50 posts categorized "English Cottage Kitchen"

working on the exterior

When I plastered the exterior walls I used plaster of paris....I applied it with an old paintbrush, working quickly before the plaster set up.  I was left with a lot of brush marks...won't apply it that way again.  Yesterday morning I started up the kerosene heater in the garage, let it warm up for an hour, then carried the house out there for a good sanding.  I didn't want to remove all the brush marks, just take the tops off so they weren't so prominant.

Before   After

The sanding was finished quicker than I expected...I shouldn't have bothered to heat the garage.

After I cleaned my mess I brought it back into my studio to make the exterior walls for the addition.

I reviewed the pictures I took of Marie Antoinette's estate at Versaille...

232323232%7Ffp;<5>nu=3238>;56>3;2>WSNRCG=35<482586933_nu0mrj  232323232%7Ffp;53>nu=3238>;56>3;2>WSNRCG=35<48257<633_nu0mrj

232323232%7Ffp;63>nu=3238>;56>3;2>WSNRCG=35<482583533_nu0mrj  232323232%7Ffp;75>nu=3238>;56>3;2>WSNRCG=35<482585933_nu0mrj

I made the walls on matboard, so that I can work with them on my table, weighing them down to dry as I go...except for the sliver of third wall, which I had to apply directly because there wasn't enough room.

DSCN1327  DSCN1325

I purposefully didn't draw out a pattern, but worked freehand, so to speak.  It took all day.  I listened to the entire season of Firefly while I worked....I've seen it a zillion times so I don't have to watch the screen.  Today I will listen to Serenity.  I love being able to stream Netflix on my iPad.

Right now there is a coat of gesso between the timbers...today I fill them.  I have about a quarter of a jar of pumice gel and a third a jar of heavy gel medium left over from previous projects....I'm going to mix it with acrylic paint and some non-skid paint additive I bought one day to do something with...wish me luck.


dirt, grime, stains, and grunge

My daughter objected to my bricks being all the same color, so I gave some a gray wash and dabbed others with a different shade of brick colored paint....she's right, it looks better this way.  I see in the picture...how unforgiving the camera is...that the top brick on the right side is too orange...I'll have to fix it.


 I used silicone adhesive caulk to adhere the pantry wall to the kitchen.  Once the walls are finished you won't notice the seam.


 I blended the seam on the inside with washes of black and gray paint and brown antiquing wax.  I'm still madly in love with the antiquing wax.  Then I added an electrical conduit with a plug for the refrigerator and a water pipe wrapped in insulation. 

I also added a curtain rod.  My original plan was to have a curtain that would hide the pantry from view, only pulled back along the wall, because it's a pain to have a curtain in the way all the time.  I love how that stone wall turned out though, so I'm not putting a curtain up to hide it.  I'll leave the rod empty.


 I added a fake light switch for the pantry light, since I put in one for the pendant lights in the kitchen.


The top of the fuse box, conduit and the top of the vegetable bin got dirtied up a bit.


I fixed the broken freezer door handle and set the refrigerator in place.  I'm not sure yet if I'm going to glue it in.  After the picture was taken I added a slight stain under the handles, where one would grab to open the doors.


I chipped enamel and stained the Aga.  I think I dirtied it too much....I may take some of the grunge off.



 It doesn't look as bad in place as is does on my worktable under my magnifier, but still....


I had planned to run the exhaust pipes for the Aga through the wall into the pantry, join with the furnace exhaust, then vent up and out through the roof.  There was more room in my imagination than in the house...there isn't enough room with a curtain there....so I ran the exhaust pipe higher up the wall, straight through to outside.  I'm doing a thatched roof on the main structure, and it would be silly to have it vent through that roof.....but yet it's also silly to have it vent directly through the wall, where the exhaust would collect under the eaves.  Since I decided I'm not going to put a curtain up I'm going to plug the hole I drilled, shorten the pipe, and route it as originally planned.  I think there is enough room between the curtain rod and the support beam to drill the hole...I'll figure it out.


 The project as it stands today.....


Since this post is picture heavy anyway I'll throw in a gratuitous cat picture for Susan.


lighting perfection!

Look at this!!!

 Is that not the coolest thing you've even seen?!?  I'm so happy!  Yay, me!  Yay, husband!

I was beginning to wonder if I was going to meet my goal to have the lights done before the weekend was over...I was going to make a simple faux cupboard to house the battery, but it evolved into a vegetable bin with working drawers in the front half, with battery storage in the back half, which took much longer to build.  I'm glad I did, I'm happy with it.

Pictures I took along the way....





I messed up the edge of the wall with the dremel when I cut the groove.  I knew I'd never be able to touch it up with fresh paint, so I removed the surface of the stones just to the left of the groove and patched the area.







 I painted the vegetable bins gray to match the color scheme of the kitchen, but now kind of wish I hadn't because it blends in with the the fuse box, even though they're diffferent grays.  Maybe once I pile some stuff on top it'll look better....if it doesn't I can always paint the fusebox a different color....I'm not repainting the vegetable bins...too much work to age them just so.

Now I have to buy some mini onions....I'll put it on my shopping list for the Bishop show in April.

wiring progress...conduit is in

I made quite a bit of progress yesterday.  Yay!  All the conduit is in and all the wires have been extended to reach the fusebox.


My painting all the conduit blue by mistake was fortuitous...I realized I didn't plan in a light switch for the pendants  (let me rephrase that...I planned a real light switch, not a fake one for visual interest)....so I ran extra conduit over to the wall next to the door to a quickly built switch.  I had to make some additional junction boxes, but I'm glad I put the fake switch in. 


I built in some fake electrical outlets along the back of the counter, to plug in fake small appliances...and one up top above a beam, because I've never lived in a old house where there wasn't at least one oddball "why is that there?" outlet.  In my current domicile, that outlet is in the peak of the rafters of the garage (no, it's not for the garage door opener, that's got its own outlet in the rafters).


I didn't want to designate the outlets, and thus the whole house, to a specific country, despite the fact the fact that I'm calling this build the English Cottrage Kitchen, so I glued on white circles instead of making realistic outlet covers.  Consider them all plugged with those white thingmabobs you stick in outlets to keep toddlers from sticking paper clips or whatnot into them.

The majority of the conduit is strictly for appearance, only the pendant's wires run through some.  The wires on the lamps and fireplace run under the house, because that's easier.



Now all the wires terminate to the spot on the pantry wall where the switches and battery will be.  Today I have to build a cabinet to house the battery and the fake fusebox that will house the real switches.


Susan's gratuitous cat picture....


I AM TOO going to finish the wiring this weekend

Everything is almost in place, the fixtures are in, there is just conduit to run this morning...and husband has the day off from work as well, so can help me with the soldering (I can do it, but he can do a neat, clean, better job of it).

My assistant and I are both taking another four day weekend this weekend because the next two or three months are going to be very difficult at the office....new accounting software and procedures....will be lots of overtime, I won't have much time for dollhouses. 

I'd like to, this weekend, get the last of the major things crossed off the to-do list for this build (wiring, addition, roof, and chimney) so that when I do have 15 minutes or half an hour to play in my studio I can work on small job fun stuff.  Realistically, I won't get all that done with weekend, but I can make a good dent in the list.


I drilled holes into the bottom of the legs of the island and glued toothpicks in...then I drilled holes in the floor of the kitchen to set the toothpicks into, to let the island be removable, but always keep it aligned under the pendant lights when it's in place.   I used fishing sinkers on sewing thread as plumb bobs to help me get the island aligned perfectly and determine where the pendants will hang from the beam above.

DSCN1105(notice the countertop...I decided to go with the wet look)

I had an epiphany about the conduit earlier this week.  I want small conduit, but don't want to go to the expense of buying metal tubing and the tools that bend and cut it, or the hassle of gluing metal to the walls cleanly.   I wanted something the size of cocktail stirrer/straws, but not white and plastic...paper popsicles sticks would be great if they were hollow....I settled on larger diameter paper straws that I can paint and will be easy to cut and glue in.  Then, earlier this week, it came to me.....cocktail straws wrapped in masking tape....wallah!  I did a test, discovered the tape lifted at the seam after a couple of days, but remedied that by making sure the straw is seam side down when I glue it to the wall.

Yesterday afternoon I laid out painters tape runs on the wall to dry fit the placement of the conduit, then wrapped and painted the number of straws I'll need, plus a couple extra.  I also cut and painted wooden junction boxes to turn corners with (thank you Brae, for your wonderfully detailed posts and the junction box idea).


I stuck the wrapped straws seam side down on a piece of painters tape that's sticky side up, before I painted them, so I would end up with one bare line to apply glue to, to ensure I'm gluing the conduit to the wall directly, not gluing paint to the wall, because that won't hold up over time.  Did that make sense?  I'm not sure I explained that well.   I haven't finished my first cup of coffee yet.

After the paint was dry I realized I painted them all blue when I was planning to paint only the conduit that will be against the walls blue....I was going to paint the conduit that will be in the ceiling gray.  Sigh....I'll get the blue conduit in place, then I'll repaint what's left.

While the paint was drying I made covers for the pendant light wires out of a shoestring (starched, with the core removed) covering cocktail straws (for the rigidity)....then decided once I was done and tryed them in place that I didn't like them black.  I should have dangled the shoestring in place first and saved myself the time.  Right now the pendant lights are in with white cocktail straw hiding the wiring, and that's fine, but I wanted something not plastic looking.  I really like the fabric look of the shoestring, and I could walk over to the store this morning for a white shoestring, but...but then the condiuit to the pendants is larger in diameter than the rest of the conduit, when it should be narrower, and that just looks funny.  I'm going to use the cocktail straws as is.

Let me get up to take a picture so you can see what I mean.....I think the chair thief is busy playing with husband....



The black wire covering catches the eye and draws focus, while the white one fades into the background of the light colored walls.  The blue conduit on the right wall is the size of the conduit that will be running throughout the room, with the exception of the one thicker (short) piece on the left wall, where multiple runs come together and pass through the wall into the pantry addition, where the fusebox will be.

So...with all that decided and the conduit ready to glue in....let's do one more test to be sure I have enough light in the room, while I can still add another lamp if I need to.....


All is fine...no more excuses...time to finish the wiring.

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 decide....do 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...now 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 better....now 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 yet...it 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 top...it'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....