The Cherry On Top

The sheer curtains I hung in the windows when I moved in were always meant to be temporary. I had no idea they’d hang for two years, but with the house painted, landscape in, it was time for to address the window coverings. I turned to Google and played around on several sites, leaving contact me info. The only one to reach back to me was Budget Blinds; Missy Weinheimer. She was super responsive even after months went by after our initial contact. I grew up in a house with mini Levelor blinds at the windows and vertical blinds at the patio door. Because of that I was fixated on doing something different in my first house; specifically I was leaning towards Roman blinds.

20201028_110108The inspiration for my house interior design was the 2017 HGTV Urban Oasis giveaway house.  I was pulling pics to prepare for my final post on that house when I noticed that the kitchen had blue gingham roman blinds at the windows.  I had used blue gingham contact paper to line the shelves of my built-in, so I definitely wanted those for my windows.  I emailed Missy the picture and she got back to me in less than 48-hours with a very expensive option.  Of all her vendors only one carried that fabric and it was a vendor she called the Lexus of roman blind manufacturers.  I was looking at $1200 for just those two windows, so that idea went bye, bye.  I scheduled an appointment with Missy to come out on September 11 to show me other options.

Missy spent over two hours with me.  Prior to arriving she had spent time on my blog.  She had a great feel for my house before walking through the door, but she remembered our initial conversation 20200911_155041and my desire to do something different than blinds.  Missy made five trips out to her van bringing in fabric books, different shade samples.   At my request she held samples in my window so I could go outside to see what would great people. I wasn’t feeling any of it.  I guess I really didn’t know what a roman shade was or how it operated.  In the price range of my budget the backs of them look terrible in the window as you see all the mechanisms that make them function.

Missy never grew impatient with my lack of decisiveness. She even pushed back her next appointment.  On her last trip to her van she came back with a sample of faux wood blinds with tapes.  That was it!  I didn’t understand what a tape was until she showed it to me, but the width of the slats, the valance on top, and the tapes combined was exactly what my house and windows needed to stay true to my restoration journey.  The variety of colors was awesome.  I was able to match the blinds and tapes to the wood tones of my existing moulding.  I was able to select two different shades of white to match the two different whites I used upstairs and down.  Most importantly she assured me she could mount the blinds inside the moulding.  After months of restoring that wood I was not anxious to see screw holes go back in them.

Installation was scheduled for October 14, but FedEx shipping delays due to the California fires pushed it back another week to October 21. Missy’s son Alex is her installer and typically she lets him work on his own, but she fell in love with my house and wanted to be on hand and help with the install. They worked well together. She placed each blind and its related hardware at each window and Alex handled the mounting. He had to trim each valance as Missy intentionally gave some extra margin. Better too long than too short. They arrived at 10a and had all 21 windows done by 1:30p.

I didn’t think the blinds would have the impact that they did once I saw them installed. My house truly looks complete; they are the cherry on top of what has been a miraculous journey to restore my 1924 Cape Cod styled home. My restoration work is finished. It is home maintenance from this point forward. I held another Open House on October 24. Despite the alarming news coverage of the growing spread of Covid-19 about 30 friends, colleagues, clients, and family came through. No pics, but I’ll have a final post on this journey out shortly.

She’s 100% Complete and Beautiful

DIY Nightstands

20200613_152621With the plan to ditch the top and side shelves in my original headboard design, I needed to come up with something to get rid of the TV tray I had been using as a nightstand. My first thought was to buy something, so I started surfing various online retailers. Nothing I came across would compliment my headboard. I decided to check out Etsy, which is full of unique products made by independentEtsy Nightstand sellers.  After just a few clicks I came across several sellers making floating nightstands, which instead of purchasing I decided to make.  Doing so would allow me to use material that would match the headboard.

I still had some bead board, but not enough for an entire nightstand, let alone two.  I could have used the oak boards I had, but everything in the master is pine.  I didn’t want to mix wood.  I could have 20201026_000646purchased more reclaimed wood from Building Value, but then I’d need to join several pieces together for depth.  Then I remembered I still had the original shelves from the 1st floor bathroom linen closet.  They are 12″ x 24″, covered in paint and contact paper.  I bet myself that underneath was a solid piece of old pine and I was right.

I took the four flattest boards to the Manufactory and ran them through their planer. I really need to invest in one as I spent more time driving to and from their facility than I did working on the four boards. I took the clean boards home, measured the space, and decided I would make 18″x11″x6″ nightstands. First step was ripping all the boards down to 11″ depth. Second step was ripping down to 18″ length and adding the miter angle. I cut the miter on one side of all boards, set my table saw to 18″. Unfortunately I didn’t place the first board correctly and cut the angle in the wrong direction. I was able to make the right cut, but now they are only 17.5″ wide. With the tops and bottoms cut I focused on the bead board. I glued four boards together and once dried ripped off the tongue and groove to reach 11″. I then used the same miter cut process I did for the top and bottom to create the four 6″ tall sides. I applied natural Danish oil to the outside of the of the bead board, painted the inside Indigo Batik, and applied dark walnut Danish oil to both sides of the pine.

The only piece left to address was the back. I have so much plywood that I decided to use 1/2″ plywood for the back. I painted the inside Indigo Batik, but applied the dark walnut Danish Oil to the back. Keep in mind I have no plans to follow, but my instincts told me to create a channel for the back panel to rest in. I had no room for error since I only had the four shelves for the top and bottom. I decided to make a prototype out of scrap plywood. I used my router to create the channel. My instinct was right. The prototype was very sound. The top and bottom of the back locked in place and I cut the width perfectly so there was no gaps on the sides.

Now it was just a matter of replicating the process on the actual wood. I ran the tops and bottoms through the router table, cut the backs to the appropriate sizes, and then prepared for the glue up. I remembered to use the “sizing” process I learned from the Woodworkers Guild of America YouTube video. The process went remarkably well. I used my pin nailer to help hold the pieces together until the glue dried. The next day I applied three coats of polyacrylic to the tops, since I know I’ll be setting glasses, mugs, or bottles on top and may not always have something underneath to protect the wood from stains.

The final step was attaching them to the wall and for that I used hanging cleats I ordered from Amazon. I had to trim a bit off due to my early miscut. Due to the width of the headboard I was not able to hit two studs, so I went to Northside Hardware and purchased six drywall anchors rated to hold 40lbs each. I love independent hardware stores as I was able to buy only the anchors (I was able to use the screws that came with the cleat) and the exact number I needed vs. a full pack. I decided to put three plus the stud screw for each nightstand.

With that a picture on Etsy turned into actual nightstands and the completion of a custom bedroom furniture set. Goodbye TV tray.

I’ve decided I’m going to make more of these stands out of all that oak wood I have. They were asking $150 on up for those on Etsy, so Sista Girl w/ Skills my have a shop on Etsy real soon!

DIY Headboard

I started working on my headboard in July 2019 (see From Toilet Surround to Headboard post). At the end of that post I wrote “So what to do.  Use the oak I purchased or create a fully salvaged headboard and use the pine.  You’ll have to keep checking my blog to see how this project is going to end.  Anyone want to lay bets?” The winner was pine. Not the floor joist I referenced, but reclaimed barn lumber I purchased Building Value. All the weeks and hours I spent building the top shelve out of oak and side shelves out aspen were scrapped.

First step was going back to the Jen Woodhouse plan I purchased for her Evelyn King Headboard. I had cut off 10″ of the back for the top shelf. My first step was reattaching it. The only blessing in my stupid decision to cut it off was that it led to my not following her plan precisely from the beginning. If I had I would have had a 100% glued up headboard that would NOT have fit up the stairs leading to my master suite. The seam is noticeable, but by turning that end towards the bottom the seam is hidden by the mattress. After that I went back to her plans and added the other section of plywood it called for minus a couple of inches as I had made the bead board panel longer than her plans. I plugged the pocket holes and then decided to paint the back side the same blue, Indigo Batik, as the bedroom walls. I still had the sample quart, so no need to spend more money on paint.

Since I had gone back to the plans, I also decided to build the side and foot rails. I had plenty of bead board (it was going to be used for my beverage station project) to work with, but I also had two unique pieces that I thought would make great side rails. I had the sidelights from the original front door. After removing the remaining glass the outer frame was perfect. They were longer and slightly wider than what the plans called for, but a couple of passes on a table saw and chop on a miter saw made them the right size. They were covered in paint and peeling veneer. I knew this could be cleaned up with a couple of passes through the Manufactory planer. I used my heat gun to remove the remaining paint from the decorative edge. I only needed three pieces of bead board per panel to fill the opening. I wanted more definition between the sides and the bead board, which I had treated with natural Danish Oil. I used dark walnut Danish Oil on the frame.

The next step was preparing the side pieces. The plan called for 2x4s, but I didn’t want to use new wood for it. I didn’t want to rip down the floor joist given two me (I want to make a farm table with them), so I went to Building Value and purchased several pieces of reclaimed 2×6 pine beams. They were still filled with nails, so they only cost $1/foot. Once I had removed all the nails I ran them through the planer and joiner to create smooth surfaces. I could have left the rough saw marks, but that seemed too rustic for my bedroom. I was going for rustic chic given all the old repurposed wood I was using. I made all the cuts per the plan. I applied dark walnut Danish Oil to them. Once dried I attached the short legs to the side light panels and plugged the pocket holes. I decided to paint the insides blue just to clean them up.

With the side rails complete I turned my focus on the foot rail. The plan called for just one 2×4 on the top with the design boards underneath, but I made another slight alteration by putting what was basically a 2×2 at the top and bottom with the design in the middle. I was trying to replicate the side rail look. The plans also had the design boards running horizontal (same as the side rails), but I decided to run the chevron to match the headboard. I wasn’t concerned with precise cuts for the sides and bottom as my plan was to run the board through my table saw to trim the bottom and miter saw to trim the sides. I painted the back to cover the plywood board in the same fashion as the headboard.

With all the pieces complete it was time to move the pieces upstairs. The connecting of the headboard sides and top will need to take place in my bedroom and I’d need help carrying it upstairs, so I took the side and foot rails up and put them together with bed frame rails. I wish I had gone back to Jen Woodhouse’s website with the bed plan as she recommended a specific style rail. I purchased Surface Mounted Keyhole Bed Rail Brackets from Rockler. Rockler had the style she recommended also, but the one I selected allowed you to enter a screw for security, ensuring they would never come apart. I’m not sure why I was concerned about that. I was excited to get the headboard up, so I reached out to my cousin Zachary (young muscle) for help getting it upstairs.

I picked him up after his work shift. We carried it up the basement stairs, out the back door, around the house, through the front door, and then up the stairs to the master. It took us hours to get the side rails attached. Poor Zach had worked all day and then I held him hostage another 5 hours. I was so engrossed in attaching the sides, trying to get the mitered corners right that I didn’t take any pics, but finally we got it erected and leaning against the wall. Attaching the side rails to the headboard I thought would be the easy part since I had successfully attached the bed rail brackets to the foot and side rails. NOT! The rails I bought didn’t work the way the rails she recommended based on the headboard design. I finally gave up and took Zach home. I slept on the floor that night.

Clarity always comes in the morning and I had a plan devised. I needed to add pieces of wood to the bottom of the headboard to create a flush surface to mount the bracket. Fortunately I had plenty of scrap pieces to work with. Once I got those pieces glued and screwed in place I was ready to try attaching the rails again. I didn’t have the extra pair of hands, Zachary, anymore so I used my 4′ ladder and clamps to hold the headboard upright. I discovered I had actually installed the brackets on the bottom backwards. With all four pieces attached I then went back to the plans and attached the support pieces that would hold the box spring slats. I won’t need them, but I did want to put the support pieces in place for any future owner of the bedframe. Despite the splice at the bottom I think it turned out beautiful; not bad for an advanced DIYer. It’s sturdy and well built. My hopes would be that the headboard always remain in this space if I should depart this life while still living in the house. With the headboard complete I was back to the issue of what to do for a nightstand. Thanks to Etsy that problem was solved. Read how in my next post.