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?

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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.


And the finished look in the kitchen

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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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cabinets galore, and more!

Hello, Blogland!  Just a quick update.  The kitchen is still coming along.  Slowly for now.  I've mentioned my hubby's crazy work hours of 80-90 hour weeks, but in addition to that, one weekend a month is taken by the Army National Guard, and lately, the other weekend he gets off a month has been taken by traveling for fellowship interviews.  We've still been working in the little spare time we have (and at this rate, I'm starting to feel like I'll never have a completed kitchen, but we ARE still making progress!).

In March, we made a trip back over to Arthur to Cabinet Factories Outlet.  After spending all the time pulling off the veneer, I sat back and realized that anything I did to the cabinets would essentially be like putting lipstick on a pig.  It would never fix the poor structural quality of the cabinets, and for the money and time I was going to put into repairing, we may as well buy new cabinets.  And so we did.

We were able to replace all the existing cabinets for $550.  Now, the finishes are not all the same, but that doesn't concern me, as I'm still painting them (and yes, I've changed my mind on that too...they're going to be Decorator's White by Ben Moore).  I'm so thrilled, and anxious to have everything in.  We've been trying to do it one side at a time.  The pantry side is first, as it's not going to take as much configuring and plumbing.

This is where we started.  We pulled out the cabinets and found a few surprises.  We stuck some drywall in to cover the holes, but luckily the cabinets covered everything.  

Again- remember that I'm painting the cabinets, so mismatched colors were no big deal.  The space between the two glass door cabinets was a non-conventional size, and to keep the balance, I didn't want to add a filler strip to the side of the cabinet, so I built a new one to go there.

This was the first project I used my Kregg my brother gave me for Christmas, and I seriously have no idea why I didn't break that thing out sooner.  It is AWESOME, and I've used it a ton since I figured it out for this project.  Anyhow, this cabinet is going to remain open with shelves, and a TV mounted inside.  I've built the shelves, but haven't snapped a picture yet.  Don't worry.  You'll see it sometime.  :)

You might also notice a couple other changes since I last posted.  The floors and ceiling.  We spent a couple days pulling out the FIVE layers of floor, and found wood.  We were planning on tile, but I felt so guilty about laying tile over the old wood, that we decided to make the wood work.  When we first pulled the floors out, the wood was covered in a felt-like paper.  It was dirty, and ugly, and the actual removal of the paper took me about four days in my spare time.

We're planning to refinish the floors at the very, very end.  Until then, they're working okay.  The only issue is that it ends a few inches shy of the base of the cabinets on the left.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do there.  Anyone have any thoughts?  I was thinking of using baseboard molding at the bottom of the cabinets instead of a standard toe kick.  That would cover it completely and make the cabinets look more like custom built ins, but I'm not sure how to do that with the dishwasher...

Anyhow, then there's the ceiling.  We rented a drywall lift and installed a plywood beadboard ceiling.  My initial plan was to have it all sanded, primed, and painted before going up, but I didn't have time to paint before Hubs had some free time to do it, so I stopped at the priming stage in an effort to utilize the time we had and get it done!  We rented a drywall lift at Menards for $12/four hours, and I cannot tell you how much EASIER this made the job.  Seriously, it would've been impossible without it.

Last night we spent some time working on other things separately.  Hubs installed the new water and electrical for the refrigerator, and I spent hours with a pry bar and hammer and removed the brick backsplash.

I'm really not looking forward to repairing the walls.  Removing brick and mortar is NOT fun, and it is not easy.  With tile, you can get your chisel under it and in a few taps it mostly tends to fall off.  Not the brick.  It came off in tiny, tiny bits, and probably took a good 20 whacks of the hammer for each one, and after the brick was off, I still had to pry under the mortar to peel the whole thing off.  Needless to say, I'm glad that project is finished, and that side is ready for us to start on.

Other than that, I've just been working on some furniture.  I'm really into bold colors right now.

The blue/gold combo is my favorite right now.  It's such a great contrast!

Sorry for the long update.  It'd been a while, but it definitely wasn't for a lack of progress!  I'll be back soon.  I have about a million things left to show you before this room is done.  ;)

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