Google+ House Revivals: September 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Make Ordinary Flooring Look Like Reclaimed Lumber

Are you IN LOVE with the reclaimed wood projects we are seeing everywhere?  I posted about using reclaimed wood for paneling a few weeks ago, and shared that I want to do a similar finish in my tiny "pied-a-terre".

 via Design Sponge
The person who had our little condo before us tried to remodel and flip it, but failed.  He did every. single. thing. wrong. And never finished. And the condo went into foreclosure. And then sat on the market. Forever. Because it didn't have any bathroom fixtures. And it was a mess.  So, of course, we bought it.

Who wouldn't want all this loveliness?

Well, the condo came with a giant box full of old boards and old wood flooring.  The old wood flooring was nothing special -- just bits and pieces of oak that the flipper had been using to patch the existing floors.

I guess, technically, the wood in the box was reclaimed, but it didn't look like "hip and stylish" reclaimed wood, and it didn't look like "charming" reclaimed wood.  It was just "blah" reclaimed wood.  I want to use old flooring on the back of our kitchen peninsula, but I don't want it to look like someone "just kept going" when they were installing the floor.  Our local building salvage yard has some really cool reclaimed wood.  Beautiful, chippy old stuff, with lovely scuffs and dings and loads of character -- and they want loads of money for it.

A light bulb went on... what if I sand and paint and stain and hammer and glaze and gouge and scratch and scrape my ordinary boards to make them look like the lovely (and expensive) old boards at the architectural salvage yard?  And so it began.

Here is how to take ordinary wood flooring and make it look like it has a charming history.  Start by sanding and prepping the boards. I used liquid sander on boards I was planning to paint, but I used a good old sanding block on boards I was only planning on staining.  No need to use smelly strippers -- you're not "refinishing" the boards, you're just "adding character".  Just sand them enough for the new stain to have something to "grab onto", focusing on the edges and ends.

Next, paint the boards you will be painting, and set aside the boards you plan to only stain.

Now, for the fun part:  gather up some "implements of destruction".  I like to use a hammer and a screwdriver, and a little grater.  Another favorite tool is an old metal meat mallet (not pictured).  Next, gouge and scrape and grate and pound.  And then sand it all.  Distress all your boards, painted and unpainted.

The next step is to add "patina".  Use any stain or antiquing medium you have on hand.  Wipe the stain on, getting it into all those gouges and scrapes and scratches, then wipe it right back off.

Do this on both the painted and unpainted boards.

Before you know it, you will have a giant collection of charming, chippy, vintage reclaimed flooring!  By staining some and painting some in different colors, the boards look like they were salvaged from a variety of buildings.  I am doing my boards a little at a time -- as my schedule allows, and I already have about about two-thirds of what we need for my project.  I can't wait to share more as the project progresses!

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

How to Layer Rugs

Maybe it's the cooler temperatures, but I have been thinking a lot about rugs lately.  Rugs are a great way to add warmth, texture and acoustic comfort to a room. 

From a space planner's perspective, we use rugs to anchor, "pull together", and define a space, as well. Rugs are definitely workhorses!  Lately, I've been thinking quite a bit about layering rugs --  *LOVE* the look!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fireplace Hearth Ideas

We've been playing with fireplace ideas at our little pied-a-terre, the marina condo in the city.  The "failed flipper" who had this place before us, and before the bank foreclosed, ripped out the hearth and removed the fireplace surround.  For safety reasons, we need to replace the hearth tile as soon as possible.

We brought some travertine tile scraps from our beach house, to see if they will work for a new hearth.

Maybe?  Of course, it wouldn't need to extend quite this far -- our building codes will allow for a sixteen inch hearth, since the fireplace opening is less than six square feet.

We used huge rectangular pieces of travertine in our bathroom renovation, so using travertine for the hearth will help create unity in the overall design. Plus, I think we may have just enough tile.  :)

It's always nice when you can do a project using leftover supplies.  Now, if we can only remember who we loaned our tile saw to....

Have you done any fireplace make-overs?  I would love to see your projects!  Please feel free to link your own fireplace in the comments section :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How to Paint Perfect Stripes

Renovations at our little pied-a-terre in the city are moving along -- albeit, at a snail's pace.  That's the problem with living in a space while you renovate.  We still don't have one. completely. finished. space. Sigh....

Well, I decided to do what any sane person would do when they are surrounded by renovation projects.  I painted stripes on my wall.  Because stripes are important.

We have this wall in our living room that was just screaming for "something".  There is a fireplace in the corner of the room, and the wall next to the fireplace just felt "blah".  I LOVE how our stripes turned out.  Here is how you can paint perfect stripes, without any paint bleeding underneath your painter's tape.

Start by marking where you want your stripes to go.  In my case, I wanted wide horizontal stripes -- each stripe is about 12 inches wide.

Next, using a long level, lightly mark the edge of each stripe.

Apply painter's tape, masking off the edge where you *don't* want paint.  As a reminder,  tape several "X"es on the stripes you will not be painting.

Now, using the background color (the color that the wall is already painted), paint over the edges of the paint to "seal" the edges.  Any paint that may bleed under the tape will match the existing paint.

Paint your stripes, using a couple of light coats of paint.

Before your paint completely dries, gently remove the painter's tape. Pull the tape down at right angles from the newly painted area.

We still have a long way to go in this space -- honestly, I've forgotten what it's like *not* to have hammers and tile samples and buckets of paint everywhere, but for now my new stripes make me happy.

Do you ever stop right in the middle of a big project, just to do a smaller project?  Sometimes, when we're doing larger renovations, it's these happy little projects that keep me sane!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Beach House Living

We've been spending more time at the beach house lately.   It's where you go....

to see.....

and be seen....

Did you know pelicans flew in vee formation?   And how is it possible that each new sunset seems more glorious than the one before it? 

The beach is new each day, with new treasures to be discovered.....

Sometimes you just need to take a few moments and savor the last days of summer.

Have a lovely labor day weekend!