Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Church Pew Bench

As mentioned before, we knew we wanted a bench for one side of seating for the giant, farmhouse table, and my parents had a few old church pew pieces. We brought back one 10-foot piece on our last SC visit. 

Richard cut the pieces down to be the correct size for the table, and then he sanded and sanded and sanded. Then he reassembled the piece, and we dragged it through the house into the dining room. We literally put both feet (is that what they're called on a bench/church pew?) on towels and slid the giant pew along the floor. This was our plan of action since I'm not nearly strong enough to lift one end. It is seriously heavy. 

One of the little hiccups that we ran into with the table is the table height. Richard built his plans based on a standard table height. He even compared it to our kitchen table to make sure he had a good idea of the measurement. Then, since the boards are old and unplaned, the entire table top twisted a little bit. It was so minor that you couldn't see it, but it was definitely enough of a difference to change the table. And, of course, with all of the work Richard put in, he wanted it to be done right. 

Clearly in need of a haircut...

His solution (that didn't involve disassembling the entire tabletop) was to add a stabilizing piece on the underside of the table. The side effect that we didn't think about was the added height. So when we first sat down to the table, it felt a little off. Not terribly noticeable, just a little higher than normal. 

Richard redid the feet of the pew to increase the height to make it a more comfortable height. We knew that pews generally sit a little bit lower than normal seating anyway, so even if the table height hadn't been different, we would have added some inches to the benches (just one bench, but it kinda rhymes). 

Once we got the pew into the dining room, it wasn't going anywhere. We knew we'd have to do all of the finishing in there, but we had enough room and put down plastic when needed. 

Richard chose a nice dark-ish stain to match/complement the color of the table. He stained only the front portion of the seating area because we knew we would paint the ends and the back to keep the room from having too many wood tones. This also made it so he didn't have to do as much of the tedious sanding in small spaces (the decorative grooves and such). 

And this is where the bench/pew project stood for a week or so. 

Richard turned 27 on July 27th, and I just couldn't pass up a chance to celebrate even more than normal. He doesn't really care about his birthday -- to him, it's just another day. But to me, oh man, I love birthdays and golden birthdays are extra special and extra reason to celebrate. So, he let me throw a party for him. 

We had a big cookout (about 45 ppl in attendance) on Friday, and it was so much fun. We had friends from so many areas of our lives -- work, neighborhood, church, family, etc. It was a blast. And, I mean, you really only get one golden birthday. 

Since we had so many projects in the works and huge (GOLDEN) birthday party looming, we kicked into high gear and got. stuff. done. During one week we painted the bathroom (twice), painted the vanity (twice), added the plank wall, got all of the things for the bathroom (rug, mirror, etc), primed & painted & cut the Craigslist chairs, baked party things, cleaned, decorated, and worked five full-time-job days each. Whew. 

And there stood the half-finished pew-bench. Richard wanted to leave it, but I didn't like the unclean lines of the stain. (Richard wasn't super careful in applying it because he didn't need to be -- we planned to paint over those places.) So we primed and painted two coats of Valspar Gravity which was actually the first gray (the wrong one) used on the vanity. It was a pretty quick painting job. Richard had taped off the edges along the stained area, so no need for close cutting in. 

We both love that it's finished, and we really like the gray color. We knew we wanted a neutral in there since the hutch is teal and the chairs a mintish-teal. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Bathroom Overhaul

Such a small space, yet so many decisions...

When Richard amassed a large collection of old wood from the barn and old tenant's house to build the farmhouse table, we talked about options for using the rest of the wood. I always loved the idea of a having a wood-planked wall, so I showed him a few examples from Pinterest. Like this one or this one. We liked the rustic feel of those, and since the wood has so much character, we knew we didn't want to paint the planks. 

We decided that the best place for a wall like this would be our downstairs half bathroom. We wanted it to be in a space that wouldn't feel overwhelming or darken up the room too much. And we also wanted a wall that wasn't huge. I liked the pictures that I'd seen of implementing the idea in a bathroom, but I also wanted to make sure that it was a bathroom without a lot of moisture -- so a bathroom with no showers. Which narrowed it down to the half bathroom downstairs. 

Then we had to decide which wall we wanted to do. We nixed the back wall with the window on it because we thought it would darken the space too much and make the room feel tiny. We didn't really consider the two "side walls" very much, but pretty quickly landed on the wall with the vanity and mirror. 

Our always-present helper -- she makes sure the paint smells the way it should.

Then came paint choosing -- always a tricky venture for us. I originally thought a color like Palladian Blue would work well in there, but when we painted some sample spots, we didn't really love it. Richard thought a color with more green in it would be better, and I agreed. 

He got three options, and we immediately ruled out two of them. I loved how the blues in Crocodile Dreams stood out compared to the other pale greens. It was a nice, light, almost-teal green. We both loved it. Until we painted three walls. Turns out, if you don't have the other greens to compare it to, it doesn't look very blue. It looks very, very green, and very, very pale. 

This is the only in-progress picture that I have that shows the walls with Crocodile Dreams. I took the picture for the purpose of showing the chaos in the hallway (which seems like a good place to paint the vanity drawers and doors, what?!), but it ended up being my only picture of the Easter-y walls. 

It looked like an Easter egg. Or Easter candy.  Or a gender-neutral nursery. Or any number of pastel green options -- none of which we wanted. And I was certain that it wouldn't look good with the deep brown of the wood plank wall. I don't even have many pictures of it in this state, that's how immediate the decision to change it was. 

Richard headed back out to Lowe's (or maybe it was Home Depot) and picked out a dusty green that would look less... like Mylanta. He picked up a nice, dark-sage color: Behr's Olivine. And it's perfect. Seriously, so much better. 

This picture/angle gives the most accurate depiction of the final color -- Olivine. 

So, on with the two coats of Olivine, on with the trim paint and ceiling touch up. Then Richard measured and cut, measured and cut, and measured and cut. He put up the boards two or three at a time, then visually arranged how he wanted the next few pieces to line up. He used a nail gun to secure them in place. We didn't want to glue the planks to the wall because we knew that if we ever want to take them down (or for selling the house) that removing glued-on boards would seriously damage the drywall. Plus, nail guns are fun!

He even let me nail the last board in place. He's a peach. 

Putting the last board in place!

Power tools, what!

So, when we decided to paint the walls (twice) and taking into account the wood tones that we would bring in with the plank wall, we knew that the original state of the wooden vanity wouldn't match. I thought about painting it white but thought it would look to stark in dark-hued room. It seemed like gray was the best answer. 

We compared about six paint swatches to find the correct gray -- one that would match the walls (painted and planked) and the counter top and tile. We picked one that looked perfect. It was a little more on the beige end which went well with the granite. 

Then, at Lowe's (or maybe it was Home Depot), we realized we didn't have the chosen swatch with us. Or a picture of it. Or even the name of the Chosen Paint Color. 

Primed and ready to be painted! Oh, and some bathroom detritus. 

So we guessed. Which is always a good idea. Well, anyone who's ever painted anything any shade of gray ever (there are more than fifty) will know that grays are tricky. Grays are not to be "guessed." It wasn't tremendously wrong, but it was wrong enough. It was a little too blue for the green walls and the beige-y countertop. 

Since all else failed, we read the directions. Or something. We found our Chosen Paint Color (Glidden Pewter Grey) swatch and got the paint that we originally decided looked best in there. And so to go with the twice-painted walls, we have a twice-painted vanity. 

Here you can really see the difference in the two paint colors. The vanity is painted the first choice -- Valspar Gravity -- and the door is painted the second gray paint color -- Glidden Pewter Grey. 

Mid-second-coat. In the with the beigey gray, out with the bluey gray.

The second vanity color went on after the plank walls went up, so that made cutting in a little more difficult. There were several of these very tight nooks. 

So I broke out the artist brushes to get into those little spots. It worked like a charm!

Lastly (so far), comes the light fixture. Our original light fixture was this guy: 

We knew we were going to change it out for something a little more fitting for the new feel (read: rustic), but we didn't have anything picked out. Not even an idea really. I looked up a few options and briefly considered doing two lanterns -- one on either side of the mirror. We ruled that out quickly and opted for something over the mirror like the original set up. 

I thought about something with Mason jars, but that went the same direction as the lanterns -- a little too rustic. Richard set about getting the correct base for building a fixture himself, and he surprised me with the best light fixture ever! Seriously, it's better than anything I had in mind. And he built it himself! He's the best. 

He used three of these bulbs and some electrical boxes. He just pieced it all together himself and added the necessary socket adapters since the original sockets didn't fit the fancy light bulbs. 

We're in need of some more artwork, but I have a painting that Emmy painted a long time ago (one of my faves) leaned up against the wall for the time being. We also bought a new mirror from Homegoods -- one that fits the space and the feel of the room. And we got a nice, neutral rug that doesn't conflict with the other neutrals in the room or the textures already in place. 

Emmy's painting -- loooove it!

My less-than-stellar attempt at capturing the new mirror -- it's too big/the bathroom's too small to photograph the entire thing!


Bonus! A new soap dispenser! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

So many projects. So many.

We have so many projects in the works. So many. 

I think we always knew, as new homeowners, that our house "to do" list would always be a growing one. It seems to be evident now more than ever. We've finished lots of projects on the list, but it feels like each time we check one off, we add two or three more. 

Current projects actively being worked on: 

- Church pew bench for the farmhouse table
- Cleaning, priming, painting, and cutting down the three bar stools for the farmhouse table
- Cleaning, priming, and painting the other three chairs for the farmhouse table
- Choosing a rug for the dining room
- Repairing the walls in the downstairs bathroom
- Painting the downstairs bathroom
- Touching up the trim downstairs
- Priming and painting the vanity in the downstairs bathroom
- Choosing a mirror, new hardware, and new lighting for the downstairs bathroom

Obviously, the downstairs bathroom is getting a lot of attention right now. We chose a paint color (Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue), then chose another one (Valspar Crocodile Dreams), then Richard painted the walls with the second choice. Then we chose another color (Behr Olivine). And Richard repainted the walls. 

A few of our color options -- Palladian Blue is the painted over color, and the green on the top left was our choice, Crocodile Dreams. But that changed, more on that later. 

For the vanity, we chose a paint color, I primed and painted the whole thing. Then we chose another color. It's currently in the works. 

I had picked out a few items for the bathroom based on the second paint color choice (Crocodile Dreams), but now it seems unlikely that my teal bath rug will match the deep Olivine walls that we finally settled on. Oh well, sounds like another trip to Home Goods for me!

Oh hey, there's a whole bunch of junk under the sink, too.

The dining room is also getting some much-needed attention. We knew we wanted a bench for one side of the table, and my parents had mentioned having a couple of church pews. So, our last trip to SC, we checked out the options and brought back the pieces for two benches. My dad had the pieces for two 16-foot pews, so Richard and Dad cut the pieces down to 10 feet each so that we could bring them back with us. 

For the other seating, we've had a few ideas about chairs. We've known that buying all new dining room chairs would be pretty expensive. Even if that was the route we wanted to go, we wouldn't have those chairs anytime soon. So, I've kept an eye on Craigslist for chairs, and I found three bar stools (that we can cut down to the height that we need) for $30. Score! 

I spent some time this weekend cleaning, sanding, and priming these chairs. We picked a light-blue-almost-mint-green color for them. I'll have photos of those and probably our other three chairs also in a little while. 

Other projects that are either started but aren't being worked on or waiting just on the horizon: 

- Painting the master bedroom
- Rearranging the furniture in the master bedroom
- Acquiring a mattress for our new bed frame (Oh yeah, we got a new bed frame!)
- Choosing paint color options for the guest bedroom
- Rearranging furniture in the guest bedroom
- Choosing paint color options for the guest bathroom
- Getting the fireplace/chimney repaired/cleaned

Monday, July 7, 2014

4th of July Fun and a Couple Updates

We had a great time celebrating America's birthday this weekend, and on Sunday, we extended our list of house projects. In the works for the next few weeks: painting the master bedroom, redesigning the layout of the master bedroom, painting/redoing the entire downstairs half bath, picking paint colors for the guest room, picking a paint color for the stairwell/upstairs hallway, and a few other smaller things. 

A few photos from our super-fun, patriotic weekend: 

We played lots of cornhole and enjoyed the river, the sunset, the fireworks, and great company on the Rappahanock River on July 4th. 
On Saturday, we spent the day at Little Island Park close to Sandbridge in Virginia Beach with friends. It was a gorgeous day, and we enjoyed the good company and relaxing time with friends.

And here are some other updates of previously posted projects: 

- Updated photos of the painted billiard room with most of the furniture back in place. I'm working on accruing some white frames to hang in here, and we're planning to add a small bench to the one long, empty wall. Also, that ancient tv cabinet in the corner is going to be listed on craigslist soon. 

- Updated photos of the gallery wall with the new wall color and some close ups of the frame contents (the ones that are staying, not the ones that are just the placeholders). 

The small, white frame on the end was added. It currently displays some pretty scrapbooking paper which was originally a placeholder, but it may be permanent. I kinda like it. 

This one and the next are quotes from Oscar Wilde. This one says,"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."