Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Black Beauty in the Bunk Room

Whoever said that every room needs a touch of black was absolutely correct. I don’t know anything that ups the style factor in any space as quickly as a touch of black. Such was the case with our bunk room at our summer cottage.

bunk cabinet 1

It is hard to get a good photo of this piece because of the size of the room and its location. It was hard to get a shot without the bedposts showing. This piece sits at the foot of the two sets of bunk beds.


You can read my previous post on the bunk room by clicking here.

bunk cabinet 3

I don’t have a “before” picture of this piece since I started it 2 or 3 years ago but it was just ugly brown fake finish wood when I found it at an antique place. I had plans to use it for another project but decided to go another direction so it ended up here.  Actually, my assistant and I quickly gave it a couple of coats of black satin paint and it has been sitting behind a door with no hardware and dirty glass waiting for me to finish up!  Back in February I ran across the turquoise wrapping paper at TJMaxx while traveling in Philadelphia but I didn’t purchase it because I knew it would be smashed to smitherines by the time I got home. However, after hitting several stores in my area I was able to find it. I knew that was just what this cabinet needed.

bunk cabinet 4

Because I didn’t want to damage the paint on the inside, I had planned to cut foam core and glue the paper to it and just stand the foam core boards in place. However, I discovered that the cost was $21 for the foam core. So, I purchased a piece of very thin luan plywood and cut it to size. I think it cost $7 or $8! Then I used a small household stapler to staple the paper to the plywood. I folded the paper over the edges like wrapping a present and stapled from the back so that the staples don’t show. Then the boards just sit in place.

bunk cabinet detail

I love the faux bamboo details and the solid brass hardware cleaned up very nicely.  The storage baskets are currently holding travel size board games.

lighted bunk cabinet

As a bonus, it even has a light in it!

bunk cabinet 2

I should have finished this project a long time ago but I sure am glad that it is finally checked off my list!

I hope that you are having a wonderful summer!

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I’ll be linking to several parties. Please click the link and see all of the wonderful inspiration!

Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

HomeWork Wednesday at Worthing Court

Grace at Home at Imparting Grace

Monday, July 15, 2013

Reveal of the Kitchen Update

I am finally getting around to organizing this post on updating my 1980’s kitchen. The post has taken longer than the actual update! It is long and picture heavy, so be forewarned. Our home was completed in 1987 and has served us well but several areas are in need of a major update. I keep things a LONG time before changing them, then suddenly they are driving me crazy. Such was the case with the kitchen. I’ll show you the finished project, then go back through some of the steps.

view from den 4

I still would like to replace the barstools but have yet to find what I have in mind. I found three English antique stools in an antique store but I didn’t purchase them because I need four.I also ordered some from Restoration Hardware but when I received them they were overpowering for the space so I returned them. Below is a shot from the other side of the peninsula.

peninsula area after

Below is the same view before the re-do.

peninsula area before

It was not that dark in the day time, but you get the idea. As you can see in the photo above, I had dark cabinets, dark appliances, and carpet with a rug. I know that carpet in the kitchen causes many people to cringe. I actually like it. If you spill something, you clean it up just like you would any other floor. If you spend a lot of time on your feet in the kitchen, it is very soft and easy on the feet. Out of more than 20 years and many, many meals with lots of children, we never had a stain that didn’t come out and the carpet was only replaced one time after the first 19 years! Nevertheless, the first thing we did was install hardwood floors.

everything and flooring after

Because I wanted my kids to experience the satisfaction of a DIY project, we installed the flooring during the last week of their Christmas break before they went back to college. I purchased the wider oak flooring from Home Depot and stacked it out of sight in the living room for several weeks before the install to let it acclimate to the humidity level in our home. This is a VERY IMPORTANT step. (The professional installer did not do this at our summer cottage and he got to come back and pull up the floors and install new ones!) Because wood expands and contracts due to humidity, I cannot overstate how important this step is. We began by taking up the carpet from the end of the peninsula to the back door leading to the garage.

back door area in progress

The subfloor was in good condition except for one spot under the refrigerator which was quickly replaced with new plywood. I also updated the baseboards, doors, and crown molding with white paint. It took 5 coats, 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint to cover the stained wood! That alone made a big difference.

back door area after

The floor install was very quick and pretty easy. We have an electric miter saw that was used for the cuts and rented a flooring nailer from Home Depot for 24 hours. We laid the flooring out in our living room staging area by length so that we could quickly choose a board in a comparable length so few cuts were made. The trickiest part was using a table saw to cut a transition strip into the dining room which is slightly lower than the new flooring because we already had hardwood in the front of the house which does not have 2 layers of subflooring. The only way to make them level was to remove one layer of subflooring in the kitchen area and I did not want to do that. I simply used trial and error to get the transition strip and it turned out great. I did hire a professional to finish the floors and was pleased with the outcome.

upper peninsula cabinets 2

The next step was the cabinets. I would not recommend that anyone without some DIY experience try this. Not that I am a professional, but I would not want anyone to get injured. I had given a lot of thought to this step before starting so that I would not get hurt but still ended up calling in reinforcement! I don’t have photos but I put supports under the cabinets over the peninsula and started removing them. I was doing fine until I came up on one nail (in addition to many, many screws) that was the size of a railroad spike. I could not get that thing out. I finally called my daddy to come help me. My call went something like this “Get over here quick and help me. I’ve got to get these cabinets torn out of here and hauled out of the house before the husband gets home from work and I am running out of time!!!” Let me clear the air before anyone jumps to conclusions!!! I don’t do anything that I don’t tell my husband about. Seriously. I have had friends who hide their shopping packages in the trunk of the car until the hub is gone to work, etc. I do not condone such activity. I have never wanted to teach my children to lie to their daddy or to their spouse. After 31 years of marriage my husband has total trust in me including my DIY projects and recycles of “junk” from the side of the road. However, he has no vision for my projects. He does not have one DIY bone in his body. Occasionally he provides some manpower to keep the peace and is often my “packmule” as he calls it on a shopping trip but he does not enjoy DIY projects. It is much less stressful for him if he doesn’t have to watch the gory details of a project coming together. Otherwise, he is always supportive and never complains about paying the bill since I am much more budget conscious than he is.  Back to the story, Daddy was able to get the giant nail out and the rest is history! Next, I carefully removed the sheetrock soffit and repaired the ceiling. I was able to get the cabinets down without any damage to the countertops or to the floor. I was able to recycle these cabinets. I repurposed one set and put them in the laundry room. You can red about that here. I put the others in the garage.

peninsula after 2

Removing the upper cabinets really opened up the area. It doesn’t even look like the same house!

After removing the upper cabinets, I started the long and arduous task of painting the cabinets. Because the cabinets were stained inside and out, I wanted to lighten the inside too, so I painted the inside first. It took 4 coats, 2 of primer and 2 of paint. I used a roller to speed things along but it still took a while. I also worked in sections so that I didn’t have to empty every cabinet all at once. 

painting interior of cabinets 2

The reality of DIY! Notice the hairdryer clipped to the drawer pull and hanging in front of the open cabinet. I used it to speed along the drying between coats of paint! Because all of the cabinets were structurally sound and I was not changing any of the layout, I chose to keep the cabinets and purchase new doors. The biggest reason I wanted new doors was to be able to use hidden hinges. The way that our original doors were made prevented me from being able to just change the hinges. I ordered the doors online from www.RawDoors.net .(I have never received compensation from any endorsement I have made on this blog. All opinions are mine and mine alone!) I was very happy with my purchase. The doors were well made, the prices were reasonable, the website was easy to use and the turnaround time was quick and the new hinges were included in the price! Just remember, measure 3 times and order once! Once you order them they are yours!

I did have to have one small cabinet made by a local cabinet maker to fill the gap left where the upper peninsula cabinets joined the wall. I ordered a door for this new cabinet to match the others. The local guy was also reasonably priced and quick with my little cabinet.

dishwasher before 2 with arrow

new cabinet above dishwasher

Because I am keeping the same old grasscloth wallpaper, I was also able to recycle a piece of wallpaper that came from the soffit area that I tore out and covered the new little gap that was left from the tear down area. And yes, I used the molding from the tear out area too.

painting doors 1

I used a small sponge roller to paint the doors, all 38 of them! The doors also took a lot of time and several coats, 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of paint, a coat of stain that was quickly wiped off to age them, then a coat of a very thin wash to achieve the look I was going for. A total of 6 coats, on 38 doors!!!

painting doors 2

I painted the doors in groups of 5 or 6 and actually by the time I finished 1 coat on all of them, they were usually dry enough that I could start the next coat.

painting doors 3

The idea was to leave a little more stain in the cracks to accent the layers.

cabinet finish after

Because of all of the layers, the doors have an aged look and no two are identical. I also wanted to change the hardware from polished brass to antique bronze. Because I kept the existing drawer fronts, I had to find hardware that fit the existing holes that had been used. I didn’t want to use a wood filler and try to cover the existing holes. Of course, the standard has changed in hardware and the holes were 1/4 inch larger than most are now. I was able to find the correct size pulls online from www.knobs4less.com .Because they were an unusual size, I had to pay a little more for them but it was still considerably less than ordering 13 new drawer fronts.

stove before

Because my oven was more than 50 degrees off, I decided to replace it too. And, even though the convection microwave was still in excellent working condition, I was tired of it sitting on the counter and wanted to update to an over the stove model.

stove- microwave area after

Moving the microwave freed up a lot of counter space and I absolutely love my new Samsung stove.  You can read about my microwave oven purchase here and you can read about how I saved some money purchasing the other appliances here.  As you can imagine, the black dishwasher had to go too!

dishwasher before 3

I LOVE my Bosch dishwasher. It is still in good working condition and I didn’t want to spend the money to replace it. You can read about how I updated it for $50 here.

dishwasher area after

That was a BIG difference for $50!

sink before 3

I decided to replace my polished chrome faucet with an antique bronze one. I really like the serpentine shape of my old faucet and could only find a replacement of the same shape by shopping online. I think I found it on Amazon.I also replaced the little window lifts with new ones in an antique bronze finish.everything and flooring after

Somewhere along the way, I added chalkboard inserts to the pantry doors. You can read about that little project here.

chalkboard pantry doors

I also painted a little rug to catch water drops from the sink. You can read about that little project here.

stenciled rug 1

Please ignore the fingerprints on the dishwasher! It really doesn’t usually look like that! Keeping fingerprints off the stainless appliances has not been an issue yet.

appliance wall after

I added beadboard with the same finish as the cabinets to the bottom of the peninsula on the back side.

lower peninsula after

While this project involved a lot of work on my part and some costs were involved, the entire project was less than $8000 and that included the appliances. I did not purchase a professional grade 6 burner gas stove because we don’t have access to gas except in a container since we live in the middle of nowhere so I’ve never cooked with gas but the appliances that I chose have served us very well.

view from den 5

I also added under-cabinet lighting that I purchased at Lowe’s. The added lighting gives a lot of bang for the buck too! I chose to keep the existing countertops. They are European hand painted ceramic tiles which were a splurge when I put them in many years ago and I still like them and they are still in very good condition. Maybe I’ll put in granite in 20 more years!

everything and flooring after

The updated kitchen has certainly provided a breath of fresh air to our much loved and lived in home!

I hope that your are having a wonderful summer!  I am looking forward to attending the Haven blogging conference in a few weeks.

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Because this was such a big project, I’ll be linking to lots of parties. Click the links to see lots of wonderful inspiration!!

Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style

Homework Wednesday at Worthing Court

Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home

What’s It Wednesday at Ivy and Elephants

Tips, Tidbits, and Tutorials at Stone Gable

Hookin Up with House of Hepworths

Grace at Home at Imparting Grace

DIY Before & After Party at Fox Hollow Cottage

(the party listed above is a benefit for Habitat for Humanity!)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another Treasure for the Porch

My mother recently gifted me another treasure for our screened porch. You may remember the piece pictured below that I purchased from the roadside for a whopping $20. You can read about it here.

porch server 1

I had already found another mirror for the other side of the doors and was looking for another piece to use as a server. My mother gave me an antique music cabinet.

IMG_7775 The idea is that it will provide a little symmetry. Here’s another view.


It was purchased from an estate sale many years ago.


The shelves inside were originally designed to hold sheet music.


I carefully pulled the back off and removed a couple of shelves then replaced the back. Since I won’t be using it to store music, I thought that it would be more useful with bigger spaces between the shelves. As I turned it over to take the back off, I found this on the back.


The “helpful information” from factory number 14 was nothing spectacular.  It was the handwritten notes on the margin of the paper that intrigued me.  It was very hard to photograph.


It says “got this cabinet Feb 6, 1918”!!!!


Across the other edge is written “wartime.”  That would have been World War I.  This little cabinet is almost 100 years old!! I love a piece with history!


A couple of thin coats of black paint and she was all done.


Even though the pieces are not identical, I like the balance it gives to the porch.

I hope that you are having a great summer!

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I’ll be linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style and to Home Work Wednesday at Worthing Court. Click over for lots of inspiration.