Not the Plan, But Necessary

I long time family friend has a concrete business, which I know means he has access to the equipment I need to move dirt from my yard to the area around my porch to raise the soil level.  He came out Sunday to access the situation and has agreed to help me.  Last year I started digging to to connect my downspouts on the left side of my house to the original drain in the rear of house.  The left front drain is on the porch and with the relocation of my downspouts my plan, last year, was to trench along the side of my house and connect the front to the rear drain.  I knew I couldn’t do that by hand, so I stopped to find someone that knew how to operate a trencher.  I got no showed three times, it turned cold, project stopped.  Here’s the blessing in my City citation.  It was confirmed, in writing, that I could daylight, allow the gutter water to run into the yard.  I had been told differently previously.  That meant no trenching for the front downspout.  I only needed to re-connect the rear like I had done with the opposite side.

My dirt moving help can come as early as next week, so finishing that connection became priority, otherwise he’d refill a partially dug hole and I’d have even more dirt to move later.  Last year I removed an approximate one foot section of pipe.  I covered the exposed opening with a large rock to prevent things from falling into the hole.  I’ve noticed with some of our recent heavy rains my basement was leaking again, something that hasn’t happened since fixing the gutters.  Well it’s because mud seeped in under my rock and that pipe had become completely blocked, so water was just pooling in that area.  I was going to remove another section anyway, but now it was absolutely necessary.

Once I got that approximate two foot section out I laid on my stomach and used my hand to dig out as much mud from the pipe as I could.  I got down to my elbow and mentally prepared myself for another plumbing bill.  If I couldn’t get it cleared I’d have to call in 20200405_191444Zins Plumbing.  My basement drains were filled with debris when I bought the house and I used my shop vac to clean them out, so I thought I’d give that a try.  No pics of this as I was a hot, muddy, mess by now.  I had a 8′ section of metal conduit and I used that to stir up the mud created when I filled the hole with water.  I sucked up rocks, glass, wood chunks, mud for two hours.  The extensions on my shop vac gave me approximately 4′ reach.  I had reached my capacity when finally water started flowing through instead of backing up.  Plumbing expense SAVED!  My reward for that day’s hard labor……..an Epson Bath Soak.  I soaked through sunset listening to jazz.

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The next day I ran to Home Depot to pick up the appropriate PVC plumbing fittings.  I needed a flexible coupling, two 45 degree fittings and 3″ PVC pipe.  I could see roots at the bottom of the hole, so I added some root kill before I connected the pipes.  I used the short section of clay pipe as my vice to hold the PVC pipe while I cut it with my reciprocating saw.  I had the connection made in about an hour.

When I finished that project I finished the primer coat on the foundation and windows.  The window primer I had tinted Uncertain Gray, so now I am 100% certain that is the right color.   I wish I had gone that route with the foundation primer as I’d have a stronger visual of my final house.  That will have to wait a few days as rain is in the forecast.

My reward for that day’s labor was a 45 minute steam shower where I did a deep conditioner of my hair with the scent of eucalyptus in the air.  I can’t wait for the outside of my house to reach the level of the inside.

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Your Opinion Matters

Anyone else going stir crazy?  My mind is grappling with this unprecedented event that has shaken the entire world.  I still have client work to keep me seated at my desk, but the stay inside order is nerve wracking.  Thank goodness the weather is improving, to allow for legitimate outdoor work.  I’ve already done my first grass cut and now I’m going to tackle painting the cement foundation that my fantastic handy-man Tom repaired last summer.  I was going to pay him to do it last year, but temps dropped before he could get to me.  It’s my project now.

As I’ve shared many times over the two year restoration HGTV provided their professional designers for the color scheme of my first floor and exterior.  I copied everything, but the front door color (couldn’t do pink) from their 2017 Urban Oasis Giveaway home, my favorite house since I became a HGTV junkie.  The exterior of my house will be Sea Serpent with the trim done in Incredible White, both Sherwin William colors.  What I love about Sherwin William’s website is they offer coordinating color suggestions, so I have decided to paint the foundation and I’m torn between Uncertain Gray and Lullaby.

Let me know what you think?  Voting window closes April 2.  Got to catch a no rain window.

 

 

No Sweets for this Sweetheart

I didn’t come close to finishing my headboard, so I thought I’d share the progress reached by the end of the Valentine’s Day Weekend.  I got the side boxes stained and coated.  I had planned to use Zar Early American stain, as I did on the upstairs moulding, but 20200208_192240Sherwin Williams no longer carries it.  After trying Minwax’s Early American and General Finish Mahagony, neither were even close on the Aspen wood, I returned to Sherwin Williams to have them match the color of the doors I’ve converted to pull out tables.  They are now selling Minwax Performance Series Tintable Stain.

Per the can’s directions I sanded my surfaces with 120 grit sandpaper and applied one coat of stain, which I let sit for about 10 minutes per the clerks recommendation to get a darker finish.  I let it dry overnight and then applied three coats of Minwax Polycrylic.  I really like the ease of use for this product.  I sanded, lightly by hand, between each coat with 220 grit paper.

After one coat of poly:

After two coats of poly:

After the final coat of poly and letting them sit overnight, I returned with my parts to the Manufactory to put them back together:

With the side boxes finished it was time to tackle the oak top shelve.  I started by taking the pieces for the side to the WoodShop to use their joiner and biscuit cutter.  I brought the pieces back home to glue and clamp.  This was my first glue up and it was spot on!  Several guys at the Manufactory complimented me as the seam of the two pieces is barely noticeable.

Now it was time to tackle the top and bottom.  This headboard is going to be heavy.  The oak wood is dense and in hindsight I should have detoured from the original plans sooner and used 1/2″ plywood instead of 3/4″.  I can bet the designer didn’t think someone would use old wood, which weighs much more than the modern 2×4.  Anyway, to try and reduce a smidgen of the weight the bottom shelve is only 12″ deep.  Once the back piece is in place I’ll have a 10″ deep shelve, perfect for my bible.  The top has to be the same width as the sides, so it’s 17″ deep.  To reach the depth I needed I had to join two slabs together.  My boards weren’t the same thickness, so I had to run them through a planer.

The bottom, per Kendall’s suggestion I routed out a 1/2 groove, because I wanted the sides to cover the top of the side boxes.

I had my mind fixed on a mitered seam at the top and that posed a challenge because my top and sides were too wide for the miter saw.  After setting the back in place, I was able to mark my lines to locate the miter cut and use the table saw to cut the miter in the side panels.  I used my Kreg jig kit to make pocket holes for attaching the back to the bottom, sides, and top

The top was too long for the table saw, so my only option was a circular saw.  I should have called it a day and returned with my own circular saw, which has a much nicer blade, but with Kendall’s help I carried on and got the cuts made.  I’ll need to do a little sanding to smooth out the edges.  I made the first cut, but let Kendall make the second as there was only about an inch of waste.  I beat myself up too much when I fail and I wanted to end the Valentin’e weekend on a high note.  Kendall went for gold and cut right on the line to make it one and done.

The challenge now is how to screw the mitered edges together.  Glue may not be enough to hold the seams perfectly aligned.  In retrospect I should have routed out a groove like I did on the bottom.  A normal beginner woodworker would have taken that easier road.  But like Nicole Curtis from Rehab Addict says, I’m not normal.

 

 

 

Needed Something Simple

My negative dealings with Signature Hardware and the disappointment with the functioning of the crown jewel of my master bath, the shower, last week literally made me ill.  I spiraled down to what I think was a new low on this project.  I needed a confidence builder, so I turned my focus on painting the back door and installing the basement railing that the city building inspector told me I needed for my occupancy permit.

I had the paint left over from the front door, so no outlay of money.  Color is Sherwin Williams Harvester.  The door was pre-primed, so two coats of yellow and that was done.  I didn’t bother with taping out the glass as a straight edge razor once the paint dried was faster.

The back entrance was boarded up when I bought the house and I just needed something that could lock.  I hadn’t thought about light fixtures and their color, so the knob I bought was silver.  I decided to replace it with an oil rubbed finish to match the light fixture and was fortunate to find a Weslock knob on Build.com that matches the knob on the front door.

The basement railing was a cheap fix too.  I purchased a 8′ 1×4 and 10′ 1×6, less than $15 in material.  No pics, but I took the 8′ to the Wood Shop and used my router table for the first time (shop didn’t have one and mine was still in the box, so I decided to let them set it up until I was comfortable using it by myself – that tool does scare me).  That piece is the top rail and I wanted the edges to be curved, 1) because the existing rail was that way and 2) it would feel better on your hand.  The 1×6 I ripped in half and it became my middle rail and the base for the top rail.  A scrap 2×4 (my jig for my wall switches) became my bottom post.

I have a boat load of paint samples, so instead of leaving the new wood I decided to stain the top rail (I have a can of Minwax that is a combination of multiple colors that I combined to empty cans) and painted everything else Sherwin Williams Sea Serpent, which will be the exterior house color.

I do have skills!

That Section Looks Good

It’s going to look awesome when complete.  The wall tiles are 4×16 and I purchased them from the Tile Shop, Imperial Bone Gloss Ceramic.  The skirting around the tub also came from Tile Shop.  The grout is Superior Pro-Grout Excel in Dessert Sand.

The floor tile is the mosaic tile that matches the hexagon tile I put in the tub area.  I fell in love with the Isla King Wood tile when I stumbled across it on Pinterest.  It’s an Italian tile and it was a splurge that I justified because I put in the labor.  I was fortunate to find the tub floor tile online at Mission Stone and Tile.  With shipping it was several hundred dollars cheaper than JP Flooring, a local vendor.  I had selected a 2×2 hexagon tile from the Tile Shop that would compliment the tub area, but Mike Tanner’s installer suggested that I go with a square shape tile, less waste and time to install.  The Tile Shop had a 2×2 square mosaic, but it was only a couple of dollars less than the King Wood mosaic, which is what I really wanted.  I only needed 23 sf.  Even though I had to pay for installation, it was less than $100 in material cost increase, so I went for it.  Unfortunately Mission Stone and Tile did not carry the mosaic, so I ordered it from JP Flooring.

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From Pinterest to Reality – Part 1

Some females have wedding books, saving clippings and photos of ideas to create the perfect wedding.  I had an electronic house book, links and photos to things I’d put in my

first house.  The idea to recess a dresser into the eaves space that was once a short closet was born from this picture I saw on Pinterest.   I was starting with nothing in regards to furniture in my master suite.  I really don’t like a lot of furniture, so this was the perfect solution to utilizing the empty space created when I relocated the door to this closet to my master bath linen closet.

It took several months before I found a salvage dresser that would fit in the dimensions, 20190605_205930but I finally did on Nextdoor.com for $50.  A beautiful, five-drawer dresser with dovetail drawers made by the West Michigan Furniture Co. of Holland, MI.  I couldn’t find any before pics, but it was a beautifully made dresser; solid and heavy.

The first thing I needed to do was trim the overhang from the top and bottom sides.  I’ve had this dresser for at least 9 mos, so I made the cuts with my circular saw before I started working with Tom Milfeld and taking classes at the Wood Shop.  I butchered that dresser.  Some areas I cut in too deep, some not far enough.  It’s a good thing the bulk of the dresser would be recessed in the wall.  I could have let it go, but I filled the gaps with wood filler and sanded down the high areas just to get it ready for paint.

This project was all about salvage, recycle, so I did not purchase the primer paint recommended by the Sherwin Williams sales clerk.  I had over a 1/2 quart of their White Synthetic Shellac Primer left from the fire damaged door I bought, so I used it instead.  He told me that would be over kill and he was right, as I discovered.  I’ve always felt spray painting is the best option for painting furniture.  Rolling/brushing creates too thick of layers if you’re not an expect and I am not.  At the end that’s exactly what I got, but I’m jumping ahead.

Once the primer dried my first, bone head amateur mistake was revealed.  I was in such a rush to get this project done, I did the cardinal sin in sanding.  I started with 80 grit and never went higher, so my surface was rough, especially on the drawers.  In hindsight I should have sanded at that step, but my first inclination was more paint would hide it, NOT.

My walls in my master are Sherwin Williams Indigo Batik, so I purchased a quart of their All Surface Enamel (recommended by the clerk) in that color and he recommended a Mohair Blend roller, which I also bought.  I applied two coats of paint and at that stage absolutely hated that I had ruined such a beautiful dresser.  I called my friend Joan who has a relative that paints furniture all the time.  She uses scrap paint and sands lightly between two coats.

Even though I had three coats on already (primer plus two color) I decided to try the sanding in hopes it would get rid of the rough spots that were still visible.  I only sanded the drawers.  It helped and the fourth coat actually looked pretty good.  So good I decided to drain the end of the quart can of Polycrylic.  I had enough for just one coat, but at this point that dresser had five layers on it, which would come back to bite me.

The craftsmen that build that dresser left zero margin in the drawer openings.  My five 20190609_131153layers were thicker than the original stain, so when I went to test a drawer it would not close all the way.  I intentionally painted the top edge of the drawer, but the bottom lip was just overage, so between the drawer edges and the opening overage I had too much build-up.  I used my new chisel set to scrap the bottom of the drawers.  I was hoping it would create a clean edge and it did.  I thought scraping the bottom would be enough, so the next task was getting the dresser from the basement up to flights to my master.

Earlier in the week I had asked my neighbor if he’d be around on the weekend to help and he was willing, but when the day came I had the epic feeling of not wanting to fail with an audience.  I didn’t know for sure if the dresser was going to fit and I didn’t want witnesses, so I tackled getting it upstairs by myself.  I had the full on Jane Fonda burn working in my already too tight calves when I hit the top landing, but it inserted like a glove.

I tried the drawers again and same outcome, still too much paint, so I bought a paint scraper and scraped the paint from the top of the drawers and top/bottom of the opening.  That did the trick, but it looked awful, so I decided take some dark stain (Minwax brand, but color unknown as I had poured the remnants of several different colors in one can) and stain the top edge of the drawers.  That amazingly did the trick.

The next obstacle were the two front legs.  I had to remove all four legs to trim off the bottom overhang.  I reattached them to their original location.  What I discovered was that my opening wasn’t square and the floor not level.  I had used wood glue with the original screws and I needed to push the front legs back about an inch. I used my draw saw to cut through the glue and mini crowbar to left them off.  Amazingly no damage.

That helped with the bottom alignment, but not the top.  For that I removed the original nail-on sliders and installed adjustable, which would allow me to set the heights on each leg differently.  Turned out I needed the entire dresser to tilt forward, so I made the back legs higher than the front.  I also needed the front right side to be lower than the left, which meant the left rear had to be even higher to stop the dresser from rocking.  Sometimes I amaze myself when my mind can sort through fixes like that.

The last step was replacing the original wood knobs with the Amerock Classic Cabinet Knobs Clear/Golden Champagne I found on Amazon.  They are 8-points, just like my glass door knobs on the first floor and the bases were a perfect match to my other brass accents. 

With that part 1 of the project was complete and I could finally empty the last box and bin in my floor.

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It’s A Wrap – Another Space Complete

20 months in (I can’t believe that) and I now have TWO spaces completed in my house, minus a missing strike plate. My first floor bathroom is complete with accessories and doors. This project has truly been an emotional roller coaster with highs and lows, twist and bends. I was in another low and I got a newsletter email from Chip and Joanna and decided to click through the latest offerings at the Magnolia Silos. I’ve been thinking about placing something in the blank space above the toilet and I found it, a JDH Iron Design sign stating: The World Needs Who You Were Made To Be.

There is one vision for my house that I have not been able to have manifest and even though I know it is out of my control, I can’t help but feel that I’m lacking something that is blocking it from happening. This sign will be a reminder, every time I see it, that perhaps I’m not lacking anything. What made it even better is I got to pick it up in person thanks to a business trip to Houston that started a day early with a quick overnight in Waco. I needed that trip. Three hours, each way, in a rental car with my Yolanda Adams Pandora station blaring; two hours in the most positive place on earth, Magnolia Silos; dinner at the best Mexican restaurant I’ve eaten at, Ninfa’s Mexican Restaurant; and breakfast before heading back at Magnolia Table. Yeah, I’m riding another high. I had the spring menu Lemon Blueberry Pancakes with Lemon Butter (heaven) and pepper bacon (not too peppery) and Pecan coffee (brought a bag home it was so good).

Back to the bathroom. With the mirror project complete, the only thing left were the doors and floor moulding. I got the entry door hung before my father came to visit, but I had not installed the lock. My Dremel tool broke, so I couldn’t get the plates recessed fully (that’s a tweak I can do when I’m bored after the whole house is a wrap), but the lock functions. This door is painted on the inside and stained on the outside. I wanted the locks to match the setting, so I purchased two of the same locks: Dynasty Hardware Round Bed / Bath Privacy Pocket Door Latch Satin Nickel and Dynasty Hardware Round Bed / Bath Privacy Pocket Door Latch Aged Oil Rub Bronze from Amazon. I even took the extra step of splitting the colors on the door jamb by staining the outside half and painting the inside half.

The linen closet door took some effort. It had to be stripped as it was already weighted down with previous layers of paint (I saw yellow, mint green, and two shades of white). I started with the outside, thinking if I got tired of the project I could shortcut the inside. I used CitriStrip Stripping Gel (see Battle of the Strippers post), which I let sit overnight. I had a thick nylon brush with steel bristle on the end that I used to remove the paint from the decorative grooves. I wasn’t sure I had enough stripper for the other side, so I decided to try out my new Ridgid belt sander. It didn’t make a dent as the paint, despite its age, was gummy and it gummed up the sand belt. Fortunately I had just enough stripper to get the majority of the paint removed. Since I didn’t get it all removed I put a coat of Kilz primer on the inside before the actual Sherwin Williams ProClassic in Incredible White. I should have probably primed the outside also, but I just put two coats of the ProClassic.

I bought new hinges from Amazon because the originals were too rusty and added a robe hook that matches the sink and tub faucets, also found on Amazon. The linen closet had a white glass knob on both sides, but the entry door had white on inside and clear on outside. I loved the level of detail by the original builder. Unfortunately I’ve misplaced the strike plate, so the linen door doesn’t catch and close completely. I’m sure it’s around the house somewhere, so I’m not going to rush to buy a new one. I did that with the pocket door hardware and found the original packs in a box marked paperwork about two weeks after they were hung.

The last project was the moulding and this was my first venture into a coping saw cut. I have not installed my vice grip on my work bench yet and coping without something holding your wood is hard. One of my favorite YouTube video people is SeeJaneDrill.com, so I watched her coping video several times to learn what to do. I did the first cut by hand, but did the second one on the scrolling saw at the Wood Shop. Can you tell the difference? Both worked fine and the reality is the corners won’t be seen. I used traditional miter cuts for the shoe molding and painted it black, Tricorn, same as mirror.

The final touch was the addition of a oil diffuser for the left side of the sink. I’ve been looking for awhile and I found the perfect bottle at the Magnolia Silos. It was adorned with a white wax stamp, perfect for my decor. The scent is Linen: Lemon, lime cotton, jasmine, orange flower, lavender, clean musk, and amber.

So with Joanna’s (@JoannaStevensGaines) favorite scents filling my air, that bathroom is a wrap.

Click on links below to see all the post related to the 1st Floor bathroom.  As an amateur (albeit advanced) DIYer and newbie interior designer, I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished on this project:

September 28, 2018 – February 9, 2019

The Rest of the Story

As Seen In My Mind’s Eye

 

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.

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Feeling Overwhelmed

This journey of restoring my first house has been an absolute roller coaster ride, but last week when I came home and found this yellow sticker on my door I truly felt overwhelmed for the very first time.  I’m a one woman show now and there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day for me to make big head way.  So many labor intensive projects left to do and clearly I’m not getting them done fast enough.

I have not kept living in my house a secret.  My permits are still hanging in the window as I have not gotten any final inspections done yet, which are required to get the occupancy permit from the City.  I have been in communication with the plumbing and electrical inspectors and knew I needed their final inspections, along with HVAC, before I could get my final building inspection for the occupancy.  I just failed to keep the building inspector up to date.  Corrected that, so I was allowed to remove the sticker and continue living in my house.

20190217_175136The first project I tackled after getting the sticker was painting and hanging the attic access panel frame and door.  What in the world was I thinking letting that project linger. OMG what a difference a door makes (BTW, front door arrived to Hyde Park Lumber Wednesday).  During our arctic cold temps I slept under three quilts, with sweatpants, flannel socks, flannel robe, and a long sleeve t-shirt.  That’s how cold my master bedroom was.  Well no wonder given the cold air that was plowing in from the roof vents.  I’ve turned my thermostat down 4 degrees since installing that door.  My upstairs is so comfortable now.

With the first floor bathroom complete (minus doors) I was able to schedule the plumbing inspector this week, Tuesday, but I knew without the master bath tub and shower completed it would only be a partial passing.  Sadly I learned that my original inspector has been assigned to another territory and won’t be around to see my journey completed.  The new inspector found two things I’ll need to correct, in addition to 20190219_113756finishing the master bath before I’ll get his final approval.  Both corrections are easy.  All tubs and showers must have a hot temperature range between 110 and 120 degrees.  My first floor bath is currently 128, I need to turn it down.  I also have an improper fitting on my hot water tank.  This pipe needs to have metal threads, not plastic.

The electrical inspection I expect to pass and receive the final approval as I was not 20190220_222926going to schedule it until everything is complete.  My awesome electrician Mr. McGhee came and put the electric panel door on and walked through the house.  Everything must have a cover and be in working condition including my LED mirror that mysteriously fell off wall.  Fortunately the replacement parts were easy to install.  Gravity helped me get it off the wall for repairs and Mr. McGhee helped me re-hang and reconnect.

20190221_092639The one thing still not working is the Ring Cam Flood Light.  I’ll need to buy a new light that can work from high distances from the ground.  After contacting Ring I learned their unit is not designed to work above 9′.  Seems they feel having it at the height a burglar can reach with a baseball bet is more effective.  I think Ring products have to be the most under performing product as compared to their commercials I’ve ever dealt with.  VERY disappointed and sorry I wasted my money.

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Top board sanded, bottom not

With the door now just a couple of weeks away from installation I’ve turned my focus on the window moulding on the first floor.  Outside air has not only been pouring in from the front door, but from around the windows too.   I got all of them stained, remembering the sanding lesson I learned from my visit to Homestead Furniture.

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I used a tack cloth to remove fine dust before sanding

Before staining I wiped each down with a tack cloth.  My former neighbor Bill hooked me on to these.  They are a sticky gauze  that really captures fine dust. The stain is a custom color mixed for me by Sherwin Williams.  The brand is Zar and it’s a gel stain.  I took a piece of the original moulding to them to match.  I’m anxious to see how close the new and old match once hung. Once they dry I’ll apply a few coats of poly for protection.

I am bound and determined to do a little something every week day now.  That yellow sticker was literally sticker shock.

 

 

 

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.