Monday, December 21, 2015

DIY Canvas Frame

I built a frame.  All by myself.  Power tools and all.  I don't need a man (finger snaps).  Scratch that, yes I do.

I have this print that I bought on  I really like it but it looked unfinished.

So I searched for a frame but because it is 2" thick and an odd size I couldn't find one for less than $100.  The art was really cheap (and I'm really cheap about some things) so I wasn't interested in paying that.  It is 4 pieces of wood - how hard could it be?  Off to Home Depot I went and picked up these oak craft boards (2" x 1/2").  $20.  I'm sure I could have figured out a way to pay less but I had about 10 minutes before I had to get the kids off the bus so I was in a hurry and grabbed the first thing that worked.  I could have butted the corners and it would have looked fine but I mitered the corners.

Then I conditioned the wood.  Don't skip this step - it is super important to help the wood accept the stain.  I've been using this same can of pre-stain for about 8 years and as long a it doesn't dry out I'll have it for the rest of my life.  Then I stained it using Minwax dark walnut that I've used on every project I've stained in this house.  Wear gloves.  I didn't and my fingers are still brown.

After letting the wood conditioner sink in for 15 minutes I applied one coat of stain and got the color I was after.  If you want to go darker you can continue to add layers.  If you want to go lighter you can wipe off the stain quickly after you apply it.  And yes that is a silk shantung drape I'm using as a drop cloth.  As the most interesting man in the world says, "I don't always DIY canvas frames but when I do I use silk drop cloths."

Then I assembled the frame by applying a bead of gorilla glue (just a dab will do ya or it'll ooze out the sides) and then clamping to dry for about an hour.

Just for added security I added a staple to the corners.

Then add a screw from the inside of the canvas frame to the finished frame itself.

My goal of coordinating the mirror frame to the art was achieved. 

Not perfect but the $20 price tag was way better.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

DIY Cyanoptype Prints

Remember when I showed you the overall idea for the family room?  It originally had those blue prints behind the couch.

Well Pottery Barn has them for $509 for a group of 4.  $509!?  Um, no.  
Pottery Barn
Mom to the rescue.  She created 7 of them for me using an old printing process called Cyanotype.  You can get 15 sheets of the specialty papers for under $10.  My accounting degree tells me $10 is much better than $509.

Sun sensitive paper (affiliate link)
- Leaves, flowers, etc...whatever you want to make an image of
- A bowl of water


1) Lay out a piece of the sun sensitive paper and place the object on the paper.  If it is windy you can lay a sheet of glass over the object.
3) Place it in the sun.  You can adjust how white or blue the image ends up being by the amount of time you leave it in the sun.
4) After the image sits in the sun, quickly place the paper in water for a minute.  This will stop the development process.
5) Remove the paper from the water and let them dry.  
6) The ends will probably curl so after they're dry place heavy books over them to flatten them out.

Admit it.  You kinda want my mom to adopt you.  I get it.

The original plan was to place them over the couch to pull through some more blue into the room but when I taped up some prototypes I couldn't get the layout right.  2 rows of 3 was too short and 6 or 7 across was too long.  I'm glad I used paper and tape before I started putting holes in the wall.  Thank you Amazon Prime and all the packing paper you send me.

I ended up finding the perfect place for all 7 prints above the wainscoting we did earlier this year.  I love the contrast, repetition and how it pulls the clean lines from the wainscoting up onto the walls.  

Tip for hanging pictures correctly the first time: Put a level up on the wall to get your top point and draw a line.  Then put a dot of toothpaste on the picture hanging hardware on the back of the picture.  Line the top of the frame up against your level line and push the picture against the wall.  It'll leave behind a dot of toothpaste where you can hammer in your nail and leave your walls smelling minty fresh.

What I love about these prints that the $509 Pottery Barn prints could never give me is the sentimental value.  They were made by my parents using nature found in their yard.  Take that Pottery Barn!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Powder Room Reveal

Finally this room is DONE!  I knew it was a hard working room but man was that 3x5' space missed!

A quick reminder of where we started when we bought the house:

Then it looked like this (briefly) before we discovered water damage. 

Today it looks like this!

Bright and timeless (I hope because I don't want to do this again anytime soon).

Who doesn't love a herringbone floor?  See how the design features all full sized tiles end to end?  That took a ton of math and tile cutting.  I'd recommend not doing that again :)
We replaced the other toilet with one a bit more standard.  The other, while the prior homeowners spent about three times what I would have spent on a toilet, was an odd size.  Disappointingly this one does not clean the pee from poor boy aim on the seat as I would have hoped.


The mirror was sourced at HomeGoods by my personal shopper (thanks Mom) and I think does a nice job of stretching out the narrow room a bit.  We swapped the sconces for one overhead light.  The best part about the room isn't something anyone else would notice but we replaced the awful drywall, builders grade molding and the and the ceiling.  It all looks so clean now.


And for good measure - one last look at that pretty floor :)                                And because when it rains it pours I'm awaiting my new couch delivery any minute!  My kids told me yesterday that there were 23 wake ups until Christmas and 1 wakeup until couch delivery day.  There is no denying they're my children :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tweaked Powder Room Design

So because we ended up pulling the drywall down it opened up new possibilities for us.  I really like wall paper but it is a lot of pressure to get something that is perfect and then I feel like I'm handcuffed into keeping it forever.

I'm also very tired of spending money at this point.  I have about 20 gallons (I'm not kidding) of paint in the basement and I really only needed a half gallon max so I dug around and wound up with tried and true Revere Pewter.  There aren't many spaces where this color won't work.  This is the same color in the family room so it'll leave the 1st floor looking cohesive.

The next hiccup was the mirror and the light.  We figured as long as we were pulling down the drywall why not rewire the lighting for an overhead rather than a sconce? I prefer sconces but the room is so small that there is almost no sconce that will fit.  I bought an overhead light without taking the mirror into account.  Not so fast.

I love this West Elm mirror that we had in the room before but unfortunately it is 3" deep and the light (and most lights) have less than that in clearance between the light and the wall.  I will definitely repurpose this elsewhere.  Stay tuned.  So I searched high and low for a replacement.

It turns out I didn't need to look any further than my dining room.  I had this round, wood mirror that I scored from Target clearance for under $20 this summer.  The size and the price were right.

So now this is where we're headed and the finish line is in sight!!!

powder room

Sunday, November 15, 2015

One Room Challenge: Room 2, Week 6

Well we didn't finish either room in 6 weeks but at least we're close.  The family room is done but the couch won't be delivered for another couple of weeks.  Probably a blessing in disguise considering my house is covered in a layer of fine spackle dust.  Each time I type 'spackle' my computer wants to autocorrect to 'sparkle.'  Makes me giggle each time. 

I was able to remove the above wall paper in under 20 minutes but unfortunately the walls beneath it were already on its last legs and basically only held up by the dozen or so coats of paint I've put on them.  So we ripped everything down.  

The bad news is that it set us back a week.  The good news is that we were able to upgrade everything in the room (add a fan and an outlet, fix some old wiring, add a new light fixture, etc.).  There is not a single thing from the original room that was kept.  Even the subfloor went.

New drywall was hung, followed by mud, sand repeat for about a week.   I painted the top half of the wall using some leftover Revere Pewter.  

The bottom half gets all the leftover bead board from the porch project that I never showed you the final product on (b/c we honestly never finished it!  Maybe next year).

Sean swapped the ugly dental crown molding with the molding that matches the rest of our house and it was painted out with Benjamin Moore Acadia White.

And now I'm currently in this cycle.  Prime, wall paint, trim paint, ceiling paint.

Of all the places this dog could choose to sleep he chooses the 3'x5' construction zone.  I think we picked the perfect dog for our family.

 I'm hoping one more week and then we can call this room done.  Check out the other participants here (hopefully they're not still painting!).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

One Room Challenge - Week 4, Room #2

It feels like we've been talking about this 3x5' floor forever right?  I feel ya.

We painstakingly measured and remeasured and remeasured.

Then finally we laid all the tile.

With the help of a 4 legged supervisor.

Done!  The grout looks pretty white now but it will (IT HAS TO!) dry gray.  

Check out the other ORC participants here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

One Room Challenge - Room #2, Week 3

Who says you don't need math?  There was a lot of math involved in this floor design.  Herringbone floors are pretty but I never gave much thought to the actual process of getting it to look pretty.  This was our inspiration and look how perfect those tiles we need to get ours looking that way.

You see if you don't have a perfectly square space (and who does?) then the herringbone will get all out of whack at some point in the room. To combat that we laid a border tile that was exactly square (the bead board will hide any gaps) and then began to figure out the herringbone pattern from there.

Complicated step #2 is figuring out how big the tiles should be and how to lay them in order to reduce the number of cuts and strange triangles on the end.  In our case, this meant tiles that were 3 13/16" x 7 3/4" with 1/8" tile spacers.  Got all that?

Complicated step #3 is deciding where the 1st tile should be laid and then work off that.  If that first tile isn't perfect then the entire design will get off track.  Sean drew diagonal lines from corner to corner of our square border and then worked off of that.

It is a very good thing that one of us is a turd polisher perfectionist (spoiler alert - it isn't me!).

Check out the other participants' progress here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Two Room Challenge - Week #2, Room #2

Hi again.  Week 2 of my self-imposed Two Room Challenge (you can check out the other participants here).  Head spinning yet?  I am.  The amount of demolition dust in my house is insane slash totally normal for us.   

Today is the powder room.  A reminder of we looked like a couple weeks ago...

...and how we look today.

The overall look I'm hoping for (though maybe I'll replace the wallpaper while we're at it?  I mean, it is 8 months old after all).

We're still in a hurry up and wait stance with the plumber so in the meantime we choose tile.  I love this herringbone slate floor (coincidentally from prior One Room Challenge participant!):

Because this is a very high traffic bathroom with boys who can't aim I'm going to go with a porcelain rather than natural slate.  This is a pretty good fake (it even feels real).  We bought it in 8" x 32" tiles and we're going to cut it down to 3 13/16" (got that?) x 7 3/4"...and when I say "we"...

My brother drafted up the design so we finalize the layout before we actually started cutting the tiles.  The hard part about herringbone is that you can't just cut tiles and lay them down.  In order for the design to work out perfectly you have to take into account the grout lines.  Hence the reason for the crazy 3 13/16" measurements.

No one should be surprised I asked the husband for the most complicated tile layout I could imagine.  I'm the same person who also sweet talked him into building me a crazy complicated gable :)  I think he still likes me.

Check out the other One Room Challenge participants here.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Two Room Challenge - Week 1, Room #2

Welcome back.  If you're following along, Linda from Calling It Home is hosting the One Room Challenge and because I'm a masochist I'm making it a Two Room Challenge.  One intentional (family room) and one unintentional (1st floor powder room). 

The powder room was the unintentional renovation.  While installing a slider door in the basement we discovered mold and rotten wood from a toilet that had probably been leaking for years.  

The good news is we discovered the problem before it was a widespread mold problem and our toilet fell through the floor.

The bad news is that it meant we had to completely gut a room that we had already renovated.  Womp womp.

So down to the studs it went.  Not even a sub-floor remains.  That's the basement floor you see between the joists.

 The room looked like this the day we moved in.

Then it looked like this...

...then a little of this....

...and today it looks like this:

The plumber says the stack would probably be fine for another 10 years but because we already have the walls open we're going to replace the entire thing now.  Cha ching.

Sigh.  Money and time I hadn't planned on spending.  Plumber comes next week and then it will be time to put this room back together.  Again.

Check out the other crazies attempting the One Room Challenge!