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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Foyer Finale!

To recap this portion of my challenge, here are the goals for my first room, the Foyer:

  • Add color 
  • Organize the closet 
  • Build a bench 
  • Change lighting
  • Do all this by Christmas and with a budget of no more than $300.00. 

  What follows is the end result:





  • Flooring - I searched quite a few stores and online for an area rug and ended up getting two.  Both came from Target for under $20 each.
  • Art - A painting done by my daughter in an old IKEA frame and an Asian print I had in my basement.
  • Wall Decor - An antique ironwork piece found at an antique store in Indiana for $18, plus a basket I bought for $1.
  • Plants - Brought the geranium and asparagus fern in from outside.
  • Wreath - I looked and looked for a wreath under $35, but didn't find one, of course.  So I made it from the Magnolia leaves from our backyard tree, pine cones from our lake cottage, and wood shavings from our basement work shop.  Woodstock, our cat, helped!

I didn't need that box of leaves!

I  started with a styro-foam wreath form, wrapped it in scrap fabric, added 3-4 leaves at a time around the front, then around the side, and finally hot glued pine cones around the center and a few pieces of rolled wood shavings between the leaves.

I used floral pins to hold the leaves

The Bench Cushion

I sewed this cushion up with such focus, I forgot to take pictures of the progress.  It is about 47 by 16 inches with a 3 inch foam slab.  I thought about putting cording around it, but didn't have enough material.  In the end, it still looks good to me!

The Budget

I did it under budget, on time, and I'm really happy with the change in the look and the added functionality.  I hope this inspired someone to take a chance to make a big impact in a small area of their home.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!   
Hope you'll be back next year to see 
the start of room 2 of this challenge.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Foyer - An Ugly Duckling Turned Into a Swan

In previous posts I mentioned I was mad at the bi-fold doors.  Not any more.  Here is a bit of background on the mistakes I made with the doors, starting with cutting them down to fit.

When you cut down hollow core doors, you end up with a space to fill.  The cut worked out just fine.

I used a scrap piece of plywood that was not strong enough or long enough to cover the hole.  The result was a cracked piece of wood after I tried to install the door.

I ripped down a sturdier piece of wood the exact measurement of the opening and patiently waited for the glue used to affix the wood to the door to dry.

Now for the transformation process: I used a painting technique I successfully used in the past on my kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen cabinets
Basic steps:
  1. Sand and prime the wood with paint (Dover White - Sherwin Williams)
  2. Stipple on Copper Mountain paint (also Sherwin Williams)
  3. Apply Gel Stain (Color: Walnut) letting gel set in the crevices.
  4. Apply 3 coats of clear polyurethane.

For my bi-fold doors, I used the same white paint I used on the bench (see prior post - A Tale of True Love) as a primer.  I then stippled on the same paint used on the closet walls - Spicy Hue (see prior post - Paint, Architecture and Organization).  Stippling is a technique where you use an almost dry brush and pounce it on the surface you are working with.

Partially done
Stippling result

The next step was to apply the Gel Stain.  I did and the UGLY DUCKING emerged.  If you want my reaction - turn your sound on and click on this link:

Here's a tip - Use plastic or rubber gloves when staining.  It took a while to get my nails as 'clean' as they look here!

I was very mad at the doors - okay, I was mad at myself and not sure why they didn't turn out as nice as my kitchen cabinets.  I didn't give up, but I did wait a day or so before working on them.  I gave the doors a light sanding, then brushed on the 'Spicy Hue' color with my fluffy stippling brush.  After that dried, I applied the gel stain.  This time the result was really nice.  I was excited because the end was in sight regarding these doors.  The only problem was that I felt I needed to go through all the bad and the good steps in order to ensure that the second set of bi-fold doors turned out exactly the same!  I did it all again.

Loving it!
A new knob
 The end result - a Swan!
The main architecture and furniture in my Foyer is now complete.  In upcoming post(s), I'll be showing you the accessories, the finished product, and my budget to date as this first portion of the challenge comes to a close.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Foyer - A tale of true love!

In my last post, I mentioned I was mad at the bi-fold doors.  We have not yet made up, so this post is on the hall tree/bench I made.  I'll get back to the doors in another post.  On the other hand, the Bench and I are a bit in love!  It has turned out to be quite useful and, in my opinion, an artistic piece of furniture.

How we met:  I was on one of my usual treasure hunts at the Habitat Restore when I found them - Tall, Dark, and Handsome.  What more could a girl ask?  Oh, they were a bit rough around the edges...some paint peeling, some screw holes from missing brackets which held the frame together, some scratches, and some cracks, but I saw through all that.  I saw a bench for the foyer.  Each shutter was 67 inches tall and 16.25 inches wide.  They were so heavy, I could hardly carry one at a time.  The price was right at only $2 each.  I took 6 home with me.

Our first date: 

After filling some of the large gaps with wood putty, some light sanding, and cleaning up in the garage, I brought the shutters to the basement.  The first thing I did was join 3 of them with some scrap 1 X 2 wood.  The shutters were not completely straight, so I needed to put a vise on the ends while I screwed them together.  (No innuendos here!)

Next - Stood up:

Well of course, my new love did not stand me up - I stood him up!  I added the sides after cutting two shutters to the height I wanted - 31 inches.  I could have cut them about 27 inches long which was the length of the short panel end, but I thought at the time it would be good to have the center wood strip on the panel to screw in the bottom of the bench.  I knew I wanted to leave room under the bench to slide in a boot tray, so this left me with about a 4 inch clearance.  I also planned to only screw through the wood from the back or bottom so that I did not have to try to hide the screw heads.

Difficulties in the relationship:

There were a couple of obstacles to overcome.  The first I was fully aware of.  This was going to be BIG and we have a small staircase with one 90 degree turn at the bottom as well as a turn to get around to the kitchen at the top.  My plan was to screw all the pieces together without glue so I could see the finished unit, then remove screws to bring it upstairs.   I ended up putting so many screws in by the time I got the bottom on, that I decided to just remove what I had to and get it upstairs to complete it.

Another obstacle, was putting the bottom on where I wanted it.  Remember I put a scrap piece of wood on the back to hold it together.  At the time, I thought I put it in a good place, but I realized it was in the way of where I wanted to screw in the bottom.  The bottom is actually in two pieces cut from the other end of each shutter I used for the sides.  There are some metal brackets that were on the shutters holding the frame on which were in the way.  I tried to remove them, but the screws were stripped.  I decided to attach the bottom below two of the brackets in the back which was in  line with a bracket toward the front.  Since I couldn't remove the bracket and couldn't screw through it, I used an 'L' bracket under the bottom.  I realized using 'L' brackets there and under the seat allowed me to keep screws basically hidden.

A few adjustments...
and the bottom is on!
Not his best side, but we are out of the basement now.

A flaw was revealed once I brought the bench upstairs and moved him into his new home, the Foyer.  (They always reveal their true selves after they move in, don't they?)  I discovered that I cut the left side piece on a slant at the bottom.  It was 31.5 inches in the back and 31 inches in the front.  When we were in the basement, I was working near the floor drain where the floor slopes downward; so, when I noticed the space under the one side, I dismissed the idea that my cut needed to be fixed and didn't bother remeasuring before continuing.  How does that saying go?  Measure twice, cut once?  I already put all the pieces together, including the top of the seat which was cut from the center of the last shutter.  I like symmetry.  So I purchased some screw on glides and added one to level the piece.  When you love someone you look beyond the flaws.

A changed man...I mean bench:

I had no intention of keeping the bench green.  I sprayed a coat of white paint, then brushed on a coat of the same since the sprayer stopped working on me.  I used a $10 gallon of some soft shade of white I got at the Habitat Restore.  I forgot that I wanted to keep the cubby holes under the seat green, so I pulled out our cottage paint and painted the cubbies 'secret garden' green.  Pretty close to the original color.

I sanded the white off all the edges to reveal the green below.  I wanted an aged look.  I may do a bit more sanding before I'm done.  I am also thinking of covering it all in a polyurethane/stain mix to brown up the white a bit. 

And now for a ring...or some bling in the form of two antique crystal door knobs.  We have had these for years.  Now they will serve as a knob to hang guests' coats, hats, whatever.

The upcoming marriage!

I thought I'd be ready to march up that aisle after adding a seat cushion, but my creative assistant (my daughter, Harmony) said something very wise.  It is one thing to have a functional piece that looks like it is made from shutters and another thing to have some furniture that just happens to be made from shutters.  To make this bench look less like the former, I will be adding some trim on the bottom to mask the 'cut off' look on the bottom sides and to cover the front corners which will conceal (I hope) the glide I needed to level the bench.  Some additional trim on the ends of the back will hide the scrap wood that keeps it together.

I'll be putting the final touches on this bench to bring it all together in the upcoming days.  Come back in two weeks for more on this, those dang bi-fold doors, and more.

This is dedicated to my dear husband, Don, who is the only man for me!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Foyer - Paint, Architecture, and Organization

I've been thinking about redecorating my foyer for the last month or so.  I know I want to build a bench from the old green shutter panels I bought for $2 each.  I know I want to replace the curtain on the closet with bi-fold doors that have some character.  I know I want a rich color on at least the wall everyone sees when they come in.  And the inside of my closet needs some major organization.

Whenever I start a project, aside from determining my budget, I assess what is going to stay, what will leave, and what will I change.  For the foyer, I already have flooring I like.  It is porcelain tiles in very good shape.  I'm not planning on changing out the entry door and I don't plan on changing the color of the base board molding since it is the same throughout the living room and most other rooms of the house.  This, in part, will drive my color scheme.  I have some material I purchased a few years ago when I bought my living room couch.  I will finally be able to use it to make a cushion for the bench.  It provides me with several rich colors to pick from to enhance my bland background.

So serious!
After 2 coats of paint

A Painting we will go!  The color is called 'Spicy Hue'.   It's a shade from the Sherwin-Williams color deck I purchased a few years ago for about $21.  I use it often to decide on color schemes.  Home Depot just programmed the color number into their computer and out came my color in Behr paint.  (Sorry Sherwin!)

Preparation is everything.  I have the majority of my materials on hand.  I've laid out all the shutters, door panels, and shelving boards in the garage so that I can paint and stain as needed in a fairly ventilated area.

Materials gathered for paint and other treatments.

On to organizing that closet.  Remember the before picture?
Before painting
Before this project started

I took inventory of everything I wanted to store in this closet, then decided what containers I needed to hold everything.  I added a shelf above the current one and one below.  I bought some canvas open containers to hold hats, scarves, gloves, etc.  I found a great deal at Shopko for 4.99 each.  I added a vertical divider to house the coat hooks my other family members like so much.  I painted the back of the closet, the vertical divider, and the top shelf.  I plan on staining the other horizontal surfaces for a bit of contrast.

After painting

As for adding new closet doors:  I was trying to think of creative ways to embellish my old, plain, hollow core bi-fold doors that we had saved before putting up the curtain.  I could paint them, wallpaper them, add decorative molding, paste material on list was all over the place.  I really wanted to find solid wood panel doors at the Habitat Restore (a.k.a  CHEAP!).  It wasn't until about 5 trips there, that I found an alternative that I could work with.  They are still hollow core, but they have a raised panel design with some faux wood grain which didn't look bad.  They cost me a total of $4.  I bought 2 new rubbed bronze door knobs there for $2 later (then had to find replacement screws to handle the depth of the door - under $1).   You get what you pay for.  I'm mad at the doors at the'll see why when I cover the work on them in my next post.

The good news...the interior of my closet is usable and nice to look at.

Hope you'll come back in two weeks to follow my progress.  All comments are welcome.  Just click on the comments link (either 'no comments' or '# comments' depending on how many are there).