neadods: (sherdoc)
As I reach the end of the renovations, I'm looking around the home that I'm becoming so comfortable in and think things like "There used to be ugly beige carpet here. There used to be a desktop computer on a cart in the middle of the living room! There used to be..." photos under cut )

In the kitchen, there used to be light-sucking brown cabinets; an ugly, dated valence, an awkward cabinet with a deep blind corner behind the refrigerator, and a mismatched formica counter (because I meant to paint the cabinets white from the day I moved in):

And now, today:

The countertop is hardwearing granite (a color that I'm now very happy with now that it's flanked with the colors I'd always intended); the backsplash is equally hardwearing ceramic tile; the valence is gone, so is the deep blind corner, and a couple of ventilated metal shelves over the window provide a permanent drying rack without taking up counter space. The gooseneck faucet and the extra-deep sink mean that I can soak-wash an oversized roaster.

(The dehumidifier parked annoyingly in front of the refrigerator will go away when the paint stops being slightly tacky.)

There is still some to do. But I'm on the downhill slope of the work now; just details, decorations, and decluttering. (And I've got a deadline for that last: there's a big charity yard sale at the end of July that will be perfect for making my extra stuff Go Away.)
neadods: (clean)
There was a time when I had jars in the kitchen and bathroom, filled with color-coded washcloths (blue=bathroom; khaki=kitchen) soaking in Windex. For convenience it couldn't be beat, although it was dying all my rags Windex blue and an awful lot of soap seemed to be kicked up when I did the laundry. I realized how much Windex I was washing away vs using and stopped it.

There was also a time when I had what seemed like unlimited swiffer wet disposable cloths, thanks to Costco.

Running out of the infini-swiffers and a new appreciation for the bottom line has sent me to the Internet for homemade alternatives. I found this universal cleanser recipe:

1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1 cup alcohol
2-3 drops dish soap (Castile, Dawn, etc.)

13 drops essential oil (mostly to stop it smelling of vinegar and alcohol)

I looked at that and thought "a surfactant and two grease-cutting disinfectants suspended in the universal solvent, and it's all reasonably cat safe! Huzzah!" and went out to make some. I'm skipping the essential oils -- far too expensive for just a pretty smell -- but come clementine season (overseas readers: satsuma season) I'll soak the peels in the vinegar for a week before mixing more solution up.

32 ounces of 70% isopropyl alcohol is $2.06 at Target;* an equivalent amount of white vinegar is roughly $1 at Giant.* A quart of water is virtually free, as are 12 drops of dish soap snitched from the kitchen bottle via cat medicine syringe (left over from DB) So there's 3/4 gallon of the stuff for ~$3, and I'm not dying anything bright blue.

Once again rags are soaking in the kitchen and bathroom. I may try nuking them a few seconds before use so that the water's hot, but I don't know if it's possible to heat isopropyl to ignition point and don't want to blow up the microwave.

*If I ever feel I need an extra kick, I can get 91% for 80 cents more.

**I don't know the exact price because I buy white vinegar by the gallon. M is not convinced by this, but I'm a great believer in vinegar as a cleanser.

ETA: Turns out she's a big believer in alcohol as a cleaning agent, so she's fine with the idea of the solution, but thinks that it would be smarter to put it in spray bottles rather than soak washrags in it. In the long run I may go that way -- it certainly stretches the solution out -- but I like the grab-and-go one-handed convenience of presoaked rags.
neadods: (little_engine)
This post will presumably be buried in Doctor Who reactions and never heard from again, but what the hell.

I have been agonizing over bathroom shelves. Aaaaaaaagonizing. What kind do I want? If I want them to go from wall to wall, I need them specially cut - which wood should I use? Then I need to paint. If I buy them pre-made, they won't go from wall to wall and then may end up not secure in the drywall instead of the stud. How deep? If they're right by the toilet, then they can't be too deep, but they need to be deep enough to be useful.

And on and on and on like a James Joyce sentence. So last night I thought "fuck it. What doesn't need to be painted, specially cut, drilled into the drywall at all, etc? TENSION BARS."

Ta da! The hanging cleaners trick I learned from Martha Stewart (dontjudgeme)

That cup with the book is the one thing that I amended. Because occasionally the ipad will end up in there, that I did nail down, literally. Right through the sticky stuff that you're supposed to hang it with, just in case.

I put the picture of the mail stop on FB; did I talk about that? My other big home improvement was to put a little table, shredder, and recycle bin next to each other in the central hall and nail a container full of letter openers over it. I'm already loving that thing, although I may have to find a really interesting something or other to hang over it for longer shredding sessions. Possibly one of these. (Which is the best presentation of Wuthering Heights I can think of. Make it look pretty and make it nigh unto unreadable.)

DIY: Argh!

May. 24th, 2012 07:01 pm
neadods: (clean)
Just how I wanted to do things - in a rush, ass-backwards, and while my money is tied up elsewhere. *headbang*

The original kitchen refinish idea was to do all the sloppy stuff - repainting, et al - and then do the expensive stuff - new fridge, dishwasher, counters.

Except that this morning the refrigerator - which has been wobbly for a while - was making a noise like an airplane engine. So as of this afternoon, I was 2 grand back into debt, but the new refrigerator is coming on Sunday. (It's sweet. French door, bottom freezer, about 6 feet more capacity, and a Consumer Reports best buy.) I've already started ripping cabinets down to make room for it, and that lead to the next discovery:

The cabinets were nailed into an empty, bottomless frame just built randomly into the wall. I'm not sure if I want to do something with it and stick a bottom on it, or if I want to saw part of it out and put cabinets way up high.

Also, there's going to be an awkward waltz of unplugging sink/dishwasher, etc.; removing old countertop; putting in new countertop; replacing sink, dishwasher, etc. And it turns out that my beloved plumber is going to be out of state from mid June to mid August. Given my druthers, I would rather have had him do the work in mid July, but if that is not to be, then I've got to really rush and figure out WTF I want to do counter-wise.

What I wanted was quartz or granite. What I'm probably getting is formica. :( The counter is so small that several places won't do a custom order that size, not to mention the $$$ factor.

The fallback plan - and I'm leaning heavily towards it - is to get a formica counter now, get everything hooked up, etc...

... and then cover it with 12x12 quartz or granite tile in a couple of months.

I don't know why I'm so surprised that this is falling down around my ears; every other room I renovated derailed from plan rather quickly. And I *still* haven't figured out what to do in the bathroom!
neadods: (Default)
I haven't read my flist in three days, my bedroom is almost a Superfund site, I have chicken that won't casserole or frittata itself, and in two hours I need to be dressed and at Riversdale for a chocolate tasting. (There will be a post about that later today.)

So what have I been doing all morning? Making gift tags. Photo and explanation under cut. )

It's seductively fun, and all you need are scissors and a punch -- but I'm astigmatic and literally can't cut in a straight line, so I also have a ruler, pencil, and coin for rounding off edges.
neadods: (contemplative)
I hadn't intended to post photos of the renovated living room until every last detail was set, but I looked at it tonight and thought, "Yeah. In many ways this year has sucked and blown, but this? This. Makes. Me. Happy."

Because this: )

now looks like this. )

And even without the stained glass and matching curtain/slipcovers, it's beautiful.
neadods: (Default)
I was going to share 9 photos with you, but for reasons I cannot explain, LJ has decided not to link to photos even when I hand-code the links based on previous picture embeds. *eyeroll* So you're going to have to DIY and click through to what you want to see. At least that means I don't have to do lj cuts!

First up: The tree across the road after Irene. The lines it took down were "hot," so on Wednesday Pepco cut the power *again* for about 45 minutes to safely take everything down.

Then there's my car. I had to 411 to get the info for the company and then call direct; turns out it's a little shop with only a few folks in it. I was told to get 3 estimates and he'd pay the lowest.

And finally - the house!

When last you saw the living room, it looked like this. Now it looks like this. (Although this shot gives you a better idea of what the new paint looks like.)

I had originally intended to simply paint the original switch and outlet covers, but then I found Switch Hits, which sells over-the-top covers. Gloriously over-the-top covers.

And finally, because yes, I live in the sort of house that has this kind of thing by the fireplace.

Oh, and that lovely, lovely library? Is stuffed to the gills with stuff temporarily taken out of the living room. But Gytha doesn't mind.
neadods: (otter_target)
You guys, you guys! My sofa may be blocking one hall, my coffee table is blocking another hall, I'm slighly high on varnish fumes, and someone's about to roto-router my guts on Friday but right now? THE LIVING ROOM IS PERFECT. Seriously. I wish it wasn't too dark to take pictures; I'll take some tomorrow without the furniture and Thursday with. It's beautiful. The filthy, stained, BEIGE carpet is gone, so are the ugly, handmade radiator covers, the wooden floor is gorgeous, and the radiators are a dark bronze that looks fabulous with the dark wood trim and the light green walls.

If you're wondering about the icon, it's part of [ profile] redscharlach's Cabin Pressure quote icon set here. Mostly quotes from the last 4 eps.

... although now I think I have to make a Sherlock icon with the caption, "No, I'M Miss Marple!" even though only 4 people on my flist will get it.
neadods: (clean)
They say no plan survives first contact with the enemy - a lesson I relearned quickly when I was redoing the library, which only partially lives up to the idea in my head.

I've saved time a little bit on the living room, in that I've discovered that one of my biggest plans there is toast before I even begin.

You see, I've meant from the beginning to get a flat screen TV and bolt it up over the mantlepiece. As of last Friday I started wavering - did I really want to bolt a TV to the wall? What happens when I want a new TV?

M insisted that TV mounts can handle a lot of sizes and brands, and so I needed to research. I duly did research today, but not on mounts.

On the feasibility of putting a TV over a working fireplace in an older home.


It might be possible. But the stories I was reading were running 2 to 1 that I'd fry/soot to death the TV *or* gas myself if the chimney got punctured and that's assuming that a mount made for studs behind drywall could even be made to go up on brick behind plaster and lathe, and even if it could go up *and* bear weight without ripping out the plaster, what would the stresses of hammering that in do to the surrounding wall, which already has cracks just because I hammered in a nail to hold a picture?

And that still leaves the issue of getting the TV into/out of the mount when necessary.

So, punt.

Fortunately, it looks like Ikea sells an acceptable sofa table that will, will a tiny amount of hacking, have a narrow profile, neatly fit above the fireplace surround and have room for a decently-sized TV that will top out just below the mantle. A table with a high shelf to hold DVD/VCR-DVD players.

It'll be like bolting a TV to the brick between the mantle and the fireplace. Only with the added advantage of being put on glides so I can shove it out of the way when we want a fire. Keeping the fireplace active is non-negotiable.

(Isn't this just thrilling reading? I'm going to try to get in a "Saturday" Sherlock tomorrow.)
neadods: (Default)
I know I owe comment replies; they're coming.

But I had to pop on and say that the biggest challenge in this whole renovation thing going on hasn't been cleaning, or clearing, or even painting. It's been having to fall back and come up with new design schemes almost every day - sometimes every hour.

In this case, I've been refusing to get rid of my current sofa (rather to M's dismay) because 1) it has the main requirements I demand in a sofa (long enough to stretch out on and arms soft enough to be a pillow of themselves) and 2) the doors to Holly House are so small that I had to hire someone on the day of delivery to take it apart, pull it through the door in pieces, and put it back together. And that's the way it's going to have to leave.

M has a sofa of her own, which is perfectly good and looks comfortable, but there's no way that we could fit it in our living room along with the new (well, secondhand, but a real deal) loveseat that's been cluttering up the library.

And that's true... except that Salvation Army just refused to take her perfectly good sofa because it has a couple of threadbare places and thus is considered "not resellable."

After a certain amount of shoving, pulling, tugging, measuring, and general gladness that I haven't painted the now slightly battered hallways, the loveseat is in my bedroom, the reading chair from the bedroom is now in the library, and I've figured out two ways to wedge her soft into the living room. One's a bit silly - it's technically possible to simply line them both up along the longest wall - but the plan to build an L out of the two sofas appears to be feasible.

The library went through about 8 renovations before M started coming up with suggestions, which got us up to about 16 different plans before it all came together. And while it's essentially a room completely lined with bookshelves and plants (and FINALLY some stained glass), I happen to like rooms just like that. It's my favorite spot in the house right now.
neadods: (tired)
I think I owe reply comments to people... which is probably going to happen tomorrow, because right now I'm just trying to catch up on the last 48 hours online. Yesterday was a marathon. I put in a 9.5 hour day at work (I normally eat lunch at 11. I ate at 2:00) and then went straight to AACC for the Tiling 101 class. Which was supposed to end at 9 but was only beginning to wrap up at 10.

On the other hand, it was an excellent class. A couple of women who run their own constructing company (Ms. Honeydo) had been asked to come up with a class idea, so they came up with this one. We were introduced to the tools and concepts, given two different spreaders to keep, handed a 9.25 x 9.25-inch frame, and pointed at the materials. From then on, we added a backing board to bring the bottom of the 2" deep frame up closer to the top edge, chose tile, came up with a design, and cut the tile using our choice of tile nippers, tile saw, and wet saw. I used the first two, but my Daddy used to do a lot of wood working, and my Daddy still has all his fingers because he NEVER went near a saw with his hands. Everything was done with notched stick guides keeping his hands away from the blade, and -- having seen the state of other woodworkers' fingers -- that is the only way I'll ever get near a saw either. Especially as one of the teachers was cheerfully telling the story about how her partner partially amputated a fingertip.

The hands-on work was invaluable, and we also got our questions answered on such home improvement concepts I want to do as:
- add a tile top to an Ikea table
- lay tile on top of tile (you're going DOWN, cheapass fugly bathroom floor!)
- create a tile backsplash
- create a tiled flooring area (one of the "next year" projects is to essentially tile a permanent area inside the house doors to act as welcome mat and dirt catcher)

The project was described in the brochure as a "hotplate" - it's really more of a large blunt instrument by the time you get the weight of wood, cement board backing, and all that tile and grout. Mine is obviously novice work and my notions of freeform Arts and Crafts designs suck.. but y'know what? It's still a competent piece of work. )

I'm seriously kicking around the idea of the next class being one on glass painting. (We decorate, oven cure, and bring home a pitcher.) The only downside is that it's in the morning of a work day, but I could get to work after.

Heck, since it's a July class, keeping the thing in my car after work would probably count as oven-curing right there. The killing heat has come.
neadods: (kbo)
So. You've been hearing a lot about the library renovation. Want to see it?

First, I had to strip everything out of the library (a huge endeavor; you'll soon see why) AND everything out of the side hall (which was lined in bookshelves) AND everything out of the back hall, including the hall closet.

This is when I started losing my mind and wigging out. Especially because as a result, the living room looked like this )

My bedroom still looks like this. We shall not speak of it.

The side hall has a kickline of folding iron DVD racks in it. )

The before pictures were taken after I started clearing out stuff - which gives you some idea of the original horror, actually. There is only a tiny bit of the dreaded beige visible, but look at how lovely that wood in the after shots is!

Wall of Books )

From the side hall )

I don't have a before shot taken from the kitchen to the front wall, but I've got a really nice after shot )

Next up, I need to figure out curtains and hang this stained glass in the front window over the chair )

Gratuitous cat picture )

The living room gets done in August. It gets painted as well as refinished & refurnished.

DIY Post

Nov. 13th, 2010 09:23 pm
neadods: (Default)
There's been a long pause in the DIY/house renovation posts, mostly because I stopped working on it, except for finding (at last count) about 4 ways I can't do the bathroom detail work.

Turns out I suck at making stencils. Also, that neither housepaint nor acrylic paint is particularly good for fine-line covering work.

So, reboot. The new design for the bathroom drawers is this, turned on its side and evened up. At the same time I do that, I want to buy a mirror with a white frame - I've seen it in Target - and paint the frame to match. I'm probably going to use the same framework throughout the house in place of the more convoluted art I wanted - it's simple to mask out with tape

As for decorative decal work and phrases, I'm heading to Wallwords. Not cheap, but it'll be *right.*

Speaking of not cheap, I have contractor estimates for the floors and the painting. The floors aren't happening anytime soon; the painting isn't happening at all, at least not with that contractor. (There's still one local guy to call.) I'm not paying someone else $600 for what I can do for $60.

The year of "taking off" to deal with the house will be officially over in two weeks. The actual work on the house... is going to take at least another year. Feh.
neadods: (Default)
As promised a while ago, illustrated instructions on how to fix a pinhole leak )

There are probably going to be more DIY posts coming up, as the first estimate for repainting the hall was higher than I'm willing to go and the first estimate for repainting the kitchen was completely out of my league. Unless the second contractor is more reasonable, it's still going to be me, myself, and I doing the work...
neadods: (clean)
... is that occasionally it just doesn't pay off. I've just spent an hour repainting the bathroom vanity and now it looks worse.

Fuck paint. I'm gonna wallpaper that bitch.
neadods: (kbo)
Perfect: Picking exactly the right drywall for the patch, putting in the patch, and mudding/sanding/mudding/sanding for days until the patch can't be seen at all.

Good (enough): Picking the smaller piece of drywall because it fits in your damn car even if it's a quarter inch thicker than the rest of the wall, putting in the patch (THANK YOU, [ profile] fandance's EX, I COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU), mudding, sanding, and mudding the second time with your hands, smushing it around until it looks relatively smooth from arm's length. The edges will get sanded again tomorrow and painted.

Perfect, no. Functional, yes. Shower in my own damn bathroom by Tuesday, oh HELL yes!

I wanted so much to show you all of its Art Nouveau wonder, [ profile] jennetj, but at this point, I'm just going to promise you a functional shower, toilet, and mirror. Oh, and clean. I *will* get it clean!

...Not so sure the vanity's going to be put back together by then, though. Eh, you'll have a countertop.
neadods: (Default)
Despite my best efforts, I could not get parts of the wall over the sink smooth. Priming the wall just pointed out the flaws. I kept going over and over with spackling and a sanding block and making the problem worse and worse...

So this morning I let fly with the entire can of spray spackling and pretended that I wanted that wall to be textured all along. It hasn't hidden all the flaws - there are tape lines that will be showing through the bathroom (and the pantry for that matter) as long as the walls stand, but it made all the little issues fade away. And now that the paint's up, the texture looks kinda cool.

So tonight I don't have to brush my teeth in the kitchen sink. I'm really grateful for that!

[ profile] fandance says her ex is willing to come give me a hands-on class in cutting out and repairing the rotten drywall. Tongue cannot tell my gratitude; the mission creep on this job is getting well beyond my capabilities.

Y'know, remodeling does odd things to your priorities. I now *want* one of the cats to hork up a hairball, so I can smush the sample of pergo in it and see what happens.
neadods: (Default)
Never quite thought I'd rec Eleven/Brigadier slash, but I want to keep track of In Geneva by Sam Storyteller. Not too long, not graphic.

And totally worth having in my fic rec links just for the rhododendrons.

As for the bathroom, I've come to the grim realization that I'm going to blow the deadline. Oh, it'll be *usable" by deadline, but it won't be *finished.* I lost my mojo and blew off too much time. My bad.

To try to make up time, I've stopped scraping wallpaper glue off and gone straight to sanding. Yes, this means that there are still thin little layers of wallpaper backing here and there. I figure, if they can hold up to a decade of showers in an inadequately ventilated bathroom *and* remain after being hit with a medium-grit sander with my body weight behind it, they're not going to be a problem and I'll just prime right over 'em.

I'm also having fun with molly bolts. I didn't realize what it would take to knock 'em back through the wall. Before I start priming, and possibly before I start spackling, I'm going to drill the holes for the new molly bolts to come, so that I won't try to sink a new one where an old one is lurking under a layer of spackling.

Yes I had better love the fixtures I'm putting up now, because they're never moving. Yes, this will make it difficult for the next person to live here... but I'm the one living here now.
neadods: (contemplative)
I paid about $8 for a wallpaper glue stripper that burned my skin and worked okay on the wallpaper, but was difficult to spread and came with 1000 warnings.

Naturally, it turns out that $.03 of 50/50 white vinegar and scalding water works better, only with no possible danger to my skin, my clothing, or my cats.
neadods: (Default)
I'm rethinking the bathroom paint job yet again. Instead of putting pale iris or bright pantry yellow paint over the light blue tiles and stenciling in the occasional art nouveau flower, I'm seriously considering using the medium green paint and then stippling it with the light green and silver. It would add visual interest and a little bit of silver would help boost the poor lighting in there. Marine bathrooms are a cliche, but I think it would work. Maybe. Except that most of the accessories are yellow and white...

OTOH, I was intending to use high gloss paint, considering the environment, and I'm not sure how well a reflective paint stipples enough to be seen. Adding a metallic note may be overkill.

In other decisions, the Container Store is probably going to get more $$ out of me because I think I'm going to use Elpha shelving over the toilet instead of a built-in cabinet or built-in shelves. Built-ins or furniture would look much better, but the pantry has proven that elpha is seriously load-bearing and it is adjustable. I think I need to be practical, and it's not like the area over the toilet is one people are going to be looking at much anyway.

One thing I know for sure, I don't want to repaint the ceiling. I want to cover it with something water-resistant. I was originally considering decorative tin, but it's a special-order expensive hassle, and probably too much for a 5.5ish x 7ish room. So I brought home an inexpensive peel-and-stick bit of lino and whacked it up just to see if it would stick and stay stuck over the next few days.

Why yes, I am avoiding scraping off wallpaper, why do you ask?


neadods: (Default)

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