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Posts Tagged ‘home’

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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“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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OK. So this is my first recipe attempt. I want this to be more of a “home and life” type of blog. Hopefully, we won’t be renovating forever! Stop smirking. I keep telling myself that there is more to life than renovation!

We are getting a first round of seasonal berries raspberries in here in the PNW. They aren’t the best but they sure are good when you haven’t had them in a long time. Since they aren’t at their peak yet, I decided to make raspberry truffles. I took a recipe from Epicurious.com (don’t you love iPhone apps!) I am one of those people who uses recipes for ideas. I usually use them as vague guidance and do what I want. This recipe is from Gourmet December 2004. Here’s the recipe. What did I do differently? Well, didn’t have brandy, used cream sherry and I used 2 1/2 tablespoons. My fresh raspberries kept disappearing, hmm, David, perhaps? So, I had lots of ganache left over. I couldn’t let it go to waste so that is why my truffles looks so odd and globular. The rest of the ganache David ate with a spoon after planting hedges. (BTW- got hedges for $2.50 a piece!) This recipe is so easy. I put those deformed truffles in the fridge for about 2 hours while I tended to the garden and did chores. I then took the truffles coated them in a plastic baggie of organic unsweetened chocolate. And here they are:

My raspberry truffles

I just purchased this cake stand and couldn’t wait to use it. Isn’t the Eiffel Tower a cute touch? 🙂 The truffles didn’t last very long. It wasn’t me, it was David, I swear! A few were left out the next day. The cocoa powder begins to settle strangely on them. It doesn’t help that they were in a glass dome in our dining nook. The dining nook has windows and it was a sunny day in Western Washington. The flavor was still great but they looked pitiful. I’m sharing that information in case you want to make these for a gathering or something. Heat is not nice to truffles. Duh, huh?

This is a super easy recipe and I didn’t change much. I can’t wait to do chocolate covered cherries. And figs…

-Victoria

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"salvage" garden shed featured in Sunset

Since the weather is much nicer and we have had enough of winter, we’ve been thinking about our exterior and gardening way too much. I saved this pic of this “salvage” shed from Sunset magazine sometime ago, before we even purchased our home. I loved the fun chartreuse shade of this garden shed hidden in a PNW jungle. It is so striking and sooo West Coast. And this shed is in Port Orchard, WA,  our neighbors across the inlet. The article contained interesting info and listed the plants in this garden. They seem to thrive in our environment. Since I am a transplant, I’ve had to study what works here. Sunset magazine has been very helpful for that.

Anyways, I’ve revisited this article (here) over and over again because this really, really resembles our exterior colors. Our house turned out this green, not what we expected, but we will live with it and like it. Our trim is a chocolate brown just like this shed. The difference is that our house is much larger and taller than this quaint, cute shed and we have no landscaping. Our lawn is naked and neglected. The chartreuse shade of our house can be seen miles away, I think, or so the neighbors tell each other. No lovely hydrangeas are breaking up the green from the curb. When I look at this picture, I realize that our colors didn’t turn out too bad. We will work with it. It’s unexpected and chartreuse is my favorite shade of green and green is my favorite color. This article/feature makes me want to go out and dig, plant, and turn crazy things into planters. It also makes me feel good about our unexpected color choice. I liked it when it was featured in a magazine, why wouldn’t I like it for myself?

-Victoria

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I have such a jewelry storage issue. I have many cute things that I often forget about. My jewelry storage solution that I have had for the past 5 years is a cardboard liquor box with different plastic baggies filled with vintage brooches, Etsy finds, and silly costume jewelry. This is a mess. I never wear any of it and I don’t even know what I have. I’ve been on a jewelry storage expedition. Since my life is a bit more permanent now that I’m not renting, I feel it is time to unpack the accessories. I’ve looked at jewelry armoires. They seem to be very practical with spaces for everything. However, I don’t wear earrings and the craftsmanship of such armoires seem to vary. I’ve missed all of Target’s mega jewelry armoire blow-outs after Christmas. Argh! I could of got a decent one for $30! Oh, well. I also want something cuter than the generic mass retailer jewelry storage solution. I would love to have an old piece of storage furniture from a pharmacy or something. That will take some time to find and it is costly. I really like this jewelry medicine cabinet that I found on marthastewart.com. This idea doesn’t hold too much but it would be nice for necklaces and brooches and hat pins. I always find cute 30s era medicine cabinets at our local Habitat for Humanity salvage outlet. I always want to pick them up but I can’t think of anything to do with them. Now I can. I could line it with a luxurious fabric and use adorable fleur de lys pin hooks to hold necklaces. I also come across metal cabinets. All I would need for those are magnetic hooks. This would also be a cute storage option for delicate fragrance oils. I would say that I could easily do this project for under $30 sans my valuable time.

-Victoria

Oh, and Happy Nowruz! We’ve had a great sunny, Saturday!

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Our unfinished kitchen

I think it is only appropriate to show such a “moody” picture of the kitchen. This is how this kitchen makes me feel. I feel we made many gains quickly and then it stayed in this shape for 4 months. If you need a refresher, I’ll give you one. All of our cabinets and drawers were covered with blue faux fur, think Cookie Monster here, underneath the custom van complex addition, there were layers and layers of paint. This included an adorable mint green with the cutest vintage rose decals ever, too bad that couldn’t be. I think David spent 3 months just removing layers and layers of paint off of the cabinets/drawers. Oh, and Trappy’s Pepper Sauce (rehab homes are not easy may I remind you). Months later and we are still waiting for the fresh coat of white paint to dry on two doors. It then took me a couple of months to find the perfect vintage hardware (not seen in this pic). I did find the perfect hardware and that is a post soon to come. David redid the floor with eco-friendly (I couldn’t resist) and vintage fabulous marmoleum, the white tiles have been salvaged. We ordered the black. The original floor was a wreck, once again, a post in waiting. We did keep the original fixtures. I adore my faucet and my light fixtures and my shallow, long sink. I worked with my pink with gold flake counter top. I do love that as well and would get it new if I could. The walls are painted a ’57 Chevy teal or a milkier Fender Strat in Taos Turquoise, of course not seen in my moody pic.

It’s not the best picture. But, this hasn’t been a picture perfect renovation. It is going to take some time to get there with us both working full-time. I just thought I would share some of the progress we’ve made and to also complain a little about how I live. At least we have a stove and fridge. We lived off of a George Foreman and a mini fridge for many, many months. I guess I shouldn’t complain that one can see my spice collection, tea library, and bare white dishes. There used to be a dead muppet on the doors in there and a wigs worth of crazy bachelor’s hair. Oh, and I forgot the shagadelic, mod felt faces wallpaper!!!

-Victoria

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