I built this floating bench and it was super easy and you should build one too.

Old houses were built for people without hoarding tendencies, I have inferred.

I have hoarding tendencies, and have material goods all over the place, which invariably turns into a pile. For me to climb upon and slumber like a dragon on her riches and spoils.

And apparently, it’s genetic, because my dragon child insists on leaving her pile right at the front door, as soon as she walks in the house.

The room doesn’t have a closet, or a place to make a closet/closed storage. So, I hung up some hooks, and that was a start. Then, things kind of turned into a clusterfuck of shoes, coats, backpacks under the hooks?

The logistics baffled me though. There is a bump out for the vestibule and a radiator, too. But a replacement radiator, that wasn’t as big as the original one, so there is a pipe along the floor.

One day, I was staring at the whole area with contempt, as I’m wont to do, and then it occurred to me that I could use the same method for floating shelves to BUILD A BENCH. WITH ROOM FOR BASKETS UNDERNEATH. THAT WOULD FIT THE GAP BETWEEN THE WALL AND THE RADIATOR.

And the heavens opened and I went out to get 3 2x4s and some plywood.

First: Locate the studs in the 3 walls and mark them. Bonus tip: don’t have plaster walls. It’s so frustrating to find the studs. The most accurate tool that I have is one of those cheapy magnet tools, but it’s a slow process.

I knew that I wanted my bench frame to be 16″ deep and span the whole length of the wall.

The 2×4’s actual dimension is 1 1/2″, so 16″ – 3″ (front/back frames) left me with 13″ long middle pieces. I cut 6 of them, because, idk that’s what happened. The front and the back ended up being 74″ – give or take some for out of plumb walls.

I marked off the stud location on the back 2×4, so I didn’t inadvertently put a middle piece there. Then I attached the middle pieces with some 3″ long deck screws. Except the one on the radiator wall (I wouldn’t be able to screw the front piece to it) and the side piece (couldn’t find a stud and had to use a toggle), if you don’t have this issue. Then ignore that and do all the middle pieces.

I read on the internets to have the bench height, including the cushion, be 18″ off the ground. I made mine slightly higher than that, to accommodate 11″ baskets underneath. I’m wild like that.

Once you have your total height decided, minus the thickness of the cushion and 3/4″ for the plywood, mark a level line on the wall. Take the back piece with the attached middle pieces, line it up level, and use those same 3″ deck screws to screw it into the studs. Side pieces, too.

Hold up the long front piece and then screw that into the middle pieces, et voila. Super sturdy. I was a little skeptical, but I stood on the frame and that shit isn’t going anywhere.

I cut a piece of sanded plywood 16″x74″ and put that on top. I used some small cabinet screws to attach it to the 2×4 frame.

Since the side of the 2×4 is ugly, I used a piece of 1×6 poplar and my nail gun. I created a 1″ lip above, to keep the cushion from sliding off.

It got primed and painted the same color as the trim, to really add to the whole floating thing.

For the cushion, I chose the Augusta fabric from Tonic Living. It has this beautiful cream and gold marbling thing going on.

I don’t sew, but I found someone on etsy who does. Jessiya on etsy did a great job, it is flawless.

Baskets! For shoes! That will most likely sit half empty, with small shoes kicked off and left in front of! They have good intentions, though.

Let us bask in this, it will never be this clean and organized again.

 

 

Updates on the front room 1/20/2018 and some feelings

Heyyyyy.

I’m posting again! HI TO ANYONE THAT CARES!

I’ve been pretty active on Instagram, for me, and I might be bordering (or fully surpassed, idk) on annoying with my insta stories. They don’t really have anything to do with DIY or projects and are more about me/life.

But, I don’t have a different Instagram for that? And my momma told me that it’s ok for me to be more of a person on it. She doesn’t have Instagram, but I would totally follow her if she did.

If you’re not following, and annoying stories about my cat interest you, you can follow me. Tempting, I know. I really enjoy the messages and conversations from them!

Speaking of Instagram, I had to unfollow a lot of well-known DIY home bloggers.

Most real people cannot keep up with the pace they set for DIY projects and large home renovations. Then they write a post with a budget breakdown and what? They didn’t actually have to pay that?

No one is going to give me $15,000 worth of appliances or materials or come do the work for free. It feels unrelatable.

And I’m not saying that I DO want any of that. But, it gives an unrealistic expectation of what my house should look like 5 months after moving in.

Then I get frustrated that I’ve been in my house for 5 years and I only see the things that I haven’t finished.

Thennnnnn I pull up ‘before’ pictures and realize that I have made a ton of progress. And I remember that it’s for the best for this process to be slow, thought out and organic. Otherwise, I end up making a lot of decisions that I regret and will change.

And I’m like: lmaoooooooooooooo remember how in the front room, the previous owners had blown insulation put in with big holes/wooden plugs AND THEN LITERALLY PUT SQUARES OF WALLPAPER OVER THE HOLES WITH GLUE!? OMG FUN TIMES.

I removed the drywall, skim coated the walls, and painted the trim white.

HUGE DIFFERENCE.

And moved the original wood door, to replace the horrible steel exterior door.

I forgot my point of this post? omg do I ever shut up?

Right. AFTER TWO YEARS ON MY PORCH – WE HAD THE DOOR HUNG.

Quick snap before it was installed

Last time I hung (hanged? English language, you so crazy) a door with my husband, it turned into an explosive fight and I vowed never to experience that again. It would likely end up in a homicide/suicide situation. Best to avoid that and hire it out.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a professional who knew how to simply mortise the new door for hinges and install it in the existing door jamb? When I would call for an estimate, they usually told me that they only installed pre-hung doors. So I gave up for a few years.

ANYWAYS.

I called a handyman service and explained to the nice lady what I needed and she told me that would be fine and she would schedule their carpenter.

AND THEN I WAS LIKE THIS IS TOO EASY.

So I repeated the situation about 7 times to make sure I was clear, and she clearly thought I was unwell mentally.

He did a great job and it cost $165.

I opted to install the door hardware myself to save money.

He really, really, did not want to let me. He kept asking me if I was sure that I wanted to do it. It wasn’t mean but also fuck off because I said that I did already like 45432124 times and I know that I am a woman but I am still capable of using my hands?

I hadn’t ever mortised a door before, so cue the stress sweating, but it went pretty well and it only cost me $5 for the drill bit.

I am not saying that I am a door knob, but if I were, I would be this door knob and thumb turn combo.

I still haven’t finished scraping off the paint from the glass. I’ll probably do an update post on that in about 2 years. THE ANTICIPATION MUST BE KILLING YOU.

The color is from Ace, OPI ‘Care to danse?’ in exterior satin.

Still a stupid name and I hate asking for it. I quite literally cringe.

That fucking wallpaper. I still love it so, so, so much.

A few months ago, I built this floating bench for this odd little nook.

Andddddddd I bought this mirror from Anthro last year (20% off sale for the win!) to go above my campaign dresser. It doesn’t seem to be available anymore. 

I really struggled with lamps? The scale baffled me. That was until I saw these ones from CB2 and I was like YASSSSSSSSSSSS GIMME.

Ignore that bright orange extension cord ok? I almost  moved it and retook pictures and then I was like nah. We are bright orange extension cord people in this household. And lazy.

These guys are always lurking. 

Seriously, how do I use so many words for nothing?

SO, the point. Yeah, it’s taken me 5 years to get this room here. BUT I AM COOL WITH IT. YOU BE COOL WITH YOUR PROGRESS, TOO.

Also, as always, I appreciate all of you wonderful people for your support, comments and inspiration.

Big plans for the smallest room in the house and the porch and aluminum storm windows got painted

As seems to happen with most of the projects I start, I had no intention of working on this one anytime soon.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it really started years ago when I started renovations on the rest of the house, and decided to paint the original clapboard on our enclosed porch.

I am not really sure what I was thinking, but I went to Home Depot yanked a pine green swatch off the wall and left with a gallon of exterior paint.

In my zeal, I started painting right away. It was going quickly and I was pleased with the progress… until I took a step back. No, no, No. I did NOT like the color and I stopped mid-painting. There ended any emotional attachment to the porch, no longer used for dinners or lounging in the sunshine. Dead to me.020

It was around that time that extra shit that I didn’t want to see inside, or have the room for started to make it’s way outside to the porch. A radiator from the kitchen (still unattached to the plumbing, but now back in the kitchen!), the extra couch when Ugly couch came along. The old tv console when I made over the craigslist credenza. Before I knew it, our porch was white trash as hell and I didn’t even care.

We would just walk past it and straight into the house. I of course had the wherewithal to die a little inside anytime a guest would come over, natch.

Then this past summer, my husband suggested that maybe we should spend some time on it. I was working on the pantry, and pushed it out of my head, kindly suggesting that he could get started on it.

After finishing the pantry (updates soon!), I thought that maybe he was right. Maybe it didn’t have to look quite so terrible. Maybe when the mail man dropped off our mail they wouldn’t assume that we had a distillery upstairs in the bathtub making moonshine.

It was late summer at this point and in Minnesota we never know when fall is going to happen.

I drove off to my local Ace Hardware and picked up a gallon of Clark + Kensington flat exterior paint color matched to Behr Cracked Pepper and a gallon of satin paint color matched to Benjamin Moore Black Tar.

It was relatively quick to clear most of the stuff out of there. After vacuuming and wiping down the walls with TSP, I got to painting! YES! So good to see the green disappear. The clapboard got a coat with a paintbrush in the Cracked Pepper and the trim got the satin Black Tar.023 021

Then… the aluminum storm windows stuck out like a sore thumb. And I HATED the steel exterior door that fit so poorly in the door jamb and almost ruined my marriage.027

You probably didn’t think an inanimate object could do that, but it most def can. Last fall, my husband and I were trying to re-hang the door and adjust it so it wasn’t so drafty. This led to such annoyance and aggravation, which led to a ginormous fight. I was bitterly reminded of this when I looked at the door, and my feeling toward it quickly turned to contempt.

I feel all the feels – strongly.

If we I (as soon as I bought the paint somehow jurisdiction of this project became mine and my husband slinked off to the shadows, thanks hon) was going to spend time painting and beautifying the porch, why would I leave such ugly storms and door?

This is where our littlest room gets affected.

As is common with a lot of older houses in colder climates, there’s a very small room between the exterior door and interior house door. In the case of my house, I have the porch door, the exterior house door, the small room (I’m going to call it a ‘vestibule’) and interior door.

I hate the porch door too – it’s only 29″ wide! Ugh. Can’t hardly fit anything through it.

Anyways, hating two out of three doors was too much for delicate psyche and I made some decisions.

I liked the interior door, it’s solid hardwood with a nice glass pane. And the measurements were 36″x84″… which are the dimensions that the exterior jamb needed and the contemptuous steel door fell flat of (thus the draft.)

OMG! Brillz idea. Let’s get rid of the steel door, move the existing wood door to replace that one and then order a new door for the interior! One with lots of glass that will lighten the area visually.

Except, apparently this is no longer a common skill. I mean, I knew it wasn’t one of my skills, but I figured someone had it. I made several, several phone calls and got the same response: “we only install pre-hung doors.”

Pre-hung doors come from the manufacturer screwed to a jamb and sill. Old houses have to be retro-fitted for that kind of sill, which raises the frame opening up.

I pouted. I already have a jamb and a door. I don’t want a pre-hung door.

I turned my attention to something I could do. Removing some trees that obscured the street from the porch and painting the aluminum storm windows.

It only took about 40 minutes to cut down these trees and bundle them up! Sunshine on the porch!006 007

The previous owners hated me. They must have. That’s only exclamation I can think of for why they put non-paintable silicone caulk on every surface they could.

It took me probably 15+ hours with a putty knife and razors to remove all of it from the 10 window frames.

I removed the bottom glass pane to leave only the top and screen, vacuumed the hell out of them and scrubbed them with TSP and a brass wire brush. I found a garden sprayer to be invaluable for this! It’s a wet process though, I recommend keeping the wet/dry shop vac close by. At one point, I was like a dentist. Spray/suction combo for the win!029 030 031 033 034 035 036

After giving them several hours to dry, I re-caulked and carefully taped the glass off with frog tape and painters plastic. I left the screens in and put plastic loosely on the other side (I did run into a problem with this, but I’m not sure of the solution.)039

I purchased the Campbell Hausfeld DH380000AV Pressure-Feed Spray Gun from Amazon and used a 6 Gal pancake compressor. The manual says it won’t work, but it does.

Two coats of Zinsser latex primer and two coats of the exterior paint in Black Tar went like a breeze! The sprayer made things so so so much easier. I was thrilled.

The issue. The plastic on the outside got stuck to the screen with paint, causing some paint to stick to them. I have decided to re-screen them when I have the chance!

Anyways. YES. DO THIS. It made such a difference visually.033 behr cracked pepper ; benjamin moore black tar ; painted aluminum storm windows

While I was working on that, I started asking my coworkers for recommendations on handy men or carpenters. One suggested a good friend of hers. I gave him a call, explained the situation, he looked at it and promised to come back later in the week to move the door.

Happy dance! Nervousness. Things never go that smoothly.

I had picked out a door to order, but held off since I was worried that there may be in issue moving the door and then I would have a useless door taking up room and mocking my life’s decisions.

As promised, Arnie and his friend showed up and instantly got to work. They planed the door down to fit the jamb and cut new mortises for the hinges in the jamb. Then they attempted to screw the hinges to the jamb and they caught on nothing! Removing the casing showed that there was a several inch gap between the jamb and framing.

At this point, they had been working on this for hours and it was getting late. They used 3″ wood screws and got the door hung.

I was thankful for how much time they put in, and ultimately they did solve my problem.

But, those wood screws were ugly. And I am so over ugly right now.

I spent a couple of hours last Friday putting wood blocks behind the hinges and between the jamb and framing lumber. Then putting the pretty screws in the hinges.

This was a blessing because I was able to shim the jamb so the door shuts snugly! I used great stuff to insulate. No more drafts!009 010

The door is currently painted Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray on one side, and Juniper on the other. I like both the colors, but I don’t like the blue against the black trim. 005

 

I painted the porch door Juniper and I love the brightness of the green against the black.011

The exterior door is going to get a coat of Clark + Kensington OPI Care to Danse? as soon as I get two minutes away from the living room and One Room Challenge.

Which leads me to the plans for the vestibule….

New door ordered! After I got over my initial shock of how expensive doors are. Wowzers. I ordered through my local lumber yard and chose a Buffelen door in Douglas Fir with 4 glass panes. Buffelen 6054G door

The original doors in the house are 6 panel. I wanted to nod to that but liked the more modern aspect of the larger glass panes. It’s going to get a coat of the pale pink paint and dressed up with some gorgeous crystal knobs from Rejuvenation.

The larger glass will also work better to see this wallpaper that is going up in the vestibule. ellie cashman deisgn dark floral 2 black desaturated

Yes. Black, brass, pink and flowers.

I am also waiting on this little beauty to arrive and light up my porch.lucent lightshop sputnikMy husband had the best idea when he suggested we clear out the porch.

Small details

This past week hasn’t been filled with any major changes, rather some insignificant (to most) updates.

Firstly, the radiator in the foyer. This one is not original to the house, which has rococo style, and had a lot of chipping paint. One day when I was sipping coffee, I mindlessly started chipping at it, then shit, what did I do?! It might have been lead paint. I made sure to immediately vacuum the chips with my HEPA filter shop vac, and, you know, not eat any of them. If I had to guess, the under layer (OF GOLD PAINT!) was oil based, and the top coat was latex?

004

 

I went out and bought a paint sprayer for this task, purchasing the Wagner Flexio 570 and a can of spray paint primer. I scrubbed everything down, and then taped everything off. It was like a fun puzzle with rosen paper and tape, with lots of overlap. j/k. Prep to me is like torture.

It was my first time using a paint sprayer, and it was fun! Most definitely not a professionally smooth looking job, but it sped up the task and I got it all done with one coat. I decided to use the trim color, Sherwin-Williams Porch and Floor paint in Snowbound.

Ahhh. Fresh paint.

The cat insisted on being in the photo
The cat insisted on being in the photo

Next, I put on these cute little brass pipe flanges.brass radiator pipe flange

 

 

 

Finally! The wall switches got updated to white rocker versions.

Before.008

 

After. 003

 

If you can’t tell what you’re looking at in the after… good. They look so subtle and sleek with the white walls,

Like I said, nothing huge, but anything done is awesome around here.

Updates on the front room 3/7/2015

Front room, entry way, foyer… whatEvs

3 weeks (!) ago, I started working on the entry room to my house. I had started on it, a year previously. I had removed the drywall from the ceiling and walls, removed 3-4 kinds of wall paper, skim coated some of the walls and started painting the trim. Then I stalled out, left to stare at pale avocado green walls and ceiling for a year.

I started continued by patching all the screw holes left by the dry wall on the remaining wall and ceiling, and used drywall for the large hole left by a damaged blown in insulation hole.005 007 008

 

 

 

 

I then used cut pieces of fiberglass mesh screen to patch the cracks on the ceiling. And there were a lot.

First coat.009

Second coat.020

Third coat on the ceiling and one skim coat on the walls.025 032

 

 

 

 

 

We (I made my husband help me this time) sanded everything down with electric sanders.

Everything got so incredibly dusty, it was hard to even see what I was sanding a foot from my face.

The walls are certainly not perfect. 2-3 more skim coats on the walls would have been ideal, and I might have accidentally missed entire spots to sand. But, sometimes, a finished project is better that a perfectly planned out project that hasn’t happened.

Unfortunately, my new orbital sander was a little aggressive for the EZ Sand joint compound on the ceiling, and left lots of little crescent shaped grooves. Curses.

While this was all going on, I also stripped and sanded down some stair treads. I did not sand these down enough, and when I stained them, that became apparent. stain didn't take

Double curses.

Re-stripping and sanding those set me back, because I didn’t want to bother painting when I was going to be making dust again.

I didn’t notice the ceiling until after I had spent hours vacuuming and cleaning the trim and baseboards in preparation of painting. Since I was all mudded out, I decided to proceed with the painting of the trim and walls.

1 coat of oil based primer on everything got it looking fresh!045

 

It was my husband’s birthday last week, between coats 1 and 2 walls and 2 and 4 on the trim, and celebrations and celebration hangover made it difficult for me to hammer those out. I think I got one coat on the trim in about 3 hours that day, then I was spent.

Although, the trim was kind of time consuming anyways. 3 windows, 3 doorways, stringers/risers and baseboards gave me major clawhand.

Side note, a spot on my columns had a weird reaction with the paint and turned pink? After several coats, it went away.043

 

I got over my hangover and finished the trim, then I got a cold that has lasted a week! I did end up painting the last coat on the walls this past week and mudded the ceiling grooves. Today I sanded it by hand so as to avoid the grooves again.

It has been difficult to care about the ceiling at all! Like, no fucks about it.

I am going to tryyyyyyyy to slap a coat of primer up tonight, and do some more painting tomorrow.

I really want to start moving things out of our living room, and back in there! Also, I ordered a bunch of things (in my virus-cold-medicine state) online, and they should start arriving in the next couple of days.  I have to get an electrician stop by about the janky light. I am pretty sure the pan up there will not hold the chandelier that I have.

Here’s today, after:

  • 3 bags of DuraBond 90, EZ Sand joint compound
  • Countless pieces of sandpaper/pads
  • 2 tubes of caulk
  • 2 1/2 gallons of oil based primer
  • 1 gallon of latex based primer
  • 2 gallons of flat enamel
  • 1/2 gallon of floor and porch paint

1 coat of oil based primer, 1 more coat of latex based primer, 2 coats of top coat on the walls and 3 coats of floor and porch paint on the trim. 048

 

 

This feels like the project that isn’t ending, and might have taken part of my soul. Here’s to hoping it comes together and is worth it!

It’s a good thing I’m not a professional blogger

Because energy and motivation have been in short supply around these parts.

Drinking wine and netflixing has been my favorite past time. Maybe it’s the winter and I have the S.A.D? It’s kind of annoying, because winter is the time of year we are stuck inside the most, and should be getting shiz done.

I have been working on the moulding in the dining room, and it IS proving to be difficult to match the profiles. I have been to 2 different millwork places a total of 5 times, sitting on the floor and trying to put together different pieces. Unfortunately, the egg&dart is non-existent and when the “closest” crown is 1/2″ less deep, it throws everything off. I thiiiiiiiink that I have an idea for how to make something comparable, but it means several additional pieces of moulding. Le sigh.

So far. This is how far I’ve gotten:028

Still an improvement to me.

ANYWAYS. I have taken 2 days off to work on the front room.

As of today, it looks like this:006 005

Yes. I do have sense enough to be embarrassed about how it looks, and putting it out on the interweb. We don’t have a lot of company over these days.

The ceiling is in bad shape. Believe it or not, a bunch of screws put into plaster isn’t good for it, and causes a lot of cracks. Huh. Go figure.

I’m going to finish skim coating the last green wall, patch all cracks and holes in the ceiling, then sandddddd and sand some more. Everything, trim and walls, will get primed and painted.

It will look. so. much. better.

 

The Entry

I have a problem.

You know how sometimes when people drink, they make bad decisions? Maybe they angrily text their ex, maybe they cut their own bangs… well, I demo. I get so curious! What’s behind there? Then before I know it, I am peeling the drywall off in huge sheets. To expose:entrybefore2entrybefore (excuse the iphone pictures)

Maaaaaaaaan. You guys. Someone did this house so wrong. 4 different shades of green/aqua (Including on the ceiling) AND 3 different kinds of wall paper. And badly patched holes from blown in insulation.

Maybe I should back up some. You see, that’s how the house looked like BEFORE the house flippers covered all the walls and ceilings with drywall – to look like this:

From the house listing - looks nice, huh?
From the house listing – looks nice, huh?

So, why would I remove the drywall when it looks so nice? I’m not sure, how much time is there for me to explain the crazy that is me? The drywall was 1/2 inch, and it went OVER the baseboard. This insignificant detail drove me irrationally mad.

I started to work on the walls. We unscrewed the hundreds of screws in the walls, removed the wallpaper (distilled vinegar/hot water in a spray bottle and putty knife), cleaned the walls with TSP, and started to skim coat with Durabond 90. Then I decided that skim coating is just plain boring, and abandoned it. To peel the walls in the rest of the house. I got problems, yo.

I also started to paint the trim white. I know. I knowwwwwwwww. I’m going to burn in the inner most rings of hell for painting original wood. Accept me as the sinner that I am. But, let me explain. All the wood trim has been painted with this hideous opaque stain/varnish that was atrocious. It was essentially brown paint. Hideous.

Here is a few current pictures of the room (the mess! le sigh. Such is the life of a house in remodel): As of 8/2/148/2/14

Finally! THE TO DO LIST! I love lists:

  • clean walls again (demo dust from the kitchen is everywhere)
  • finish 1st skim coat on remaining wall (patch large hole with drywall)
  • 2 more skim coats on all walls
  • sand
  • prime walls
  • paint walls
  • silicone/patch holes in remaining trim
  • prime remaining trim
  • several coats of paint
  • strip/stain wood columns and doors

That’s hardly anything. Right?