37 posts categorized "home renovation (life sized)"

Studio clean up / clean out

I dug deep for motivation and self-discipline, and got my studio back in working order again.


Every box, bin, bag and pile was sorted through, evaluated and reorganized.  I was moderately ruthless about what was allowed to stay.  Three large bags of garbage went out to the curb and I filled the trunk of my Volvo with items to take to a thrift store.  I evicted the second worktable and all but one rolling project cart.

I was especially brutal with the large assortment of ‘I can make something with this someday’ crap.  “When, Keli?  Just when are you going to do that?  If you haven’t already....”

Sigh.  Let’s not talk about all the wee bits of wood and paper I felt compelled to save.


The rug is new; the old one served its purpose by soaking up a dropped bottle of ink.  I also bought a paper storage cart for the closet and two new carts for supplies and tools so those aren’t stored on top of my worktable any more.

I reconfigured storage in the closet to store all like items together.  I had piles of wood squirreled away in more places I had forgotten about...


It feels so good to want to be in here working again!  I hope this year’s contest kit ships soon.

Renovation Update

An overdue update of my life-sized home renovation.  The living room and hallway are done, and the dining room almost. 

I don't have much in the way of 'before pictures'....





The kitchen, dining, and living rooms all had different wall and floor coverings.  They aren't one large open space, but all three rooms are visible at the same time no matter where you're standing, so I wanted to make them consistent, to flow together.

After the dining room wallpaper was stripped and the walls painted, we built a shelving unit for my husband's beer mug/glasses collection, to match the shelving units we built in the kitchen and living rooms.  The new shelves replace two small secondhand shelving units I used elsewhere.  His collection fits nicely and leaves room for growth.  I would rather have art hung on the dining room walls, but I don't live alone.


The dining room table is one that Matt's Grandfather made his Grandmother for their kitchen, which Matt's brother inherited and used until his death.  The top used to be painted, but the finish is mostly worn away now.  We contemplated sanding down the top and resealing, as it's fairly rough, but Matt wanted to preserve the little bit of remaining paint.  There is only one chair left of the original four, we put it in the corner of the room.


The only new purchase for this room, other than shelving unit materials, was the area rug.  Oh!  That's not true.  I replaced the window air conditioning unit with a floor standing model.

I'm not quite done here yet.  I painted two chairs burgundy, but need to paint the other pair to match.  I also bought fabric to reupholster the cushions.   I need to wait for warm weather.


There was no wallpaper in the living room, thank goodness.  There was a wood paneled featured wall which we previously painted light yellow, when we painted the kitchen cabinets years ago, to lighten the room.  I wanted to remove the paneling and replace it with drywall, but that effort and expense was the one thing Matt protested vehemently during the entire remodel, so I painted it the same color as the rest of the walls.  It doesn't stand out as a feature wall anymore and isn't noticeable as dissimilar unless one is attentive.  I can live with it.




The biggest challenge in this room was finding a lamp for the end table next to the sofa.  The end table is, really, rather short, but it was made by Matt's father from a piece of black walnut milled by his grandfather, so is irreplaceable.  The short, narrow table means I need a tall, narrow, lamp.  I looked, and looked, and looked, then one day Matt text me a picture from a resale shop.  Perfect (except for the 70s shade).


My big splurge in the living room was on lampshades.  I custom ordered, to my specific measurements, new, white, lampshades for both lamps.  It was worth every penny.


The hallway is, well, a hallway, and not at all glamorous.  I painted the walls the same color as the kitchen, dining, and living rooms.  I ripped out the old baseboard and installed new because the previous painter didn't prep properly and I couldn't stand the thought of stripping and sanding.


The only room left to remodel is the bathroom.  I'm still thinking about what to do there.

Odds and ends and freezing

The English Cottage Kitchen is back in my studio to have its roof thatched.  This time I used a coir mat as a base and am gluing the coconut fibers over that.  It is a very messy job, and very burny ouchy, as I'm using a hot glue gun.


Before the holiday break I took my paint chips to the yarn store to purchase yarn in my new reno colors.  A friend turned the yarn into this...


It was supposed to be mainly teal but ended up mainly neutral because the teal and berry yarns were a slightly lighter weight than the neutrals.  I did know to check the labels to make sure they were the same there, but did not know to compare the actual yarns.  No matter, I love it, it looks fantastic in my living room, and it's long enough to cover my tall husband without his feet poking out the bottom.

I also got a hat, scarf, and stocking, because she was on a roll and bored.  Another co-worker got a hat too.

Nothing else has gone on in the home reno, and I feel a bit guilty for not stripping wallpaper in the dining room during Christmas break.  I would like to have that done before the spring, when it will get warm enough to paint again, but that's a few months away yet.  It's still freezing cold here...below freezing.  Brrr.


Have you ever received a much too large box from Amazon with only a couple small things in it and a ton of packing paper?  Ester loves it.  It's a playground wonderland.


I could make a life sized version of Nancy's yucca plant with all this paper.



Renovation update #7

The arborists were here yesterday. Now I can show you the before and after pic of the exterior.

 August 6th...

DSCN5333 (2)

October 27th...


Mine enemy the half dead, scraggly pine tree has been vanquished.  I wish they would have let me wield the chainsaw for the last cut, it would have been very satisfying.  I did do a little dance on the stump.

The rest of the trees have been trimmed, most noticeably the pines between ours and the neighbor's house.  They were drooping on the roofs, especially in the winter, now the lowest limbs are ten feet above the highest peak.  Our neighbor is very happy!  The other trees had dead limbs and suckers removed; an oak, a maple, and the locust had limbs removed that were hanging over the roof.

You can see the new windows, door and roof.  I like the new shingle color.  Still on the to-do list is new seamless gutters and a new garage door.  I imagine I may have to move a few plants next summer, I'll have to see how the shade loving plants in front of the house fare now that the pine is gone.  We are  going to plant a new tree, a little further out in the yard; a magnolia, I'm thinking, but I have to wait until spring.  


Renovation update #5

 This post should be subtitled:  Keli's misadventure.

 I had plans to finish the kitchen this weekend so that I could show it off this morning in all of its new glory. Saturday morning all I had left to do was paint the cupboards above the laundry machines, touch up and reinstall the baseboards, hang the last of the kitchen cupboards that I'd gotten painted during the week, and install a new kitchen faucet.

I spread an old sheet over the washer and dryer, walked into the dining room, picked up the gallon of primer, and, shaking it while I walked across the kitchen, dropped it in the middle of my kitchen floor.  The lid came off, primer went everywhere.  Based on what's left in the can I'd estimate a half gallon spilled on the floor, ran under the stove, and spattered upward.  Lots of spattering upward.  There is only one newly painted cupboard door which isn't now freckled.  It spattered onto the stove, refrigerator, the newly painted walls, the countertop, the new window, the clean dishes in the drainboard...I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

I got as much of the primer up as quickly as I could, then poured dishwater onto the rest of the puddle so that it didn't dry.  Because I'm short my pajamas bottoms drag the ground, so I pulled them off before they started smearing the mess.  Picture me, in my underwear, on my hands and knees with a pile of rags, sliding around on a soapy floor like a fawn on an iced pond, hand bleeding into the mess because the bottom edge of the stove slit the tops of my fingers open (but I can't stop I have to get the primer up), bawling and hiccuping while I frantically scrub because I might have ruined my pretty new floor, and because the more I wipe the further the white cloud is spreading out.

Luckily, I did get all the primer off the floor.  It was then that I thought to myself I should have grabbed the small shop-vac out of my studio.

Sunday I cleaned primer speckles off all the appliances and countertops, rewashed all the dishes, etc.  Now I only have to figure out how to get the screen out of my new window so that I can clean it, and touch-up paint the walls and cabinets, then I'll be back to where I was Saturday morning.  Maybe I'll have the kitchen done after this next weekend.

This is where it stands now.  Zoom in on the cupboard above the bananas or the drawer below.







renovation update #4


I've got all the wallpaper stripped from the kitchen and have another section of cabinets painted.  I am painting the cabinet doors on my dining room floor, which I covered in cardboard, so only have room to paint a few at a time.  I also updated Ester's breakfast bar on the bottom of the macrowave stand by placing a piece of leftover vinyl flooring atop the wood shelf, to protect it.

Before I finish painting the walls Matt is going to update the electrics for me.  There are two outlet/switch combinations on the wall.  The one to the right of the sink has the switch to the right of the outlets, so that I have to reach over the plugs to turn on the light; I'm going to have Matt flip them around.  The one to the left of the sink has a non-functioning switch (I presume it was meant for a garbage disposal); I'm going to have Matt exchange the switch for outlets, to replace this monstrosity the previous homeowners left us and we continue to use.  Ug-ih-lee.


The roofers are here.


Matt doesn't remember what color shingles we selected and I won't remind him, it's driving him nuts.  They are supposed to have the house shingled today and the garage tomorrow, then will do the fascia work.

I took the day off yesterday to give my arms a rest.  Scrape, scrub, brush...my arms are going to be buff when the reno is done!  I went antiquing.  Of particular joy is my new desk lamp, which I fell in love with about three years ago but didn't buy because I didn't have a place/use for it.  I couldn't stop thinking about it and went back for it, but it was gone.  :(   I've continued to keep my eyes out every time we've been in the antique store, but never saw it.  I found it yesterday in a different booth on a different floor. :)


I also bought a orphan etched-glass cordial, which I've assembled a small collection of over the years, a copper jelly pot which will look fantastic as a stock pot in the English Cottage Kitchen, and a tarnished silver bowl because I felt sorry for it.


The bowl polished up beautifully.  It says Tri-State 24, Ninth Place, 1960.  If a silver bowl was the trophy for ninth place I'm curious what the trophy was for first.