Sunday, July 26, 2015

Living Room - Part 3 - The Walls

I'm continuing to blog about our living room changes. Some of what I am writing may appear to be out of order.  We worked on parts of the bay window , the walls and the pocket door all at the same time, but I am choosing to blog about them separately.  So in the photos, if you see some walls painted and some not, that's the reason why.

We did have wallpaper in the living room, as I've shown previously and needed to decide on a paint colour.  We moved to PEI without any living room furniture, so after sitting on kitchen chairs for a few weeks to watch tv, we thought we had better get a couch. This is what we chose, trying to keep a bit of the old style to the house in some ways.

We also bought this chair, which is not vintage, but not modern either.  The blue in the design matches the blue in the couch.

Now to pick a wall colour, we needed something to go with both and I chose grey.  It is very popular in blogland, but I felt with the grey in the chair, it would look nice in this room.

The wallpaper was soaked with water from a spray bottle and scraped off with a wide plastic scraper.  It came off quite easily in most places.  Under the wallpaper was panel board.  We were not sure just how the paint would look on there, but really didn't want to remove all the panelling and have to drywall.  (Under the panelling is lathe and plaster.)

After the walls were stripped, there remained some wallpaper glue which I lightly sanded off to make the walls as smooth as possible.  We then put a primer on all the walls.

It was suggested to us to use flat paint to hide any imperfections on the walls.  I normally would not use flat paint, but since we did have this old panelling and slight imperfections from nails and walls that were not perfectly even, we did go with a good quality flat Benjamin Moore paint.

I also painted the ceiling with a standard ceiling paint.  I felt we could leave the ceiling as it was, basically ceiling tiles with plaster over them, because it looked like it belonged with the house.  (Or maybe I was too lazy to tear down the whole ceiling?)

Hopefully you can see the left side which is painted, compared to the right which is not.

We are pleased with the paint colour and it really did disguise any imperfections.

Now we need another chair and we need curtains just to hang on both sides of the side window and the bay window.  We don't need to close them because we have the horizontal blinds all around, which I just love.  Because of the design on the chair, I am a bit stuck as what to use for curtains.  I think it will have to be something with a small design, or maybe striped.  If you can offer any advise, please let me know!

Next post... the pocket door!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Living Room - Part 2 - Bay Window

First up in the living room was to neaten up the bay window and the wall it is on.  There was flowered wallpaper on the walls in the living room that we had to strip.

We sprayed the wallpaper with water and scraped it off with a large scraper. Under the wallpaper was a navy blue paint and under that some panel board.

Actually the blue looks like a distressed finish.
The plan was to paint the walls grey and the window trim and baseboard heaters white. My hope was that the paint would cover any unevenness in the panel board.  We did use a good primer on everything first and then a FLAT paint.  I'll show more of that in the next post, but this was what we had to cover on the bay window wall.

The trim looks fresh and I have new horizontal 2" wide white blinds that do not cover the wood trim. I wanted to keep the trim showing as much as possible.

The baseboard heaters looks so much better now that they are painted white!

I'm sure you agree, it looks fresh and new... well, as new as an old farmhouse can look.

Next post will be about the rest of the walls and then the pocket door.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Living Room Renovation - Part 1 - Overview

Since moving last fall to Prince Edward Island we have renovated the guest bedroom and the main bathroom in our almost 100 year old home. I do hope to post more about the history of our house in the coming months. We were told, through the real estate listing when we saw this house, that it was most likely 60 years old.  Our research has shown that it is much older than that.

Okay on to the next room, the living room.  The living room is to the right when you walk in the front door.  It has a beautiful bay window and a doorway without a door from the front hallway, as well as a pocket door between the living room and the dining room.

The living room was coated with wallpaper that was really quite pretty and suited the old home, but it was not put up very well, there were odd patches and some of the paper seemed to have been poorly printed.  Also, it was not the colour scheme we were going for.

I wrote about the pocket door before explaining that it had come off it's track.  I will write a more detailed post about it soon.

The front bay window is framed by beautiful old moldings. This photo was taken last winter and shows the lace curtains that were left here from the previous owner.

Unfortunately, over the years it appears that there have been a lot of different window coverings here and holes and brackets remain in many places on the wood. There also are gaps between wood pieces, which I will fill in, and some wood trim that was not painted when new windows were installed a couple years ago.

I'll blog about the different things we did in the living room to make it fresh.

... to be continued...

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bathroom Renovation - Part 7 - The End

This is just a quick post for those who followed from the start of this bathroom reno.  What I needed was an outlet to plug my hair dryer into.  Well I did get that...

Plus a little bit more!

Now on to the living room.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Bathroom Renovation - Part 6 - Reconstructing a Drawer Around Plumbing Tutorial

This is the tutorial on how to change a drawer to fit around plumbing when changing a commode or dresser to a vanity.  The Bathroom Renovation series starts here.

When choosing a piece of furniture that will become a vanity you need to check for two important things.  What is the height of your piece and what is the depth of it? The height you need will depend on your sink choice.  I am not a fan of vessel sinks.  Those are the type that sit on top of the counter and usually require a 3" diameter hole cut into the top for plumbing.  I don't like the distance between the top of the sink and the counter top, I prefer the sink to be closer to the top. If you go with a vessel sink, your dresser would need to be a bit shorter in height to allow for the height of the sink.

 Of course a regular type sink sits completely inset into the counter top, so that requires a much larger hole for the sink and a standard height for the dresser, similar to a store bought vanity.

The sink we found is half into the counter and half (about 3") sits up above the counter top.  It was perfect for what we had in mind for our bathroom. Our commode has little wheels on it that add to the character, but could have been removed if we needed the sink to sit lower.

You also need the depth of your piece to fit the sink.  The diameter of our new sink was 18" at the top and so it had to fit front to back on the commode and still allow an overhang for the top as well as a bit of room at the back.  It just fit exactly to the top without much room to spare.  

Your sink will come with a template of what size to cut the hole.  I used painters masking tape (after stripping and clear-coating the top) and marked the center, as well as the hole size, which was 13", with pencil.

This was cut out with a jigsaw after making a large pilot hole with my drill.

Our plumbing came up through the floor.  It was ideal for this type of vanity, and may not be best for one that has all drawers because it would mean that each drawer would need to be altered. 

 Because we have one drawer and two doors, I just reconstructed the one drawer.  We fit the commode over the fittings that came up through the floor and I made a new plywood bottom for the vanity with cut outs where the cold and hot water and the drain pipe came up. This way the back of the vanity was not cut nor changed in any way.

Although my husband does not like plumbing, he is good at it and hooked up our new faucet and sink.

So this leaves us with a spot for the drawer to fit into.  You can see that the drawer will not run into any plumbing on each side after I push the one flexible water pipe in behind the drain.

This is the drawer from the top, it has dovetails where the front meets the sides and has grooves where the back fits into the sides.

From the bottom you can see that the drawer bottom fits into grooves around the front and sides of the drawer. (This is the proper way to construct a drawer, the drawer bottom is not screwed nor nailed onto the bottom of the sides, it fits into the sides with the grooves there and does not need any glue nor fasteners to hold it in place.)

 In order to have a drawer that will fit around the plumbing I needed to find exactly where the plumbing was.  I measured from the front of the cabinet to where the drain pipe came up through where the drawer would sit. I also measured the width of the drain pipe and added a little for extra movement.

Then the first step was to cut a slot into the drawer bottom.

My drawer was already coming un-glued so that helped me to be able to take off the front piece and slide the drawer into where it would sit in the vanity.

Here I show the drawer sitting back in place with the slot cut out.

The next step was to see where the slant of the sink came toward the front of the drawer. While it sat there I took a thin piece of card board and drew on the shape of the sink bottom. 

I then had to cut three pieces to reconstruct the sink.  (Actually since I don't have a workshop, nor most of my tools, I had a kind neighbour cut these pieces for me)  The sides for the slot will be the same height as the outer sides of the drawer.  They have a dado (groove) cut into the bottom so that the drawer bottom will fit into them.  They also have a groove at the back so that the drawer back fits into them. And they have a rabbet at the front that the front piece is glued into (This might be more obvious in the photo after this one) 

The small front piece (which is cut from the leftover piece I cut out of the back of the drawer when making the slot cut) has a half circle cut out of it to fit under the sink.  If this were square across the top the drawer would not sit completely into the vanity.

Here are the pieces dry-fitted together, and the following photo is a close-up which, hopefully, will make my descriptions more clear.


I stained the new pieces to match the old and glued the front piece to sides as well as the sides to the two original back pieces and glued the front back on:

It fits! And this allows us to still use the drawer as there is a lot of room on both sides of the slot for the plumbing.

I hope this helps some of you who are converting a commode or dresser into a vanity.  Please don't hesitate to ask questions if you have any!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bathroom Renovation - Part 5 - The Commode Turned into a Vanity

This is a continuation of our bathroom renovation that started with me needing an outlet to plug in my hair dryer.  You can read Part 1 here.

Of course we needed a vanity and I wanted to make my own from scratch.  Unfortunately I still don't have a workshop so I decided to buy an old commode and strip it.  We found one just the right size at a local antiques store.  At first we were going to get a dresser but then I realized there would be three or more drawers that would have to be altered to allow room for the sink's plumbing.  It's much better to use a piece with one drawer which has two doors below.  (I will do my next post on how I changed the commode to fit around the plumbing).

This is the commode we chose.  It is done in a tiger oak faux finish probably from about the 1920s or 30s.

My first thought was to strip the finish off and then put a nice clear coat on the wood. 

Here's the drawer front:

Here's one side:

And the top:

A close up of the top:

As you can see, the commode was not in very good condition.

While we were completing work in the bathroom, I began to strip the top of the commode first. And because I had no other place to work, this was done in our bedroom!

It became apparent that this was a very time-consuming task and I was not sure that I wanted the whole piece to be stained wood, so I decided just to strip the top.

This is what I ended up with after multiple layers of removal and at least seven coats of wipe-on polyurethane:

As I said earlier I will detail the sink and the drawer reconfiguring in my next post.

I painted the rest of the cabinet with chalk paint without stripping nor any primer.

As you can see, it is really quite a difference from the original piece.

We found a mirror that just fit into the space under the light fixture.  The upper right corner actually touches the slanted wall, so we could not fit anything larger there. We are quite pleased with how it all turned out.  I also have the shutter cupboard that I made (which has matching paint) in the bathroom to hold toiletries.

Please stay tuned for the next post where I will show how I altered the drawer to fit the sink's plumbing. You can read that here.

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