Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wish We Had......

Today's post is the "Wish We Had..... Glad We Did...."

We have been in our home for a little over a year.  Here is a listing of what we did, should have, could have and didn't.

Wish We Had....
  • Patio Upgrade - We got the standard 10x12 Patio option.  I wish we had gotten the patio extended all the way to the edge of the house.  We are definitely going to be extending it in the future!  
  • Linen Closet Light - DO IT!  I asked about this when we were going through the options and I remember "Patty" said that there was so much light in the hall we didn't need it.  DO IT!  None of the hall lights are close in proximity to the closet.  When you need a towel to take a shower in the evening, it's DARK in that huge linen closet.
  • Media Closet - If you have watched "IT CROWD", get a light in the Media Closet. With the modem and router in this closet, you are bound to need access to it.  And it's a large space for no light.  I'm actually surprised this wasn't standard.
  • Media Closet Louvered door - Again, I'm surprised this isn't standard.  I'm not even sure this is an option, but with all of the components in the "media closet" it does get warm.  They should have put a Louvered door like in the laundry room.  We have to leave our door open often.  It is one of my pet-peeves.
  • Service door in garage-  There is absolutely no ventilation in the garage.  We had the HVAC/Heating company come out no less than four times due to the increased temperature in the room above the garage.  If there was a service door, we could use it to let the hot air out of the garage, without opening the bay doors.  Also, in the summer months it is too hot to do anything in the garage without ventilation.
  • Attic Upgrade - I wish we had known about the attic upgrade :( prior to building.
  • Wiring - We would have gotten HDMI and Cat5 in all the bedrooms, Loft and Living Room.  We have had to do this on our own after the fact in addition to what we got through Guardium.  Seriously think about where you want your "media" before scheduling your appointment.
  • Optional 5th bedroom - I think of this often on how it would look if we converted the loft to a guest room with French doors.  Did anyone get the Optional 5TH Bedroom??  Please send me pictures if you did!!  (see below)
  • Rough-In in sitting area of the Master.  The master is HUGE.  Extra lighting in the sitting area would have made the master a bit brighter.  There are definitely shadows in the sitting area.
  • Extra outlet in the Master Closet on the wall where the tub is.  I did get an extra outlet, but I got it on the opposite wall.  I wish we had gotten the outlet on the tub side, for possibly a towel warmer mounted over the garden tub.
Could Have Not... 
  • Extra recessed lights in loft:  We do not use our loft 95% of the time I thought we would.  I use this room to sort laundry :(  My teenager actually turns the lights on and leaves all FIVE recessed lights on.  We had to install a timer switch on these lights.  This extra expense was not worth it.  (My husband feels differently)
  • Extra outlet in the Pantry.  I have yet to use this.  

Glad We Did.....
  • Extra electric outlet in master closets -  Soooo glad we did.  I created a vanity area in my master closet (off master bathroom) I am so glad I put an extra outlet.   My husband irons in his almost every evening.  
  • Extra outlet on stair landing - We use the outlet on the landing for a night light as well as for the vacuum.  Be careful on this option.  On our elevation it was on the blueprint.  But, when we were doing the walk through it was NOT included.  Be sure you know your blueprints!
  • Under cabinet lighting and moulding.  'nuf said.  Awesome.
  • Morning room and extra windows in morning room - I love light.  It's almost like my own little sunroom.  This is by far my favorite room in our home.
  • Recessed lights configured over island for future pendant lights.  We did use the Can Light Conversion kit for pendant lights and I LOVE that we can turn on the pendants and not the other lights in the kitchen.
  • Five recessed lights in Family Room.  We put these on a dimmer switch.  Again, I would rather have extra light and be able to dim them as necessary.
  • Upgraded dual sink vanity in Secondary Bathroom upstairs.  This has made having guests over very convenient.
  • Attic access stairs.  Definitely spring for this.  One trip to the attic paid for this upgrade.
  • Extra outlet in the garage.  Be aware there is only ONE.  If you do any woodworking projects, or have a chest freezer that will be in the garage, get another.  We actually got two and wish we had gotten one on the wall where the breaker box is.
  • Upgraded tile in Master Bathroom, every time I walk in there I feel happy. Definitely spring for the upgraded tile.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pallet Wall Shelves

Several months ago, while looking at Pinterest posts, I saw a beautiful bookshelf that someone posted. Their shelf was made from crates and I loved the looked.  Unfortunately, I don't have the site of the original.  Here is where I found it.

Here is my interpretation of their incredible piece.

I nagged my husband (and friends) to start collecting pallets for me.  I don't think anyone realized how many I needed.

My first few pallets were free.  I saw an ad for free pallets at a particular business.  The post indicated that once a month, they would leave pallets out in the parking lot for people take.  We slowly drove by the business initially looking for the pallets and did a u-turn and pulled into the lot.  I saw a pickup truck driving slowly toward us and we beat them by mere moments.

The additional pallets, I will have to admit I paid $2 a piece for them.  They were used to haul empty plastic rain barrels and metal shipping barrels.

My neighbor made a special pry-bar with a long handle that we used to separate the pallets. Some of the pallets were very difficult to pry apart so we did use a reciprocating saw with a metal blade to separate the rest.

Once the pallets were disassembled, I used the thicker pieces for the sides of the boxes and the thinner pieces for the backs.  I had to keep reminding myself that this was a pallet project and not all of the boxes would have the same width sides.

I tried to make each box 8x16.  Unlike purchasing select wood from the store, each piece of wood from the pallets was different thickness.  I can't stress enough to measure your boxes carefully.  In the end, I had some less that perfect boxes.

I made a total of (24) 8x16 boxes.  After about 14 boxes, I kept recounting and felt like I wasn't getting any closer to 22.  Yes, that's right.  I was thinking in my head I only needed TWENTY TWO, imagine my dismay when I realized I could not multiply and really needed 24!

After making all of the boxes, we sanded each one outside and inside

This next part was the most difficult.  We started with the right hand boxes and leveled them and screwed them together.  We used 1 5/8 inch screws.

Here we are half way finished.  It went quicker the more we added.

I didn't want to leave it natural with no stain, but I didn't want it too dark.  
I rubbed in one coat of Rustoleum Special Walnut.  Then, I added sporadic "swishes" of Rustoleum Weathered Gray and then sanded the whole shelf again.  Next, I went over sporadic spots with Rustoleum Willow to lighten up a few places.

And here is how it looks in my home!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Miniature Mudroom Makeover

As mentioned in previous posts, our previous 1500 square foot house, the floor plan placed the dining room as the first room as you entered the front door. The previous owners converted this room into a bedroom with a closet.  When we moved in, I used it as my office.

This made it awkward to use the closet for coats or for anything else other than my office supplies. Because we had no hall closet on the main floor, we had a terrible habit of hanging our coats on the bannister even though there was a coat tree in the hall.

In our new house, we have a hall closet and everyone still uses the bannister to hang coats.

I don't have a dedicated "Mudroom", but I do have a hall area that leads to the garage.  I wanted to add some hooks in this area.  So, my first stop, Pinterest!  I love that handy site.  Here is how it turned out, I am tickled with it.

The first thing I did was determine how many hooks I wanted and the placement of them in relation to my board and batten.  I was very nervous about using any other material other than pine boards due to the weight of coats and bags that we might be hanging on this.  I want to continue the Board and Batten throughout the hours and may use something different.  However, for this project I used Top Select Pine Boards.

I went to Lowes and bought

(4) 1x6x6 Top Select Pine Boards (outer vertical pieces and horizontal pieces)
(3) 1x2x6 Top Select Pine Boards (for the picture shelf top and the small pieces for the inside pieces)
(1) Trim piece
(2) Paintable caulk tubes
Liquid Nails
Sherwin Williams Emerald Paint in Pure White
Raw Cast Iron Hooks found on Ebay

I had made a mock drawing of how I wanted to placement of my boards by hours and hours of googling and Pinterest stalking.  I knew I wanted wider boards on the outer edges and I did not want the horizontal boards to be equally spaced.  I wanted a larger space on the bottom.  I measured my wall and decided the placement of the vertical and horizontal boards.

I used a level to make sure all of the boards were in the correct spots.  I used Liquid Nails and then brad nails to secure the boards to the wall.

Once all of the boards were secured, we caulked all of the gaps.  These projects make you realize just how uneven your walls are :)

Then, O helped us sand the boards.  Do be sure to get your caulk lines clean and tidy before they dry.  We had a few areas that we missed and it was very difficult to remove later.

While I was doing this project, I decided to paint the walls as well.  I chose BM Revere Pewter mixed by The Home Depot. I love the color in this hallway.

Originally, I'm not sure how, but I didn't count correctly.  I ended up needing one additional hook.  I asked the vendor on Ebay to sell me just one.  Thankfully, he did!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ana White 20 Second Tidy Coffee Table

Hi there!

It's been a while since I have posted, but I'm back!  We hit a little bit of a family hiccup and had to tend to a few things.  Now that it is getting back to normal in our home, we decided to get back into our projects.

One of the first projects we wanted to tackle was our "Formal Living/Play Room".  I haven't decided how I want to decorate this room yet, but I would like to somehow incorporate it into a play room/living room.  The layout of our home allows me to see our toddler from our kitchen no matter where she is on the first floor.  In the meantime, since it is furniture-less, it looks like a scene from the Gremlins after they cut loose in the department store.

Here is our new table!  

Must Haves for the Living Room:
Green/Blue Paint like Sea Salt to the left
Sleeper Sofa

Wall Cabinet like this one from Ballard Designs

Let's Talk Storage

We needed something to hold Little O's toys, but didn't want something that would be too big or not go with the decor once we get furniture in this room.  We decided to make a coffee table by an Ana White plan found here

It was so much fun making this table.  But, I can tell you the price went far beyond the estimate on her site.  We spent close to $200 building this table.  We used the Kreg Jig for the whole table and highly recommend it.  We didn't use it originally to attach the legs to the top, but as others commented it was not very sturdy so we ended up using Kreg Jig holes to secure that part as well.  We used top select pine which probably served as the difference in price.  In her directions she stated her boards were not straight, I'm gathering that meant she didn't use top choice.

We followed the directions exactly for the build including the stain she used and finishing it up with a few coats of spray on Polyurethane.  The only deviation we made was the stenciling of the numbers on the drawer front, I wanted to do something more personal like the girls' birthdays or even the year we were married, but haven't decided on something yet.

I loved that in the plans (especially since this was the first major build we've done), they explained what to buy and where to make the cuts.  There were also a few useful tips given as well.  For our first furniture build we found the plans to be amazing and extremely helpful for the sanity of a not so detailed husband and a very detailed wife build team :).

Here are some photos of our project build.  Again, using the plans we cut and used the Kreg Jig to secure the 1x6's together to form the table and then added bread board sides.  I love the look of bread board sides.  Our morning room table has them and I loved that we were able to carry the look into the other room as well.

As you can see we drilled Kreg Jig holes to secure the 1x6's together. 

Then, we added the supports for the legs and attached the sides to the table top.  As stated above, we originally only attached the sides to the supports using screws but it was not very stable at all.  We debated going back out to purchase L Brackets but then took the legs off and drilled 3 Kreg Jig holes into the sides and attached the legs directly to the top through those holes.  This step made a complete difference.

Here is the built table.  We finished it very late in the evening and the light was not very good.  Sorry about the poor photo.

Next, we built the drawer.  The drawer is on casters.  We chose pretty bronze ones, but they can not be seen.  The drawer can be easily moved around to collect items around the house and then rolled back under the table.

Here is the table with one coat of Ipswich Pine stain.  We moved an old carpet remnant into the garage bay as the floor was quite chilly.

This table was very forgiving.  Here it is with two coats of Ipswich Pine and then I lightly went over each edge with Dark Walnut.  I was nervous at first to apply such a dark stain to the edges but once I did, it made a huge difference.  It deepened the color and brought out all of the wonderful character of the wood.

In some areas, I went back over it again with the Ipswich Pine to blend the colors more, so there wasn't a definitive stain line of the Dark Walnut.

And here she is.... FINISHED.....