Friday, June 21, 2013

Giant Wall Map

Grant and I used to fancy ourselves world travelers.  In the year or two before we got married, we each went on trip to Europe.  Mine was a guided tour of Austria and Germany, built around dance performances at some amazing locations.  We danced at a 13th century castle... pretty awesome.  Grant's trip was a backpacking adventure with his best friend, complete with some hefty beards and a short stint in an Italian jail... no really...

Anyway, our traveling ways have died down a bit since we became parents... and poor.  (Poor is all relative I suppose.  Technically we were poorer in college, but didn't seem to care or realize...)  But we're still haunted by some serious wanderlust.  For years, we've talked about putting up a giant map of the world and putting pins on all the places we've been, lived, and dream of going.  

So for Grant's Father's Day present, I finally did it!  I bought a map on Amazon, see here.  It was about $40, but you could probably find one for cheaper at a garage sale/Craigslist/your parents basement, etc. The map measures 73"x49" so it fills a good portion of the wall.  It also came laminated which hopefully will protect against some inevitable "Will-age" over time.  (It already has a small hole in it due to Will throwing a lampshade clamp at it... nice.)

I built a custom frame out of 1x4's which was pretty simple for a go-with-the-flow builder like me.  If I had wanted the frame to be perfect, it would have been very difficult.  But I decided to embrace the flaws and imperfections so I love it.

I cut the 1x4's to size with a miter saw, stained them with a vinegar and steel wool wash, and basically nailed them together with finishing nails.  I tried to glue the frame first, but I didn't have a suitable strap or set of clamps so the glue didn't hold.  So I held the ends together the best I could, used enough nails to make it fairly sturdy and ignored the fact that it didn't line up quite right...

It probably wouldn't survive a cross-country move, but it's holding together just fine on the wall.

Grant loves it! We still need to order pins to mark all of the places.  I'm thinking metallic pins like these to match the vintage feel.  And maybe flags to map places we've lived? 

The bonus: the map covers up the huge holes in the wall left after we decided to take down the giant television.  (Can I add, I love being a no-tv family!  We're certainly not device-free, or even portable dvd player-free, but Will seems to be a little less whiny for television, and family time seems a little easier to achieve.)

And did you notice the couch change and new side table?  I'll be posting soon about this room and the changes we've made.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Entry Way Dresser Table

Our little entry way has been empty since we moved in 18 months ago (I can't believe it's already been a year and a half!).  I've been keeping an eye out for the perfect piece to put there.

I ended up going the Craigslist route and got a beautiful mid-century modern dresser!  This was an unusual purchase for us because the piece didn't need any work.  Usually, we'll buy/inherit/pick up on the side of the road... a piece of furniture that need a little love and a lot of sanding.  It's definitely a lot more work to build a home this way, but it's also significantly cheaper than buying something new.  I feel like it is also a lot more rewarding to put in the sweat equity and create something that's uniquely you.

But mid-century modern is so popular right now that all of the pieces are hard to find.  You have to scour estate sales and fight off "pickers" to find something worth investing in.  So I found a lady on Craigslist who buys mid-century pieces from a picker and revives them to their former glory.  She works out of her house, (a beautiful home in West Wash Park area, built in 1892, ahhh), and sells the pieces on Craigslist.  It ended up being $180; not a steal, but what I felt like was a pretty fair price considering it was display ready.

I bought it in the afternoon and Grant took the trailer that night to pick it up for me. (Thanks babe!)  Luckily he liked it too as Grant tends to be a lot pickier than I am.

It has beautiful lines and looks awesome in the space. It's a nice low profile next to our giant canvas.  It also adds some nice warm wood tones into a room that's mostly cool with cream, grays and blues.

I'm still working on styling the top of the dresser.  I've really never had a piece of furniture that was purely decorative... yeah.  Never a coffee table, never a side table; so styling something like this does not come naturally yet.  But I have a few pieces that I like so far.  The frame was a $10 garage sale purchase.  We're planning to fill it with the builder grade mirror that's currently in the powder room once we find a cooler mirror to put in there.

The frame is a really pretty gold/pewter with a neutral cream fabric inlay.

I also have this elephant that I picked up at a garage sale last week for $2.  I originally wanted to spray paint one of Will's big dinosaurs and use it on the dresser, but this elephant just seems right instead.  And Will loves him too.

And then I have this brass bowl that's half spray painted white... I think it started raining last summer when I was working on it so I never finished.  Nice...  Any ideas on what to fill it with? Well, after it's finished being painted...

What do you think of the dresser?  Any assistance for the clueless in terms of styling?!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Laundry Room Demolition and REplanning

"Demolition" makes it all sound pretty serious...  For our laundry room, it was actually pretty simple.  To prep for cabinet installation, we had to rip out some of the floor moulding as well as a laundry shelf.

First we pried up the quarter round with a crow bar.  It wasn't caulked in or anything, so it came off easily.

Then we used our oscillating tool  to cut the caulking away from the baseboards.  This tool is awesome, but it's super loud.  Will definitely woke up multiple times while we were using it... whoops.  (But also, extra snuggle time with the baby Sir... can't complain about that!)

After the caulk was gone it was easy to pry the baseboards like we did the quarter round.

Then we cleaned up that darn, tiny laundry shelf and got to work on it.

We used the oscillating tool in the same way that we did on the floor, removing all the caulk.  Then we pried that sucker off the wall.  Hoorah.

We were left with this board that acted like a bracket for the shelf.  Same deal.  Oscillator, pried, done.

We got a little hasty with the last board and ended up with some torn drywall.  Nothing a little spackle and paint won't fix down the line.  Then we set to work on stacking the washer & dryer.  I was pretty stoked about this part.  Stacking the units meant that we'd have a lot more storage space.  Remember, our plan looked something like this:

The stacking was simple.  We bought a kit meant for our specific units online for less than $10, and they came with simple instructions.  It looked great...

Until we got some of the cabinets in as well...  And all of a sudden, you were in the chokey... (Not familiar with the chokey?  Shame on you...)  The laundry room felt way too shallow with the units stacked plus the cabinet on top.  The cabinet was almost touching the light fixture as well.  Not so cozy.

So I gave up my dream of stacked units.  Boo.  This is my disappointed face.

Because I was really looking forward to being able to stick my whole head in the dryer to smell the clean clothes while standing.  Such is life.

So we reworked the whole room.  We'll leave the pantry cabinet in the same place, have three cabinets on the top (all different widths because that's what came with the set), with a section on the far left for open shelving, and then a sink cabinet below with a custom pull-out cabinet on the far left side (to fill the extra 12 inches that were leftover on the bottom).

We also played around with the idea of tearing up the linoleum and laying down a tile floor.  After 2-3 weeks of indecision and no forward progress in the room, we gave up on tile and moved forward with what we originally planned.  

Next up: Cabinet Installation

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Laundry Cabinet Progress #2

We wanted to paint as quickly as possible with as few marks on the cabinet doors as possible.  So we built some homemade painter's triangles out of 2x4's and some spare screws.

Chop em' in pieces, add some screws.

Easy cheesy.  (And Grant taught me how to use the miter saw to make them.  Raw power.)

Then we set up all of the cabinet doors.  They are pretty close together here, but we ended up laying down more drop cloths and spreading them over the entire garage floor.  We also didn't have enough homemade 2x4 screw stands so we got lazy and put a few shelves on old paint cans... They turned out pretty awful... but we're going to install them so that side doesn't show.

The screw stands make minimal contact with the shelf/cabinet door being painted, so you can paint one side, flip right away, paint the other, and it will still look awesome.

We made sure to paint the cabinet back first so that incase there were marks from the screws, they would be inside the cabinets where nobody would see them.

Three stands for a sturdy base.

We spray painted all of the old hinges to save some money.  I was meticulous about marking which hinge went where... pointless.  I painted right over them.  But I felt very fancy and on-the-ball while marking them.

Here's Grant sanding down between primer and top coat.  We were fairly lazy and only did one coat of each.  We were also pretty lax on the sanding.  The cabinets turned out just fine for our laundry room, but when we paint the kitchen cabinets we will be much more thorough.  

Again, the overdone labeling.  Again, pointless...

We used Rust-oleum in a chrome finish to match the hinges to the hardware we bought at Ikea.

It is scratching off a bit where the hinge opens and closes.  Kind of a bummer.  But still cheaper than buying new ones.  If it bugs us enough in the future, we can always buy new hinges.  It's fine for now.

And then we let those suckers dry.  We added Floetrol to the paint, which thins out the paint and makes it dry slower in order to reduce brush marks.  Because of the Floetrol, the cabinets took a little longer to completely dry and harden, probably 48 hrs.  Then it was on to laundry room demolition! (Way more fun than painting...)