Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dining table and chairs makeover

When we first bought this house and moved in, we decided we needed a new dining table. But we didn't want to pay a lot, so we found a solid wood table and 4 chairs on Craigslist for $100. It had seen better days, but we were all hyped up on DIY everything, so we figured we could make it look nice again! But after project upon project, it got put on the back burner.

Displaying IMG_0484.JPG

This last week, my dear friend Amy and I made plans to hang out. We went to coffee and she asked if I had any projects I was working on for the house. The only thing we were currently working on was painting the exterior. Yuck. Although I'd been wanting to get to work on this table all summer, so I mentioned that to her. She immediately told me she'd come help!

The table is just a simple table, although the legs have a few little design features. And the chairs are typical Windsor chairs with spindle things in the back. I'd been checking out Pinterest and saw a few things I liked.

I really liked the look of this from DIYdesign
But after imagining for 5 seconds how I would paint the spindly back a different color than the seat without getting both colors everywhere, I decided that would be too much work.

So solid colored chairs it would have to be. Then I saw some other ideas.

Country Girl Home did her table like the one above, but then just painted her chairs all white. Classy!

Paddington Way did her table all white, and then her chairs a solid pretty green.

So many choices! I really loved the look of the first two tables, and figured that colored chairs would still look nice with a white/wood table, so that's what I decided on. Our dining room could use a little pop of color, so I knew the colorful chairs would be a great addition.

Next up I had to buy the materials! I wanted to do this the easiest way possible, so I decided to use spray paint! I wanted the table legs to be white, but not too white, so I found Valspar's Riviera Dune. I was a little afraid it would be too sand-colored (since it is called "dune"), but it ended up being perfect! First we wiped the table legs down with a liquid sander/de-glosser, then I laid the table on its top and Amy and I got to work spraying the legs. It took about 3 cans to get the legs evenly covered.

Then we moved on to the chairs. I love the green color in that last picture, but I couldn't quite find anything like that at Lowe's (and was too lazy to check Home Depot). Amy found a nice light Tiffany-ish blue that we tried out and I really love it. It was Valspar's La Fonda Mirage. It took 5 cans to get all four chairs covered evenly. After everything dried, I sprayed the chairs and table legs with a clear glossy coat of spray paint.

Now it was time for the table top! I wanted it to be a warm, natural, rustic-looking color. But there is no one stain that was quite what I was looking for. When I did my wooden crates for our entry way, I used vinegar and steel wool to age them, kind of a gray. Then I added a warm brown wax on top.

Displaying IMG_0452.JPG

But I wanted to make sure this would last so I wanted to use stain. I found Rustoleum Weathered Gray wood stain, and figured that would be a good base coat similar to the vinegar/steel wool solution. Then I decided to try putting Rustoleum Dark Walnut on top of that. I was a little nervous as I wasn't sure how they would work together, But I sanded the table top, then just got started! First was the coat of Weathered Gray. It went on really opaque, which surprised me, and worried me a little. But after it dried, I actually liked it! Ben and I debated just leaving it like that, but I wanted it a little warmer.

Displaying IMG_0857.JPG

After an hour, I put on a coat of the Dark Walnut, and it was so very perfect! Just the color I was hoping for! I still need to put a clear protective coat of Polycrilic on it, But I am so in love! And it really was quite easy!

Displaying IMG_0859.JPG

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

On to the kitchen!

We have been super busy in our little bungalow! First we rebuilt the front porch. Then painted every wall in sight. Then replaced windows and the front door, put up some board and batten in the living room, installed new light fixtures, put in new carpet, rebuilt a closet and tore another one out. The list goes on. But now and then we would do a little something or other in the kitchen.

This kitchen. Ay yi yi. I've always really liked cooking (mostly just because I like eating). But when we moved in here, I could hardly make myself go into the kitchen to cook. It was a dark, depressing, hole of a kitchen. I didn't have much hope for it. Dark, grimy cabinets, a dropped ceiling with a fluorescent light, a window with awful trim (the casing didn't even meet up with the window-there was a good two inches between where the casing stopped and where the window started. So you could see all the spray foam they poured in the gaps), old appliances. It was terrible. But I had grand ideas for it, thanks to Pinterest, even though I wasn't sure most of them would work out.

Let's start at the beginning. Pretty much the very first thing we did after getting the keys (after discovering the burst pipe in the crawlspace...) was rip out the ceiling tiles in the kitchen. Whyyyyy would someone do that?? There are so many things about this house that we will never understand.

Oh, the cobwebs. And the grime. And the wiring weirdness and dust and just overall ugliness. I tried to clean the ceiling. I tried to prime it. But after who knows how many years of grease and bugs up there, it was just too nasty. So I made other plans. But in the meantime, we got a new light fixture! It was beauuutiful. One of our few splurges on the house. (The front door and the bathroom fan/light fixture being other splurges). We used a 10% off coupon at Lowe's to get the beautiful Allen + Roth fixture for $179 and Ben got to work installing it. Which was quite a headache and we went for quite a while with no light in there! The old light was hooked up to an outlet, and other things were wired in through there too. So there were extra wires we couldn't figure out what to do with, but my handy hubby didn't give up and he figured it out! And then he turned it on and I heard angels singing!!

The ceiling was still disgusting. The cabinets were still dark and grimy. The hood vent ductwork was still exposed. But I had a new light. A gorgeous, vintage-looking, lovely new light. I still didn't want to be in the kitchen very much. But I had one good thing in there to focus on! 

Now about the light. It is beautiful. I love it so very much. The thing is, those bulbs aren't very bright. It's not really intended to be the main light fixture in a room, and I had read reviews that it wasn't very bright, but I wanted it anyway! I looks amazing, and in our tiny 9x10 kitchen with 2 windows, it is fine. Later on, I did put some under cabinet lights in to help in the evenings when it is darker in there, but even without them it was fine! I still am in love with it although I would love to find some brighter yet still pretty bulbs!

So this was the first of many projects in the kitchen. This was maybe 4 months after getting the keys, and another 8+ months later we just finished the bulk of the work in the kitchen (besides the expensive things like putting in a dishwasher, redoing countertops, new appliances, etc.). And look at it now! Much more to come!

Total spent on new kitchen lighting: $179

Friday, September 5, 2014

Board and Batten by the Barbers

Bahahaha I love alliteration.

We hardly even recognize our living room any more! We put in new windows and a new front door, and painted....but the walls in this dumb old house are so not plumb. So we had a bit of an issue with our front door. The door is in level, but the wall...not so much. Not matchy-matching.

After a whole lot of thinking, I decided that the best way to hide that uneven-ness was to put up some paneling that would hide it. But then we had to figure out how to do it. Board and batten is very Arts and Crafts style, and really goes along with the 1930's bungalow. So I thought that would be perfect. My brother had done it in the baby's nursery and it looked lovely, so I decided we'd just go for it. It would not only cover up the wonky wall and make it look flush with the door, but it would also cover up any lead-based paint that was baby hand/mouth height (nooooo we're not expecting yet, but just for our future baby's health!) AND would cover up the nasty drywall texturing and poorly done seams. Killing 3 birds with one (headache of a) stone!

One of the toughest parts was figuring out what height to have it, and then how far apart to space the battens. There were some seams in the drywall that were really obvious, and we wanted to use the paneling to cover those up. So that kind of helped us decide how high to place the boards. Our ceilings are about 8'6", and the paneling goes up about 53 inches (about halfway). I was afraid it would make the already small room look even smaller, but wanted to cover up those dang seams so we just went for it.

The next step was to cut and install all the baseboards. We got rid of the old moulding that was down there, and replaced it with plain 1x6 MDF. A nice clean line and even though the room is small, the kind of chunky baseboard doesn't seem overwhelming. After that, we had to figure out how to get the main board attached to the wonky wall.

The bottom of the wall by the door was in at least 1 inch further than the wall at the top of the door, which was flush to the door. So I did some measuring and had Ben cut some wedge-shaped pieces that we could attach the board to.  After those were up, the rest seemed like it went up pretty smoothly. We used 1/8" tempered hardboard from Home Depot, in 4' x 8' pieces. We kind of just cut and nailed up the pieces in whatever measurements made the most sense, trying to get the most pieces out of one board that we could. In hindsight, I would have planned the batten placement first and tried to cut the boards so the seams would be under the battens, even though that would have made the cutting more difficult.

We then put up the chair rail trim (although its not actually chair rail height, I don't know what else to call it). We just used simple 1x4 MDF for that. After getting all that up, all we had left to do was place the battens (the vertical boards). We decided to use thinner boards for the battens so there weren't too many chunky pieces in the room, and I am so glad we did! I was originally going to use 1/2 x 4" boards for those, so they would match the window trim and the top chair rail trim. But I think that would have been way too many thick boards on the walls. So we used 1/2" x 3" x 4' poplar boards from Lowe's. Ben cut those to size and nailed em up, then it was time to caulk and paint!

Except I hate caulk. And paint. I had read that the tempered hardboard, since it is coated with an oil of some sort, can be hard to paint since the oil bleeds through. So I wanted to use Killz primer on it. But that stuff is really, really awful. It Killz you with its fumes, I'm pretty sure that's why they call it that. So after nearly dying after priming only like 1/8th of the room, I switched to Zinsser Smart Prime, which did an excellent job and did NOT kill me.

Anyway, we got it done! There is still some final caulking to do and some touch up-painting. But it looks so amazing, if I do say so myself! The transformation is incredible, from drab and dark greenish-brown everywhere, to light and bright yellow and white with some beautiful new lines in the room.

If I were to do this again, I probably would rethink a few things. First of all, I would have planned the spacing of the battens sooner (although it was hard to figure out without having the other stuff up first since we're both visual people!). That would have allowed us to hide the seams in the boards behind the battens. But now we have some seams that are kind of going to be impossible to hide with caulk/wood filler/paint.

I also would have gone a little easier on the caulk. That stuff is miserable. It is so messy and gets everywhere and is impossible to make look nice if you can't get it perfect before it dries. This actually mostly was a problem on the windows since there are more seams on those that aren't hidden in a corner. But anyway, go light with the caulk and make sure its perfect before it dries!

Our little living room is about 10x12. We used:

5 - 1/8"x4'x8' tempered hardboard ($8.98 each)
5 - 1"x6"x8' MDF ($6.72 each)
4 - 1"x4"x8' MDF ($4.32 each)
16 - 1/2"x3"x4' Poplar hobby boards ($4.78 each)
2 or 3 tubes of DAP Dynaflex 230 caulking ($4.12 each)
outlet spacers ($6ish for one package-we still need to do this and get all the outlet covers back on)
1 package of 2 1/2 inch finish nails ($10ish? I'm too lazy to find a receipt or find it online) (we borrowed my brother's nail gun....not sure how we would have done it without that tool!)
TOTAL $200ish

And one more "before" and "after" (just have to paint the door trim now!)

We sure love it! It is starting to feel more like a nice clean, comfortable "home"!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A breath of fresh air

One of the things we knew right away that we were going to need to do to this house was replace some windows. The windows that were in the house I think were the original ones. Wood framed single-pane double-hung windows. That were painted and siliconed shut. And probably covered with lead paint. As cute and charming as they were, they weren't practical. Even though the author of my new favorite book would burn down our house for doing so, we replaced the four front windows with vinyl ones.

For some reason I'm the one that measured the windows to decide what size to order. Bad idea. When we took the first old window out and got ready to put in our new special-order window, it was ten inches too small. Apparently those wood windows have huuuge casings (in order to fit in the sash weights to keep the window open I guess).

Anyway, thank the Lord that Lowe's took our special-order windows back and gave us a refund no questions asked. So we decided to just buy some in-stock windows and put those in instead. We saved like $400+ doing it that way so that was nice. They aren't quite as "high quality" (whatever that means). But they are still nice Jeld-Wen energy-efficient windows (and they open! unlike the old ones- anything would have been an improvement).

My brother and our friend Mike came over to help Ben put in two of the windows. It actually didn't take as long as I thought it would. And by the end of they day (and a couple trips to Home Depot...we could only fit one window at a time in our car!) we had two lovely new windows that OPEN! With SCREENS! They are also larger than the old ones. Well there is more glass, the old windows had such a large casing that even though the measurement is the same, the glass part was quite a bit smaller.

So a few weeks later, Ben went to work on replacing the other two. We picked up two more in-stock windows, took the old ones out and got the new ones in! (By "we" I mean Ben. I helped hold them in place while he screwed them in. That's the entirety of my contribution...)

Old window on the left, new on the right!

All done! Now it was time to watch some 4th of July fireworks from our porch :)

So just in time for the hoootttt weather, we have some windows we can open WITH SCREENS so we can get a little air in here and NOT bugs. The windows in our bedroom were replaced at some point with aluminum ones so they at least open, but they don't have screens. And there are a lot of bugs around here. So we just need to get some screens for those until we replace them. For now though, we're just waiting on the bathroom window and we will replace that one. The rest will have to wait for another time. (And more money!). We can't wait to get these windows trimmed and finished! That's the next project!

Monday, June 23, 2014

It all begins...

Welcome to your new home! Now, immediately get to work on changing absolutely everything about it!!!!

That is pretty much how things have been since moving in. This house calls for many projects! We had our apartment for a week still after we got the keys to the house. So our original plan was to pain the inside during that week before we moved everything in. But then we decided we were going to redo the drywall, since painting over this awful texturing job would be kind of silly. Then we decided that was going to be way too big of a project. So we went with the front porch.

Well, actually we went with the plumbing since we didn't have any water the first week until we (by "we" I mean "my dad") could fix the major leak under the house. And the other leaks he discovered while crawling around under there.

But anyway, we decided the front porch would be our first project. Relatively simple, not too expensive, and it would give the house an instant facelift so we could see some lovely results right away.

"Simple." "Inexpensive." Hah, this house had the last laugh. Not for the last time I am sure! Here is what we were dealing with. Really closed-in, uneven and scary steps, vinyl floor tiles. Really lovely, I tell you! (I wish I had taken some actual before photos!!)

We were just going to rip of the floor tiles and whatever was underneath and then replace the decking with some nice new cedar. Ben and my brother got to work ripping off the old half-wall that was enclosing the porch.

When we discovered that the support beams that were supposedly holding up the roofline were just swinging in the breeze.

Hm. Problem numero uno. Well, guess we'll have to get some more support in there! Then they ripped up the vinyl tiles. And the plywood under that. And the lovely tongue-in-groove decking under that (pretty, but I'm sure covered with lead paint and full of dry rot).

When we discovered that the support under the decking was also shot.

Very weak and soft. Problem numero dos. So now, not only are we replacing the decking, we are also replacing all of the support beams. Whew! Well, the boys got to work. And at the end of the day half of the porch was floor-less and the vertical support beams were just swingin around. We tried to use a jack to get the roofline where it was supposed to be (it had somehow settled and was a little lower than it should have could that have happened?!?!), but it almost killed Kevin and Ben, so we kind of just shimmied a 2x4 under the roof and hoped the house wouldn't collapse.

This was all done the day after we got the keys, mind you. We were a little worried, as we had to move everything into the house the next weekend. Without a porch and without stairs, that seemed a little scary! Every day that next week, I had to drive by the house to make sure that wonky 2x4 was still doing its job of holding up the roof. Every day I expected to see a disaster, but it just hung out there, holding things up! That 2x4 deserves a medal.

The next weekend, my dad came up to help us out as well. Saturday, the guys went to work on replacing more support beams and putting in the decking and making stairs. And by Sunday, when we had some (AMAZING) friends from church over to help us move....we still had no stairs. We did at least have part of a porch to walk on!

These pictures are of the work they did on Saturday...I was too busy moving on Sunday to take any pictures! But you get the idea :)

This was just at the beginning of the weekend...

So after we got everything moved in ( the garage, since there were no steps to the house yet!) my daddio got our plumbing fixed and I was finally able to get some things cleaned and we could take showers and flush the toilet! Yahoo! And then it was our home, no turning back now! No nice clean lead-paint-free apartment to go to!

We were exhausted after moving all weekend, but were still able to enjoy being in OUR HOME!! The following weekend, the boys finished the porch and the weekend after that we stained it. So now here is what it looks like now! Everyone in the neighborhood knows the drug dealers are gone, since we are in here fixin things up now!

Oh yeah, new door too! Ain't it purty?!!

And a side-by-side before and after, for your viewing pleasure.

All in all, we spent about $1000 on the new front porch. But it should have cost us more. If you live in the Portland area and are in need of building supplies, you MUST check out Building Material Resources in Sherwood. We paid $.98 per lineal foot for the 2x6 cedar decking (and they had lots of 6-foot boards, which is exactly what we needed so we didn't have to cut them and had an easier time transporting them). For comparison, most home improvement/lumber places charge around $15 for a 12-foot board, which comes out to $1.25 per lineal foot. Which doesn't sound like that much more, but when you realize that we needed like 360 lineal feet, we saved about $100. And it is beautiful material and they have a really helpful staff there. I'm going back there soon to look for trim!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Barbers Buy a Bungalow

We bought a house! Since home prices are still low, but on the rise, we wanted to see if we could get ourselves a home before they got to where we couldn't afford one. We looked at a couple random short sales with different realtors before we really got serious about looking. Our mortgage guy set us up with a realtor though and then we really got going.

The market here sucks. For buyers, anyway. Homes sell the first day they are on the market for above listing price. We put offers in on 2 houses and tried to put an offer in on a third (but it was already sold by the time we got around to it, on the morning of the second day it was listed) before we found the house we ended up with.

This house was a little above our price range, but had been on the market for 6 months or so and hadn't sold. So we decided to just go for it and offer a little lower, which is totally the opposite of what usually happens these days. After a lot of negotiating, and back and forth, and yes and no, and are we going to get this house or not?? we finally closed on May 16th!

Is it our dream home? No, but we are slowly but surely turning it into a home we will love. We have already put a lot of work into it and have only been here a month! This house was build in 1930. 84 years ago. It's OLD. And has some issues. The night we got the keys, for example, we discovered a major leak in the pipes leading to the water heater and had to shut the water off until my amazing Papa came and fixed it for us (discovering at least 2 other leaks in the process). Yay for new, NOT GALVANIZED pipes! The floors are uneven. The walls were finished really poorly. The kitchen does not have a dishwasher and is tiny. The windows are so old and covered with lead paint that you can't open them. The kitchen had a dropped ceiling with office-style tiles and a florescent light. (HAD, we fixed that right away!) There was little to no landscaping.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that the renters who were here were growing marijuana? Like, a lot of it. In the garage. They had converted the garage into a giant grow room. Everything was covered in plastic sheeting. The garage door had been boarded over with insulation and a framed in wall. Then they dried the goods in the carpeted attic area. Leaving the carpet full of grossness that meant it just had to be ripped up.

Sounds like a great house, right???? But really, it's adorable. Or anyway, it's going to be! It's a cute little bungalow with a lot of charm (some of which we will have to bring back!). It's got a great front and back yard. A huge front porch (which we totally re-built) which is just begging for a porch swing! A cute little build-in corner cabinet in the dining area. Some beadboard paneling (which may or may not be original, but it's time-period accurate anyway!). A great huge Oak tree in the back yard. 

We've already redone the front porch, made the garage usable, ripped up the carpet in the attic, gotten rid of the dropped ceiling in the kitchen and put up an amazing new light fixture, installed a beautiful new front door and did some landscaping. Our neighbors are SO EXCITED to have some normal neighbors who won't be selling drugs and who actually care about the property. We also had a random lady who lives on the street stop by and tell us what a good job we're doing. 

We're just plugging along! Our next projects involve some new windows and lots of new paint inside. And Ben is continually working on the landscaping. I can hardly get him to come inside any more! Here are some pictures of things as they were when we moved in!