Friday, March 27, 2015

Living Room Shelves

K and I got a little sidetracked from our kitchen project...  We needed a little break, so we worked on something cool in our living room. 

I have had a couple Ikea Billy bookshelves forever, and was excited to get those into our living room and get my BOOKS onto the shelves, finally!   But K was reluctant, and couldn't figure right away why she didn't want the shelves and books in the living room.

She came up with the solution a couple days ago-- she would make built-in shelves for the living room.  What bothered her about my bookcases is how they just floated in the room and weren't connected to anything.  She didn't want shelves to be pieces of furniture in the room, she wanted shelves that were a part of the room.  She looked up mid-century shelves and was inspired by the wall units she saw.  Stuff like this:

Image via Google Images

She showed me a plan on Google Sketch-Up, to put shelves on the biggest wall in our living room, using galvanized pipe and wood shelves.  We played around with the measurements and placement of the shelves-- we both agreed it would be cooler if the shelves weren't exactly symmetrical.  And she fit the TV into the unit-- with the idea that we'd move her basement TV to the living room and she'd get a larger TV for the basement.

Planning, measuring, and counting the units of galvanized pipe and pipe fittings, then a couple trips to the Home Depot and we had everything we needed.

The first piece

Babes putting up the 2nd column

We made some mistakes-- it's not the easiest project we've done, that's for sure.  But we figured it all out eventually.  And K found that some oak boards she'd been storing for about 4 years were going to be the perfect amount for making our shelves.  Which was great-- less to buy, and they'd already been salvaged from another project. 

The shelves still need to be stained, but we've made a lot of progress.  We love that we can still see the wall and the coves!

Trying out some stuff on the shelves

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"New" Patio Door Install

Patio door install under way...

It's fine that K never got around to finishing off the inside of the walls around the door, since she'd just have to open it back up now.

Since this "new" door is a bit smaller than our older free door, we'll get a little bit of our walls back.  Not a huge deal, but it will give us a little more room to place the island.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Local Shop Day - Metal Edging and Building Materials Outlet

Today, K and I set out to Loretto, MN, a ways past Maple Grove, to get the metal edging for our countertops.  I had only a vague idea of where we were, having never been out there before.  But we found Eagle Mouldings with no problems, and they were lovely and helpful people.  We found the edging we wanted very quickly.  They make Retro Aluminum edgings that you can use on countertops or tables or whatever.  They were inexpensive, and since we drove out there, we didn't have to pay for shipping.

Photo from Eagle Moulding's website -- Coincidence that we're using this same Formica and that we picked this same edging!

Since we were out, we decided to take another long trek to the Building Materials Outlet.  At some point last month, while working on our kitchen, one of K's guys had accidentally broken the inner pane of glass on our patio door.  Some little piece of something probably flew out of a tool and hit the glass, and caused the glass to completely shatter.  So, our free door was no longer as fabulous as it used to be.  The insulation factor was really gone for the rest of the winter.

Needing to replace that door wasn't a huge deal-- K had always wanted one that was a little smaller, and was planning to paint that door white because she hated the faux wood.  Having the door broken gave us a chance to replace it with something we liked more.

Building Materials Outlet had a TON of everything!  I know we'll go back to get windows-- they have thousands, for great prices.

K was torn between double French doors or another sliding door.  But we found a white sliding door from Pella, with the blinds inside the glass for $350.  Most of the French doors were double that.  We took the sliding door, and it should be great!  We'll reclaim about 6 inches of wall space, and have a lot more privacy when we want it.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Start of an Actual, Real-Life Living Room!

Since we bought this house, we have never had a living room for more than a day or two.  We started scraping the popcorn ceiling pretty quickly after we bought it, but then never finished.  I can think of a couple events -- a holiday party in 2012, and Thanksgiving in 2014 -- when we made it presentable enough.  But underneath the sisal rug, there was still Ram Board, and storage items were covered in drop clothes against one wall.  And it was always temporary.  For most of our almost 3 years here, the living room has been a storage space.

Today, that finally changed!  K was offered a free couch at her current work project, and we decided it was a great idea that she brought it home.  The room was close to being done-- ceiling and walls all done, floors too, of course.  Just the baseboards and trim needed to be added.  So we picked up the drop cloths on the floor, moved the tools and projects into the baby's room, vacuumed the floors.  K added the base boards to most of the room.

Baseboards in progress
The couch is a simple one from Ikea.  The cushion covers had been spilled on by the previous family's children, but I got them washed up and they look much better.  Ikea sells them separately, too, so we can replace them sometime soon.

Someday we'd like to get a nice couch from Room & Board, but for now, this one is perfect.  Durable, and the cushions are not new, so they've off-gassed already, and not so old that they're not falling apart.  The color is perfect, and we'll probably replace the legs with something more mid-century-looking.  K has already found some legs online that we can order.

New-to-us couch on our pretty, pretty floors!  <3

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Formica Has Arrived

Our Formica order has arrived, and it's gorgeous!  Charcoal Boomerang pattern.  We'll be picking up some chrome edging soon, and then K will build our counters and top them off with this pretty pretty stuff.  I still can hardly believe that she agreed to use this pattern on our counters. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dump Day

Today was dump day, and it was pretty interesting, actually.  The City of Minneapolis has some good programs for reusing and for properly recycling a lot of items.  As homeowners who use the municipal garbage service, we're allotted a certain amount of "vouchers" per year to get rid of large garbage, furniture, building materials, etc.

I accompanied K's employee to the waste station designated for building material waste.  Either K or I had to be with, since we are the taxpayers/owners of the property.  We had a large Bagster filled in our yard-- with the old kitchen cupboards, drywall and other stuff from gutting the kitchen and the bathroom.  It took us two trips/two vouchers, and we got it all taken care of.  They have places at the station for different materials-- building materials, metal, furniture, mattresses, etc.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

BIG Progress in the Kitchen

Over the past few weeks, we have made some serious progress on the kitchen.  Plumbing and gas are rerouted, as needed.  Electrical is updated to make more sense with the fuses, and to run the new switches. outlets, and light fixtures.  We have 3 recessed lights, and we'll be putting in 3 pendant lights-- 2 over our new island, and one over the dining table.

New sheetrock is installed, and our cabinets were delivered on Friday.  K got our pantry and one wall of cabinets installed on Friday.  And she and I got the other wall installed on Friday and today.

Our boy cat was having a blast climbing up the ladder and watching us work.  Such a good little assistant...

I also cleaned up ALL of the cabinet and drawer pulls yesterday.  It took me over TWO hours to get all the paint peeled and scrubbed off those chrome pulls.  I soaked them in CLR and vinegar with a little water, and that definitely did the trick.  After about an hour, I really wanted to strangle those renters who painted over these.  So frustrating!  But at least they were still in the house-- I have to be thankful for that.


Shiny chrome pulls

By the end of the day today, we had the cupboards all in, and it was amazing to see the new layout of the kitchen.  It's so different from how it was, and we think it's going to be really useful.  More workspaces and better spacing between the appliances.  And still lots of storage.

The pantry is on the left

We have the new GE Slate appliances.  K liked these because they're sleek like stainless, but darker and easier to keep clean.  I think they're gorgeous, and they perfectly match our free flooring.  We decided to use the same bamboo laminate that K had installed in her office.  There was plenty left over-- enough to use throughout the kitchen and mudroom. 

The cabinet doors and shelves will be ready tomorrow.  And after that we'll be able to decide where we want to keep all our kitchen items, and we can unpack some kitchen things that we've had in storage for a long time.

K says that the toughest stuff is done now.  What remains: the paint, tile backsplash, sink and faucets, the countertops (which she is making for us),  cabinet doors & pulls, light fixtures, touching up....       The end is finally starting to become visible!  I know for both of us, especially for her-- it felt like this project would never end.  Now we have some big, meaningful progress and it's really exciting.