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November 2014
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7 posts from December 2014

countertop is done, cabinets are in

The counter is covered with JB Weld epoxy, to match the sink.  I intended for it to look like slate, or at least dark stone.  The epoxy goes on black, and sands down to gray.

This is what it looks like dry....



This is what it looks like after I've run a damp rag over it....


Now I have to I coat it in semi-gloss sealer or leave it alone?

finishing the cabinetry

It doesn't look like I got very much accomplished yesterday, in comparison to the number of hours I spent fiddling and fine tuning....but the cabinetry is fastened together and ready for the countertop.


I cut and glued in spacers to position the sink between the two cabinets and support the countertop, as that piece is much shallower than the cabinets....I built a box to fit in the back corner (the left and back sides are glued to the wall), with a curtain front....I cut, painted and glued on the toe kick...I cut and glued on the bottom lip of the countertop....and made a template to use to cut out the sink and position the faucets.

I was going to use the red floral fabric I picked for the window curtains, but decided the bright color would pull the eye to the bottom back corner, where it doesn't need to go, so used an off-white patterned fabric that will blend in.  The fabric is glued in place, on top of a gesso covered piece of corrugated cardboard.  I wish I had painted the cardboard ivory before I glued the fabric on, since the bright white gesso underneath makes the fabric lighter than it really is.  It's not that big of a difference, but it's driving me crazy...I'm going to re-do it.


On the agenda for today....

  • re-do the curtain
  • wash off some of the over-dirtying I did to the front of the cabinet doors (hopefully...I think I did that after I sealed them)
  • make and install the countertop
  • paint (copper) and install the faucet

Susan's gratuitous cat chair thief picture....


butcher's block done

Betsy was right, I like the butcher's block better when it is all stained and hacked to bits.


I was going to start the 'fussing around with it' by applying Blacken It to the metal, but I was concerned it would blemish the wood in ways I couldn't anticipate.  I didn't want to remove the metal pieces because, since I had treated the wood with a coat of oil already, I knew I'd never get new strips to stick.   Instead, I rubbed a light coat of olive oil on the piece and baked it in the oven, because the internet told me that would darken the metal.

Yes, I know, stop laughing, I know, I shouldn't listen to the internet....especially since which 'metal' it will darken is not specified and which 'metal' my strips are made of is unknown, but really, what's the worst that could happen, it wouldn't work?


It didn't work....the only result was the break down of the adhesive holding the metal strips on.

I pulled the metal the rest of the way off, gave the sides a quick sanding to remove any sticky residue, then started what I should have to begin with....I experimented with scrap pieces....


Blacken It, my first choice, worked well.  Permanent markers didn't wipe off, but the staining was very unnatural looking.  Alcohol ink worked great and I liked the effect.  Regular black ink didn't stain the metal at all, it wiped right off.

I darkened a strip of metal a bit longer than I needed with blacken it, then dotted it with three colors of alchol ink. 


I like the effect shown here, but the blacken it kept working and the metal is much darker now and the ink spots subtle.  I still approve of the appearance, but I know next time to let a piece I've blacken cure overnight before I distress it further.

While I was letting the experiments dry I cut away at the bottom of the legs, so they aren't straight blah sticks anymore...


I also make cut marks on the top of the block, treated it with olive oil, then cut some more, oiled, cut, oiled, cut, oiled, cut, oiled....the wood sucked up a lot of olive oil...


Once I was sure the strip was totally dry I cut it into pieces and put metal strips back on the block.  I was right that they wouldn't stick, so I nailed them on.  48 pain in the ass little teeny weeny stupid nails....ugh....but I really like how it looks....much, much better than the faux nail holes I pressed into the original strips.

I hadn't oiled anything but the top so the metal strips adhered on the bottom of the legs just fine.

Once the metal was in place I oiled the sides and legs, whacked on a few dings and scratches, and floated some alcohol ink stains over the olive oil.  Now I like it looks lived-in...warm and comfy.


kitchen island finished, and more work

The kitchen island is finished.  As it was upside down drying I remembered that I was going to put a towel rack on one end, then cursed myself for forgetting and made plans to retrofit one.  After the glue dried and I flipped it upright I decided I like it just the way it is, plain and simple.


I loooooove the marble top.  It's a bit thick and the graining is out of scale, but nothing looks like real marble more than real marble....the sheen, the feel, the coolness of the real stone can't be duplicated by faux painting. 


And....I've got seven more slabs of marble, so there are at least seven more marble topped islands in my future :)


Again!  I got up to count pieces of marble and my chair was hijacked.  Ester wasn't even in the room with me...I heard her come thundering at full speed down the hallway to leap into it.  That cat is a shameless scoundrel.



The butcher block isn't finished yet.  I sanded the top down to show wear, but I need to make a zillion cut marks on the top.  I also re-made the metal braces on the corners, I like these much I have to figure out how to age them.  There's something else I don't like about the piece, but I don't know what just doesn't feel right.  Maybe it's the square legs?  I don't know.....sigh.   If you have thoughts or suggestions please leave a comment, I'm flummoxed.


I painted another coat of enamel paint on the Aga.  I've got to sand it smooth, then probably apply another coat before I start aging it. 


I probably should have bought a second Aga the right color and put the green one back in my stash, it would have been easier.  So...with that thought...I'm going to paint mine to be different than a purchased cream colored one would be. 

Here's the Reutter off-white Aga miniature.....

Ruetter Aga cream

This is what I'm shooting for with my paint job.....

Old aga


The Christmas festivities are over here.  My family got together a couple of weeks ago.  Matthew, Kate and I opened gifts yesterday evening, before going out to dinner with my brother-in-law and mother-in-law.  This afternoon Kate and I are going to see the third Hobbit movie, but we've no other plans but to relax.  I don't go back to the office until Monday, so have four days of studio time :)

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, enjoying whatever festivities your family celebrates, and that you get to indulge in the love of family and friends.

The best part of Christmas here was, as always, watching the girls play with the empty boxes and wrapping....



building the rest of the furniture

There are a few pieces of furniture/cabinetry that need to be built to finish the English Cottage Kitchen.  The marble topped island, two or three sets of wall shelves, a butcher block, a faux cabinet to hide the battery, and a something to go in the corner between the base cabinets and the Aga.  I got a great start on two of the pieces last Saturday.


Since the butcher block won't be painted or stained I built it from the pretty hardwood scraps my bother-in-law gave me.  The legs are made from the same wood as the darker bands in the butcher block's either walnut or koa, I can't tell. Once I get it sanded into shape I'll treat it with some tung oil.

Since the island will be topped by a thick slab of marble I built the frame from some spindles I had in my stash, cut down to size, combined with more of the hardwood scraps, to support the marble's weight.  I used a solid piece of basswood for the bottom shelf.

I wanted to paint it the same gray as the hutch, which made me wish I'd written down which paint color I used.  I had four bottles of gray in my closet, so painted a swatch of each on the back of the hutch....none of which matched, of course, because I aged the hutch with a wash of brown paint after I painted it gray.  Then I thought...this kitchen is supposed to be old, and have been assembled over time, so it's reasonable to suppose that the island wouldn't have been painted at the same time as the hutch.  I picked a gray, aged it less than I aged the hutch, then finished it with a coat of satin sealer.  All that's left to do is to glue the marble to the top.


Oh, and I finished the brick in the doorway....which I didn't age as much as I was originally planning to....


Sigh....I get up for two minutes to take a picture of the doorway and the chair thief strikes....



I accomplished a bit on the kitchen this weekend, after I cleaned my studio.

The doorway between the kitchen and pantry is almost finished, I just have to clean the excess grout off and brush a gray wash on what remains. 


It's meant to look as if the stone wall was there first, that the hole for the doorway was punched into it and bricks were used to shore up gaps where the stones were pulled out.  I'm not sure yet if I'm satisfied with the result.


After the doorway was complete I acted on a whim and made the back side of the too-deep chimney look as if an outdoor fireplace in poor repair had been bricked up.  First I had to chip away a layer of plaster and egg carton stone, which was a real mess and blanketed my freshly cleaned studio with a new layer of fine, white dust.  C'est la vie.


My original plan was to house electrics in the chimney, so I built it deep enough to be accomodating.  Once plans changed the depth of the chimney looked it doesn't.

I won't grout the brick here until I've finished the brick on top of the repaired chimney, which can't be built until the roof is installed, which can't be installed until a handful of other things are done first.

I'll close with a gratuitious cat picture for Susan, because she's not feeling good today.


fire installed and then....

I got the fire made, and installed in the fireplace.  I love it!


I used the LED fire kit from Evan's Design.

I aged the pantry shelves and around the base of the walls, since I won't be able to get in there as easily once the pantry addition is attached to the main structure.

I wrote a long to-do list, but haven't been able to get much more accomplished in the last couple of weeks...because, well....this....



I'm home sick with the stomach flu, and get nauseous every time I move, so I'm not doing any cleaning until my midsection calms down.  It needs to calm down before the weekend, because it's ThanksChristGivingMas on Saturday.