This is a small thing, but it's not so bad for 15 minutes of work...
We have this butcher block counter top on just a small section of our kitchen cabinets. I have scrubbed this gross crud to death and usually have a huge glass cutting board covering as much of the counter top as possible.
So John got his inner-Norm-Abrams on and sanded this sucker down with our beloved power sander:
Then I broke out my beeswax furniture polish I had been saving for such an occasion:
There are still some marks, but it is really so much better than before.
Lessons learned - 1) existing butcher blocks can be sanded and refinished pretty easily and 2) don't put butcher block counters in if you can avoid it...
In Firenze, in June, John and I purchased a couple of prints of antique measuring instruments. 5 months later, we ventured over to Michaels, coupon in hand, to get these items framed:
I was hesitant when we got there because most of their frames are, like, really ornate and ostentatious. But we wanted something modern and simple and I had a moment of ugghhhhhh!!
But John found this brushed bronze metal frame and the incredibly helpful and patient women who was running the framing department picked out this dark taupe silky linen fabric matte:
The print is "over-matted" so the loose threads around the perimeter are visible. And the mix of textures and shine - it's just really awesome.
We put the prints on either side of the doorway. Also, it seems that you don't actually need the physical coupon to get the discount at Michaels, they'll give it to you if you are breathing and in their store. However, with the discount you will still be paying about one arm and one leg to get a few things framed.
Now we need to get serious about a chandelier and dining table and chairs! Gah!
I've spent the better part of this past week laying on my back on the floor. All it took was one sneeze... I stumbled
backwards, threw myself on the couch, wiggled my way to the floor. Through the crazy spasming I somehow made it to an emergency physical therapy visit. Let's hope that doesn't happen again anytime soon...
Sooo... painting plans are off this week. I'm still fuming about that as I thought I would have 2 whole days to finish up the third bedroom. Needless to say, I've been getting all my Christmas shopping done... online of course! Not planning on any mall days for quite a while!
I've been thinking a lot about warming up the living room a bit. The current pillows were getting to matchy-match for me. Right now this is what our living room looks like:
Progress has been veeeeeerrryy slooooow on the staircase. At this rate I will be happy to be done with this project by Christmas - which is actually happening pretty soon...
Since stain takes a WHILE to dry (like a couple of days?) I decided to experiment and do the left half of the staircase first, so we could walk on the right side:
I was a little nervous that the middle area would look funny, but it's actually fine:
The only thing I'm a little worried about are the areas where the old polyurethane didn't lift off in the sanding stage. You can see the stripey lines in this photo:
It's ok, but not perfect. I might put another coat of stain over some of these lighter areas. By the way, the flash on this camera is more lighting than this staircase ever sees under normal conditions. So this is really the worst view possible.
I am kind of at a standstill with this project since we haven't had a chance to run to the store to get a fresh can of poly, and MY BACK IS KILLING ME! For realsies. The past few weeks of bending over the staircase might or might not be the culprit. Either way, I'm taking a break from the stairs for a bit!
Yesterday afternoon, the snowflakes were gently falling.
It was extremely bizarre but nothing could prepare us for...
Route 3 by Giants Stadium...
(yeah, the slush forming on the windshield should have been a warning sign)
Toll booth on the Turnpike...
(too late to turn back!)
Staten Island Expressway...
We came home later last night to a scene. After navigating through downed trees and road blocks, we arrived to two police cars with their lights on in front of our house and a downed power line (whomp whomp).
BUT! THANKFULLY!!! We still had power! (Knock on wood a million times to infinity!!!!)
This morning I woke up early to survey the damage...
Here is the view of the front yard and street with the downed power line...
Highlighted in pink for all to see...
Cars are not supposed to drive under, but they do anyway.
We are not supposed to go outside, but seriously, had to catch up with the neighbors this morning!
All the trees and bushes in our yard look like upside-down U's...
And the pièce de résistance...
A branch off our old tree, and a neighbor's shed roof smashed. And many phone calls this morning.
I'm starting to think I need to add a tab on this website for "Natural Disasters"??
Last spring I removed the carpet on the steps. It was pretty cruddy underneath and we've been living with it like this for, like, ever:
Funny story - the guys who refinished our floor way back like almost two years ago were like "We can refinish the staircase for $300" and I was like "Ummmmmm.... well... no, i don't know what we're doing" and they were like "Are you sure?" and I was like "Yes, I'm just not sure if we're going to replace the carpet or what we're doing, so I'll wait til later to make a decision" and they were like "ARE YOU SURE???"
Lesson learned - just get the stairs refinished next time!
So this week I sanded it myself. First with 60 grit, which was really slow going. Then I upped it to 50 grit, which did help a lot. Smoothed it over with 60 and 120 and we're ready to stain:
There are still little dents and dark spots and places where old grime didn't lift up, but seriously, after 6 hours of mind-numbing labor I just don't care.
You can see the remains of a runner from years back. Also, you can't see from this angle, but a lot of the front parts of the steps are worn down and a little busted.
My plan is to stain the treads dark to match the floors and if we can still see these lines, or if we are not satisfied with the outcome, we'll add a runner.
The risers will be painted white and I see lots of touching-up in my future!
To date this is the most "outside my comfort zone" project I've taken on. Crossing my fingers this will work!
Our third bedroom built-in shelf/closet is a lilac nightmare that never ends!
It took forever just to get the first coat on:
Since this photo was taken I've painted a bunch more, but slowly coming to the realization that this will probably need 3 coats all together.
Normally this task would include taking out each shelf, painting each side, painting the closet and sliding the shelves back in. However, these shelves are painted in and the few shelves I could pry out are in there TIGHT! No wonder I procrastinated so long!
Now I have a non-binding agreement with myself to finish this by Friday and get on with my life.
I also keep telling myself that when this ends, I can finish sanding and staining the stairs, then I can easily paint the walls in this room, and when that's over I can work on some fun projects (!) like painting the dresser, refurbishing a couple of antique chairs, making curtains and buying rugs and lighting fixtures for all of our other rooms. Just trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
In other slightly related news, I've already started sanding down the gunk on the stairwell.
Yay! A before and after. It's been awhile, hasn't it?
So this was the first weekend we had gorgeous dry weather at home, after weeks and weeks and months of rain, or travel, or weddings, or sick days. I actually got round to painting our repaired stoop. Just a reminder of what it looked like before...
...pretty badly cracked and hazardous!
Well, now look at it...
Even our next door neighbor came over to tell us how awesome it looks. Guess it was an eye-sore for everybody else too?
I tried to take a full view shot of the house from the street but the sun was insanely bright. This was the best I could do...
From the time we moved into this house, up until last week, our third bedroom basically looked something like this:
Various stages of storage and work space. This was the place I would pour paint into the tray. It was very dusty and usually much messier than in the photos above.
Since moving in we refinished the floor. Before that, this room held a wall-to-wall dark purple carpet. It was like sensory overload.
Side note - I case you are wondering, the walls are just a shade bluer than Tiffany blue. It is a manic color. I highly recommend staying away from anything close to this color in a wall paint.
This is coming from someone who loves the color turquoise FYI.
The other thing we did was replace the hollow replacement 1960's door with an original 1920's solid door we found in the garage. It was the only door in the house that we needed to switch. Not sure what happened to make previous owners mess with this to begin with...
And now for a counter-clockwise tour of the room...
The back of this garage-found door needed major stripping (which I did exactly 1.5 years ago!).
Also, last February we had a contractor install new quarter-round foot trim.
Yesterday I ripped out the scalloped header over the large opening of the built-in closet.
Yay for procrastination!
But I'm ready to move on now. I've already painted a fresh white coat over most of the woodwork. The closet is going to consume a lot of time, but also hope to get it knocked out real soon.
Someone previously painted all the chunky window framing the same color and matte finish as the wall. See photo at left - notice the window looks small and the woodwork blends right into the wall. All architectural detail has been removed and the window looks very very blah. See photo at right - After just one coat of semi-gloss white paint, the window stands out! I'm not even close to finishing but already the window looks larger and there is a lot more interest to the room. Working with what I got, I tell ya!