Monday, June 25, 2012

Free Fencing in Portland!

Hey, all your Portland-area home owners! Just found 180 FREE cedar fence boards on here! They are "weathered." Wish I had use for this load of free fence boards!

What about posts- do you need some round fence posts for free? Get those here!

You're welcome :-)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Light of My Life

We finished the dining room almost two years ago, but something kept nagging me. You can see it photobombing my dining room before shot with the faded-safety-vest orange walls.

It's the basic, "traditional style" light fixture. I suppose it is an ok fixture- provides light, probably pretty cheap too. But it didn't seem to be the right style for the room, or this house.

So I've wanted to find a light that would update the room with something simple and solid, like a bungalow. However, I lacked any opinion whatsoever. I would look at light after light and each looked fine, hideous or ok. Nothing wowed me.

Until this morning, when I was shopping for shingles. I wanted to take a quick peak at lighting, just in case there would be a good deal on something for my parents' house. I didn't know I was about the meet the first light I would get excited about.

I thought this light looked very cool, but why was it just sitting on the shelf, with no box? Shouldn't it be hanging, or in some sort of packaging? I moved in for a closer look.

Then I saw it- the deal maker.

YES! And yes, this deal is available near you: 8-Light Dark Oil-Rubbed Bronze Chandelier

I asked a store associate if there was anything wrong with the light, and he assured me there wasn't. He kindly took it to the front of the store for me, so I could continue on to ...

... what was I looking for? Oh yea, shingles.

I've never replaced a hardwired light fixture, and I admit I was intimidated. But I turned off the power, grabbed heavy rubber gloves and rubber sandals, and learned as I went. I pretty much just looked for things that would slide apart and untwist. The old light came down easily.

The new light had a five foot long chain and is 2-feet long already. That's way too much chain for our 9-foot ceilings. I had to figure out how to adjust the chain. 

The links on either end open up, but there's no way to easily adjust the length of the chair. I measured the distance I wanted the fixture from the ceiling, then measured the chain. I inserted one screw driver on either side of the link I figured should come off, and slowly increased pressure, until it twisted open.

I took the adjustable link from the end, and added it to the new, shorter chain.

 I'm saving the remaining four feet of chain just in case I decide we need to take the fixture when we build our next house.

I removed the plate at the base of the chain by removing this washer, and wrapped the extra cord inside the housing.

The light did have one small blemish- something black left a mark on the etched glass shade.

About 60 seconds with a Magic Eraser got me this far?:

So here it is- the new light!

Hope you don't mind all these pictures. I am very excited about this light!

Spare Room: Mission Accomplished

You may or may not remember that we started working on the spare room, AKA the office, AKA the guest room over a year ago. About 13 months ago, actually. You can check out the complete "before" post here.

Here are a few of the highlights from this project:


This soft caulk-like material was used to fill a gouge in the plaster before wallpaper was hung. We found similar gouge in the closet.

Masking tape was used to cover old holes, then painted over. Of course. Just like the other rooms in this house.

Thnext picture shows the doorway to the bathroom. It was unnecessary, unused and took up valuable wall space. We saved removed the door, trim and jamb carefully to reuse them when we finish the basement. After framing the section of wall and adding drywall, we plastered over that section to get it flush, and skim coated the whole wall. The more I deal with plaster and the more I deal with drywall, I just don't understand why anyone would not have plaster. 

We chose a paint color that is two shades lighter than the love seat. It looks very gray, but does have some green in it. So without further delay:

The NW corner (where I sit to blog!)


The far left is the old door to the bathroom. Then the closet, and the living room door on the right.

We've been in the house for four years, and finally have banished the LAST $5 cafe rod! It has been replaced by a 1-inch wood blind.

The paint color is called "chatroom" by Sherwin Williams. We used a Cashmere base with eggshell finish. Cashmere is SW's most expensive line, but we receive those 30% coupons in exchange for being signed up with an account. Cashmere paint proved to be nearly splatter proof, and we only used one coat. We loaded the roller and brush very thoroughly, and that may have helped.

I get very excited to work and relax in the finished room. Over the course of the project, the guest room became the office and is now the spare room. Whatever your need, this room's got it covered! Let's mark it down as a victory at the Northeast Portland Bungalow!

Monday, June 18, 2012


While visiting my family, and still riding high on a few productive weeks on home improvement projects at the Northeast Portland Bungalow, I pitched in with a few odds and ends to help out.

I noticed the back door at our family home needed a paint job. The paint was peeling off the aluminum door is big pieces, and looked pretty bad. Using the scraper and sander attachments of a borrowed Dremel Multi-Max™ 6300 oscillating tool, we made short work of removing the old paint. We washed the door down with mineral spirits and were ready for paint.

We were instructed specifically to use the leftover can of RustOleum Protective Enamel. The can hadn't been sealed after it's last use, and had a thick skin on top of the paint. I punctured the skin by poking it with a scraper. I had to pull the skin out of the can with my hand, covering my hand in oil-based paint.
Have you tried to wash oil-based paint off your hand? It's not easy. First, clothing detergent (because I went straight to the utility sink, in the laundry room). No luck. Next, dish washing detergent- still no luck.

I was beginning to worry- it was getting very sticky and "smoke gray" skin is not too attractive. Luckily, we found instructions on the internet. It should have been obvious- so if this happens to you, do this: Scrub your hands with a good handful of vegetable oil and salt. The paint comes right off. I washed up after that with the dish washing detergent. My hands actually felt smooth and soft afterward!

I have to admit, I was a skeptic. I did not think the paint was going to look good- not after pulling that skin off the top! But the paint easily mixed, had good coverage in a single coat and did not show any brush or roller marks. It settled to a very smooth and even finish.

I had read some tips about painting with oil-based paints- load your brush or roller generously, and do not over brush. These were great tips. It gets tacky fast, so keeping the brush loaded helped. I had also read that it dries slowly, so we put the painted door in the sun. It was dry with no tackiness in about 2 hours. And it looks great! The paint is smooth and even. I can't believe I forgot to get before and after photos- but trust me- it looks a lot better. 

I want to recommend this paint to you, if you have a similar project coming up. I'd love to say I was being paid to say that, but no, I'm saying only because I used what I assumed would be a ruined can of paint and it came out great. 


  • There are some major fumes. You'll want to work in a well ventilated space! We were in a garage, with doors and windows open wide. 
  • If you can, dry the door, appliance, or whatever you've painted in full sun.
  • Keep the vegetable oil, salt, and dishwashing detergent handy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Living Room Media Storage

Our house was built in 1923- well before it was common to have a television, big stacks of DVDs and an assortment of remote controls. Finding the right spot for the television has been a little tricky. Our best option seems to be a specific corner in the living room. 

It's an awkward corner between doorways. The TV has to sit at an angle to face the couch.

I decided that a wall-mount was our best choice, even though that meant visible cords and living with the paralyzing fear that the television might come crashing down. 

Enter Ana White. If you're not familiar with Ana White, she's a blogger in Alaska who posts fantastic plans for building furniture, garden boxes and other small structures. The plans are very straight forward and very clear. Since I first stumbled across Ana's blog, I've been increasingly interested in building a piece of a furniture.

For the record, I couldn't stand the idea of a hideous corner cabinet. I've never liked corner cabinets and did not like the idea of one sitting in the living room. That is, until I saw this:

This might bit a bit taller than would work in our room, but I really like this. It just might be the first piece of furniture I attempt on my own! 

If you aren't familiar with Ana White's blog, check it out! And be sure the click on the Momplex tab. Learn about insulating concrete forms and metal roofing. We're planning on using both when we build our next house, so I check the Momplex tab on a regular basis!

Monday, June 11, 2012

$20 Projects: Basement Railing

 Changing out the railing on the basement stairs was shockingly simple. So simple that I was mad at myself for not doing it years earlier.

The railing was a real home-owner-special, handmade out of 2x2" lumber, 3 nails and some duct tape. It took one yank to pull that sucker off the wall. If you actually needed that railing to prevent a fall, you would have  find yourself tangled up with the railing, in a heap on the basement floor.

I found an 8-foot piece of a railing and the home improvement store and had it cut to 5-feet. I also picked up a few pieces of railing hardware. The railing was $18 (and change) and the hardware was just under $3 each. 

I pre-drilled the wholes and attached the hardware first. Then I held the railing where I wanted it and marked where I needed to drill the holes in the woodwork.

We'll paint it when we finish the basement, and repaint the stairwell. We will definitely go with something other than pink. (Yes, the stairwell and basement walls and ceiling are pink!)

It took less than 10 minutes to take pictures of the old railing, install the new railing and take more pictures. For $24 dollars, we have a new railing that will actually stay on the wall in the event of a fall. And we didn't even need to use duct tape.

Like the roller blind, this project was so easy and so quick, I am kicking myself for taking so long to do it. If you need to replace a railing, go do it ASAP!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shed Progress

The last two weeks of May were the most productive two weeks  we've had at the Northeast Portland Bungalow. The shed project is well underway, though not yet complete. The backyard looked pretty shabby with all those tools stacked up against the house. Now we have the shed to a point where we can put the tools inside, and that is pretty nice!

We started with a rough idea of what we wanted- small with barn doors and a shed roof. If you haven't used SketchUp, I highly recommend it. You can have a lot of fun and really loose sometime tinkering with designs.

The foundation is four pier blocks with 2x6 and 2x6 pressure treated lumber. The floor is pressure treated plywood. The walls and roof are framed with 2x4 pine studs.

The eaves stretched a bit further- almost two feet now. This will protect the shed a bit more from the weather, and will allow us to mount some brackets on the back to hang ladders. Also, the pitch of the room if slightly lower.

By the end of the second (half) day of labor, we had a roof and 3 walls. So, of course, we signed the interior walls (yes, we sign our work) and filled that sucker with the tools that had been leaning against (or were piled against) the back of the house for the last few years. 

Next, we need to build the doors and close up the front wall, add house wrap, add flashing, singles and paint.