Posts Tagged Woodwork

The Scraping Never Ends

This post is written post-completion, kind of playing catch-up with the blog so it matches my progress on the house. For once the house work is actually ahead of journaling.

The laundry room, though the smallest room in the house, probably had the worst plaster of any room in the house. Lots of large cracks, peeling paint on every wall and the ceiling, and of course the woodwork had layer after layer of paint on it.

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I immediately took down the cabinet on the right, and not too long after that I ripped up the linoleum and 1/2″ plywood it was glued to. There wasn’t too much glue holding the plywood down, and underneath there was the original fir floors, although filthy and lots of stain. There is evidence of quite a lot of water leaking, from the flooring to the baseboards, but luckily they aren’t rotten, just stained.

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I’ve tried heat gun and every chemical in the hardware store, but a sharp scraper seems to be the best tool for removing paint from the woodwork. Note the fan blowing dust outside, and the plastic taped around the doorway to the kitchen to keep any paint dust out of the living areas of the rest of the house.P1030954 BAs the paint came off the woodwork, I also scraped all loose paint off of the walls – which was a lot. The only thing missing is a photo of the paint chips on the floor, about an inch thick.P1030964 BAnd all the cracks. The plaster itself isn’t loose or crumbling, just lots of deep cracks. I think the roof must have been leaking down this wall where the windows are.P1030971 BThen it was time to throw more mud – drywall mud. I’m not the cleanest with it, I can get it semi-smooth on the walls, but I seem to drip quite a lot on the floors. I didn’t even bother to clean it up right away.

P1030979 BAlthough they didn’t all need it, I went ahead and applied drywall tape and joint compound to all of the corners throughout the room – walls and ceiling.P1030966 BI’m not perfect at mudding walls, but this was good practice with all the corners. Where it wasn’t perfect, a little bit of sanding when dry works really good. I found that very fine sandpaper on a square oscillating sander works good, but I have to keep it moving quick so not to sand off too much.P1030987 BThe ceiling was terrible. It looked like it had a skim-coat at some point in the past, and it took so many layers of mudding, sanding, mudding, and sanding. In the end, I wasn’t going for perfect. Just semi-smooth. I’ve already decided that in an old house, nothing should be “perfect,” or it won’t be an old house anymore. Character, I call it.P1030993 BAfter a long night of sanding… selfies in the reflection of the laundry room window:P1030998 BAfter a layer of primer and 2 coats of paint, voila! Not a bad ceiling after all!

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I stained the woodwork first before painting the walls. It is impossible, in my opinion, to stain woodwork and not get it on the walls. Two generous coats of stain, and then I use a trim brush to prime over the sloppy stain so that it doesn’t seep through the finish paint.P1040002 B

The woodwork started to look really good, but it just points out how terrible the window sashes still look. But those will be addressed soon!P1040010 B

Then it was time to paint. I wasn’t very picky choosing a paint color for the laundry room. It’s a small room, and there really isn’t very much style going on in there. My washer & dryer are white, the woodwork is mahogany, and I eventually plan to hang painted cabinets above the machines. But since the room opens into the kitchen, I want the two rooms to eventually feel seamless. So I picked a nice putty beige that will look good with the woodwork & the colors I already have picked for the future kitchen cabinets. The color is Loggia by Sherwin Williams (SW 7506). It’s a good neutral – not too yellow, not too pink – and the name, Loggia, brings back fond memories of my semester in Italy.P1040015 B

Two coats of paint went pretty fast with the now-smooth walls. Just a few areas needed touched up because I was still building up the repairs with layers of drywall mud.P1040016 B

(This is where I explain, yes, the cabinet in the wall which is supposed to be a broom closet is functioning now as a handsaw cabinet. Some people have gun cabinets. I for some reason have a saw cabinet.)

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I had removed the baseboards earlier before tackling the plaster repair, so I stained & poly’d them while off the walls – much easier this way. So all I had to do was nail them in place – and they fit really tightly to the walls. I didn’t feel like fixing the former outlet opening in the board above, because I knew it would be hidden by the washer. But I did purchase a brown outlet cover and screwed it overtop. A quick fix for an area that will only ever be seen during the short time it takes to switch out a washer or dryer if when appliances are ever upgraded.P1040034 B

The woodwork isn’t perfect, it still has some dings and scratches. But I didn’t feel the need to sand everything out. Once again, character.P1040057 BThen some finishing details. Like snapping on the trim piece for the washer connection box:

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And hiding the water heater shut-off access into the wall with this box and removable lid, and snapping the round covers over the water heater inlet and outlet pipes.P1040031 B

In all, I am thrilled with how far this room has come. I still need to refinish the door for the little wall cabinet on the left, but it should be a fast Saturday project. P1040346 B

And I am really happy with how clean the washer hook-up turned out. The inlet pipes and drain are all contained in the wall, just like in a new home.P1040350 B

For a light in the laundry room, I planned on just one fixture in the center of the ceiling. I really liked the shape and style of this Jar Pendant from West Elm, but I think I had less than their asking price in my total materials for the entire laundry room rehab. And I really didn’t want a pendant type fixture.

West Elm Jar Pendant

Over the winter I hit a couple salvage stores in Fort Wayne and found enough pieces to make something similar in a ceiling mount light. I found the metal base at one salvage store, and the glass globe at another. P1040352 B

A little spray paint for the base, new screws to hold the globe, and tada! Similar, but less than $15 total.

What’s next? Well, I’m gonna enlist my mother’s sewing skills to create some window coverings. I don’t really need privacy in this room, but introducing some fabric will soften the edges around the woodwork and introduce texture into an otherwise all-wall room. Cotton drop cloth, leather straps, and metal grommets – something like this:laundry curtain inspiration

But I’m most excited to start dealing with my beautiful but inefficient original windows – glazing putty, bronze weatherstrip, and new sash rope – here we go!

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Getting Hinged

So one of the last minor details to finish in the bathroom was installing a door. I say minor, but apparently a few friends that have been over seem to think it’s a big deal. And I’ll admit, having the cat watch me every time I visit the bathroom is a little uncomfortable.

I salvaged several doors before an old brick building was torn down early last year. They spent the first winter in my mom’s garage until I moved them here, and I knew I’d be able to use a few of them. Sure enough, only 1 is a 5-panel wood door and it’s the perfect width for my existing bathroom door frame. I trimmed an equal amount off the top and bottom of the door (about 1.5 inch total) and it now is the perfect height.

Unfortunately the hinges on the existing door frame and the salvaged door don’t line up. I figured it would be best to change the hinge placement on the door since it’s in the garage resting on saw horses, and easier to conceal the old hinge mortices. Plus this way they are equally spaced from the top and bottom of the door frame.

However, it’s been a little cold in NW Ohio, so I ended up with the door on my dining room table instead of in the garage.

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I used small blocks of wood to fill in the old hinge mortices, cutting them slightly thicker and glued them into place. Once dried, I planed them down flat with the edge of the door.

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Then it was filler time. The door had some pretty nasty dings, dents, and a dozen holes. I filled every spot I could find with wood filler, and gave it ample time to dry. I moved the door back into the garage and sanded until my hands were frozen. The original stain color was a good match to begin, but the varnish was bubbled and scratched all over. I sanded down to remove the varnish and smoothed out the filled spots, trying not to remove the color underneath. Once sanded, I measured the spaces for the hinges using the existing door frame and carefully chiseled out these spots. Then came the moment of truth, hanging the door on the hinges:

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It was a little snug in a few spots, but it fit! This photo looks like there is a large gap under the door, but it’s because the door hides the transition from the existing kitchen floor to the 1/2″ higher bathroom tile floor. When the door opens into the bathroom, it’s a very natural space between the door and floor, probably about 1/4″ or so.

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I took the door off the hinges again and carried it into the garage for one more round of sanding, hitting the tight spots and making sure all the wood filled spots were smooth. In total, I think I carried the door in and out of the house more than a dozen times.

By re-inserting the handle mechanism, I marked on the door frame where the strike plate would need to go. It took me a little longer to chisel out this space, because the strike plate needs to be flush with the wood and the center needs to be chiseled deeper to make room for the latch to spring out.

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This picture was after I reattached the door stop also, so the door closes tightly and latches without rattling against the stop trim.

Then it was stain time. I wiped down the door really well with a slightly damp cloth, making sure to remove as much dust as I could. Giving the door plenty of time to dry I started staining the door with a clean cloth and the same Minwax Mahogany Gel Stain. The door accepted the stain really well, but with gel stain it takes a little technique to achieve a good look. Especially in the lighter wood areas or where the wood filler was really thick, I wold try not to wipe off all of the stain to help even out the color. I might hit a few light spots with a second coat of stain, but otherwise the door is ready for 2 coats of poly.

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The contrast between the untouched kitchen woodwork and the now-beautifully stained door and frame is unnerving. I find keep finding myself staring at the door and how rich the color looks, trying to imagine how the rest of the woodwork will eventually look.

On the inside of the bathroom I nailed up the door trim that’s been waiting in the corner of the dining room. It’s finally starting to look finished – and then I realize I still don’t have outlet covers, lol.

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Stripping takes Work

Stripping PAINT, that is!

Every preservation, renovation, and old-house enthusiast book says it is inevitable. In almost every older home where the woodwork is worth saving, there will be paint to strip. And the humble bungalow is no exception (check out the photo¬†tour to see the woodwork & built-ins, noticing almost all if it is painted). And most likely, layer upon layers of old paint. If I could meet the owner who first took a paintbrush to nearly every piece of trim and floorboard in my home…

So as I tackle room by room, it is my goal to strip the paint and reveal the wood underneath. Worth the work? I’m not sure. But it will be a good test in patience. Besides, long tedious work like that is therapy for my OCD tendencies.

Since I removed all the woodwork from the bathroom before demo, I could strip them piece by piece in the garage. My weapons of choice?

Heat gun and an old school Red Devil paint scraper.

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Heat, scrape, repeat. And try not to scorch the wood underneath the paint. Luckily those dark spots sanded out pretty well.

Then it was time to find the perfect stain. I don’t have photos of this process, but it involved about 17 different cans of Minwax stain. Just imagine wiping on, wiping off, applying a 2nd layer, letting them dry, applying a 3rd layer, overlapping different colors in more than a dozen color combinatinos. And still no luck. So I hit my local Sherwin Williams store armed with a piece of unpainted trim as my sample color, and a piece of stripped & sanded board to have them mix a custom color. Sure enough, she walked over to the shelf and grabbed the only can of Minwax I apparently don’t already own (Rich Mahogony Gel Stain) and it turned out the be the perfect color.

So away I went, using a soft rag to stain each board with 2 coats, then brushing on 2 coats of polyurethane semi-gloss. I decided to stain & poly them before re-installing around the door & window frame so I wouldn’t have to be so careful not to get any on the recently painted bathroom walls.

I had to cut down the window trim quite a bit. As a refresher, here was the window before bathroom demo:

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Now with the tub moved, I tiled up about 3/4 the height of the window. I found this photo early on of another bathroom with a window in the rub/shower area, and decided I liked the look:

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The tile ends and the woodwork finishes around the upper part of the window just like if it were any other window frame in the house. Of course my house doesn’t have bulls-eye rosettes, but I followed the same idea using the craftsman trim in my house.

bath window trim rough

I am still on the fence about the stained wood look in the bathroom. It’s a little old school but I like how masculine it looks. Granted these photos were taken at night so the lighting isn’t great, but the woodwork does help make the walls look navy and not black. And I still have to fill the little holes made by the trim nailer. I found this photo when I was looking for bathroom inspiration, and this contrast is the look I’m after:

dark with wood

Perhaps if I throw in some pale green towels & artwork as accent color, it will start to feel perfect. Until then, I’m still admiring how far the bathroom has come – and trying not to think back on how long it has taken.

bath window before after

 

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