13 December 2012

Item #42

I finally built a folding counter in the closet/laundry room. It's going to be a problem if I ever need to get to the valves in a hurry since the whole thing is nailed down, but I got tired of waiting and taxing my poor brain for a removable solution. I set a piece of 1/2" smooth-faced plywood set on top of a ledger board all along the edges. There is a 2x4 leg in the middle for additional support (to the right of the cabinet). If I had to do it over again, I would install the ledger boards about 3" higher. It would completely cover the valve box and would give me more room to slide out the appliances whenever necessary. I'd also work a little bit harder to figure out some way to get to the valves.

Obviously I still need to work on the face frame and the cabinet, but I like how it looks so far. I used Frog tape for the first time and love it. I've never been impressed with blue painter's tape and have been saving my roll of Frog tape for a project that needed really crisp lines. There are a couple of touch-ups I need to do, but those were all my fault - I accidentally dropped the tape in the still-wet paint as I was removing it.

15 October 2012

Item #69

Getting the girls' room done is tricky since I work during naps. I've been doing a little bit in the mornings before Tom leaves for work. I made a countertop out of two pieces of 1x12 pine, pocket-screwed and glued together. I stained it (poorly) and attached it to a $15 cabinet I bought off Craigslist. I still need to build drawer fronts, but the cabinet is securely attached to the wall. Above I hung a shelf. Under the shelf is a closet rod (I used electrical conduit, which was way cheaper per foot than closet rods). Instead of running the full length of the closet, I installed it front-to-back. I know it seems weird, but with one on each side it ends up being about the same length as one longer one, plus I get the cabinet storage in between. Another bonus is that I can separate Evie's clothes from Clara's so getting dressed is easier.

23 September 2012

Item #51

Another day, another item checked off the list. I built the face frame for the tub apron ages ago but never got around to adding beadboard to it, mostly because transporting those big panels is always problematic (but also because I was trying to figure out how to eke out a little bit of storage with some kind of tilt-out). Then I realized that buying real beadboard was half the price, easier to transport, and better for a bathroom application than MDF anyway and the scant storage I would gain wasn't worth the trouble. I pin-nailed the boards to the back of the frame and nailed the whole assembly to the tub deck. I topped it with a 1x4 with a rounded front edge and drip edge underneath.

22 September 2012

Item #88

I built a window for the transom over the master bathroom door (well, the doorway. We still don't have a door). I used an old piece of glass from a window that was falling apart. With accurate measurements and a table saw, this really didn't take very long to execute. Just built an open box with door stop moulding along the inside perimeter. Then leaned the glass in, tacked in some glazier's points, and applied glazing putty to the edge. Tooled a clean edge and done!

21 September 2012

Items 60 & 61 - Sort of

Clara didn't nap today, so my sole achievement was hanging a towel rack on the wall over the tub. I know the strip of wood there looks funny now, but it will start to make more sense when I hang the board and batten. I'd originally planned on a wooden shelf with brackets and hooks underneath, but I found this towel rack on clearance.

Ta-dah. And no, none of our towels match each other or anything else. That's just how we roll around here.

14 September 2012

Trim, redux

Are you getting tired of window trim posts? I am! But, hey, I've checked something else off the list. Item #63 - Master Bedroom window trim - done! All the usual caveats apply (nail holes to be filled, edges to be caulked, etc etc). Seeing the trim up makes me realize that I need to hang the curtain rods higher. I think I'll wait until I get the crown moulding up before I fool with that, though.

Unfortunately that nice "playing together" scene only lasted about half a second after I took this picture. Clara does not like Evie being all up in her alphabet puzzle.

11 September 2012

Item #52

We built in a little niche on the half-wall that makes up one end of the tub alcove. Here it is when we were drywalling the room: 

We've been using it to hold cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and books - you know, the essentials - but other than another piece of drywall on the tub side, it was unchanged since that picture.  It was just rough framing, not a finished surface. I finally fixed it up today. The back and sides got beadboard, the top got a smooth-surface luaun plywood, and the bottom got a deep shelf. 

I've already lined it up with my stockpile of shampoo and body wash and have stashed the cleaning supplies elsewhere (most of the bottles are too tall with the shelf addition). I left a 3/4" gap behind the "ears" of the bottom shelf. 

When I do #59, board and batten, I'll be able to slip a board behind those ears instead of cutting around them. Clever, huh?

08 September 2012

More trimwork

I'm continuing to ignore the work on the hall bathroom and have been focusing instead on getting some smaller items knocked off the list. I managed to get both windows in the master bathroom trimmed out today. They still need the nail holes filled and to be painted, of course. Even so, I'm checking off #53. 

03 September 2012

Item #43 and #11

The closet organizer is still not finished, but I added the closet rods to the organizer and start using it. It feels nice to have a place to hang (a surprisingly large amount of) clothing. Our dresser drawers are feeling a little more roomy now. I still haven't cleaned up other than to move the ladder out of the way, so don't mind the mess.

I also spent an afternoon hanging crown moulding in there and checked it off the list. I still need to fill the nail holes, caulk, and paint. There's always more to do.

I also finished installing the baseboard cap in Clara's room. I should have done it months ago. It took all of two hours total to complete single-handedly, including moving furniture and tools. I usually work during Clara's nap, so working in there was not possible. Tom took care of her in our room for the first hour, then took her for a long walk for the second half while Evie napped. The baseboards also need nailholes to be filled, but I will take care of filling and caulking after I have finished the door trim. I like doing things like that all at once rather than spreading it out over multiple days.

Tom has tomorrow off, so I'll see what else I can finally check off the list!

25 August 2012

Closet progress

I've been working on a closet organizer for the master bedroom. It's far from done, but here's how it's shaping up so far. 

The center tower will have a tilt-out bin for a hamper with a couple of drawers above that for socks and undies. The rest of the tower will have fixed shelves for sweaters and such. 

The right side will have double rods for lots of hanging space. There will be a shelf above each rod. I found some shelving that we had pulled out of another closet during demo, cut it to size, and cleaned it up. After I scraped off a bunch of old contact paper and sanded it down, I realized it was a 12" wide slab of (what I think is) walnut! The board is way too pretty to just paint and use as shelving, so it's getting put aside - again - for another project down the road. 

So yes, it's got a long way to go, but it's getting there. Hopefully in the next week or so we'll have a place to hang clothes instead of the collapsed zip-up wardrobe on the other side of the closet.

21 August 2012

Finishing touches

I finally put the crown moulding on the two windows in the guest bedroom. It definitely makes it look more finished than just the 1x6 did. Here's a reminder of the before:

And the after:

I may still add a piece of lattice moulding to the top of the crown, but probably not anytime soon. I made Roman shades using a cheap set of vinyl blinds. You can unfortunately see the glue line through the fabric, but it's not bad for about $7 a blind! (I bought a bolt of fabric eons ago for $5, and it serendipitously exactly matches the wall color - another clearance find.) The amount of sunlight coming in is hugely reduced (this room has eastern, southern, and western exposures), keeping the room substantially cooler.

16 August 2012

Holy smokes. A whole month since I've blogged. And no, the bathroom still isn't done. Not even close. I took some time off from tiling to let my hand heal - the skin on my hands is super-sensitive and I thought that the mortar I was using was causing major irritation. It probably wasn't the mortar after all since my hand still hasn't healed, so I started back up again this week (wearing latex first-aid gloves to prevent any further skin irritation). This is the current condition. The vast majority of the tiles that are left need to be cut, so I'll be marking tiles tomorrow. If all goes well, I should be able to wrap up the tiling this weekend!

10 July 2012

 I hauled Tom's old desk upstairs into the spare room to use as a sewing table. It had the unparalleled benefits of being free and of freeing up some room downstairs. However, it's also old and kind of crummy, so it's got some extra special customizations to make it work. Namely, duct tape and a stack of books. My dad would be proud, at least regarding the duct tape.  It doesn't look as bad as it sounds. Here it is looking halfway respectable.

 You have to get down low to see the books propping up the back side.

The duct tape will be unnecessary once I locate the metal brace that holds the two tabletop portions together.

09 July 2012

Finishing what I started, part 2

My mom's been begging for part 2 of this series, where I actually do something with the furniture I've been hoarding. This chair was given to us by the same friends who gave us the desk in the entryway. The fabric was torn, and the frame was a tad rickety. Here's the before shot:

Twenty minutes later I had turned it into this:

I added a layer of foam to make it a little cushier and swapped out the embroidered cover for a suede-like yellow fabric. A lot of people might have painted the frame, but I like the yellow fabric against the wood. I think every room needs a little natural wood anyway, plus the brown ties in to the tones in the rug. The rickety-ness vanished after I put the seat back on and tightened the screws. Since this is to be a sewing chair, I added a throw pillow ($.25 or $.50 from a yard sale) for extra comfort.

04 July 2012

I finally got a chance to do a little more tiling in the bathroom. I fixed a few loose floor tiles and then started on the walls. The top tile reaches to over 8' off the floor. Today I have a date with the tile saw to make lots of cuts.

19 June 2012

Finishing what I started, part 1

This side table my mom gave me was kinda rickety, the drawer bottom slid out of place when you tried to open the drawer, and it had scratches and water rings all over the top.
I used it as a bedside table in my room for a long time, but that faulty drawer bottom with a handsy toddler was a messy combination. I fwas thankful to find that the table legs were attached with bolts rather than nails, so a few turns of a wrench was all it took to make it solid. Then I sanded down the top completely. All the scratches and rings disappeared to reveal a gorgeous walnut top. 

The top got two coats of walnut stain and a couple coats of a wiping varnish. The rest of the table got primer and paint. I also ran a thin bead of glue along the back edge of the drawer bottom and clamped it. Now the drawer slides easily and the bottom doesn't fall out. It now resides in Clara's room and holds bedtime essentials - a lamp for reading, her Bobby bear, and a basket of books. I think it turned out pretty well.

15 June 2012

While my family was in town

I've been working on a long update post, but there is a problem with Blogger and I can't access my unpublished drafts. Boo. In short, my brother-in-law and sister made short (but dirty) work of the attic floors:

In case you can't tell, they look fan-flipping-tastic. I'm pretty excited.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, they installed the first piece of a 3-part baseboard in Clara's room. I don't have pictures of this, but it is just a 1x6 around the perimeter of the room. I say "just" a 1x6, but moulding installation is never that simple.

For my part, I managed to do not much more than applying Redgard waterproofing membrane to the shower. I was dragging my feet on that project because I was nervous about screwing up, but it was easier to deal with than I had imagined. It goes on bright pink (think Pepto-Bismol) and dries red. The stuff is pretty pricey ($135 for the 3.5 gallon bucket I bought), but it's a small price to pay to guard against rotted studs in a few years. Two coats probably would have been fine, but I did three to the walls and more to corners of the niches and anywhere that needed more. I've heard nothing but good things about the product's performance, so hopefully I'm all set.

Now that my self-imposed completion deadline has come and gone (home to Louisiana), I have been slacking a little. The girls haven't been napping, so my work time has been nil. I'm anxious to get this thing wrapped up so I can start on the next great parenting adventure known as potty-training. Yikes.

23 May 2012

Tiling, cont'd

I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped I would, but I started on the floor tile today. It's looking pretty good but not without mistakes charm. I'm starting to better appreciate all those individually-laid mosaic tile floors all over Europe.

20 May 2012

Tiling away

 The wall tile is really coming along. I'll have to finish fussing with the bathtub area (leak testing and waterproofing the backerboard) before I can go much further with it. I'll probably lay the floor tile while I look for the waterproofing product. Anyway, this is the wall tile as of quitting time last night (pardon the mess. I didn't get a chance to clean up because I had to make dinner and feed Evie). I obviously have some cuts to make, but I'm pretty happy with the way it's shaping up so far.

15 May 2012

I hope all you mamas out there had a wonderful, relaxing Mother's Day. We took Tom's parents out to dinner, but other than that it was a pretty typical day around here. That is, we planned to go to the early Mass to give ourselves a good stretch of time to work, stayed up too late and went to the late service instead, spent several hours working on a solution to the problem at hand, found several other mistakes to add to the repair list,  realized we needed one small but crucial item from Lowe's to fix the first problem, and spent far too long in the Lowe's plumbing section trying to figure out why the pictures on the boxes never really seem to indicate what is actually inside the box. In other words, not a whole lot got done other than accumulating rage over such shoddy workmanship from the previous crew.

Today wasn't a whole lot better, but I did manage to get the back bedroom cleared out and vacuumed. I also assembled the bed that my aunt gave me (off-topic, but I was not "gifted" the bed; it was given to me. "Gift" should be used as a noun, not a verb, despite the dictionary's acknowledgment of its use as a verb in the 17th century. Seriously, I want to scream every time I see that.) We'll move our bed's mattress to that room and upgrade our mattress. We've got three weeks until six members of my family arrive, and I'm trying not to stress out about it. I'm trying to get an operational bathroom for them so we don't have 8 people sharing one bathroom without a door. I mean, really. A bathroom with a door? That's the kind of luxury I'm trying to afford my guests!

This picture has nothing to do with the text above. I love having a little bouquet of peonies by the door, especially since they were clipped from my own garden, and I thought this post could use a little bit of prettiness.

10 May 2012

Repaying the (sleep) deficit

The kids have been on a sleep deficit since we left for New York a few days ago. They both have a little touch of a cold and have been cranky and unwilling to settle down for the night much less a nap. Today the exhaustion finally caught up with them and I had four hours of uninterrupted worktime. I didn't let the lack of floor tiles stop my progress in the bathroom. I got more backerboard up on the walls and started the wall tiles, leaving a small gap at the bottom for the floor tile to slide underneath for a clean edge without having to cut any tile.

This is the wall behind the toilet. Even if I don't get the entire bathroom done before my family comes, I want to at least be able to install the toilet, so that side of the room is top priority. Plus, since this is my first tiling attempt, this wall would be the least visible if I messed up. Tomorrow I'll get out that wet saw and start making some cuts!

Indecision 2012

Like every good Cannon girl, I change my mind. A lot. Indecision followed by second guessing  is a way of life. Instead of this tile:

for the hall bath's floors, I decided to get this tile:

I like the idea of the pinwheel tile, but on a floor I much prefer the hex. I had settled on the pinwheel tile originally because Tom liked it better. Then I realized that Tom doesn't notice anything decor-wise unless I point it out to him specifically. Unfortunately, the hex tile is special order. I put in the order yesterday and it should get here by May 21. The bathroom is starting to come together!

28 April 2012

The vanity

You're going to think I'm crazy, but there's a plan. It'll all turn out alright in the end. This is the dresser I bought to turn into a vanity for the hall bathroom. Before:

And after (not really totally done, since I need to make the cutout for the sink and modify the drawers to accommodate the plumbing):

Tom said it "looks like an old lady color." Whatever, buddy. That must be the hippest old lady on the block. Finally, a Cannon girl that's not afraid of color! Even if it is an old lady color.

26 April 2012

Quick fix

It's still got a ways to go, but this 15-minute fix-up is a vast improvement. Here's how the area by the front door looked before:

And here it is after:

I need to retrieve the desk drawers and find a picture for the gold frame, and the lamp is just for looks because there are no outlets there yet. It's not much but having something prettier than a blank wall and random garden supplies when I come down the stairs is a wonderful change.

20 April 2012

Yeah, about that A#1 priority...

Remember when I said that getting the attic flooring done was A-#1 priority? It has barely been touched since I wrote that. I took a break from it for one day because my knees, ankles, and back were achy. Clara's hardly napped all week, so I've tried to occupy my time with smaller tasks that won't get me particularly dirty (so I don't have to change clothes and spend 20 minutes washing up so I can play with her). As a result, I managed to paint the bathroom and get the sconces installed.

Yes, I realize I'll need to remove the plastic on the shades. Protecting them until the bathroom is done!

It's hard to tell in the photo, but it's a pretty green-grey color called Prairie Sage. I found two matching gallons in the half-price mistints at Walmart and decided that was enough of a sign for me.

For somebody who's not overly fond of green, I sure am using a lot of green paint in our house. I wonder what the mistint gods have in mind for the vanity.

16 April 2012

Loft flooring

I promised details about the current project, and even though it's still not done I'll share. Ages ago we pulled up a bunch of the original pine plank subfloor from the first floor. It's been so long I can't even remember why we ripped it out, but we saved it knowing we'd reuse it in the attic. Hauling the wood takes a long time, in part because the contractors decided that our relatively neat stack of flooring downstairs was the perfect place to throw dimensional lumber, unrolled batts of insulation, old shelving, and other miscellany that still had 3" nails hanging out of it. My neat stack turned into a jumbled tangled mess with no organization - they didn't even bother laying it all in the same direction. On the plus side, that big mess is slowly disappearing as I install the floors.

I'm only about a third of the way done, but I'm loving them so far! They'll never have that perfect glassy gym-floor shine, but I'd take these nail-pocked 100-year-old floors over that any day!

I have been using my 16-gauge finish nailer to nail them down, which means I have to follow up with a hammer and nailset to make sure the nails are countersunk. Yes, a flooring nailer would be faster, but I don't want to buy yet another expensive nailer. I'm keeping an eye out for one on Craigslist (since I don't think I'll want to install the floors downstairs this way). Renting such a small piece of equipment for a few days costs about the same as buying the darn thing to begin with. Finishing the floor installation is A-#1 priority for the week's to-do list.

10 April 2012

Details to follow...

I didn't want to post until I had the project completed, but here's a sneak peak at what I've been up to for the past week or so:

You have no idea how happy this little bit of progress has made me. Seriously.

02 April 2012

A spring giveaway!

To celebrate her new line of (adorable) baby and child products, my sister is hosting a giveaway on her facebook page. Here's a look at what you could win!

1. Sidewalk chalk paint (with paintbrushes)
2. Chenille bunny
3. Chenille bunny applique onesie or kimono-style top
4. Cotton muslin carrying bag

If you know a baby that would look sooooo cute in that onesie while chewing on a bunny ear, head on over to facebook and like Azalea Street Designs for all the details and to be entered in the giveaway!

30 March 2012

Looking up

Clara's room is still lacking baseboards, but we decided to move her in anyway. The first night was rough but we stuck it out. One she realized we were serious about not coming back in there to get her, subsequent nights have been fine. However, this has meant that I'm unable to work in the adjacent bathroom during her nap, which has always been my prime working time. D'oh! 

I've decided to make the best of it and work on the attic room instead, which has been sitting at 65% completion for two years. The people my in-laws hired to do the drywall did a simply awful job at it. I knew it was bad before, but it's even worse than I thought. Only about half of the seams were sanded, and the ones that were sanded had left the drywall tape exposed. It took all week, but I finally finished the mudding and sanding. I even got about a quarter of the priming complete today. I don't have any pictures of the progress, but here are a few inspiration images.

Enough white to keep it light, enough color to be cheery.   

Definitely doing a whitewashed paneled wall. Love the soft colors, too.

Bright and cheerful. We've planned for recessed shelves like these.

I believe this is a Martha Stewart room. Love the mismatched beds and spreads.

Martha's own attic craft room. What could be more perfect?

 More white on white. I love the paneling here, too, but I'll probably only do it on the gable-end walls.

Love this little trundle. Can't you just see a couple of babies curled up here for a nap?