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Posts Tagged ‘home restoration’

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? 🙂

-Victoria

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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.

Warnings:

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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This weekend Tudorks went to Portland to pick up much needed bathroom lighting from Rejuvenation. Yeah, Seattle has a store, but we need an excuse to get out of this renovation mess. And the Portland store has salvage.Is there anything that I love more than salvage? So we went on a Portland home salvage tour.

OK, so Rejuvenation is completely amazing. Being obsessed with antique lighting since I was a kid, this was totally awesome. So organized, so clean, and so big. Being in a reproduction lighting store in Portland was one of those “I’m back at the mothership” experiences. You can even get espresso. The salvage selection was tops, very much pieces from the area. So couldn’t find our speakeasy. But, we did get our Rufus Streamline Porcelain in Black. I’ve been waiting for this stupid lighting for what, a year now? I also picked up two reproduction jadeite pieces. Each retailing for under $20. Totally awesome.

We also went to Hippo Hardware. Amazing, amazing place with too much salvage selection. As I was told, I was “hippo-tized”. The place had a great Portland vibe. Traveling to Portland? Want to know what Portland is about? Go to Hippo Hardware. It’s eclectic, smart, and funny. I hope when I grow up, that I can be apart of their team. Rejuvenation was the sterile, clean “mothership” and Hippo Hardware was more Sun-Ra “Space is the Place” kind of mothership.

Weekend electrician David

So, really excited and super stoked and full on delicious vegan food, Tudorks, went home to install the Rufus. Well, David did the work. He’s more comfortable with the electrical, well, not too technical electrical. I hope I can learn cool stuff like wiring one day. Then I can make anything a lamp or light. I have to up my home improvement game. So, here’s David putting the light after a really long day. I hope that I can show a before and after post of the bathroom sometime this summer. The bathrooms were the last projects we decided to tackle and I’m sick of them. I’m glad we took our time. We seem to make better choices when we take our sweet time.

So the Portland trip was awesome. Portland was the reason we moved to the PNW. But, we couldn’t get jobs in the tiny town. All this little trip did was remind us why we are here and helped us set goals. Yeah, goals to move to Portland, again. But, in a sick way, it’s been a nice motivator to finish the house. I’m taking any motivator I can get right now to push through this project.

-Victoria

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“Ooops” paint. Recycled paint. Mistints. We have painted over 75% of the house, 2500 square feet, in mistints. Mistints are wonderful. They are paint that is at least a 50% reduction in price. If you look enough, you will find what you need in the finish that need. That being said. It’s became a little bit of an obsession. We frequently visited all the home improvement stores in town at least bi-weekly during our painting phase. I have used mistints to paint the kitchen and studio a perfect 50’s aqua, the great room a deep gray, the dining nook a cool gray, a strange mushroomy shade for the bedroom and media room, a girly pink for the boudoir, and a boring buttery taupe for the foyers. Along the way, I have collected lots of putties, whites, and pale blues to paint furniture in. This is our Wonderful Wall of Mistints, you should see the Wonderful World of 5 Gallons in the garage.

Mistints are awesome because:

They are cheap. They are 50%-75% cheaper than retail.A gallon ranges from $5 to $10, 5 gallons from $25-$50, and the smaller sizes from $1-$2.50. Usually all brands are priced the same. This means that you could get the high-end or designer paint for $5, even the specialty metallic finishes.

They are resourceful. Mistints are really “green”. Where do you think this stuff goes if it isn’t sold? Into our landfills. Why create more waste when you have new paint already mixed? Most paint is no or low VOC these days, but this doesn’t mean that they will be environmentally friendly if we put them in landfills! This is why some trendy people like to call mistints “recycled” paints.

They are exciting. OK, this is a stretch. But, it is so much fun to find what you were looking for. It is a bit of rush. If you are thrifter then you know what I’m talking about.

They aren’t just for walls. Artists and crafters, house paint is acrylic paint. You can get a gallon of paint for $5! You can mix colors and put them in smaller bottles. Buy mistints for your art. Buy mistints to paint your flea market furniture and picture frames. You can also find stains with the “ooops” paints.

I find that our culture has a strange relationship with color. Many Americans can’t see the difference between a cool tone red or a warm tone red, but they get so picky when it comes to paint. They fret and worry about paint. It’s nuts. When I worked in the makeup biz, I learned about this strange obsession. They believed, like a prince in shining armor that offered true love, that there was only one shade that would work with their skin. Any makeup artist will tell you that it is like a Bell curve, making a minimal of 6 shades that will work under any lighting or circumstance. Paints are the same. Anyways, wasn’t I talking about home stuff and paint?  I find new mistints every time I go to the store. Many times I think the colors are wickedly ugly such as  LED light blues. Nasty.  Those mistints prove that the person getting them mixed was tasteless. But, tasteless or not, they left them. They were smacked out of their color delusion. Most of the time I find decent shades. I think these are the freaky people. The people that geek because the color doesn’t match the zig-zag stripe in their living room curtains. These are the matchy-matchy people. I am not one of these people. They terrify me.I’m the bird of prey that swoops in, picking up on their mistints and profiting from their type A personalty. I see colors in a spectrum and like cosmetic colors, colors used in decorating have some “bend” to them. There is not just one “perfect” color, but a “perfect” family of colors. But, this being said, I don’t see things as matchy-matchy and I don’t go to big ass “art” sales at the hotel to purchase “couch-sized hand-painted oil paintings”. I don’t take the Rooms to Go approach to decorating. It’s just not me.

Tips for Buying Mistints:

Start searching early. Check for mistints months before you actually start painting. This gives you more time to get what you want.

Shop for mistints in the spring-summer. I have found, at least in our area, that more mistints show up in these seasons because more people are doing home renovation projects and are most likely moving in the summer.

Have guidelines. For example, if you did not want a glossy finish and you found a perfect robin’s egg blue in a gloss but you wanted flat. Don’t buy it. You won’t be happy. Also, have some idea of what color you are looking for either be “blues” or “sorbet pales”. It makes life easier and if you have an idea of what you want, you’ll be happier. Plus, you need to buy the right paint for you space. No flats in the bathroom.

Be flexible. Have guidelines that keep you from bringing home any ole’ tub of paint, but be flexible. For example, there isn’t that big of difference between a satin or an egg-shell. Most people won’t notice that your mint is cooler than the what you had wanted. In the end when you have all of your furniture and decor in, your space will look great. Any new color or a fresh coat of paint makes a space look polished, even if it is mintier than the mint you wanted 🙂

Mix it and stir it! I have found that mistints are usually the “tricky” colors. They look like one color when they are wet and completely change when they dry. Mix them thoroughly to get the pigments evenly distributed. Be a little compulsive about it, stirring during the painting process or before you pour new paint into your tray. (Really you should do this with all paint).

Keep a color sample of the paint. If for some reason you miscalculated and need more paint, they can mix it. Keep a color sample or the can. Cans usually have bar codes on them that hold the “secrets” of the mixture.

More advice and learning by renovating: Exterior paints in the interior won’t make the place self destruct, but it takes a long time to dry. We used an exterior in the interior in the great room. It went on fine and even; it was better than most of the interior formulas. We didn’t hang pictures for about a week. Paint is paint and you can’t tell the difference. People go, “Oh, you’ll have to prime that when you want to change colors”. Yeah, I will. From my experience you have to prime everything, especially a dark liver gray on lath and plaster walls. Today’s paints require and expect that you’ll prime.

-Victoria

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"Fancy" 5 cent pulls (only 2 of those)

OK, so it took me some time to find the kitchen drawer and cabinet hardware that I wanted, but I did find it. I wanted something chrome-like and 50’s dinner or 30’s streamline moderne. In the basement, there were some built-ins with the coolest pulls. I wanted something like that. The items offered at Lowe’s were either Scandinavian modern or country kitchen. Not what I wanted. Here’s what I wanted and how I got it:

Our kitchen. Don't judge me on the mess. No dishwasher 😦

Hickory Hardware "The American Diner" knob, reproduction

For the cabinets we purchased from Van Dyke’s Restorers “The American Diner Knob” in Chrome. We paid less than $2.50 for each. I don’t know if Van Dyke’s is carrying the chrome knob anymore. We of course ordered many of them and needed one more. Van Dyke’s was sold out. We found our last one on Amazon for more money. The American diner knob is manufactured by Hickory Hardware. So if you are looking for this style of knob, search for places that sell Hickory Hardware. Total cost for us: $21.50 plus shipping (including Amazon knob). I think shipping was like $9 (ordered some other things). And I had to buy that lonesome knob from Amazon for like $4.50.

OK, now to the drawers. I wanted something that matched the built-ins in the basement. We looked and looked. We were about to order The Deco Drawer Pull from Rejuvenation in Polished Chrome. This beautiful pull retails for $16 each. Ouch, we’d have to buy 13 of them. But, I was sick of looking and I wanted to open and use my drawers. By chance that afternoon I went to our local Habitat for Humanity thrift store. I found the pulls picture here for 5¢ each! OK, so they aren’t as jazzy as the Deco Drawer Pull. But, they are so cheap, in awesome condition, and are original. I picked up more than I needed (in case I didn’t notice rust or needed to replace a few). I even got a set that was very fancy. I used these on the cabinets under the sink. It pays to thrift! Now looking at all of them up. I think I like these better than The Deco Drawer Pull because they are simple. The kitchen has

5 cents kitchen "plain" retro pulls

more of a pink/aqua 50’s vibe and the ones that we have “fit” better. Total cost for us: 65¢

We were fortunate enough to have these hinges already on the bottom cabinets. They cleaned up nicely. They aren’t perfect but I’m not going for perfect. I’m also going for cheap. Total cost to us: $0

Our total on kitchen hardware: under $30 (including shipping) for 20 drawers and doors. We didn’t have to buy screws for the vintage hardware. We already had that lying around.

Guide to Retro Hardware:

Looking for retro hardware or retro looking hardware? Look at dealers such as Van Dyke’s Restorers. Do not overlook their clearance page. It has awesome deals! Who knows? Maybe what you want is on sale or you can settle for something similar. If you know you like a reproduction knob/pull. Find out who the manufacturer is and search for them on-line. Find the best deal that way. Love the ease of Internet shopping! If you’re not on a budget search at places like Rejuvenation or Anthropologie.Don’t forget about salvage yards, thrift stores, and even antique stores. Sometimes you can find a great deal like we did. By thrifting we saved over $205! If you choose to go the thrift route be prepared to look and look. Keep a list of the number of knobs/pulls that you need and their dimensions on your phone or in your wallet. And if your going cheap, don’t forget to mix and match. It can look really great and polished. Check out kitchens in design magazines. They usually use up to 5 different knob/pull designs in a large kitchen. I need to add that sometimes salvage yards will make “trades”. Have a 40’s sink you switched out for something else? Trade it for hardware. (I’d call before hauling a sink around). Also check out vendors on Etsy. Etsy has options that fit into the no budget range and the budget range. It’s worth checking out.

*I’m not the best at pictures. Excuse my crummy quality. Photographing small chrome things is not easy. Also, this is a living and working kitchen. Excuse my crummy mess. I don’t have the mad skills to Photoshop the dirty dishes out 🙂

Original hinges

-Victoria

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Our garage door

This is our beautiful new garage door. It’s solid wood with a flawless finish. It makes the rest of our exterior look cheap and awful. The goal is to get the exterior to look like it is as classy and jazzy as the garage door.

David and I were given free home show tickets by the local nursery that we buy from. We didn’t know what to expect at such an event. We went because it was an unusually cool spring day in the PNW.  The show was OK, I guess. It seemed to be more for new constructions. Most of the vendors were too “contemporary” for our tastes and for our house. It was nice to see what other people are doing with their homes. There is lots of new stuff out on the market. We stumbled across this floor model garage door for a steal. We had just contacted our contractor a few days prior about a garage door. We called him up, luckily he didn’t order the hideous one from Home Depot yet. We ended up getting this one for under 1k (1k cheaper than retail since it is being “discontinued”).It really looks original to the home and resembles the original carriage doors on the homes in the neighborhood. I just have to upkeep it yearly by applying a sealant. No fun, but so is home ownership.

Why have I not added lovely carriage door hardware? Too tight of a squeeze. 😦

-Victoria

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David and I have had a difficult time with choosing just the “right” lighting for this house. We’ve kept what vintage lighting that was left with the home. This has only been a few rooms. During the 1970’s and later, most of the lighting in our home has been replaced with the most boring and cheapest lighting options available. This is a shame because replacing it with period lighting is very, very expensive and time-consuming. We’ve spent months searching antique stores, salvage yards, websites looking for the kind of lighting that would have been in a middle class suburban home in the mid- 1930’s. The reproduction market is plagued with overly fancy items that would have never have been in this home to begin with. I have found a few antiques but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for and didn’t want to pay $500 for something I didn’t know if I liked or not. So…we’ve decided to put the search on hold. We have more important things to do. In the meantime we’ve decided to just replace what was in the house with something that we like better but isn’t expensive. We’re waiting for just the right thing.

In the studio, we didn’t have any lighting at all. When we purchased our home, there was just some rigged up extension cord contraption. The electricians wired the room for overhead lighting in the middle of the room. For many months we’ve had a boring bare bulb. Our wonderful neighborhood joined forces and started giving us lighting that had hanging around their basements. This is how we’ve ended up with our current studio lighting. It had a glass bulb with some floral etched design. We decided to remove it for more of a harsh, steampunk type of feel. I wanted an Edison bulb but those offer very little light. We’re using a “decorative” bulb instead. We’re calling it “The Days of Our Lives” fixture. Hey, it was free. No complaints.

-Victoria

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