April 19, 2013

#151- The Wine Bar- Part 2

As I write this I'm trying to pretend that there isn't 6 inches of snow falling on April 18th.  This winter has been SO LONG, and I'm at my breaking points folks. I'd have lost my mind entirely by now if it wasn't for this little gem to keep me warm.

Last week I shared with you all the progress we were making on our big 80 golden oak china cabinet turned wine bar.  This week it's time to tackle that big, ugly hole we left in the middle.

I wanted to create a wine rack in this space, but not just any wine rack.  I could have used lattice, an X pattern, wooden dowels or all sorts of different, easier ways, but I had my mind set on something much more streamlined, modern and masculine.  Apparently I like to make things difficult for myself like that. I wanted something that felt strong and intentional, and not at all fancy like this china hutch of the past.  This piece from Room and Board was my inspiration.

The problem was figuring out how exactly to build the structured wood cubes all in a straight line.  The Hubs often jokes that I have no idea how to stop my brain from spinning, and in this case he was right.  I spent weeks laying in bed, trying to sleep at night figuring out how to build these cubes step by step. There was also a whole lot of math trying to figure out the perfect dimensions for the cubes that would fit the existing space.  Some people count sheep- I plan a project. 

I decided to use the wood I had removed from the built ins- remember I said I had a plan for all of this?

Call me cheap, but it just seemed like such a waste to throw all of that wood away.  Sure, it was a little more work, but something about just tossing all this wood in a dumpster, and then paying for new wood that had to be grown, harvested, milled and shipped seemed so wasteful.  So the Hubs laughed at me for dumpster diving in our own dumpster, and I started by pulling out nails.  A lot of nails.

About 3 nap times later I had finally prepped and cut all the pieces I needed.

I started by building a box that would fit perfectly inside our opening.

  Before building anything else I tested it in the space to make sure it was a perfect fit. Money.

Then I lined up all my horizontal shelving pieces end to end and marked exactly where all my vertical pieces would go, so that I knew they would line up exactly.

I used wood glue and my trusty nail gun to fire vertical pieces into each horizontal shelf, but didn't put them together as one big piece just yet.

 Keeping each row of shelves separate allowed me the room to patch all the holes and sand the pieces smooth.  One of my favorite tips when creating a piece you plan to paint is to use wall patch instead of wood putty to fill any holes or irregularities.  It goes on much easier and sands down to the same even finish.  Which was helpful as I had a lot of holes in this old, used wood.

Once they were all painted and sanded, I could prime each shelf.  See what I mean about building this in the right order?  With the shelves still separate I could easily paint every little crack and cranny.  I used a combination of a brush and a microfiber roller again. I have a serious crush on microfiber rollers.


And after primer I could apply 3 coats of my charcoal gray paint.

After a few days of solid curing time, I finally put all the pieces together.  I started by sliding the first shelf in on the bottom, and attaching it securely to my frame on the sides with screws.  Then I just stacked each piece on top of the other. After attaching all nine shelves, we picked up the whole piece and slid it into our big, ugly hole.  There was a tiny gap on each side so I tacked in a couple of trim pieces to make it look seamless.

And here my friends is my 54 bottle, magic wine display.  

Let me hit you with a little before and after. 


and After:

What do you guys think?  Upgrade?  Maybe I've been drinking too much wine, but I love how this feels like it fits and looks intentional, instead of that strange, "Why's there a china hutch in your Living Room?" feel.   The only issue is that we're going to have to buy a lot more wine, and that's a problem that I can handle.  Happy Friday everyone!

April 12, 2013

#155- The Wine Bar

This weird project house of ours came with one rare feature, a built in china cabinet in the middle of our Family Room.  Try to control your jealousy and hang with me... This golden oak, 80's wonder  is located right at the bottom of the steps as you entire the Family Room.  The first thing you see.

It's built into a sofit above it, and sports a huge 3' x 4' mirror.  For the time being we threw some glasswear and wine bottles on it and called it a day. 

From the start we knew something had to be done to this piece so it didn't give off that, "Dude, why's there a china cabinet in your Family Room?" vibe.  The problem was we couldn't just tear it out, as it would look really strange to have the empty sofit hanging from the wall.  Plus, since there isn't much room for storage upstairs in the Dining Room, it actually helps to have a place for all this glasswear downstairs.  So after a little brainstorming we decided china hutch = weird, wine bar = perfect fit.

Step one of project #155 on The List was to remove the scallop from the top of the center piece.  It always amazes me what a difference it makes to remove a scallop from cabinets or furniture.  And it takes all of 30 seconds.

Next it was time to take out the mirror in the back, which was held in by just a few trim pieces.  It came out pretty easily, and left this hot mess behind.


Then we cleaned out all the cabinets and got our paint on.   To make this piece different and more like a piece of furniture rather than a built in, we went with a deep, charcoal gray on the outside, and painted just the insides of the glass cabinets with a bright white for contrast.

Speaking of those glass front cabinets, they were actually filled with plexiglass, and someone along the way did a pretty quick job in cutting the plexi, and all of the pieces weren't square.  See the top right corner in the photo below?  The plexi doesn't even fit into the cabinet back.

The result was that the cabinet doors were warped to fit the glass and wouldn't close.  I had to tear them all apart and rebuild them to make them square again.  Then I trimmed down the plexi to make it fit.  I put a line of tape on the plexi so it wouldn't crack or chip, and then ran it through my table saw.

Once the cabinet doors were rebuilt I worked to install a couple of puck lights in the top of each built in cabinet.  They tucked in nicely at the top.

I was able to run them to a single tap switch/dimmer which you can see on the wall to right of the cabinet.  I love how it's that sleek, clean white circle. 

Which after all that, left us with this:

Try to ignore that big, ugly space in the middle for a moment and enjoy with me the awesome new charcoal color and the bright white insides lit with the beautiful lighting.   Okay, it's hard to ignore the gaping mess, but that's a whole other post.  Next week I'll show you my little plan for that space.  In the mean time- cheers to painted golden oak and progress! 

April 4, 2013

#151- Part 3: Making Those Built In Cabinets Our Own

Once the stone tile was applied to the fireplace, it was time to address those "built-in" cabinets that we decided to save from the original layout and make them our own.  Remember these old guys?

We made changes to these back when we moved in here and here, but ultimately we took them down until we had just this left:

We took off all the doors and hinges to paint, but instead of painting the tops the same white, I wanted to stain them a dark, rich color.  So before we started painting we sanded each of them down with 60 grit stripper paper and our electric palm sander, and then with 220 finishing paper on a hand sanding block. It was a lot of work, and the Hubs kept asking if we should just paint the tops, but I had a vision and begged him to see it through.  I reasoned that we could always paint them in the end if we didn't like them.  I left out "after all our hours of hard work."  Somethings are better left unsaid.

Once they were sanded down to fresh like a baby wood, we had a little gap to deal with in the back that the built-in shelves that used to live above this piece previously covered up.

 Nothing that a piece of quarter round cut to length and tacked in with our nail gun couldn't cover.  Bam!

And now that the tile was in, I could cut the tiny corner piece of wood, making it look like the counters were built into the stone fireplace and there all along.

Then I taped off to protect our freshly painted wall,


And rubbed on a dark stain that I happened to have in my collection- Minwax Jacobean. 

This pint of Jacobean has been sitting in my cupboard for a long time because I always use a Dark Walnut stain, but I was incredibly impressed with the color.  It got to the color darkness I was looking for in just 3 coats, and it has a nice deep hue without too much red in it. Pretty- right?

Then it was all over but the cabinet door hanging.  With a total of 8 coats of paint on these babies (1 primer, 3 paint, front and back) it was a little time consuming. Which is like saying that Kim Kardashian is just a little over exposed.  Luckily we had a great big space lined with the room's old carpet pad to work.  (And a baby exercsaucer so Bo could keep me company while I painted- VOC free of course.)

The hinges on the cabinets were an old world bronze, not a bad as a shiny brass, but not as pretty or modern as a oil rubbed bronze either.  Originally we set off to pick up 44 new hinges for the cabinets and 12 new hinges for the doors, and loaded our pants when we added up the price.  So we picked our jaws up off the ground, and picked up a $7 can of Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint instead. 

I took the time to line up all the hinges on a piece of cardboard, punching the screws into the cardboard in each of the holes securely holding the hinge to the cardboard and keeping the screw heads upright to get covered with paint.  It worked like a charm.

We decided that we would re-purpose the existing hinges to save money, but that we would buy new hardware and knobs for the doors since they get a lot more wear and tear.  I'll let you know how the hinges hold up and how we feel about the decision down the road, but for right now we're happy with the compromise.  At least our wallet is.

After five light coats of spray paint and a day or two to dry, we have cabinets again!

And a TV too- did I mention that?  We purchased a TV mount that swivels and tilts so even though it's now on the far left side of the room and not the center, you should have a good view from any seat.  We balanced out the right side with a set of floating shelves from Ikea.  We actually stole these from our Dinning Room since we don't plan to keep them when we rearrange the layout in there.  (I can't talk about another redesign project right now though.  So...close... to the end.... of this...one...)

Obviously we still have cabinet hardware, shelf decor and carpet to get to, all of which will warm the space up, but it doesn't even look like the same room!

What do you think?  I love how the dark wood counter tops warm it up, and totally tie into the shelves and oil rubbed bronze hinges and fireplace face.  (Not that I'm saying "I told you so" Hubs, I would never do that.)  I so badly want to sit my tired butt down in front of that TV and watch a bunch of episodes of The Voice, but we've still got work to do.  Cheers to late nights and coffee in the mornings! I think I can... I think I can...

April 1, 2013

Tiling the Fireplace

The tricky part of a reno is doing everything in the right order.  After demo we had to work on the ceilings first, so that any mess or paint that fell wouldn't ruin the room.  Then we framed out our new fireplace, and worked on a bunch of little things inside the walls like insulation, duct work and electrical before we closed it up with Durock. 

We were super excited to tile our beautiful new heat box, but we had to wait until the room was painted, so we wouldn't risk splattering paint on our new stone. And we couldn't paint until we had installed our board and batten. Once that was up we had weeks of painting trim, doors, cabinets and walls, before it was finally time to take it to tile town.  

The most important thing about tiling a fireplace is to start in the middle, directly above the opening to your fireplace.  If you start from the bottom up, when you get to the opening of your fireplace the stone won't have anything to rest on, and gravity will be your enemy.  (Don't fight physics my friends, she always wins.)  So we began by screwing a 1x3 to our fireplace wall, creating a level line where the stone above the fireplace opening should sit.  Our stone was really heavy, so just in case we propped another board under our 1x3 to keep it from sagging in the middle.

Just look at that beautiful white stone.  I'm in love. This stone tile is easier to install than you would think, just apply the mortar to the wall with a notched trowel just like you would floor or wall tile. 

And press the tile firmly into the mortar.  Our tiles are cut to fit together in what looks to be a random and seamless way.  We just started in the center and worked our way out to make sure it was even.  We also made sure to stagger our rows so there wouldn't be any noticeable seams. When you get to the top, you start from the bottom up.  By the time you need to remove your 1x3 board to tile there, the mortar above the fireplace opening should be nice and dry, so you no longer have to worry about your tiles shifting.

The trickiest part was the corners.  This particular tile came with corner pieces, but they were $12 each for a piece that was 4" high. We would have spent $300 alone on corner pieces!  But the super helpful guys at The Tile Shop suggested that we miter our corners instead, which was a little tricky, but worth it.  In order to cut a 45 degree angle on my wet saw, I needed to adjust the saw table like this.

And then very carefully run the tile across the angled saw without letting it slide down, like this:

And yes, if you didn't notice, that's snow in the background, which means I was using a wet saw, outside in below freezing temperatures.  In fact my water kept freezing on the table top of my saw, and I kept needing to get warm pitchers of water to fill it back up.  My fingers were numb, but it was totally worth it.

It took us an entire Sunday, but only because we had to squeeze it in around our boy's schedules.  Luckily we had a big 3.5 hour nap (both of them together!) to get a lot of it done.  Other times we split up and the Hubs soldiered on while I played with the kiddos or vice versa.  By the end of the day there were 7 tiles left and it was all we could muster to finish it up.  We crashed hard when we were done, but not until after we did a little party dance for our beautiful new box of fire.

I mean, how's this for a before and after?

Can you believe we ever agonized over the decision whether or not to take that old fireplace and mantle out?  This look is so much more our vibe.  The stacked stone gives it the rustic/lodge feel we were going for, but the fact that it's mostly white, floor to ceiling in a clean line and surrounding that cool linear fireplace gives it a very modern feel.  I am getting so excited to put this room back together!  Up next- those built in cabinets!