Vintage Door for the Kitchen

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I wanted to pop on here and write a quick post about our kitchen door.  This has been a project 3 years in the making and I’m so happy to see this door every day.  It feels like it’s been there a lot longer and it’s funny how a small change like this has had such a big impact.  It makes our island pop due to the contrast with the green.  It even makes our granite sing…I can’t even explain that one.  I definitely would not rate this DIY project as easy (at least not the whole making it function/swing) but the majority of it was just tedious, simple work – me just listening to podcasts while I sand the night away.

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We purchased the door off of facebook marketplace.  I’ve been looking for over 2 years and I’ve had a couple doors slip through my fingers.  In our area, not a lot of vintage doors come up for sale and finding one I loved but was also the exact measurements I needed seemed kind of impossible.  But….finally, I found one with almost the exact measurements I needed (it’s actually just a little short – 1/4 inch…can’t get much better).  It wasn’t exactly what I had pictured in my mind but I felt like it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

The door was in overall good shape physically but had been stained an unhappy orangish tone and painted one time on the kitchen side.  I used citristrip to strip the paint using the Saran Wrap method and waiting about 24 hours.  I then did a second round and waited another 24 hours.

It worked well and after cleaning it up with some mineral spirits I was left w/ a stained (but paint-free!) door.  After letting it thoroughly dry out for a few days I began to sand away the stain unsure of what the raw wood would really look like.  This was a ridiculous process honestly because in my mind it would take me 3-4 hours of heavy sanding.  In total I would guess it was in the 10-20 hour range and that’s really not even completely sanding down the other side which could still use a little work.  I bought a new sander for the project and lots of cheap sandpaper refills (mouse, orbital) for both of my sanders.  I started out with 40/60 grit and then once I got most of it off I started to gradually jump up in grit and finished w/ 240.  Surprisingly, I found that 120-180 grit seemed to actually get the most off so I spent a lot of time in that range.  After I was done with my sanders I then had to sand by hand all the detail work.  And that took a LONG time.

Even now, I could probably sand for several more hours especially in the corners near the glass where it seemed to soak up more stain but enough was enough and I broke down and moved on.  You’ll notice some areas of the door especially on the horizontal piece that runs near the doorknob that it looks like it needs more sanding.  I spent a long time on those areas and they are actually palpably recessed and yet, still need more sanding.  In the end, I chalked it up to “it’s an old door and it’s not perfect and I’m ok with that.”

We then hung the door.  I wish it were as simple as that sentence.  It was an ordeal and my only real tips to others would be to start out mortising your hinges so that they are just flush with the door.  I made the mistake of using the existing depth of the mortises from antique hinges and matching that even though the hinges I used were more shallow.  It took a lot of fine tuning and we used stacks of computer paper cut out to the shape of the hinge to bump it out (I know, silly).

I played around with stains and opted for a 50/50 mix of Minwax puritan pine and pickled oak.  Once I got everything coated I realized it was overall too orange and too contrasted.  I took pickled oak (the color of milk) and added it to all of the redder areas and then ended up doing at least 1 coat of pickled oak to everything.  I knew I wanted an antique vibe and light enough so that the door looked different from our flooring and not some attempt to match it.  In the end, I love the color and think I got it just right.

After I stained the door I used my favorite matte poly and a foam brush and gave the door 1 coat.  I’ve used several different polys that were no good – this one is legit. It doesn’t change the look/finish at all – it looks like I never touched it – and yet, I know it’s protected.

Then came time to thoroughly clean the glass.  If I could do it over again I would’ve taped my glass off sooner but instead I taped it when I stained.  It had citristrip and all kinds of gunk on it.  But no worries – some goo gone and scrubbing followed by windex and it was back to its former glory – which included some scratches from its former owner.  The plan from the start would’ve been to have some lovely textured glass in the door but I knew it was going to cost $100 just for the glass and installing it myself made me nervous.  I stumbled upon a company that makes glass film and they had a bunch that were made to look like textured glass.  I bought about 15 samples for $10.  I picked out “drops” and ordered 3 feet (about $50 w/ the shipping).  Both times I ordered from this company it took 2 days or less to receive the product which was awesome.

I installed the film according to their video on their website.  The only thing I did differently was I cut the film on the other side of the credit card because I didn’t want to cut it too small.  However, that was difficult and left the piece a little too large and wanting to bubble up at the edges.  By the last piece I finally figured out the secret – cut it one way for 2 sides and the other way for the other 2 sides which kind of gives you the perfect size.  The film looks great except one thing: the middle piece was done using the film facing the opposite way and there is a noticeable difference because there is a subtle pattern.  It’s noticeable to me but I bet most people won’t notice it – or at least I’m telling myself that for now

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Installing the deadbolt was a cinch since the size of the existing hole was just right.  The door knob took a little more work since the hole was not big enough.  We used this template from amazon and it worked like a dream.  I chiseled out the strike plate holes from the door jamb (and then had to fill in some spots since I am a messy chiseler).

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I have been dreaming about that clock for a long time but the price tag made me wait.  I told my husband to get it for me for Mother’s Day instead of getting me something else so it’s kind of less expensive that way…ha.  I LOVE IT.  Even so much more in person.  I am such a cheapskate at heart so it’s hard for me to bite the bullet on expensive purchases but what I’m finding is that when I cut costs and get cheaper things I regret it and when I buy the thing I really want I have no regrets.  You only live once…get the expensive clock!

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Kitchen Sources

Vent Hood / Range / Faucet / Stools / Kitchen Runner / Hood Pendants / Subway Tile / Copper Colander/ Farm Table/ Copper Pendants / Wall Clock / Glass door film / deadbolt / door knob /

Dining Room & Entryway Reveal

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I’m not sure what happened between when we finished up the dining room and now but it all passed in a blur.  There was the craziness of the holidays and then the last 2 months have zipped by.  But I do know that during that time there were a lot of dance parties around that table.  It’s become a new tradition to put on a record when Dad gets home and all parade around the table.  I spin Cora, our 18 month old, and she throws her head back in absolute delight.  “Dance” is now in her limited vocabulary and she’s been known to start hip thrusting as soon as you walk into the room.  Our record collection has taken off thanks to Christmas and birthday presents and we’re not relegated to listen to the same 2 albums on repeat.  We spend a ton of time in this room and really love the transformation it’s been through.

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Now to start back at the beginning.  If I could count the minutes I spent in the dining room prior to it’s overhaul it would be quite few.  I simply did not want to spend any time there.  Perhaps it was the single light pendant that looked SO SAD or the over-sized table and hideous chairs that we moved from the old house.  Either way, it was useless and unwanted real estate.  We have a large eat-in kitchen table just off of our kitchen and so the dining room is really extra space.  I entertained the idea of changing the room completely to a sitting room or some kind of lounge space but in the end I wanted to make it a dining room that felt like a lounge space.  Somewhere to play games with friends while the kiddos played next door in the playroom.  Or a place where I could set up my laptop and do some work while the kids played during the day.  Or, eventually, a place tucked away where the kids could do some homework while I cook dinner.

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The inspiration for the room all stemmed from that beautiful floor lamp we inherited from Eric’s grandma.  It is an absolute stunner and I knew we needed to up our game to make the room fit for it.  The chandelier and the moulding in the room really play to the light and make it feel at home.

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The moulding was a labor of love and you can read all about the installation in this post.  I am so happy with how it turned out and I love that it gives this old world formality to a room that is just 2.5 years in age.  We painted the entire room from crown to quarter round in Sherwin Williams Riverway in a flat sheen.  I am quite tempted to do picture frame moulding again in another room but I’m not going to lie that it was a LOT of work and I’m not fully prepared for that yet.

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The chandelier which we ordered through 4 Chairs makes quite a statement on it’s own.  It’s large but it feels right in the space compared to the 54″ table from LexMod.  I spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for the perfect table and even got quotes from a local stone company for a 54″ round marble slab to place on a base myself.  I think I pretty much exhausted every possible marble table option including all of the rectangular ones.  I really wanted real marble but I just couldn’t do it.  Not with two little ones.  And…given that my kids have already eaten random snacks and spilled things on the table it definitely seems like I went with the right decision.  Don’t be fooled though…that artificial marble is HEAVY.  It took both me and my husband everything we had in us just to basically slow it down some as it fell onto the base.  It’s sturdy and not going anywhere.

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I wanted bistro chairs for our table because I fell in love with that look on Pinterest.  Most of the nice bistro chairs a la Serena and Lily are 200-300 bucks/chair which was way out of my price range.  There seemed to be this huge gap in quality to get a cheaper chair and instead of actual rattan you’d get plastic.  NOT the look I wanted.  I found these chairs from Pier 1 and they are real rattan AND a great price AND STRIPES.  And I can’t say no to STRIPES.

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That mid century modern dresser was a facebook marketplace find.  FACT: If I see a good deal on a MCM dresser I will convince my husband to buy it even if I have no idea where I’m putting it.  This one in particular was being sold by an older lady for $125 who had no idea what she had.  She told me, “I’ve never had so many people respond to something”.  HA.  The good news is out of everyone, apparently I messaged her first.  We had to pick it up from her house which was literally down a long gravel road in the middle of nowhere to which I told my husband, “I love you.  I hope we don’t get murdered.”  Pretty sure I tell him that with every craigslist/marketplace pick up.  Fortunately, this lady did not murder us and was actually super cute and let my son pet her chickens.  The dresser is in great shape but honestly needs a little wax or something of which I have not figured out quite yet.  If you have a product you love for this – do tell!

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The record player is on loan from my brother who was a DJ (the wicky-wicky kind, NOT the wedding kind) for a brief stint in high school.  It’s way nicer than what I was going to buy and was just sitting in my parent’s house while he’s in Germany.  I do give it a little wicky-wicky love every now and then just to help it relive it’s former glory.  Did you know record players have no way to amplify sound?  I didn’t.  We bought the speakers and set them up and it played the quietest music ever.  So then we also bought this little amplifier which brings it up to human levels.  The acrylic record stand helps hold our favorites.  I use the record player ALL THE TIME.  It’s super convenient to throw on a record while we’re in the playroom or while making dinner.

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The Richmond reproduction map was one of the first things I bought for the house and lived in the kitchen for its first 2 years.  I still love it just as much as the day I bought it.  Also, because this wall is opposite to the windows anything with glass would have glared too badly but the subtle sheen on the map is just perfect.

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I really struggled with the back wall because it was craving some giant piece of artwork.  And I pinned about a hundred different massive artwork photos on Pinterest.  But achieving the look I wanted would have been costly and I couldn’t find a piece that I could see myself never tiring of.  So until I find that perfect piece, enter these budget-friendly frames from Target.  I picked some of my favorite travel photos and in Lightroom I just played around with the editing until I got a cohesive look that I liked.  This ended up being the vintage preset with a -64 saturation.

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I debated for a while whether I really wanted curtains or not but in the end I felt like it needed something light and airy to help add some brightness to the room especially after the sun went down.  These curtains from IKEA are simple but super budget friendly.

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The plates between the windows I collected on our trip to Italy in 2016.

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The entryway splits the area between the play room and the dining room and it also got a major facelift last year.  I added board and batten and removable wallpaper.  I painted the board and batten white but lately have been thinking it would look great in a putty color.  I may paint the front door and the French doors a charcoal/black.

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Thanks for reading!  Sources are tagged below 🙂

Wall Color: SW Riverway (flat)

Baseboards / Crown / Picture Rail / Chair RailPicture Frame Moulding

Table / ChairsChandelier / Curtains Richmond Map / Speakers / Wooden Artist’s Figure / Record Holder / Large Pink Vase / Floor Lamp (vintage) / Plant Stand (craigslist)

Entryway

removable wallpaper / pendant / mirror

Picture Frame Molding in the Dining Room

Designers will say that a good room may have 1 or 2 moments and that the rest of the design takes a backseat.  Well, the dining room has like 8 moments.  🙂  Restraint isn’t exactly my forte but this room is FUN.  I want to spend time in it just to be in it.

Let’s start with the trim.  It makes the room.  I’m so happy with how it turned out!  It looks better than I ever imagined.  I spent so long researching to try to figure out exactly what I wanted and I have to say – I think I nailed it.  Pun fully intended.

So after I did a ton of research and figured out what I wanted I went ahead and mapped out some of my pieces and then I started to tally up the cost of the supplies…and uh oh.  I started to do the math and things were not looking good.  At this point, I was committed to following through so we went for it anyway.  I lost track of how much we paid for all of the supplies for this room (we went at least 4x to get more trim) but it’s somewhere in the $500-$800 range.  Yes, that is just the price of all the trim.  Are you surprised?  I know I was.  I figured I would pay a couple hundred bucks.  Now, that does include baseboard and crown and if you already have those in your room that would be a big cost savings since those are the most expensive moldings that I used.

I feel like it’s important to be upfront about the cost of this project because it definitely wasn’t a drop in the bucket.  If I had known how expensive it was going to be, I probably would have decided against doing this so in some ways I’m glad I didn’t know because I LOVE it so much.

Alright, let’s go back in time.  Here’s our dining room on moving day.  We saved money by opting for a pendant instead of a chandelier (which we knew we’d eventually replace).  This is before we got the carpet removed.  

Womp womp.  Let’s go way back in time – oh my gosh, Flynn was so tiny…

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And here’s the dining room for the first 2 years in the house.  The table and chair set we bought cheap at Haynes when we bought our first house.  This was back when espresso stain was all the rage.  Shortly after this photo I sold the set on facebook marketplace.  The rug was a hand me down and was the rug we used in our family room in our first home.  img_3537.png

Do you see that floor lamp in the back though?  That’s an antique victorian stye gas lamp converted to electric.  We inherited it from Eric’s grandma and it is a showstopper.  Her home was full of amazing antiques, tall ceilings and ornate moldings and it fit right in – in our house it looked out of place but I knew one day we could give it the room it deserved.  That was my starting point for this room and it really helped me along the way with every decision because I could always go back to the lamp and say what makes more sense for it?  Other than that my vision for the room was a cool Parisian restaurant.  I never want a room to feel “theme-y” but it definitely helps to have an idea of what I want because otherwise I have such a hard time making decisions.

Alright, first step was taking out that sad 3.25″ baseboard and replacing it with the same 5.25″ baseboard we installed in the mudroom.

We also installed a chair rail at 34.5 inches from the floor (to the top of the rail).  There was some indecision about how to install the chair rail near door/window trim.  Real deal chair rail typically has a return cut as you really should never have an exposed end of a trim BUT for the sake of time (and my sanity) we butted them right into the trim instead.  We figured once it was all painted to match it wouldn’t be noticeable enough to matter.  And ok, it does still bother me slightly but I have seen tons of rooms since that did exactly what we did and I feel pretty good about that.  Oh and we may have installed the chair rail upside down…  Common consensus from google was that the more protruding area of the chair rail is the top buttttt it wasn’t really that clear cut as apparently no one knows which way is up and we accidentally installed the longest piece upside down (with glue!) and after about a minute of pondering I thought ehhhh…no big deal.  I think I like the way we installed it better and I’m sticking with that!

Let’s talk spacing.  I used a cut piece of chair rail which is exactly 3 inches wide and was about 2 feet long.  I took my piece of chair rail and butted it right up to my trim and ran my pencil along.  That way I had the outline for my picture frames.  It was GENIUS.  I didn’t really plan it but stumbled upon it and dang, it worked like a charm.

We used our nail gun for all horizontal trim.  Vertical trim was more complicated although for the most part there was usually a stud close enough that I could get a few nails to catch it.  I used liquid nails for all vertical pieces to give it the extra support it needed.  Only a few pieces relied on the glue only so those got taped up for a few hours until the glue held.  Smaller boxes, especially the lowers got glue on all pieces b/c they usually only caught one stud.

The placing of the picture frames was intuitive on the window wall as well as the wall with the cased opening but the other two walls were more open-ended.  I split the picture frames into 4 equal sizes and combined the 2 middle boxes on top.  I did the same thing on both walls but because of the doorway on the one wall they do appear to be different although similar in proportion.  I really think this depends on the room itself but I do think the proportions we chose work really nicely and I’ll keep that in mind if I do this in the future.

My method for each box was the same.  I first took good measurements of each piece needed based on the pencil on the wall.  I then went and made the cuts w/ my miter saw, erring on the side of too long.  I then would bring in all 4 pieces and dry fit them.  If a piece was good I kept it in the room and made marks on the pieces that needed another cut.  I repeated this until I felt good with all 4 pieces.  I then installed the bottom piece of the picture frame resting it on the 3 inch chair rail that I used to mark out everything.  I nailed the piece in to studs (or if only 1 stud was available and applied liquid nails).  I then installed the vertical strips, using some liquid nails.  Lastly I capped it off with the top piece and nailed that in.  Occasionally if things weren’t staying put I used some painter’s tape to help it dry the way I wanted it to but that was rare.  Here’s a video of me installing a picture frame and yes, I do wear my pajamas when I do DIY b/c why not.

Most nights after the kids went to bed I would install one or two picture frames before bed.  It was not a quick process, but it was easy and I definitely got better as I went.  The last few picture frames I cut nearly perfect on the first round.

Choosing a height for the top of our picture frames was complicated.  Most inspiration pictures I saw they used the height of the windows/door frames.  Our room has windows, a large cased opening and a smaller cased opening for the breezeway and they are ALL different heights.  So which of the 3 heights should we choose?  We decided to pick the height of the large cased opening since it was the middle of the 3.  That left us with the decision of how to approach the crown molding.  We needed to either go minimal and add a faux picture rail in between the picture frames and crown or we could go huge with the crown.  We opted for the picture rail.  And I think we chose the right thing because it looks intentional but also forgettable in the best way.

After installing everything including the crown, I added wood filler to all the nail holes and caulked every single seam.  5 tubes of caulk later and a whole lot of sanding and we were ready to paint.

At this point, my table had come and we installed the light fixture.  I had hoped choosing a paint color would be easy but of course it wasn’t.  All along I wanted a sagey grey-green.  But after picking a bunch of samples in that range I was worried it would look like a grey jail cell.  I know that’s silly but that’s all I could think of when I saw them.  Then some of the colors read “cat puke” and once you see that you can’t go back.

On a whim, in addition to all my grey greens at Sherwin Williams I picked up a sample of Riverway.  It’s that lovely dark teal in the middle.  Next to all of the greys it was a breath of fresh air and an immediate favorite.  But for about a week I tried to fall in love with something else because I was afraid of how dark it would be.  But after a while it became pretty clear that I needed to give it a try or I would never get it out of my head.

The plan was to paint the rest of the room white to keep it from getting too dark.  And so that’s what I did… this is SW Greek Villa and it’s a creamy white that has some yellow tones.

Shoutout to the MCM I bought.  I got it off Facebook marketplace for $125.  They were practically giving it away!  That’s what I told my husband anyway…

So the white paint looks quite pretty in these photos but it looked much more boring in person.  Also, it felt strange to break up the molding with different paint colors.  The other problem was that the blue reflected onto the white and gave it a greeny hue that wasn’t pleasant.  And I’m not sure if there would be a white we could choose that wouldn’t do that.  So I decided to take the plunge into full on Riverway.

Here’s the truth…it is dark.  Ok, I said it.

Butttt… It’s a dining room and it’s ok to be a little moody and dark and to have some romantic ambience. Andddd that light is really bright in a great way.  Not like blinding bright but it has a lot of globes which equals a lot of light bulbs.  So at night, it’s not dark in there because there’s a nice bright light.

But I would be lying if I said I’m 100% sure I picked the right color.  I still wonder what the room would look like lighter but I also know that paint is not permanent.  And with $100 and a weekend I could have a completely different room.  And that’s kind of exciting to me too.  But for now, Riverway it is.

The best part about Riverway is that it’s one of those crazy chameleon paint colors.  There are moments it looks blue with no hint of green.  And then some times it looks like this beautiful dark teal.  In the picture above you can see how in some places where there’s heavy natural light it loses it’s green.  So at night, it plays a completely different color and gets super moody.

Ok, now that we’ve talked all things Riverway let me go back to one little issue and that’s light switches and outlets.  I definitely want to talk about this b/c it’s one thing that I had a really hard time researching.  You will find some people that attach trim and frame out the outlet or some people will return the trim before the outlet but I really felt like both of those solutions brought even more attention to the awkwardness of it so I kind of made up my own solution.  I kept the outlet covers on and measured my picture frame molding right up to the cover.  I then cut the trim on a 31.5 deg. angle making the height of the cover the lowest point.  Fortunately all of the outlets that were a problem lined up with the picture frame molding EXCEPT ONE.  It was off my 1/4 inch.  So I decided to skew all of the picture frames on that side over to be equal to the outlet, hoping that it wouldn’t be noticeable that the spacing was different in this area and I think we’re ok.  It’s not noticeable AND a curtain also sits there so you definitely don’t notice it.  I have thought about painting the outlets themselves but they don’t really bother me so I think I’ll leave them alone at this point.

This weekend I put the finishing touches on the dining room by installing paint-matched quarter round.  I’m so happy with how it’s turned out!  I’m still finishing up the wallpaper in the entryway so I’m holding off on doing some more photos until then and then I’ll make a nice juicy post with lots of pictures of both!

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Sources:

Wall Color: SW Riverway

Baseboards / Crown / Picture Rail / Chair RailPicture Frame Moulding

Table / ChairsChandelier

Mudroom Makeover

Once the island got painted green our cute green chalkboard mudroom was majorly clashing.  Since we had to add new door trim around the pantry after taking off the existing trim to fit our sliding doors, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to add new taller baseboards and a DIY bench + hooks to increase the function of the room.

The first step was removing the old 3.25″ baseboards.  We installed these 5.25″ inch baseboards.  I wish I could snap my fingers and have these baseboards in our entire home.  Our 3.25″ baseboards are so sad looking and to put these in a home with 9 foot ceilings seems like a crime.  The bad news is that my miter saw will only cut about 4 inches so we have to use a miter box to finish the cuts for these boards but otherwise installing them is a super easy DIY.Then we brightened everything up with white paint.  Picking a white paint may be the most painful paint decision I’ve been through.  Whyyyy is it so difficult?  Why am I SO bad at it.  After painting the mudroom SW Oxford White I realized the next day it was all wrong and went back to the paint chips. I settled on SW Pure White and honestly, it’s not quite right but I’m living with it until I get the energy to tackle it again…which likely will not be in the near future.

Next up we tackled the bench.  First, we marked all of our studs and installed 1x3s along the back wall and sides, butting the sides into the back strip.  These were screwed into place.  Unfortunately our side pieces only hit 1 stud and we knew that would not be sufficient support.  So we decided to add vertical 1x3s at the edge of the side pieces to extend down to the floor.  I trimmed away the baseboard (which had unfortunately already been installed) using a plunge saw and slipped these pieces in.  We then cut an mdf panel to the size of our bench and screwed it into place through the sides and back into our 1x3s.  We tested it out and it was sturdy but it just didn’t seem like it would be enough support.  So we cut another piece of mdf and slid it exactly in the middle of the bench.  We screwed into that board through the top of the bench.  We then applied a 1×2 piece to cap the front of the bench and down the middle support and used more 1×2 to stabilize the middle piece along the floor.  I then caulked everywhere the bench met the wall and used wood filler between the pieces of wood and into the nail holes and sanded them all smooth.  Then I painted the whole thing to match our white trim.We installed this beautiful semi-flush fixture from Rejuvenation.

We then installed 5 of these hooks using drywall anchors.  Unfortunately, after using these hooks for the past 2 months several of them are already loosening up.  I think down the road we will install a board at the height of the hooks into our studs and then install the hooks directly into the board kind of similar to how we installed our sliding door hardware.  But for now, we’re surviving.

This little space is a workhorse and it’s hard to remember how we functioned without it.  I’m still looking for cute baskets to replace the ones we have had forever.  Each of the kiddos have a basket and they’re full of shoes, mittens, headbands and hats.  The space left of the middle support usually houses a few pairs of adult shoes.  Each of us (including the dog) has a hook and the plan is to only hang 2 jackets up per person (we’ll see if we can stick to the plan as colder weather rolls in).  We won’t always have a diaper bag but for now it sits comfortably on the bench.img_2043.jpg

 

Sources:

baseboards / light fixture / sliding door hardware / hooks

Sliding Pantry Doors

This post is so long an appeteaser is totally called for.  Meet our new pantry doors.

Now to get into the details of how these beautiful doors came to be.  Spoiler Alert. It wasn’t easy.

The door to our pantry has been the headache of the new house from day 1.  We knew it was going to be a problem and even before we moved in I was researching a way to alleviate the problem.

IMGP7737 IMG_8634You see the door to our pantry had to swing in because if it swung out it would hit the garage door if it was also open.Because of the shape of our pantry which is a rectangle the door would swing in and essentially cut off half of the pantry.  And you had to do this little tip-toe dance around the open door and then close the door to get to anything on that side (are you using your imagination?)

So we didn’t put a lot of things on that side of the pantry for that reason but you know – some stuff was over there and anytime I had to do that little tip-toe dance I was cursing that stupid door.

So in January I decided I had had enough.  We were going to address the issue next.  It was happening.  So on a random day I asked Eric to help me take the door off.  And immediately it was like – Ahhhh!  Glorious.  Not only did you not have to do that dance but you’d just walk right in and get exactly what you needed immediately.  Not having the door as an obstacle was NICE.  Then on a whim I was like, well this trim has to go….and ripped all that out as well.

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We could’ve just retrimmed it and left it like that but it didn’t seem finished to leave it without any kind of door.  What if you had company over and you wanted to hide your messy pantry?  I wanted the option to have something to cover it for that 1% of time but be able to not have anything in our way for the other 99% of the time.  I considered a bifold door or 2 small doors that would open in but it just seemed fussy and after seeing the light of not having anything in my way, I wasn’t going back.  A sliding door was the obvious choice.  Our wall is 8 feet wide and there isn’t enough room for a full size door to sit on either side so 2 small doors were what we needed.

You can see my pinterest board devoted to all things pantry here which has oodles of pantry door inspiration pictures.

We went in search of some cute doors to use – something vintage, something with some glass was the hope.  Our doorway was just under 33 inches so we needed doors about 18″ wide.  We went to Caravati’s in Richmond.  They have some really neat stuff – anything you can imagine which could be salvaged from an old home.  You won’t find any deals there but if you want quantity, it’s the place to go.  And being that we needed a strange size it was our best option.  So we trekked there with 2 kids in tow and searched and searched through all of the doors.  Our best (pretty much only) option was some tall shutters.  They were in rough shape – not vintage/cute rough – just rough.  They were caked in old, ugly paint and they were $150 for each one.  Agh.  We left empty handed.  I then was determined to scour craigslist options but I quickly realized I was searching for a needle in a hay stack.  Then…

WE COULD MAKE THEM!

Eric was like – huh? No.

Ya we can totally make doors!  But here’s the important part – they don’t have to actually function as doors and that’s a big deal!  We did not become carpenters overnight.

They just need to hide the pantry.  They don’t need to be structurally sound or fit perfectly in a doorway or have hinges installed.  They just need to be the right size and be thick enough that we can install sliding door hardware.  Heck, they don’t even have to look good except on 1 side.

However, I had no idea where to start.

So off to pinterest/youtube I went.  Unfortunately, most of the posts I could find showed how to add a glass piece to an already existing door or they showed how to make barn doors without glass.  And then I searched on youtube and found a whole lot of people that are actual carpenters making legit doors and I was like – yup, I definitely can’t do THAT.  There wasn’t really an in between.  I knew we could make doors without glass pretty easily.  But for some reason I got it in my head that putting glass in the door would be amazing (#blameitonpinterest) and so I was determined to find a way to make it work.  I stumbled upon these 2 blogs that helped me come up with my plan:

https://www.thehandmadehome.net/2011/03/building-a-screen-door/

https://atcharlotteshouse.com/door-score/

In the meantime we went ahead installing the hardware since we could make the door any length.

Once we received the hardware, we realized we needed to install a board to install it into since our studs didn’t line up with where the screw holes were.   IMG_7037We installed the bar and centered it over the doorway.IMG_7040How does Thomas always manage to get in the shot?

So for the door my plan was to get some kind of board the size we needed – roughly 18″ wide and it needed to be at least 80 inches tall.  I could add some trim to the door.  I could cut out a portion of the wood and add glass and support the glass w/ trim.

So out we went to the big box stores in search of some supplies and we stumbled across these 18″ wide craft boards.

These are .75 inch thick which is a good thing because that with another .75 inch thick piece of trim board got us to 1.5 inch which was a good beefy size for our hardware (it recommended <1.75″).  These are some kind of pressed wood with a thin pine veneer on all sides.  They are nice because they look good from the sides because I knew plywood would have looked odd on the sides unless we painted them.  The only negative was that they weren’t completely flat.  This proved to be a challenging thing to work with and given the chance to do this again I would probably have opted for something flatter.  As it is, our doors don’t meet up very nice in the middle as one flares out some.  Ehh.  Frustrating but heck, we made the doors – if this is the worst thing about them I can deal with it.

We then bought our trim pieces which are 1x3s (so they are actually 2.5 inches wides).  

I first cut them to size to line the sides of the doors.  We glued these down with liquid nails and followed up with the nail gun from the back of the doors into the strips.  

We waited to apply the horizontal strips because we purposely left the doors a little long in case we goofed up.

Then we attached the hardware to the doors centering them in the strips.  Unfortunately, I totally neglected to realize that the placement of the middle hardware would contact each other above the door blocking the doors from fully closing.  Yikes.  It was a huge pain in the butt correcting the issue which meant moving the hardware inward.  Also incredibly painful was trying to get the doors to hang completely straight.  It took a couple weeks for us to get it right.  Once we did, we went ahead and trimmed the bottoms of the doors off.  We then installed the top and bottom trim pieces as well as the middle piece which we decided to place exactly in the middle.

We then used a plunge saw to remove the top rectangle where our glass would go leaving about a 1/4 inch to the trim.  This way our glass could sit in the trim and would not be able to fall out the back.  Now that I had the exact measurements for the top panels I could buy the glass.

 

I went in person to a nearby glass shop to look at different textured glass and fell in love with one in particular.  I found the glass online and then found a company that sells it out of Massachusetts.  I figured I could get the glass faster this way but turns out after I ordered it they messaged me and said they were all out of the glass and would have to get it sent there before they could cut it for me.  After a long wait, the glass finally came and it fit….perfect.  Finally, we caught a little break.

While we waited on the glass to come we stained the doors.  We tested out stains and settled on Early American.  VTGNE1834I removed the hardware, sanded everything, applied a pre-stain (this is a crucial step – do not skip this) and then stained the doors.  After the doors dried completely I applied this matte polyurethane.  I also cut the trim that we would use to frame the “boxes” to size and stained and poly’d them as well.

 

Once the glass came, we attached all the trim with finishing nails.  The tricky part was that due to the thickness of the glass (3/16 in), our trim on the top halves stuck out.

 To take away some of that thickness we flipped the trim upside down on the glass and drew a line down it and then took a plunge saw and (rather dangerously) trimmed away the excess.  Our cut was nothing spectacular but fortunately you can not tell now.  Once the top trim was attached we hung the doors and then held our breath and awaited the loud crash of glass overnight but so far, so good.

Last on the list I ordered this hardware and installed it centered in the trim.Woo, that was a doozy of a post.  While this process has not been easy I am so gosh darn proud of these doors.  Are they perfect?  No, far from it.

But every time I pass them, I’m just like, DAMNNNN. Just Don’t look at the back! bahaha.

Here’s the view when we walk in from the garage every day.  YES. I know my pantry needs an overhaul.  I loathe those wire shelves….another day.

Sources: sliding door hardware / glass / handles

Kitchen Island Reveal

Want to see how we trimmed out the island?  Want to see how we picked the color to paint the island?  No?  Just here for some pretty pictures?  You’re in the right place.

Without further ado…

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See that pretty mudroom peeking out.  More to come on that soon…

IMGP9008-2The island color is Rosemary by Sherwin WilliamsIMGP8972-2

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Kitchen Sources:

Island: Sherwin Williams Rosemary

Vent Hood / Range / Faucet / Stools / Kitchen Runner / Hood Pendants / Subway Tile

More Kitchen Posts:

THE pendants.

Picking the perfect white subway tile

Kitchen – Prepping for Tile

Tile Tips

Kitchen Tile Reveal

Trimming out the Kitchen Island

A Green Island

A Green Island

Did you miss how we trimmed out the island?  See that post right here.

Originally when we built the house I wanted a dark blue island.  The day our granite was installed I was super bummed because I knew we wouldn’t be able to have a blue island.  Our granite has sage green undertones and lots of green flecks in it as well as some yellow and purple flecks. I thought the blue would majorly clash. I quickly jumped to green thinking this would be the perfect color. We looked through tons of samples to try to narrow down our choices but as usual I liked everything….except that hot pink chosen by this little boy. Yup. I liked everything. Even the black. P.S. this is how my kitchen looks when we’re working on a project which is 90% of the time. So the husband was not too fond of the dark colors so we picked out all the sage shades and tried to find a winner amongst them. And in my head was the most beautiful sage green I’ve ever seen which was the trim paint in the house we stayed in from Gargnano, Italy. It was beyond perfect and felt like someone had brought the olive trees that filled the back yard right into the house. I mean 🤤 So then all we had to do was the impossible – find the match. So we did the best we could do and picked 3 samples that seemed the closest. From top clockwise:

Sherwin Williams Coastal Plain

Sherwin Williams Acacia Haze

Farrow & Ball PigeonFrom Left to Right: Pigeon, CP, AHWe thought about painting the office door the same color as the island.

Top to bottom: Pigeon, CP, AH

But each color had an issue. Pigeon was too grey, coastal plain was too green and acacia haze was just not right. I decided of the three, Pigeon was my favorite and decided to see how it looked in the morning. I painted the left side all in pigeon to confirm it was the right choice. However, when I came down to look at it the next day instead of feeling confirmation I knew it was all wrong. Like not even close. It felt like the island was one big grey block. I realized instead of highlighting the granite it was camouflaging it. I took a look again at our dark green samples and realized they did something special. They made the granite look better than it is. They showcase it and they also make it appear lighter. So back to Sherwin Williams we went on a quest for more samples and we came home with these 3. From top clockwise:

SW Vogue Green

SW Rosemary

SW Rockwood Green

Pretty quickly there was a clear favorite. Meet Rosemary…

It felt like the Italian Sage green’s darker cousin.  Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the 3 darker samples on the island but trust me that it was a “Ding! Ding! Ding!” moment.  And then after about 4 coats of paint on everything, including the quarter round, we cut the quarter round to size and nailed it in.

It even makes me like our runner better.  I’ve thought about getting something cuter but then my son throws crap on it on the daily and I think how I’m kind of happy that I’m not over the moon about this rug.

Here’s our kitchen when it’s clean but not styled for photos – kid artwork all over our fridge and always a load of clean dishes still drying.  My kid goes through about 10 bowls and 6 sippy cups a day because he thinks I enjoy doing dishes.  I don’t. And here’s the proof that the Rosemary did the unthinkable.  It made me fall in love with our granite.  I truly did not expect it.  It’s crazy how color changes the way we see things.Cutest card from my best friend.  Nothing better than finishing a project just in time to enjoy it for your birthday.  The picture below you might recognize from instagram.  Bet you didn’t expect Thomas the train to be hiding out right out of frame… #parenthood

Fancy reveal sans-Thomas right here.

Trimming out the Kitchen Island

Our island before was so bland and boring and very, very basic.

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When we built our house there was an option to get a trimmed out island and I believe it was around $1500.  It was never really a consideration because we had too many other more pressing items that were busting our budget.  Also, I knew I wanted to paint the island so I figured we could do it ourselves later.

The first step was removing the quarter round and any corner trim pieces.

We then attached a base board to run around the entire island that sat level to the toekick.  We were able to find .25 inch craft boards (we used poplar but they also had pine and oak – go to Lowe’s NOT Home Depot) which we used for our main trim pieces and we also found .5 inch thick boards to use as our baseboard which seemed like the right thickness that says “hey! I’m a baseboard, I’m thicker” without sticking out into our walkways too much.

We have about a 5 inch gap from the top of the toe kick area to the floor so that meant our baseboard needed to sit about an inch off the floor.  Attaching the baseboard and making it level while also trying to perfectly miter the corners was the WORST part of this project.  It took us entirely way too long but getting it level was super important.  We used longer nails for the baseboards because 1) the boards were .5 inch thick and 2) the nails would be going down below the cabinets so we wouldn’t see them sticking into the cabinets any.

The baseboard runs around the entire island, even on the back portion which has our sink, dishwasher and cabinetry.

After that we attached the .25 inch boards.  This was much easier because the bottom board could sit directly on the baseboard and also because we decided to use butt joints and not miter these.  We used smaller nails for this part because as expected these nails were visible inside our cabinet (just by a little bit).

We decided to split the sides into 2 boxes and split the area where the (3) stools sat into 3 boxes.

We then reinstalled the corner trim pieces to close the corner gaps.  Then I applied spackle to every place wood met wood (I like that it’s sandable so I prefer to use that) and caulked every seam where wood met the existing island, including the counter.

Quarter round will be installed under the baseboard after we paint the island.

This entire project cost about $100-$150 for all of our materials.

Want to see how we decided on what color to paint the island?  Follow-up post right here.

 

Board and Batten Wainscoting in the Entryway

This was such a simple way to completely transform the room.  It looks expensive but it wasn’t.  It looks time-consuming but it wasn’t.  It’s a total win-win!  Now let me go board and batten my entire house…j/k…sorta.

The first step was a lot of planning.  We needed to figure out exactly what we wanted it to look like – what height should we stop at? and should we add cross pieces to make boxed panels? We decided on a mid-room height of battens.  Close runner-up was 2/3rds up and floor to ceiling (too farmhousey).  We also needed to decide on a width of batten.  We held up both 1.5″ battens and 2.5″ battens and were both drawn to the 2.5″ ones.

Next up was deciding where everything would go.  So I could’ve made this a lot easier on myself but I wanted my boards to line up perfectly so that if they were to go over the doorways on each side they would line up with the correct spacing still.  I’m sure I could’ve not taken this step and it would’ve looked just fine but I do have to say that the placement I chose looks great.

The room is a long rectangle with lots of doorways to break it up.  I measured the entire length of the long walls (the other 2 walls are all-doorway or nearly so they didn’t get much treatment).  I measured each section of wall/doorway and plotted it all out.  I decided to start by “centering” the battens at the exact middle of the french doors doorway.  Note: I tried centering them in the exact middle of the room but this never resulted in a good configuration so I picked the doorway instead.  Ultimately this looks very nice because on either side of the french doors you have an equal distance to the next batten.

I had a few simple criteria:

  1. I wanted to keep my distance between battens around 10-13 inches
  2. No batten could line up near doorway trim because it’s slightly thicker than the trim we have and it’s not a great look if it’s hanging out more
  3. No batten could end up in the corner (only because that would complicate my cuts far more than my rookie-miter saw status was ready for).

So with my measurements all plotted out, I just started picking random distances between the battens and checking my layout and I literally made about 20 different configurations until I stumbled upon the one that met all the criteria.  At first I had wanted to keep my distance between battens perfect so that IF you were to take the battens over the walls that weren’t getting battens (because they would be above the doorways and we had picked a mid-wall height) it would all line up perfectly.  But alas, this was impossible.  I tried and tried to make it work but a batten always ended up too close to or splitting the trim or in a corner.  I finally stumbled upon the winning combination – 2.5 inch battens and 11 inch spacing.  I’m not going to get too into this process because of course this will be different for every space.  On to the good stuff!

Step 1 was removing our 3″ sad little baseboards.  We removed the quarter round carefully so as to not damage it.  We then chipped out the baseboard using a couple flathead screw drivers and our pry bar.  Eric then ripped out any remaining nails with vise grips.

We then marked all of our studs and installed the new baseboards (1×5.5 inch mdf) ensuring they were level and then nailing them into place.  This was super simple and only slightly tricky in the corners because we ran into a little snafu.  We intended to miter the baseboards so they’d meet all pretty but our 7.25″ miter saw couldn’t quite cut the full length of the 5.5″ inch boards.  After some brainstorming because it seemed like “Surely we could flip it some way to make it work!”, we decided to just cut the boards on the 90 and they look pretty great.  Because these are interior corners, it’s really not obvious.

We then installed our top rail (1×3.5 inch mdf).  We picked a height of 45″ because somewhat arbitrarily, this seemed like the perfect height to sit just below our entryway mirror.  Guess we’re keeping it forever 😉  Note that our actual height of top rail is 44.25″ because of the .75″ thick boards we have capped on top.  This time our little saw did just fine mitering the 3.5″ boards.  Also, miter saws are 1,000x easier than an old rusty wet saw you borrow from your parents.  Just sayin’.

Next up I pulled out my cheat sheet and marked exactly where my battens were going.  I marked them all out with pencil on the walls and out of 8 battens only 1 was anywhere close to a stud.  Womp womp.

I measured the height at each batten because it did vary a bit for each one, made my cuts and set each board next to where it needed to go.  We nailed the one batten up and then broke out the liquid nails for the rest.  We held a small level on the side of the battens.  The only annoying thing about this step was that because the boards had some slight warp to them a few of them I had to hold to the wall manually for several minutes so they wouldn’t gap away.  I tried tape but it didn’t seem to be strong enough.

Our last step was to put up the 1×1.5 cap on top of the 1×3.5 board.  This proved to be pretty hard in the corners of the doorway because we only have 2 inches on that wall and not only did it have to miter to the corner but it also needed to miter away from the doorway.  Now I have to say I really enjoyed using the miter saw up until this point but making these little 2 inch pieces of wood gave me quite a bit of anxiety.  It took me a while to get down the right order of operations and I sent more than 1 piece of wood sailing over Eric’s car before I got this down pat.  I also had to make each piece 3-4 times before I made it to the correct size.  The end result though makes me quite proud.  However, if I never have to make 3 cuts on a 2 inch piece of wood again in my life that would be just fine with me.

After installing everything I applied spackle to all of my seams where boards met and caulk to anywhere a board met the wall. Then I sanded it down and hit it with a second coat of spackle and added caulk anywhere that needed it. More sanding and then a lot of cleaning later and it was ready for paint. We used the same color our trim is painted which is a custom SW paint in satin. I still haven’t painted the top half of the room because I’m trying to figure out what color I want still but I’m loving how it turned out!

New Trim for the Front Door

It has annoyed me from day one that our front door trim was kind of boring.  I knew I wanted to do some wainscoting in the entryway so it seemed like the right time to attack the door.

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Our entryway has a lot of interesting things going on – on the left here is a huge cased opening for our dining room and on the right, french doors for the office (playroom) with a pretty transom over it.  The front door was lacking any kind of wow factor and was easily the 3rd less interesting thing architecturally in the room.  To make matters worse, our front door was installed slightly off center.  If you look at this picture you can see the trim on the right meets the corner and blends into it and the trim on the left has an inch gap to the corner.  It wasn’t obvious to most people but it annoyed me.  I saw a few posts on pinterest about installing craftsman window trim and trim for interior doors and it seemed super easy because of the fact that you could do it all with simple 1-by pieces without any fancy molding.  This was a super easy project and we knocked it out in about 3 hours while watching the kiddos.

We used a brad nailer for the shiplap project and we could’ve borrowed an air compressor and a larger nail gun for this project but we decided to go ahead and buy it because we figured we will get some use out of it for the wainscoting project ahead and any other trim projects we’ll do in the future.  We went with primed mdf because it seemed like it would be the easiest to work with.

Materials needed:

  • stud finder
  • saw (we used a circular saw which isn’t the most accurate)
  • air compressor + nail gun (here’s the one we bought)
  • 2″ nails
  • 1×3 or 1×4 boards for vertical trim (we used a 1×3 on the right, 1×4 on the left to compensate for the offset)
  • 2 1×2 boards
  • 1×3 board (top cap)
  • 1×6 board
  • Finishing materials: spackle, caulk, sandpaper

Note: 1×2 boards are actually .75″x1.5″; 1×3 boards are actually .75″x2.5″ and so on

Step one was removing all the old trim.  The quarter round is the only thing that needed to be salvaged, the rest we just pryed out and didn’t worry too much about being careful.  I did this in about 15 minutes max.  Some of the drywall got a little damaged in the process but we weren’t worried since our new trim would cover that up.  Then Eric got his vise-grips and pulled out any of the nails that were stuck since we’d need a nice smooth surface to line up our new trim.

Now that our old trim was gone, we measured for our vertical boards, cut them and installed them by nailing them in. We used a non-primed board for our 1×4 because it was slightly more narrow than the mdf version and fit the space better.

We then used a stud finder and marked all of our studs above the door.  We measured across the top of the door and then installed the 1×2 (flipped down), 1×6 on top of that followed by 1×2, then 1×3 both flipped down.

I used spackle to fill the nail holds and caulked every line.  Caulk makes such a difference!  Because we used real wood for the left board I applied some spackle to areas where the knots were and then sanded them down to make the board as smooth as I could.  I did go in a second time a few days later and recaulked any areas that needed some extra attention.  The whole thing will get painted when I paint the wainscoting.