Entries Tagged as 'DIY projects'

Fun times in floor refinishing



After one heck of a weekend of cutting, rolling hauling and dumping old carpeting  everything was swept and prepped and ready bright and early Monday morning for the floors to be refinished. Yup, it was a tight squeeze but we did it,  with the help of a couple hardworking friends that work for beer and pizza. You can see how we cut, rolled, hauled and dumped here.

Arriving bright and early as promised came a trailer equipped with workers, sanders, stain and hoses for a virtually dust free, fume free, floor sanding experience.

They started by filling  any old holes and deep scratches in the floor with stain-able wood filler, then started sanding the perimeter of the living room. Then they made a couple passes using the large belt sander with first coarse sand paper than a finer version. Their sanders were hooked up to large hoses that fed outside to their trailer where a large vacuum containment system waited to suck most of the dust out of the house.  These guys were serious.

A couple of hours later what once had been  old, dirty white carpeting a mere 2 days earlier had been prepped, filled and sanded to perfectly blond smooth pristine hardwood floors.

This rooms gets TONS of light streaming into it from a combination of southern exposure and two sliding glass doors. We wanted a rich, dramatic and sophisticated look and felt that dark floors would be just perfect. We chose Minwax wood stain in Red Mahogany. One coat of stain was all it took to transform the floors into the rich dark floors  combined with the hint of red is just what we were hoping for.

After waiting a bit for the stain to dry the guys came back with 2 coats of a water based top coat, that dried to a perfect satin finish. We loved the fact that it was water based, fast drying and has less odor than a typical top coat. We especially love how the satin finished turned out. Often, dark floors tend to show dust and scratches more than light floors, the satin finish minimizes the appearance of dust and scratches that accumulate over time . We think they turned out fantastic and totally transformed the living room.

The first change



So we bought a house back in November 2009, since then we’ve been busy updating things around the house. The first big project we tackled was to rip up the old white carpet and have the original hardwood floors refinished underneath.

We were super excited when we discovered hardwood underneath the dingy white carpets during our home inspection. Keeping our fingers crossed that the entire floor once uncovered was in good enough shape to refinish, we began the working on a plan. We felt that having the floors complete before we moved all the furniture upstairs would be the best option due to the inherent mess and dust that comes with that sort of project.

So we began planning our options, first we considered refinishing the hardwood floors ourselves, but after considering the small window in time we wanted them complete and the other various projects , we decided it be best to get some professional quotes. With a professional we could have it done ASAP and move onto anyone of our other planned projects we had…like finding our clothes so we could stop washing and re-wearing the same pair of jeans over and over again.

We called a number of local places to receive quotes, we settled on one contractor that used a “Dust Containment System and a non-toxic finish that would dry in 3-4 hours. We made a deal with the contractor for us to do the labor to pull up the carpets and staples to save on some money  and for $1.50 a square foot or about $1,500 we would have sanded, stained and sealed floors with one day labor a mere 3 days after we closed on our first house! wohoo!

Now came the hard part…actually attempting to paint and pull up the carpeting in the whole house over the weekend before the contractor was set to arrive on MONDAY!

The husband with the help of some dedicated hardworking friends started to pull up the carpeting in the living room, two bedrooms and hallway the day after we closed on our house.

Bryan and friends began by cutting up the old carpet into strips and rolling up the pieces to haul them outside to dump.

Now that all the dingy white carpet had been cut, rolled, hauled and dumped we were left with the carpet tacking strips around the perimeter of all the rooms. Once we got a look at all the tack strips left behind we had some serious reconsidering on how smart it was to do this ourselves. There were THOUSAAANDS of tiny tacks that had to be pulled out by hand not to mention the white powder that lay underneath from the break down of the carpet padding and dirt that works it’s way though the carpet over the years.

The carpet tack strips are pieces of wood about 1 inch wide they are nailed to the floor and have highly-sharp tacks protruding out of them at about a 60 degree angle. The strips are what holds the carpeting down and tight around a room and stops it from wrinkling.

So, after hours and hours of the guys pulling tacks and strips out of the floor (I was exempt from this one since I was 5 months pregnant at the time) they were swept and prepped ready for the floor re-finishers to come and transform them!

Here’s the Before of the living room during our home inspection with the last owner’s furniture and carpeting.

Now here’s the After shot, a few things to move and we’re all ready to rock and roll and refinish.

Good job dear!

Great deck escape, outdoor sectional plans



There’s a certain time every year that I start to get a bit fidgety. It comes the same time every year after the bustle of the holidays have sufficiently left my memory and the novelty of snow and ice has worn thin.

It’s usually about this time I start to plan some projects and count the weeks till the first sign of Spring in the Northeast. This year I want to start on our deck. It’s the spot we spend the most time during the Spring and Summer . It was probably THE deciding factor on the purchase of this house. I love sitting there in the morning to look out on our view below.

The previous owners were kind enough to leave us some furniture on our deck, but it’s not quite what I envision for ultimate sit, relax, drink a cup of coffee,  read a magazine type lounging space. In my mind I’ve always envisioned something along the lines of the Chesapeake Sectional below from Pottery Barn.

But at around $2,000 for the sectional I can’t bring myself to spend that kind of money.  That’s where Ana White comes in. She’s inspired me with her easy to use Simple Modern Outdoor Sectional Plans.  I plan to tweak the plans a bit to some up with a look similar to the Chesapeake Sectional from Pottery Barn by adding back slats.

I’ve done some initial searching around on how to make outdoor cushions once the sectional is complete. While the weather’s still crappy and I can sit inside and make them.  I have to say I was surprised on the price of outdoor foam  It looks to be around $140 for a 4″ x 49″ x 50″ piece of outdoor foam. But I think it’ll pay in the long run when I’m not schlepping the cushions in every night to keep them from getting wet. I still need to do some looking/measuring/figuring before I decide on a final course of action and price out my alternatives.

I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

Harvest time!



There’s a long list of reasons why I like grow vegetables in the garden but I think one of the top reasons is the satisfaction of picking what you’ve grown and making something wonderful to eat.

This year the plan was to build raised beds. When I say “we” I’m speaking in generalities of course. I do not cut wood for fear that I might chop a finger off and have to go rushing to the hospital with my finger in a bucket of ice, tears streaming, mascara running, hyperventilating, whimpering mess. It’s better to avoid situations like these. So in my best interest and best interest of my family members I stay away from saws and stick to the tools where I can’t do great bodily injury to myself or others.

Once we made sure all of our fingers and toes were accounted for and the wood was built.  We placed the beds in a great sunny spot in the yard overlooking the lake. Planting our garden to the max with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants and green beans…Yum!

We’ve cared for and loved them everyday

They’ve grown into monsters with the most delicious, juicy, mouth watering, straight off-the-vine goodness.

There’s something about the smell of tomato plants that is just scrumptiously summer.

I hear them calling

They cry out “pick me pick me”

I think we’re going to have some vegetable deliciousness tonight.

I think it’s time to start canning…if only I knew how.

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