Sunday, September 28, 2014

Budget Kitchen Renovation: Adding Feet to Base Cabinets

Today we are crossing off another item on the checklist for section one.

Sand Doors
- Drill holes for new hardware
- Sand drawer fronts and cabinet frames
- Add decorative moulding to outside edges of cabinet frames
- Add decorative moulding to base of the frames (i.e. feet to make more furniture-like)
- Apply one coat of gel stain
- Apply two coats of Carrington stain
- Apply 3 coats of some kind of poly

Here's the final results.

In order to make our cabinets look more custom, I added two different sets of moulding to the bases and I'm going to show you how you can do the same thing.  We did a similar project in the kitchen of our townhouse by simply adding base moulding to the cabinets (read more here).  However, you weren't able to stand with your toes under the cabinets which can prove slightly awkward.  So, I decided to take a different approach this time.

Here's what we used:

- trim moulding (see photo below)
-  3 - 1/4" x 5" x 48" pine or poplar boards 
- wood filler or caulk
- sand paper
- Jig saw
- Mitre saw
- wood glue
- clamps
- Finishing materials of your choice (i.e. paint, stain, poly) and applicator (i.e. paint brush)

First we're going to start with the feet.  Take your trim moulding and cut the pieces to fit at the base of your cabinets.  I used moulding with a small lip so that it would slightly overlap with the base of the cabinet.

Be sure to mitre corners (we'll fill in any gaps later).

Once you have all of your trim pieces cut, we're going to move onto the actual feet.  I used 1/4" pieces of wood and cut a custom design using my jigsaw.  Measure so that your feet will fit underneath the trim while still touching the floor.  I recommend creating a template that works and then tracing it to duplicate the pattern.  For cabinets that were next to each other, I cut a foot with the pattern on both sides (see below).  To get a nice smooth, rounded curve, I traced around a gatorade bottle.  You can make the pattern on your feet as simple or ornate as you would like.

This is what it should look like dry fitted.

See how this leaves plenty of toe space!
Once all of your feet are cut, sand down the cut edges to create a nice smooth finish and remove any ink marks from drawing the template onto the wood.

Next, I glued the feet to the moulding and let them dry for several hours.

Once they were dry, I placed glue in the small lip on the back of the moulding and clamped it to the cabinets. This allowed the wood glue to create a strong bond and straightened out the moulding (since it bowed a little bit).

Once everything was dry, I filled in any gaps with caulk.  I also caulked the seam where the moulding met the cabinet.  I know, generally you wouldn't use caulk on wood when using stain, but since my stain finish is opaque it is almost like using paint (you won't even know the caulk is there once it's done).  I have found that caulk is your best friend when you're trying to hide imperfections in wood working.

When that has all dried, it is time to apply the matching finish to your cabinets.  For us, this meant one coat of gel stain and a coat of Rustoleum's Carrington stain.  Click here for more information on the finishing method I'm using on my cabinets.

That was it!  Now our cabinets have feet that make them look more custom (rather than like they are the original cabinets to the house).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our Newest Addition!

If you've noticed, we've been a little light on posts lately and that's because we've been busy welcoming the newest addition to our family.  We're pleased to introduce to you our new baby girl.

Little Man has really taken to her which has been fun to watch.  He is pretty anxious to have her play with him.  It's so sweet!

We'll continue to take some time away to focus on our family before returning to projects and blogging, but we wanted to share our exciting news with you.

Friday, August 29, 2014

One Year Anniversary in our New House

With August coming to an end, it's hard to believe that we've already lived in our home for a year!  Sometimes it feels like we haven't made any progress at all, but when I look back at photos, we really have come a long way.  Slow progress can sometimes feel less noticeable.

Here's some shots from the first couple of months in the house.

Things sure have changed!  We've completed (or in a lot of cases simply started) simple projects that have hopefully had high impact in our spaces.

Here are some before and afters of the rooms that have undergone the most change over the past 12 months.  Although they've undergone definite progress, we still have quite a way to go.

The Entryway and Stairwell
The Living Room

The Dining Room

The Kitchen

"Formal" Living Room Turned Playroom
Then, there are other rooms in our house that haven't really seen any change at all (like our basement for example) - Yes, we have an untouched kitchenette down there.  One step at a time right?  I've really focused most of my attention on the main floor since that's where we spend most of our time.

When you first move into a new space, what rooms do you tackle first?  What projects in your opinion make the most impact?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Budget Kitchen Renovation: Nearing completion for Section One

Budget Kitchen Renovation: Nearing Completion for Section One

Last weekend, we started to make some more progress on section one of the budget kitchen remodel we've started.

Here's what we've got checked off of our to do list now for the cabinet frames.

Sand Doors
- Drill holes for new hardware
- Sand drawer fronts and cabinet frames
- Add decorative moulding to outside edges of cabinet frames
- Add decorative moulding to base of the frames (i.e. feet to make more furniture-like)
- Apply one coat of gel stain
- Apply two coats of Carrington stain
- Apply 3 coats of some kind of poly

It turns out that the frames and drawer fronts didn't sand as well as the door frames, but when using gel stain you actually don't need to to sand all the way down to the bare wood. For the drawer fronts I needed to sand off the dirt and grime that had accumulated as well as the finish.  After sanding everything I wiped it down with bleach wipes (it's probably not good for the wood, but I felt like it cleaned everything well).

Then I applied a coat of General Finishes gel stain in Antique Walnut with a foam brush.  It already started to make a big difference!

After that dried, I could apply the regular stain (Rustoleum's Carrington) using a small craft paint brush.

The second coat was good for touch-ups.

I'll be holding off before applying any poly, so for now I installed the new hardware once the frames were dry.

In the meantime, I also started on the doors.

Once the doors were dry, I installed the new hardware and hung them.   Section one is nearly complete!

Here's our progress ( I seriously need to get a better camera):

I haven't decided what I want to do with the sides and bottoms yet in terms of trim.  I know I want to add trim and some sort of feet to the cabinets, but I've discovered a couple of options and haven't decided which one to use yet.  

What do you think?  Have you added feet or decorative moulding to your cabinets before?  Do you have any lessons learned?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Can I Claim Temporary Insanity?!

I believe that if you are 9 months pregnant, then you should be able to claim temporary insanity, which gives you the immunity to do crazy things without anyone questioning or judging your actions.  I say this because my husband was certainly thinking that I'd lost it tonight when some crazy nesting instinct kicked in.  However, the plus side is that not only is the main floor cleaned and decluttered, I also got the curtains up in the playroom.  Here's a little peak.
They're not ironed yet, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the white.  I think I need to wait until we decide on a final color for the walls as to whether these will remain plain white, or if we'll take on a little project to add some color to them.

But seriously, I am so ready for this baby girl to be born!

I've also got some changes going on in the kitchen (normally I'd say it's because I'm the most impatient person in the world - but for today I get to use the "pregnancy brain" excuse right?).  I've divided the kitchen into three manageable areas for the cabinet portion of our budget remodel.

I decided to start with the bottom cabinets since the doors are smaller (meaning I could finish them faster and feel like I was making more progress).  Next would be the uppers on the right side of the kitchen.  Our top cabinets are about 42" high so the doors will take much longer to sand than the bottom doors did.

As for section 3, I'm considering taking out the two left most cabinets and installing one large floor-to-soffit cabinet to be a second pantry (since ours is so tiny).  I have to stop by the local Habitat Restore to see if they have any cabinets that look like they will match the ones in our kitchen.  But since that will require the most work, I've decided to leave that section for last.

Here's a little peak at the status of section one.  These doors are seriously ugly in this middle stage, but they are 1000x cleaner!!  I cannot even begin to tell you the layers of gunk that I had to scrape off each door frame before I could even start sanding!! But they are going to be so beautiful and clean when they're all done.

Still to do to complete section one:

- Sand Doors
- Drill holes for new hardware
- Sand drawer fronts and cabinet frames
- Add decorative moulding to outside edges of cabinet frames
- Add decorative moulding to base of the frames (to make more furniture-like)
- Apply one coat of gel stain
- Apply two coats of Carrington stain
- Apply 3 coats of some kind of poly

Although I've only got one thing marked off of my list, it was probably the most time consuming portion.  Whenever I walk into our kitchen now I take a look at the island and I'm, so excited for the final results of the cabinets with the granite and backsplash all installed - I can see it all in my head but boy will it be awesome when it's all complete.

What kinds of projects have you done to update your kitchen or home?  Do you like to break it into smaller sections to feel like you're making more progress?  Do you have any techniques to attack a project?

Friday, August 8, 2014

DIY Custom Wood Wall Art

Do-It-Yourself Wood Wall Art

Looking to add a custom and unique piece of art to your walls?  Check out my tutorial for custom wood wall art that will perfectly coordinate with your decor.

The walls in our playroom have been sort of blank (especially without any curtains up yet), but I didn't want to wait until we could splurge on curtains to add interest to the blank walls.  So, I decided to take a stab at some do it yourself wood wall art.

Since our playroom incorporates a dark brown recliner and gray couch, I wanted something that would combine the colors in both (warm browns and cool grays) to make the furniture choices in there look more intentional.  Here's the finished product and I'm going to share how you can recreate the look for your home.

If you’re not yet comfortable with DIY projects, do not fear! There are plenty of places you can purchase wall art; Shutterfly is one of them. You can create custom home d├ęcor products with their different layout templates and themes. Their Design-A-Wall section is pretty neat too.

Now let's get down to the details on how to recreate this piece of art,  yourself.

Supplies Used:

12 - 3/4" thick  3"x36" pieces of craft wood
4 - 1/4" thick  2"x36" pieces of craft wood (for the frame)
Valspar High Speed Steel Paint
Valspar Mark Twain Gray Brick Paint
Rustoleum Dark Walnut Stain
Bristle or foam brushes (to apply finish)
Wood Glue
3M Wall mount strips

Note:  I used paint and stain colors that I had already used in the room or planned to incorporate in the future.  You can use any variety of stains, paints and colors in your piece to customize it.

How to:
To start off, lay out all of your pieces of 3"-wide wood and create the pattern below.  Then lay the 2"-wood on top to create a "frame" that is about the size of the artwork you want.  Once you've done that, draw a line along the inside edge of the frame and begin cutting the edges of the wood at a 45 degree angle so that they meet up with the edge of the frame.  Work one section at a time.

Continue to work your way around section by section.  Don't worry about your edges lining up perfectly because the 2"-wood pieces will be placed over them as a frame to hide any imperfections.

Note how the above wood is obviously uneven/slightly jagged.
As I continue to build, the right side also becomes slightly unaligned. 

Voila! Those imperfections are now hidden by the 2” framing pieces I was talking about earlier.

Now it's time to apply the finish.  I used two different shades of gray paint and a dark brown stain.  Randomly finish each piece of wood with wood stain or paint until you are pleased with the results. I separated my pieces out into workable chunks, so I didn’t accidently lose/mess up my design.

When you've finished painting and staining everything, let your wood dry.  This is what my finished design looked like while it was still wet.

When everything is dry, it is time to assemble your artwork.  I glued all of my pieces of wood together by placing a thin line of glue between each seam and pushing them together.  Let the glue dry overnight to make sure it has a firm hold.  You could also glue all of your pieces to a piece of plywood if it makes you feel better. :)

Next, make your final cuts and glue the 2"-pieces of wood to set over the edges of the wood design.  Glue the frame in place.  I recommend clamping or placing something heavy on top of the wood to help create a strong bond.  Finish the frame as you wish.  I decided to paint just the top surface in the dark gray color.

Lastly, flip it over. Make sure that everything was assembled well- I glued all of the seams on the back of the piece like so.  This created a very sturdy final product.

Once everything is dry, you're left with a unique, custom piece of wall art for your room.  To mount ours, we used a couple of large 3M mounting squares.  You could also purchase frame mounting hardware to hang your artwork from your local hardware store.

Here's the finished piece in the room.

I love how it really ties together the different colors in the room.  This goes to show that decorating a home can be fun, easy and inexpensive.  What DIY projects have you done lately? I’d love to seem them! Let me know if you have any fun tips? How do you decorate a space?

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