Archive for April, 2012

I’m sure you’ll think I’m just making extra work,

but this is really a pet-peeve~ to me.

Doors should open into the room they belong to.

(closets are the exception)

There’s a little problem with the LL bathroom.  The room is small and square’ish with a chamfered entrance, and there’s not enough room for the door to open fully because of the toilet position.  You have to step completely in the room  -past the sink-  to shut the door.

The trunk line to all the toilets forces that unfortunate upper corner “bump-out,” making it harder for  bigger  people to make the maneuver.

So just what I hate–has to happen

the door has to open the wrong way!

Although I’m finished in the laundry room, I’m still working on other projects in the lower level, namely, giving a fresh coat of paint to everything.

Getting closer to the bathroom, I debated making this “correction.”  Ughh–I’m here now and don’t really want to fix it and paint twice, soooooo. . . .

Basically, this is what happened

  1. I removed the casing from both sides of the door,
  2. pulled any remaining brads,
  3. took the door off,
  4. pried out the door jamb–
  5. turned it around and re-installed it.
  6. Re-applied the door casing and door.
  7. Caulk, putty, sand, paint!

Simple enough tasks but, very time-consuming and tedious. I’m finishing the above #7  and still have to paint the stairwell.

I am sooo sick of going up and down stairs–have I told you how I’m only going to live in a 1-story house?

A couple of other issues need attention now too.

1) I have to turn the door knob around or someone’s gonna get locked in there! (who’s been misbehaving?)  ; D 

2) The floor was laid to the door’s original opening.  Now it’s wrong and I’ll have to concoct some kind of correction/larger transition strip–’cause THIS looks terrible.

I also want to show you this fabulous find!  A crystal bath light from a high-end lighting store’s sidewalk sale–  $5 !


Next on the To Do List, the guest bedroom I’ve been staying in.  Can’t wait to share that project with you!


A VERY SAD FOOTNOTE— Just as I got to the end of re-installing the door casing–
MY COMPRESSOR DIED.  I feel  totally  crippled.  I can’t live without it.
So–I’ll dry my tears, and take a break later to shop for a new one.
I WORE IT OUT!  It’s used THAT MUCH!  ; D

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So~this morning, the most local ReStore celebrated Earth Day with a ½ price sale!  I went first thing hoping a pair of doors I wanted would still be there (I waited, to save some money)they were gone, dang it!

But look what was still there!

I know this doesn’t look like much, but wait till you see the UnOrthodox way I’m intending to use the odd storage shelf.  $10  4′ h x 6′ l .

This fabulous vintage lock set will be perfect for the girl’s playhouse–also $10!

I found a few more parts for the Victorian-Cottagie playhouse I’ll be building this summer for all my baby nieces & g-nieces !

The very small coach lamp will adorn its front porch– $5.

And, although these are cabinet door handles, I’m hoping to use them in a way to look like door hinges.  $2 for all 4 pieces.

Then I chased up to the ReStore a half hour north, but they weren’t participating–boo-o-o-o.

But, as usual, I found lots of cool stuff there too!  I tend to find the best stuff at this particular location!      Here’s a little montage of what I got—

  1. The lockers were $10 and will be used in a great nephew’s BR.
  2. The ball and claw legs were $35, those will be for me–I think I’m going to use them when I build the box frame for my bed.
  3. The EXIT sign, $10, will become a night light for great nephew!
  4. The spigot/shut off valve handles, the 5 were $3.50 and will become handles on g-n’s dresser!
  5. The window is for the playhouse, $2.
  6. The pair of doors were $8–well, I’ll save that for a surprise!  In the last picture, I was trying to see how the cabinet handles might look [as “hinges”]

Then I stopped by a rummage sale—omg!

I saw this chair driving by–urrrrch, back up!  It was $15!  It’s heavy and solid and I’m gonna have some f-u-u-u-n with it!!!






Yes, I have WaY too much china, but I’m a sucker–what can I say!  Com’on, look at the cool pattern!

The stack, $3

I just thought these were fun–and unusual!  I’ve only ever seen saucers and such affixed to candle sticks!


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When I originally ordered this flooring, I got it for $2 a sq ft!  When I needed to re-order just 1 box, I had to order it through another flooring store at the regular price.  One box–cost just under $100.  Ooowe-ie.

After I filled in the shortage at the washer/dryer, and the electrical closet, I used the scraps for one more spot.  The [built-in] dehumidifier.

We built it into the wall in the re-construction of the lower-level to neaten things up.  Who wants to have this “thing” just kind of parked over here or there–in the way?

So, you know what happened, right?  Of course it pooped out, and the closest match we could find was a bit bigger–of courseSo this became one more project to cross off the to do list while waiting for the flooring.  (The Christmas tree hid the situation for a minute.)

The easiest part of this was demo’ing the casing.  Getting into that tight angle to demo the 2×4 framing —uh, yeah!

Not being able to remove the center stud to shorten the length made re-framing the opening a little different.  I had to add a piece to each side of the center stud.  It wasn’t carrying any load, so it wasn’t a critical move.

The new dehumidifier was exactly –one stud taller– and –one stud wider– making the job at least a bit easier.

Fits perfectly!  —Doing its job, but out of the way!  Yay!

All painted and looking great!  But let me highlight 2 things.

1)  I wanted to show you in the center picture how I was able to manipulate the casing detail.  The angle of the corner dictated where and how the dehumidifier was placed.  But I was able to shift it a smidge to be able to cut the casing to exactly share the outer edge detail, creating a mirror image.  Previously, the casing was just “cut off” to fit without thought to the finished look (~no offense to John).

2)  The flooring only went in as far as it would show from the front.  But I decided to use the scraps from the laundry to go a little further.  (Hey, it could be a pet door-opening for the next owners!)

Now let me show you

the “rocket science”

to laying this floor!

(Even though Mannington thinks we’re all inept.)

Here’s the ex-PEN-sive glue they require!

Okay now–see if you, my fellow scientists, can follow these steps.  But pay close attention–it’s real complicated.

  1. I like to pre-cut and lay out the planks for the area I’m working in.  (I also like to draw a pencil line around the edge of my section so I know exactly the area I’m going trowel the glue in.)  Then set the planks aside.  In order.  To make it easy to put back.
  2. Pour (an educated guess of) how much glue you will need to spread out over the area you’re working in.
  3. Use the appropriate notched trowel to spread out the glue, the notches will leave the right amount of glue and voids needed for good adhesion.  The glue will be white while it’s wet.
  4. Wait for the glue to dry.  It will be sort of translucent.  This is where you’ll need your science degree–to know “when.”
  5. Then lay your planks down.  I will say to you though, be very “thoughtful” of/when doing this because when they hit the glue, that’s it.  You can’t pick them back up or move and adjust them.  (Think of it like contact cement.)    **But the bonus to this is that the floor is done.  You can walk on it right away or move furniture onto it if you need to shuffle things around to keep working.

Let me tell you what I’ve learned about clean up.

This glue is incredibly sticky.  It’s hard not to get some on things–heck, on yourself.  I never found any clean up recommendations from Mannington, but I defaulted to my favorites, and they worked fabulously!  The gel, in particular.

Spray the gel on the trowel, give it a minute to work before wiping down.  Actually, if you use a putty knife to scrape off the trowel before wiping, you’ll find clean up will go even faster.  Repeat if necessary.

Spray or squirt some on your hands and rub it in like you would hand lotion.  Wipe off with a paper towel, then wash your hands like usual.  Gone!  This stuff works well after painting and staining projects like a charm too!

I like to use the gel for any sticky areas on the floor too.  If I get any glue on the existing planks while I’m working, I wipe it off with a rag, and clean it after I’ve laid the floor.

I also want to mention that, if you’ve ever used those peel ‘n stick tiles, you know they don’t stick very well.  This glue works for that too!  So you can use a less expensive tile for a project with more confidence.  Like I’m going to do in the mechanical/storage room instead of basement floor paint.  Who wants to keep refreshing that floor paint?!


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Sorry–I just can’t show you how crazy this room looked “Before”          (mom might actually kill me).  Suffice it to say, it was bad!

After addressing:

    First go around–

  • new electrical, and lighting,
  • the inside walls,
  • initial flooring,
  • hanging a ceiling,
  • a laundry sink,
  • installing shelving,

    This time around–

  • the outer walls, and base moldings
  • closing in, and painting the window, 
  • altering and painting the cabinets,
  • creating better clothes hanging for my stuff (while I’m here),
  • cleaning out the cleaning supplies,
  • repairing drawers, painting, and waxing, G-G-Granddma’s dresser,
  • at last, finishing the floor, and. . .

 . . .here it is!

Yes–sometimes you just need a nice place to sit while you’re waiting on the Downy-cycle!

It’s kind of ironic, don’t you think, that I put down these soft carpet tiles that cover the floor I just finished laying–?!  They’re self-padded and really nice under foot!  $3 each at the ReStoreAs always, click on the picture to enlarge–click again to see even closer!

That’s actually an original phone to this 1961 house, and still works great!  But it’s brutal on fingernails!  The drapery (that you see only a part of in the pictures) closes in the old chest freezer.  I wanted something like hemp, or a loose weave linen–but I couldn’t find a thing, so I bought this (only panel) from TJMaxx’s clearance and added the Ballard Design 4″ burlap ribbon to widen it.

When I leave/go back home, I will reduce the length of the hanging-clothes rod, which will open back up the far end of the room.  The chair can go back to that end, and quit blocking the front of the laundry sink.

*We reveal all kinds of things about ourselves through blogging–yikes, this shows a little more “me” I’m afraid.  I admit I am overly anal about organization.  Yes–my clothes are organized by color (light to dark) and by (no-short-long sleeved) summer, then winter.  And I totally my dresses and high heels!  (Always fun to totally shock the guys from my construction sites into a double-look when they would see me away from work!)    ((Kristy, my luv–do you think I’m a clothes-whore too??!!))


Okay, side note—

I found the torso of a mannequin in a place selling old department store fixtures.  She’s actually my size (not a 2) and the couture dress has its own story. 

I was shopping at Last Chance (my fellow Phoenicians know this store).  Saw this beautiful fabric sticking out from the racks of clothes on my way to the dressing room–took it with me.  A lady in the (open styled) dressing room offered to zip it up for me and I heard the whole room of women suddenly gasp.  All eyes were on me, and they were urging “…you HAVE to buy this dress!”  I didn’t even know how much it was.  The tag was attached at the back bodice–the next sound I heard was, “N-O-O-O  W-A-Y!”

$12.97  Sold! (I still have the tag for proof!)  Unworn, no damage, Couture with all the boning and tulle and satin, and feels absolutely divine on!

I made the simple boxed pedestal for the mannequin out of leftover scraps from old projects!  –Cat

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First, let me talk about this flooring.

I decided on this type of flooring because of the following criteria:  1) ease of care and maintenance; and, 2) a basement application.

I really wanted the warmth of actual hardwood floors, not carpet, for my mom’s living room.  She is a senior, so I needed to think about how easy or difficult cleaning would be for her–vacuuming vs dust mopping.  But I knew a good wood would bust the budget, and something more affordable would probably present maintenance issues.

So, the Pros—

1) This flooring is absolutely PERfect in a basement application!  And, the more I considered it, I thought it was a great solution for the living room as well.  It’s SUper easy to clean— dust mop, damp mop!

2) I was able to get a FABulous designer discount–about $2 sq ft!  It sells around $5 sq ft.  Huge help to the budget!

3) Really easy to cut and install for most DIYers.  Comes in a 4″ x 36″ plank format so it’s easy to create patterns.  Which I did in her living room–a herringbone pattern!  And we installed it ourselves, saving a lot in labor charges.

4) Many wood styles from formal to rustic, and very durable.

The Cons—

1) You have to use a specific glue—$150 for the OVERly large, mORe than you’ll EVer need, bucket.

2) DIY & the WARRANTY.  Mannington is NOT diy-friendly.    I repeat, NOT.  When I encountered a problem, they PROMPTLY announced that when I did the work myself—  I  VOIDED  ALL  WARRANTIES  (period!) .

**Laying this floor is-no-rocket-science, and it’s insulting for them to dismiss all DIYers as incompetent.

3) Defective Product.  The floor I selected for the lower level–no problem.  You can drag furniture across this stuff without issue.

But the flooring for the living room turned out to be defective.  It was determined that something went awry in its finishing process, and the planks scratch easily, and boy does it show.

However, Mannington took an absolUTE hard line on this issue, sticking to the position of how I “voided all warranties by doing the installation.”

Every argument for replacement material fell on def ears.  We battled over this with Mannington for weeeeeeks.  Somehow–my flooring supplier got them to acquiesce.  It TOO, was defective.  They sent more of the same– probably from the same production lot, we figured.  And that was the last Mannington would even discuss the issue.  Basically–shut up and go away now.

This product is a double edged sword.  If you ask do I like it–??

My answer is– I only bought that 1-more-box  under duress.

–Down stairs–I love it!   

–Up stairs–I want to like it, but for the scratches, that I am always trying to camouflage with brown markers.

Apparently Mannington’s idea of customer service is We don’t cater to DIYers, so Buy At Your Own Risk–Buyer Beware!  No kidding.


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A 10′ x 12′ room in the lower level.  Nice space to get things done.

I figured ALL the flooring (and made one order) back when we were originally reworking the whole house.  The floor was laid throughout the lower level, except–not quite the whole laundry room.  Since there were other things to do in there, I figured—“I’ll come back to it later.”  Ha-ha-ha!

Hey—it’s later!  And here’s what I’ve been doing!

The Ceiling.  I’m not a fan, but the room HAD to have a dropped ceiling because there are many [things] running up in there–ie: gas line to fire place, water line to frig, etc, and you have to keep some ready access.  I toyed with “dropped ceiling tin,” but just couldn’t justify the cost in that room.  I also had to get creative at the awning window–the water line to the frig runs through it.  Perfect.  Just for fun, I added some vintage wallpaper for an unexpected punctuation!

The Walls.  There are two outside walls of cinder block.  But you only really see a part of one, so it didn’t seem worth the trouble and expense of firing, insulating, and sheet rocking.

I bought a product that would allow me to re-coat the walls, eliminating some of the cinder block outlining and texture.  You trowel it on much like joint compound– but I found it to be disappointing.  After two good layers, the coverage was not so great.  However, it did smooth things out “enough” to continue with some venetian plaster–3 more layers!  And–I waxed it at the end.  Yes–the whole process was a lot of work, but it’s beautiful!  It looks very old world, and has some natural crackle for added effect (that was exploited in the waxing).

The Cabinets.  These were built on site, and would be really tough to tear out, so I worked with ’em.

  1. I sanded and puttied some bad areas,
  2. added a small crown-cove at the top and other finish-moldings, and some flea market hardware,
  3. lowered the doors and shifted them around (the 3rd door is a dummy)
  4. and, repainted.

And, Those Floors.

I miscalculated.

By ONE. dang. box.

I ran out right in front of the washer/dryer.

But it finally arrived and I finished it.  With enough to lay in the electric closet and one other place I will also show you.

I’d like to tell you more about this flooring–pros and cons.  So I will save it for the next post.  And show you better pictures of the overall, finished room.

btw–This is the same type of flooring that was used in the 1st floor bathroom and living room.


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It’s a miracle we still have this piece.  My maternal grandma didn’t like antiques!   She had modern tastes.  And mom tells that it was only saved because grandma needed the extra storage in her basement.  Sure wish she needed an extra bed and took that too.

It’s even cooler to still have this dresser because my mom and I were both named for this grandmother!

The dresser dates to the 1860’s and is in EXCEllent condition. 

It was interesting to inspect and study the varying methods of its construction, especially the pegged drawer boxes!  I’ve never seen that before.

Taking the dresser apart to clean, repair the drawer bottoms, and paint.

My mom is not a big fan of painting antiques, and held her breath for this.  And guess what—she likes it better now and agrees that it really makes the dresser more beautiful!  Will wonders never cease.

**Wow–it’s really tough to get a good photo of this dresser.  I’ve tried at night and during the bright daytime.  The room’s natural brightness isn’t enough light for the dark dresser, and manipulating the light isn’t working fabulously either, sorry.

This dresser is serving as storage—again! 

In a basement—again.  Poor thing. 

But she’s cleaned, and painted, and waxed—and looks beautiful!


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