As Seen In My Mind’s Eye

I love it when a vision comes to fruition exactly as I saw it in my mind.  I completed the 1st floor bathroom medicine cabinet project, a project that began with a vision when I walked past a $15 salvage cabinet door at Building Value over a year ago.  The original cabinet was missing the door and shelves, paint was peeling off, I thought it was trash, so it was pitched when we demoed down to the studs.  About a month after demo I saw #NicoleCurtis from Rehab Addict restore a cabinet in similar shape and I kicked myself from throwing mine away.  So what was I going to do with the approx. 25″ x 25″ framed out square in my bathroom wall.

20171119_210039.jpgI was looking for doors when I saw a pair of what was once  glass cabinet doors on a built-in.  Building Valu really didn’t want to sell just one, but I talked them into it.  Instantly, I had the plan in my mind.  The cabinet door would be the mirror mounted to barn door track that would slide open to reveal shelves of the medicine cabinet.  I saw the ending, now I just had to get there.

The door had the old school wavy glass in it, which I removed and gave to Architectural Art Glass when they installed my restored stain glass window.  The first thing I had to do was trim the door down.  Hard to tell from picture since I didn’t capture the entire door, but I could tell from where the rollers were inset in the wood the door ran vertical (it’s not a perfect square) instead of horizontal.  Due to space limits I needed to go horizontal, so the thicker side had to be cut down to make all sides uniform.  I didn’t own a table saw and had never heard of WavePool at that time so my former neighbor cut it down for me.  It sat for several months after that first step.

The tile work was finished, I had started taking my shop classes, so now was the time to focus on the medicine cabinet again.  Next step was filling the back of the opening, which was the drywall from the guest bedroom.  I took a thin piece of MDF board I had leftover from the kitchen remodel project I did, covered it with the motivational peel and stick paper I used on the closet shelves, and used construction adhesive to attach it to the drywall.

I purchased melamine shelf components from Home Depot to create my kitchen and 1st floor bath linen closet shelves.  I had a lot of scraps left that I knew would be great pieces to create the frame of the cabinet.  I only needed an approx 4″ width, so I knew I’d need to drill holes on one side for the pegs that would hold the shelf.  The drill press at the Wood Shop made quick work of that.  With the holes drilled I returned home and ripped the four pieces I needed to create the frame.  I bought iron on laminate for the exposed edges and proceeded to nail the four pieces together.  I don’t have pictures of the finished frame as I managed to shoot about a 1/4″ of a nail into my left flipping finger knuckle.  I took a break from the project again until the swelling went down.

The inside frame was not going to be enough.  The opening still look unfinished, so the next step was trimming it out.  For that I took the new pine I had bought for the built-in, but didn’t use and took it to the Wood Shop and planed it down until it was only about a 1/4″ thick.  I then mitered the ends, prime painted it, and nailed it to the box frame.  I filled in the nail holes and then painted it Incredible White to match the walls.  Big thanks to Scotti at the Wood Shop for giving me a quick tutorial on how to measure appropriately to maintain the 1/4″ reveal I wanted around the frame.

Now back to that cabinet door.  First step was getting the original finish off it.  For that I used the Wood Shop’s belt sander.  I then drilled the holes for the barn door hardware and primed it.  I thought I had bought the Tricorn Black (another color from the 2017 HGTV Urban Oasis Giveaway), but I hadn’t so I gave it extra time to dry and turned my focus on the barn door track.  Months prior I had purchased a Smart Standard 5ft mini barn door kit from Amazon without measuring or really knowing how these things worked.  Well it turns out the length of your rail should be twice the length of your door.  I should have ordered a 6 ft length kit, but too much time had passed and I figured it would be close, but workable.

The bigger problem I had was my kit was for hanging a door on furniture.  The holes were pre-drilled and not spaced to hit wall studs, which I needed to do.  I decided to 20190504_134801.jpgsearch Google for tracks that weren’t pre-drilled and I found one on Signature Hardware.  That one track was the same price as the entire kit, but I decided to get it as it also allowed me purchase a slightly longer length.  I measured for the studs and took the track to the Wood Shop to use their drill press to make the holes.

Hanging the track gave me fits.  I used my trusty Walabot (love that gadget) to find the studs and even tested the location.  One would assume a stud would run top to bottom.  The two locations above the opening did not, which I did not discover until I went to drill in the 4″ lag bolts I bought (I didn’t use the bolts that came with the Smart Standard kit as they would not have been long enough).

Turned out I did not give myself enough clearance for the door to roll without hitting the light fixture, so I had to lower the rail.  After patching the four holes I made, I moved it down 1″ and the stud was gone.  I patched again lowered it a bit more.  Once hung I grabbed the primed door to try it out.  The vision was coming to light until I realized the rail stoppers from the kit would not fit on the new rail, it was wider.  I needed to figure out something to stop the mirror from rolling off the end.  The track had two holes covered with plastic plugs that were made for the powder coat process.  I removed one plug, which was in a perfect location and used a leftover spacer from the TV wall mount unit I bought.  Perfect solution.

It was down hill from that point.  I applied two coats of the black paint, let it dry a couple of days and installed the door pull I found on Build.com.  I then took the frame to another local small business in my hood, Southern Ohio Glass, who cut me three glass shelves and filled the frame with a beveled mirror.  It was absolutely beautiful and 100% what I envisioned when I walked past the door over a year ago in the salvage store.

The only glitch I had to fix was the door swung because like the stoppers, the door guides that came with the kit would work with my application.  Back to Google where I searched for door guides and I found on Amazon exactly what I was looking for, a small wall mount barn door guide.  I found the stud, mounted the guide, really showed off, by adding a rubber stopper on the side of door that will hit the wall and with that what was in my mind’s eye was a reality.  My guest bathroom decor is a tribute to all the people in my life that shared their positive spirits and words of encouragement on my journey to restore this very special house.  This is my coolest upcycle/salvage project to date!  All the leftover barn door kit parts will be put to use on my future master bed beverage station.

 

 

All But One

My beginner wood shop classes has lit a fire.  I got all, but one of the doors in my master suite restored and hung.  After finishing the linen closet and seeing how easy it cleaned up, I decided to pull the rest out as I thought they were all in pretty good condition and would be a quick project….or so I thought.  The one remaining door, water closet, will need to be painted.  It was a salvage door I purchased from Cincinnati Reuse Center already painted and not in the best condition.  For that reason it will be the only painted door in the master suite.

20190413_003808The last storage closet door was graffiti filled and carved into. The carving was too deep to sand out.  It was filled with an ink that did not budge with denatured alcohol or graffiti remover.  Unfortunately it’s the side of the door that is exposed to the room.  Another “character” mark in testimony to what my home has survived.

First step was cleaning the surface dust off with Murphy Oil Soap water.  The inside of the door was a piece of cake.  It just needed the Howard’s Feed-N-Wax.  In addition to the carvings the other side had graffiti and what looked to be dried egg.  The denatured alcohol and 000 steel wool removed the graffiti and egg with relative ease.  I followed it with the Howard’s Restor-A-Finish Maple-Pine applied with 0000 steel wool and then the Feed-N-Wax.

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The master closet door was another salvage door I got from Building Value Cincinnati.  It only needed cleaning and waxing before hanging with the pocket door hardware.  Trimming out the pocket door was the challenge.  Fortunately I had the door jamb from the kitchen swinging door.  The door was long gone, but I saved the jamb during demo.  The kitchen was the only room on first floor with the lighter stained doors.  The craftsmen that built my home actually stained the kitchen side of the jam light and the dining room side dark.  I had to rip that piece down to the right width, so I cut from the dark side.  I then sanded and applied Zar Early American stain to match the door.

This door had a regular door knob, but I was able to find two vintage knobs with face plates similar to the originals on Ebay.  I drilled an indentation in the jamb, so the latch recessed into it allowing the door to completely close.  It will never lock.

The door separating the bedroom from the bath was also fairly easy.  There was a small patch of graffiti on each side that I was able to remove with denatured alcohol.  Once removed this door just needed Howard’s Feed-N-Wax.  The jamb for this door was never removed and the door didn’t close because the hinges were rusted, so I didn’t know the jamb and door were not aligned.  My first finish carpenter could/should have caught it when he was installing the trim in the bathroom, so because he didn’t I will live with the gap.  More character of an old home.  The door still didn’t close due to the wood threshold that was on the floor.  I took it up and considered not putting it back, but their was obvious discoloration at that spot.  I took the piece to the Wood Shop and used their planer to reduce the thickness.  Already putting that membership to good use.

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The one thing I’ve noticed is that the short hall to the bathroom is dark.  I should 20190416_211931have put a light on the outside of the closet.  I believe it will be possible to add, but for now I’m placing my favorite lamp in the corner.  I bought that lamp for my first apartment,outside of school, for a short lived job I had in Detroit.  I really didn’t have a place for it, until now.  I will purchase a motion sensor outlet (asked the Google, found it on Amazon), so it will just come on when I walk past.

The last door, laundry room, was the most challenging.  This space was a small closet that I enlarged to accommodate the washer and dryer.  The original door was only 5′ tall, in great shape, but I couldn’t see myself stooping every time I wanted to do laundry.  20190408_192417Once again I was able to find the perfect door, in its jamb, at Building Value Cincinnati (I bartered the original for it, so it was practically free).  It was obvious the door had been in a fire.  It reeked of smoke. One side was more severe than the other; the years of varnish/finish actually blistered, which probably protected the door.  I decided to sand this side of the door vs. stripping.  No pros or cons, I just thought sanding would be faster, which proved to be correct.  I had the door sanded, cleaned, and stained with the Zar Stain within an hour.

In hindsight I should have done the denatured alcohol step before applying the stain, but I just assumed this door was going to be slightly darker than the others based on the other side.  Turns out that darkness was just soot as when I wiped it with my denatured alcohol soaked steel wool it revealed a much lighter door, same shade as others.  With the small wipe I was forced to clean the entire door, which used up a few pieces of steel wool.  What came up was a mixture of soot and old varnish, but once all removed the door was beautiful.  I used the Howard’s Restor-a-Finish Maple-Pine and once hung rubbed on a coat of Howard’s Feed-N-Wax.  I was able to use the original knob and face plate.

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Here’s a warning and shared lesson learned.  I worked on these doors three days in a row, working until 2-3 in the morning the first two nights.  I have not suffered any serious injuries while working on my house, but with the laundry room door I came very close to loosing my left eye.

Hanging doors by yourself is easy when you separate the hinges.  I have been soaking my rusty hinges in vinegar (see YouTube, a DIYers Resource post) and have successfully been able to remove the pins.  The pins on the laundry room door put up a fight.  I used vice grips and got the bottom knob off, but the pin, even though the hinge had movement, wouldn’t come out.  It was about 1 am and I got the NOT so brilliant idea of clamping the hinge to a pallet (I need to install the vice grip I bought for my bench) so I could use a screwdriver and a small sledge hammer to tap it out.  Hand on screwdriver and some pretty hard whacks and nothing.  I released the screw driver and double fisted the hammer and came down as hard as I could.  The screwdriver ricocheted out and somehow flipped up and went straight up my left nostril.  Instant nose bleed, no geyser.  My hands were filthy and I had no clean rags in basement, so I cupped my hands under my nose to minimize the trail of blood to my kitchen where I washed my hands and grabbed paper towels.

It took about 30 minutes to get the bleeding under control and the leech-like clots to stop.  My face was aching, but I was bond and determined at that point to hang the door, which I did before going to bed with a cotton round saturated with Neosporin stuck up my nose.  The next morning, a Sunday, there was only a runny nose level of bleeding with less pain, so I went to church.  I did get in to see my doctor on Monday where I updated my tetnus (was two years out from needing it) and was referred to an ENT, who confirmed no serious injury.

First time I appreciated my big nose (you can laugh).  Do not EVER try that yourself.

Dead Space to Closet Space

There is one TOTALLY complete area in my house, the master bathroom linen closet.  I’ve been psyching myself out.  The piles of trim and moulding in my basement has had me overwhelmed, so I’ve been avoiding it until this week.  If all the trim reinstall goes this smoothly I’ll be the happiest DIYer on the planet.

For those that have not been following the entire journey or if you need a refresher, the linen closet in my master bath was dead space behind walls that was revealed during demo.  Thanks to Pinterest I got the brilliant idea to replace this crawl space closet (I have two others that are even bigger) by inserting a dresser into the wall, see inspiration, in my master bedroom.  This meant I was able to relocate the door and moulding  and use it to create the linen closet in the bathroom.  I had to patch the missing floor and frame out a wall to create the space.  Check out the picture slideshow at the bottom of Have I Said Lately How Much I LOVE Restoring This House post.

The moulding and shelve brackets from that closet have been sitting in my master floor, with nails still in them waiting to puncture my foot, since December.  I thought it would be quick pull them out, use my tried and true Restor-A-Finish clean-up method, and nail them up in new closet.  Unfortunately I learned that the new closet was actually wider by 6.5″, so the shelve and moulding would be too short.  What to do?????

20190319_200734Three weeks ago I started taking a Beginner’s Woodworking Class at Wavepool located in my neighborhood.  I joined the wood shop too, so I’ll have access to tools I don’t have and an expert to help me with my ambitious future woodworking projects (a desk,  dining table, headboard, and refreshment stand).  In the first two weeks we covered tools I’ve used regularly, but thanks to Scotti, our instructor, I learned better or proper techniques and I got inspired to start tackling my moulding projects.

20190401_213830I started by hanging the shelve brackets.  I didn’t concern myself about the gaps on the end of each center bracket because there was still more than enough support for the shelve.

To clean up the brackets, I just used Murphy Oil Soap and water.  The moulding I cleaned with the denatured alcohol in preparation for the Restor-A-Finish, but they didn’t look like they needed it.  Instead I wiped them down with Howard’s (same company for the Restor-A-Finish) Feed-N-Wax.  This company makes an awesome line of products.  The Feed-N-Wax worked GREAT, so much so that I used it on the door too as it was in far better condition than other doors I’ve restored.  I will most likely do this process (Oil Soap to remove dust and Feed-N-Wax) on more doors in similar condition.

The closet is wider, so I needed to extend the floor moulding center piece and for that I used a piece of the moulding that was on the opening (door) side.  I decided to not trim out the inside of the door, which freed up some extra moulding.

To extend the moulding I cut one end of the long piece to a 45 degree angle and glued the 6.5″ extension, also cut at a 45 degree angle to it.  I used a product called Insta-Bond, that my carpenter, Tom Milfeld, told me about.  I’m not 100% sold on this product; I’m batting 50/50 on it holding, but it held on this and you can barely tell where the splice meets.

Next up the shelves.  Only one of the two were still in the house and unlike the brackets I could not use the original due to the bracket design.  Instead I went to Home Depot and bought a 4′ x 8′ sheet of pine ply-wood and had them cut it in half and down to 64″ in length (only way to get it in my car, otherwise I would have taken it to Wavepool to cut).  To make the front edge look finished, I also purchased 1/4″ x 3/4″ pine moulding that I glued and pin nailed to the plywood.  I thought I wanted extra wide shelves, given I will only have two, but once I saw the first in the space I decided to rip it down to 18″.  Still 2″ wider than original.  After a dry fit they were ready for staining.  Tip (I did not do and should have): sand the pine moulding after it’s installed.  1) to get rid of any glue residue and 2) that brand seems to have a waxy film on it that does not absorb stain well, which I knew from past projects.  I was just eager to get this done and didn’t take the extra time.

I used Zar wood stain in Early American that I bought from Sherwin Williams for the kitchen built-in.  This was a great way to see if I had been recommended the right color and I believe it is, so I’m anxious to start working on the built-in again.  Britt Sang, door painter/stainer, used Minwax Polyacrylic on the inside of my front door and gave me the leftovers.  I decided to use it on the shelves, just to protect them a bit. I had never used this product, but will use it again on the built-in.  It was very easy to use and, unlike oil-based polyurethane products I’ve used, did not smell and dried fast.  I applied three coats, sanding lightly with 220 grit sandpaper between each coat.  It only needed 2 hours of drying time between coats, so this part was done in a day.

They recommend allowing 24 hours before actual use, but I placed in the closet and throw in two sachets of lavender to hopefully nix the faint chemical smell.  I did wait before placing my contents.  Thrilled with the end results and re-energized to tackle more.

20190403_075552

And Then There Were Two

20190301_111545I was able to remove the yellow electrical permit from my front window today.  I passed the electrical inspection.  Of all the things my father said we could tackle, this was the one I had most doubt.  I have a healthy fear of electrocution and electrical fires.  My house had already survived one fire in its past, so I most certainly didn’t want to cause another.

HOWEVER, although physically taxing (pulling stiff wire through small holes above your head is no joke) I will never doubt my ability to tackle a project like this again.  I saved $1000s by doing the work myself and learned a great deal thanks to my father and my resident licensed electrician that stepped in when needed, Paul McGhee.

Interior Doors Galore

With the delay of the exterior door I have turned my focus on putting up interior doors. I have a boat load of them to hang and all of them had/have some degree of refurbishing needed before they can be hung.  Last winter (wow time flies) I restored two in the basement of my old house.  My father found a video on YouTube that showed an easy process for restoring old doors and it’s been my go to method (see Another Door Complete.) The door in that post has been sitting in the basement covered in plastic.  A quick wipe down with Murphy Oil Soap water and a rubbing of Watco Rejuvenating Oil and the office closet door was ready for hanging.

20190123_012253This was the first door I hung in an original door jamb that remained in place during demo and it does not close completely.  None of the original doors worked properly.  The hinges were all rusted, so they didn’t open or close without force.  I can only assume that the jamb shifted or the door is slightly warped, but it catches at the top.  I will need to use a hand planer to shave a bit off, something I’ve never done, so another new skill to my growing repertoire.  Outside of that the door looks fabulous, especially since it was so heavily graffiti-ed.

I’m so glad all, but two of the original doors were still in the house and that all but one was not painted.  You can’t recreate almost 100 years of patina.

My house has two different shades of stain.  The entire lower floor, except for the kitchen has dark stain.   The master suite and the kitchen has a lighter stain, so I was anxious to see if the Howard Restor-A-Finish Maple-Pine tint was the right choice for the lighter doors.  Home Depot/Lowes don’t carry the full line of tints, so I ordered this from Amazon.  Switching focus to the lighter shade also helps get the kitchen closer to20190120_191746 total completion, so I made the pantry and kitchen entry my next project.  I used the same steps in the video and the pantry door turned out gorgeous and functions properly. Original jam, but relocated and reset perfectly plumb thanks to my father’s diligence in framing.  I opted to not add a coat of oil before hanging it, but I think I will after seeing it next to the kitchen entry door that has oil.  That was the only door in house that didn’t have a glass knob.

The kitchen door had the most damage of all the doors I’ve restored thus far.  Clearly it had been kicked in during the break in as the exterior area around the lock was broken 20190125_165208and splintered.  Someone had put screws in it to keep it together.  Months ago I started  work on this door, so I used wood glue and my pin nailer to tack down any other areas that were still frayed.  It’s a visible scar, but a friendly reminder that she (my house) survived five years of neglect and abuse.

The other side also had a long crack, so again I filled the crack with wood glue, but this time instead of my nail gun (didn’t feel like pulling it out) I clamped it and let it dry over night.  Once dried I washed the whole door down with Murphy Oil Soap water (it was filthy) and repeated the steps of the video.  Like the office closet door this door did not close completely, INITIALLY.  After letting my dogs out the back I pushed it shut and to my surprise it closed.  My basement still has moisture so I bet being upstairs in the heat is reducing any swelling the doors may be experiencing.  The office door still catches at the top, but not as much.

I did add oil to this door as it still looked dry after the Restor-A-Finish.  I’ve almost completed the can of Watco Oil.  While it has worked well I’m going to try Howard’s Feed and Wax next given how well the Restor-A-Finish has performed.  They actually recommend the Feed and Wax as a follow-up.

Having the kitchen door installed and closed has made a huge difference in the temperature in the kitchen.  This process is so simple that I can literally restore a door a day.  I have an ambitious goal of getting all the stained doors and window trim hung before the front door arrives.  Wish me luck!

 

All I Wanted For My Birthday Was A New Front Door

When I received an offer on my childhood house and the buyer asked for a three-week close I realized I hadn’t dealt with my front door.  Several times over the course of the year it was front of mind, but each time got pushed aside for various reasons.  When I finally put in the order I was told it would take 8 weeks to manufacture.  Before installing it would need to be stained and painted, another 10 days.  I did not want to host an Open House with a boarded up door, so I cancelled my planned Holiday Open House and set my sights on a Birthday Open House.

The original door is wood and 40″ wide.  The side lights were built with 12 individual beveled pieces of glass on each side.  Only 50% of the panes were in place.  Early on I looked at having the side lights rebuilt, but one side was too far gone and the cost for just the glass would have been $1200.  Apparently due to their size they would need to be hand cut.  I was not stuck on wood for the door, but I was stuck on the 40″ width.  As I’ve shared many times, my goal is to restore the house, not just renovate.  She was built with a big door, so she needed to maintain her big door in my opinion.

I understand there are all sorts of maintenance issues with wood doors, but to my advantage my entry is covered preventing the door from getting direct exposure to sunlight and other weather elements.  I was willing to go with steel or fiberglass, but unfortunately 36″ is their standard width.  If I was going to need to go custom my preference was wood, which became my focus. I was also not willing to lose the arched, beveled glass transom above the door.  Several local door installers that looked at the door told me everything had to be replaced and I was not buying that.

I found several wood door manufactures on the Internet, but became focused on Simpson Door Company.  I was told Simpson was the Chevy of wood doors.  Moderate in cost and reliable.  I started mocking up various door designs from their website  They did not offer the exact 6 panel design of my original door, but they had some close enough options.  Recreating the side lights with twelve individual pieces of beveled glass was not an option.Simpson Door Designs_Page_1Simpson only works with authorize dealers, so upon entering my zip code on their website I got a list of businesses that carries their brand.  I contacted several, most never called me back.  I had already started doing business with Hyde Park Lumber for my trim and they were on the list, so I ordered the door from them on October 23rd.  I selected the door and sidelight mock-up on the upper right.  Hyde Park Lumber doesn’t paint or install, but they referred me to Britt Sang of JM Painting.  The door will be stained on the inside to match my existing moulding and painted on the outside.  Sidelight Incredible White and door Harvester, both Sherwin William colors.

The door color is my only departure from the HGTV 2017 Urban Giveaway color scheme.  They had a pink door, which I just could not do. Harvester was not my first choice.  I wanted They Call It Mellow, but apparently yellow has fading issues and they do not offer that particular yellow in an exterior paint.  A very helpful store clerk helped me select Harvester.

20171222_141439When I purchased the house the right side of the door, where all but two of the 12 panes of glass were gone, just had a flimsy piece of particle board covering it.  The left side was not much better, but the all of the remaining glass was exposed.  I took some scrap plywood I had and covered both sides. I tested out my exterior paint color, Sea Serpent, and put house numbers on in yellow just to see if I was making the right move by departing from the HGTV design.

The house was more secure, but it was not weatherized.  Never could I have imagined that I would be living in the house, during winter, with the original door.  After the first week of really cold temps I had to break down and tape plastic over the sidelights in the inside because I could literally feel the cold air climbing up the stairs and reaching me in my master suite.  I also purchased a MAXTID double door draft stopper to plug the two-inch gap at the bottom of the door.  Tolerable solution for the 8-10 weeks I’d need to endure while waiting on the door.

The door was scheduled to arrive on December 17.  Britt was ready to receive.  I had delivered the paint and stain to him.  He had a family vacation already scheduled for Dec 27-30, but felt he could get at least one side done prior and have the door finished with time for curing by the week of Jan 7.  My installer, Doug with Sentry Doors and Windows, was cued up to install that week.  My Birthday Open House was going to happen or so I thought.

The door didn’t actually arrive until Dec 19, but due to late arrivals by Hyde Park Lumber delivery the door did not get to Britt until December 26th, a week lost.  Even with 20181226_105624that Britt said he could have the door completed by January 10th.  Needless to say I was PO’d with the delivery debacle, so I went to Britt’s shop on the day it was delivered to see it first hand.  To my disappointed the wrong side lights were on the door.  There was a single half panel instead of a two window half panel.

Fuming PO’d now, so I go to Hyde Park Lumber to find out what went wrong.  Apparently they entered the information right in their system, which was provided to the distributor.  The distributor, unfortunately sent the wrong information to Simpson.  At this point I had no choice but to live with the door as I was not going to live another 8 weeks without a proper door.  GREAT customer service can cure a bad situation.  They offered to pay Britt’s fee for painting/staining, which I accepted.  I leave and call Doug to schedule a January 11 install.  A few hours later I get a call from Tim at Hyde Park Lumber.

Not only were the wrong side lights entered, but they were also the wrong size.  It meant the door would be too small for the opening.  Now I had no choice, but to wait another 8 weeks.  I was told Simpson rushes for no one.

When I agreed to keep the wrong side lights, I explained to Tim the condition of the current door.  He listened and with this forced delay offered to order a temporary fiberglass door and pay to have it installed so I’d have a secure and sealed door during the wait.  While I accepted that offer initially, after sleeping on it I woke the next morning and called to stop that process.  I did not want to risk damage to my transom window with a temporary door.  Instead I asked if he could cut proper size pieces of wood, so that I could better seal the sidelights and pay for the install of the actual door.  He agreed and went a step further by offering to send a contractor to board them up.  Again, GREAT customer service can cure a worsening situation.

The contractor came that day to look at the situation, told me he’d bring insulation in addition to plywood the next day.  He called the next day and said he couldn’t make it but would come, Monday, Jan 31.  He never returned, but I took his idea, went to Home Depot and had them cut the proper size pieces and I put them up myself.  100% improvement.  As for the Open House it will have a spring theme.

 

We Make a Great Team

Tom returned to help me with more projects in the kitchen.  I’m trying to get the floors cleared in the living and dining rooms and a major pile in the way are the boxes with the cabinet crown moulding.  Tom will hang that for me, but the backsplash, which will go to up to the ceiling above window needed to be installed first.  I am about burnt out on tile projects (still need to finish first floor bathroom and haven’t started the master), so when he offered to install it for me I jumped.  At that time I told him I was doing a small subway on mesh tile and he said he could knock that out in a couple of hours. Well, I got the mesh part right.

MSI Bianco Arabesque 9.84 in. x 10.63 in. x 6mm Glazed Ceramic Mesh-Mounted Mosaic Tile (10.95 sq. ft. / case)After going to the Tile Shop, Floor and Decor, and Lowes I found exactly what I had in my mind at Home Depot, MSI Bianco Arabesque mesh tile.  It was only $7.89 per sheet in the store (higher price online), but I had to go to 3 different stores to get enough for the project.  TIP: unless you go to a place like the Tile Shop, that will get you multiple cases from the same “lot”, always open the boxes and check the coloring of your tile.  The first Home Depot had the full quantity I needed, but despite all stating they were Bianco different boxes had different tints forcing me to go to multiple stores in hopes I’d find enough of the one I liked.  The tile I selected looked to have a tint of blue around edges, while the other looked brown like this image.

I decided on a charcoal grout due to the dark gray, marble-like, streaks that run through my quartz counters.  I got the grout from the Tile Shop.  They carry Superior Pro-Grout Excel, which is fast setting, color consistent, stain-resistant, and features excellent crack and shrink resistance.  I also thought it would compliment my blue cabinets.  The first thing tackled was putting the knobs on the cabinet doors.  Tom had the perfect measuring gadget for that.  We still need to do the pulls, but mine are longer than standard, so his gadget didn’t work on those.  I was much more concerned with the tile.

I left Tom to work on his own, but after a couple of hours saw that my choice of tile was posing more challenges than the subway he thought I was getting.  I decided to jump in and basically from the stove right I laid the tile and from the stove left, including working around the window he handled.  He has measuring and eye balling and precision cuts down to a science.  It took about 6 hours and we actually worked together on the section above the window.  I handled all the grouting the next day.  The end results are pretty fabulous I think.  Exactly what I envisioned.

Tom also connected me with the best painter EVER!!!!!  I met Teresa Ferrari last year and she will be running a new coffee shop opening in the Camp (Camp Washington for those not intimate) very close to my house.  I had no idea she has a painting business.  She came dressed in what I would consider “good jeans”, a nice sweater, and suede boots and when she left you wouldn’t have known she spent 3 hours painting.  Not a drop on her, not a drop on the floor.  20190104_170626.jpgWell not until Milo, my dog, decided to step in the paint and track it around the 1st floor.  She didn’t tape down dozens of plastic drop clothes.  She got all the closets, the guest bedroom, the hall, touched up all the bad spots left by the other two I paid to paint, and painted the trim in the kitchen.  I am so sorry I didn’t know about her sooner.

There is a saying that God my not be there when you want him, but he’s always right on time.  After the devastating set back with my floors, Tom and Theresa have been an absolute delight and I feel brought into my life just at the right time.  I truly feel our paths were meant to cross in order for us to do something even greater together.  I think Theresa and I should apply for the First Time Flippers show.  Just throwing that out into the universe to see where it lands.

Fevered Pitch

I truly feel like a dog chasing its tail.  Since accepting the close date of November 19 I don’t think I’ve been to bed earlier than 1:30 am; frequently at house til 3:30 am.  When my cousin Alex can’t go let my dogs out, I’ll pull two shifts.  Arrive about 8 am, work till 4-5 pm, leave to feed and let out dogs, and return around 8 or 9 pm to resume work.  I’m exhausted, but progress is being made.  Here’s an update:

New Mailbox. 

20181108_172537Simple project. I wanted to have a mail slot added to my new front door, but since that is weeks away and would have to be added on site by my installer (manufacturer won’t do it)  I decided to search the Internet for a locking mailbox and I found this one on Wayfair.com.  It was easy to install and matches my light fixtures.  I wish everything could be this simple.

Doors, Painting, and Drywall. 

20181025_110322I brought Ed Vach back to hang the last two door jams.  One was straight forward, original door and jam, but the entry foyer door was more challenging.  The original door was beyond repair, but it was the same size as the door that led to the upstairs space, which I decided to remove.  Same size, but different swing and hinge locations.  He worked his magic and I now have a functioning entry foyer closet.

Ed also jumped in on painting.  He put one coat of paint on the ceiling in the entry foyer, dining room, and office; Sherwin Williams Incredible White and the first coat of Krypton on the dining room walls.  My friend Joan helped me put first coat of Passive on the Office walls and the second coat of Krypton in the dining room.  It’s nice seeing real colors on the walls.  Since the frame around the windows is the same dark color as the molding I can see that the colors will work with them.  The HGTV Urban House that used these colors had painted trim throughout, so I was a bit concerned.

I’ve completed all prime paint now too, so hopefully by Friday of next week the whole house will be painted.  I move in the next day, so I sure hope so.

Brick Sealing

During demo I revealed brick in the master bath and closet, kitchen, and 1st floor hall.  It’s a soft, Chicago brick that was constantly dropping dust and crumbling; I knew it would need to be sealed if left exposed.  During the drywall install I made the decision to cover the brick in the master closet and master bath.  Prepping the brick for sealing was a task I didn’t have the time or desire to do and in the bath area it recessed about 1/2 inch from the drywall, which would have posed a challenge when installing the vanity.

20181022_160255I should have made the same decision about the wall in the kitchen.  I scrubbed the whole wall and it seemed the more I scrubbed the more it’d crumble.  I looked at several brick sealers and decided to go with Radonseal’s Lastiseal Penetrating Brick and Concrete Sealer.  I bought a gallon jug, which should cover 150-225 sq. ft.  The wall was 27 sq. ft.  Easy application process.  I bought a pump sprayer with a fan spray, put down plastic to protect floor and sprayed from bottom up.

The instructions said a second application may be needed and it certainly was with this wall.  A brush of my hand revealed more dust and crumbling mortar.  A second coat reduced it some, but not entirely.  I ended up applying the entire gallon bottle.  I contacted the company and they were very surprised such a small area needed so much.  I shared this picture and they said I should have tuckpointed the bricks first.  The wall looked and felt solid after the full gallon, so I believe their product worked, eventually, but his comment did give me concern looking ahead.  My stove would sit in front of this and I wondered if cleaning food splatter would be an issue.

The vast majority of the wall would be covered by cabinets, microwave and stove, so I decided to cover the wall.  Bold decision given my posing deadline and past experience with drywall crews.  Fortunately my friend Joan came to the rescue with a great referral and a young man, Ryan Fabel, joined the journey.

Ed helped me hang the drywall, but Ryan did the finish work. Once before I mentioned that someone told me his drywall man could finish an entire house and you’d have only a handful of dust.  When Ryan was done you couldn’t fill a thimble with dust and the wall was as smooth as silk.  I found the man to help me hang the last sheet of drywall in the guest bedroom.  Given that is taking place after my floors have been refinished I am elated by his skills.  He’s also an equally talented painter as he applied the second coat of Passive in the office and will clean up my poor cut lines in the Master bed.

The only exposed brick will be in the hall and it was the most sound of all locations.  I scrubbed it to remove most of flakes/crumbles and it only took two applications of the LastiSeal.  I almost wish the brick stayed dark as when the product is applied (right side of first pic), but it returns to its normal color when dry.

Master Bathroom Floor Tile

My soaker tub has been sitting in its box in the master bedroom area for months.  It had to placed in its proper home before the floor refinishers started.  I hoped to have it actually hooked up so Ryan could do the drywall, but I needed to get the tile laid first.  I found the tile on Pinterest and fell in love.  It’s an Italian porcelain tile made by Isla Fascino Italiano and is their King Wood collection.  I got excited when I found it at JP Flooring locally, but man was it expensive.  Not to be deterred I surfed the net and found it at Mission Stone & Tile at half the cost of JP Flooring and FREE shipping.  SOLD!!!!

20181101_134155The pressure to not mess up this tile was immense.  I started with finding my center lines in width and depth with my trusty laser followed by a dry run with 1/16″ spacers.  I bought that size for the first floor bath and it turned out the tile for that has built-in spacers.  They were not a good size for this tile, so I pulled the plug about 1 am.

I returned the next day with 3/16″ spacers (blue vs. green) and went to town.  I selected Desert Sand grout from the Tile Shop in Oakley with the help of a great sales person, Cari Branden.  The walls surrounding this tile and in the shower will be a basic bone (color) subway tile.  It looks fabulous and I can’t wait to see it next to my restored hardwood floors and with the tub resting on top.  Unfortunately my plumber’s truck broke down and this didn’t happen prior to Bob and Trish Roland of Roland Hardwoods starting the floor restoration.

Their work is projected to last five days, Monday – Friday.  I was able to do some work, but now they are staining and coating the first floor, which means I can’t be there until for the floors are dry.  I’ll use that time to pack up Inner Circle and REST!

 

The Battle of the Strippers

One of the things that I loved when I first toured my house was the fact that the doors and trim were unpainted, except for two doors.  Actually 1.5 doors, the 1st floor bath linen closet was painted white with a white glass door knob and the inside of the bathroom entry door was painted white.  White glass knob on inside, clear glass knob on outside with a dark brown stain.  Both were peeling badly and would need to be stripped just in order to refresh the paint.

I decided to turn the entry door into a pocket door as I had three doors within a 3′ area (linen closet, hall closet, and entry door), why too much swinging in tight quarters in my opinion.  In order to use the original knobs I will need to turn the door around, causing the painted side to be on the outside.  Just to avoid needing to completely strip the painted side I looked into boring a new mortis lock hole on the other side, but a professional carpenter advised me against that.  I have only that one door, so no room for error.

20180804_190354I had started trying to strip the linen closet door first and was getting absolutely nowhere with the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover.  This was recommended to me by a Home Depot employee.  States is starts working in 15 minutes.  It did, but removed one layer at best.  I followed that with the Star 10, a product recommended to my by an employee at Woodcraft.  Stripper of choice by wood craftsmen, or so he said.  It didn’t do much either as you can see.  Both gave off strong fumes.

Nicole Curtis (#nicolecurtis) of Rehab Addict (#rehabaddict) always talks about an orange, safe stripper, so while I am not sure of the exact product she uses I went back to Home Depot and got CitriStrip Stripping Gel.  The carpenter pointed out to me that I needed to have the door inserted before putting up trim and I need the trim up in order to lay tile, so the entry door moved to the head of the line.

I started stripping about 11am and believe I could have gotten the entire door done in a late night, but I had to get home to let out and feed my dogs.  This is how it looked at the end of day one.  I believe one treatment went through at least three layers as I saw white, yellow, and mint green:

20180804_212132I actually applied a second coat, but when I realized the time I knew I couldn’t give its full time to work.  In the short time it was on it did not bubble as you see above, it actually got milky white.  As I rubbed one area with the paint brush I could actually see wood.  It was liquefying the remaining paint.  I wasn’t sure if I would return the next day, so I  wiped the door clean instead of letting it sit overnight.

I did return the next day, applied another coat that sat for about two hours before I used a putty scraper to get to the picture on the left.  A third coat aided by a bladed scrapper and small steel brush (for inside panel edges) got me to a completely stripped door shown on the right.   The directions suggest using Odorless Mineral Spirits with an abrasive stripping pad to loosen remaining residue.  I dipped my brush in it, but did not try a pad.  Before staining I’ll use a fine grade sanding pad on my rotary sander to open up the pores.  I used the entire 64 oz bottle on this door and about a 1/4 of a new bottle.  I believe I could have gotten by with one if not for the abrupt ending on day one.

20180805_181635I won’t strip the stained side, just sand it, apply a primer, and then paint it with semi-gloss paint.  The harder challenge will be in matching the original stain.  Stay tuned.

 

It Takes a Woman’s Thought Process

 

No offense to the male contractors that have come to my house, BUT lets look at the obvious before suggesting multi-$1000 dollar fixes.  I have many “elephants in the room” on this project and one of them was how to deal with the new location of my down spouts and the proper elimination of rain water from the gutters.

One of the things I did not like about the house when I bought it was the location of the down spouts on the front of the house.  One of the positive outcomes of needing to completely rebuild the box gutters is I was able to move the downspouts to the end of the house, their proper place in my opinion.

Henshaw Ave
Downspout in middle of house, between windows.
FaceBook
Downspouts on ends of house.

 

What I didn’t know when I made that decision is that the City does not allow you to let gutter water drain in your yard.  Moving the downspouts meant my gutters were no longer connected to the underground drains that are connected to the city sewer system.

Drainage Code, Sec. 1105-03.

 (a)

Every building, except accessory buildings less than 800 square feet in area, must be equipped with gutters and downspouts connected to an approved sewer. Drains from roofs, sun decks, or promenades open to occupancy must be trapped when connected to a combined sewer. If there is no approved sewer, the downspout must be connected under the sidewalk to the street gutter, or the stormwater must be disposed of in an approved manner on the property. Where stormwater pipes discharge into a paved street gutter, there must be at least one length of cast-iron pipe at the gutter connection. The cast iron section must extend from the gutter to the back of the sidewalk or ten feet away from the gutter, whichever is greater. Subsurface water (e.g. foundation drains, sump lines, etc.) shall not discharge to a paved street gutter.

 

I had contractors talking about tearing up sidewalks, adding dirt to alter the slope of my yard, and running drain lines 50′ or more all with multi-thousand dollar price tags.  The last plumber that came to the house, who was supposed to just give me a quote for plumbing rough-in brought up the gutters and how he was going to address this problem.  When I asked why that was his focus I was told the City would not give me a Certificate of Occupancy and his permit would not pass inspection if the gutters did not drain properly.  WTH, you’ve got to be kidding me!  Not getting a certificate of occupancy started weighing heavily on my mind, so I decided to take a shovel around the area where the drain is located from the original downspout location on the right front of house.

The new location was only 8′ away, so digging down revealed the simple fix of running a pipe from the downspout to the drain, about $25 in PVC pipe and connectors.  I’ll need to build a wall with landscape brick at the end of house in order to hide the pipe curve (aesthetic fix), but I’m still stunned by how simple this was to do.  So simple that I did the same with the rear drain on the same side of house.  My cousin Cameron did most of the digging on this project (what a God send this young man has been for me).  I spent $40 in PVC pipe and connectors on the rear as there was about 10′ in distance.

The left side of the house will be a little trickier.  The drain on the front of the house is actually built into the concrete patio.  The pipe runs into the basement and has a crack in it.  With every rain, before the gutters were repaired, I would have a puddle in the basement, so I definitely didn’t want to continue using it.  I will trench along the side of the house and connect the front to the rear downspout and utilize the rear left drain (my father’s idea).  As you can see from the picture below the drain is less than 5′ from the end of house. That project I will put on hold until I decide to address the “woolly mammoth in the room” the foundation at the rear of the house.20170726_161544.jpg

Even with renting a trencher I will have under $300 in expense and more sweat equity to fix this issue.  Keep it Simple, that’s a DIYer’s mantra!