Friday, January 27, 2012

Bathroom vanity

The bathroom is moving s-l-o-w-l-y (I snicker to think how quickly we thought it would go), but I am making progress in between all the other duties of life and work.  One of the things I knew I wanted in the bathroom was a furniture style vanity - but I am way to cheap to spend 800-1000 dollars on one.  So I kept an eye out on craigslist for a good piece of furniture - I wanted something with a curved front and a little bit of vintage charm.  And it had to be between 40 and 48" wide - which was the hardest part.  I found a ton of stuff in the 55-65" range.  So when this little dresser came up I jumped on it.

Sixty bucks, that's my kind of price! It did have problems - a long split across the top, and the handles had been changed and there were holes where the old handles were.
 The left side had some deep cat scratches at the back end, and there used to be a mirror attached, so the top had a 3/4" gap at the back where the mirror had been attached.  But no problem that I couldn't fix!
And you can see in the pictures above, the top was stained and pretty nasty. 
So the first thing I did was unscrew the top and glue and clamp the split.  And then we pried the back off the whole thing - which we would need to do for access to the back for plumbing.  And when we did that, it solved the gap issue.  I sanded the cabinet and filled the scratches, then gave it a nice coat of satin black paint.
I also refinished the top - sanded and stained it back to the original color.

Now I needed to modify the top three drawers to allow for the plumbing.  The middle drawer needed to be shortened to allow for the water hookups and the drain going out, and the two top drawers need to make room for the drain from the sink.

The middle drawer was easy enough, just took 4" off the back and set some new stops so the drawer doesn't go in too far.  The top two drawers took a little more thought and planning.  I needed to bring them in a little but not right to the front, and I didn't want to weaken the drawers by removing the front dovetails, so I started 5" back from the front, and cut a rectangle out, reusing the old pieces I cut out.   I did take a picture of the back side of the entire piece, but it was getting pretty dark out and it wasn't the greatest picture.
I filled the holes in the two large drawers, and then painted a celtic interweave design on the drawer fronts.

I lightly sanded the stenciling then gave the entire piece 3 coats of spar varnish, which is used on boats.  Since this is going to go into a room full of moisture, I wanted to protect the wood.  The top got an additional 5 coats of varnish.  I also used steel wool on the pulls to bring out a little of the brass - although I liked the old patina so I didn't polish much.

We still have to mount the sink to the top and add the faucet, but for now, the main part of the cabinet is done, and I'm happy with it.  The oak finish was so pretty didn't want to cover it all up (originally I was going to paint the entire bottom along with the drawers), so we decided to use a fairly dense stencil.  I had a hard time picking one out - I was leaning towards some florals but Dale wanted something a little less "girlie."  I think the final choice is perfect for us.  I think it's going to look stupendous against the white walls and marble floor, warming up what could be a pretty cold room!

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Chairs

Several years ago, I bought Dale a new recliner. His old one was horrible - it reminded me of the one Frasier's dad had - but he loved it and wouldn't get rid of it unless I got him a new one.  The new one was a beauty - tufted and super large and comfy, but lately, it's been looking kind of sad.  Again, he hated to part with it, so I looked into getting it reupholstered.  I checked on Yelp! and found a highly rated shop, got estimates, all ready to go.  I was only hesitating because they said it would be 3-4 weeks in the shop, and he hated to be without. 

But I'm glad I hesitated - because I was scouting through Craigslist (can't stop myself!) and I found an identical chair for $68!  A bargain, because this chair originally cost close to $1000.  The upholstery on this one was in even worse shape - cat scratched (although when we went to go check it out, I can't help but wonder if they had a lion instead of a cat!) but the chair itself was in great shape.  So now we have a matching pair - I used to have a pair of wingback chairs that I loved, but had to part with when we moved. 

We picked out some beautiful upholstery fabric with an all-over leaf pattern that goes nicely with our new couch.  And the best part of all, since the chairs were so big, they rushed to get them out of their tiny shop and were done in less than 2 weeks.
(Ugh. I had to block out the background on this picture because it's a mess of drywall stacked against the wall and the old furniture that I've just listed on Craigslist. ) These chairs are so comfy!  Deep and wide and all that tufted comfort.  I just want to be sure we keep them up - although the price to get them redone ($350 each) wasn't as bad as I had expected, and because we love the shape of these, I'd do it again.

I'm thinking of painting the living room.  Thinking of black.  But - before I do, I need to replace that drywall back there with a wall of shelves for my books, which are still stacked in the guest bedroom in boxes. 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

another furniture piece

While Dale worked on running electric (up the ladder, into the attic, hey, turn off the power, back down, repeat), I reworked a table that we had in the living room.  I actually got this table when I was living in apartments, almost 20 years ago, I pulled it out of a dumpster!  I went to throw my trash out and I saw it down in there - I had to climb in and drag it out.  It's been a handy little table, about 3 years ago I painted it black to cover the badly stained top - but it needed to be freshened up.

So while I was in between helping out with electrical, I sanded the top smooth, sanded edges to give it a weathered look, painted a compass rose on the top, sanded that a big to age it, then gave it a nice coat of stain and several coats of poly.

It looks so much nicer now!
I also refinished the bathroom door this week.  This door had plastic laminate contact cemented to the backside.  We wanted to keep the original doors because they're really nice, so I pried up all the laminate, removed some plywood that they used to level the insets, sanded it all down and added a strip along the back edge.  We are going to convert the bathroom door into a pocket door, and this one should be about an inch or so wider so it doesn't pop out of the pocket.  The additional strip won't really show, but I added a strip of wood and sanded it even, and added filler in where the old door knob was.  It looked pretty rough!

I sanded it all smooth, and then primed it and gave it two coats of nice white enamel.  For a finishing touch, I painted "Bath" on the top panel, which will only show when the door is closed.

Well, we didn't get the pocket door done this weekend, but it's the next project on the list.  And the door is ready to go!

Oh, and see all those baby shoes on the shelf? Those will go in my bathroom, too.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I'm beat!

So I choose one of the hottest days of the winter to go out and dig up all the roots around the eucalyptus tree!  

It looks so much better - needs grass growing but just getting the gunk out and digging up roots makes it look a zillion times better.

We've also cut the ivy off the tree up higher.  Still have a ways to go -but now it is dying off and hopefully by spring I can get the majority of it down.  It's to the point now where I need to use a ladder to reach it.

Just a reminder of how it looked before (and this was after I cut a clear ring around the trunk):

I'm sure all the neighbors are not appreciating this yet, since the dead ivy leaves are starting to fall and blow around. I try to keep them raked up but it's going to be a losing battle. 

Monday, January 02, 2012

Studio - cleaned up

I finished painting this morning while watching/listening to the Rose Bowl parade - I really like the gray because it's such a sunny room, and this makes it feel cool and relaxing.

Gray is a nice neutral that makes the colors of the artwork pop.

 Another reason I want to get it all cleaned up is so that I can some work done in here! 

I  have a lot of messy things in here - Dale wanted me to get closed doors on my shelves since they're usually full of oddball things, but that limits the size of what I can put in them.

The color is Polished Silver by Valspar.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Now to change up some color around here...

When we bought the house, it had been professionally painted - walls, trim, ceilings - which made it feel clean, but all the walls are this ghastly tan color.  I hate it.  But I have many other things to do, so at least we know they're clean.  But the tan is getting to me, so I started painting my studio this evening - a nice silvery gray.
Dale hates gray.   So he came home, saw the can of paint and says, "oh, now it's ON."  He wants to paint the living room - which is also the same gross shade of tan.  But I can't decide what color to paint it - we tend to like pretty powerful colors.  I'm contemplating black or a deep navy blue - but I don't know if we have enough white trim out there to pull it off.  The white in the studio - the wainscoting and the trim and all the furniture - make the gray a definite neutral.  I would like the same gray in the bathroom, but since Dale hates it.....

Anyway - got one coat on the walls tonight - tomorrow I'll finish up and post some pictures of the finished room with all the paintings hung back up!
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