Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dental Tools

Jeff and Sharon hired Jimmy Cookman yesterday for an hour of paint stripping teaching. We were just struggling with the details. He finally showed us we would have to buy dental tools to get into the corners and crevices on the paint stripping project. While the full-size tools did pretty well on the front of the woodwork, they were just too big to get into the corners. So, yesterday we took the afternoon to go shopping and buy some tools better-suited to this task.

In the master bedroom, we had eight crown moulding corners that looked about like this.
And this is how they look after about 30 to 40 minutes of using the chemical stripper and digging out paint with the tiny tools. Seriously not fun, but hopefully worth it in the long-run. Unfortunately, holding the slim tool handles too quickly fatigues our hands and we really can only manage one side of a crown moulding at a time..
This is how we're spending our weekend. This, and sanding flat portions of woodwork with a palm sander, and the curved portions by hand with a sanding sponge. We'd really like to finish this project soon.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Subway Tile

The subway tile is installed in both the kitchen and the main floor bathroom. The grouting won't happen until Monday, but the tile is all in place. The tiles themselves are square-edge reproduction tiles made by Subway Ceramics and we're having them laid as they were in period, with a 1/16th-inch grout line.

We went to great lengths to have as few outlets and switch plates on the backsplash as possible; it was quite a challenge with current code requiring plugs every two feet. Most of the outlets will be on the bottom-side of the upper cabinets. We ended with only one switch plate on the backsplash to the left of the refrigerator.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Living Room Almost Done

All that's left to do is finish electrical (i.e. hang the lights and switches) and refinish the floor; we are real close to being able to declare success. We love the new colors! The newly stripped douglas fir is just gorgeous.
As a reminder, this is how it looked when we bought the house last year.
And here it is, the following week, with the lights hung. It's getting pretty.

Copper Hood is In!

Finally. And it's looking just as Sharon hoped.

FYI, it was ordered from Art of Rain in Battle Ground, Washington. They were also very nice to work with and we enthusiastically recommend them.

The house is swarming with tile-layers today. They're working on the main floor half bath and now that the hood is in, they've gotten started on the kitchen. Won't be long now until things really start looking fantastic.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moving Fast Now

Things are happening fast now... The rest of the kitchen cabinets were installed today.

Tile also got started today.

And the painters painted for many hours today. The colors are looking wonderful. The dark gray on the fireplace is the color we're trying out—not sure if we like it. Is it too dark?

Master Bedroom Closet

Jeff and Sharon have decided to go ahead and deal with "fixing" the small master bedroom closet. The contractor took out one side of the closet to replace the window, and today Jeff went ahead and pulled the wood out of the rest of the closet. Jeff has decided to change the height of the rod to make it more suitable for his clothing.We've been stripping paint on the door frame and Sharon has undertaken to strip out the wallpaper. We've found three layers of paint, and two layers of wallpaper. Since we don't have the proper tools, it's been a bit of a challenge. But, this is the only space left in this house with wallpaper and Sharon doesn't want to spend the bucks to "tool up" for this job. She's having some reasonable success with a scraper and a spray bottle of water.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Soapstone Counters are In!

Not much to write, but we're really happy with the new counters; we love the green! We plan to oil these counters, but haven't yet. They'll be a bit darker once we do. This is one of the seams between the slabs.FYI, for those who would like to know, these counters are Green Minas from Teresina Soapstone in Roseville, California. Sharon was adamant about wanting green soapstone and we could not find any locally. Though we took a risk buying these slabs without seeing them in person, we're glad we did. The folks at Teresina were really great to work with. They sent us large samples at no charge and were awesome at communication. Sharon and our stone fabricator have only good things to say about the experience.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gorgeous Soapstone Sink!

The sink arrived today! It's so pretty and we're excited! The matching counters come tomorrow.
Sharon was mildly disturbed when Jeff invited Shasta to see the sink and she jumped right in! She is quite the jumper, obviously. We guess we'd better take care not to leave temptation out on the counters.

Master Bedroom Progress

On Sunday evening, Jeff and Sharon managed to finish the "first pass" on the master bedroom paint stripping. We're going to pull the shoe moulding at the floor and replace it after we have the floors refinished. We've still got some work at the door jambs and quite a bit of detail work at the edges of the crown mouldings.

We've hired Jimmy Cookman, our paint stripper from downstairs, to come out and teach us how to deal with these hard spots. We still have two more bedrooms and hallways to strip after this, so we want to learn the skills.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stripping Picture Rail

We've looked around online for lessons on how to remove paint from interior woodwork, but we haven't found any. There are lots of before and after photos of amazing transformations (especially at 1912 Bungalow), but there are rarely photos available of the actual paint stripping process. So, we've developed some of our own techniques that seem to work and we thought maybe others would appreciate seeing them. They are probably not the best, but we haven't learned from anybody else. These steps are what we figured out for ourselves.

First, Jeff goes through with a heat gun and a couple of scrapers. He removes as much paint as he can get off, without trying to remove every last bit. He's found it best to use no more than two tools at one time as you spend too long on the same spot and risk scorching the woodwork. His favorite tool is shaped like a teardrop as you have a variety of curves to work with.
This is how it looks after Jeff is done with the first pass.
Then, Sharon applies a generous coat of stripper (we're using KleanStrip from Home Depot). Give the stripper time to work—we've found it takes at least 10 minutes.

Then remove as much of the paint loosened by the stripper with scraping tools. Sharon has been juggling about 4 tools with a variety of curves and points.
Once almost all the paint has been scraped off, Sharon goes over the area with a wire brush. Not too hard, or you'll mar the woodwork, but hard enough to knock off the remaining pieces of paint.
Then, finally, firmly wipe down the area with a heavy duty scouring pad or steel wool. This takes off the rest of the paint and the stripper and leaves the woodwork looking pretty clean.

And one more point, do wear long sleeves and eye protection if using one of these heavy duty methylene chloride strippers, especially with a wire brush. The wire brush tends to throw lots of bits of stripper goo which burn when they contact the skin.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Siding Done!

Well, mostly done, anyway. There's a small portion on the back of the house around the back door that still needs to be finished. Not sure what the hang-up is there, but they've stopped working on the siding. Though, the front of the house is complete and is looking wonderful!There is still some restoration of the barge boards to do, then we're ready for paint. Most of this trimwork is going to be painted white. The siding on the bottom-half of the house will be painted yellow, to match the upper portion.

Good Progress Today

Jeff and Sharon got an early start today on the master bedroom. They actually only quit working on it at around 1PM because the stain/shellac fumes from downstairs were overpowering and they had to retreat to the basement. Hopefully we'll be able to pick up progress again this evening. There's still plenty of detail work to do cleaning paint out of nooks and crannies.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Woodwork Nearing Completion

The painters were back again today. Our weather has probably been playing havoc with their schedule this summer. Today they put the second coat of shellac on the parlor and living rooms. We're told they'll be back tomorrow to finish the dining room.
Jeff and Sharon got a late start today, but actually managed to make some good progress on the master bedroom this afternoon. The first pass with the heat gun is nearly complete on the second doorway. And we got started on the floor baseboard, which seems like it would be easy but it is not. It's hard to use the heat gun down at that angle, so chemical stripper it's going to be. It takes two passes to get most of the paint. At least it's a sit-down job.

We resisted sanding any of the woodwork in the bedroom today because of the shellac work downstairs. We have enough of a dust problem without adding to it at this critical time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Master Bedroom Paint Stripping

Jeff and Sharon resumed their paint stripping efforts in the master bedroom. Today, we finally cleaned up the room and turned it into a workable "job site." We cleared the walls of stuff and taped down paper all the way around the perimeter. This should make it easier in future to maintain the work area cleaner and we won't have to keep moving piles to work on the different areas. We're thankful for the cool, rainy weather; it definitely makes this task more pleasant than it would be if it were hot!

We've come up with a bit of a routine in this project. Jeff does the first pass with the heat gun then Sharon follows behind with the chemical stripper.

Jeff is getting to have quite a talent for removing the paint and has been able to remove the majority of the surface paint on that first pass. Then, the chemicals mostly remove paint from the grain and the persistent bits on the surface. Thanks to the wire brush, the picture rail is actually going a bit faster than we expected. (We were originally thinking about removing the picture rail and replacing it, but now we'll probably just go ahead and strip it in place.)

The closet doorway is nearly done. This paint has been a challenge, so it's taken a bit longer. The paint is persistent on that doorway and resists the chemical stripper; we're having to sand it out of the grain.