Thursday, January 9, 2014

Oh, Hey there Union Jack...finally.

I have been wanting to paint something with a big 'ol Union Jack flag on it for the last two years...but I kept coming up with reasons not to do it.  I've really gotten into a groove of a solid piece, painted distressed, in and out-- like this little music cabinet I did a few days prior to the Union Jack (it's Tricycle MMS Milk Paint).

The massive basement/garage clean out I've been working on though finally pushed me to do it.  I spaced, and didn't take a before picture, but trust me when I say this vintage buffet was begging for some love.  I picked it up for free out of someone's garage, covered in dirt, and plopped it in my garage where it stayed until last weekend.  I pulled it inside and started playing with it.  I thought I'd just do it with a navy- stain the legs, maybe stain the framed inset (it's the only detail on the buffet).  It didn't work.  It just was so blah. (And ALL of my pictures are terrible phone pics right now... so sorry!)

There was just nothing special about it, so I started looking at Union Jack dressers online again.  My mom stopped by and told me I should do it, and when Mom says to do something, I usually do.  I went ahead and covered the inset piece in blue, and started measuring and taping.  I used the template below, and did a bit of algebra to figure out how wide my lines should be.

Since my buffet was longer than would correlate to the flag, I made my "x" from the horizontal measurements for my vertical ones as well so the flag wouldn't be misshapen.

If it's been a while since you've had an algebra class- I'll give you a little refresher.  This is using the measurements along the side.  Your equation will be:
10x+2x+6x+2x+10x= The height of your flag on your dresser (mine was 22.5)
x=22.5/30= .75

So, when I measured every line, I multiplied the individual measurements by .75

I hope that made sense.  When you calculate your measurements you'll use your own dresser height, so your numbers will come out different, but this is how to actually figure them out.

Measure, mark, and tape.

After getting to this point, you use a very sharp knife to cut out the tape that's on the inside of the cross, then paint.

After the paint has had a chance to dry, you'll measure again and tape off where your red should be.

Paint inside your lines, and remove your tape.  I always remove my tape while the paint is still wet.  This gives nice crisp lines and reduces the chances of pulling paint off with the tape.  At this point you'll probably have a few bleeds here and there that you will need to touch up.  After you do that, you'll be at this point...

You'll probably have a hard time not staring at it forever and thinking about how awesome it looks.  I know I did.  It's such a bold design.  I really love it.

I went ahead and distressed the tops and sides like I normally do, and lightly distressed the front to tie it in, but not so much to ruin all that work I just did!

Then I flipped it on it's back, and sanded and restained the legs in a dark walnut color.  I sealed the whole piece with four coats of semi-gloss polyurethane, and added the original, cleaned up hardware back onto it.

It turned out fabulous, and I'm glad I finally decided to paint one of these!

For those who may be wondering, the blue is Valspar's Jazz Club, the red is also Valspar in Front Door, and the white is Ben Moore's Decorator's White.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kitchen Progress and a Couch

It's been a busy few months.  Work is still steady from the shop, and my house is still in progress.  We're getting to crunch time- six month count down to moving is about ready to begin.  The kitchen is getting SO close to being finished.  I've painted all the cabinets, granite was installed (we got a great deal, so we went this way instead of our Ikea butcherblock.  We still have it though, so if someone's looking for the discontinued Oak Numerar countertops-- shoot me a message!), and I put the backsplash in this week.  I still need to grout, paint the windows, install hardware (that's why the drawers are off in the pictures), and refinish the floors...and the pantry-- that thing's become it's own separate room from all this.  It won't take much though.  A little filling, sanding, and painting, and it's done.

My biggest project before the kitchen was this couch.  It was roadkill...found on the side of the road, cushionless- and it actually wasn't all that dirty until I loaded it into my car, and left it in my garage for TWO years.  Countdown to moving- remember?  Hubby said it needed to be out, so I finally mustered up the courage to tackle it.

I took all the fabric off, and then it sat on my porch this summer for a few days until I had room in my "studio" (aka- living room) to work on it.

Then it started to rain, so I had to resort to shoving EVERYTHING into the living room, making a giant cluttered mess.

It's been a back burner project for a while, but as Christmas came closer, and the weather has become cooler, my desire to use my fireplace, and have my living room back, and cute, grew strong enough to make me push on in the couch project.

I wanted to use a fun, bright fabric.  I chose Premier Prints Ikat Domino Flamingo.

When I finally got around to the couch, I found that it had some structural damage to one of the arms, and there was a crack running along the front panel.  A little glue and a few screws and steel plates and it was sturdy again.

I found a large piece of foam at Home Depot for cushion.  It was 3" tall, and thick enough that you didn't feel the floor when you sat on it.  This couch needed a smaller cushion so it didn't look overpowering, so once it was wrapped in dacron, it was the perfect height.  

I went ahead and paid an upholsterer to sew the cushion for me for two reasons.  First- time.  I was so crunched with my house and other projects that I didn't have the time to sit and figure this one out...which leads to Two: experience.  I've sewn a lot of things, but to date I have still not sewn a zipper.  This couch was a pretty big thing and I didn't want to do all that work to mess it up with an inexperienced rush job.  Because the couch had no existing cusion to template from, a little error on sizing from me, and a little error on sizing from him, the cushion came back a little small.  I was disappointed, but solved the problem by removing the fabric on the arms and adding more dacron to them to fill the voids.

The end result was a bright, fun couch.

I'm happy with the way it turned out, and it really wasn't anymore difficult than upholstering a chair.  I would definitely do one again, but I am glad to have it finished and out of the house!  What do you think?  Would you take a project like this on?

Featured on Roadkill Rescue

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Folk art buffet

Holy cow, guys.  I suck at updating this blog anymore.  I am so.freaking.busy.  My kitchen's still not done, but it's getting soooooo close.  Soon.  Soon.  I took a break while my husband was away for a couple weeks and re-did my master bathroom.  I've upholstered a handful of chairs, and I'm making two adorable little sheep costumes for Halloween.

Somewhere in there, we had a huge order at the shop.  A couple came in a bought a ton of furniture, including this buffet I had posted a while back:

However, they wanted it re-painted in a folk art style.  The only direction I was given was that they wanted the fun colors found in the shop, and that I had total creative freedom.  Let me tell you- that stressed me out.  Crazy bad.  I have never, never, ever painted anything in that style...and this was a big piece.

I did a lot of searching.  Lately, I love herringbone, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that.  Otherwise, I found this rug, and bought it for my own living room...only to be told two weeks later it was out of stock and my money was going to be I used it as inspiration as well.  I know it's hard to see in the pictures I've posted before, but these are "shop" colors if ever there were any.

Before I show you the process though, let me show you where we began (or close to it).

I stripped three layers of veneer of this buffet, filled it, and sanded it before it was ever painted blue.  Let's just say that when they told me I had to repaint it, and in such a crazy style for me, I wanted to cry a little.

I started out by enlarging the design, and mirroring it in half to get it the size I wanted.  Then I used carbon paper to trace the design to the top.  From there, I painted...

And painted...

And painted...

And painted (and CLEARLY did not clean...) 

And slowly...

It was transformed.

Into a crazy bright, fun, folk art buffet...complete with six coats of poly...

and big glass knobs, and original hoop pulls on the drawers.

I probably spent over 200 hours painting this thing.  In the end, I was proud of it, because it'd become my baby...but I have to admit- I have no desire to paint like this again.  I'm sad that the final picture I have of it was taken at night, blown up by artificial light, but it's what I have.  The buffet has been delivered to it's new owners, who are in love, and packing it and an entire storage shed of furniture purchased from our shop (Flea Market to Fabulous) to their new home in South Carolina.

Hopefully I'll be back sooner than later with some more updates...but who ever knows with two kids, all this painting, and a husband as busy as could be!

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How to build a shaker style range hood

So, we're still working on our kitchen.  Seriously.  Longest.  Reno.  Ever. (Just kidding.  We tore our basement out two + years ago).  Anyway, We're finally coming around the home stretch.  I don't have updated pictures of everything to share, but I wanted to take the time to let you all know how I went about building my range hood, because it was something that I really took a lot of time and researching to figure out how the heck to go about.

First of all, when you decide you're going to build a range hood, you're going to need two main parts- a power pack, which is the actual fan/blower/vent thing, and a hood liner.

We went with the Zephyr Tornado I.  Honestly, I bought this one because I found it on ebay used for 1/3 of it's retail price.  Since I'm kind of (really) cheap (frugal), and we don't know if we'll be selling or renting our place in a year when we leave for fellowship- and I know, I didn't tell you all about that either...soooo behind- I went the most economical route to get it done.

I can't find a stock picture of the liner online, but it's essentially a stainless steel box.  Here's the thing- you do actually need this.  When you cook, the grease goes up and into the bottom of this blower and surrounding area.  Without the metal liner, cleaning is going to be a pain.  On top of that, you're cooking over a wood box.  It's just safer to cover it so you're not cooking over a flammable surface.

In case you're wondering for yourself- I also tried thinking of every and any way I could make the liner myself.  Unless you are a metal worker- you can't.  Just cough up the dough, and buy the liner.

Ooookay. Now onto the building part.

The first thing I did was build a box.  I had exactly 30" between our 9" cabinet and the window, so I built my box 30" wide.  The depth is something you can play with, but keep in mind that you want it to extend over your front burners so you can essentially trap the rising steam/oil/cooking junk within the box to push it into the power pack.  Mine extends out about 22" from the wall.  I used 1x4" pine boards (in hindsight, I would've used 6" instead), which are actually only 3/4" thick, and mitered the corners.  Inside the box is a 3/4" thick sheet of plywood.  To find your measurement for the plywood, you just take your overall box size, and subtract 1 1/2" from the width and depth since you have 3/4" thickness on every side.  Don't attach the plywood until you've put your hood liner in place to fit.

Anyway- so build your box, and then put your liner in for fit.  There's a cut out in the middle of the liner where your power pack will go.  Trace that, remove the liner, and cut the shape out with a jig saw.  Then you can put your liner back in and adjust the plywood to the height inside the box it needs to be to contact the liner.  I attached my plywood to the box with my Kregg, and then I attached the entire box to the wall through the back, into the studs, and into the neighboring cabinet, and if I had a cabinet on the opposite side, I would've attached it to that too.  Once in place, you can install your liner via directions it came with, then put your power pack in.

At this point, you want to dry fit your duct work.  You can see in the photo that I had to put a slight curve on mine.  That's because we found that we have a sewer line running at a slight angle between the window and the first stud, and I wanted to be absolutely sure that I'd miss that when I went to cut this huge 6" hole.

Once I had the duct work where I wanted it, I traced around the spot on the wall.  I cut through the interior wall with a jigsaw, and drilled pilot holes through to the outside at the very top, bottom, left, and right.  When I went outside to drill the hole, I just had to line up a piece of duct up to it, trace, and cut again with the jigsaw (with a wood/metal blade).  We went through a layer of vinyl siding, the original wood siding, and the wood frame work just fine with a jigsaw, and attached the outer vent.  I did not buy the vent from the Zephyr website.  It was $40, plus tax and shipping, and it didn't even come with a damper to decrease cold/warm air movement.  Instead, I bought an $8 vent at Menards that has a grate and damper.  Perfect.  Once installed on the outside, I attached the duct work on the inside, and taped every joint with duct tape.

Now, I know you've been seeing the sides in my posts above.  I initially had decided I wanted a box shaped hood.  Then as I looked and thought, I decided that it may look too obtrusive in my little space to have an entire box extending 22" from my wall, so I decided to go with an angled design.  Obviously, this takes a little more calculation and work- but it's totally doable.  For my measurements, I measured the distance from the top of my box to the top of the spice cabinet next to it.  I marked that out on my MDF, and then marked out 12" from the top of it and 22" from the bottom.  I drew a line connecting the 12 to 22 and that was my shape.  I used the original edge of the MDF for the straight side, and cut the angle using a circular saw.  I attached a support bar to the back of the two panels, and used my Kregg to attach the panels to the box.

The next step was the face frame-- where we finally close the box in and start making it pretty!  I didn't get all fancy building rails and styles with this.  I just cut my 2 1/2" MDF boards to the right sizes and connected them with the Kregg.  When building face frames, you want to always make sure you're hiding the end of the wood.  To do this, you make your vertical pieces (stiles) the full length they should be, and your horizontal pieces (rails) the overall width minus the width of the two stiles.  I used two additional stiles in the middle, and did a little math to figure out their placement.

Here it is roughly in place.  You can see the top sticks up further than the rest of the box, and the bottom doesn't fit flush either.  I was only worried about cutting the angle on top so it was flat like the rest of the cabinetry for me to add trim to later.  To do that, I just eyeballed where it was level, marked it, and cut it with a table saw.

After it was trimmed, I added a sheet of 1/4" luan to the back using a bead of glue and some staples.  Then I nailed the face frame in place with brad nails.  The final step was to add trim around the lower box.  I used a base cap shoe molding around the edges, and a coping saw to make it fit around the windows, and to allow the cabinet door on the opposite side open and close.  Remember how I said I wished I'd used 6" boards instead?  This is why.  I didn't have a lot of room to anchor my molding on without it looking squished and silly.  So my upper molding is JUST barely covering the upper seam where the box and face frame meet (where I didn't cut an angle), and I attached the lower molding to a square piece of trim that I drove up through the bottom of the box to finish it off.

And here you can see how we've begun adding the molding to the top of the cabinets.

And here it is with all the trim/crown in place along the upper.

So that's the semi finished product.  I still have a little filling and sanding before paint, but it's nice to have a functional hood, and hopefully if you're trying to figure out just how to build one of these bad boys yourself, you'll find some answers here!  It's really not difficult or expensive, and the look it adds to your kitchen is AMAZING.

And just to keep with my history- here's a little furniture dump for the road!

Onto the next thing,

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