Sunday, July 29, 2012

On the Level

I haven't talked about the floor in the area that is slowing becoming the new powder room.  But it is now time to address the fact that this particular section of the room has a bit of a fun house feel.
The highs and lows of the floor are hard to explain.  I do know that at one time there was a wall in the basement that contained the old coal chute.  When I bought the house there was a large hump from one side of the alcove to the other right where this wall lined up in the basement.  In other words, the floor inside the alcove had fallen and the wall in the basement held that short stretch of flooring in it's original position.

But how it got that way matters not.  How to fix it matters alot.
Dan began by removing the hardwood floor and pulling ALL the nails stuck in the subfloor.  Then came a layer of plywood.

Then came a layer of fiber board.

This was set in thinset.

Latex glue was applied.

This was followed by leveler which did not completely do the trick.  It seemed that nothing was going to get the random hills and valleys out of this small section of flooring.

We were beginning to think it was possessed.  A little more build up was required with more leveler.

My tile guy agreed to put one final coat of leveler down around the edges to feather everything as smooth as possible.

Whatever dips and bumps showed up after that dried would have to smoothed out with adhesive.

Finally it was deemed level!

And so it was.  The tile is now down.  Not grouted, but down.  We got things a little out of sequence but that happens when you are scheduling in advance.  So before grouting we plan to finish smoothing out the walls, sanding and priming.  We are inching our way closer to pretty stuff.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Custom Vanity

Painting the vanity is my chance to put some personal expression into this new space.  Because there are so many options when it comes to paint,  it's often hard to narrow it down to one and stick with it.  As you will see, I didn't exactly get it down to one finish.  My inspiration started with, yes, a pin from my painted furniture board on Pinterest.

It would have been nice to stumble across this piece at Goodwill, but it didn't happen.  If you missed my last post, my piece looks like this.

Just forget you saw Cinderella above and let's move on with the step sister.

Notice I didn't say ugly step sister because this piece is not ugly.  It has some nice detail on the top that will be raised up slightly, the top will be removed, and the new quartz countertop will slide right under the scrolls.

Would I have liked something a little French?  You bet!  But I am hoping that painted, this piece will have a different attitude.  This top looks deep enough for a sink, right?

Don't be fooled.  The front is bowed and the top two drawers extend out past the bottom two drawers. It is only an illusion of adequate depth.  A little notching will have to happen to accomodate the sink but I think it can be done without affecting the appearance of the piece.  (my niece commented on the hardware saying, "crowns....well it is the throne room."  That convinced me to keep the pulls.)

Although black, gray, and white are not my usual "go-to" colors, they are what I have chosen for this piece.

After a light sanding, I painted it with two coats of BM Sandy Hook Gray HC108.  At this point I knew I wanted to add white to the drawers but the rest was still a mystery.

I laid a candle on each drawer and pulled it from top to bottom.  Then I brushed on a light coat of BM Classic Gray OC 23. (reads as white) I took a scrappy dry brush and drew it across the wet paint from top to bottom.  Then after only a couple minutes of drying time I rubbed it lightly with sandpaper in the same direction.

I was happy with the results but now what?

I knew I was going to add Martin Senour Newsprint MST9B to this piece.  I started with the insets on the sides.  Rather than do them in a solid black, I brushed on a light coat and created a strie with the brush.  I wasn't sure how this would look in the end but I knew I could paint it solid if it was just "too much."

I painted everything but the ornate back piece in Newsprint as well. 

Now I had to decide what to do with the decorative piece.  It had already been base coated in Sandy Hook and I knew I wanted part of it to be black.  So I painted black over the whole thing and used a wet cloth to wipe some of it off.

I was pretty satisfied with each of the parts.  I just wasn't sure how they would all come together.  The top was being fabricated so I only had the small sample to judge how well that was working and we know how deceiving those small chips and samples can be.

I decided to distress the solid black just a little on the body of the piece.

Then I moved on to the hardware.  I had a can of dark gray primer from another project so I started with that.  I tried one and thought it was ok.

Like I said, ok.  But I decided to try something else as you can see on the top right.

I painted over one piece of hardware with the Classic Gray.

Then I stuck it under the faucet and let a slow stream of water wash away the white until I had this.

Both had their merits but I finally chose the white because it blended with the drawers and....let's face it...I already had some stuff going on with this piece.

This is it until the countertop is completed.  I'll hold this post until I can show the end result.  Besides, I may have to make some adjustsments.

FINALLY!!!  Ok, maybe still a little premature but this post has to publish because there is nothing else ready either.
That countertop I agonized over is finally fitted and on the vanity.  (it's the perfect square sample at the top left.)

That hole is, of course, for the faucet. For now this piece is sitting in the dining room so I'll have to give you the "in place" shot later.

Fitting the sink into the vanity took more than a little notching as suggested earlier.  In fact Dan practically started a sawdust fire as he burned up his blade.

But the sink is in and ready for hook up.  Turns out we had to raise the scrolled back piece to rest on top of the quartz.  It could have worked either way but Dan and I decided this looked best.  The best laid plans sometimes are not for the best result in the end.

I hope to divulge my plans for the mirror over the vanity in my next post.

I am linking to the following:  No Minimalist Here
                                                   Funky Junk Interiors
                                                     Miss Mustard Seed

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


While the bathroom is getting it's pipes and wires and ducts and vents, I am busy giving the dining room it's new colors.  Now, which would you rather hear about?  If you said pipes and vents, you are out of luck.  It's not that it isn't interesting.  It gets more interesting (challenging) by the day.  The problem is .... I don't want to write a blog post filled with frustration and cuss words.  Seriously, it's not that bad...just a lot of things to stuff inside those wall spaces and sometimes it takes a long time to get ALL those things from point A to point B. 

But today let's talk color.
As you know if you read the previous posts the dark brown walls and faux painted ceiling are on their way out.
I elected to go with some perky colors this go around.  These are my choices.
The ceiling is the top color. (harrisburg green HC-132)  The bottom color is the wall color. (fernwood green 2145-40)  The black and the white are for the woodwork. (classic gray OC-23 and french beret 1610)  These are all Benjamin Moore colors.

Those of you who picked up on the paint for the woodwork may be gasping for air or applauding....depending on your belief system.
For 35 years I have been a preservationist and protected the natural wood in this house like I would my children.  At least 20 of those years I secretly wished I could paint it if only it wasn't a grave sin to do so.  (A few rooms in this house were painted when I purchased the house and I even stripped one of those rooms to restore the natural wood.)  However, my taste changed long before I had the courage to over throw the belief that natural woodwork was like a precious antique and could not be painted.

It was quite the internal struggle but I finally convinced myself that the colors I wanted to use would never look right with the natural woodwork.  At least I thought I was convinced.  But even after I purchased the paint, I couldn't still the effects of years of brainwashing. Doubts about my decision kept surfacing.  This continued right up to and, yes, after I applied that layer of white primer.

But as I brushed on more and more of the primer, I started to relax into the change.  My daughter's words became my mantra, "It's your house.  Do what you want with it."

So, see what you think.  Here is the before and after of the ceiling.


And the walls,

Before.......................The beginning of After
This also serves as the woodwork before and primed but not painted after shot.

  Since I planned to paint the sash black, I primed that with a non white primer I had on hand.

These are two doors that will also get painted black. 

This is one side of one door with one coat of primer.  If you ever wonder why I am not posting more often, just think about this door and know that I am painting primer on 3 more sides just like this one.  Then I will repeat that process with two coats of paint.  Do the math.  There are 15 panes on one side.  Multipy that by 4 and multiply that total by 3 layers of paint and you will realize my wrists are being iced down at night and could not possibly type one sentence.

I took the hardware off the windows, cleaned it and sprayed it with a charcoal primer.  I then dry brushed the beautiful detail with silver metallic.

I also took the bright brassy hardware off the doors.

It is back on the doors now in a Rust-oleum spray called Metallic Matte Nickel.  I like them soooooooooo much better now.

The glass in the doors has been scraped clean of any wayward paint and can be checked off the to-do list. 

The radiator is in it's spot although the pipes still have to be attached.

The final touch up is taking place today along with window washing and floor scrubbing.  Next comes the window treatment, the furniture, and the accessories. (you can see the tip of the chandelier---new to this room but not to the house)  All that to follow as it happens.

And for those of you who are still convinced that painting the woodwork is a sin, let me assure you I have done serious penance for my choice.  NOTHING is forgiven with painted trim!  The tiniest separation where pieces of wood join must be caulked. All the little flaws that don't show with natural wood are magnified when painted. And painting quarter round as it butts to a natural floor is only possisble with one cheek pressed against the floor so that you are able to eyeball a straight line.  I have paid for my deviation from the law but it was worth it.