Friday, October 29, 2010

Our front door

Here is where we left off with the front door:
Within an hour or so, it looked like this:
While we actually didn't mind the color, this was just gray tinted KILZ to get the door ready for the real color.  It did look kind of cool, though!
The real color was Behr Antique Red, the same color in our dining room.  Here she is after only one coat of color-matched Ace Satin Exterior paint:
I was pretty impressed with the coverage after just one coat!  The dark primer was the bomb, plus the paint was really high quality.
I ended up doing two coats...then I had to tackle the hardware. 
When I had originally removed the door handle, it was looking really old and rusty on the inside, but I thought it was too cool to replace.  Plus I didn't want to cry when new hardware wouldn't fit and we'd have to drill all new holes.  You know? 
So I decided to use a wire brush on the rust, then spray it all with primer and Rustoleum 'Dark Bronze' spray paint.  I also thought about not putting the eagle door knocker back on, but I have to admit I kind of love him and he probably is original to the he got a couple coats of paint, too.   
He's so magestic while waiting for me to prime, don't you think?  Or gaudy.  One of those things.  Anyway, I think he cleaned up nice and looks good on our 70 year old door....
and here it is all done!
And it also looks spiffy with the 'full view' storm door.  Too bad about the glare, though...
So what do you think?  Is the red too predictable?  We have gotten lots of complements from the neighbors so I think I made the right choice.  I will also take your opinions on the eagle.  If I'm a total weirdo and it's way ugly, please let me know!
And maybe you would like to see my post last year pondering what color to pick?  Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

That room again

I think I did a pretty good job of cleaning up the closet in my brown woman cave.  I painted the shelves white and the walls the ceiling blue.  It was a pain and is hard to see the blue, but I still think it was worth it. 
It is also more empty than ever before, and it should remain that way for about 72 more hours until I start desperately throwing crap in there.  Ok, I've already started the crap throwing.  But it's a neat throw.  I think. 
That fine piece of furniture blocking the view of the closet door is the Craigslist dresser I raved about here.  It goes along with a very nice electronic device that will be great for me during the very loooong football season when I am banished from the living room.  
I got my own 42" plasma - awe yeah!  I chose to wall-mount it because it's a small room and I wanted as much space between me and the tv as possible.  I also wanted to have the top of the dresser clear of tvs, components, etc.  I will have to share my brillz plan later...I promise there won't be any wires hanging down when I'm through! 
The mount we bought tilts up and down (doesn't swivel though) and was pretty darn easy to install.  Finally, people.  Something was EASY to install and didn't require crying.  I got the mount from for $40....and I'm so happy with it!  Check it out here.  This room is finally starting to look good - one long paint-drenched day at a time, right? 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Storm door shuffle

Dudes, I have been a busy bee.  Last weekend we finally put up the new 'full view' storm door that had been hiding out in our living room for the last year:
See it?  Yeah, the box totally matched our wall paint.  I guess that is why I didn't care that it was sitting there so long!  Here is what we were working with before:
I didn't take a picture of the inside of this storm door, but it was flaking away and rotted through.  There was always these little flakes of aluminum on the stoop that drove me crazy!
We started around noon last Saturday, thinking that it would take us about two hours. 
The old door came off so fast I didn't even get a shot of him removing it!
When we did get the door and hardware off, it was clear the door surround needed some TLC.  Ew!
I scraped, sanded, and put a quick coat of BIN on the entire surround with a foam brush.  BIN is not necessarily for exterior applications (only recommended for 'spot' touchups) but I figured it would be fine after a coat of exterior paint.  It looked so much better - sorry about the over-exposed pic, all the pictures I took this day were on the wrong setting and I didn't even notice! 
While the primer dried, I noticed that the lintel above the door was rather rusted and yucky. 
We taped off the area, gave it a bit of sanding, then shot it with some 'rusty metal' rustoleum.  I love that the primer totally matches our brick!  I will come in later with the same 'Sweet Tea' exterior paint that I used on the A/C and meters around our house. 
After everything was dry, we started the installation.  We had watched a Larson installation video on their website where the guy installed the door in about 5 minutes.  It took us about 300 more minutes than him to install this door.  5 hours of drilling, attaching, removing, repositioning, crying (that was me) and wondering 'what the hell' later, we had this:
Yay!  Of course, my work wasn't over because the wood door was yellowy-white, full of nail holes, and boring.  Observe:
More on the door soon!  Oh, and those house numbers are another issue soon to be discussed...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The painting never ends

So, I'm still painting the brown room.  The next thing I had to tackle was the closet.  I believe this room will have more storage than any other room in the world.  A 12-foot wall of bookcases and cabinets, a built-in desk with tons of drawers, and this guy:
As you can see, it's yellowed and chock-full of crapola.  The other side, too... 
For shame!  There is a jammed shredder in here that hasn't worked for years!  And an entire box of colorful file folders that I have no hope of ever using up in my lifetime!  That black strap?  It's a carrier for my yoga mat that is only used to cushion my knees while painting on the floor! 
It took me a little while to clean it all out, even longer to prime every inch of the inside.  Believe me, there is a lot of junk that will not be making it's way back into this closet.  And...this picture was BEFORE the primer, just so we're clear. 
I've been painting the shelves, trim and doors the same white as the bookcases, and the closet walls the same pale blue as the ceiling.  It's looking much better now!  Is it weird to spend hours painting a closet that no one will ever see?  Maybe. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mmmm cupcakes

My first wedding post!  Even before we got engaged, I'd dreamed of a cupcake table instead of wedding cake for our reception.  After researching bakeries in Milwaukee, one stood out with reasonable prices and lots of beautiful looking I asked if we could pick up a few sample cupcakes from Erica at Classy Girl Cupcakes.   She was more than accommodating, and we came home with four goodies! 
Er, there was four, but we devoured the 'white cake with buttercream frosting' cuppie in the car.  Seriously, we couldn't wait!  The others included a dark chocolate with oreo frosting, a red velvet w/cream cheese frosting, and carrot cake also w/cream cheese frosting.
They were all yummy, but we chose the white cake and red velvet for our two flavors.  Our colors are aqua and red, so I figured the red velvet would look great on the table and would satisfy the chocolate lovers.  The white cake was delicious and a no-brainer.  Now that we've signed a contract (at $1.50 each in case you're curious), I have to find some vintage cake/cupcake stands for our dessert table.  I found some pretty inspiration online: 
These are cake stands stacked:
And of course, there are the creative folks who make their own stands using vases and vintage plates, like this cute feature on Apartment Therapy:
Or this simple glass stand on How Does She?
Do you have any cupcake wedding porn?  Ideas?  Pictures from your own cupcake table?  Please, send those links my way!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


So, my sweet potato vine grew a potato. 
This has never happened to me before, I actually thought a pesky squirrel had buried something in my window box!  So I 'dug it up' and whooops, there went my vine. 
Something doing much better than the now-dead sweet potato vine is our mums.  They are STUNNING this year!
They are around three feet across, big balls of gorgeous.  They started as $5 Home Depot specials two years ago.  I had planted four, and only these two came back. 
My mom is dying of jealousy, she can't get any mums to come back and I don't do anything special to these!  No purposeful watering, no fertilizer, no winter protection, no pinching back, nothing. 
They seem to magically move around every year, this was how they looked in fall of '09:
How can they not be touching anymore?  It's like the one on the left took some steroids and then heaved over 6 inches.  A 'mum' mystery, I tell ya!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Still plugging away

Is it normal to have wine or beer every week night?  Because that's what I've been doing. I'm sorry to be so slow with the updates on our built-in, but I've been buzzed for the last couple weeks.  Happily, we now have cleats, shelves, and two coats of paint done.  The cleats took an entire Saturday of mitering, gluing, leveling, nailing, prying off and starting over, screaming (mostly me) and throwing things (me again), but they are done. 
We also ended up recutting a bunch of shelves that were not done correctly by Shaun's buddy, a huge bummer at $20 a board.  We had enough, but I was hoping to return the extras.  Worse, I had primed and painted all the old ones.  La-di-frickin-da. 
We spent a lot of time with the hand sander getting the edges cleaned up and making sure the shelves would have room to come in and out of the shelf supports.  Did I mention how much I hate sanding?  ps - I wore my painting shirt two days in a row because you all liked it so much.  And it was already dirty.  And I didn't want to look for another painting shirt.
We knew that all the edges of the unit had to be finished with something, because of unsightly things like this:
We decided to use plain pine 1 x 2's on all the vertical supports because they were the perfect width to cover these double boards, and we really didn't want anything froufy, frilly or otherwise decorative. 
The most dramatic improvement was the areas against the walls, where we had to shim everything to make sure it was level.  Before:
And after!
We used Loctite construction adhesive and our Porter Cable nail gun (1.5" nails) to attach all the cleats and the 1 x 2's.  We each logged many hours on that step stool with the gun, and it's a good thing it has to be pressed against something before firing, or we probably would've shot eachother across the room.  DIY or die, baby!
And this is what it looked like at the end of the day on Saturday:
Since then, all the shelves came down and received lots of paint lovin.  I've also caulked and filled more cracks than I care to remember.  But it LOOKS LIKE A BOOKCASE!!!  Next up is more paint for the cabinet portion, some finishing trim on the 'cabinet top' pieces, and figuring out what the heck to do about the crown and baseboard that cannot be matched with anything local because it's so old.  Of course.  

** To everyone who voted for me in the One Project Closer contest - I am so warm and gushy inside that so many people would do that for me.  THANK YOU! **