Dusting off the blog

It’s been over a year since I last posted. A year ago I was working on my bedroom , I am so happy with that renovation! My room is still clean, uncluttered and all white. I love it. Of course in our typical style we still have not finished any of the little things that needed to be done. So there are still lights that need to be hung, closet shelves that need to be built and always trim that needs installed. What is it with us and trim?

This past year has seen a lot of changes I went to work for Dan, then I stopped working for Dan. I think you can fill in the blanks there. Daniel is now engaged to Megan, Beth is still nannying while that may not have changed from a year ago the families have, and Thomas has quit both his job and moved to Red River Gorge, KY.

Thomas and a friend are spending their days rock climbing. They plan to stay down there as long as they can survive the cold. They should be home the beginning of Dec. So it will be about 5 weeks of living in a tent, with minimal bathing and no clean laundry. But they are doing what they love! You can read more about their adventure in their blog: http://chasingthecrag.com/author/chasingthecrag/ This is just a trial run to their bigger trip that starts in the Spring. It is exciting to see them doing something they are so passionate about, even if it means not having him home every day with me.

Which means that Dan and I are at least temporarily empty-nesters. We are taking off for a week long trip to NC. We go as a family every summer but this will be the first time Dan and I go alone. I’m excited to see what it’s like there off season. Dan is excited to wake up every day and go fishing, of course. We’ve always talked about having a trailer down there so we can spend more time on our favorite Isle. This will give us a peek to what it like when the weathers not so warm.

As for me, my big change…I have, after many years of talking and searching, finally rented an artist studio space. It’s close to my house so I can easily pop over there to work. It is small and cozy which means its affordable even if I don’t sell any of my art. I have been spending the past month painting, moving supplies, organizing and mostly washing glass. All my stained glass had been stored in the garage for many years, which meant every single piece needed to be washed. What an overwhelming job that was. But it is all clean and sorted by color and ready to create something.

I’m really excited about the idea of creating and learning even more. So far everything I’ve done with stained glass has been self taught, and I am really at a place where I want to take classes and learn from others. Since there’s not many classes around here for mosaic stained glass work, it looks like we’ll have to do some more travelling! If you want to see what I’m creating you can follow my FB page; https://www.facebook.com/lifesmanycolors/ or watch for pictures to be posted to my Flickr acct: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sheilarocks/ or watch for new updates on my Pinterest board:https://www.pinterest.com/sheilat111/stained-glass-color-splash-studio/. Lots of options for mostly all the same stuff so just pick your favorite. I’ll also be updating the blog with my new projects but it will be updated less frequently than the other options.

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Dan built me this fabulous workbench, with a light box built right in.

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There on the floor are 3 of my tubs of glass that all needed to be hand washed. There are 3 more large tubs and several smaller tubs that also had to be cleaned. But look how nicely the colors are sorted, doesn’t that just make your organizational OCD smile?

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There are still shelves that need to be built, peg board that need to be hung and other misc. decorative things that need to happen, but it is officially a workable space.

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I really need to get a comfy chair for that corner. You can only spend so much time standing or sitting on a metal stool before you want somewhere comfy to sit and contemplate. Also that door needs to be painted, how boring a plain brown door is!

Bedroom floors

After a grueling 14 hour day the floors are finally installed. I really thought it would only take another 4-5 hours to finish, boy was I wrong! I couldn’t have done it without my mom. It’s so much easier doing jobs like this when you have someone helping you. All the complications that pop up aren’t nearly as overwhelming when you have someone else to run ideas by. I love so much about this floor; first off the cost the wood was only $150 plus another $40 or so for construction adhesive. I don’t know of any other flooring option that I could have purchased for $200 for 450 sqft. It also was relatively easy to install but it could have been 100% easier. I had Home Depot do all my cuts instead of having Dan do it. Which Dan said was a very bad idea, he claimed it’s easy with the big saw they use at HD to get off on the cuts. I didn’t believe him and figured it was my quickest option. Oh boy was he right. The boards were supposed to be 8 inches but they varied from 7.5 to 8.5 inches. Which makes it very hard to lay the floor without getting huge gaps. I wanted small gaps and we used pennies as spacers but if the boards going across the room weren’t the same width than the next row would be off. It added quite a challenge to the project.

Here’s one of those excessively large gaps. I also should have painted the existing floor white before I laid the wood floor. Unless you’re on your hands and knees you don’t really notice and I did try to brush paint into the big cracks when I was whitewashing the floors but it would have been better to paint it white first.

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I really like the way the wood looked but it blended too much with the plank wall and I really did want the room to have the overall white feel to it. So I decided to whitewash the floors.Painting floors is super easy and fast, I’ve done it in the basement and it’s really satisfying because of how quick and easy it is. White washing floors on the other hand is not easy or fast. I watered down 1 gallon of primer with 1 gallon of water (which was WAY more paint than I needed) then I rolled it on across 1 board and then I had to get down on my knees with a towel and rub it in until it was all blended. It was long, exhausting and my poor knees were so sore. I couldn’t find our knee pads and kneeling on a towel just wasn’t helping. This part took at least 5 hours and by the end I was ready to die.

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It looks chalky in those pics but once it was all done and I put the clear coat on it turned out so pretty. I LOVED the clear coat I used, Bona FloorPoly, it was on clearance at HD so I don’t know if it is being discontinued. It’s water based so it won’t yellow like polyurethane and it didn’t smell bad at all. Plus it was dry in about an hour. It only took about an hour to put a coat down and I didn’t have to be down on my knees so double bonus!

After the first coat dried I decided I needed to do a light sanding on the floors. I really didn’t want to but they felt rough and I knew it would make a huge difference. So I ran to Ace and bought some new knee pads, got my hand sander with 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the entire floor. It went pretty quick, I think it took about an hour and it really did make a huge difference. The floors are buttery smooth now, so much better!

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It was a little challenging working around the bed. When we got the bed into the bedroom it had to come up over the roof and in through the sliding doors. So I have two spots where the mattress is overhanging that I need to touch up today.

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I’ve started moving some the furniture upstairs and the next job is installing the closet shelving and curtains.

Bedroom makeover

The bedroom is moving right along…

I got everything emptied out of the bedroom and scattered all over my house, then BJ and Thomas very kindly removed all the carpet, and neatly rolled it into small enough rolls that the trash would pick it up. After I removed all the tack strips and staples the painting started. Thank goodness BJ helped me paint the high areas, I had asked Thomas but he refuses to help paint. BJ was a trooper and climbed up onto the rafters and painted my ceiling. That bedroom took a long time to paint and was very difficult due to all the angles!

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I then decided to add a plank wall on each end wall, which I would have never finished without my moms help. Thank goodness we both have the construction gene that we inherited from my g-pa who used to build houses. My mom helps me with so many projects, and I never seem to reciprocate.

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We also had to remove the railing in preparation for the new wall to be built. It does make the bedroom a bit hazardous, you definitely have to watch your step.

I had hoped to either paint the existing floors or possibly tear up the asbestos tiles and under laminate to expose the original wood subfloor. But neither of those options worked out, so the next cheapest alternative was to use Luanne cut into 8 inch strips and installed similar to how you would lay a real hardwood floor. I’m only 1/2 way done since I had to pause for wall construction, but so far I love how its turning out. I’m going to white wash the floors to keep with the white theme of the bedroom and to prevent it from looking like a sauna.

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At this point I really wished I could just keep the room open without adding a wall that was going to cut my room in half. But that was only going to work if I continued to keep our clothes scattered all over the house. And really how long can I keep apologizing to visitors for having my underwear sitting in the living room?

So construction on the wall started… and about this point I thought I was going to have a panic attack. I really didn’t want to tell Dan that the wall I insisted we needed and had committed to paying a contractor for, had to come down because it was chopping up my big open space. So I took many deep breaths and reminded myself over and over of all the space I would have with no clutter.

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And then the drywall went up and I felt like I lived in a trailer, I don’t know why it felt like that it just did. Dan was very kind and just said, I know you don’t like the wall but you will in awhile. Which is pretty much how these things always work out. I’ve discovered that I really prefer to have Dan do my construction so I can stop him 400 times during a job and question repeatedly if we’re making the right choices. You can’t do that when you pay someone else to do the work.

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The sanding will be finished today, then I need to paint the new walls, finish installing the floors, then white wash and seal them. Install some trim, add the shelves, hanging rods and lights to the closet. Paint and reinstall the railing. Finish redoing all the furniture that I’m doing for the bedroom, because I’m sure most people in the midst of redoing a room also paint and reupholster all the furniture that they want to put in the room. And then finally install my new turquoise curtains (the only color in the all white room) and decorate. I’ll post the next blog with the final bedroom reveal. My goal is to have all that done by the time we leave for our camping trip next Thurs. So I have 1 week, except not really since I won’t really start the work until Dan leaves again for FL on Sunday. So I’ll have 4 days! Man I hope my mom is planning on coming over to help!

The never-ending list (in my head)

Maybe this post should be titled “My out of control compulsion with starting new projects before any project is ever completed!”

Lets go through the list of unfinished projects:

The other house: tile, electric, exterior painting and some finish items

Front porch and house siding (waiting on money that will be available once the other house is finished and can be financed)

Front walkway: cut bricks around edges and landscape

side walkway to shed that I had the boys dig up but I never finished

The interior of our house (its only been 2 years now since I painted) trim around windows and doors and base molding

Hmm that’s quite an impressive list. I think this is a sickness the inability to actually finish a project!

So what do I have planned for the near future, well it seems over the next month Dan has 3 trips planned, NY for salmon fishing, FL for business, then FL again for some other charter fishing trip. Which creates 2 scenarios, first any of the jobs that need his attention or I need his help for can not be finished. Second I am able to start a new project without coming under his wrath! And there has been one project hanging over my head for a few years that has hit its breaking point.

OUR BEDROOM!

It is disgusting, embarrassing, stressful, gross, dirty and about 100 other negative adjectives. We redid it about about 15 years ago, tearing down all the walls and the ceiling, to make the whole upstairs 1 big bedroom. We painted it purple and put in purple carpet. As you can imagine 15 or so years later I am really tired of purple. And the carpet is just dirty and gross. Plus tearing down all those walls eliminated any little alcove that could have been used for a closet. The clutter of Dan’s clothes being EVERWHERE (and I do mean everywhere, it’s like sharing a bedroom with a super messy teenage girl) and all the other crap (fishing lures, tools, office stuff…) that gets dumped up there is just too much!

Here are a few of my dream rooms, you’ll notice how light and airy and empty they are.

Day 9 – Clean Bedroom, Better Sleep 5 Calming Bedroom Design Ideas. I love the colors and that mirror. Bedroom Design. Soothing bedroom color palette. Paint Color is Farrow & Ball Cornforth White 228. Finish is Estate Emulsion. #Bedroom #ColorPalette #GrayBedroom love!!

in contrast to my actual bedroom… (I did not clean anything up for these pics, obviously. This is really how my bedroom looks all the time.)

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But no more, once Dan leaves at 5am Fri morning for NY I will be emptying out that pigsty of a bedroom, tearing up the carpet, and starting to paint. I have also talked to our contractors about coming in and building a wall (wait didn’t we tear those all down?) so that I can have a proper closet to hide all the clothes.Still waiting to hear on that estimate, normally Dan would do all our building but he’s a little too busy fishing to do such mundane work.

I will be doing another blog after this weekend to update on my progress, in the meantime don’t expect any fun girly get-togethers this weekend, I’ve got way to much work to do for any of that.

What’s next

Now that things are winding down on the house, what am I going to do with all that free time? There are still things that need to be done at the other house but we are going to work mostly on the weekends finishing those projects. So that opens up a whole lot of time for me. I definitely need to paint some of the furniture I’ve stock-piled and pay some attention to my booth. It has been sadly neglected for way too long. There are also many, many unfinished projects in our house that need some love. I have gained a whole new level of confidence after all the work I’ve done at Elliott so I am more than ready to start gutting our bathroom and kitchen, two long over due projects that I have wanted done forever. I think Dan would say I need to wait until loads of money magically appear before those two projects can be started. But that’s OK I have several projects that are only 1/2 done that need to be finished first.

But our immediate, as in right this very moment, plan is for our first ever trip out of the state together without the kids. We have travelled LOTS with the kids and LOTS separately, but strangely never together without the kids. Dan had a continuing ed/ financial seminar that he could go to at the Opryland Resort so I decided to join him for a long weekend.

I was expecting a very lush, extravagant room after hearing stories of previous trips he went on without me. And the lobby/ atrium/ grounds did not disappoint but sadly when we got into our room it was just a typical boring room with no balcony overlooking all the lush gardens. I was so disappointed! When we walked over to the convention center to get Dan registered we struck up a conversation with another family that was here for the conference. They mentioned that they upgraded their room so the could get a balcony room. Duh! why didn’t we think of that? While Dan was at the opening talk I went back to the room called guest services and asked if I could get that upgrade, yes there was one balcony room left! So the bellhop came up to the room and helped me get all settled in our new room. And here is our new view from our balcony:

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And these are just a few pictures from around the atrium, well one of the atriums. This place is massive! We walked for about an hour last night trying to decide where to eat dinner. Of course, we kept getting lost and that added to the walking. I think the wine I had just drank didn’t help with us getting lost so much either.

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All the waterfalls are so loud it kinda sounds like our room when we stay at the ocean. This morning when the doors were opened I could sit in bed drinking my baileys and coffee and pretend that we were in Emerald Isle. Sadly this trip has no fishing for Dan.

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And this is where I’m heading in about an hour, for my pedicure and facial. Yes, while Dan is sitting through several hours of financial talks I will be having a leisurely day at the spa! I’m really wondering why I didn’t join him for these conferences in the past?

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I think I’m going to really enjoy being done with that full time job I had for the past 4 months!

Almost done with the Kitchen

I’ve finished up a few more things in the kitchen with help from Thomas and Dan and it is very close to being done. We still need to build the butcher block and add a few little specialty items but it is so close. We have now hit a point that I will NOT be going to the house every day. We will go over on the weekends to finish up the remaining items on the inside of the house then we’ll drop down to about once a month going over to work on the exterior painting. I don’t think it’s quite hit me yet that my more than a full time job from the past 4 months has just ended. As Thomas said to me recently, what am I going to do with all my time now? I am really looking forward to working on some furniture for my booth!

Remember I said mom and Beth did all the shoe molding around the house. Well I had to do the base molding in the kitchen and it caused a minor breakdown when I tried to use this antiquated saw for all my cuts. Virtually impossible to hold a 14 foot piece of trim and make the cuts! Thankfully Thomas rode his bike over to lend me a hand. I really felt like Dan was punishing me for some past sin by making me use this saw.

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Look how sad and lonely those cabinets look, they need something fun to cheer them up.IMG_4607

Much happier looking with a turquoise pegboard hanging over them and a spice rack off to the side. It would be even more awesome with all of my vintage kitchenware hanging on it. But since this isn’t actually my kitchen the kids non-vintage kitchenware will have to do.

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So that hole above the pegboard…There are actually 2 holes and they were the original vents for some type of massive vent fan. We kept the holes with the hope that we can use the vent for an exhaust fan that some day we plan on purchasing and installing. In the mean time maybe we should cover the holes with something.

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The next thing that was hung with much help from Dan was this upper cabinet, it had been saved from the demo but I had decided to take the doors off, paint the inside turquoise and leave it as an open cabinet. I love the way it looks and I can envision all my vintage Pyrex dishes filling it up. But as Beth said, “What are we supposed to put in a cabinet like this?” I won’t share her wildly inappropriate ideas. I suggested mixing bowls or possibly all the snacks that are lined up on the fridge. Or lots of cereal rather Seinfeld-esque. The space under the cabinet is where the chopping block counter will be added as soon as we get home from our trip to Nashville.

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It is really fun to have a second space that I can design so whimsically. I have a different vision for my kitchen remodel but I’m glad I got to do this kitchen with so many fun colors. I think it is perfect for Beth, and Daniel doesn’t even notice.

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The Kitchen

Also not quite finished, but the kids have started moving in and all their clutter is really taking away from the cuteness of my design, so here are a few pics before they ruin everything. This kitchen is very retro inspired. Beth loves it, of course and Daniel is completely uninterested. What is up with these boys not getting all goo-goo over my fabulous design decisions, they’re all so indifferent, like they don’t even notice?

I still have a butcher block work area to build and a upper cabinet to hang, along with installing the trim, lights, pegboard and tiling the backsplash, argh more tile.. I’m really excited to see the lights get installed I made them myself using 2 vintage metal colanders. The light should make a cool design on the ceiling when lit up.

Here’s the kitchen before:

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And here’s what it looks like now:

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before:

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We actually removed that wall and the dead space up above. That upper cabinet has been painted and will be hung on a different wall. WE wanted to keep that awesome little cubby on the right, it’s a pop through to the hallway, that originally was where a telephone and phonebook would be. Now its just a fun little window you can pop your head through.

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This tall cabinet was a custom built in in our other house. I had saved it hoping I could use it somewhere and it seemed like the perfect pantry cabinet for this house. A little paint and distressing and it looks way better thank it did before.

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I’m putting white subway tiles up for the backsplash. I kept the awesome vintage yellow formica countertop with stainless steel edging. I love it! It is so cheery.

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There are quite a few PInterest inspirations in the house, I joking called it the house that Pinterest built. The painted interior on the cabinets was Pinterest inspired as was the chalkboard paint on the inside of the cupboard doors.

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After a thorough cleaning of the cabinets and even painting them we still felt like we wanted to put down shelf liner, I found a really pretty pattern that pretty much followed the blue theme. I really hate installing contact paper!

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I love this metal drawer that we just discovered inside this cabinet, it’s the perfect place for potatoes or onions. I was originally planning on putting this cabinet in the basement for the laundry area, but we really needed more kitchen cabinets so I don’t know why I was thinking that.

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I love the colors in this kitchen and the best part all the paints were mistints. The yellow on the walls was a diluted version of the dining room. We got a 5 gallon mistint of yellow at Menards for $25, we still have so much yellow even after the dining room and kitchen. The turquoise from the interior of the cabinets and the pale blue on the exterior were also both mistints that were only $5 each! Trying to save money where ever I can.

The bathroom

Well it’s not quite finished but I couldn’t resist showing how cute it is so far. I still need to tile around the tub, put the shelf on the top of the wainscoting and install the trim. Oh an hang the door. It’s not very private right now if you use the toilet since the front door looks right into the bathroom.

Just a reminder, this is where we started:

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And this is where we ended up:

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The wainscoting is definitely my favorite thing I did in the bathroom. I love that I was able to repurpose our old wood floors from our other house and I love how cool it turned out.

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There were 2 lights originally here but they were dated, and not in a good way, and missing parts. I had these lights lying around my back porch, so after some cleaning, painting and rewiring I think they are adorable!

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I knew I wanted to put in a pedestal sink because I love the way they look and since there is a huge built in cabinet in the bathroom more storage was unnecessary. I looked for an old pedestal sink but discovered they are several inches shorted than the new sinks. Considering the height of my kids I went with the new sink, which we bought at Home Depot. Then we found one being thrown away during a walk around our neighborhood. We were able to use the basin, but again the pedestal was shorter than the the one we purchased. We also had to switch our the faucet since the old plumbing on the faucet was not cooperating with the new plumbing Dan had installed in the bathroom. So it’s a partially vintage sink.

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At the last minute I decided to paint and distress the giant built in cabinet. No matter what I did I could not get the original wood to look clean or nice. It was like the original finish had crackled than been covered with more polyurethane to seal in all the yuckiness. I am so glad I painted it, I love the way it turned out.

Before:

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after:

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With the distressing you can still see the weird texture that was under the paint, but now it just looks cool instead of gross.

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Those *&%$# hardwood floors

We sanded and sanded and sanded for 12 hours. Then I spent 3 days putting on polyurethane/ stain mixture (which is quite a bit more labor intensive than just a clear poly), each time it took at least 4 hours. In between coats 2 and 3 I noticed some places that were terribly rough on the floors, rough like 60 grit sandpaper rough. Due to not having a car at the house and being all alone without the proper tools I hand sanded 2 of the rooms. And did I mention it was 90 degrees with no air conditioning or fans.

Then after the 3rd coat and before the 4th and final coat (which was determined by the fact that I was leaving on vacation the following day and the whole reason we did the floors this week was so they could sit and cure while we were on vacation) I found many more rough spots and decided that the floors really needed to be buffed out.

So on the day before vacation I rented a buffer and attempted to buff out the floors, really this is better watched than read about:

Sorry about the screenshot of my arse on this video:

And finally Dan showing me how its done. When I called him and said, “how the $#%^ am I supposed to control this thing!” I’m sure he thought I was just being a wimpy little girl. But he still said he was on his way over to help me. He probably planned to school me on how to get it done. Ha!

The moral of this story, I have no idea… But it sure to hell is not that buffing out floors is an easy job! We used the buffer on Beth’s floor and on the office. In the office it took off a lot of the finish that I had spent 3 days putting down but the floors definitely did feel smoother. Dan returned the buffer and I hand sanded the living room and dining room, hand sanding was a breeze compared to that damn buffer. Then I put on the 4th and final coat, which looked fabulous when it was wet. I’ll have to wait until I return after vacation to really see how it all looks. But no matter what we are done with those damn floors! Of course, I still have that hole in the wall to repair.

Speaking of the hole in the wall, when I returned the unused sanding pads the guy behind the counter asked me how it went. Ha! I explained to him exactly how it went and he said, “Yeah, if ya don’t know what you’re doing it’s impossible to use.” Again feeling like my gender was predisposing me to not being able to use this damn machine, I explained that my husband who used to do construction for a living also couldn’t use this stupid buffer and that he even put a hole in the wall. To which the guy laughed and said, “Yeah, that’s the joke if ya don’t know what you’re doing you’ll put a hole in the wall.”

 

The cost of hardwood floors

I have this unrealistic view of construction projects where I just imagine that any job we can do ourselves will be affordable. How much can it cost to sand and redo the floors? We rented 3 sanders, a drum sander, vibration sander, and edger. That wasn’t terribly expensive 3 sanders for 1 day $145. The hidden cost is all the incredibly expensive sandpaper that you have to buy. Thankfully you can return any sandpaper that you don’t use, so the final invoice for rental and sandpaper was $670. Holy shit that is the most expensive sandpaper I have ever heard of!

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partial sanding: IMG_4504 IMG_4503

Dan using the drum sander:IMG_4502

the vibration sander:IMG_4505

after sanding, you can still see all the stains:IMG_4507 IMG_4509 IMG_4510 IMG_4511 This is Beth’s room, her floors looked the best after sanding. This was the color I wanted to keep by using a white wash or pickling stain, but we weren’t able to do that after all, it was gonna add quite a bit to the cost and add extra time, so we had to nix it.IMG_4513

We originally planned on staining all the floors to make them a very dark wood, hoping that would help cover all the pet statins that were left behind even after 12 hours of sanding. But Home Depot didn’t have and dark stain in stock and after talking to the employee she said that the dark stain would actually make the floor stains stand out even more. I also had read online the dangers of staining floors since it accentuates any screw ups in your sanding job, like when you go across the grain or start and stop in the middle of the room.  We had plenty of spots that we would prefer not to accentuate so we went with a clear polyurethane. 5 gallons of poly cost $170 plus another $15 for applicator pads.

Dan and I worked together putting down the first coat of poly, we originally skipped Beth’s room and just did the office, Daniel’s room, hallway, living room and dining room. For Beth’s room I wanted to keep the floors a lighter white wash or pickled look but after a trial and few mistakes we decided to just go with the same poly as the other rooms.

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A day later I went back to put on my second coat and realized I really did NOT like the color of the floors. They were way too golden and the hundreds of stains looked horrible. So I found a gallon a dark walnut stain out in the garage (left over from the previous hoarder/ owners) and added that to the poly for the second coat. Now I love the floors, it was such an improvement and the stains aren’t nearly as noticeable. Another bonus since we put down a coat of poly first instead of just staining the wood it does not accentuate the mistakes made with the sander.

It is much more difficult to lay the poly/ stain mixture than just the clear poly. Any time you touch the trim you leave a dark smudge and every time you start or stop with the applicator it leaves a line, all that is much more noticeable than it was with the clear. After I finished the first room I thought I was going to quit, it just seemed too difficult. But I took a break to go rent a tiller for the kids to use in the back yard and when I came back the floor I had done dark looked so amazing there was no way I could not do the other floors.

The difference between the natural and the dark:IMG_4533

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Tomorrow I’ll go back and do a 3rd coat again with the stain added to the poly. Once I got in my groove I got much better at laying the stain/ poly mixture so it wasn’t quite so overwhelming. I think a big part of the problem is how toxic smelling it all is and I’m trapped in the closed up house with no fresh air. It’s very stinky!

Total cost to redo the hardwood floors in 5 rooms and a hallway: $855 so far, I have more than enough stain and poly to do at least 2 more coats, so I don’t think there will be any additional expenses. My goodness, I certainly hope not, I didn’t budget this much to redo the floors!