Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hole in the Wall

Having a Handyman Hubby is both a blessing and curse. David saves us a lot of money by tackling house projects himself, but sometimes he will start a project and let it sit for months (or years!). Of course I am really grateful for his talents and hard work! However, in this one instance he let his curiosity get the best of him.

Our house used to end with our kitchen, but at some point over the years, an addition was added on. David was pretty sure that our kitchen doorway had a transom since it used to be the doorway to the outside. He's obsessed with transoms, so he decided to test his theory by making a hole in the area above the doorway, and sure enough it was empty hole where a transom used to be.


Doorway in kitchen.

There was a empty box that held the transom.

David wanted to fill the hole with a transom, but we needed to find one that would fit. It took us about two years to find the perfect one. So we had a random hole in the doorway that whole time. We ended up finding one that was the right size on eBay for a good price.


Transom from eBay.

The transom fit in the hole nicely, David just need to add trim around it. David used fluted molding and corner rosettes to frame the transom so that it matches with our window trim. He could only add trim around three sides, as the transom went to the edge of the wall.


Transom fits nicely.

Trim added around the transom.


Although the hole in the wall looked bad for a few years, it was worth the wait to get a nice transom. I love the way it looks when the light from the hallway shines through it. 


Finished look. 


Lit up transom.

Another project that David worked on is exposing the brick on the other side of the doorway. Since this was the original end of the house, this brick used to be the exterior wall. We had experience with this since we had exposed the wall in our living room.


Exposed brick.

David removed the drywall and then used paint remover to try to clean up the brick. That didn't work well, so he tried a heat gun, but after a few hours scraping, he gave up and decided to leave it as is. This brick is a little worse for wear, but the worn look fits since this should be the outside.


Old exterior brick.


David installed this glass light that we got from Second Chance to complete the hallway. I like the way the light casts shadows on the ceiling and shines through the transom. He also made another plaster ceiling medallion using a mold.

Glass light from Second Chance.

The light casts shadows.

Finished hallway.

Friday, January 5, 2018

DIY Ceiling Medallion out of Plaster

In an effort to restore our home to its former glory, we've been replacing the lights in our house to antique lights.

We got this antique light from Weber's Antiques in Mount Vernon. It's likely that it is from the turn of the century because it has arms for gas lights as well as electric lights. When electricity was first introduced in houses it was a little spotty and so people would use gas as a back up.


Antique chandelier

David had to rewire the chandelier because the wires were deteriorating. Luckily, he is a pro at this since he had already rewired our dining room chandelier (thanks to some help from YouTube tutorials).

Rewiring the chandelier.

The more difficult part was replacing the wires in our house and adding an electrical box to bring the electricity up to code. The chandelier was installed and working properly until my very tall brother was over one day and hit it with his head, haha. This knocked out the electricity and so David had to open it up and fix the wiring and decided to cut the pole of the chandelier so that 6' 4" people could clear it.



Hooking up the chandelier to electricity.

We wanted to add a medallion to the ceiling around the light like we had in the living room and dining room. For those rooms, we had purchased plastic medallions at $25 a pop. David figured it would be more cost effective to buy a mold and make our own out of plaster, since we needed more for other rooms.

Medallion mold.

David filled the mold with plaster and let it sit for a day or so, but when he went to remove it, it cracked into four pieces. The medallion could be salvaged by patching it back together with more plaster. 

Cracked medallion.

David added some wet plaster to the ceiling and attached each piece by drilling screws lightly in. It was difficult to match up all of the pieces so that it made a perfect circle. He covered the cracks with plaster to smooth it out. Once it was dry, he removed the screws and sanded it down. David painted the medallion first with ceiling paint, and then glossy paint. It's not perfect, but it turned out pretty well considering it was in multiple pieces. 


Painted medallion.



Installed chandelier.

We searched a long time for some shades to cover the bulbs. We looked online and in antique stores, but finally settled on some from Loews.

Shades for the light.

I love when we get to add some old touches to our house and give it a vintage feel.

Chandelier with shades.

Finished look.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Kitchen Crown Molding Design

Next up on kitchen checklist was painting and adding crown molding. First, David had to plaster the walls and paint the ceiling and then he painted the walls a gray/beige ("greige") color. I helped by covering the cabinets with newspaper and the countertops with plastic to protect them from paint dripping from the ceiling and taping the edge of the countertops to prepare them for caulk.





Plastering where the cabinets used to be.


David added crown molding and then to change it up a bit, he added thin round wood molding on the ceiling about two inches from the top of the crown molding.

Crown molding.

Adding the rounded wood molding.


He used a small piece of wood to make sure the spacing was consistent between the crown molding and the rounded wood across the entire room.

Round wood molding follows the crown molding.

David painted the wood white to blend in with the crown molding giving it a unique design. From afar, it looks as if the two pieces of wood blend together.

Wood painted white.

Crown molding design.

Finished look.

I really like this look as it adds some extra dimension to the room and spruces up the basic crown molding.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Adding Cabinet Space

Our kitchen is a decent size for a rowhouse, but of course you can always use extra cabinet space. Originally, David bought a bookshelf from IKEA and we used it to store dishes. However, he always wanted to add extra cabinets across from our fridge since we had a little bit of space. Base cabinets are usually 24 inches deep, which would take up a little too much space, so instead he had the idea to use the upper cabinets which are only 12 inches deep. This gives us the extra cabinet space without sacrificing too much open space.


IKEA bookshelf for extra storage. 

We also had a little bit of room on the other side of our fridge for extra cabinets. Since we didn't have many drawers, I picked out a cabinet that had three drawers to install next to the fridge. We weren't limited on space over there, so we were able to buy a base cabinet. We wanted to make this area into a breakfast nook to store cereal and fruit.

Before David could install the new cabinets, he had to fix a small issue with our current cabinets. When our house was flipped, our upper cabinets were installed higher than the industry standard, which made it difficult for us to reach items. David figured this was a good time to lower the cabinets about 4 inches. He was tackling this project by himself, so he nailed a piece of wood to the wall and then rested the cabinets on top of it so he had a free hand to screw them in. It took a lot of work because he had to remove the doors from all of the cabinets as well as the mounted microwave and then re-install them as you can see in the timelapse below.

Resting the cabinets on wood.




After lowering the old cabinets and installing the new ones, it was time to add countertops. Unfortunately, we couldn't find the exact match at home depot. We actually saw the same countertop on a floor model but it wasn't the right dimensions. It turns out our countertops had been discontinued. We found countertop that was just a shade lighter so we decided to get that instead.


The difference in shades between the old and new countertops.


David added an electrical outlet before installing the new cabinet.

The next challenge was cutting the countertop down. Since countertops typically go on top of base cabinets, they are usually 24 inches wide. So David had to cut some excess off to make it fit the narrower upper cabinet that we were using on the bottom. The difficult part was that he couldn't just cut off the front since that has a slope or the back since the has a lip.

Cabinet installed. Now on to the countertop.

David had to get creative and cut a section off in the middle and then re-attach the two pieces together so that we would still have the sloped front and lip for the back. This means that there was a slight gap in the counter top. He filled this in with putty. You could tell there was a crack, but it wasn't super noticeable.





Sizing the countertop.

Slight gap.


David also installed under cabinet lighting and an outlet. This cabinet is perfect for storing those extra kitchen items (I'm looking at you Kitchen Aid). And with the outlet we can use our appliances.

Upper cabinets on the top and bottom.

As for the countertop not matching, you couldn't really tell since the new countertop was not directly next to the old countertop. I never had anyone mention that it was different. Even when I pointed it out to people they were surprised.

We had these countertops for about two years, but have since upgraded them (I will talk about that in another post). I wanted to post about this though, because it was a pretty innovative idea. If you are displeased with you cabinet space, see if you have a foot to spare and squeeze in an upper cabinet!


Breakfast nook on the side of the fridge.

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Dining Room is Finished!

The dining room is finished! Actually, it has been finished for quite some time, I have just been neglecting the blog. We have some minor changes that we may make, but all the big stuff is done.

To finish off the room we hung some artwork from trips that we have taken as well as a wedding photo.


Here are some before pics.



Dining room before.


Plain white walls.


The dining room was red for about a year.


Projects completed:


Here are some after pics:

The dental molding, baseboard and wood paneling give the room that old school vibe.

Antique chandelier and medallion.

We found this secretary desk on the side of the street. David stained the desk to match it with our other furniture.


We painted and refinished this craigslist dresser and mirror. We use the dresser as a buffet.

This project took a long time, but it was worth it!


David installed electrical scones to make the room more elegant. He also added an outlet on the side of
the fireplace which comes in hand Christmas time when I put up Christmas village houses.
We hung posters to commemorate some of our favorite trips. We're featured in the Grand Canyon poster


Stevie in the photoshoot.


Finished product.


Things we may change:
  • Get a fancy old school frame for our wedding picture
  • We might change up the posters (I'd like to make all of them photos of us)
  • Spray paint the sconces
  • Get a different carpet (I like it, but David isn't a fan)
  • Upgrade window - this is something that needs to be done throughout the house
  • Repaint - David is tired of the blue walls (which we've only had for like 2 years). I am in favor of keeping colorful walls as the majority of our walls are beige or gray.

David put a lot of work into our dining room as is evident by looking at the before and after pics. It's our most formal room, as a dining room should be. I love the elegance and vintage feel of this room.