List, 2017: May Plans

April plans were begun and not much was actually completed. Nevertheless, here’s the new list for May:

Exertion

While it is warm but not yet too hot we MUST clean, paint, and hang exterior shutters.

The shutters will needed to be scraped and painted with pneumatic paint sprayer.

They’ve been off the house since 2015 when we painted the exterior of the house.  I have the paint in hand. This is an enormous job.

We have a lot of finishing to do in the closet.

On rainy weekends we’ll continue to install trim and to work on the master closet.

Entertaining

We’re still working on the Fiesta Bridal shower which will be this coming Saturday.

We’ve covered the table and festooned the large open doorway to liven up the dining room.

The house is becoming a South-of-the-Border cantina.

Entertainment

Charlie is a piano player who also plays the organ.

We’ve attended organ concerts all over the world — Saint Sulpice in Paris.

And he loves organ music so we’re planning to attend an organ concert on May 21.

Exterior Outsourcing

The Cottage is getting new windows and doors but this project will be contracted out.

I mocked-up a roof over the door.

There will also be a new gable roof over the Cottage doorway.

Exercize

The most important improvement is that I’m heading back to the gym beginning this morning.

The sky above the gym is often inviting in the early morning.

The key will be consistency.

Do you have an exercise regimen?

Closet Shopping Trip

As we were working on the master closet over the weekend we were stalled by not having enough screws to put the second base together.

Working on the master closet.

So yesterday I made a list of what we need and checked out both the Home Depot and Lowes websites to see which would have more of the items.

Italian White Sunflower seeds have been good in our yard in the past.

Turns out Lowes was the place.  I started in the gardening section because Charlie wanted a new watering wand.  I also bought two packages of Italian White sunflowers to be planted alongside my Lemon Queen variety some of which Charlie planted last week.

I had a variety of items on my list and only a tiny bit of impulse buying.

Then I moved to the closet section where there was a good selection of closet poles.  I decided to buy the long, sturdy brushed metal poles instead of the more lightweight telescoping ones.  I think we can get two sections per long pole.

I think we’ll have 8 hanging poles in the closet.

I also purchased matching end brackets.

This knob is reminiscent of the glass door knobs in the old section of the house.

While looking for 3″-long screws to put the base of the closet together I went down the knobs aisle and purchased 4 faceted crystal-like ball knobs for the two cabinets in the closet and the backs of the closet doors.

Hanger bolts have threads on both sides.

The backs of the doors need a knob because if you close yourself in the closet it’s difficult to open the door from the back. Since I don’t want a screwhead to show from the right side of the door I bought hanger bolts which will go into the knob and then screw into the wood without going through to the other side.

We put the base together with these screws.

I also bought a box of 3-inch screws.

A can of white paint for under $20 will make the closet bright.

Finally I took the can of paint I was using for the closet interior which was marked with a small Lowes logo that was all I could see on the can, everything else had been obliterated by dripping paint.  I would have had enough to finish the project except over the weekend a large wind carried a piece of Styrofoam across the yard and knocked over my can.  A very helpful paint counter representative found exactly the color and type of paint that was in the original can.

Replacing the 4″ foam roller with a 6″ one should make the painting go faster.

I also picked up some 6″ foam fuzzy small roller sleeves. So I had a very beneficial shopping trip at Lowes.

How do you decide where to shop?

I have not been perked nor paid in any way for posting my opinions and choices here.

Another Closet Day

We worked on the master closet again yesterday.

We set up the miter saw on the deck outside the master bedroom to cut the wood for the base.

First we trimmed down the 2″ by 6″ base the closet will sit on. We had miscalculated its length here  so I cut 6 additional inches from the long piece.

We’ll set the stretchers in the exact place after the towers are built and ready to set up.

My friend screwed it together using 3 long screws at each joint.

Even with baseboard trim the door will open all the way.

Now it will fit in the room and allow the door to fully open.

These piece ore the tops and bottoms of the towers.

Then my friend and I spent the morning painting all the panels that had been cut to size: she primed, I top-coated.

Charlie cuts the wood with a circular saw while my friend holds the ends.

When Charlie returned from a morning meeting he cut the rest of the 4′ by 8′ plywood into 21-inch-wide panels which are more maneuverable and ready to be trimmed to size.

We piled the white-painted panels near the closet.

We hauled the primed and painted panels up to the closet.

The living room went from this large pile of lumber to a much smaller pile.
We have transferred most of the lumber to the second floor.  This is all that remains in the living room.

The wood that still needs to be painted is stacked in the living room.

I’m planning to use the Kreg jig to drill the pocket screw holes that will hold the towers together.

Next tasks: pocket screw the painted panels together, prime and paint the unpainted wood.

Are you better with a saw, a drill, or a paintbrush?

The Back Steps

Ten days ago I thought about getting the back steps pressure washed.

The back stairs to the conservatory.
The back stairs to the conservatory.

While we were in NYC over the weekend our son powerwashed the steps and deck that lead from the conservatory.

The porch deck especially has a combination of moss and grime.
The porch deck especially has a combination of moss and grime.

Yesterday I was planning to restain the steps since they had lost some of their finish over the past couple of years.

All but the bottom step have been covered.
All but the bottom step have been covered.

But to my great delight Charlie gave a steps a fresh coat of stain, Cabot solid oil stain in “Mountain Brush”.

Before
Before
After
After

The olive trees are ready to come out on the porch. It’s almost time to prune them.

What’s your favorite spring bloom?

The Garage Apartment: Change Takes Time

Back in August I helped to freshen up a garage apartment with two bedrooms and a living room/kitchen which was improved with paint and new appliances . The best part for me is that I made the design decisions but we used a contractor to make the improvements.

Apartment kitchen -- Before
Apartment kitchen — Before
The mini-kitchen -- After
The mini-kitchen — After

And a mini-kitchen (much like the one in the Cottage) was replaced.

This vanity set-up will be replaced.
This vanity set-up needed to be replaced.

The bathroom was a dungeon which needed a new vanity, sink, and lighting fixture.  We discovered that the exhaust fan in the bathroom which turns on with the light doesn’t actually draw so it will also be replaced.

The tiles walls were in very good condition.
The tiles walls were in very good condition.

When the vanity was removed we were happy to find that the walls had been tiled all the way to the floor. A GFI outlet was installed on the right-hand wall (so the dangerous extension cord from the medicine cabinet would be unnecessary in the future).

The stairwell on protrudes partly into the bathroom.
The stairwell on protrudes partly into the bathroom.

However the left part of the wall had been cutout where the stairwell ceiling had to be accommodated.

The new vanity is clean and streamlined.
The new vanity is clean and streamlined.

The contractor told me that the vanity he ordered wouldn’t fit. Since the vanity and sink were destined to be in a three-sided niche I suggested he take it apart and use only the facing piece. Ultimately the new vanity was partially dismantled to allow it to squeeze into the space and the sink-top was trimmed.

A new lighting fixture above the medicine cabinet.
A new lighting fixture above the medicine cabinet.

New lights were put above the fluorescent tubes on the medicine cabinet.

Effectiveness of exhaust fans are easy to check with a sheet of paper. If it isn't sucked toward the fan the fan doesn't draw.
Effectiveness of exhaust fans are easy to check with a sheet of paper. If it isn’t sucked toward the fan the fan doesn’t draw.

And a new exhaust fan was vented to the outside. (The old fan vented into the very shallow attic.)

Now the bathroom is not only more functional but also safer.

Have you taken recent safety precautions?

Project Completions from 2016

I always have lists of projects both written and stored in my brain. (101 in 1001, Clean Sweep, Master List.)

The Cottage interior last June.
The Cottage interior last June.

Every so often we actually finish something. Sometimes it’s something we didn’t even hope to accomplish.

The brown sewing machine in the foreground belongs to me and will eventually come back in my house.
The Cottage sees regular improvements now.

The biggest change last year was The Cottage.  It went from a storage bin to permanent living quarters. We had hoped to sort it out but never expected to make such progress.

The shower glass provides a lot of reflection in the master bathroom.
The shower glass provides a lot of reflection in the master bathroom.

Early in the year we had shower glass installed in both the master bathroom and the conservatory bathroom.

Shower glass in the conservatory bathroom.
Shower glass in the conservatory bathroom.

Both showers are curbless.

We upgraded our mailbox.
We upgraded our mailbox.

We also switched out our rural mailbox with a totally upgraded version that was a gift from my sister.

All the floors are installed.
All the floors are installed.

While we were on a trip to the Grand Canyon, our son oversaw the installation of red oak floors in the last two unfloored sections of the house: the master suite hallway and the conservatory.

The rustic vanity.
The rustic vanity.

Charlie and I actually worked together to finish the rustic vanity in the conservatory bathroom.

We also made shelves in the conservatory bathroom.
We also made shelves in the conservatory bathroom.

We even built rustic shelves to cover an access alcove behind the shower. We were on a roll.

The conservatory bathroom door was painted "Secret" by Benjamin Moore.
The conservatory bathroom door was painted “Secret” by Benjamin Moore.

My last project of the year was to paint the interior doors grey. (Door 1, Door 2, Doors 3 and 4.) I painted them solo and am very happy with the change.

What’s your number one project planned for 2017?

Painting a Brass Lamp

I used to have two brass swing arm lamps at the headboard of the bed before the renovation.

In the old set-up we had wall-mounted swing-arm lamps near the bed.
In the old set-up we had wall-mounted swing-arm lamps near the bed.

They were very convenient because they took up no space on our bedside tables.

The Cottage laundry is dim in the daytime and dark at night.
The Cottage laundry is dim in the daytime and dark at night.

Now the Cottage needs some light back in the laundry area.

The ceiling fan in the Cottage.
The ceiling fan in the Cottage.

I said I could paint one of these lamps and asked for a color suggestion.  The response was “like the ceiling fan“.

The lamp was easy to paint.
The lamp was easy to paint.

Then I proceeded to spray multiple light coats of Metallic Charcoal paint — my go-to color.

The lamp is on the back wall of the Cottage between the refrigerator and wall cabinet.
The lamp is on the back wall of the Cottage between the refrigerator and wall cabinet.

My tenant decided where she would like to position the light.

An old lamp put back to work.
An old lamp put back to work.

The lamp adjustable to put light right where she needs it.

How are you feeling about bright brass lately?