Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Dining Room

Long time no see!  What's it been, a few years?  We never slowed down on our renovating but between 3 kids playing multiple sports and 2 full time jobs, documenting things took a backseat.  Nothing like forced social distancing to find some extra time. So what have we been up to?  Let's start with one of my all-time favorite transformations.  The dining room.

Feast your eyes on this beauty.  The picture doesn't do it justice because you can't see that the upper portion is actually textured with sparkles.  Come to our house for dinner and you may go home looking like you were at a strip club, covered in sparkles.  Badly installed dental molding and floors that could not be salvaged.  Don't get me started on the light fixture. 

And this is what we're looking like today!  I could not be happier with the result.  It is a pretty good example of a high / low budget room.  The table & chairs cost more than the entire room but the chairs, lights, rug, drapes and mirror are Target, Overstock, IKEA and Amazon.  The built-in's are IKEA!  I'll get to that in a minute.

It took a few steps to get there.  Step 1 was to do something about the bad lighting.  We swapped the undersized dated fixture for two of these modern farmhouse looking fixtures from Overstock.

Then Sean put his electrical engineering degree to good use and installed recessed lighting.  The mirror is from Amazon.  This one is a great price for the substantial size but the best part is that the rim is made of rubber, making it lighter and easier to hang.

Next up, wallpaper. I really liked this paper from Serena & Lilly but the fact that it wasn't pre-pasted and I'm a wallpaper rookie made me nix it:

Instead I chose this paper, Moroccan Blue on White, with a similar feel from Spoonflower.  I had to skim coat the entire room to even out the textured walls.  That was as little fun as it sounds.  My awesome parents drove 300 miles to help us wallpaper this room.  Wallpaper is scary but there actually isn't a ton of wall to paper due to wainscoting and the built-ins.  Removing it down the line shouldn't be too terrible.  I hope. 

Now on to the built-ins.  They were pretty time consuming but two years in they still look great and are so functional.  Our house has very little storage so we have to find pockets where we can.  Behind those doors is basically mud-room storage.  Coats, shoes, etc.  Weird for a dining room but it works.  These built-ins are actually IKEA Pax cabinets hidden behind wood face frames and custom wood doors that Sean built and I painted.  This picture shows the finished product on the right and the work in progress on the left. 

Sean built each door front by hand, routing each piece.  The picture below shows the cubby on the left with finished doors and the cubby on the right is just the IKEA guts without the doors yet.

Each kid gets a cubby.  Backpacks, sweatshirts and coats on the hooks (they pull out!).  My favorite part about the Pax units is that they are very changeable as our needs change. The basket up top holds seasonal items.  Hats/mittens, sports uniforms, etc.  

The middle ledge holds devices and each cubby has a standard and USB outlet. 

Shoes and socks in the bottom drawer.

The middle section is IKEA kitchen cabinetry guts with the same face frames.  The depth of the kitchen cabinets and the Pax cabinets are actually the same but we made the kitchen cabinets sit out a couple extra inches to give it some interest.  This section holds actual dining room things.  Imagine that.  China, glassware, etc.  Topped with a piece of honed marble.  These look like progress shots so the drawer fronts aren't on yet.

Here you can see the drawers finished:

The hardware is from Home Depot.  I love the mix of wood and metal.  Just a little bit different.

The table and white end chairs  are from Restoration Hardware were definitely the splurges in this room.  White chairs with 3 boys and 2 dogs? I know, right? They tell me they can be bleached without discoloration.  I don't see how that's possible and haven't tried it yet but so far they're holding up ok.  The table is solid and weighs hundreds of pounds so here's hoping the farmhouse table looks stays in style for a long time. 

So that's it!  A massive improvement.  I love the new look and the storage is super functional.

White Chairs - Restoration Hardware
Table - Restoration Hardware
Gingham Chairs - Target (unfortunately discontinued)
Drapes - Ikea

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Basement Slider

Remember last fall when we discovered the leak in the powder room while installing a slider door in our basement?  Well that epic scope creep put the basement on hold.  Back to our regular intended project.  Swapping out a rotted door and window with a 10' slider.  The view from the inside before:

The view from the outside before.  The original owners had a greenhouse on that brick slab so the window and door looked into the greenhouse.  That has since been removed and an awful slab, rotted window and a rotted door remained.

Our eventual (it could be years) plan is to install a small kitchen just inside the slider, accessible from the pool.  The pool is full sun so when we entertain the food sits in the hot sun.  This kitchen will be a place to keep food/drinks cool and act as some badly needed pool storage.  Something like this:

Sean removed the window and door along with the row of block beneath the window.  In this picture the pool is open and the leaves haven't even turned yet, that's how long ago we did this.

It literally looked like a bomb went off with all that rubble.  I'd love to say that pile of rubble isn't still sitting there but then I'd be lying. 

This was Piper's first major construction project with us.  He was unsure about the noise but stuck by our sides the entire time.

Only one animal was harmed in the installation of this door.  2 adults, 3 kids and a dog tried to chase this little guy out for a couple days.  He may still be living in our basement.  Eh, what's one more creature?

In!  Ah.  So...much...light!!!

Next up is a huge, gigantic, massive back yard project that we are NOT DIY'ing!!!!  I'll fill you in next time.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Foyer Complete

After wrestling 3 boys into and out of snow suits a dozen times a day for the past few days thanks to the Bizzard of 2016 it became even more apparent that I needed better storage just inside the door.  Balaclavas always demand ninja stances.

A reminder of what we were starting with.  A very dark entrance with zero storage, an ugly baseboard heater and an uglier floor.

Voila! Solving 3 out of 4 problems isn't bad (the floor remains).

Eventually we'd like to add a shelf up top to hold baskets.  

Remember that mirror from our powder room?  Well I decided to place it adjacent to the door to reflect the light into the dark foyer.  Mission accomplished.  I added 2 sets of hooks.  The upper to hold hats, the dog's leash, etc. and the lower to hold the boys' coats, sweatshirts, etc. with enough headroom for my tall husband.

Baskets and bins below to hold mittens, hats, etc. in the winter and baseball gloves and sunscreen in the summer.

I can't figure out the wall color.  It has been 3 different colors in 8 years and I've tried countless samples.  It is currently Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray which works in basically every scenario except this one.  It is reading pretty green.  Its ok for now.

I think I "need" to paint the interior side of the front door.  I love a black front door but I'm wondering if painting it a lighter color may also help lighten up the space?  What do you think?  Also I think I eventually "need" to cover that ugly floor with a sisal carpet tile.  Agree?

So that's a wrap for now.  Maybe some tweaks down the line.  It already provides some much needed interest and storage to a previously unused space.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Floating Bench

Last time I mentioned that I liked the idea of a floating bench or ledge to maintain some visual real estate.  I love all of these:



So step one in my project was to figure out the bench situation.

Then why am I showing you a picture of my kitchen when we moved in?  See that butcher block counter top on the island?  We saved that and it has been sitting in our basement for the past 8 years.

Sean and I ripped a piece down to the size we needed to fit the area.

I dry fit the wood into place using my porch garden stools.  Good fit and height.

There was some leftover crayon, stickers, etc. from the prior owners so I sanded everything smooth using an orbital sander.

Then my 5 year old and I conditioned, stained and poly'ed the wood.  I used 4 coats of poly because I imagine that bench is going to see a lot of use.

I used Minwax Special Walnut.  I wanted a brown color without hiding the grain.

Once we finished staining and poly'ing we had to figure out how to mount it.  It is a solid 1.5" thick which means the bench is probably 80 lbs.  Figuring out to mount a piece that heavy (that also has to hold a person) and be floating was challenging.  While not a perfect solution we decided to mount them using these brackets (affiliate) which hold 1,000 lbs:

2 brackets were mounted into the studs.  My stud installing them into the studs.

You can see they are a little visible but once boots, baskets, etc. are placed under the bench they really do disappear.  

Side note, how ugly is that floor?  It is sitting in 2" of concrete so while we've pulled most of it out of the house this small section remains.   For as ugly as it is, it really does hold up well against the snow and salt.  Does anyone know if I can tile right over it?  It is about 1/2" lower than the hardwood that meets it and is in solid condition.

Now that the floating bench is complete, time to move on to the wall storage above it!