Happy first day of the Inspired Design Challenge everyone! Are you celebrating? Jumping for joy? Eating cake as one should to commemorate such a fine event? As for me…I’m resting my tired (almost 30 year old) bones because let me tell you, after completing this project in 90 degree weather and suffering a minor albeit stubborn, eye injury, I’m ready for a nap. And FYI, my eye is fine now. Note to self…when routing wood with a Dremel A) wear safety glasses and B) don’t put your face close to the flying sawdust. Anyway….want to see what we made?! Bam! New, full length mirror frame for the upstairs hallway.
I know it’s hard to see, but it was late, getting dark, and we still have yet to install the light fixture in the hallway. It’s only been a three-years-in-the-making kind of project. I’ve also had a full length mirror project on my to-do list for about three years. You know, since climbing on top of your bed to check out your butt in the mirror gets old after awhile.
Yes, I do in fact climb on top of our bed in the mornings to check out my outfit before going to work. Even when Colby’s still asleep. Poor man. Why did he marry me again?! Oh right…that charming personality of mine…sucker!
Thanks to a trio of tiny bedrooms in our home, wall space and full length mirror space is at a premium. But we had a nice little spot at the end of the second floor hallway begging for a mirror. That spot also meant the full length mirror could be shared among all the room’s inhabitants.
We already had the mirror. It came with the house but it was unceremoniously framed. I wasn’t going to settle for just any old mirror frame. It needed some pizazz. So when I was charged with a Target inspired project, I swooned over this Nate Berkus for Target frame and knew I wanted to do something similar for our mirror.
When I first saw the frame online I thought it was just a basic white frame with a painted gray design on it. Nope…that sucker was routed out. As in each of those lines is a little indented. Way to up the difficulty factor, Nate! For those of you who want to replicate this project, here’s your warning…routing is difficult/time consuming and you could probably get the same effect by painting the lines. Challenge accepted…we routed.
The project started with building a basic mirror frame out of pine. We bought a pair of 1″ x 6″ x 8′ boards and cut them half down to 3″ wide for the frame.
And similarly to the bathroom mirror frame project, Colby notched out the boards so the mirror would recess into the frame and screwed it all together using a Kregg jig.
Then outside I took the frame to prime and paint it a glossy white.
Spoiler alert…we did score ourselves a fancy new yard sale coffee table this weekend for $25. More on that later.
After we let the frame dry it was design time. We opted to draw out the whole design for the frame before making any cuts. You know…measure twice…cut once. We didn’t replicate Nate’s frame exactly, but kind of came up with our own little pattern. But since the edges were cut and assembled on 45 degrees, it made it easy to draw all the cut lines at 45 degrees using a square.
There were essentially two different patterns for the frame. The cross hatches which are on the top and bottom of the frame along with the middle part of the side pieces.
And the single lines, which fell above and below the cross hatches on the sides.
Each line is spaced about 3/4″ apart (plus or minus since we had to fudge a few to make it come out even). Next step…routing out or scoring the wood using a sheet rock bit and our Dremel.
Dremels are so versatile. It’s our latest tool acquisition and we can’t believe we have waited so long to get one. The bit we chose to use for this project was one meant to cut sheet rock. So we expected the thing to break or wear out before we finished making all 300 plus cuts. But the bit was a champ and lasted the whole time.
The real savior for this step of the project was the jig that Colby made, which he just plopped on top of the frame, rested the Dremel guide against it, and routed away. I love jigs. I jig you not, it was THAT simple!
It took us about 30 minutes to make all the cuts, thanks to the speedy jig.
After some quick vacuuming, I whipped out some leftover, weathered gray stain from Minwax and stained all the freshly cut and exposed wood using a craft brush.
And then took the frame outside to give it a few coats of spray poly.
When you do poly, be sure to poly both the front AND the back of the frame if you didn’t already paint the back of the frame. Exposed, unfinished wood tends to swell and warp so you always want to finish your wood projects completely and as soon as possible, especially in humid temperatures.
And using some random hardware kicking around the workshop, Colby added the mirror, secured it in the frame using some brackets, and added some hang hooks.
And now Goose can also check his butt out in the mirror. The family that checks their butts out in the mirror together, stays together.
The mirror is what Cher from Clueless would call a Monet…it looks great from afar, but it’s kind of a mess closeup.
While we were making it, I thought for sure I wasn’t going to like the end result and was going to end up later scrapping it for a more plain jane frame. But now that it’s hung and can step back a bit from it, the frame can stay. Although, I should take some better pictures in some better light.
So now is the moment that I extend my hand to you and invite you, dear readers, to share your Target Inspired Design Challenge projects. Link them up in the comments or send me a pic to firstname.lastname@example.org and who knows….I may feature them later on. And also don’t forget about the other four lovely ladies co-hosting this little challenge:
- Jennifer from Brave New Home
- Lindsay from Life of Splendor
- Kristin from Bliss at Home
- Sara from Embrace My Space
They have all come up with some inspired design goodness. And because who doesn’t love a good little teaser, here is what they are all using as their inspiration:
It’s so funny…even though that I know which item belongs to which blogger, I could line up each of these items with the blogger blindly. Each item is SOOOOO them! So go check out their projects, slap them a lil’ sugar, and we’ll reconvene next Monday for a little Urban Outfitters inspiration.
Pssst…So what ya got?! Send me your projects!!!!
It’s the return of the
mack map heart art. And now I have Mark Morrison officially stuck in my head…awesome. A long, long time ago we made ourselves a little set of map heart art. We’re talking this was so long ago that my mom was just about our only reader on the blog (hi Mom!). You can read the old map heart art post back here but be warned…me no bloggy well…or take pictures well. But check out that fresh bling on my finger all shiny and new! Anyway…we made a trio of little map hearts…one for my hometown of Presque Isle, Maine, one for Colby’s hometown of Rochester, Vermont, and one for the city of Bangor, Maine where Colby and I met and now reside nearby. They lived in our bathroom when it was yellow…see:
When operation paint the bathroom mint commenced, the art came down without any intentions of returning the lost
boys map hearts to the bathroom after it was painted. So the trio of frames sat around for a few months, in the corner of a room, waiting to be relocated while I was going through art hanging paralysis. Seriously…I could not decide, even if my life depended upon it, where the map hearts would hang. Would they go in the guest room turned Etsy shop space? Or maybe in our bedroom? Or in the hallway? So last week while I was scrambling to come up with blog worthy projects as we were about to head out on a Lake Champlain vacation, I overcame my paralysis (funny how “I need projects done” pressure works) and ended up hanging them in the second floor hallway. Shazam!
They’re hanging out in the hallway in the empty space between the bathroom and the craft room/guest room. But before we hung the little frames we first had to do a little heart surgery…of the map variety…you know…since the hearts were all wonky like in their frames. I confess…I never taped them down in the frames. The hearts were just floating in there all willy nilly like.
But rest assured it wasn’t anything that a little double sided tape and eyeballing (centering it wise) couldn’t fix. I bought the double sided tape accidentally two Christmases ago and was too lazy to return it. But it has saved my (exaggerated) life a few times including our little heart project.
While repairing the hearts, I also decided to write down the location that we were featuring on each art piece since I never did that the first time around and kind of regretted it. Especially when several towns showed up in the center of each heart. So I penned the location that was near and dear to us on each of the frame mats. It was one of those moments in my life that I truly appreciated my neat and orderly penmanship.
Then it was just a matter of hanging our frames in a somewhat level and even fashion in the hallway. I would like to say that we whipped out the level and tape measure for hanging purposes, but not so much. We pretty much just eyeballed it and went with it. But it works for us and now we have some cheery art happening in our otherwise naked hallway. And I mean REALLY naked hallway since we’re also missing the light fixture which we took down 3+ years ago and have yet to replace it. Apparently I’m also undergoing hallway light fixture choosing paralysis as well.
Ignore the missing bathroom vanity mirror. It’s undergoing a little…okay…extreme makeover to take it from “blah builder grade” to “oh em gee this is so West Elm like”. We took down the mirror four weeks ago and still haven’t finished said project…doh! It’s a total “Dude get on that already” moment! Hopefully this week we’ll find a little spare time to finish it up and post about it. Until next time…peace out dear readers!
Pssst…Anyone else making some minor updates around their home these days? Isn’t it funny how we put off simple projects for so long (but yet find time to build a massive work desk) and how the little projects have such a big impact?!
Today we’re unleashing upon you all our secrets. Well…no…not ALL our secrets, otherwise what kind of incentive do you have to keep reading?! Today, I’m revealing to you our “secrets of a stainer”. Did anybody get the Emily Henderson Secrets of a Stylist spoof in there? I’m sure a few of you die hard Design Star fans out there caught on. Anyway, Colby and I were staining and polying monsters this weekend. And we took our hallway to places it’s never been before…check out the hallway before/progress going on right now.
The pic on the left was taken a few weeks ago before we laid down the new floor and the pic on the left was taken after the last coat of poly went down on the trim and door. Beautiful, no?!
Anyway…let’s get to the secrets part because everybody loves a good secret. And we’re going to let you in on how we make the staining and polying process SOOOOO much easier. Our biggest secret to tackling stain and poly…Secret Number 1…pre-stain as much as possible! Staining is a stinky job. Seriously. And toxic. So we took our staining down to the basement where we pre stained a majority of the trim for the second floor. Staining, although stinky, is an easy process. You just slap it on:
We’re staining here using a gallon of Minwax’s Dark Walnut stain using a foam brush. We tend to use foam brushes alot for trim staining as long as the trim is nice and smooth, since the foam tends to catch on rougher wood. The foam brushes drip less and have a more even coverage (for more efficient staining) than their bristle brush counterparts. After swiping on some stain and letting it sit for about 30 seconds, wipe off any excess.
If you want your wood a darker shade, let the stain sit longer before wiping it off. And as always, use a clean cloth. It took us all of an hour to stain all the baseboards, window trim and door trim for the guest room and the hallway…if that. Then we just let it sit, dry out, and off-gas (detoxify) before installing it upstairs.
Confession time…we didn’t pre-stain all of our trim for the upstairs.
Actually, only about half of the trim/door surfaces were actually stained before installing.
And, in retrospect, boy did we wish we had stained everything before installing, especially the doors.
It can sometimes be really difficult to get stain, especially a darker stain, to penetrate the strange gaps going on around hinges, but it still can be done with a foam brush if you just smoosh it in there and rub off any stain that gets on the hinges afterwards. It cleans up quite nicely actually.
So why didn’t we pre-stain all the doors and the trim? I would normally say sheer laziness, but that isn’t true. More like, we didn’t know any better at the time. It had been so long since the last time we stained a door or some trim so we kind of forgot how much a pain in the butt it is to stain after everything is in place. Stain tends to get on the floor, on the walls, on the dog (totally not kidding here). And the last thing we need is Goose covered in stain. Although he would look quite dapper in a weathered gray stain. And with a smoking jacket! Hmmmm….
Even though we installed alot of the trim before staining, there’s still a secret that I’ve learned, which works just as well in the poly stages as it does the stain stages. To protect your walls, use a magazine cover (I used the Ikea 2013 catalog) or a cereal box to slide into that small gap (or just resting up against the wall) behind the top of the trim. Then stain or poly away.
It completely protects the walls and you don’t worry too much about cutting in. I suppose you could also tape everything off too, with painters tape. But I’m not much for taping. I find it too labor intensive and prefer cutting in. But stain is messy and doesn’t always easily wipe up, hence the magazine cover tip.
And as I’m revealing our staining secrets, I bet you’re wondering, “Angie, just how do you fill in those nails holes after the board is stained and installed? You can’t just use plain old, natural colored wood putty, can you?! I just HAVE to know?!” To answer your burning question, the solution is colored putty.
The stuff is the bomb dot com, the peanut butter to my jelly, my jam Stan! And you use it an awful lot like the usual wood filler except not really. You just take a tiny smidge of the stuff on your finger, rub it into the nail hole, and keep rubbing your finger over the board and across the filled in nail hole until the putty is well blended in with the wood and the nail hole is no longer visible.
After all the staining is done, we usually like to let it set for a day or two. This ensures that the stain is thoroughly soaked in so the poly can seal everything up. Thus, polying was our next step in the second floor trim progress.
All I have to say is “meow”…in a “doesn’t our hallway look sexy” kind of way. I love how a couple coats of poly is all it takes to really make the stain and wood tones pop. It brightens the color and makes for an eye catching finish.
We spent a decent amount of time polying all the trim and the doors, in the guest bedroom, hallway and the door/trim of the master bedroom. In total, it took us about three hours to slather the trim and the doors with two coats of polyurethane.
Why two coats? And not a billion and a half coats like we do on the floors? Man…you guys are a curious bunch this evening! Because the trim isn’t necessarily going to bear the same level of abuse that the floor will. You don’t walk on doors or walls or trim, unless you’re Pippy Longstocking trying to escape Ms. Bannister. Two coats is more than enough to seal the trim and protect it.
Oooooh…shiny. Not only did we stain and poly all the hallway and guest bedroom trim, but also the door and trim for our master bedroom.
Let’s just say, this project was LONG overdue by maybe about six months, which is not a good thing. Wood doors and trim really need to be finished ASAP. If they don’t get finished shortly after installation, they tend to warp and do crazy things. So finish those doors people! I repeat…finish those doors! We were lucky that our door was fine and survived the lack of finishing, but Colby has told me horror stories about some contractors not finishing their doors right away and running into big problems. It also technically voids your warranty on the door by not finishing them. There…that’s my spiel for tonight. My wordy, 1200 words post.
Pssst…What about you guys? Do you have any
deep dark secrets staining secrets? Or other DIY tricks that you swear by? Like using magazine covers to protect a wall while baseboard staining?
Two things…one…I’ve been watching ALOT of Die Hard lately (hence the blog post title) and two…we’ve laid down the pine flooring in our upstairs hallway and took it from this (a laminate mess):
To this (a wide pine masterpiece):
I’m not gonna lie, we tackled this project a couple weeks ago but I’ve been dreading posting about it because it’s kind of a boring “how to” subject. But I’m going to channel my inner John McClain and bring the action to this “how to lay your own wide pine floor” tutorial. PINE HARD!
Okay, let’s do this. We started by bringing home a few 1″ x 10″ x 10′ shiplap pine boards from the local lumber yard for about $7 each. We needed five of them to cover the hall so the flooring cost us only $35.
But alas, they were unfinished planks. Random note…this kind of shiplap flooring isn’t necessarily meant for flooring but it’s been gaining some serious popularity lately as the wide pine, old farmhouse style flooring is making a comeback. It may be really cheap, but the wood is also relatively soft. Meaning…lots of poly. Our poly of choice…the Minwax Fast-Drying Semi-Gloss Poly.
Before we even started to think about laying down the
John McClain smack flooring, we layered on three coats of the poly, waiting 24 hours between coats so it had plenty of time to harden. We would still have to layer on a few more coats after laying down the floor, but this would allow us to lay the floor and not worry about staining/damaging it in the process.
After the pine planks were pseudo pre-finished, it was time to prep the hallway. And by prep the hallway, I mean remove the laminate flooring that we put down temporarily over two years ago. We plan on keeping the flooring just in case we ever need another “temporary” floor again.
The other hall floor preparations included removing the transition between the bathroom floor and the hall:
And trimming down the door jams to the bathroom door so the new flooring could slide right under it. To do this, Colby whipped out his favorite tool…well…he is a boy after all so I guess this would be his second most favorite tool (Lord…I apologize…be with the pygmies in New Guinea).
Generally, when you lay flooring you layer a buffer in between the sub floor and the new floor boards. This keeps the two woods from rubbing up against each other and squeaking. We used rosin paper, but tar paper is another option. This was the leftover rosin paper from the laminate flooring, which we just kept for the new pine flooring.
Let the pine laying begin! We had already put down a pine floor in the craft room, and because we wanted a continuous floor throughout the second story, we started right where we left off.
The first board can be a bit tricky. Because we have an old, unsquare and unlevel home, Colby made about a gazillion and a half measurements to make sure all the cuts and doorway notches for the first board were accurate. But if he was a little off, at least the future baseboards would cover any gaps between the floor boards and the wall.
As you lay the flooring, you just “lap it”…aka…put the top groove over the bottom groove. Does that make sense?!
And since the hallway leads to the top of the staircase, Colby trimmed down a piece of pine to make stair tread nosing, and lined the pine planks up against it.
Then it’s just a little tap tap to make sure the boards are tight up against each other.
And then tack the boards with a few finish nails:
Colby just repeated that process, measuring and making cuts to go around doorways and vents, until he made it all the way to the guest room and master bedroom side of the house.
Now…this is where things are going to get old school. So old school that I’m feeling a little Amish over here. Some body get me a horse and buggy. After all the flooring went down, we used cut nails to really secure the flooring. The finish nails were used just to hold the floor in place until we got to adding the cut nails. What are cut nails? These guys.
They have a wide head and a tapered body. They don’t have traditional round nail heads, but a square head. These nails are hardcore nails! Rugged nails! They nail right into the face of the board so they’re 100% visible. Typically when you use cut nails in flooring, you pound them into the wood in a parallel fashion. So using an old piece of trim as a straight edge, Colby first drilled a line of pilot holes.
Two nails go in each board all the way across the hall.
After drilling a line of pilot holes, and setting up the nails, Colby pounded them all in.
And punched in any nail heads sticking out of the wood so no sock would end up losing it’s life in a battle against a stray nail head.
We worked our way down the hallway, nailing in a row of cut nails every two feet until every board was properly secured. One word of caution…be UBER careful around knots. The knots may be all cute and add that rustic charm to the wide pine floor, but they are deadly! Deadly monsters! We’re talking a real wood splitter kind of deadly. When you nail into a knot, chances are pretty good that you’ll split the wood. So avoid the knots with the nails.
But you never know, you could still split the wood if you’re not careful. Kind of like this.
At least the split wasn’t so bad that we would have to replace the board. A few coats of poly will take good care of that.
The thing that I love the most about the wide pine, shiplap flooring is how it ages. Here’s a pic of the craft room floor, which we laid a couple years ago, lined up with the new hallway flooring.
I love how the pine looks when it scuffs up and also how it yellows from the oil based poly. It took about six months for the wood to go from the light colored pine to the yellowed, more intensely colored pine flooring. And alas, we have a REAL floor in the upstairs hallway.
We still have to continue the flooring into the guest room and then the master bedroom, but this is a start. But I love the floor…except for how I keep tripping coming up the stairs because the new pine floor is so much thicker than the old laminate floor.
Pssst…Whew, that was painful to get through. Me and construction, not such a good fit. But me and staining and painting…totally my speed. What projects have you guys been working on lately? Any floor laying? Or polying?
It’s time to put your
thinking caps memory caps on, cuz we’re going back…back in a New York Groove. What?! Every good blog post deserves a little Kiss. Anyway…serious time now. Or about as serious as we get around these parts. But do you remember when we refinished our hall floor? The floor along the staircase? To recap…we sanded/stained it, then struggled along polying the floor with a water based poly, and then two weeks later realized the finish was peeling up.
Fast forward six months and the floor was still peeling…and apparently gathering a significant amount of dust since our cleaning quota for the month is limited to once a year and we maxed that out prepping our house for wedding week guests coming by.
So apparently it was time to tackle this project and tackle it for good. I knew back in May that the water based poly we had used to seal the floor would have to be peeled up. It just didn’t take from the get go and it was just too far gone to save and it seemed like a better idea to peel it all up and start over again. So on a whim during my lunch hour on a random Monday, I grabbed a scraper and went to town. Consider it my idea of work related anger management…aka…work aggression getter outer.
It didn’t take long…maybe twenty minutes…and I had amassed quite a pile of scraped up poly. Some of it even came up in long strips. For some reason I kept thinking about snakes shedding their skin as I was doing this.
Fast forward one evening and all the poly had been scraped up off the floor. It was surprisingly quick and easy to peel up all the poly. Maybe that’s a sign that we used the wrong poly. But anyway, poly scraping lasted about an hour and only damaged the floor just a little, in areas where the old poly was difficult coming up.
At this point, I probably should have re-stained the floor or at least touched it up in the areas where the scraper scraped just a little too much. But this was at that crucial moment in a DIY project where you realize that this floor is a temporary floor, as in it’s probably getting replaced next summer with some consistent wide pine flooring, so why am I spending so much time on it?! Besides…the rough looking-ness of the floor and inconsistent stain gave the floor that “old world style” that we love. Here’s to character floors thanks to laziness! So out came the OIL BASED poly.
Emphasis on oil based. I really think that’s where we went wrong on the floor before, using an oil based stain with a water based poly. And not letting the stain dry out as much as we should have since the wood wasn’t terribly into accepting the stain. So consider this re-refinishing project a test in water based vs. oil based poly. So on went the oil based poly.
And of course since the hallway needs to stay accessible as it’s the only means of accessing the bathroom upstairs, we painstakingly polyed the floor in strips. The left is the un-polyed side vs. the right polyed side. Isn’t it amazing how much poly helps to bring out the color in wood? Could I say poly anymore?! Poly poly poly poly poly! Seriously…I am three. Poly.
So a couple weeks later and a few stinky evenings of oil based poly fumes, we have successfully re-refinished our hallway floor.
Ain’t she pretty?! With no peeling poly and Goose nail gouges?!
And I can admit that the oil based polyed floor has already lasted longer than the water based polyed floor without a single scratch. AND I’ve even pushed the limits and played a round of cookie tossing down the hall with the Goose. (Cookie tossing = throwing cookies down the hall for Goose to chase after, it may have been one of the main reasons why the old finish on the floor was scratching).
So in the oil based vs. water based poly battle royale, in my opinion, oil based poly is the clear winner. Although water based dries faster and doesn’t stink up the house, the oil based seems to be a much harder finish and protects are floor so much better. Even in the parlor and the dining room, we’ve had some serious scratching going on with the water based polyed floors. I’m going to give it a little bit more time before I make my final commitment to the oil based poly, but so far so good. I’m thankful we tested out the two before we laid down our forever floors.
So to recap…water based poly dries fast, doesn’t stink, but isn’t as strong. Oil based poly dries slow, stinks, but is rugged and withstands Goose nails. Thus, oil based poly trumps water based poly anytime. And we prolong projects WAY longer than we should.
Pssst…While I’m recovering from the poly fumes…whoa…almost fell down there…what have you all been up to recently? Dish!