Wednesday, May 30, 2012

$20 Projects: Roller Blind

It's hard to believe we've already been in the Northeast Portland Bungalow for almost four years. Of course! when we bought the house, we thought we'd be in this house for "3-5 years." Of course we thought that.

Fed up with so many minor things that we just lived with (and hated) this whole time, we placed a few of these minor projects on the chopping block. Things like:
  • The bruised-avocado green bathroom paint.
  • A home-made railing on the basement steps, made from 2x2 wood, duct tape and nails.
  • Chipping paint on the woodwork in every room that we have not yet completed (which is every room except for the kitchen and dining room).
  • The cheap cafe rods and aluminum blinds that keep out no light.

The lesson I'm learning is that: you should fix those little stupid things! Yes, it's only chipped paint, but if you wait four years to fix it, you will spend four years resenting your woodwork. Fix the stupid stuff.

Let's talk about that blind. Did you know you can go to any big-box home improvement store and buy a black-out roller blind? We had to go with the 55" length which was roughly $18 dollars. They cut it to length in the store, instructed me on how to install it, and pointed out the hardware I needed, which was 97 cents. 

So, "bright"-side, $19 took us from this:


To this:

The aluminum blind is "closed" in both pictures. The only difference is the roller blind.

The sad part was that the first time I tested the roller blind, I ripped it. The window is tight enough that I had to really squeeze the roller blind in behind the aluminum blind. So the cheap plastic material snagged on the hardware for the aluminum blind. Doh! 

When I bought the blinds, he offered a fancier fabric option, but I thought to myself "Why would I want a fancy fabric when it is a secondary blind? Psshh!"Live and learn. Maybe I can salvage it in the future by trimming it or something.

Why are there two blinds? This is a temporary situation- though we will always have two blinds. For aesthetics, I have a wooden blind to install in this window (one-inch slats, just like the kitchen blind). However, they don't block ALL the light. The pictures about were taken between 6:15 and 6:30pm. This is a south-facing window, and though the sunlight wasn't direct, you get the idea. 

We did plenty more today, but I see that I really didn't get any "after" pictures to post. So I'll post more about the shed, railing, basement flooding, bathroom painting, trim hanging and spare room painting tomorrow (or soon, at least). 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Must... Keep... Going...

Today, we finished stripping the first side of the second (and final) door in the spare room. About 3 hours of scraping left. Then 5 minutes of sanding. Then hang the missing pieces of trim and quarter round. And THEN! we will be ready to paint that bad boy, and get it furnished again!

In the yard, after some weed eating, we topped the raised beds (full of compost) with some manure.We need half a dozen more bags, but can pick those up another day this week. Maybe tomorrow. I must be tired because I'm very excited about possibly buying manure in the morning. What's wrong with me?!

We painted the bathroom, but will probably have to touch it up. The stormy-blue paint came to us from the neighbors' kitchen. Really, though, it could have just been mud. Even mud would have been an improvement over the bruised-avocado-green the previous owners painted.

Just before running out of steam tonight, the last spark of energy was used to paint over a few of the plaster patches in the bedroom. Blogging from bed, I cannot believe how much better it looks. Really, it just looks a thousand times better.

I guess, when you're living in a construction zone, and nothing is ever "done" you forget how it feels to see something that IS done. And "done" is NICE!

Unfortunately, I'm too tired to download pictures from the camera. Maybe I can get a few posted tomorrow. Manure AND a blog update? Whoa- big plans!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Slow Progress

Today's output wasn't quite as dramatic as yesterday's. Slept in later than planned because I was so tired from yesterday. Then had to work this morning, so we got a late start.

We did buy paint (and accepted from free paint from the neighbors), finished stripping and sanding the spare room closet door. We also bought the rest of the framing supplies.

The big accomplishment today was rearranging the bedroom furniture, and getting the donation pile ready for delivery. We took an inventory of what is in the pile, and have it staged for a drop off later this weekend.

Working again tomorrow, but hoping for a productive second half of the day- plaint stripping, cleaning and hopefully, finish framing the shed. Fingers crossed!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Plaster Repair and Shed Construction

Today was huge.

I am desperate to cross things off the list, and remove a few of our regular headaches. Headaches that come from things like cheap towel rods that fall apart. Solution: glue the screw into position.

John came back for day two of plaster repair. He has just a few loose ends to tie up on Monday, but is almost there. So close! Hopefully I'll pick up a few quarts of paint in the right colors over the weekend and we can keep moving forward!

While John dug into his work with the plaster repair, our awesome neighbor helped up go to work building a shed.

If you have been keeping up with the blog (not that it's hard to keep up with the break-neck-pace we've been working with...) you might remember when David pitched in a year ago: thanks David!!

Anyway. I think the shed will be huge, though it's only 4x'8'', and roughly 8' high in the front (6'6" high in the rear). With no framing experience between us, we were in desperate need of guidance.

I also took the time to figure out how to take better pictures of the sky.

Tomorrow, we have to add a few pieces of baseboard, and a few pieces of quarter round, then the office (or is it a spare room?) and the bathroom are ready for paint. So. Close.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Office Update

I can't decide if I call it "the office" or "the spare room." Whatever it is, we're getting close.

This makes me think there were three windows in this space, originally. The big window in the dining room is the same.

I estimate that I have about 10 hours left of paint stripping on the doors (better get another audio book!) but this room is ready to go.

After determining we need professional help (feel free to take your shots at that one!), the skim coat is up and will be ready for paint TOMORROW! Cannot wait- we're so close.

 The rough coat is up on the other side of the new wall as well. John had this patched in just about 45 minutes. It would have taken me days to get as far as he did!

More soon!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Still Going

I don't feel like we have too much to show-off just yet, but we're getting lots done.

The spare room is almost done- taped up and ready for primer. While taping up the floorboards, I got a splinter that was a half inch long. I had to cut the skin on my pinky-finger with nail clippers to get it out!

It takes roughly 8 hours to strip paint from both sides of one door, and I'm over half way through the first of two doors. My tip for this? Audio books. I actually enjoyed working on this today, and look forward to doing more!

Outside the room, we've accepted a bid from a plaster contractor to finish the plaster repair work. I was very happy with his review of my efforts. We're also impressed that he expects to finish the work in just two short days, later this week. He's going to FINISH the plaster repair. That's basically 4 more rooms. In two days. It would have taken me... at least a month. At LEAST.

We've also purchased paint, made more paint color decisions and started the shed project. So there's lots going on, but few pictures to show for it.

More soon!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Almost There

Slowly, slowly, progress is being made in the office.

I've experimented with "painting" a thin mix of plaster onto my patched areas, trying to feather out the patch. It's much easier to sand this down to a smooth surface. I keep thinking about doing a post on the methods I've developed for plaster repair. I'm not professional, but I am at least becoming slightly more proficient.

I also upgraded for 40-grit sand paper. I'm still working with my basically-broken-camera, so no sweet pictures. But progress is definitely being made!

So, finally, I think we're almost there. I found that a couple of the patches have one or two small divots. But the door is so close!

Also, we made some color decisions. Earlier this week we received a coupon in the mail for 30% off paints, so we'll be making a purchase in the next few days. We're going to knock this project out soon!