Amazing built-in from Bauer Brothers (pantry project)

About a year and a half ago, in the dead of winter, (I still remember the snow blowing across the ice on the road) we chugged over to Bauer Brothers to pick out a built-in for our pantry nook in the kitchen. When we bought the house, the pantry was under the stairs and while practical, I guess, it was dark, dingy, and kind of spooky. We decided in the corner of the kitchen, on the wall we closed up leading to the bathroom, we would do a square pantry with a door, or we would do a built-in style piece of furniture that could function as additional counter space but also pantry storage (big drawers and whatnot).

I know it’s hard to see the logic behind the decision so here is an illustration of what we changed in the space. Essentially we had more wall, given we moved the bathroom entrance out of the kitchen. It created a perfect little corner, for the pantry, so we could get it out from under the stairs and make it more accessible. More accessible, less creepy.

See that dark sliver of pantry?

Where’s this pantry that you speak of…

We are SO GLAD we decided on the built-in. We painted it Dutch Boy Manatee to contrast against the walls and cabinets. I wanted to make sure it looked like a piece of furniture and stood out against everything else. We chose butcher block counters because they stood out from the concrete counters on the other side of the kitchen.

Cut in half (eeek!) and painted

Ross actually had to cut the hutch in half in order to add a countertop. Originally it was all one hutch/built-in, so this part scared me, and I wasn’t sure it would look good after we split it in half. Needless to say, he knew what he was doing and it looks great!

It’s the perfect size for this smaller kitchen

Bottom piece and countertop installed

It was my idea to use two corbels on the sides instead of a plain piece of trim. We bought the corbels (green and pretty beat up) from Bauer Brothers Salvage as well as the hutch/pantry. I’m beyond thrilled with how it turned out.

Getting the top installed was a bitch! I burst a blood vessel in my eye holding it up!

We’re using the original hardware

Corbel cut and installed

Finished built-in!

I would love one of these in my kitchen – big drawers for canned goods or flour and sugar, glass doors to display all of your pretty dishes…it’s perfect!

Refinished antique dresser

I posted a picture of us hauling furniture to our other house on Instagram and received a few comments about my refinished dresser. I just finished it in the last week, with Ross’s help, because everything takes longer with a newborn!

Finished dresser in the trailer

A few months ago Ross came home with a hideous dresser he found on the side of the road. He thought I could refinish it and switch out the drawer pulls and it would be a great little dresser for our baby girl. I was dubious. It was painted a horrific pukey-pink and the wood was super chipped and the handles were in the shape of a cinnamon roll. My primary concern was that someone peed in it, or an animal was living in it or something, because it was on the side of the road.

The pink paint (underneath) and cinnamon roll handles

From what I can tell though, there’s really nothing wrong with the dresser itself. The drawers are clean inside! It was just the outside that was turning me off. We looked at the stamp on the inside and it was stamped Lea Line Leads. Lea Line Leads furniture was trademarked in 1949 but that’s about all I could find out about it.

As I brushed the first coat on

I used wall paint that was left over from George’s nursery (a very light cream color) and wiped it on with a brush then rolled it on for the last few coats of paint. To give it the antique look I knew I needed to scuff it up, but there was no way I was going to run a sander and risk waking the baby, so I grabbed my acrylic craft paints and folded up some cardboard for a straight edge. I dipped the folded edge in brown and black paint and just willy-nilly scraped the cardboard across some edges. It is easy to overdo it though, so resist the urge to cover every corner. Stand back and wipe some paint off with a wet cloth if needed.

Antique-ing with acrylic paint on cardboard

Every time I attempted to work on it, baby Jonna gave me about 10-15 minutes before she started crying, so Ross finally took pity on me (it sat half finished for weeks) and finished it for me, adding the drawer pulls. We bought these super cheap drawer pulls on Amazon ($1 each!!!) but beware, we’ve had to re-glue the diamond part of two of them with Loctite – no biggie though.

Close up of my paint job

I almost forgot to take a before pic so I’m glad I snapped one before I took the handles off. Without before pictures it is hard to understand the level of ugly. Now it looks like a totally different dresser.We love the end result!

Finished dresser sans handles

Finished dresser!!

Chimney expansion (to cover chaseway)

Once upon a time, we bought a house and loved the brick chimney, but didn’t love the duct work and chaseway that ran alongside. We ran through our options, and decided on the most difficult (of course)! We sourced old yellow (Chicago-style) brick for about two years off Craigslist at cheap or free prices. Then came the hard part – the cutting out of the old brick and tooth-ing in the salvaged brick to expand the chimney. Not for only one chimney – but for four different areas in the house! We had four areas to add brick:

  1. the kitchen chimney that had horrible yellow cabinetry next to it hiding duct work
  2. the duct work in the dining room we wanted to cover
  3. the plumbing (toilet) pipe on the opposite side of the dining room we wanted to cover
  4. the chimney in the upstairs master that ran alongside a heating supply run duct

It turned out amazing and we are really happy with the results. The salvaged brick and new mortar isn’t a one-to-one match with the old stuff, but there is no way it would ever be…that  chimney is over 100 years old! The expanded chimneys are such a unique architectural feature and really make the room unique, versus just cutting up some drywall to cover whatever pipes and duct work need covering. It makes the house look like there are more chimneys and although they’re not functional, they add texture, age and color to the rooms. I LOVE THEM! In the next house we fix up, it would be awesome to somehow include some old brick in every room. I wonder how Ross feels about that idea….

Taking out the corner pieces of the kitchen chimney so we could make it longer/wider

Longer/wider brick to cover the chaseway

Slow-going piecing one brick in at a time

Almost finished – just the top brick remaining, to reconcile with the ceiling

The finished kitchen chimney – looks like it was meant to be!

Before and after! I would never cook anything in the kitchen on the left…gross

 

Progress Update #5!

The weather has been so weird….umm climate change anyone? We had like 50 mph wind gusts the other night. I kept thinking of the deer hiding out in the woods for some reason! Also praying there were no humans out in that wind, of course.

I did a video tour back in November, which was very warm with temps almost to 70 degrees! Everyone was all “Yay, it’s summer again!” but I was just plain freaked out. Still am…how does it go from 70 to below freezing that quickly? Anyway, the video tour is bright and sunny (balmy) so that explains that. I’ve been meaning to post it for awhile!

Ross installing our fire detectors in the dining room

Walking into the downstairs bedroom which is right off the dining room

View from the downstairs bedroom into the dining room

Entry staircase we need to refinish and under-stair storage -we are storing brick there temporarily!

Kitchen – we have appliances and that’s about it!

The downstairs bathroom – can’t believe it is the same room as before…INCREDIBLE!

Downstairs living room (those are brand-new toilets in the boxes, ha!)

The upstairs bathroom is such a gem! I LOVE how it turned out…even better than in my head.

The sink-side of the upstairs bathroom with new frosted window

The upstairs hallway with refinished floors and new staircase window to let light in

 

The upstairs master is both my and Ross’ favorite room…it’s super cozy and we love the chimney

We stole some space from the bedroom for a large walk-in closet (not original to these old homes!)

We haven’t painted the second upstairs bedroom but I’m going to stage it like a nursery

This closet is original! And small! Perfect for a nursery.

Onto the outside work.

I hardly ever question anything Ross is doing over at the house, but I did poke a few inquiries his way about his plans for outside. It was pretty innocent questioning because one time I tried to talk to him about when we should lay grass seed and his answer was pretty much “Don’t ask me about GRASS SEED right now.” So I just asked him…”Now that the inside is so nice…have you thought about the outside of the house at all?” And we honestly didn’t discuss it much, outside of the obvious fact that the garage needed a floor, and Ross insisted the front steps needed to be straighter and the front driveway should be redone due to bad cracking.

Of course, being a chick, I pinned a bunch of cool walkways and outdoor patios that I liked on Pinterest, and when we were in bed he would glance over at the iPad and ask if that was the look that I liked. It worked out great, because that is exactly the look we achieved with the walkways at the house and I didn’t even have to stick my nose in it! The driveways are kind of boring to me personally but those are worth a post too. Have a look!

concrete-truck

Our new front driveway spans all the way to the back patio so you can park on the side of the house and go in the back door

New garage driveway

New garage driveway

Future walking path from the house to the garage

Future walking path from the house to the garage

Making the pattern on the concrete walkway with a stencil

Making the pattern on the concrete walkway with a stencil

Patio by the back door

Patio by the back door

Rustoleum concrete stain

Rustoleum concrete stain

Backyard patio

Backyard patio

Backyard walkway completed

Backyard walkway completed

Putting subway tile and hex tile in each bathroom

We had a date night recently and as per usual, we used it to work on the house. At first, I held back and did some work on my laptop while Ross worked on the hex tile. However, I got bored pretty quickly and asked Ross how I could help. He said the best thing I could do is pre-cut tile to the specs he provided. When he didn’t need a half piece of the hex tile, he would draw on the tile with a permanent marker and I would cut it.

I learned a lot about cutting tile. Incorrectly, I assumed you had to slam the handle down on the tile and it would actually scratch the tile a tiny bit. Ross didn’t really notice, but eventually he came over and told me I didn’t need to slam it down but just very gently tap the tile, after it is cut. Low and behold, tapping the tile after cutting it was really slick! We were a great team and the tile looks great. I kind of appreciate chipping in and rolling up my sleeves alongside my man.

Using the tile cutter

Using the tile cutter

We cut a sheet at a time

We cut a sheet at a time

1/4 x 3/16 V-Notch Pro Trowel and tile adhesive

1/4 x 3/16 V-Notch Pro Trowel and tile adhesive

We installed 1/4 in. Georgia Pacific DensShield on the floor and 1/2 in. on the wall

We installed 1/4 in. Georgia Pacific DensShield on the floor and 1/2 in. on the wall

Hex tile being installed in the downstairs bath

Hex tile being installed in the downstairs bath

Downstairs bath hex tile finished

Downstairs bath hex tile finished

View of the bath from the downstairs hallway

View of the bath from the downstairs hallway

Subway tile being installed on the walls and shower!

Subway tile being installed on the walls and shower!

 

Hardwood floors refinished! Whew!

This was so much work. I can’t even count the hours Ross put in ripping up old carpet, fighting with carpet glue, sanding and coating. But I fervently believe this was the single most valuable feature we pulled out of this house, for the least amount of money. I mean, the sander was $200. It’s just the work involved – the elbow grease – that sucks so bad. Plus we had to patch areas because “somebody” had to have wider doorways that let in more light…I always further complicate things. But it was all worth it…and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…!

Sandpaper for the edger

Sandpaper for the edger

Living room carpet glue we sanded off

Living room carpet glue we sanded off

Entryway staircase landing

Entryway staircase landing

Downstairs living room floor

Downstairs living room floor

Master bedroom floor next to the chimney

Master bedroom floor next to the chimney

We took up all of the kitchen floors to make the hardwood carry through to the back hallway

We took up all of the kitchen floors to make the hardwood carry through to the back hallway

Relaying the kitchen floors

Relaying the kitchen floors

Downstairs dining room floors

Downstairs dining room floors

Master bedroom floors

Master bedroom floors

Downstairs dining room floors finished

Downstairs dining room floors finished

Master bedroom floors finished

Master bedroom floors finished

Painting the clawfoot tub

Ross did some more work on the clawfoot tub. Some serious work. Wurk wurk. I tried to sand the claw feet with steel wool….bahahahaha… what a clown, I am. Steel wool didn’t do anything but eat up hours of my life that I can never get back.

Clawfoot tub after sanding, before priming the outside of it.

Clawfoot tub after sanding, before priming the outside of it.

Ross used his sander on the outside of the tub as well as the claw feet to get the years and years of rust off. A family friend recommended Naval Jelly for removing rust and Ross said that worked like a charm.

The clawfoot tub with primer on the outside

The clawfoot tub with primer on the outside

He used Rustoleum Stops Rust to paint and prime the outside of the tub. He blocked the drain hole and taped the rim of the tub so he didn’t have any overspray get on the part we had already cleaned up.

Using Naval Jelly on the claw feet

Using Naval Jelly on the claw feet

After he shined up the claw feet I really wanted to leave them natural, but Ross said they would rust again right away if we didn’t spray anything on them, so we’re going to paint them white as well.

The claw feet were nice and shiny after sanding!

The claw feet were nice and shiny after sanding!

All we have to do now is the finishing coat of bright, shiny white. So exciting. I made Ross promise me I can take a bath in the tub before we sell the house. Like a 4 hour bath. With wine. And candles. And soft towels.

Refinished upstairs hallway hardwood floor

Ross refinished the upstairs hallway floor and it looks amazing.

Planed floor

Planed floor

After thinking about it for awhile, he decided to use his RYOBI surface planer on the boards to make them relatively even before laying them. I was worried it would wear the boards down too thin but they are still pretty thick as you can see from the pictures.

Hallway floor during sanding

Hallway floor during sanding

After planing them and laying them down, he rented a floor sander to sand them smooth. Ross used fast-drying Minwax Polyurethane for floors to finish them.

The floor sander we rented

The floor sander we rented

They really look tremendous. His plan is to start on the upper level and work his way down.

After sanding

After sanding

I’m so excited now that the floors and drywall are progressing…the floors look so amazing in person.

Progress Update 4

I’m supposed to be grocery shopping right now but I wanted to share our most recent progress. George is busy watching The Safe Side (three times in a row…he loves this movie). We posted pictures of the drywall and it looks great! Below is a full update – now off to spend hundreds of dolla$ on sustenance. I promise I’ll never take a tour video again with my iPhone…[covers eyes] sorry!

…and Happy Father’s Day to my man meat.

Downstairs living room

Downstairs living room

Standing in dining room

Standing in dining room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Staircase

Staircase

Upstairs bathroom from tub corner

Upstairs bathroom from tub corner

Upstairs guest bedroom

Upstairs guest bedroom

Upstairs master bedroom

Upstairs master bedroom