Category Archives: renovation

A Change of Plans for the Bathroom Project

In the immortal words of Joan Crawford (as portrayed by Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest): This ain’t my first time at the (DIY) rodeo. And as such I’m quite accustomed to getting halfway through a project and starting to have some serious doubts about how it’s going to turn out. Usually I shrug off the doubts, forge ahead and by the time I’m nearing the project’s finish line I can see that it’s going to come together after all. As I was painting the bathroom vanity last weekend I had one of those doubtful moments. Only this time it’s stopping me in my tracks and urging me to change directions.

After painting the trim and patching and painting the walls, my plan had been to make over the vanity and call it a day. As I mentioned in a previous post, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through the time and expense of replacing the vanity because that would also mean replacing the flooring and trying to match and replace the baseboard trim. So I won’t get the bathroom that I want, I said to myself, but I will get a bathroom that’s presentable.

Well, fuck that. By the time I had painted the vanity and was stepping back to survey how the project was coming together I decided that this is no time to settle. I want new flooring and I want a new vanity and, dammit, I’m going to get them! Sure, it means that I’ll have to have the plumber come to the house and remove the toilet that he just installed over the summer. And, yeah, it’s going to be a real hassle to try to match the baseboard that’s missing where the current vanity sits. But won’t it be worth it!

And so we’re back to square one with the bathroom. I’m finalizing my designs this week and hope to start the new project next weekend. In the meantime I’ll be watching hundreds of YouTube videos about installing ceramic tile. Here’s to getting what we want in life!

Making Progress in the Bathroom

A man who is very familiar with DIY house projects and renovations gave us some great advice when we first bought the Delbert Meier House. “Guys,” he said, “its going to be hard to resist, but don’t start a bunch of projects all at once. Go from room to room, finishing one project before moving on to the next.”

Great advice indeed. Did we heed this friend’s recommendation on how to approach our house projects? Of course not! We dived right in and started projects in every room. Along the way we re-adjusted some of our big plans to be a little more cost conscious. The bathroom is one of those projects. Continue reading

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

In taking a year to rehab the kitchen in fits and starts I ended up experimenting with my approach to painting the cabinets. By the time I got to the second half of the job, I had perfected my method. And now that we’ve lived with the painted cabinets for a few months, I’m proud to say that my method worked! The painted cabinets are holding up nicely and are easy to clean. In other words, my trial and error is your guide to doing it right the first time.

When I first started the project, I used my Craftsman Nextec tool to sand the doors and drawer fronts before applying primer and paint. That was a messy and time consuming job that I thought was necessary to get good paint coverage. I soon realized I was making more work for myself than was necessary. So without further adieu, here’s the method for painting the cabinets that I finally landed on.

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Kitchen Mini-Renovation: We’re Going to Need a Backsplash

Here’s a little don’t-always-believe-what-you-see lesson for the internet age. Note how nice the wall looks in the photo above. The space above the newly installed countertop looks smooth and cleanly painted, right? You might even think that if I would just touch up that little bit of door frame to the left in the photo, I’d be all good to go. If this were a photo on Instagram, you might comment with something like, “Wow! It looks like you’re almost done!”

Well, what you see online and in social media posts may not always be as it seems. Take this wall for instance. While some patchwork and a fresh coat of paint has it looking “internet good,” reality is a totally different story.

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Kitchen Mini-Renovation: Countertop and Sink

The kitchen rehab continues! This time, countertop and sink. We’re saying goodbye to the stainless steel sink and formica countertop that had been painted silver. In their place, we’re installing IKEA HAMMARP butcher block countertops to warm up the kitchen and a Kohler white cast iron sink to bring back some vintage farmhouse flair.

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