Thursday, June 27, 2013

Alex Bedroom Update

The small bedroom came out really nice. Here is an updated picture after Tony added some finishing touches.

Sneek Peak - Kitchen Counter Tops

I will have a feature post soon on the trials and tribulations of our Re-Laminating adventure sometime soon. The good news is the kitchen counters are done. We hope to have the Back-Splash completed tonight.

Monday, June 17, 2013


I apologize in advance for not having more or better pictures. I just have not had time. but all the doors are painted and hung and it looks better than I had hoped. The new paint and hardware really made a big difference.

I am going to do an updated room by room soon and will post the kitchen pics then.

Now it is on to the counter tops. We decided to go with re-laminating them. The original plan was just to laminate over the existing counter top. That plan sunk when I discovered that the little metal trim that followed the back of the counter top could not be removed without removing the old counter top. UGH.

So all the old laminate has been removed that can be removed without taking out the sink.  And yes my Main-Man-Stanley was hard at work getting up that old and worn laminate.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Laundry Center - Before and After

We removed the wall and base cabinet that was crowding the door and replaced them with a partition. The partition is just made of left over paneling painted gray. While it doesn't look like it in the picture, it is the same color as the wall. We used magnetic tape to hold it against the washer/dryer combo. A piece of edge trim on the paneling completes the look.

This hardly cost anything and does a nice job of covering the gap between the wall and the washer/dryer. It is also nice that it can be easily removed if we need access.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Now You See It - Now You Don't

I have been trying to figure out what was the best way to partition off the hot-water tank in the bathroom. I found my answer when I visited the Lima ReStore this last weekend.

The store was having an anniversary sale – BUY ONE GET ONE FREE - Or any second item of equal or lesser value. I found two doors that match that were brand new and were only 2 feet wide. PERFECT. They were marked $30 each. Two for the price of one sounded like a bargain to me. The only issue was they both had been bored for doorknobs.  No worries as I am sure I can cover those.

When I get to the checkout I find out that there is also a special on interior doors --- 50% OFF. So now I get TWO Doors for $15. Can’t beat that deal. I did find that I could of got the same doors without the doorknob holes from Lowes for about $20 each.  It’s still not a bad find/deal and I am very happy with my completed project.

The hardware (L Brackets, Screws and Covers) cost me about as much as the doors did. So other than paint this partition cost me about $30.

Living Room - Before and After



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times

I found this website that has a nice kitchen decal that we might use on the valance above the sink.

While it is not the same font, this photo edit gives you a pretty good idea how it would look in our kitchen.

Occupied Remodel Revistied

When we first started this little project, my son Tony was going to move in as soon as we got the bathroom functional. He moved in with us instead and waited until we were a little further along in the process. That was in April.

Since then I have learned to appreciate working in an un-occupied environment versus working in one while occupied.   It’s not bad but I miss the freedom of coming and going as I please and not worrying about any messes.  Not to mention the added factor of having to work around furniture and personal belongings.

Having my son as a tenant has given me a little more freedom than if I was just renting to a stranger. It would be a lot more difficult to finish this remodel  if I were renting to a non-family-member.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Brad Gun - Love This New Tool

My wife Lisa actually bought this little jewel of a tool to re-attach trim at our house. I was worried about the bargain price but just like the reviewer in the above video I have had no issues. It works great and I would highly recommend this product. We have used it throughout the entire remodel on all the baseboard and door trim. My only regret is that I didn't own one of these sooner.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Four Doors To Go

Tony and I got quite a bit done tonight. I got the four painted doors hung and Tony got the four bottom soon to be painted doors hung. He had to cut down the two under the sink to get them to fit properly. Oh and as an added bonus Tony was able to cut down a shelf board I got on sale for $1.99 to replace the panel above the two doors under the sink.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kitchen, Kitchen, Kitchen

A few new pictures showing the slow but steady progress we are making on the kitchen. the electric range side is complete, just need to touch up the paint, re-laminate the counter tops and add the fake tile backsplash above the counters.

We are using the same sheet vinyl we used in the bathroom for shelf-liner for the lower shelves. Looks and works pretty sweet.  You can see it installed under the sink.

Finally got the corner base cabinet by the fridge and under the sink primed and painted.  As you can see on the refrigerator side we are mounting the doors with the new hardware before we paint them.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kitchen Cabinet Refurbish - 101

Okay, when I decided to paint the old kitchen cabinets white, I certainly didn't know what all I was in for. They are coming out looking pretty good and I am glad I got to train on these old beat up cabinets. I thought I would share some of the things I have learned so far.

The biggest issue was the cabinet doors had adjusted over time to the settling of the house -- the doors refused to hang correctly after we installed the new hinges.  This was a royal pain because I had already painted the doors. The paint job got pretty scuffed up with all the rough handling and sawing adjustments to get them to  hang properly.

Lesson 1 - From now on I will install all the hardware first. Then install the doors and make any necessary adjustments. When the doors are all hanging good -- take them down and paint them.

I am hoping this experience will help with the second set of cabinets - the ones under the sink and on the refrigerator side.

Lesson 2 - If you want a really smooth finish be prepared to earn it by sanding your butt off. I still have quite a bit of butt left so you can figure we didn't do much sanding.

Lesson 3 - It is much easier to hang doors if you have HELP. Doors are awkward to hold in place while trying to install them.  Having an extra pair of hands and eyes can save you a lot of grief.

Lesson 4 - Even on sale, cabinet hardware is expensive. This kitchen had 18 doors and 8 drawers -- That's a lot of knobs, pulls and hinges.

Lesson 5 - A rushed paint job is a bad paint job. Enough Said.

Lesson 6 - An 1/8th of an inch means something. It doesn't look like much, but if your measurement is off just this much it is enough to throw your cabinet doors out of whack, make that door pull look crooked or make it impossible to attach the pull. Precision is key to a good install.

Lesson 7 - Taking the time to make a jig or template for your hinges, knobs and pulls will payoff big time. Do Not Skip This Step unless you want to live with crooked pull/knobs or have to take the time to fill the hole/sand/prime/paint and re-drill. 

Lesson 8 - For a nice smooth finish use a Paint Conditioner, Foam Roller and sand in-between coats.

Lesson 9 - Take your time and expect to be without your cabinets for a week or two. Ours is going to take about four weeks. This is not a project you will be able to finish in one weekend.

Lesson 10 - DO NOT EXPECT PERFECTION. Our cabinets are going to look way better than they did before, but are far from perfect.

Bonus Lesson - It pays to scrub/clean before you paint even if you are going to sand them down.  Unless of course you plan on sanding them down to bare wood. I had some type of stain bleed through the primer on one of the doors even though I had sanded the shine off the finish.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Kitchen Cabinet Revised Punch List for June

Kitchen Window / Sink Side - DONE

Refrigerator Side - DONE

Electric Range Side - DONE

Laundry Center Side - DONE

Updated 6/16/13

Revised Punch List - June 1

Living Room - DONE 

  • Install Closet Door Curtain
  • Door Trim
  • Partition for Hot Water Tank
  • Replace Electrical Outlet and Cover
Small Bedroom - DONE 

  • Install Back-splash
  • Paint/Refinish Cabinets
  • Replace Laminate on Counter tops
  • Partition for Laundry Center
  • Door Transition to Porch
Sun Porch
  • Remove Old Cabinets
  • Fix Ceiling
  • Clean Windows, Walls and Floor
  • Fix Screen Door
  • Paint Floor
  • Lighting
  • Window Treatments ????
Curb Appeal
  • Fix Concrete Step
  • Paint Rod iron Black
  • Paint Concrete Stoop Pad and Steps
  • Front Flower Beds  (Edging, Mulch, Plants)
  • Edge Driveway
  • Add Gravel
  • House Number (Stoop Gable, Mailbox)
  • Touch Up Front Windows (Clean/Paint)
  • On going - Mow/Trim Lawn

I hope to have the kitchen completed by the end of June. 30 days sounds like a lot of time but I am returning back to a normal life and plan on only working an evening or two through the week and Sunday after church on the weekends.

I have other interest other than remodeling that I have put on hold while I concentrate on getting the little house ready for my son. I will start back to running three day's a week in June and then pick it up a notch starting in July as I start training for my second 1/2 marathon. Not to mention all the DIY projects that have been stacking up at my own house.

So far it has been fun and quite the learning experience. I am looking forward to tackling the outside and hopefully improve our curb appeal.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bathroom Before and After



It is very hard to get a good picture of the bathroom. There is just not enough room to get a good picture. Not pictured here is the added lights above the medicine cabinet. The bathroom was a major renovation. We added a new toilet, Electric, Lights, and Exhaust Fan. The shag carpet was replaced with vinyl, and the tub/shower got new fixtures and a surround. The bathroom window got some TLC and a new look. Add some paint, trim, floor replacement and who knows how many hours later and you get a decent looking bathroom. Unfortunately the old water heater is still where it was. We plan to replace with with a tankless version down the road.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Twelve Gallons Of Paint

I tallied it up today and couldn't believe that it took 12 Gallons of paint -- to paint the inside of this little house.  3 gal. Primer, 2 gal. Ceiling Flat White, 2 gal. Gray, 2 gal. Semi Gloss White, 1 gal. Brown, 1 gal. Tan, 1 gal. Blue.  While we didn't use all the Brown, Blue and Tan - it still adds up to 12 and about $300 worth of paint.

I do have a little more appreciation for the route the former owner had taken with painting all the rooms, ceilings/walls the same putty color. While it sort-of made for a drab/flat look, I can now appreciate the time and money it must of saved.

Easy Solution to A Sticky Problem

The cabinet drawers were the old fashion kind that just slid on raw wood framing. They stuck and squeaked horribly when you tried to open them. I found the fix on Amazon. CS Hyde UHMW Polyethylene Rubber Adhesive Tape. 18 Yards of 1 inch wide clear tape cost me about $20 with shipping. The product had nothing but great reviews and I was happy when it worked as promised.  No more sticking and loud squeaks when opening and closing any of the kitchen drawers. Now That Was Easy.

Kitchen Window and Drawers

Motoring right along here is a pic of the painted shelves on both sides of the kitchen window and the de-scaloped valence.  The window looks great with the new blind and black curtain valence. You will also notice the addition of the eight drawers in the lower cabinets.

As for the rest I can tell you cleaning out the deep lower corner shelves was not easy. I am not looking forward to having to crawl inside to paint them.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Kitchen Is Slowly Coming Together

Just a few pics to show off the progress that we are making with the kitchen.

Stanley -- My Main Man

American Express warned us to “Don’t leave home without it” when it came to their credit card. Well I am here to tell you don’t try DIY without Stanley.  Stanley is my main man. Stanley my Putty knife has proven invaluable through out this entire remodel.  He scrapes, chips, molds, pries and takes quite the beating. We used him to scrap up gunk, take off molding, put on molding, take up flooring and a bunch of other things he wasn’t meant to be used for. 

You definitely need to have one of these guys in your toolbox. Mine is just like the one pictured here. My wife’s is a little more beefy with a strike plate on the end of the handle.

We have grown so fond of this little workhorse that we call him by name. Stanley even has his own special place to hang out so we can find him when we need him. Which is quite often.

Small Bedroom Before and After


And now for the New and Improved Version


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kitchen Cabinet Breakdown - Punch List

Kitchen Window / Sink Side
     Patch nail holes side shelves
     Remove scallop edge from valance
     Refurbish light above sink
     Prime window valance
     Paint window valance
     Prime side shelves
     Paint side shelves
     Install blinds curtains
     Clean under sink
     Prime Sink shelf and walls
     Paint Sink shelf and walls
     Fill door knob and hinge holes
     Sand doors and frame
     Prime doors
     Prime frame
     Paint doors
     Paint frame
     Prime drawers
     Paint drawers
     Tape drawer bottoms with slippery tape
     Install drawers with new knobs
     Install doors with new pulls and hinges
     Fix water damaged door
     Fix drawer face
     Replace false panel
     Fill plumbing holes with foam

Refrigerator Side
     Remove old shelf liner and contact paper from corner shelves
     Clean cabinets and shelves
     Prime shelves and walls
     Paint shelves and walls
     Fill door knob and hinge holes
     Sand doors and frame
     Prime doors
     Prime frame
     Paint doors
     Paint frame
     Install doors with new pulls and hinges

Electric Range Side
     Remove old shelf liner and contact paper from corner shelves
     Clean cabinets and shelves
     Prime shelves and walls
     Paint shelves and walls
     Fill door knob and hinge holes
     Sand doors and frame
     Prime doors
     Prime frame
     Paint doors
     Paint frame
     Install doors with new pulls and hinges
     Prime drawers
     Paint drawers
     Tape drawer bottoms with slippery tape
     Install drawers with new knobs

Laundry Center Side
      Prime Outside Frame for Broom Closet and Cabinet 

      Paint Outside Frame for Broom Closet and Cabinet 
      Prime Inside Broom Closet and Cabinet 
      Paint Inside Broom Closet and Cabinet 
      Mount Broom Closet and Cabinet Door with new hardware

Range of Opportunities

Our new range hood came with several opportunities to overcome so that we could install it.

Opportunity #1 - Old range hood was 36 inches our new one is only 30. Stove and hood will have to be centered on the cabinet and we will just have to live with the space between the stove and the counter.

Opportunity #2 - The electrical coming out of the wall is on the left side and the new range hood has the electrical hook up on the right. I am going to have to drill out with my 1 inch hole saw three holes in our new range  hood. One to bring the wiring in and two to route the electrical cable to the hookup.

Opportunity #3 - The electrical cable coming from the wall was not long enough to reach and was just coming out of a hole in the wall. I cut out and installed the wiring in a 1 gang box and extended the wiring with a pigtail. This way all the wire nut connections stay inside the box in the wall.

Opportunity #4 - My son Tony wanted a backsplash behind the stove and between the counter top and upper cabinets. So we had to cut, trim and glue the section behind the stove.

Opportunity #5 - The cabinet doors above the range hood over lapped the top of the hood and would not close. So those had to be taken down and trimmed.

Well the range hood is up and functional and looking good. Drilling out the access holes proved a bit challenging as I had to do it on an angle. I used a small drill bit to create a pilot hole followed by a bigger bit, followed by my 1 inch circular saw bit. I will post pictures of the completion once we get the cabinet doors back up.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Great Green Gobs Of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts

When we took down the old range hood a lyric from an old child hood anthem came back to me "Great Green Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts". The thing was absolutely disgusting. I have no idea how long it had been there and gone without cleaning but it must have been for quite some time.  It went straight to the trash pile.

This is the new hood and even new it is not without its own opportunities. The main hurdle is that the wiring for the new range hood is on the right and wiring comes in on the left on the wall.  To mount and use this range hood, I am going to have to drill an access hole for the wiring and two more holes, one on each side of the fan enclosure and extend the wiring through said holes.  While the term Plug and Play may apply to the world of computers it sure doesn't seem to fit the DIY world of home remodel.  ... "and I forgot my spoon!"

And yes for those of you who grew up with this song as part of your childhood you can thank me for sticking it in your head once again.


The lower set of kitchen cabinets had several layers of shelf paper. The first couple of layers which were your standard variety of shelf liner with adhesive backing came up with no problem just the way they are suppose to. However the very bottom layer which was Contact Paper was another story altogether.  It didn't take long trying to scrap it off before we threw in the towel and said that ain't happening.

I went to the store and they recommended StripFast. I was skeptical but thought I would give it a shot. WOW this stuff worked great. Most of it came up with the first application. It only took a little here and there to get the remaining stubborn spots. I will warn you that this stuff is strong. You do not want to use disposable gloves for this. You want the rubber up to the elbow. I did got some on me and it did burn but it washed off easily enough.

It is still a lot of work as you have to scrap and clean up all the gunk it leaves behind. They also make a product to clean up after this one but I just gave the shelf a good scrubbing. One down and three more to go.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Baseboard Trim Milestone

Tony finished cutting the rest of the baseboard trim for the kitchen. I hope to get it painted and mounted this weekend. This is the end of the baseboard for the house. We had to piece around the laundry center and range plug.  The board didn't fit behind the water feeds for the Washer and the Range Plug was just plain in the way and not budging.

The board I used was 3.5 high by .5 inches wide. The board came already primed for paint. It was a very nice and economic solution for trimming out the house. Total cost for all the rooms came to just over a $100.

To avoid seams, I bought a contractor package of 10 twelve foot boards and then supplemented that with 3 eight foot boards and 1 ten foot board. 

Kitchen Progress Update

Well the kitchen is coming along nicely. We have started on redoing the cabinets.  This is a huge job in itself. Not only because of the number of cabinets but going from wood finish to white is very time consuming paint wise. It takes at least two coats primer and two coast Semi Gloss White to make it look right.

Pictured here along with the new floor is the new gray walls, door trim and floor transition. I  had to buy a hardwood riser to make the transition. Not CHEAP -- I paid $18 for that little piece of trim at the bottom of the doorway.

Kitchen Floor

Tony picked out the vinyl for the kitchen floor. I thought it might be too dark but now that I see it down it is going to look fantastic. Big Thank You goes out to Lisa my wife who was instrumental in getting this installed. We just measured the heck out of the room, took the whole thing outside and started praying and cutting. It really gives the kitchen a finished look even with the cabinets dismantled.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kitchen Cabinet Sneak Peek

Well it is going to be a lot more work than their worth, but the kitchen cabinet make-over is going to come out pretty good. New pulls, knobs and hinges along with a good scrubbing and some paint and their good to go. Oh wait we still have quite a few man hours to do on this one.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bathtub Surround Fun

This is what was hiding under the beautiful (Note Sarcasm) white/gold swirl laminate that use to surround the tub/shower. While I was happy to see the laminate go. I wasn't sure what to do with the mess left behind.

I decided to just go with a cheap tub/shower surround that I found at Lowes. The bathtub/Shower surround I used only cost $59. It was 5 pieces/non interlocking. I thought this would give me some flexibility because I was pretty sure the walls were anything but plumb. I was right about the walls and I was right about the kit. However, having to caulk every seam and all around the surround was not much fun.

One of the cons noted in the reviews of the product was that the shelves were flimsy. People had solved this issue with spray fill foam but cautioned not to over do it. Well I took their advice on  using the foam but failed to NOT OVER DO IT.  The shelves actually looked nice and sturdy when I installed the surround, but the foam KEPT EXPANDING causing the top of the shelves to bulge up making them useless.

I thought I was going to have to rip everything down, but finally the plastic memory of the shelving won out over the expanding foam and the shelves flattened out well enough to make them useable.

I would also warn that this project took several days and not just an afternoon because of all the gluing, caulking and a stubborn seam I had to apply pressure to overnight to get to lay flat.  I also spent more on Glue and Caulking then I did on the enclosure itself. Go-Figure.