Monday, March 30, 2015

One Step at a Time: The Bathroom Redo Edition. Volume 2

Nothing like opening the curtain all the way and taking a photo to really see what crummy shape the finish on your cabinets is in.

Tiny step-by-tiny step the main floor bathroom is on its way to seeming all new-ish!  After a thorough search of the local hardware stores, home centers, and used building materials suppliers, as well as a shout out to some local friends for resources, I purchased new cabinet pulls online. This time through

The original pulls.  Soooo 1970s and to my eye, soooo suitable for some creepy Halloween prop!  That's right, I'm keepin' 'em.

While it's silly to install the new ones now when I will just have to remove them to refinish the cabinets, I did it anyway. I just love hardware and having this sit around in a cupboard just wouldn't do. One thing I am counting on is that a light sanding will remove most or all of the color difference from where the last pulls were. That's what happened upstairs with the same pulls and very similar cabinetry.  I'm just glad that whoever installed the originals didn't tighten the screws so much as to dent the wood... you see that a lot when you remove hardware.

Simple, but not plain... why so hard to find? These are even a brand carried at the big box home centers, Amerock.

I am still on the prowl for a pair of knobs for the floor-to-ceiling cabinet on the other side of the bathroom, by the door.  I have some ideas, but haven't committed to anything just yet.

Despite my lack of photography and GIMP skills, the wood on this floor-to-ceiling cabinet is pretty close to the same color as the vanity.

I am not yet sure how I am going to handle the hinges (see photo, top).  I have not found the right finish locally and buying them online means either paying a lot or buying in bulk such as I end up with several extras (I need 12).  I am considering painting them, but I fear the results will be unsatisfactory and I'll end up buying new ones anyway.  I also haven't totally decided how I am going to refinish all these cabinets, but I do know what I want to do. I just have to do a test on the back of one of those vanity doors to see if it will work.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Local Fixture (II)

Why the "arty" framing? One of those cool Edison bulbs burnt out the first night we had this installed. Sigh.

We finally ditched* that horrifying-to-us ceiling fan over the dining table for our super cool-to-us new chandelier!  YES!  We are disproportionally excited about these changes, but feel no shame in our excitement. At least I am and don't.  Squeeeeeeeee!

Why the blurry photo? Nighttime and my camera held by my hands.  Meh.

I have been hesitant to consider fixtures exposed light bulbs, because it seems like the light could be harsh, but there's something about this fixture and the Edison bulbs that convinced me to go for it. And we knew we would install a dimmer switch when we installed a new fixture, so we can control the harshness to some degree. I can tell you for sure that I am looking forward to not having bug-catching glass globes!

I decided that I wanted a little more visual heft to the top so I bought a ceiling medallion and painted to blend with the new fixture. It's pretty dang close for working with what I had on hand.  Of course, the medallion isn't quite as big as the base of the fan we ditched (see above), so I need to get that bit of ceiling painted.  It's alllllways something.

But that's not all, people, that_is_not_all: Finally! An end to the alien umbilicus! OK, there's still the little one hiding the wires that connect the TV to the DVD and Roku, but still much better.

Of course, now we really need to address our collegiate-style stool-as-entertainment-center situation. Maybe even get the surround sound speakers, you know, surrounding. 

After two and a half years, we now have an outlet on this wall. POW!  Or maybe ZAP!  We chose a black one to be more subtle on the oxblood wall. Well, we chose a brown one, but they didn't have brown so black it is.  We still have a circuit breaker power strip, so it's not all pretty yet.  Now to more determinedly search for a more grown-up piece in which to store the rest of the AV equipment which should hopefully house the power strip, too.

Now I feel inclined to hunt down a black or brown surge protector power strip.  Sigh.

*I haven't decided if I should donate the fan to one of the local used building materials shops or if I should keep it to use in the shop when we get around to fixing that up to use for more than just storage and treadmill-ing.  I mean, it's still going to be a horrifying-to-me looking fixture, but a free ceiling fan is a free ceiling fan and maybe a coat of spray paint could save it. Maybe?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Street Scene

You know that thing where you're walking to the neighbors' house to look in on their dogs while they're away for the day...

... and you find most of a skull there in the road?  Yeah, that.

See how I used their, they're, and there correctly in one sentence?  Nice.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Local Fixture (Or Two)

I like this ceiling fan... A LOT; probably more than is reasonable to like a ceiling fan*. I bought it for my little house in NE Portland, moved it with me when I moved in with Eric and installed it in that house, and then we brought it with us when we moved here.  The living room had a builders' boob fixture so we installed it right away, from what I remember, but it's never worked.  We weren't sure if that was because it is on a three-way switch or if something is malfunctioning with the radio receiver for the controller or what**.  And since the fan over the dining table worked, it wasn't a big priority to get this one going.

As you can see, however, the fan over the dining table is pretty dated and not our style at all.  And I guess I'm just old-fashioned or something and believe that if possible, there should be a chandelier or other style of hanging fixture over dining tables. I've kept an eye out for a fixture that we think would work nicely there that was an appropriate scale and price. I trawled various discount sites, the local thrift stores and used building materials stores, etc.  The in early March I spotted this one on Joss & Main, ran it by Eric, looked at one more local shop, then ordered it!  Suddenly, the urge to get the "good" fan working came back so we could ditch the other one and install our new chandelier.

To expedite diagnosis and repair of the "good fan" we hired our friend who does remodeling and other handyman type work to fix the non-functional fan. Annnnd it's working!  Spinning in two (2) directions! Shedding light on command!

* I don't even actually like the look of ceiling fans all that much. But they are a smart way to help control temperature in a house and especially since we heat 90% with wood we want to keep that heat down where we live and not at the ceiling.  Since we don't have any duct work for central air, they're a good way to cool the house in summer, too.

** It turns out that the issue was an error in our installation, something I like to call "Eric's Fault."

Next up: Get that chandelier installed and get an outlet added to the wall the TV is installed on to eliminate this:

... which I like to call the "alien umbilicus."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Whose Poop Is This, Anyway?

I spotted this specimen way back at the end of January, but forgot to share it with you. I am sooooo sorry, you guys!

Turns out it was not poop, but a mushroom-type creature.  I try not to judge based on looks, but c'mon!  So poopy.

I think our dry and warm-ish winter has led to a lot more fungus action on the property, which you also may have noticed if you follow my Instagram (@TheMistressT).  I just can't seem to get enough of taking macro shots of mushrooms.

Monday, March 2, 2015

One Step at a Time: The Bathroom Redo Edition. Volume 1

The "plan" was to get going on finally doing the mini-remodel/total redecoration of the main floor bathroom in February.  Since that includes resurfacing the ceiling and the walls, installing a bit of tile, refinishing all the cabinetry, and somehow dealing with the partly-failed parquet floor, plans have shifted in order to compensate for my broken hand. [shakes other fist at sky]  Since I had sewn, installed, and shared the new shower curtain in November, I decided to approach the bloggy part of this project a step at a time, just like I'm approaching it in real life.

When we moved in, we found that the last owners had left a few tubes of partly used wallpaper seam sealer.  And you could tell by the slightly stained look that they'd been applying and reapplying it to the seams of the wallpaper in the main floor bathroom - the room where most of the showers and steam happen.  It didn't take long for us to realize that the paper was mostly not attached to the walls at all any more, but just at the seams: the ceiling, the base moulding, and every 24" where it met itself in vertical stripes down the length of the walls.  The wallpaper is very much of it's 1980s era, not our style or colors, so we knew I'd be removing it at some point.  We never used the sealer and starting in January it finally started to truly just slough off.

About a week ago I suddenly just couldn't take it any more and strode determinedly into the bathroom to rip away at the wallpaper. No tools, no stool; Just what I could get off just standing on the floor, and toilet, kneeling on the counter and pulling at it. I am tall enough to reach the bottom edge of the border, so I got most of it off in probably about 10 minutes.  The backing paper is on there pretty well, so the steamer will have to come into play when the time comes.

Oopsie! We can see where someone left the window open, it leaked, or perhaps someone over watered one of the plants hanging from the there (3) hooks in the ceiling above the window.

If you know me much, you know I like distressed finishes and I actually like this look more than when the wallpaper appeared to be intact and adhering.

But wait! There's more to this step!

From Apartment Therapy

I have been spending some of my Pinterest Time focusing on this bathroom project, I even made the project its own pinboard.  In that time I spotted this pin (above) for styling a train rack. It happens to be the same Restoration Hardware train rack that I brought with us from Portland and I got inspired to combine my interest in fabric bins with this styling idea.

Pinterest and Houzz also helped me decide where to move the train rack when the time comes, i.e not in this corner.

A few-to-several weeks ago on Etsy I found and ordered the perfect material to make some fabric bins with. Well, Murphy's Law went CRAZY and everything that could go wrong did. BUT the seller was super responsive and responsible and eventually the fabric arrived and this last weekend I was able to make the bins.  I looked at several tutorials for fabric bins and ultimately used a combination of these two.  Of course, I made my own measurements and pattern based on the rack's dimensions and went from there.

It's kind of miraculous that the aqua/purple color combination came in such a perfect-for-us print!

I didn't, however, measure the amount of space my rolled towels would take and it turns out I only needed one bin. I'd already cut most of the material for two bins when I realized this and honestly wasn't inspired by the asymmetry of just one bin. Usually asymmetry is more my style, too.  So I went ahead and completed the second bin and will figure out how to fill it when the time comes. I have some ideas brewing and one thing we don't need is any more bath towels. We have as many as we do now, because we stocked up when we thought we'd have 10-12 people here for Mid-May Montana Mountain Mayhem.


Despite what we've determined and intuited in many instances around the place, I am starting to think that the last owners had actual professionals hang the paper.

Found this little gem under the roses near an inside corner over the tub-shower insert.

Or since we have evidence of a previous paper having been in there, perhaps the original owner installed the pink and blue before selling - that might make more sense.

This is under and behind the vanity and of course my flash photo doesn't do it justice. We both like it better than the 1980s pink and blue flowers, but it only lives on in this piece and a tiny strip behind the toilet which I will remove before repairing and refinishing the walls.