Tag Archives: renovations

Welcome to the Kitchen and Bathroom

In the kitchen we cut both the upper and lower cupboards to fit the new fridge in place. Doing this decreased my counter space considerably as the opposite side of the kitchen houses a vintage Youngstown Kitchen by Mullino double sink.

My kitchen

Underneath the sink and inside the bottom cupboards there was a piece of vinyl flooring laid down in an attempt to hide the problem and the plumbing was completely disconnected from the right side drain while the left side drain was rotting out. Dad and I replaced them both. And I ripped up the gross vinyl only to be met with the most ghastly smell of putrid slime. I did, honestly almost puke. I poured bleach and began scrubbing. The entire unit, including the cupboards, doors and drawers, is metal. Now that it is clean and disinfected, it just needs a small spraying of Tremclad paint inside.

I’m still searching for proper drapes or maybe wooden blinds to hang in the two kitchen windows as I put most of my effort into covering the bedrooms, bathroom and living room windows. For now, the lime green $2 tab top drapes will do.

To compensate for the lack of counter space I bought an island for $100 used. From the same lady, I also purchased a love seat sofa bed for $100. She was fantastic. While in her home, I asked if she had other items she was selling for she was moving. She gave me for free; three floor lamps, a solid wood desk, ikea shelving, a stainless steel kitchen garbage can and a little colour TV with stand.

Side view of kitchen

Every time I went to someone’s house to look at furniture I always asked if they had other items for sale. And they would always ask what I was looking for and I’d pull out my shopping list. More times than once, they did have other items that I needed.

The kitchen table with four chairs had belonged to my Grandmother and the antique dry sink underneath the window had belonged to my Great Uncle George. Most, if not all my dishes I purchased at garage sales over the years; an assortment of oranges, turquoises, navy’s and brown’s in pirex and stonewear. I did buy new Henkel knives and already had all the cuttlery, pots and pans I needed from previously being married.

My bathroomThe bathroom wasn’t as involved in updating. It had been gyproced and a new bathtub, toilet and pedestal sink were installed in recent years. However, they wallpapered the gyproc and sealed the bathroom with gooey clear silicone which had yellowed. I peeled the wallpaper off, Dad crack filled then primed it and I painted a light semi-gloss taupe colour on the walls. Dad re-caulked after I painted. And while out *garage-saling a couple of weeks ago I purchased a five piece set (still in the box) of stainless steel bathroom bars and hangers for $8. I did buy a new light fixture for $40 as the previous one was brass in colour and just too Victorian frilly looking.

And Zellers sells these fantastic curved shower curtain rods for $20. They give you elbow room! No more hitting the shower curtain while washing your hair.

*garage saling – sometimes referred to as yard saling, this phenomena occurs every weekend, people load into cars and travel around buying other people’s trash and discarded furniture

You can see the before and after shots of both the kitchen and bathroom on my Flickr. And I’ve secretly started a Buy 2 Get 1 Free Sale… more details coming soon…

Yes, that’s me wearing the industrial strength breathing mask sanding hardwood floors

The dust doth fly when sanding old varnish off of hardwood floors.

I began writing this post on June 22, 2009…
Now that the wall painting is complete we began sanding the hardwood floors on the second floor of the house. I used the edger at 5 minute intervals. Every muscle in my body was hurting to keep that thing from flying away from me and into the freshly painted trim. I look like a man in these photos. Bahahaa! Note to self – post picture of me wearing a dress at a future date…

Me using the Edger

So you ask why paint walls and trim before refinishing the floors? Simple; it’s easy to touch up paint but not as easy to touch up hardwood floors. It’s easy to wipe paint drippings off of old floors and if you miss one it’s OK but it’s not easy to wipe paint cleanly off of newly finished hardwood floors. It’s also easy to vacuum trim after sanding hardwood and a pain in the ass to need to tape edges before painting and lay tarps down on newly refinished hardwood.

All in all we sanded three times using three different toothed sanding papers and laid down three coats of polyurethane on the floor with a light buffing in between the first and second coat of polyurethane. The wood lifts after the first coat so it’s a good idea to buff ’em before varnishing on top again.

Homemade Squeegee

We are working on the main floor hardwood today. The studio, living room, sunroom and library all have have hardwood floors. Sadly the walls in all those rooms are plastered with wallpaper, however it’s in decent condition (unlike the upstairs) and whoever lived there previously painted on top of it! I am also flabbergasted at the mess of caulking around all the old original windows and trim in the studio, living room and sunroom. I didn’t notice this until we began working in those rooms yesterday.

what a difference!

And Dad spent a couple of hours removing cheap nailed in place weather stripping from all the outside doors. Couldn’t believe they nailed it in place. Each door now has a bazillion holes surrounding it’s edges. Don’t nail weather stripping. And don’t caulk yourself if you do not know how to do it. I’ll be taking a razor blade to the bathtub and toilet later this week to cleanly peel the caulking off of it. Whatever (cheap clear silicone) they slathered over the original caulking is akin to honeyed sticky glue that is brown and spreads when you you try to scrape it. A razor is the only thing that’ll take it off cleanly without damaging the enamel of both the tub and toilet.

Bathroom TV

4 days later…

The hardwood on the main floor is dry and can be walked on and the bathroom fixtures are scraped clean with a razor :)

The tale is being told in pictures on Flickr (70 pictures and counting) and in mighty fine tweets on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me!

And the paper fell to the floor in wet sticky clumps then we painted the walls

After a week of wetting, scraping and peeling wallpaper off the four upstairs bedrooms, bathroom and sitting room the antique plaster walls were revealed. And to our surprise, namely my Dad who is a mason by trade, the plaster underneath was in excellent condition only needing minor touch-ups to fill in cracks and holes.

In two of the rooms it was seven or eight or layers deep

Plain water works best to remove wallpaper if you are sensitive to the chemical softeners found in many of the store brand wallpaper removers. You’ll find to that slipping your scraper underneath dry wallpaper will lift it directly off the wall before needing to wet it as the old paste has most likely dislodged and lost it’s stickiness. It’s best to take as much off before wetting it. Simply fill your paint tray with warm water and using a paint roller, roll the water beginning at the bottom of the wall and roll on up to the top. Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes and repeat that process until you can easily peel or scrape off a layer or two.

dad-stephen-wallpaper

This will work well unless their is plastic or vinyl in the wallpaper. And seeing as most antique wallpapers were rolled on walls using a homemade paste, water will soften that paste easily. Even the newer wallpapers after the removal of the initial vinyl layer it will soften and peel quite easily once soaked with water.

Tweet Tweet!

blossom-time-stanton

There was this section of the original wallpaper that didn’t seem to want to come off. I decided to leave it there as it’s beautiful. It was created by Stanton and is entitled Blossom Time (Circa 1910). Last weekend I rummaged through a huge village wide yard sale in Hampton and purchased an antique frame to frame that area of wallpaper with. There is something special about preserving what was once there; in homage.

blossom-time

We found a secret door

secret-door

Directly to the left of Blossom Time we found a secret door that was sealed. We originally thought it could have been a window but as we continued scraping and glanced down at the floor trim we realized it was door and not a window. We don’t know why it was blocked and someday I may install a door there to create a second floor deck on top of the first floor sunroom. That is why the second floor appears odd in this outside shot.

The tale is being told in pictures on Flickr (45 pictures and counting) and in mighty fine tweets on Twitter. Hope you’ll join me!

One bedroom primed

After the wallpaper was removed we began sanding with household kitchen scrubbies that you do dishes with to remove any picks and stray pieces of paper before priming.

Always read the damn paint can

After priming the walls we painted the trim, doors and banister with white semi-gloss latex. I spent 8 hours one day painting the trim and doors of two bedrooms with oil based primer. I could not for the life of me figure out why my stomach was turning nor why the fumes were so intense if this was indeed water based latex. It looked the same wet. Not until it dried and Dad came up to see me did we realize I was using the wrong paint. I had been complaining all day to Dad and my brother who were downstairs taking out cupboards in the kitchen that the fumes sucked and they just looked at me funny saying “Latex does not smell”. So, I laboured away getting high and sick…

My bedroom!
…and the walls we painted a dark eggshell colour. What a difference!

I’m looking forward to moving in. There is no estimated date of when this will happen. We began doing the hardwood floors over and it’s really the last thing to do and I’ll post about that soon. I also dearly miss working in my shop and creating art.

About Wearing Industrial Breathing Masks or the Fine Line Between Hammer and Pen.

Brick(s)

Often, I’ve thought that it you devoted your life to doing the things you love then the money would follow. Last month I wrote a test. The test was three weeks in duration. The final grade was fantastic.

Come the middle of June I’ll begin testing again. This time however there is no fail safe… nothing to fall back upon.

I quit my part-time job in March. I began working for my bother and dad shortly thereafter except for three weeks in May when I devoted my time to online endevours. These last 10 days I’ve been working 8 long hours per day as the 2 family home we own and are working on has sold before it’s completed. Now, I’ve worked many full-time jobs in the past but never had a shop to tend to and the work I was doing was not, both physically and mentally demanding. Office jobs may be mental but they certainly do not get you up and moving around.

I sat down last night and gripped my pen as a hammer; my paintbrush as a chisel and my mouse as a plaster sander.

Good Grief! My fingers are manly and calloused. My shoulders hurt incredibly as I spent four hours today sanding the bathroom ceiling, walls and baseboard, then priming them with BIN; an industrial cover-all-stinky-ass-paint-primer-sealant.

Yesterday I scraped the two bathtubs with a razor blade removing years of built up dirt, grime and cocking revealing the enamel underneath. The day before that I hauled demolition mega garbage down two flight of stairs.

My bother jovially nick-named me Clean Up Crew. I call him the Stupid Foreman. Oddly enough he is a smart foreman at his day job. We dawned industrial breathing masks this past Saturday and sanded the shit-out-of the century old hardwood floors with industrial sanders that I couldn’t fathom operating. I was the clean up crew.

We are so close to being finished. :) I haven’t written much about the renovations and sometimes I ask myself why and maybe the answer is because I like the work…

I have nothing nasty to say.

I’m payed reasonably well and can sit and take a break when needed. I get to do varying jobs apprenticing as a mason, carpenter, painter and lastly a labourer AKA Clean Up Crew. And I’m supplied with proper safety gear to wear when needed.

Burning Bush Leaves

I’ve been working outside in the garden but alas it remains too cold for planting most vegetables and herbs as the rain has been heavy. I expanded the garden plot 2 feet by 30 feet. It took me five hours of chopping grass root deep then cutting… no yanking it out then falling and hauling it away to the compost pile. Next, my mother and I dug another 8 inches down and sifted hundreds of pounds of gravel out of the soil which in turn had to be piled elsewhere. Once we ad some black earth, sheep and cow manure, compost and lastly the greenery the Doyle garden will be well on it’s way to growing.

One year has come and gone since I landed back in Saint John on May 29th, 2007.

And I’m not looking back.

Photo Credits – both captured by me last weekend. You can see the beginnings of the 2008 garden here.