Posts Tagged ‘home repair’

Frink the frug

No, we’re not Frink. I don’t think we’ll be ever be done. Frink, you may never know a home without projects. You’re a renovation pup. There was a time you enjoyed rolling in torn up carpet foam and tracking through wet paint. Even those exotic textures and smells  bore you now? Sorry, Frink, how do you think I feel?

Tudorks 1 year update: Well, we aren’t divorced yet. That’s good. Everyone says that when you take on a project this huge that a divorce is certain. No, I completely disagree. If anything, it has made our marriage stronger. We have accomplished so much, still working on 1 year before and after pics. We’ve defuzzed, defurred, decarpeted, defunked 2500 square feet of living space. We’ve painted every single room. We’ve waxed every single floor. We’ve put down a new kitchen floor. We’ve electrical and plumbing down. And much, much more. I’ve blanked out half of the nasty projects from my memory. So, what’s left? Here’s the short list as to not bore you, Frink.

  1. Finish upstairs bathroom. Please don’t laugh at us. Wasn’t this supposed to be done months ago? Need to touch up paint, clean up floor, maybe get tub glazed. This should be finished in a weekend.
  2. Finish downstairs powder room. Put up ceiling tiles, rip up old floor and put down new. Maybe get “new” fixtures, meaning something more authentic to the era of the home. Oh, and get them working. A month of weekends?
  3. Random paint touch-ups. We painted every room and then messed it all up in the renovating process. A room could be done nightly.
  4. Repair front porch. Concrete is cracking, chipping. It’s a big mess and we are so intimidated by concrete projects. Pay somebody.
  5. Finish cleaning door hardware and hang up remaining doors. Maybe a weekend?
  6. Fireplace mantel. I will be so happy when that is done. I’m so picky that this may never get finished.
  7. Oh, and all the new things that have to be done: replace windows, roof, make us completely and totally broke. Ughh, do I have to think about this? Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership. Frink, can’t you get a job posing on a greeting card or something so we can replace a few windows or something? All you do is lay around, complaining, staying in your kennel all day.

So, yeah, these are the main things left. It’s doable considering how much we got done in 1 year on our own, but frankly I’m sick of renovating. I know this feeling is very normal when talking to other people and visiting home forums.  All of you home builders, home restorers, home renovators- how long did your project take? Are you finished? Am I sweating the small stuff? I expect repairs throughout ownership, but how long did it take you finish your “must do now” list? How did you live through it? 🙂



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Cleaning antique hardware

One of 8 sets of door hardware I cleaned. About 80 years old.

Restoring the hardware in your home is typically not difficult, and not something so time-consuming or expensive that you shouldn’t learn how to do it for yourself.  Now that our renovation is mostly complete, I look back at our hardware restoration dollars spent as having the highest return on investment of any task we took on.  The value of the hardware in our home makes me want to part out my house and Ebay it like an old car.  I stripped multiple coats of paint off of all of the copper, brass, and chrome hardware in the house and most of it came out perfect.


1.  The actual condition of your hardware is unknown.  There might be a good reason it was painted.

2.  Plated metals are really hard to work with.  Chrome plating much older than 40 years is almost definitely toast.  Don’t expect much good to come out of these procedures if used on chrome hardware.  There is still hope for your chrome hardware, but that’s a different procedure than this article will address.

3.  Some of the chemicals used here are corrosive and produce toxic fumes.  Wear goggles, chemical resistant gloves old clothes, and a canvas or rubber apron.

4.  Let the chemicals do the work! Don’t go grinding and scratching furiously on your hardware or you’ll destroy it.  Then you’ll end up with hardware that will look a lot like it could have been very nice.

Your shopping list:

1.  Chemical Resistant Gloves: I got mine at Wal-Mart in the “janitorial” section.  They’re cheap, if you have much to do, buy two pairs.

2.  Goggles: get the full coverage style you remember from science class.  Probably overkill, but blind is forever.

3. Canvas Apron: a good cheap way to put another layer of protection between your skin and the stripper.

4. Paintbrush: gel stripper works best if painted on with a brush.  Buy a new one so you can be sure it’s clean.  Tag this brush so you don’t accidentally ruin a bucket of paint with it.

5.  Klean-Strip KS-3: a good gel-based stripper. Gel is safer because it clings to surfaces and is less likely to splatter.  I read a lot of people recommending citrus based stripper products for environmental reasons, but I haven’t tried it.

6.  WD-40:  You probably have some around already.

7.# 0000 Steel Wool: Don’t step up in grit and think that your work will get done faster. This is for polishing and cleaning, not sanding/abrading.

8.  Wire Brush: Get one that’s just soft enough to brush against your skin. More bristles will move more gunk and scratch less.

9.  Fine tools: toothbrush, razor blade for getting into tiny spaces where the stripper has a hard time penetrating.

10. White T-shirt Rags: just go ahead and buy a box of jersey rags because you’ll burn through tons of them.  The white color is so you can clearly tell what is getting removed, and so that no dyes or screen printing dissolves while you’re working.

11.  Metal or Glass Tray or Pan and a Soupcan: thrift store cookware will be fine here, or grab a cheap metal paint roller tray.

This is all commonly available, and all adds up to a little under $100.  I told you this was cheap! (more…)

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I’m back and I finally have Internet connection! I so went through serious withdrawals, but I’m fine now…It’s been a super crazy week and I’ll share pics of the house as soon as I’m able. That means not checking all my junk email and social networking…

After all the time I have spent removing wallpaper, it is going to be a long time before I can wallpaper. However, I do love the look. It is quirky and fun. Wallpaper is great. I’m talking about clean and in good shape wallpaper, not what we inherited.

bedroom in Marie Claire Maison

bedroom in Marie Claire Maison

I love this little London bedroom found in Marie Claire Maison. There are so many prints and colors! It’s just a fun, quirky room. I love all the different shades of blue and pink.  All of these prints make it a thrift store fantasy room. I have a few of those Russian boxes. They house cotton balls and stuff like that. They are cheap and take a beating. I like this room because it is small. That’s what most of us have. We don’t have these huge magazine perfect rooms with amazing architectural detail. This room is small but still fit for a magazine. It utilizes space and has lots of storage (too bad we can’t see the closet). I love how this room houses all these treasures and little collections. Somebody has spent some time at thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales and still looks put together. And who would of thought that rose shade would actually work with cobalt blue? Well, it does.

The other room or rooms photographed by Paul Raeside (if I had a restaurant this is the man that would be snapping it), I should say, are very special because of the mix of prints/wallpapers. It’s an airy and whimsy space. The lighting is romantic and the entire space is just so darn girly. However, I don’t know if you notice but the 1st thing I noticed other than the prints in my face was that the ceiling is need of some repairs. Geez, even I can repair that, what’s this home owner’s excuse? It sure isn’t money.

Cute home photographed by Paul Raeside

Cute home photographed by Paul Raeside

Anyways, the floor could use some cleaning too 🙂 And the loose porcelain door knob. Maybe all of this a part of the elegant, whimsy, cottage mansion style.

It really does sadden me that there is no more wallpaper in the home. Wallpaper does so much and then you have to do so much to get rid of it. Bummer. Don’t tell my husband that I am thinking of adding it to one of the bathrooms.


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The bathroom floor, excuse the messy glue. I'm working on it.

The bathroom floor, excuse the messy glue. I'm working on it.

While we were waiting to close on this house, I was able to thoroughly plan every room out in detail. I had a style journal and was ready to go. This has been very helpful. We’ve been able to jump into many rooms and start working. So far the one room that has not worked out has been the main bathroom upstairs. I had planned for it to be crisp, solid white. I thought the floor tiles were white hexagons (nope). I thought I would have shiny chrome fixtures, glamorous lighting, and I would paint one of my Brocade Home style mirrors a crisp white. It was going to be white, shiny, clean, and OTT. Well, for me to get that I am going to spend much more than I had planned. After I ripped up the 70’s self-adhesive tile flooring, I did not find dainty white tiles. Instead I found a mix match of tiny squares yellowed over time by the glue. Around the floors and walls there is a super shiny black tile. These 2 things do not mix very well. After doing some 30’s research and after convincing myself the black was added much later, I found that this was very typical of a 30’s home. Many people in the neighborhood have the same black tiles. Colors in the 30’s were pretty brash and not complimentary by our standards. We have sanitary white streamline fixtures, shiny black tile, buttery yellow walls, and tiles that are mainly off-white with tiny tiles of jade, baby blue, pink, eggplant, black, and tons of others. I do not want to lose my vintage fixtures but I was hating the floors. How could I make this work for now? Well, I have to have an entirely new direction. No more monochrome white. I was going to go “traditionalist” to the house and I’m going to go Art Deco. So here’s the plan on how to make this work without doing major renovations and “keeping it real”: bathroomideas

-The sink has to be replaced. Don’t worry, the current one isn’t the original. I’m going to replace it with a hanging sink or as David calls them “the urinal sink”. I bought one and it was only $32. Bonus. The awful vanity lighting will be replaced by the black Rufus overhead lighting from Rejuvenation (pictured in my style idea collage). I really want sconces but that means ripping up the plaster and I just really do not feel like dealing with all of that.

-There is no mirror in this space. I would like to have an Art Deco styled mirror. I’ll find one, just give me sometime.I don’t think the one in my collage will go with the lighting but I’ll find something. I’m thinking of salvaging one from a waterfall dresser. Or maybe I can find a cute medicine cabinet at one of the salvage stores.

-The accessories will be the streamline porcelain ones from Rejuvenation as well. This ties in the black glossy tile around the floor. The house has deco hardware. Bonus. I’ll get some black hooks or chrome hooks to go in there.

– The walls will be painted a rich jade shade. I think this will do. It isn’t something I would normally choose but I really think it will bring out the jade in the floor tiles, look great with the glossy black, and look good with dark woods. It will add more of a masculine feel to the room like a cigar lounge. It will still be very deco. Think a Tamara de Lempicka painting with a gangster slap in the face.

– I want a set of waterfall end tables to put in there for storage. I’ll have my deco perfume bottles courtesy of Guerlain and Tom Ford’s lovely bottles plus cigar boxes holding things like hair pins.

– Other items will include a black or zebra print bath rug so we don’t bust our bottoms on the tile (and it will cover it up, haha). I also want a pop of red somewhere. This jade with lacquer black demands it. I’m thinking a lush vase or a house plant. I don’t know yet but something in there must be a rich red. I may incorporate that into perfume bottles. Samsara?

Some obstacles in the space include: The tub is surronded by sometype of plywood painted white. Yep. This must be removed. Should I tile around the tub? If I do what color? It’s all very overwhelming. I don’t think I am cut out for bathrooms.


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