5 posts categorized "home renovation (life sized)"

renovation update #3

Wallpaper stripping is coming along slowly.  I got another little section of wall done.

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Upon the advice of a professional colleague I bought a bottle of DIF wallpaper stripper.   All the home renovation TV shows that tell you fabric softener is the best stripper, that it's some kind of trade secret...they're lying, the lot of them.  

I bought new pulls for the kitchen cabinets.  I was going to buy new silver hinges to match the silver pulls, but couldn't find any that matched the hole pattern of my current hinges.  Then I took an SOS pad to the hinges and happily discovered they aren't brown, they're copper.  Yay!   I love copper, and it looks wonderful against the teal.

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I was all set last weekend to paint the rest of the cabinets, but then my direction was shifted.  Matt wants to bring his CD racks back into the house, and wants to move them from sitting side by side to the left of the door to sitting one atop the other behind the door.  He brought the first rack inside, looked at the wall, then me, and said "Oh.  I suppose I have to wait until you've painted there first, don't I?"

Since it doesn't matter what order the painting is done in, as long as it gets done, I spent last weekend painting one end of the living room.

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I was going to replace the closet doors, because of the gap at the bottom, but then I priced new closet doors.  Outrageous!  I decided to live with the gap, and painted the doors the same color as the wall.  I bought new silver nickels levers to replace the old brass knobs, and will most likely replace the hinges too.

Over the course of the workweek my brain got stuck in a loop of whether to finish the contest miniature or work on the life-sized reno.  Which is more important, one has a deadline, what if I focus on one during the week and the other on the weekend, etc, etc, etc.  I finally decided that I am going to wake up each morning, ask myself what I want to work on that day, then do that.

Yesterday morning I wanted to paint the worn, flat black dresser that sits in the entry before I roll it back against the new walls and floor.  That's what I did.  She looks smart.  I bought new knobs with a deeper projection because Matt had worn the paint off the front of the drawer behind the knobs.  She needs one more coat of polycrylic on the top then can roll back into place.

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There was much conversation yesterday, between coats of paint, about Matt's CD racks.

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I understand why he wants to move them, they aren't very functional sitting behind the end table, and will be less accessible once I add a lamp to that table.  They won't fit side by side behind the door, and if one is cut down so they can sit one atop the other he'll lose two shelves, which means he will have to pare down his collection a bit, but, worse than that, I pointed out, it leaves no room for growth.   Possible other solutions were discussed, and it was decided he will make a new rack to fit the space, in the same manner he built the rack in the kitchen.  We are also discussing lighting options so that he can see the CDs, but have yet to reach agreement on that solution.

This is the kitchen rack he built for me a few years ago when I couldn't find a functional microwave stand that was also attractive.  It is made from threaded steel rod, nuts, washers, rubber feet, and stained furniture grade pine.  It has proven perfectly functional, and is extraordinarily adjustable.  When I bought Bob the roomba I had Matt raise the bottom shelf an inch so Bob can fit under it to clean.

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Matt is out in the garage building the new rack now.  I should take him a glass of water, it's very hot today.  Ester and I are inside enjoying the air conditioning.

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renovation update #2

I got the wall behind the stove and refrigerator, and the walls behind the washer and dryer, stripped, washed, washed, washed, primed, and painted, so that I could move the appliances back into place.

Before we moved the washer and dryer back I had Matt buy and hang a couple of ready-to-install unfinished cabinets to replace the shallow open shelves that were there previously, which I had hung a curtain in front of so I didn't have to look at cleaning supplies.  There was a shelf high on the wall opposite the back door where seldom used large pots were kept, which I gleefully eliminated when the pots were relocated to the top of the new cabinets.

I also relocated Ester's food dishes, which sat on the floor in this area and Had to be stepped around when I did laundry.  She now has a "breakfast bar" on the bottom shelf of the microwave stand.  She has shown no opinion about it.

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I left the 1970 wallpaper in place on the wall behind the appliances.  I am going to paint the cupboards the same beige as I am painting the walls.  I may paint the bit of back wall above the cupboards beige too, I haven't decided yet.

I had planned to paint the walls a light gray before the new flooring was installed, while I could still use the old flooring as a drop cloth.  I'm glad I didn't.  After the new flooring was in I knew gray walls would be too much gray.  I took some leftover carpet and vinyl to the paint store to pick out a new neutral....Benjamin Moore's Hillsborough Beige.

After much back and forth we decided on new colors for the kitchen cabinetry.

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Matt wanted to paint just the doors, as had been done previously, but I think that's ugly.  I wanted to paint the doors and the boxes, but he thought one block of color would be ugly.  We reached agreement on painting the uppers and lowers different shades of teal.  I think we're both going to love it.  (I put just enough of the cupboard doors back on to show you the new colors, I'll put the rest on later.)

This is the other side of the kitchen...consider it a before picture...

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I was going to have the countertop replaced, but the original 1970 white with gold fleck laminate looks good with the new color scheme, and is still in great condition, so I'll leave it.  I am going to replace the sink and faucet though, because the faucet leaks at the base and there is a lot of ugly mineral build up that I can't clean off.

Notice, in that last picture, my new window.  My new windows and doors were installed over the course of the last two weeks.  I had the double-hung in the kitchen replaced with an awning window, so that I can reach to open it without standing on my tiptoes and stretching.  I love it.

The rest of the double-hung windows were replaced with new, energy efficient, modern double-hungs.  The bow window in the living room was replaced with a new bow window.

Here's the old bow window...

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Here's the new...

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On the old window only the two lower, outermost, panes opened (well, only one did, because the other was broken), now I have full casement windows on each side.  Yay!

It was discovered when pulling the old windows and doors out, that while most of the windows were original to the 1970 build, the bow window and the doors had been replaced at some point.  The bow window wasn't screwed in!  It was held in place by a balancing act and the nails in the trim.  When I think of the number of times I kneeled on the base of it and leaned on it to wash it....I could very easily have landed outside in the garden, cut to pieces.  There was a one inch gap on either side of the window that was not insulated, and a slew of old mouse nests above it.  Neither of the doors were sealed, which explains why I had yellowjackets building a nest in the back door threshold a few years ago.  Yikes!  The new windows and doors are so well secured and insulated that our boiler is now setting off the smoke detector when it comes on (we're getting some cold nights already).  We need to add a vent from the furnace closet to the outside since we're sealed up now and have created a vacuum.  Apparently the heating guy should have installed that vent when we got the new boiler a few years ago, to bring us up to code, but....

What I like best about the new windows is that now I can't hear cars drive by, or the young girl across the street playing (she's a screamer).  I can't wait to see what my electric and gas bills are this winter.

We ordered the new front door with a window at the top.  It lets in a surprising amount of light into the front entry.  I love the color.  Winterberry.  It matches wonderfully, coincidentally, my husband's leather chair.  The new back door has a larger window than the old, letting more light into my laundry area.

I eliminated the storm doors, aka screen doors.  It freaked Ester out.  She wouldn't go through the new doorway, I had to carry her out the first time.  She's used to it now.

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The new carpeting looks solid gray in the picture, but is really a mix of cream, tan and gray fibers.

Next on the reno to-do list is to paint the rest of the kitchen cupboards, purchase new cabinet handles, replace the blue closet doors in the living room (the new flooring has created a gap at the bottom of the doors), and finish stripping wallpaper and painting the walls.  I also have to call the roofer to see if he has a date in mind yet.

Let's see, what else....

Oh!  I splurged on the latest model roomba.  I named him Bob.  Bob cleans under my sofa, under the beds and dressers....I love Bob.  Ester hates Bob, but she'll have to deal with it.

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renovation update #1

The new windows and doors didn't get installed last week.  Rain delay.  They're being installed next week.

The flooring is in!  It's beautiful.  My favorite part is that we ran the vinyl all the way from the kitchen to the front door so that we can now carry in groceries without having to step in onto slate, then walk over five feet of carpeting in wet boots to get to the kitchen.

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I told them not to put the appliances back when they were done with the flooring since I wanted to strip wallpaper...which is a shit job by the way, in case you've never had the pleasure.  I am kind of regretting not hiring out the stripping and painting, but it's my belief that the renovation will be more appreciated if we have some sweat into it.

This wall needs to be finished today in order to get the stove and refrigerator back in place, then the walls behind the washer and dryer.  From there I can take my time.  I have to strip both the kitchen and the dining room.  The 80's layer is coming off very easily, but the 70's layer is a real pain.  I had thought about leaving the watch-bicycle-fish wallpaper in place in the backsplash areas, then putting a coat of poly over it to protect it, but the paper was damaged on the wall behind the stove.  I suspect it's not going to be in good shape over the sink either.

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