Showing posts with label refinish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label refinish. Show all posts


{renovate} back entry reveal!

Update 9/13/11: I am updating this post a bit and submitting it to Abode Love's Roomspiration party! Please pop over and take a look at all the great linked up entryways :).

It is a GREAT day! The sun is shining and over the weekend I saved all my lovely back entry photos from their hostage: the camera. Which means: BACK ENTRY REVEAL! I'm so excited about this reveal. Seriously. This has been a labor of love for both me and Chris. And, I realized this weekend, it's the first actual *construction* project we've tackled. Needless to say, it's boosted our home confidence a notch, and makes dealing with other scary house projects (I'm looking at you bathroom) a little less daunting.

Without further ado, here's a reminder of the before of all befores. What the room looked like when I moved in, circa 2008. Primer white, nasty torn linoleum, an extra fridge (?), a door that didn't fit and dirty, dirty, dirty:

And, here's our new back entry!
Light, clean, open and even a little spacious feeling :).

Here's the room just before we started the project. When we were *making-due* till we could tackle it:

And, today:
We painted the entire room, added board and batten, new tile, and painted the door for a fun burst of color. We added hooks for hanging coats and my purses and a bench for plopping things down on when we walk in the door. New artwork adds some personality and a potted plant adds some life.

The ceiling before:
A previous roof leek had bubbled and damaged the existing paint (luckily, not the plaster), and the brass chain light was falling out of the ceiling:

Ceiling now:
Newly painted ceiling, and shiny new light. You might remember that I specified a Schoolhouse Electric light on the mood board. Sadly, it didn't work out this time. Chris had found the fixture a few years ago on super discount, and we'd saved it for this room, but none of the Schoolhouse Electric shades I wanted fit into the fixture. We looked at buying an all new fixture + shade, but it was close to $200. In the end, the $5 shade from Home Depot was just too good to pass up. But, mark my words, I will one day own a Schoolhouse  Electric fixture :).

Stairs before:
The stairs at the beginning of the project. Originally, they were actually carpeted (with the same horrible blue as the hallway/back bedroom), I just don't have a picture. They sat like this, though, for a couple years, so they're an accurate before :).

Stairs today:

As I mentioned, we painted the door blue for a lovely little pop. It's by far the best part of the room. We LOVE it. The sign above the door we picked up at an adorable antique store on our annual birthday trip last year. We have no idea where E. Lake Ct. is, but we love the graphic nature of the sign, and it reminds us both of that super fun trip.

This little red tray was an afterthought. It quickly became apparent that the bench would be huge mess if we didn't corral keys, wallets, movies to return, etc. I was so excited when I remembered this tray! It was a wedding gift from someone I absolutely adore, but I'd never found the right place for it. Not wanting to get rid of it (and, that is how I roll. If we aren't using something, I usually donate it), I'd stored it away. Turns out, it was simply waiting for it's new home in our back entry! 

I didn't want to spend a lot of $$$ on art. I LOVED the art that I pulled for the mood board. I actually ordered the Kite Hill print, but Chris and I agreed that it just doesn't look right in this room. I already have other plans for it, so look for it popping up in a different room :). I framed a piece of my favorite chevron fabric, and pulled this letterpress print from the living room. It's way better here. As for the Make You Own Path art, I loved the actual letter press, but it would've been WAY too small for the space. So, I made my own using a bike map of Portland and letters printed at my local Fast Signs. I really like how it came out, but there are a few things I'd do different next time. Live and learn, right? :)

Close up of the art.

Close up of the small shelf that wraps all around the room.

I'll be honest, sometimes I just sit on the stairs admiring the room. And, the blue door. Thanks for all your support over the last 3 (THREE!) months of this project! You guys were so great and patient through all the updates and seemingly endless amount of time it took. HAPPY MONDAY!

If you'd like to read more about this 3-month project, go here, here and here.


{renovating backstory} how it all began

In the midst of pulling everything out of the back bedroom -- to refinish the floors and paint -- and then putting it back in, I took a good hard look at what I use as my sewing table.

This table looks innocent enough, right? But this table, friends, is the start of my love for DIY. 

Story time! :)

I grew up in a family that bought everything new. And if we couldn't afford it, we didn't buy it. Or, we saved up and bought it later. My parents are not so much lovers of second-hand goods. But, my roommates and I were losing our kitchen/dining table at the end of our junior year of college (and the roommate that owned the table ;), so we needed something for our new senior year apartment (we moved apartments each school year -- so much work, now that I think about it!). 

That summer I was living at home and had a this brilliant idea that I wanted to MAKE a table. Specifically, I wanted to TILE a table. I have no idea where this idea came from. I've always been *crafty* and used to tile frames back in the day, so maybe from there? Or maybe it was the 90s? Enough said :). Anyway, I went on a mission to find a good, inexpensive, table to tile. After all, I was on a college-student budget and had no idea if this would work. So I set out one  Saturday to hit garage sales. You guys, looking back, this is hilarious. I had NO idea what I was doing. I actually think this is the first time I ever went to a garage sale, and I had not taught myself to look past initial appearances to see the hidden potential. 

I went to a lot of garage sales that day. Eventually, I found this little table with a brown laminate top. It was hideous. The best part, though, was that it had leaves on both ends, so it opened to a long rectangle. It was a great size, which was a start. I actually left the table there (good thing it didn't sell!) and brought my mom over to look at it :). Which made two of us who didn't know what we were doing!

I ended up buying it for like, $15. Then my dad secured the table so the leaves always stayed open, and I set up shop in my parents garage. On my first solo Home Depot trip, I had a lovely conversation with an employee who explained to me how to tile. I picked out tile and proceed to break it into small pieces. Obviously. I remember having to glue all the pieces to the table, once I liked the layout, to make grouting easier. Then I grouted and painted the base and was done! It wasn't until after this was all done that we picked it up. Guys, this table is HEAVY.

The table has served me incredibly well. I was obsessed with it our senior year. It was so cute in our college apartment and I had CREATED it! Then it moved: first into my first post-college apartment and next into a house my roommates and I rented. We took a break when I moved to Boston, but were reunited when I moved into my next apartment post-Boston. Then I met Chris. Who didn't HATE the table, per se, but didn't see it as fitting in with his style at all. So we compromised and bought a table we both loved, and this little table became my sewing table. 

And so this is how it all began. I remember is being such a rush to discover I could take something ugly and make it lovely. I haven't always had a lot of room to take on projects like this, but now that I do have room, I've taken on a few (here and here, to name a couple) and have plans for so many more. 

Sadly, this table is not cutout for sewing. Waaaaay to small. While I wouldn't ever tile a piece of furniture now, I do feel very emotional toward the table -- after all we've been through a lot and it basically launched my love of renovating furniture, and now our home -- so I don't think I'll part with it anytime soon. I'm thinking it'll be an excellent little kiddo craft table. Someday.

I'd love to hear from you guys! Do you have a piece of furniture you just can't part with? Do you remember your first trip to Home Depot?? :)


{renovate} refinish your own hardwood floors

Happy Wednesday friends! First off, thank you for all the kind comments this week about our *new* floors! We're super excited about them!

I'm not sure how many people are crazy enough to tackle refinishing their hardwood floors without professional help. But, if we're crazy enough to do it, I'm sure there's others out there! For that reason, I'm compiling a how-to refinish your floors. I did a little research (after we'd torn up our carpet!), but there were so many things that reading didn't fill us in on. I'm hoping our experience will help at least one other person out there who wants to save their original hardwood floors.

We chose to go the diy route because this was a completely unanticipated project. In fact, we'd been talking about tearing up our hideous carpet for a couple years, but it seemed like too huge of a project. So, why now? Because a friend and I were bored one day watching the boys tackle the *real* project. Isn't that always the best way to start a project?

I was a little nervous, as our budget really was $0, but this ended up costing us less than $100 to accomplish. How crazy is THAT?! In comparison, when Young House Love paid to have a professional refinish their floors in 2009, they spent $900. And that was an amazing deal! I'm not saying this isn't a TON of work. What I want you all to know though, is that with a little elbow grease, nice hardwoods can be completely affordable.

So how where do you start?

  • Blade
  • Crowbar
  • Hammer
  • Scraper
  • Sander: ours is similar to this Ryobi. It was gift from my parents and it's awesome. If you're doing any work on your house, it's incredibly helpful to have a small electric sander.
  • 60 -100 grit sandpaper
  • Painter's Plastic
  • Dig your crowbar into a corner of the carpet and pull up (be careful of your moulding!) to loosen the carpet from the tack strip.
  • In small, manageable sections (carpet is actually really heavy), work your way around the room pulling the carpet loose from the tack strip and cutting the carpet into strips. We did the hallway in three sections and the back bedroom in four.
  • Repeat step #2 with the carpet pad. 
  • Pull up your tack strips. These will take a little work with the crowbar. 
  • Repeat step #2 with any surface beneath the carpet. We found linoleum between our carpet and hardwoods.
  • Using your hammer, very carefully pull up each nail and staple that was securing your carpet/pad/tack strip/linoleum to the hardwood floor. They hurt when you step on them and they'll wreak havoc on your sandpaper.
  • Assess the current state of your hardwood floors. If there is quite a bit of glue, you'll need to bust out your scraper and get to work. This is the part that took us the longest. We just considered it a great arm workout :). If there isn't glue, consider yourself incredibly lucky and proceed directly to sanding.
  • Once your hardwoods are clear of debris and glue, it's time to sand. Sand down your floor with 60 to 100 grit paper. We used 100 grit, because it's what we had on hand, and it worked so well. It really pulled up the remaining stains and glue.
  • It's at this point that, if you're sanding a huge area, you can consider renting a large sander. This seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth for our small area. And now you're probably thinking we actually are crazy! :)
{Left: hardwoods after carpet is pulled up. Right: hardwoods after removing glue and sanding.}
  • My recommendation for sanding is to limit the area in which debris can fly. We used Painter's Plastic to tape off all the door openings. Also, open as many windows as you can. And, of course, wear a face mask. Please. You don't know what nasty chemicals are hiding in your floors. Especially if your house is as old as ours.

  • Applicator Pads (3 - 4)
  • Broom handle
  • 150 grit sand paper
  • Sanding Sealer
  • Polyurethane: We opted for water-based finishes. This is completely up to you, but when Chris had done the hardwoods in the rest of our rooms - 5 years ago - he chose water based. We wanted to keep things consistent. I will say though, that I would recommend water based to anyone. We've been incredibly happy with the floors in the rest of our house and I had no reservations about choosing this again.
  • First, vacuum your sanded floors well. REALLY well. I also went over them with a damp rag. Just in case there was still dust that the vacuum didn't pick up. A tack cloth isn't recommended for this, simply because it can leave a tacky substance on the floor.
  • Tape off all vents. You don't want dust circulating when your floors are wet.
  • Note: never shake the sealer or the poly. Air bubbles will ruin your smooth finish.
  • At this point, you would apply stain. We didn't apply stain. Again, we were going for consistency and the rest of our wood floors are unstained. Make sure you read the directions very carefully on your stain. It's recommended to wait 72 hours between stain and poly.
  • If you aren't staining, now is the time to apply your sealer. This helps keep this wood looking great, and also raises the grain so you can start sanding and achieving the smoothest finish possible.
  • To seal: start along a wall. Plan your route so you're sealing yourself towards the door. Don't seal yourself into a corner! Going with the wood grain, pour the sealer the length of the room in small puddles. You'll see that a little goes a long way. Pull the applicator at about a 30 degree angle, the length of the room. Repeat until you've finished the room. Make sure to overlap the rows.
  • Let the sealer dry for up to 2 hours. Ours took closer to 3 hours, but I was a little heavy handed with the sealer in some areas. When it's fully dry, lightly sand the entire floor with 150 grit sand paper. Then vacuum, wipe down with a damp rag and you're ready for poly.
  • Apply the poly the same way as the sealer, described above. Use a new applicator pad for each coat. We applied three coats, letting each dry for about 2 hours in between. We also lightly sanded, vacuumed and wiped after each layer. Except the last layer.
  • Once you've applied your third layer of poly, do not walk on the floor for 24 hours. 
  • You can start moving furniture back in after 72 hours, but we actually waited 5 days. Paranoid. Rugs should not be placed on the floor for at least 14 days.
We had two people working on this project every Saturday for 5 weeks and this included painting the back bedroom. I really think that we could have completed the project in two full weekends, if we'd wanted to finish them up faster.

A very nice Home Depot employee photo copied this packet about hard woods floors when we asked some questions about supplies. We also talked through the process with a Lowe's employee one day (we're equal opportunity home improvement store customers). The back of the Minwax Poly we used also gave incredibly clear directions. Minwax's website also has a TON of useful info. 

WELL, if you've made it this far in the post, congratulations! I know this is an incredibly LONG post. If you decide to refinish your wood floors and have any questions, please let me know.

Make sure to check back on Friday. I finally finished my TURQUOISE lamps! :)