Showing posts with label Home Improvement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Home Improvement. Show all posts

Thursday, September 4, 2014

More guest room updates...

I have place holders throughout my house. Rooms change and colors change which means I have decorations floating around the house. Something might end up in three different areas of the house before it's served it's purpose and ends up in the garage ready for donation. These particular lamps have been placeholders for a while.
Life with Fingerprints: Guest room lamps update, West Elm Factory Wall Sconce
We had them when we moved to Milwaukee many moons ago. They were in our bedroom. Then they were in Hunter's bedroom. And they've been sitting in the guest bedroom since we moved in. I didn't love them in there, but they were placeholders until I found something I liked better.

I've had my eye on these sconces from West Elm for a long while and it wasn't until my sister-in-law was over that she confirmed my decision and they were ordered that night!

My assistant Hallie and I spent this afternoon installing them. Let me tell you, that girl of mine has construction in her blood. She held that lamp steady and level while I drilled the holes, which is harder than it sounds! She also took some pictures - she's good enough she might start requiring payment.

Life with Fingerprints: Guest room lamps update, West Elm Factory Wall Sconce
Life with Fingerprints: Guest room lamps update, West Elm Factory Wall Sconce

This reminds me that the nightstands are also placeholders! I even have all the materials for the new ones and haven't gotten around to it for...a year and a half. Embarrassing, I know. But the new lamps may just light a fire in me!
Life with Fingerprints: Guest room lamps update, West Elm Factory Wall Sconce
Life with Fingerprints: Guest room lamps update, West Elm Factory Wall Sconce

Friday, August 22, 2014

What a difference...

We have a guest room in our house. The thing about the guest room is, I so rarely walk into that room that I fail to give the room any attention until we have guests coming, and then I try and figure out what I can do to make the room a little more presentable.

Two years ago I painted the guest room, Benjamin Moore Gray Horse. I built a bed for the room and then it sat. And sat.
Life with Fingerprints: West Elm Curtains, Benjamin Moore Gray Horse
We had a lot of guests walk through that door and every time I thought, I really need to add something to that room. So with company arriving this weekend - I was on a mission last week to get something done. My first stop was West Elm. Hallie and I walked directly to the curtains and picked out a pair. I thought for sure I'd get them home and then return them two weeks later because thats typically my luck with home stuff. But wouldn't you know, we got them in the room and I loved them. It was just what the room needed.
Life with Fingerprints: West Elm Curtains, Benjamin Moore Gray Horse
It's amazing what some curtains can do for a room and I'm laughing that it took me that long to do it. I've got some other ideas swirling around for that room as well but company will come and go and I will table my ideas until company shows up in the fall and I'll rush to make something happen!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gray paint samples...

I've found that some of my more difficult paint choices have involved the color gray. I want gray, yet it reads blue, purple, green...just about anything but gray. I was ready to move forward with another painting project and I thought I knew what color I wanted and I had a half gallon already sitting in the garage. I originally painted the bathroom this color and then changed my mind after the first coat because it was too dark in the small space. So I took Dunn Edwards Gray Pearl and painted a section on the wall. I liked it, didn't love it. So, I came back to the room in the late afternoon and looked at it again. Still didn't love it. Walked in at night when it was dark and it still hadn't grown on me. Gray Pearl was just not working for me.

I went to Home Depot and picked up three samples: Dunn Edwards Cloud, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray. I was sure I wanted Cloud but since I was there I picked up two other samples. I've always wanted to test Revere Pewter and Stonington Gray was really a last minute choice.

The minute I opened the can for Revere Pewter I knew it was off - sure enough its not even close to the paint swatch - so I'm still not sure if I like that color!

Here they are all lined up next to each other.
Life with Fingerprints: Determining what gray to paint the bedroom; Dunn Edwards Gray Pearl, Dunn Edwards Cloud, BM Revere Pewter, BM Stonington Gray

I moved forward with Stonington Gray and I love it...more pictures to come...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Goodbye Mauve Carpet...

We did one of my favorite updates on the house just as school was letting out and it has made a world of difference: We got rid of more mauve carpet.

Lets go down memory lane for just a minute. When we moved in three years ago - it was all mauve carpet (and a few areas of fake wood).
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
A year and a half ago we ripped out our first batch of carpet and laid hardwood. It felt so good. But it made it that much harder to put up with the mauve carpet we had left. Another year and a half passed and we were ready to replace another chunk of carpet. We had company coming for Steve's parent's anniversary so we figured we would push the project into high gear to get it done before they arrived, so we didn't have to cringe when we saw them walking without shoes on!

I'm a list person and my projects come with complete lists of tasks that need to be completed. There was a slight snowball effect when it came to removing all the upstairs carpet, as well as the stairs and Bennett's room. It started with the massive cabinet in our loft upstairs. I knew I didn't want the cabinet long term, which meant we needed to remove it so we could carpet underneath it. This was a task and a half.

Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
This cabinet was a single unit and it was heavy. I figured it was still in great condition and it would be great storage in the garage.

We started by emptying all the books and random items that ended up in it over the two years.
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
I didn't realize just how much stuff was in there - Steve asked halfway through emptying, "Where are you planning on putting all these books?" Great question, didn't think that through completely. I just knew the unit had to go in order to get carpet, so out it went.

We called some strong men over to lend a hand (and a back) and I honestly thought they would just carry it down the stairs. This is where it got a little hairy...I've come to the conclusion that the unit was either assembled upstairs, or the staircase didn't have a railing yet. It was that difficult.
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
These guys seriously worked at this. They shuffled and slid and moved lights. Changed positions. Took it back to the top of the stairs and reevaluated. Steve at this point was probably cursing me under his breath wondering why in the world could we not just keep the cabinet upstairs until the day we die. I was ready and willing to cut the thing into toothpicks to get it out of the house! But these patient helpers kept coming up with new solutions...and you know what...one of those solutions worked.

It is now happily situated in the garage full of goodness (i.e. power tools and such).

With the cabinet removal checked off my list, I moved on to painting the staircase. And after that was complete, we were ready to carpet.

Tears of joy were shed (only slightly exaggerating) as I saw the workers cut that carpet, roll it and carry it out on their shoulders. Watching the dirt fall out of it as they carried it out was enough to make me throw up in my mouth just a bit!

In all it's gray glory - it's done! (We've only got our bedroom and the playroom left, wahoo!)
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
And because a project is never truly complete...I've got some work to do upstairs where the cabinet once stood.
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
Life with Fingerprints: Goodbye mauve carpet, hello gray carpet
Add it to my task list!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

It gets worse before it gets better...

It always gets worse before it gets better. We had our stairway completely tented off for painting.
Life with Fingerprints-4934 photo LifewithFingerprints-4934-1.jpg
Our house was a complete disaster during that project. It felt good to rip down all the plastic only to realize there was residue/dust everywhere! Every surface had to be wiped, vacuumed, swept...but we did it and the house sparkled. Fast forward 5 days and our house was a disaster once again. It definitely got worse when they ripped out all the carpet and every piece of furniture in 5 bedrooms and a loft had to be moved.
Life with Fingerprints-4221 photo LifewithFingerprints-4221.jpg
Several rooms in the house started to look like this:
Life with Fingerprints-5272 photo LifewithFingerprints-5272.jpg
Because most of the rooms needed to look like this:
Life with Fingerprints-5259 photo LifewithFingerprints-5259.jpg

I hate chaos and our house looked like this for a few days while we pieced everything back together. But new carpet makes this mess totally worth it. Pictures to come.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Goodbye orange oak staircase...

Steve mistakenly gave me a cookie...and you know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie.

You see, Steve agreed it was time to rid ourselves of more mauve carpet upstairs (it's a process to get rid of that stuff). But it only made sense that if we were going to be replacing carpet, we might as well take advantage of the process and also paint the staircase. We have company coming into town next week and we both floated the idea of having every thing done by the time visitors showed up and although we had a deadline not a whole lot was getting done (because in reality we were both okay waiting until a less stressful time to make the updates). Last Wednesday, Steve and I were talking and his words were simple. "If we're going to do this - then we need to start working and make that the priority right now." He said jump and I jumped. I just needed a good little nudge to get me started, but once I've started, you can't stop me.

Let me remind you of what the staircase looked like when we moved in.
Life with Fingerprints: How to paint an old oak staircase, Graco TrueCoat
The orange dated oak was not working with our decor and so we said goodbye.
Life with Fingerprints: How to paint an old oak staircase, Graco TrueCoat
Life with Fingerprints: How to paint an old oak staircase, Graco TrueCoat
I spent hours taping off the staircase. Hours. I did research online and most said spraying a staircase was never worth it because of all the taping. But we have 140 spindles. There was no way I was painting those by hand. So I taped. Steve taped. And we taped some more. We essentially had to create a tent around the staircase to protect everything. But let me tell you, it was worth it. I sprayed 5 coats in no time and within 24 hours we were tearing the tent down. I used two coats of a good primer and three coats of Benjamin Moore Advance paint (really expensive paint - but I was really impressed with its coverage and leveling properties, check it out).
Life with Fingerprints: How to paint an old oak staircase, Graco TrueCoat
Life with Fingerprints: How to paint an old oak staircase, Graco TrueCoat
Life with Fingerprints: How to paint an old oak staircase, Graco TrueCoat
Life with Fingerprints: How to paint an old oak staircase, Graco TrueCoat
It makes a world of difference to have the staircase white. It's clean and fresh and I can't stop looking at it and smiling. Sometimes I wonder why I wait so long to make an update when it completely transforms the space. Carpet goes in tomorrow morning and it might as well be Christmas morning. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'm gonna knock it down...

My idea of weekend fun centers around power tools and large overgrown hedges which now look like trees...And I couldn't help but sing an updated LL Cool J song...I'm gonna knock it down...mama said knock it down...
 photo 20140405-DSC_2450.jpg
At one point- these were probably nice subtle hedges. Until it grew into the monster of all hedges and started growing through the pool fence and around our pool equipment. Besides, I thought it would be nice to have a playset for the kids but I couldn't justify using valuable yard space to do it. The bush/hedge/tree had to go.

Steve and I cut it down and the kids took the pieces to our driveway where they await their fate of the dreaded green dumpster. Half-way through Steve says, "There have been very few times I've been able to say this, but the kids are really pulling their weight and actually being helpful." We find we're saying that more and more these days which gives this tired mother hope!

 photo 20140405-DSC_2452.jpg
 photo 20140405-DSC_2453.jpg
 photo 20140405-DSC_2456.jpg

The whole thing came down in an hour and a half and our yard felt so much larger. Not to mention the goldmine of treasures the kids were able to gather once it was gone.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Building with dad...day six...

Day five left me a bit discouraged with our progress on the entertainment center. It was clear that we were not going to finish this thing with my dad in town so I reevaluated and reprioritized the next most important steps. What could I do without him and what was necessary to have his help. Doing this gave me a large dose of reality and no longer was finishing it the goal. The new goal was getting it to a point that we could bring it into the house and put it against the wall.

Here's how day 6 went down:
My dad started the morning taking Hallie to school and enjoying "Donuts with Dudes" sponsored by the school. Hallie knew her dad wouldn't be able to go but she was just as excited at the thought of her grandpa taking her. Of course after donuts, she had to show him her classroom, the playground and show him off to all her little friends. Evidently, Grandpas are a novelty. She had one friend that wanted to touch his graying hair because it looked fuzzy. He obliged. Grandpas are the best. Once he got home we went to work.

We started by cutting the backs out of 1/4" MDF for the three units. One was cut the wrong length which left it too short to use. Measure twice, cut once. MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE. Eventually, I think this actually might sink into my little brain, especially after all the seemingly innocent errors which made more work for us. Back to the lumber store.

Once the backs were cut, we started to putty and sand all the doors and drawer fronts and lined them all up to receive their first coat of paint. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center My handy dandy sprayer was a huge timesaver, but I was still dealing with the drying and curing times. There is nothing like watching paint dry. It was painful.

I was still determined to meet my new goal - get the entertainment center into the house. Just before dinner we cleared the wall of the previous furniture. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center Just after dinner we had a short window with Steve's help before he ran off to a meeting and we brought each of the three units into the house. We didn't put them in place, but they were in the house, and I wanted to scream with delight from the rooftop. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center  photo 20140226-DSC_0964.jpg We made a last minute decision to add a cable box behind the unit (we don't currently have cable but didn't want to limit ourselves in the future) which took some figuring out. At 10:30 the box was finally installed without a cable and Steve said goodnight and left my dad and I with a disaster of a room.

The backs hadn't been installed yet as they were still drying outside, but once they were not tacky - we had them glued and nailed into place. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center The minutes seemed to pass by too quickly and every time I looked at the clock it seemed later than I thought. I had to cut a 4"x1" slot using the jigsaw where the tv sat and through the shelf below it for the wires to pass through to the electrical outlet and it just about killed me. We had spent so much time on it and now I was cutting a hole in it?! I just prayed I wouldn't screw anything up and prayers were answered.

We shuffled units around and started to get them in their place. It was past midnight and we were both exhausted but there was no way we were stopping (okay...maybe my dad would've stopped but I was determined.) The large unit, probably 500+ pounds, was a little difficult to maneuver and I'm not sure I pulled a whole lot of weight. But we shimmied and slid and pushed until it sat where it needed to be and we counted our lucky stars when the holes in the back of the unit matched up with the electrical box on the wall.

There were tools and nails and hammers strewn across the living room and I made quick work to gather everything that would be potentially dangerous to my kids the next morning. I wanted Steve to walk out the next morning seeing it for the first time in its place with a clean room surrounding it and just after 1 o'clock it looked like this. Life with Fingerprints: Building with Dad...Day 6; DIY Entertainment center I just about cried tears of joy as I shut off the light and walked to my room. We didn't reach my original goal, but we met the modified goal and I couldn't have been more grateful.

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Goodbye fall wreath...

See that?  photo 20140306-DSC_1257.jpg  photo 20140306-DSC_1259.jpg Yes that is a fall wreath. A fall wreath that has been in that position since...fall. There was no Thanksgiving wreath, or Christmas or Valentines...or anything besides fall.

It's not my nature to leave holiday decorations up past their prime (although in Milwaukee we did leave our Christmas lights up for two months after Christmas because it was too stinkin' cold and icy to get them down) and every time I opened that door I cringed seeing it.

I never removed it because I've had plans all along to remove the entire door. I told myself I would just remove the wreath when we installed the new door.

The door was purchased before Cannon was born and it has sat patiently in the garage ever since. Steve thought this was a project we could do in-house, and I completely agreed. I honestly thought that the install was just around the corner. Each weekend that passed, I honestly thought it would be installed. So the wreath was never changed. Changing it would be accepting that it wasn't going to happen and that was not a thought I was willing to entertain.

In Steve's defense - he is way too busy to carve out time for a door installation. I get it. But I still clung to hope that he would wake up one day and want nothing more than to help me put it in. Wishful thinking I suppose.

I asked him last week if he really had intentions of installing it or should I hire it out. He laughed and quickly suggested we hire it out. I had someone there the next afternoon.  photo 20140306-DSC_1263.jpg Goodbye fall wreath. Goodbye ornate designed oval glass. Goodbye broken brass handle. Hello fresh clean lines with functional lock!  photo 20140312-DSC_1464.jpg I spent this morning trimming it out (inside and out) and it's just lovely now.  photo 20140312-DSC_1466.jpg I'm kicking myself that we waited so long.  photo 20140312-DSC_1468.jpg

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Building with dad...Day five...

After working hard for four days straight, it was nice for Sunday to roll around so we could take a much needed rest! I got dressed (for reals, not yoga pants) for the first time in four days and didn't even have sawdust in my hair. Although as I sat in church I noticed just how much paint still sat on my cuticles and underneath my nails! The story of my life.

I really didn't think about or look at the project all day Sunday. As I was heading to bed just before midnight I had a quick pow wow with my dad to talk about the day ahead of us. We had just two full days left for building so we had to maximize our time. The quick pow wow turned into a 45 minute discussion on the construction of all the doors. We didn't have enough wood and my dad agreed to venture out first thing the next morning to buy more.

I went to bed a little nervous. There was no physical way we would be able to get this thing done in two days. No way. My head was swirling with thoughts as I tried to fall asleep.

Here's how day 5 went down.

Apparently my dad had thoughts swirling as well because he didn't sleep well and was up earlier than planned and off to the Depot.

He returned with all the best wood they had (which wasn't much) and I quickly rushed off to Cannon's doctor appt. My dad took on the task of cutting all the stiles and rails (for all fourteen doors/drawer fronts) to size while I was gone. He also used the router table to rout a groove the exact depth of our panel (we used 1/4" MDF for the door panels, which really measured as 7/32, so we bought a 7/32 router bit) on every piece. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts We went back and forth on the construction of the doors. Mortise and Tenon. Dowels. Pocket Screws. BeadLock. Each method had its advantages and disadvantages. I'm most comfortable with pocket screws but that would've required a lot of putty and sanding to fill them. The beadlock method would've required me going to buy another jig. So we tossed a coin and mortise and tenon won. Never before had either of us constructed a door this way so there was definitely some trial and error trying to figure it out exactly.

We used the table saw to create the tenon, making small passes with the table saw. (Found this great video tutorial here that we followed) Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts Once we got one side cut, we'd flip the wood over and start cutting the other side. Because the blad was only partially raised, the portion not cut from both sides became our tenon. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts We set the fence at 3/4 inch so we would be left with a 3/4 tenon to fit in the 3/4 deep mortise. Life with Fingerprints: Building with dad, Day 5; Mortise and tenon doors and drawer fronts

By early afternoon I was feeling pretty happy with the progress and then it started to go downhill quickly. We made a few small errors in cutting wood which led us to need even more wood. We had already scoured two Depots and picked through all their wood. So I sent my dad to yet another depot in search of decent wood to complete the doors.

It took a while but he finally came bearing gifts of wood. We got them cut to size and created the mortise and tenon.

Preparing to put the doors together we realized some of the wood had been cut to the wrong size. Cue the silent swear words from my dad as he knew we were already short on wood.

Later in the evening we found some other wood not the correct size. I think there was a pencil thrown. Possibly a door slammed. Not good at all. We were both tired and frustrated and clearly in this state of mind, errors became more abundant.

We should've stopped for the day. But we didn't so you can imagine the errors didn't stop there. No. I was cutting the panels for the doors and even consulted my drawing as to how it should all be cut and still I cut them (not utilizing the board as I had planned) which left me short of wood for the backing of the unit. Again. There was a lot of anger in the garage that night! I think the stress of knowing our time was short was sitting heavy on us, hence all the errors.

We had to get the doors built so they could be painted the next day.

With all the frustrating mishaps of the day, surprisingly we managed to construct all the doors and drawer fronts. Of course, not without wanting to throw half of them against the wall as we worked and reworked to make them square. They day was pretty awful. We were both done and had we not been so far into the project I would've taken this as a sign that we were not capable of completing said project. But we were too far to turn back. So we shut off the light just after midnight both in awe of just how hard the day ended up being for us. One day left with my dad's helping hands...

DIY Entertainment Center - Day 1
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 2
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 3
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 4
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 5
DIY Entertainment Center - Day 6
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