Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cabinet Doors

When we moved into the new house we weren't wild about the kitchen cabinet doors. They had trim on them which caused the hardware to be mounted in an odd location. In addition, we prefer the look of shaker style doors. Dave took the trim off and belt-sanded the doors.

He used 3/4" finishing nails to add 2-1/2" wide poplar strips (off the shelf at Lowes/HD) to the door faces.

Then he put wood filler where the new poplar pieces met the existing door.

He also added poplar pieces of the same thickness to our drawer fronts so they would be the same thickness as the doors. The bin pulls are discontinued Pottery Barn ones that we found for $5 each on Ebay. We will be putting the labels in soon.

With the open shelving and the new cabinet doors our kitchen is beginning to take shape!



Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Do a Little Jig

Hi everyone! This is Dave. Rachel wanted me to post about the beadboard and shelving we installed in the kitchen.

The beadboard paneling was not only intended to look nice on it's own, it was also a fantastic solution to the fact that the drywall paper was ripped up and would need to be refinished if we just added shelving and raised the cabinets over the fridge.

Beadboard / Paneling:
Your beadboard project will be a success if you can't tell where the seam between panels is located.
- Always have the vertical seam between your panels be at a stud. That means you may have to cut off up to 15" from your 48" board width, but it's worth it. If you don't cut your panels to land on a stud, your vertical seam can open up over time depending on the humidity in your house.
- Make sure your panels are level. I forgot to do this. I just placed it on the countertop and nailed away but, fortunately, it was level. If it's not level, your panel lines will not be vertical and it will cause big problems as you add more sheets.
- The particular beadboard we used was not pressboard. Our application was a kitchen, so we wanted something that could withstand a moist environment. We found a board that is essentially layered plywood which will hold up better over time. That said, there were a considerable amount of bumps and roughness at the lap joint that I had to clean out with a chisel to make sure when I overlapped sheets, one didn't get pushed out farther than the other (and give away where the seam is!)

- Caulk is your friend, but don't over do it. It's much easier to come back and add more caulk than try to remove excess caulk.
- Be liberal with panel glue.

- Nail effectively but don't over-do it. You'll have to come back and fill all your nail holes.
- A Roto-zip is a worthy investment if you do a lot of projects like this, but not absolutely necessary. We bought it at our last house for cutting out the drywall around outlet boxes. It was worth its weight in gold for that application. Cutting out for outlets and switches it definitely a time to remember the "Measure twice, cut once" axiom. If you don't get that hole close to your outlet box, that's a sheet of paneling down the drain. Don't be afraid to cut it a little small if you don't mind enlarging it as necessary to fit around the outlet. Don't forget to make sure your circuit breakers are cut off to all your outlets. Most modern homes are required to have at least two breakers for your kitchen countertop area.

Brackets / Shelving:
We decided to make our own brackets. We were struggling to find a bracket we liked the look of but that was also stout enough to support kitchen shelving. The few that we did like cost over $6 a piece. So, in the end we decided to make our own; we were able to customize the look, ensure they were strong enough, and the brackets ended up being about $1.50 each. Because we were making 12 brackets, I decided to make the jig seen below:

To make the jig, I made one bracket the hard way: clamped the pieces, glued and screwed them together. This involved a lot of time and energy to get the bracket to look right. Once I had my bracket "template" I set it down on the piece of plywood you see above and nailed small blocks of wood in enough places to hold the three pieces of the bracket while I screwed them together. It took me over an hour to make the first bracket and the jig, but once that was complete I was able to assemble each bracket in less than 5 minutes. Life was good.

We used 3" screws to attach the cleat to the studs and 2" screws to attach the brackets to the cleat. We countersunk all the screws. This allowed us to apply wood filler over all of them so all the fasteners are hidden but the bracket is still firmly attached.

The shelves are 3/4" thick pine boards. The choices are pretty slim when looking for boards 9+ feet long and 12" wide, but this worked out well. We bought the "fancy," select pine, as it has fewer knots. We then applied poplar 1" x 2" trim (same material as the brackets) around the perimeter of the shelves to (1) provide the shelves with more presence, and (2) help remove some of the cupping of the 12" wide boards.  The wood for all the brackets and shelves ended up being costlier than we thought, but when you consider all the money saved by having no hardware (hinges, knobs/pulls) it's still solidly more cost effective, not to mention quicker, than building traditional cabinetry.

The Lettered Cottage

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Open Shelving Adventure

Not long after we moved in to the new house we decided to get rid of the upper kitchen cabinets and try something new. As always, we were super slow with the process so our kitchen ended up looking like this for a while until we saved up the money for the supplies we needed.

To draw the eye upward with vertical lines (and because it's pretty) we decided to use bead board behind our open shelving area.

We (Dave) put wood strips on the walls and screwed them into the studs. That way we could place our brackets where we wanted and screw them into the wood. Otherwise we would be limited to mounting them at the odd stud locations.

We looked around at shelf brackets but didn't find anything we really liked. It was also hard to find anything under around $6.00, and we were working on a tight budget. I showed Dave a photo of the look I liked and he thought he could re-create it. He made a jig (he'll have to post on how to do this) and ended up making our brackets for under $1.50 each. I love this man.

I also love the herb nesting crates that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas. We, of course, got that idea from The Lettered Cottage.

...and here is the somewhat finished product.

We painted the lower cabinets black and took the doors off to re-style them. I will post on that soon!

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
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A Friday In Charleston

We decided to take a break from our house projects last Friday and head into Charleston.

Dave got off work early and we spent some time at Waterfront Park. Our daughter enjoyed the pier.

The weather was perfect. It's nice to have this mild weather since we know summer will be super hot and muggy. We snapped a few photos on our way to dinner at The Noisy Oyster.

It's fun to live near such a beautiful and historic city. I feel like we get to take tiny vacations when we need a break. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Seeing the Light

Before we moved into the house, we made a few small changes. We had a painter come in and paint our living room and bedroom (Passive by Sherwin Williams) since the ceilings were so tall. Dave scraped the popcorn off the under side of the catwalk and the skylights (eek!) as well as in our dining room and nursery. We would have loved to do the whole house but we didn't have the time to refinish all the drywall ourselves and the quote we got for the living room alone was $2,000. So, we are learning to live with popcorn and decided to tackle the rooms/areas where it was most damaged/hideous.

One of our first big DIY projects was hanging a chandelier in the living room. I wanted to soften the room and it desperately needed more light! There are few good places for lamps with all the doorways and lack of outlets in the floor and there was no overhead lighting. Because of the trees in the backyard and the screened-in porch blocking the light through the back windows, the room gets little natural light even with the skylights.

I was worried we wouldn't be able to afford a chandelier large enough to fit the space. However, one day I stumbled into the Charleston Lighting and Interiors store in Summerville. In addition to their beautiful showroom they have three large rooms full of floor model/discontinued Quoizel lighting from stores all over the country! We scored a massive chandelier for $200.

Now the only issue was getting a ladder large enough to hang the chandelier.

Enter massive rental ladder.

I mean really huge. This shot shows what you could see under our catwalk, which is the equivalent of one story.

It was extremely hard to get that ladder in and out without doing major damage to the walls but we managed it. It was also super scary watching Dave scale the ladder and carry the chandelier...but in the end it was worth it.

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating