Painted kitchen cabinets and a new entry...

When Matt bought his house over a year ago I promised to share the projects. One year later, I am finally getting around to keeping that promise!

As I mentioned in earlier posts, Matt first had to find his inspiration and make a plan.

His first major project was the entry makeover. My entry makeover was obviously his inspiration but his entry felt SUPER tiny compared to mine.

These aren’t the best before pictures but you can see there is a header across the top of the opening between the living room and the “entry”…so the space felt really tight and cramped…wood flooring (again, a no-no in an entry IMO)…popcorn ceilings.

The “plan” was to remove the closet and header to open up the space, tile the floor and paint the door. Simple!

Before you remove a closet, make sure you have a plan in place for the things you would otherwise store in that space. In Matt’s case, he’s a single guy with two spare bedrooms and closets, a large master bedroom closet and a nice hall pantry. He had plenty of storage space for coats and such…getting rid of the entry closet was not a big deal.

UNTIIIIIL…you start hacking into walls and removing headers that are framed with aluminum studs instead of wood. Interesting to say the least and somewhat of a challenge for a “traditional” builder such as myself.

Lots of sheetrock repair, black paint on the front door that Matt is not real fond of but is living with for the time being, new trim, new tile, new paint. Eventually I think he will replace the light fixture…but it does the job for now.

Here you can see how the entry opens into the living room…before there was a “header” that dropped down 12” and really closed that space in…removing that header not only opened up the entry but it now matches the opening into the hallway that leads to the bedrooms on the other side of the living room.

Matt built the little bench! I found the beautiful metal mirror on clearance at a home interior store.

The fireplace was pretty “dated”…he painted it last year ….

…and we replaced the dated 8x8 beige tile with the same tile we used in the entry. MUUUUCH better!

The very first thing we did before he moved in was built open shelving in the kitchen. We used the “hidden bracket” method I shared here.

His kitchen cabinets were old, nasty oak and he knew he eventually wanted to paint them…but time and finances dictated he wait…the open shelving was a pretty easy and inexpensive way to give the kitchen a tiny update. Since he had his inspiration and had a plan, he knew what colors he wanted to eventually paint the kitchen cabinets…so he knew what color he wanted to paint the shelving.

We simply removed the cabinet to the right of the sink and installed 3 shelves. The cabinet we removed didn’t go to waste…he hung it in the garage above his work bench!

Painted cabinets…this summer he was finally able to complete this part of the plan.

The kitchen before…

The kitchen after…

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He hired the actual “painting” part but he did all the prep work himself. He changed out the hinges from nasty ole’ brass looking things to nice new satin nickel hinges.

He also changed out four upper cabinet doors and put reeded glass in them…

The shelves inside the cabinets were old and “sagging” so we built new shelves since you could see them through the glass.

I would like to think I was the inspiration behind that change since I am a tad partial to reed glass cabinet doors!

One element of his original plan was to change out the tile countertops to a solid surface like quartz or granite. Honestly, once the cabinets were painted neither of us found the tops to be nearly as offensive so that part of the plan got bumped to the bottom of the list. It will happen someday, but it is no longer a top priority!

This kitchen is a relatively small space…kind of a “shotgun” or “galley” kitchen if you will…brightening it up with paint and installing the glass front doors and the open shelving made a HUGE difference!

The next big project on his list is his master bathroom. He wants to remove the tub/shower insert and build a walk in shower similar to mine.

Last week I went to an auction and I was able to purchase enough 12x24 floor tile and subway tile for pennies on the dollar!!! He’s been researching the best way to build a shower pan and of course we are experts at demo! So this little project could commence any day!

In the meantime he is busy being a home owner…mowing and raking the yard, mundane chores and dealing with all the grief after a tree falls on your house during a storm! Yep, it even damaged his brand new storage building he is so proud of!

Such is the life of a home owner!

Next week is Christmas and I may take a few weeks off since the whole family will be here! I hope you and yours have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Sofa/entry table makeover....

Another simple makeover on a table...gel stain, chalk paint, a little paint on the hardware.

I picked up this little table at an auction a few weeks ago and it really was a relatively simple update.

Gel stain can easily be applied right over existing stain but the top of this table had some serious issues so I used this proess to strip the top...then I applied gel stain.

Okay...I ave  t quit tping nw eause my key oard is otally fried and half y letters won't rkw...enjoy the pitures while I go uy a new mputer...

Entry and stairway makeover reveal....

I started my entry way makeover here when I shared the "demo" of the coat closet! I did not realize this "weekend" project would drag out for TWO MONTHS....but that is pretty much the speed I work at around here these days!

Time flies when you are having fun! 

I had intended to post this project last week but Brian had to have shoulder surgery so his care has taken up a bit of my time. (Someone explain to me why a 53 year old man feels the need to bench press 275 pounds...even if he can!) 

Truthfully, it is not fun to demo and construct in a house you are living in. I put up plastic when I did the major sanding on the sheetrock...

... but there always seems to be a little spot here and a little spot there that needs just a little bit of sanding...before you know it it looks like a dust storm has blown through your house! 

Truth be told, this "makeover" actually started YEARS ago when I removed all the carpet from my stairs and put down oak treads and risers. I knew the day would come when I would not want to haul a vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs (that day is here!) so I wanted hardwood stairs!

My house had the typical "rough construction" stairs with pine treads and risers, covered in carpet...you can kind of see how they were constructed, and what I discovered when I pulled the carpet, in this picture....

It really was not that difficult to install new treads and risers. The biggest "hum" was finding that the 2 x 12 tread (the horizontal board you step on) lipped over the riser (the vertical board facing each step) by 1/4". To solve for that, I just applied strips of 1/4" board to the bottom of each riser and then faced them with new oak boards, cut to fit. Most home improvement stores carry prefab oak treads. I cut each to the width I needed, stained and sealed them, applied construction mastic and then nailed them into place. I applied one final coat of poly after I had installed them. Obviously I did a good job, since it took me TWO HOURS just to remove TWO of the stinking things! 

Since I was installing new travertine tile in the entry, I decided now was the time to also make some changes to the newel post and bottom steps. 

As with EVERY project, the first thing I did was "find my inspiration."  That was not difficult since I knew from the minute I laid eyes on Cassidy's stairs on Remodelaholics.com that this was what I wanted....

One of the things I really love about her staircase are the colors...the stain and the paint. Sadly THAT little detail is going to have to wait at my house. My staircase was stained to match the living room floors, which are going to be here a tad longer ...and while it isn't "technically" honey-oak, the "butterscotch oak" isn't really my cup of tea these days. But again, it is going to have to wait for now...the thought of taping and staining and painting everything right now is more than my brain can process! 

This is one of the important keys to remodeling any space...identifying what you can do (physically and financially) NOW to enhance the space...and patience! I knew I wanted the "openness" of the bottom two steps and a larger newel post. Those are things I needed to do before I installed the %$(@# travertine tile (Honestly, don't ask how much it cost. I have NEVER in my life paid THAT much for tile, but I wanted it and it is a small space...so I splurged!)

While I had intended to post a "tutorial" on this project, I realized it is like many home improvements...a puzzle that will probably differ depending on how your home was constructed and what materials were used.

So let's start at the beginning...what WAS there.

A tight entryway that required us to lift anything over 28" wide over the newel post!

A coat closet that was NEVER used and was basically just a dumping ground for anything and everything! Hardwood flooring...NOT a material one should use by an entry door. Over time wet feet will do a real number on it!

An anemic newel post that pretty much screamed 1999!

So were does one begin a sizable project like this? Again, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

So the first thing I did was demo the coat closet and remove the smaller built in bookcase...gut wrenching details here.

After the closet was gone I had to deal with moving electrical wires...a major chore for me and I would honestly suggest most call a professional. My electrical professional is my son-in-law, but since they live 2 1/2 hours away, this is another project he talked me through over the phone! After all the electrical was moved and I could move around in the space without whacking my head on dangling switch boxes, I removed the existing baseboards and hardwood flooring. 

Easy right? Um, no! First I had to mark and cut a line with my skill saw where the new flooring would meet the existing hardwood. Dust storm number one! Then I had to scrape up all the old flooring and mastic...seriously, I think you could safely attach wings to a plane with that glue! 

Next, I tackled the sheetrock repair and texture...hence the tarp to prevent a MAJOR dust storm! 

Since I was basically "patching" the sheetrock where I had removed the closet walls, I used this process! I can not stress enough how easy sheetrock repair can be if you follow these steps. Since the area I needed to texture was much larger than just a little patch, I used a "sheetrock hopper" to blow texture on the walls. I actually had a painter friend come over and help me with this step since he is a master at using the hopper and could "blend" the old with the new seamlessly! 

Then paint! I can't say it enough...there is a huge plus to knowing the exact formula for your paint. Someday soon I really want to repaint my downstairs....someday! Again, can't wrap my brain around that chore! But knowing exactly what I painted the walls with 8 years ago allowed me to paint the new patched areas and blend it with the "old." 

After the walls were repaired, textured and painted, it was time to tackle the BIG project...the staircase. That had to be done before the new tile could be installed because I was moving the existing newel post that sat at the bottom of the stairs and extending the bottom step, which changed the layout of the flooring. 

The first challenge...matching the existing stain color (as much as I dislike it!)  David, at our local Sherwin Williams, usually does a bang up job of matching existing stain. He did an AWESOME job on my kitchen stain! This time even he struggled. I think the biggest problem is that the original clear coat is poly...and poly "ambers" over time, which deepens the color. I ended up using David's "match" mixed with a premixed stain and final got a decent match. I stained and sealed all the pieces before installing!

The next big head-scratcher for me was figuring the exact angle and method to cut the existing bannister, trim and bottom rails without removing it all. After much hymning and hawing and measuring and drawing, I drug out every power tool in my arsenal and made the cuts! And did a little sanding to get a good tight fit! MAJOR dust storm!

I also had to build a new "base" for the wider bottom step. As I said, it's a "puzzle" and sometimes you just have to measure, figure, plan and execute as you go...when you are meshing new with old it can be a little more challenging than starting from scratch! 

Again, I could post a long drawn out tutorial...but honestly Google and youtube are all you need. You will find much better videos and tutorials than I could ever provide.

And this is pretty much how it sat for another week. Why...because the old adage "measure twice, cut once" only works when your brain computes properly at least once...if it computes improperly BOTH times, you will cut your special order materials wrong and have to wait on them after you reorder them! 

As soon as my special REorders came in and I was able to finish up the two steps and newel post, I installed my travertine tile. Then...it sat...AGAIN!

Why...well because I couldn't decide whether I wanted to add a little trim detail. I contemplated shiplap...maybe a decorative wainscoting...or maybe board and batten.

In the end, I went with the board and batten. I'm not totally swooning over it, but it is a nice little touch (again, find a GOOD tutorial if you plan on adding this...there are hundreds of great ones out there in blogland!)

Soooo....drumroll......get ready for a lot of pictures!

Okay...you may notice that other than a funky rug and the little walnut table, there isn't any "froo-froo" yet. As I have said before, I don't decorate for poops and giggles..."stuff" has to have some meaning or be something I truly love...and so far I haven't found either for this space!

Eventually I also want to change/add lighting... I'll know it when I see it!

I seriously love the travertine tile. I laid it in a "brick pattern." It is a 12x24 tile so I staggered it 8-16-24". I also sealed it both before grout and after, which in my opinion, is a must for travertine! 

I still need to put one more coat of poly on the bottom two steps and the newel post but I am waiting until Matt is gone for a few days so I don't have to worry about anyone going upstairs!

HUGE difference!

While I was making a few entry changes, I thought it was about time to order a new rug for the living room. The old one was only two years old, but with the addition of the new living room chair and post-Cleo-puppy, it was time! I decided to go with simple and neutral this time! 

Aside from the wall paint I want to change, and the "butterscotch oak" I would like to restain, and the new hardwood floors I want to install and the new lighting I think would look good in the entry, I'm pretty darn happy with the changes. 

One upside to the "dust storms" this project created was it forced me to "purge" ALL my bookcases, even the ones in the den and my room....dust goes EVERYWHERE when you project! I had to pull all the books to clean so I decided it was time to get rid of 30 years of collecting! I saved two collections of my favorite authors (most notably my autographed John Grisham collection...thank you Matt!) and a few of my favorite books, but over 150 hardback books will soon be finding a new home...right now they are packed in egg boxes in my dining room! Now most of my shelves are scantly decorated with antique books, framed photos and a few family heirlooms!

Ahhhhh....room to breathe.....