Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bathroom Remodel Part 2

This morning the tub area was in the state shown above. Tub, drain, and bath spout plumbing still in. After removing the drain and cutting the spout plumbing, we struggled to remove the tub in one piece for about 20 minutes, but because it is flaked by walls on either end, we ended up cutting it in half to get it out.

After that it was easy as pie to pull out. We loaded it in the back of the truck and dropped it off at the dump an hour later. I'll tell ya, we were not sad to see that thing go. Some old appliances are charming, quality pieces worth keeping in tact to sell or donate, but this tub was most definitely not one of those pieces.

After the tub was out we did a bit of demo work on the tile.

And here's what it's looking like right now, after cleaning up the shards of tile:

The next step will be replacing the p-trap in the shower, filling the hole around it with a layer of sand, covered with gravel, topped with concrete. After the p-trap is finished we'll frame out the shower stall with a kit we found online, finally tiling it over. We are leaning toward white subway tile for the shower, similar to what they've done here:

Image source

For the floor, we found a slate company in Vermont that sells natural green/gray slate floor tiles cut to any size you like. Today I ordered 70 sq. ft of 9" x 12" tiles. Below are the samples they sent. We ended up going with the shade second from the right. They look a bit more green and less gray in person.

That's all for today! I'll be back next week with more on the bathroom. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend with warm temperatures, Peeps, and lots of candy eggs :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Bathroom Remodel, Part 1

Our downstairs bathroom is a real gem. We have marbled green and brown formica counters, 1980s vanity lights, a cracked, moldy tub, and my personal favorite, drop ceilings. Who puts drop ceilings in the bathroom?! Are you ready to lay your eyes on perhaps the ugliest bathroom in Vermont? Behold:

It's a bad scene all around, and since moving to the house the only thing we do in there is give dog baths. Now that the downstairs office & bedroom are almost complete, we're turning our attention to the bathroom, and demo began this week. We removed the medicine cabinet from the wall, took down the drop ceiling, and started removing the plastic shower walls.

Removing the tub and chiseling off the floor tile is slated for later this week, as is a trip to home depot to check out new shower pan and door options. We are thinking simple glass with slate tile. For the sink stand we are planning to use a vintage table found at a flea market with a porcelain bowl sink on top. Since everything in the bathroom is being removed, there is a TON of work to do, but I can't wait to really get going on it. This space has huge potential for improvement, and it will be so nice to have a clean, functioning bathroom for guests when they come to visit.

Stay tuned for the tub removal and tile demo later this week!

Update: As of August, 2013 the bathroom is DONE! Check out the photos of the finished space here.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Warping the Loom

Heavy snow storms delayed our lessons for a few weeks, but my teacher Dianne and I were back in action today and I got to warp a loom for the first time.

First we determined how many reeds would need to threaded for the width of my piece, plus the number of warp threads to slide through each reed. Next we took our measured and cut warp sections, wrapped them around the edge of the loom for tension, then began sliding each one through the reeds.

And for a close up look:

Next we moved to the other side of the loom and picked up the warp thread from the other end to thread through the heddles, which are the long hanging metal slats with a hole in the middle.

Next the ends were tied off.

And then we used loops tied to the end of the loom to hold the tied back warp thread taught.

Next we untied the warp strings that had been wound around the front of the loom and began pulling the them through the reeds and the heddles, winding them around a turning bar on the back of the loom as we went.

Once the warp was completely pulled through and taught with no snags or twists, we tied off the ends.

And there you have it for this week. Next Tuesday we will start weaving in the weft (aka crosswise) yarn through the warp. The whole process is still a bit confusing to me, this being the first time for everything, but it feels really good to be learning something new. I'm sure I'll need to weave a number of pieces before I really understand what is going on and why things are done the way they are, but for now I am happy taking it one step at a time. Stay tuned for wefting next week!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Opinions Please! How to Make an Ugly Couch Presentable?

Downstairs in our new tiny office, we are now using Josh's love seat against the back wall as a spot to lounge. The love seat is comfortable -- my goodness, it's unbelievably comfortable -- but the problem is it just doesn't work in the space. It's a light brownish overstuffed La-Z-Boy type suede sofa that is 1) too deep for the space and proportionally does not work, and 2) ugly as all get out.

Behold, the brown beast:

Josh has agreed that we can move this bad boy on out if/when I can sell it for a decent price and I find something to replace it that doesn't break the bank. Fair enough.

And so my question for all of you --
How can I make this love seat presentable until the day that I can wheel it out the door? Short of a reupholstery job, are there any tricks you know of to spruce up a blah couch?  If you had this guy on your hands, what would you do with it? Furthermore, if anyone has ugly couch success stories and/or links to before and after pictures, please feel free to share in the comments! 

Thanks in advance for any tips!

- Claire

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Our DIY Wood Plank Desk

A week ago I discovered a great salvage/lumber yard near our house and picked up a huge rough cut wood plank to sand, stain, and cut to size for our office desk. As shown below, the plank was very rough, gray and weathered looking in certain areas from light exposure, and stained from the metal stand it had been stacked on.

First we cut the plank into two pieces to fit the dimensions of our desk, then set to work sanding it with the electric hand sander. One edge was live, meaning it still had the bark, and we decided to keep the natural edge, but sanded it down considerably to get a smoother, rounded surface.

After several hours of sanding with finer and finer grade sandpaper, our plank was looking pretty decent and we were ready to stain it. We tried out a few stains on a piece we had cut off, and decided on Golden Oak from Minwax. Before staining we pretreated the wood with several coats of Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. Pre-staining helps prevent streaks and blotches by penetrating the wood to promote uniform acceptance of the final stain. Our plank is pine, a soft wood that is notoriously difficult to stain evenly, so we slathered the pre-stain on liberally before applying the Golden Oak with a rag and quickly wiping it off.

After our planks were stained and dry we finished them off with several coats of polyurethane, sanding between each application. Here's how they looked when complete:

We picked up an IKEA Finnvard base to use for the desk legs, and Josh did a mini IKEA hack by shortening the depth of the base to fit under our plank. The base got a few coats of polyurethane, then we were ready to put it all together in the room. Here's how it looks right now, all uncluttered and clear. I am sure we will have papers, cords, and all manner of other items cluttering the space before long, so I snapped some pictures right away while it still looks clean and presentable!

There are a number of things we still need to finish in the room, including the molding along the ceiling, finding a lamp for the desk, installing shelves on the wall, finding a comfy but stylish office chair, and adding the french doors, but for now I am pretty happy just to have a dedicated office space in the house! I'm hoping that the days of mail, bills, magazines, and to-do lists scattered all over the dining table are over!

For those of you interested in trying something like this yourself, I've included the cost breakdown below:

Solid pine wood plank, salvage yard - $50
Finnvard table base, IKEA - $30
Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, Home Depot - $12
Minwax Golden Oak Stain, Home Depot - $8
Minwax Clear Satin Polyurethane, Home Depot - $11
Metal bracket for support under right side of desk, Home Depot - $7
Qty. 2 Ekby Valter birch self brackets, IKEA - $8
Total: $126

You will also need the following tools (we had these already so they didn't factor into our cost):
Electric sander & sand paper
Foam brush to apply the pre-stain
A few old rags for staining
Electric saw
Drill & drill bits or a screwdriver

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Weekly Etsy Wish List: Furniture

This week we are flying along in the basement, and the bedroom and office areas are almost done. Josh is applying a final coat of paint to the baseboards as I type, and later today we will install the wood plank desk we made before heading out to pick up the last load of lumber for the bedroom ceiling. There is still a lot to do down there (gut and remodel bathroom, build a murphy bed, finish the hallway and stairs, enclose the downstairs porch), but by the end of this week the main space should at least be usable, and we'll start to bring our furniture back in. In honor of furniture returning to the space, I have rounded up some of my favorite (albeit mostly out of my price range) furniture pieces on Etsy. Enjoy!

Vintage Trivia Chair, $2500 White Oak Saw Horse Desk, $675 Shelf Brackets, $80
. . .

Reclaimed Wood Shelving, $4975  Adjustable Stool, $235 Toro Lounge Chair, $3500
. . .

Danish Elbow Chair, $850 Industrial Drawer Unit, $350 Three Legged Side Table, $500

Monday, March 18, 2013

Try a Tabletop Greenhouse

I thrifted an old metal terrarium a few months ago, and have enjoyed it in the workshop so much that I just can't bring myself to list it in the shop. Plants indoors are always nice, but there's something about a beautiful, simple glass case that really makes them feel special. Now that spring is around the corner and plants are starting to bloom, it's the perfect time to bring a bit of the outdoors in.

Vintage Metal Terrarium, Old Red Hen, $75

Roost Copenhagen Terrariums, Pigment, $180

Geodesic Terrarium, Restoration Hardware, $295

Galvanized Terrarium, CB2, $59.95

Socker Greenhouse, IKEA, $19.99

Set of 2 Vera Greenhouses, Home Decorators Collection, $89