Old House Restoration

A real family makes an old house their home...for the 2nd time
The Splendido's renovate, restore and rejuvenate their home with their own hands - all while living in the house
and balancing their family needs...you know...like most families have to do it!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kitchen Renovation #3 - Wallpaper Removal, Painting and Light Fixture Replacement

Before Pictures

2 words - Wow! Fugly!
kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacementkitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

It really is amazing when you think about it. Just how much you are willing to put up with when you find "THE house." It's hard to believe - that with a kitchen like this - we still truly had to fight tooth and nail to get this house. We had a contract, then we didn't, but we knew we did. We hired lawyers. It was a mess. But in the end cooler heads prevailed. It was going to be ours.

Karen LOVED the house and saw its full potential. What did I see?...my "free" time going bye-bye. Don't get me wrong - I loved the house too - but knew what it would take to reach that potential. With that said - its potential has not been reached - but we are a step closer.

The first things we did in the kitchen were wallpaper removal, painting and changed the light fixtures...back in March 2014!...yes I am just writing about it now - a year later - I did not want to reveal anything in the kitchen until I was done. The reason I kept it a 'secret' is because I didn't want to hear "did you finish the kitchen yet?"....because I knew I was going to take a 7 month hiatus to do other projects.

Kitchen Walls & Lights

Step 1 - Goo Gone - Oh my - I really wish I had a before picture of this vent fan. I honestly thought it was a black fan. I was surprised when I de-yuckified it and found out it was silver.

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

Step 2 - Karen's Handy Work
Karen is always to first to start the wallpaper removal in any room....usually a few weeks/months ahead of when I planned on doing the work. ;-)  Karen goes around and rips off any pieces that come off easily. Look at the first 3 pictures of this blog entry for what I mean. She does this to see if it will be an easy job or not...(and to make sure the project gets higher priority on my Honey Do list).

Step 3 - Change the Light Fixtures
kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacementNormally I would have finished the wallpaper and painted before changing any lights - but we could not handle the florescent light fixtures anymore. As if the cold "work place" ambiance was not enough - they were also falling off the ceiling...in case you think I am exaggerating check the picture to the right.

Changing a light fixture is not all that difficult - but hire an electrician if you must. I hired one for the first light fixtures we changed in our previous home. I watched what they did and since then have been doing it myself.
  • Turn off the electricity to the fixture at the circuit breaker - MOST IMPORTANT
  • Remove old fixture
  • Disconnect wires
  • Read and follow instructions on new fixture
  • Reconnect wires - black to black; white to white; green to green
  • Make sure all connections are secure
  • Turn on electricity
kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacementKeep in mind if you are changing to a ceiling fan or the old wiring in your home is frayed or you do not have a grounding wire you may have additional steps...or hire an electrician.

We chose Schoolhouse Pendant lights. Sorry for the less than stellar pictures below...they really look nicer in person than in the pictures...and there are better pics at the end of this entry in the After Section.

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacementkitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

Step 4 - Remove Wallpaper

The day I removed all the wallpaper from the kitchen was less than fun. 8 hours of prep including paper tiger-ing, spraying the walls, scraping, scrubbing adhesive and washing and re-washing. After-all a good paint job starts with good prep work. My Little Helper, Lily (6 years old at the time), was by my side for at least 6 hours of it asking, "Is it my turn yet?" She was very excited to learn how to spray the walls with the pressure sprayer and then scrape the wallpaper off.

She quickly realized it was a wet job and disappeared and then returned with this work uniform.

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

Wallpaper Removal
  • Peal off as much as you can by picking a corner and peeling
    • With any luck all of your wallpaper will come off like wrapping paper
      • I have had several rooms in my old house come off like this - primarily the better wallpaper (more like a fabric than paper)
  • If the wallpaper has been painted over - all bets or off - or if your wallpaper just rips (like in the first 3 pictures of this entry) then you need to take a Paper Tiger to the walls.
    • They are cheap and available at any hardware store, home center or paint store
    • You roll the Paper Tiger over the surface scouring the surface of the paper (leaving thousands of tiny holes in the paper).
  • Using a pump sprayer (can be found near the insecticides and lawn care products at any home center) - fill the sprayer with hot water and some fabric softener
    • Spray the wallpaper until thoroughly wet. You may want to protect your floors with old towels (never throw out a towel - save them in a sterlite container for home projects)
  • Wait 15-30 minutes - let the mixture work its magic - the longer you wait the easier it will be
    • I usually Paper Tiger and spray the next wall while I am waiting on the current wall
  • Use a putty knife (1.5" to 3" I find works best) to scrape off the paper
    • Take off the easier stuff
  • Re-wet, wait, scrape again - repeat until all paper is gone
  • OK so the paper is gone...but you are not done yet! Just because the wallpaper is gone does not mean the wall is clean. If you touch the wall it will feel slippery/slimy. It is the wallpaper adhesive that is now wet.
    • If you try to paint over the adhesive it will bleed through your paint and ruin your paint job!
    • Spray the walls again.. Use your putty knife to get most of the adhesive.
    • Then use a wet scotch brite pads to get the rest.
    • Then wet a towel and clean off the wall.
    • When you are done the wall should look and feel clean
  • The final step is to fix any cracks or fill any holes with joint compound- let dry - sand - tack cloth the loose dust.

I know this sounds like a lot of work - and it is!

Want proof?

Just look at how crazy Lily was by the end of the day!

       ...she really does make hard work a lot more fun!

Step 5 (well really Step 34 if you include every step of wallpaper removal as its own step) - Remove the Back Splash

    kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement
  • Rip off the backsplash any way possible (ours was formica). 
  • Remove as much adhesive as possible with a putting knife. 
  • Skim coat the areas with joint compound
  • Sand smooth
  • Use a tack cloth to remove the excess dust to prep for paint
Note - the skim coating/sanding is just because we are painting the backsplash temporarily as we decide what type of countertop and backsplash to install in a future project.
kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacementkitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

For you NFL Football fans - Much to the chagrin of this Pittsburgh Steelers fan - somehow the Baltimore Ravens logo ended up on my wall. It was not by design - the pieces just came off like this.

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement
As with most home renovation projects...
...part of making things look better is to first make them look worse.

Step 6 - Paint
Lily by my side again - now 7 years old
  • 1 coat of Benjamin Moore primer
  • 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Ceiling White on the ceiling
  • Two coats of Benjamin Moore White Dove (satin finish) on all the crown molding, trim work and doors. I used their ADVANCE Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint. It self levels much better to a smooth finish. Brush strokes are barely noticeable.
  • For some contrast we chose Benjamin Moore Navajo White (Regal Select Eggshell) for the walls.

Did I mention that Lily is My Little Helper?! Watch out Nicole Curtis! Lily will be ready to take over for you when you hang up your tool belt....

If you don't watch it...I highly suggest watching Rehab Addict on HGTV. Great show. Lily loves watching, too. Lily thinks Nicole is cool and makes ugly houses look pretty...and you know what - she's right!

In the above pictures - Lily is painting the refrigerator nook. We had to protect the wide plank pine floors before rolling the refrigerator out of the kitchen. Here are some pictures of that process.

The After Pictures

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacementkitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

kitchen renovation - wallpaper removal - light fixture replacement

The kitchen is looking better.

My next entry (coming soon) will show you how I refaced our cabinets using the original doors. Truly a total transformation!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kitchen Renovation #2 - Decorative Range Shelf

I know! It as been almost 3 months since my last post! Just horrible for readership (if I had any), but it was for good reason. I am tired, but very glad to say, I have been working on the house too much. Along with some sleigh riding and baseball coaching thrown in (pun intended); finding time to also write has been hard to come by. With that said, I have a whole slew of things to get caught up on. I have been so busy these past months and can't wait to share them over the next few weeks....starting now!

I started the kitchen 13 months ago...but took April thru November off (to do the many outdoor projects). I have been back working on the kitchen since December (with a week or so off at Christmas for good behavior). I finished ripping out the linoleum, sanding and refinishing the floors in January. Then got to work on refacing the cabinets myself (entry coming soon) and making a few other personalized touches from Karen's Pinterest boards (also coming soon).

If I was smart I would save the best for last...but to hell with that! I LOVE the way this shelf came out so I just couldn't leave it until end!

First a little history. This fuzzy, grainy picture to the right is a screen shot from the video we took during our walk thru of the house in June 2013. This stove was in BAD shape! Only one burner worked. Which I am sure I could have fixed, but it was old - and not that cool, retro old. But even worse - Karen and I opened the oven door once - ONCE! (channeling Danny Vermin from 1984's Johnny Dangerously movie...IMO an all-time great comedy)...but I digress - the oven was so DISGUSTING.

Broken, old, ugly and gross. A new oven was top on our list of purchases. It goes without saying we used our gas grill a lot that first summer. But by the end of August we had purchased a beautiful range from Earl B. Feiden in Clifton Park - the Verona 36" Pro-Style Dual-Fuel Range.Up until now I have yet to unveil a full picture of our new range and in that spirit the picture to the right is not a great picture of the range, either. You will have to read the whole entry to get to those pictures!

But this pictures does give you a great "before" picture. The lovely wallpaper, Formica back splash and oh-so-classy exhaust vent cover - a place mat held on with magnet clips!

The two shelves were a tag sale find by Karen. She has a knack for deals. $2 for 2 real wood shelves with routed edges and all. They were functional and nice looking, but not Pinterest board worthy. BTW - I just started my own Pinterest account - it is still in its infancy - but now is a good time to get in on the ground floor!

If you look carefully at the above picture you can see a rectangular plate in between the two bottom shelf brackets covered by wallpaper. Under the wallpaper we found it was painted. When we removed the plate we realized there were 6 tiny glass panes (2 rows of 3). If they had not been covered they would have revealed these!

Back in the day - you could summon the help - from one of 6 different rooms and they would get buzzed in the kitchen. The help would look at the panel and see what room required their assistance.

There are "door bells" to this day on the walls of our living room and master bedroom. Also in the exact center of the dining floor we found the above hole. Karen is a master researcher and she found out that there would have been a push button in this hole - so the owners of the home could hit the button with their foot while they were eating at the dining room table. "Would you please pass the jelly?" (Channeling the 1980's Polander All Fruit commercial...always made me laugh).

So are you still with me? Now to finally get on with the Range Shelf entry....

Building a Decorative Range Shelf

Step 1 - Pin your Inspiration

This entry will show you if you find something you like - Pin It. Yeah sure Karen has this in her Pinterest Board, but even more - I printed it and Pinned It to the wall behind the stove...12 months ago! I have been staring at this picture for a year just waiting. See I HATE painting (this surprises people, but as I like to say, just because I do it a lot (out of necessity) and am good at it (because I do it a lot), doesn't mean I like it. But I LOVE building things. I knew I had to paint all the walls, trim and cabinets first - and only then my reward would be being able to buy some slabs of wood and get to work building this...

The picture on the left was pinned to our wall for a year. The picture on the right are my "directions" All I has were these pictures, a few sketches, handwritten notes and my carpentry tools.

Step 2 - Buy the Wood
I purchased solid wood slabs that were 3/4" thick. Glued pine boards for the sides, front, back and top. A hardwood plank for the shelf. Since I was painting the finished product I could save big money by mixing woods. You cannot do this with stained finished products. Also it keeps the weight down when you can get away with using pine. Important when hanging an object that is going to jet straight out from the wall. I purchased a length of crown molding and 1/2 round trim, too.

Step 3 - Make your Cuts

Mostly straight cuts. However I wanted a decorative front. I used the bottom of a spray paint can for the small corner quarter circles and a cheap compass for a large quarter circle in the opposite direction. Time for the Skil Saw.

Step 4 - Glue and Nail and Clamp the Main Structure

I attached the pieces with glue (I am loving Titebond II Premium Wood Glue in the round "burger joint" style bottle - good enough for Tom Silva - good enough for me) and my brad nailer. The small pin holes of these nails are practically invisible and very easy to cover with spackle. Combined with the glue - the wood will break before the seam will separate. I clamped the structure in various areas to make sure the seams were tight. Hint: do not over tighten your clamps. You do not want to squeeze out all the glue. Also protect your wood from the clamps by using scrap wood buffers.

At this point a few people thought I was making a Toy Box when I posted this picture to my Facebook page.

Step 5 - Add the Trim Work
Crown Molding and 1/2 Round turned nice into spectacular

Note: for the shelf - I ripped a 1.5" strip from the 12" wide board and glued and nailed it to the front of the shelf. It served two purposes: appearance and integrity. It gave the shelf a thicker, more appealing profile and also gave the shelf more lateral strength to prevent future sagging.

Step 6 - Spackle (Joint Compound)
Fill in all the nail holes and any imperfections

Step 7 - Sand Smooth
Orbital sander with 220 grit the flat surfaces and hand sand the round surfaces with a sanding sponge.

Step 8 - Paint
I balanced the shelf on its back on top of paint cans so I could paint all exposed surfaces at once.

Step 9 - Protect the Shelves
I applied 3 coats of MinWax Polycrylic (Satin finish) to the shelf and top. It dries crystal clear and protects like a polyurethane without the poly's amber color.

Step 10 - Hanging the Shelf

Making a structure like this is only half the battle. You have to hang it from the wall securely. Gravity wants to bring it down! In my picture in Step 1 above you can see my primitive drawing of a wall cleat. I know there had to be something I could buy. I found The Hillman Group 18-in Hangman Picture Hanging System (above the back-splash in the picture to the bottom right) It was perfect. Easy to use. Comes with a built in level. Can hold up to 200 pounds. Cost less than $11....and it allowed Karen and I to easily mount it and feel safe to let it go, check it out, make adjustments, take it on and off at will and then reinstall. So easy. The mounting system that is. The process in a whole was a PITA! After testing the shelf until had it in the perfect location, I had to make some pencil lines to mark the exact bottom so I could install the back-splash to the correct height. So off came the shelf again.

Step 11 - Install the Backsplash

For as easy as the mount was - hanging the back-splash was a thorn in my side. It came free with our stove 18 months earlier (kudos to the Splendido's for keeping it safe and dent free all this time). However I found out why they were giving it away with the purchase of any Verona range. It was made of two pieces that had to be connected together - but not one of the factory drilled holes lined up. After 90 minutes of measuring, drilling and testing I was able to make the needed corrections - and if I didn't tell ya - you would never know! Looks perfect.

Step 12 - Rehang the Shelf 

Step 13 - Roll the Stove Back in Place

Stove Dolly - Oven DollyStove Dolly - Oven DollyIn my last post about restoring the wood floors in the kitchen, I wrote about my ingenious (if I do say so myself) way I made my stove a permanent set of wheels for the past year. 

The After Pictures

Not bad for less than $70 in total costs (including the hanging bracket). The shelf, along with the range, definitely gives this section of our kitchen a much need oomph!

Italian Made - European Styling - Available is 5 colors

We love it! However, now we need better cookware made to handle it's power.