Interior Updates

The housewarming party was on Saturday 9/24 and was a great success, with lots of people attending, and a great mix of people from law students at Lewis and Clark, architecture students at UO, and lots of other friends and family.  Sadly, not many pictures were taken as everyone was too busy watching the Timbers and Ducks play!

I thought I’d post a few updates of what things are looking like around the house now, especially the living room.

The living room, last time you saw it, looked like this:

The walls were a glossy brown, which caught the light and showed every imperfection in the surface of the lathe and plaster.  There were probably 500 holes in the walls that needed to be filled – the previous owner had a compulsive habit of nailing tacks and brads into every surface.  The curtains were awful and the trim was in bad shape:

The molding was cracked and coming off of the wall in places…

The work in here was fairly simple and will be ongoing.  It involved caulking and sealing the molding for integrity and aesthetics, and then ample amounts of priming before the topcoat.  I decided to use the existing dark hearth color as a focal element to design around, so I chose a cooler grey with the slightest bit of blue, and the white trim that is slowly becoming uniform throughout the house.

I added a simple flush-mount luminaire from IKEA t o light the space, as well as a paper-shade lamp in the corner.  The couches in the pictures below ranged from free to fairly cheap, and are actually in great shape and really comfy.  Total cost for this room, start to finish, was about $200 bucks + $150 in furniture = $350.

I’m currently working on a few small projects in the upstairs, and am about to move into the basement… Stay tuned!

Kitchen Floors – Completion + Appliances

I finished up the kitchen floors the other day with four coats of satin finish polyurethane, and I have to say, I’m pleasantly surprised.  I’m not going to say they are perfect by any means; there are numerous imperfections if you look for them, but as a functional and beautiful surface for the kitchen, it definitely fits the bill.

In the last post, I talked about spending about 15 hours sanding the floor with the orbital I rented from United Rentals.  I finished off the sanding with about 5 hours of edge detailing using a 5″ orbital palm sander from Home Depot ($10 rental) with 60 grit pads.  I probably could have used 40 grit here, as the 60 grit burned out fast, but the pads are cheap and come in a 25 pack for $10, so I just made a point of using all of them up.

Here’s what the floor looked like after edge sanding:

As you can tell it was pretty easy to bring it to the edge with a good deal of precision, so that the quarter round can cover up any imperfections with ease.

The edge sanding was definitely a pretty rewarding process as it a lot more “instant gratification” if you can call 5 hours of sanding that.

When I laid the clearcoat down I was initially pretty worried about what it might do to the wood color and texture.  I first cleaned the wood with Mineral Solvent to prep for the clearcoat, and the staining of the wood from the moisture was unflattering in some areas, and I was worried the clearcoat would do the same.  I let the Mineral solvent dry overnight after wiping down, and then started in the next day on coats of lacquer.

The light color that you see in the picture above of the rough sanded wood, was undoubtedly lost to some degree, but I actually really liked the result of the stain.  It made the colors in the wood rich and gave a great matte finish to the wood.  I used a quick dry gloss that allowed me to do 4 coats in one day.  Disclaimer – this was probably the most toxic and noxious substance I have ever worked with.  I am still worried about what problems will rear their head in 40 years as a result of me breathing this for 8 hours.

Floor after clearcoat:

I took the weekend off for an amazing wedding at the beach, but was excited to get back and get some appliances in now that the floor was done, and I had this baby waiting for me:

This was a $2000 fridge two years ago and we scored it for $400 due to a move and a family/work connection.  Between that and an electric range I traded a couch for with an old friend, I’m now in business in the kitchen.  A day of of cleaning and setup of appliances and decoration and here is the result:

There are certainly a few more finishing touches, not to mention the new countertop, sink, and backsplash that will need to be done, but overall it’s a remarkable change from where it came from.  The floor, all told, was $220 + labor (free).  The appliances, $400, and paint $200.  Who says kitchen remodels need to average $26,000?

Old kitchen:

New Kitchen:

Kitchen Floors – Day 1 & 2

Living room is primed but temporarily put on hold for another post.  What I’m really tied up with now is the kitchen hardwoods.  As you may recall the floors started out looking like this:

Which was essentially a petrified layer of 70’s (or 60’s) era linoleum laid over *ghasp* original hardwoods.  I really couldn’t tell what the hardwoods were, except that they were a) very hard, and b) didn’t appear to have any grain and were sealed with this orange-red stain mixed with glue.

Nevertheless, the hidden hardwoods were a pleasant surprise as they offered me a cost effective and relatively easy way to beautify the kitchen while keeping the “country” aesthetic.

Here are the floors after they were all scraped of linoleum:

It’s also a good picture of the kitchen pre-facelift, so you can see the nasty colors and wallpapers I was dealing with.

So on Friday last week I rented a 17″ orbital floor sander/buffer for $48 and because of the long weekend I got to keep it until Tuesday morning (lesson for all DIYers here – rent on long weekends and take advantage of store closures on holidays).  The $48 is the one day rate.

On Sunday, I set off to work, and after about 12 hours of sanding, here is what the kitchen floor looks like:

Okay, so it wasn’t all that easy.  The floors were in awful shape to start, so I needed to do way more work with 20 grit pads than I had anticipated, or equipped myself for.  That was a bit of a learning curve.  As you can tell I am opting to leave some natural imperfections in the floor for character, rather than trying to achieve a perfectly uniform quality to the wood.  This is part laziness and partially due to the fact that I think it looks good and this wood is ancient and has numerous flaws and character giving idiosyncracies.

Tomorrow I’m renting an edger sander (6″ orbital) to take care of the edge pieces and do some spot work on some stubborn areas (I have a lot.  On Wednesday I’m hoping to lay down poly, as I will not be staining this floor.  I really like the light color, which has compounded the walls to completely brighten this kitchen up.  It’s an awesome space to be in, full of light, compared to where it started.

Here are some pictures of the process:

Kitchen Paint – Complete

Just a look back to where we started:

And now here is the kitchen with the completed paint.  What is left is to put in new counters, tile in a backsplash with accent tile, and of course refinish the hardwood floors.

The hardware is the original hardware, in a dark bronze color which I thought went pretty well as an accent.  Taylor picked the colors as a sort of “country kitchen” aesthetic, which will be enhanced by the butcher block counters and tile work when it comes in.  Here is what our dishes will look like in the open cupboards:

We will later be putting a rustic bench and table in the breakfast nook, from a local woodworker in the neighborhood, and a mobile butcher block island for food prep.


This old house…

So I’m back in Portland after a (too) long stint in Eugene.  Portland feels like home and always has, and I’ve been lucky enough to land in an area of town that I absolutely love – NE, close to Alberta, Mississippi and Fremont.

This summer’s project, now that studio is over, is a fairly extensive cosmetic overhaul of this 1927 old Portland beauty:

Luckily, the exterior is in pretty decent shape.  But within, I’ve got my work cut out for me.  Let’s start with the kitchen:

A lovely orange and chocolate, this picture really doesn’t do it justice.  Did I mention it was coated in about a 1/4″ of cooking grease from years of deep frying in an unventilated space?  Well, I’m a week into the kitchen and here’s where we are at:

I started with the floors, a dingy linoleum circa 1970’s.  My original plan was to get the old stuff out and lay a new sheet of linoleum or perhaps tile over, but what I found underneath led to grander plans.  Under the old linoleum are some original hardwoods – what look to be a harder,  lighter wood than the rest of the house (which was hiding underneath hideous carpet but was in mercifully good shape).  So the current plan is to refinish them to their original splendor.  Stay tuned for that in the next week or so.

The cabinets have also been a real doosy.  Coated in the thickest layer of grease, and covered in heinous pink paper, they required considerable scraping and peeling to get down to something paintable.  And of course everything in this space is oil based, so the primer I’m using is a latex-oil hybrid that puts off fumes suited to chemical warfare and adheres to clothing, skin and hair for days, impervious to anything but turpentine or oil.

So a little over a week and I’m finishing up priming tomorrow and hopefully throwing down finish coats tomorrow.  Next the floors will be refinished, the countertop replaced with butcherblock, and the backsplash tiled.  The new kitchen is going to rock: stay tuned for updates.

Final Board – Spring Studio

Spring Studio Final Board

What If…

Willamette street looked like this?

Studio – Final Boards

Here are the final boards for Studio 682:

Final Poster – Adobe Project

The final poster for the adobe admixture project I did this term is here:

Final Poster – Knowlton School

Our final poster for the Knowlton School Research grant is here: 

The full, 105 page PDF is finally complete and compiled and will be added soon.