January 29, 2014

More Wallpaper?

It's about this time in the process, wallpaper room #4, that I realize that this place just might beat me.  You know when you watch those house hunting type shows online, and you see families that write off a home quickly because of the wallpaper and the paint, and you're (or at least I am) nearly yelling at the TV- "That's totally fixable!  You can easily change wall paper!"  

I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  

Wallpaper is an incessant,  unyielding beast.  Luckily the results usually provide such an exciting and drastic change that your efforts are rewarded and you get a second wind to tackle the next beast.

Cue the next beast.

There isn't a ton of blue country floral wall paper in the kitchen, but don't let her fool you.  


She'll put up a fight.

Back during our crazy wallpaper pulling party we yanked down the top, vinyl layer of this paper.  If came down pretty easily, so we were left with this slightly furry paper backing on the walls for the last few months.  Again, I'm not proud of myself here, but I'm making up for it.

Finally it was time to get out the steamer and remove the backing.  Little did we know that she had a insane little surprise for us:


That photo doesn't really do it justice though, these photos give you a sense of how truly tangerine we're talking.

I'm told that Coppertone, the color of the range hood below, was all the rage in the early 60's when this cabin was built, and that it was frequently paired with this bright orange. 

So this is the rare example of when ugly wallpaper is cleanly removed, and your walls look even worse than when you started.

This cabin may be the death of me.  But I'm not giving up yet.

January 23, 2014

The Cabin Plan

Lately I've been showing you a lot of the exhausting, yet basic work we are doing at our family cabin up North.  But things are about to start getting interesting, so I thought I would take a step back and explain the plan for you.  First, I think you'll need to understand our current layout.

We never intended on buying a two bedroom cabin.  With three families sharing this place (my parents, my brother's and mine)  along with our children, we knew three bedrooms would really be ideal.  But when we saw this place it was instant love.  That shoreline.  This lake.  The open floor plan.  The garagemahal.  We had to make it work.

Plus, there was this big, empty area they referred to as the Den located right in the main entry.  Here's a photo looking back at it from the Dinning Room.  Nothing but unused furniture.

So now that we're through the first short summer and fall there, we're using the cold Minnesota Winter to get a bunch of stuff done inside.  Cue the list!

1.  The first and most impactful change is that we'll be adding a third bedroom!  We'll build a wall that will separate the Dining Room from the Den.  This new room won't be huge, but it will fit a queen bed and a dresser, which is all we really need from it, a private place to sleep. This room luckily already includes a closet (which was the former entryway closet.)

2. The biggest problem with putting a Bedroom in the Den, is that the front door needs to move.  Once it warms up outside we'll replace the old front door with a window (actually, the window we remove from #5, but more on that later) and we'll have to spend a lot of time this summer removing the concrete front steps and sidewalk to this space. Look forward to Hubs swinging a sledgehammer photos, I know I am!

3. Although it's not ideal, we'll be moving the front door to the side of the house. Our front door previously wasn't much to look at, and in fact wasn't even the original location of this cabin's front door, so I feel confident that as long as we do it right, it can look intentional and original to the home.  Here's a close up.

By extending the existing deck to wrap around the side of the cabin, we'll use the new deck steps as the primary entry.  Imagine something like this (a shot I previously snapped from Trulia that no longer exists) with a deck extending off the back of it.  


That one above has seen better days.  Look at this beauty below from Bungalow Restoration to get an idea of the gable I'd like to build over the new door, (which is already a huge upgrade from the fully exposed previous front door.)

Love this wood planked ceiling and light built into the gable. Swoon.

So you don't have to scroll all the way back up, here's our plan again.

4.  I'll build a coat locker system to sit in the new doorway and serve as the new entry closet.  We also have a coat rack back in the utility room to hold work jackets, snow pants and other extra clothing items that will be getting the boot from the now third bedroom closet.

5. I mentioned removing a window from the Living Room, and here's why- to make room for our new fireplace!  We've barely finished a winter here living with the place, but it's become really clear to us is that the one thing that we really miss is a fireplace to cozy up to.  Since the Hubs and I feel like experts in the fireplace installation game after remodeling our gorgeous one in our Family Room, we're ready to take on the challenge.  Because that TV and that window box air conditioner just won't do. 

6. We'll flank the new fireplace with a set of built ins that can hold decor and a bunch of the stuff that will be kicked out of the former entryway closet (i.e. games, puzzles, etc..)

7.  Finally, I think one of the biggest changes will come from installing hardwood flooring throughout the open concept living space.  Right now there's carpet in the Dinning Room which is nonsense, burnt, gross linoleum in the kitchen, and a strange, curved section of carpet in the Living Room. Here's the overview again so you can see what we have in mind.



Sure, there's other stuff we're doing in there too.  New tile in the bathroom (really a full bathroom reno), new flooring and layout in the 3 Season Porch, etc... but for now let's focus on the first list, because I don't want to get too overwhelmed.  You know, we're just building another bedroom, moving the front door, building a deck, tearing out a window, adding a fireplace, building a large coat locker, a console table and floor to ceiling built ins.... the easy stuff. 

One project at a time. :)

January 21, 2014

We Can Finally Sleep!

It's amazing what a decent night sleep you can get when it doesn't feel like the walls are screaming at you.  (Well, that is as long as your baby isn't screaming at you. But that's another story.) After all the striping, washing, sanding and prepping, it was finally time to start painting the cabin bedrooms.  First, let's say one last goodbye. 

Luckily this stuff peeled off in one easy sheet at a time.  Most of it anyway...

We piled all the furniture in the center of the room since there was no where else to put it, and covered it with tarps.

Each room needed two coats of primer and two coats of Paint + Primer in one.  There is nothing worse than starting to paint a room and realizing you'll have to paint it four times to kick you while you're down.  Oh, and there are two rooms.  So eight total painting sessions.  Somebody hold me.

Here's the room with 2 coats of primer.  A completely unsatisfying 3 hours of my life.

Luckily, getting the paint on the walls made a much bigger impact.  We used the same "Aged Beige" that we used out in the Cabin Living Room.  I love everything about this color except for the name.  I usually try to stay away from beige as it tends to have a pink hue, but this color never looks pink or blue.  Sometimes it looks a little clay/gray, sometimes its more cream/tan, and it works fantastically with white or wood trim. 

I'm really loving the wood trim in these rooms.  It's not usually my bag, but I love how it warms up the space and gives it that cottagey feel. And how about this dresser below that came with the place?  (We bought it furnished.)  I love the wood pattern and textures.  A little new hardware and I think this piece will be a stunner.

Obviously we still have a lot to do with these rooms (window treatments, bedding, art, accessories...) but I've never been so thrilled to get to a blank slate that we can work with.

Maybe you can appreciate it more if I give you a little before and afters to see just how far these rooms have come.



Now comes the fun part!  But before we get to pretty decor, we've got some major work to do out there in the main living space. More on that soon- we have a lot of fun ahead of us with this place!

January 13, 2014

I Hate Wallpaper, Part 2

Let's take it back about 6 months to our exciting new project- our new to us, fabulously wallpapered cabin up north.  And when I say wallpapered, I mean wallpapered.

And a little reminder of our woodland creatures explosion:


So back in the end of July we got a little peeling happy and started ripping down paper.  Then then we spent 24 painful hours striping the wall paper out of the living room.  And then we promptly proceeded to ignore the mess we had made in the other rooms, and spent six months pretending that the wall paper didn't exist.  You can barely tell, right?

It wasn't our best plan, or my proudest moment, but we needed time before we took on the huge task that is striping layers of wallpaper and glue off paneling.  But now that the summer is done, and the beautiful fall is over, and the holidays are past, we have no excuse but to get back to work.  I mean I'd rather work now when it's 20 degrees outside then this summer when the gorgeous weather outside is mocking me. 

Speaking of mocking me, shut up you paste covered paneling.


Once again we used our trusty streamer, following directly behind it with the scraper.  It was slow going, and the first bedroom took an entire day of scraping to finally get clean.  It felt like Groundhog Day.

After the streamer got most of the paste off, on day two we scrubbed the walls with hot water and vinegar and wiped them down.  Then we had to sand them all down first with a course, 80 grit paper, and finally with a smooth 220 grit.  Once everything was wiped down with a microfiber cloth, we were ready to finally prime.  But we were also ready to go home.  Big time.  It was already a super long weekend.  There's nothing like working your ass off for an entire weekend and leaving this beauty behind:

Yikes.  We can't paint soon enough.  More to come!

January 9, 2014

Cover It Up

You'd think by my lack of posting lately that I've been on a break from projects.  No such luck- (right Hubs?)  It's true that we definitely slowed our pace to make time for work and holidays and book reading and puzzle assembling and kitchen dance parties, but we didn't hault projects all together.  Let's be honest- I have no idea how.  So let's spend a little time moving forward catching you up on some of the projects we've tackled, and then we'll get started on a bunch of fun projects we have planned for the cabin.  I can't even tell you guys how excited I am for cabin projects by the way.  I'm literally up at night, laying in bed planning layouts and sequence order! 

First things first- looking back through photos I realized I never updated you on the finished product of the Double Lounger!  Sure, I showed you this:

 But anyone that's seen a Minnesota winter knows that I couldn't stop there.  The next step was to create a outdoor cover for the whole thing to protect the piece from the elements.  I picked up 5 yards of outdoor vinyl at my fav discount fabric store Mill End Fabrics, and with coupon it was just $14.99.  

My plan was to use the same processes I used to create the crib skirt in the Nursery, except this time around I would need to sew the sides to each other as well, basically making a 5 sided box. The hardest part was trying to cut all of these big panels perfectly straight.  I used two T-Squares and a measuring tape.

If you're trying to make something like this at home, here's my cut list:

One (1) piece to cover full top- mine was 40" x 72"
Two (2) pieces to drop down from the top to the floor at the head and foot- mine were 40" x 12"
Two (2) pieces to drop down from the top to the floor on the sides- mine were 72" x 12".

Next I pinned them all together, (right sides together), and began what I though would be quick sewing.  It didn't go so well.  This thick and heavy fabric put up a fight.

I used a denim grade needle for extra strength, and nylon thread for longer tern durability.

The weight of the full fabric was super hard to navigate evenly through the machine though.  Sometimes it would slip and cause huge variations in my nice straight lines.

And sometimes the machine would have to pull so hard that the bobbin would get caught.  Which is the turds.

But finally, after a process that took twice as long as I expected, I had a cover.  And I was just in time.

PS- remember when we just started this project and they were building the house next door?

Bam- house. 

Here's hoping all that good tree cover comes back and sticks around come this spring.

I took in the cushion and stored it under our bed for the season, just so a family of mice don't start squatting, but the rest of the piece is ready to handle the Minnesota Winter.  And boy is it ever.

Looking at this pic I'm praying that I didn't make a huge mistake leaving the ceramic garden stool out there.  Does anyone know how they handle the cold?  Is my cute little side table margarita platform going to be in pieces this Spring?  Say it isn't so.