Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Erin’s Attic Bedroom project- part 2

I’ll pick door number one, please.


This teeny tiny door is the entrance to Erin’s attic.  It’s at the end of her kitchen, tucked in between the window and the stove.  The microwave cart sits in front of the window usually.  Unless you want to go upstairs.  Then you have to roll the cart back out of the way to fit through.

Methinks we’re going to have to do something different with that microwave cart.  But that’s for another day.

Today is all about Day 2 progress on the floor in the attic.  Yesterday we stopped just a few rows in. 

One of the comments left yesterday was from Gail (My Repurposed Life) who said she had laid down a laminate floor in a similar room at her daughter’s house.  Only they laid it lengthwise instead of the way I’m doing it (crosswise).  Honestly, I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong on which way it should go.  My thought process at the time was that the room is already very long, and laying the planks lengthwise would make it seem longer, drawing the eye to the end of the room.  By going across the narrower part of the room I hoped to visually expand the width of the space, making it seem more balanced.

Does it? 

I dunno. 

But that’s my story and I’m sticking with it! :)

(and then there’s the little theory that I thought I had a better chance of keeping it squared if I started on an outside wall!)

On Saturday we continued working on the floor.  Stevie, Erin’s boyfriend, was there to help us out.  Together we worked out a system to move along.

Something to note:  having some type of a detail saw is important at this phase.  There was a heat duct smack dab in the middle of the floor we had to cut around for starters.  You can’t do that on the chop (miter) saw!





I left Steve to his own devices for a while so I could add the drywall to the closet framing.  I did the inside and outside, except for one piece.  The flooring boxes were in my way.


We kept plugging away all day long, into the wee hours of the morning.  The goal was to get the floor done by the end of the day, but we finally had to call it.  We got just past the bathroom door. 

So close to the end!


I found that despite how easy this flooring system is to lay down, it still takes a long time.  You have to make sure each piece is butted tightly to the last, and at the start of a row you have to make sure you shim the piece to make sure there is an expansion gap along the wall.  You don’t want the floor going tight against the wall!

Trying to make the pieces not show a pattern is a little tricky too, especially in the smaller areas like the hallway.

This floor, being engineered hardwood, is a half inch thick.  The advantage to this is that it can be stripped down and refinished if needed.  Stain can be used to cover up any scratches too. Important in this application because Erin has 2 dogs!


I’ll leave you with a before and after picture.

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That’s it for day 2!


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Monday, January 30, 2012

Erin’s Attic Bedroom project- part 1

I’m a bad Mom.  There, I said it.  What, you may ask, makes me a bad mom?  Why, leaving my daughter in the lurch for a year and a half; waiting to have her new floor installed.


Yep, bad mom.  That’s me. I’m pretty sure you would find my picture next to that in the dictionary.

If you’ve been visiting this blog for a long time you might vaguely remember something about me starting my daughter’s bedroom remodel way back when I started building the outdoor kitchen.  I had taken a whole week off of work and thought I could do BOTH projects in that time.

Alright, alright, quit rolling on the floor laughing your butt off!    I’ve already ‘fessed up to having a warped sense of time….I KNOW it wasn’t realistic. at least NOW  I do.

Back then I was really bummed that I couldn’t get it done.

And so, I bet, was Erin.

See, we had found this great deal on some discontinued hardwood flooring that year and I totally convinced her she had to have it for her attic bedroom.  The cost of the flooring was almost as low as laminate would have been to buy, and it was so much nicer!

The dark walnut color was beautiful.

Up until recently she had been renting out the space to a “friend“ who had pretty much trashed the room and moved out.  (Now an ex-friend.)

So she was ready to fix it up and use it herself.  Her house is a small bungalow style with 2 bedrooms.  A previous owner had finished the upstairs attic space into one long room with a half bath. Being an attic the ceilings were low, so the usable space is limited. But the room was really cool and she wanted to use it for her master bedroom.

That’s where I came in.  I suggested adding a closet along one wall to utilize some of the low ceilinged area better. This might keep one from hitting their head on the ceiling as they walked through the room. 

Of course I would build the closet, and then install the floor. 

No problem!

The room had been painted a very dark blue on one end and brown on the other. It was like walking into a cave!

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This shows the bathroom door in the hallway. It was incredibly dark.

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And here’s my Erin; tackling the daunting task of covering up that dark blue paint!

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What we did get done that long ago summer was to fix and prime the walls and ceiling, and get 2 coats of paint on (nearly) everything.

We used oops $5 paints to mix up a color that Erin liked, a very pale green.  She chose a deeper green as an accent wall along the stairway.

After 2 days I left her on her own to finish the painting and went back to my outdoor kitchen building.

And never came back.

See that sheet in the middle of the floor in the picture above?  The hardwood flooring boxes sat under that sheet for the next 1 1/2 years.

Erin’s life changed a lot during that time; she was faced with some difficult choices.  

Finishing the attic room was relegated to the back burner as she sorted things out. (And sort she did, I’m very proud of her!)

So here we are, it’s Christmas 2011 and I have just given the kids each a promise of 3 days to work on their projects.

Erin’s choice, of course, was the attic bedroom.

She was itching to get it done and move on up there.

Silly me, I scheduled 3 weekends in a row for the kid’s projects, with no buffer weekend in between.   Hers was weekend number 3.

So Thursday night I packed up all my tools from Jason’s house and moved them over to Erin’s, hoping and praying I could muster up enough energy to tackle this project!

Day one (Friday) was spent  touching up and finishing that paint job we had started so long ago.  I assigned that task to Erin.


My first task was  framing the closet. 



We then moved everything out of way so we could start the floor. 

The closet was the perfect place for moving all the stuff to since we weren’t going to lay the new floor in there. (we had purchased just enough to do the room, but not the closets)


Erin commandeered the camera at this point and got this picture of me.  This is what I look like in “project mode”.  Hair not done, no makeup, and wearing awful clothes with paint all over them. 


We rolled out the underlayment film.  This brand was really great because it had the adhesive strips for joining the edges together already on it.

The first row was the trickiest, you really want to make sure it’s square and straight as all the rest of the rows depend on it!

We installed this as a “floating floor”.  We could have opted to nail it down too, but thought this method would be easier in the long run.



Glue along the upper groove and then push into place tightly.  A hammer and block of wood were essential for this step. If you’ve never done this before, it’s really pretty simple.   The piece you cut off on the right side then becomes the starter piece for the next row.  I was amazed at how little waste there was! (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, this was my very first attempt at laying a floating floor.)

The trick is to choose the pieces so that the seams do not match up from row to row.


This is where we called it a night.    It was pretty late.

I’ll be back with more for you tomorrow.


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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Laundry/Mudroom update-part 4

Well, hello again!  I’ve been struggling with some computer issues this week and wasn’t able to get to my Live Writer program.

Don’t you just hate that?  The darn computer froze up on me and when I shut down I was unable to get it back up and running.

Grrrr!  Got it fixed and here we go with yet another update on J and Yurah’s Laundry/Mudroom!

For the record I want to let you know this is NOT going quite as fast as I planned it.  I know, I know, no big surprise there.  Now tell us something new, right?  I’m fully aware that I have a very warped sense of time.  As Mike says, I need to double what I think it will take for a project, then add a month.  Nice guy, huh?  The sad part is that he’s so often right about it!  (but don’t tell him I said that, ok?)

Last post I showed you the cubby/bench part of the project.  That is essentially done, just waiting for the final coat of paint and the hooks can be installed.  (and the crown molding on top). I left Jason and Yurah in charge of the painting at that point. J tells me they plan to work on it this weekend.

Next I moved on to the corner between the porch door and the kitchen door.

Wasted space.

jasons laundry room 006

I mean, really, who needs an empty corner? Right?

So I decided to add a cubby tower right there.


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Three of the middle shelves are removable so this could also be used as a broom closet if desired.

Then I moved on to the TV armoire, the inspiration piece for this whole project!

My thought was to build cubbies under it to store the recycling bins.  The actual TV armoire was to go on top, reaching all the way to the ceiling.  The top open section was going to be a coat closet.

jasons laundry room 001 

J and I got the cabinet moved inside, lifted it onto the base, (it fit perfectly, I might add) and stood back to look.

Um, there’s a slight problem here.  If you wanted to hang up a coat you would need a ladder to reach the bar!


Whoops!  It was a good plan on paper, but in real life it just didn’t work out.

Change of plans, take the cabinet down and reverse it.

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Much better! After checking, we found that the recycle bins will fit inside the bottom doors, so that takes care of that!

Next step was to add cabinets to the wall.  These were curb shopped kitchen cupboards I’ve picked up here and there.  They didn’t match, but that’s ok. With a little paint they’ll be fine.  On top went another section of cubbies.  This one I made differently, I didn’t separate the sections all the way back.  This way they can store bigger (wider) items up there if needed.

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We’re getting closer!

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This is pretty much what it looked like at the end of weekend #2.

Done?  No, far from it.  But most of the building part is done.






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Looking at the before and now I would definitely pick the before.  It’s not looking so great at this stage.

What’s left? 

The base cabinet and countertop to go under the wall cabinets, then the partition wall for the dryer and a set of cubbies to fit over the dryer.  That’s it!

Of course there’s still the trim work and all, and then the floor…..

All right already, so maybe Mike was right about needing to add another month to my time estimate!

Especially since the following weekend was reserved for Erin’s Christmas gift.

Yup, you read that right, I had to stop right there, pack up all my tools, and get ready to start my daughter’s project.

But that’s another post.


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Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Favorite Outdoor Project of 2011

Recently Donna of Funky Junk Interiors featured  favorite outdoor projects of 2011 for her Saturday Night Special theme. She challenged her readers to pick their favorite outdoor project they did last year to link up to the party. 

I paused when reading about the themed link and thought, you know, I never did reveal my updated/refurbished Outdoor Kitchen from last summer.  I intended to, but the photos were never right and I kept waiting to get better ones.

Well folks, the better pictures never got taken, but I still want to share this project as my favorite of 2011.


The actual kitchen build was my project during the Summer of 2010.  I built it with all curb shopped /salvaged materials with the exception of the framing lumber. If you’re interested you can read more about that by clicking on the Outdoor Kitchen Project label in my sidebar.

Here’re a couple pictures from my Outdoor Kitchen reveal post.

Despite my best intentions to preserve the top by covering it and taking off the wood bar top for the winter, I never did get around to it.  Winter came too soon last year and caught me by surprise.

By Spring my kitchen was a disaster!


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I decided at that point to start over on the countertop entirely, using a different approach.

This time I was going to use concrete so i wouldn’t have to worry about the elements. 

No tutorials here, I can address that in another post.  All I can say now is that it’s not as hard as you would think, but if I were to do it again I would rent a concrete mixer.  I mixed it up in a plastic tub and boy was that ever a workout!  The actual concrete part goes fast, it’s the building of the forms for each section that takes time. 

Anything you do wrong there will show in the finished concrete!


We added some window boxes behind the sink for an herb garden.  This worked well, as the sprayer from the sink faucet was right there to water it with too!


This is what concrete looks like before it’s sealed.


This is after sealing.  The sealer adds shine and repels water for easy cleanup.



I love the texture of the concrete!


We found that an E Z UP over the bar end of the kitchen was perfect for shade on sunny days and to hang lights from on evenings we entertained out there.


New metal bar stools from were a splurge but they really went well with the more industrial feel of the concrete. Besides, I was getting complaints about my ladder barstools being too wobbly. :(



We added some galvanized roofing panels in strategic places to tie it all in.  A stainless refrigerator was another splurge.

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These cafe lights from Pottery Barn called to me.  They just needed to be part of our Outdoor Kitchen!


The best part about this project is that my husband enjoys this area so much.  I love it when he just laughs out loud with delight when cooking dinner out there and watching a ball game or golf tournament on the TV. 

That reaction is better than I could ever have hoped for!

Next summer I plan to add a pergola structure over the top.


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Linking up to Saturday Night Special Favorite Outdoor project of 2011 theme party.

Also linking up to Gail”s Catch as Catch Can party, the one where anything goes! Love it!