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.

Old Time Sharpie Disposal

The original medicine cabinet had the slot for disposing of old razor blades. And of course when we removed it we found a pile of them in the wall. Judging by the size of the pile it wasn't used for very long. I can't imagine what this pile would have looked like if they had used it from the time the house was built in the 1940's.

Closet / Corner Make-Over

From This

To This

To The Finished Product

We debated on whether to keep the small built in closet that was left after removing the walk in portion. Finally we decided it had to go. I had to patch the walls and ceiling. Luckily I was able to buy the ceiling tile I needed by the square. I only wasted two tiles in my learning of installing/patching false ceilings. I just used left over dry-wall and paneling to fix the walls.

You have to wonder what were they thinking with that GREEN? One other interesting note -- the paneling you see peeking out from underneath is the original wall covering and it was made of corrugated cardboard.

The blue walls pictured here are really darker than shown. My camera phone does not always render the truest of colors.

Bathroom Window - Before / After


The bathroom window looked horrible so we gave it a new look with some fresh paint, new trim and privacy panels. The privacy panels are just crackled plastic cut and held into place with good ole caulking.  Looks pretty good with the new Tub/Shower Surround.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Feeling Blue

Tony looked high and low looking for just the right shade of blue to go in Alex's bedroom. He was trying to match it up with one of the shades of blue that matched the bedding for Alex's crib. And here it is in all it's blueness. Just the first coat but looking good.

Quick and Dirty - Level Floor

The small bedroom's floor dipped by about an inch in the middle. There was no way we would be able to lay the laminate flooring with that much of a difference. I found several articles on the web on how to level a floor. They ranged from ripping up the floor and fixing the joist to using shims or shingles. To be honest I am in full support of Fixing the Real Problem and go the taking up the flooring and addressing the sagging issue by fixing the joist. However time and money was not going to let us go that route.

Using the straight edge of one of the pieces of OSB we were going to use for a subfloor as our guide we filled in the dips with some of the old flooring we had tore up. We simply kept moving our guide across the floor and filled the voids with the old square tiles. We then laid the OSB down in sections and tweaked it a little more till we were satisfied.

We ended up with a nice solid and fairly level floor to work with. COOL

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Revised Punch List May 1

Living Room - DONE 

  • Trim Closet
  • Install Closet Door Curtain
  • Door Trim
  • Replace Attic Access Panel
  • Spackle and Paint Nail Holes
  • Buy and Hang Shower Curtains
  • Hang Bathroom Towel Bar, Toilet Paper Holder, etc.
  • Touch Up Paint, etc.
  • Install Hook Latch lock
  • Spackle and Paint Nail Holes
  • Partition for Hot Water Tank
  • Replace Electrical Outlet and Cover
  • Door Transition to Small Bdrm
Small Bedroom - DONE 

  • Fix Stove
  • Install Vinyl Flooring
  • Re-Panel Laundry Center Walls
  • Install Backsplash
  • Paint Walls
  • Patch Ceiling
  • In Progress - Paint/Refinish Cabinets
  • Patch Walls and Corners
  • Remove Scallop edge from wooden valence
  • Replace Laminate on Countertops
  • Clean Dryer Vent
  • Remove/Replace Old Range Hood
  • Trim Porch Door
  • Trim Bedroom Door
  • In Progress - Partition for Laundry Center
  • Door Transition to LVRM
  • Door Transition to BDRM
  • Door Transition to Porch
  • Baseboard Trim
  • Paint Ceiling
  • Patch Floor
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 Gabel, Mailbox)
  • Touch Up Front Windows (Clean/Paint)
  • On going - Mow/Trim Lawn