughout the bedroom and the pointy closet, so it will be a seamless transition when the new flooring is installed.

I just figured out that I have more wood on the outside of the walls than I do on the inside. Funny how that works.

Now we get to the part of finishing off the floor/stair juncture. If you recall, I made a new staircase to create a modern, safe stair instead of the steep narrow one that was original to the house. This is the moment of truth to see if my calculations were correct in setting the height of the staircase.

And we are a winner! The plywood piece is cut and fastened in place. Life is good.

The last piece of 1/2″ plywood is down. I’ll have to start figuring out what I want to do with those antique balcony panels and build the newel posts. The flooring guy will be here in a week or so to install the white oak floor. And I mean white, as in a white finish on a white oak floor. We’ll see how that turns out.

At this time we also get to the art project I have posted about before. The worrisome sign that I had made in Seattle. The sign-maker was a nice guy and actually made the wood carving twice. He had a problem with the computer aided carving machine. It seems it wanted to make these little grooves down the length of the sign.  Which is fine if you want grooves – I did not.

So I told him to send it anyway to see if I could carve and sand out the lines. I could and did, but it took about 60 hours and my fingers still hurt.

The sign goes above the opening from the kitchen into the new sunroom. Here I’m just trying to figure out how to trim this into place. ‘Omnia Vincit Amor”  ‘Love conquers all” it’s Latin from the poet Virgil. The next line in his prose is “Let us too yield to love” I kinda like that old Virgil guy. The ‘1935’ is the year the original house was built.

To finish, I wanted it to have the same whitewashed look as the ceiling in the sunroom.So I thinned down some white latex paint and brushed on a coat.

Of course waterbased paints raise the grain of the wood, so it’s back to more sanding – like 10 hours worth.

Once that’s finished a bronze metallic paint is applied to each letter and number using my finger. Using your finger allows the paint to be irregular and will help when the antiquing process begins.

Another overglaze wash is added and a couple of light sandings happen.Dark restoration wax is then applied and buffed off a couple of times. Another layer of white glaze is added to the letters and buffed off. Are you tired yet? Trim is still being mocked up to see what will work. Also note, the leaves in the sign were designed to match the chandeliers. I know, I know –  I’m nuts.

The trim details are worked out and the pilaster design was added. But after I had the trim on the column up, painted and finished, I just wasn’t feeling it. The vertical lines join the bottom of the frame of the sign and looks too abrupt to me. I always figure these things out too late.

So with my trusty oscillating saw, I carefully cut the offending trim pieces out and added another horizontal piece at the top of the pilaster. Now I feel better – and I hope you do too, as you’ve come to the end of this post.

Here’s hoping for a great August!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.