Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Dining Table Refinishing

Hello and happy fall!

Our much loved dining room table has received a facelift and we would love to share it with you!  We had this table built over a dozen years ago, or so.  The top was made out of 100 year old barn board.  It is beautiful and sturdy and has stood the test of the 90 children that have called our place(s) home, many family parties, holiday dinners, crafting get togethers and a plethora of homework assignments.  It has earned a few scares over the years, but they just add to the patina.

Here is a "before" photo of our dining room which we shared with you last fall.   Over the last couple of years, we noticed that the varnish has "yellowed" making the table look more orange than it did in it's early years.  After talking about refinishing it for a while, Ian decided that the timing was right to work on it one week this past summer.

After taking the table apart he used a belt sander and palm sander to remove the old varnish from it.

It took two days of sanding and fussing over it to get it "naked".  As is often the case, I got the easy job of picking out the paint and stain colours!  You know the "glam" job! As in the job, where I don't stand outside in the heat, covered in saw dust and sweat with tingling hands!  I chose "soft chamois" from Benjamin Moore for the legs and skirt.

We wanted a high quality matte paint, for long life and wash-ability.  This is what they recommended at our local store. Ian says to tel you that it paints on really nice!

 We opted for for an exterior stain (read super durable for a table that is used daily and washed several times a day) in a warm soft grey.  This stain is tint-able in several colours, we chose "Georgetown Grey".

We also decided to give the top a coat of finishing wax, this adds an extra layer of protection and is a fairly quick and easy job to buff on a couple of times a year.

And I have to tell you that we are so in love with the way it turned out.  It is an amazing first step in getting this room looking how we envision it!

It is always a great feeling when things start to come together!  The products for this makeover cost just under $70.00. Not too shabby for a completely different look, and why I always recommend buying "real" wood pieces.  You can easily give them a second life, save money by not replacing them and not add to the land fills.

We are currently on the hunt for new chairs to match the "new" table.  We are thinking of keeping and repainting the two end chairs and adding chair pads of some sort.  Although, I would really like something wicker or upholstered.  We have chairs in mind to replace the back two chairs (which will be re-purposed elsewhere in our home), I am sourcing out the best price. And I am about halfway to convincing Ian that he can and should build me a bench that coordinates with the table to replace the two chairs at the foreground of this photo. Wish me luck!

And hey, thanks for visiting!
Ian and Laura

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Deck Modification Phase 4 | Hot Tub

When we last filled you in on our deck renovation, we had replaced the stairs and started building the extra section of decking to access the new hot tub.

Well as you can see we finished the little deck addition, so we now have safe entry into the hot tub.  We picked up a couple of little mesh chairs (perfect for wet bottoms and towels) at our local home store for only $12.50  piece. They weren't quiet what we had in mind, but it was hard to argue to price tag!

And that is pretty much where we left things for a couple of weeks while we entertained guests.

But Ian was really anxious to get going on the rest of the project. You will notice in the "before" photo above, the decking has large gaps.  They were treacherous to anyone sitting in a patio chair, more than one chair leg got sucked down there. So shortly after our guests left, he started working again.

He used a large reciprocating saw to cut down the old deck boards.  Which were not in fact deck boards or even pressure treated lumber. They were 2x6's!  Then he pulled out the boards, working on half of the deck at a time so that we still had access for us and our dogs.

Once all of the floor boards were out, he reinforced the deck by adding in more joists, so they they were 12 inches on centre instead of 24. He also added in some blocking as there wasn't any before.

Because we could only do half the deck at a time, we were also able to save a bit of money by buying 8' deck boards instead of 16 foot.  Plus we could bring them home ourselves and thus saving on delivery charges.

The planking / decking part went pretty quickly and before we knew it he was woring on the second half of the deck.

Following the same process as before, this picture makes me more than a little nervous!

And once again,he was at the decking phase, it takes a lot of time and sweat equity to get the this point, but it is so rewarding.  He keeps telling me he loves this stuff!

And wow, do we ever appreciate that we have no gaps to fall into anymore!

After the deck, he moved on to railings - safety first you know ;) We wanted a change for the balusters.  As you can see in this before photo (below), the existing railings and balusters really restricted our view. In fact the whole deck felt dark and heavy and enveloping.

 So we explored a few options and ended up coming up with this idea. We love the modern / farmhouse / industrial look they add to the deck. Plus they are so open and airy, it just FEELS better.

The only downside is that they are not galvanized, so we had to give them a clear coat of spray paint. But it was a super quick job.

Most of the posts you see are the existing posts, although Ian did add a couple of extra posts.We also maintained the original rim joists.  The only problem was that they were all covered in thirty year old varnish and stain. Yikes.  We used a belt sander to clean them up and then added a coat of  a brown paint on preservative.  This should help all of these pieces last quite a while longer and now they match the new decking!

We have used the deck so much this summer! It was definitely a great idea to stop working inside and move outside for the nice weather!

Next up is skirting, lighting and decor!  We may be in the home-stretch.  Although we are debating on whether or not to call it quits until the spring. We found out we need to replace the flooring in our 575 sq.ft. family room so we do need to move inside soon!

Thank you for visiting!
Ian and Laura

PS anyone want to guess how many screws we used?

Friday, 9 September 2016

DIY Candle Holder


A couple of weeks ago we went for a drive to check out a few neighbouring small towns / hamlets, one of our goals along the way was to check out this little home decor shop, which actually was quite large.  It is in an old house and there is room after room filled with eye candy!  We picked up a few treasures, one of which was something that Ian had been coveting for quite a while - we will share those things later on. Our son loved that there was an ice cream parlour in one of the little rooms!  Definitely a win for the family!

While there we spied these candle holders, pictured below.  They are cute, and I thought they would be nice in our family room, but they came with a hefty price tag ($90.00 for the trio) and I wasn't sold on the colour (they look green in this photo but are actually quite blue).  I do love it but it doesn't mesh with my colour vision for the room.  So I snapped a quick picture with my phone, hoping that we could recreate them.

A week of so later when Ian was working on the deck some 4x4 post scraps were heading to the trash bin.  Well you know I scooped them right out again!  Ian cut them to size for me, we just sort of eyeballed the heights based on the size of the largest piece. After that we sanded them with a palm sander, next came the fun part of painting and staining.

First we gave them a quick coat of chalk finish paint, in a warm grey by Americana Decor called Primitive.

And then we rubbed on a gel stain in a colour called Weathered Grey.  This stuff is super easy to work with.  You can wipe on and off as many coats as you like, the longer you leave it on before wiping it dry, the more colour the wood takes on.

Then we tapped into our stash of Mason jar lids (yes, it's a thing! ha!) we flipped the rings upside down and the lids right side up and Ian screwed them into place.  We contemplated painting them black via a spray paint, but quickly decided we liked this warm metal colour..  They are perfect for holding pillar candles!

The final step was to wrap the bases with rope, we used small nails to hold either end in place.  Each post was wrapped 9 times, because I have a thing for odd numbers.

The bonus was everything that we needed to complete this project with the exception of the rope, we already had on hand.  Making this a $5.00 DIY!

We love the way they turned out, they will look great in our family room oce it has had it's makeover!

Thanks for visiting!
Ian and Laura

Monday, 5 September 2016

Inexpensive Outdoor Movie Screen


Our family loves watching movies and in the summer we enjoy outdoor movie nights.  Over the years Ian has created several screens for our flick viewing, but the one he created this summer was probably our favourite!

First he created a frame using 2x4's, although 1x4's would probably work just as well, we just happened to have the 2x4's left over from another project.

Then he wrapped the frame with a painter's drop cloth that we picked up at Home Depot.  He secured it to the back of the 2x4 frame with staples.

Finally he hung the screen from the back of our garage using large hooks, one set on the frame and one set on the garage wall.

The screen measures about 5' x 8', and is just perfect.  We enjoyed several videos under the stars this summer and hope to be able to do this again next year!

Thanks for visiting!
Ian and Laura

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Kayak Storage on the Cheap


We know we have been sharing very sporadically this summer, hopefully we will get back into some sort of routine soon.  Today we would like to share our new kayak storage that Ian created for under $30.00.

With just a couple of 2x4's, strong hooks and heavy duty bungee cords, we can keep four kayaks off of the floor of the middle of the garage and easily accessible for when we need them.

The studs in the garage were the perfect distance apart so that Ian could incorporate two into each kayak spot.

He used short pieces of wood to deepen the space between the studs and longer pieces perpendicular to them to add extra support. 

Then he inserted heavy duty hooks into the ends of the shorter pieces, which hold the bungees in place once they are wrapped around the kayaks.

We run one bungee in front of the first kayak, and then stand a second kayak in front of the first and wrap it with a second bungee.

Here is a little bit a pulled back view of it.

The blue kayaks came with two each of these foam pads, for carrying them on top of your car, but they are also perfect to protect the nose of the kayak when they are standing up on their ends.

Even the paddles will tuck in place with the kayaks!

A couple more large hooks hold our kayak wagons on the wall beside them!  We have used these all summer now and they have proven to be a perfect solution!

Sometimes its the simplest and inexpensive options that really are just perfect!

Thanks so much for visiting today!
Ian and Laura

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Deck Modification Phase 3 | Hot Tub

Hey there!  We are back with phase 3 of the deck remodel today.  This time we are sharing the new section of decking that will join the hot tub to the existing deck.

Last we left off, the hot tub was in place but we did not have an entrance way into it.  So while we waited for the electrician to come to do the wiring, Ian worked on creating a new section of deck.

The railing on the left hand side of the stairs was taken down.  Ian's plan was to create a deck level with the landing that is in the middle (well, off-middle really) of the stairs.

You can get a better idea of the location of where the new section of deck needs to sit, from this picture.

So with the addition of new posts and support beams. Progress was starting to be visible.

It always amazes me how long these projects take, if you say "build a deck extension" really fast it doesn't seem like that big of a deal! ha!

Ian secured the old deck, new deck and the hot tub deck all together with lag bolts to make sure everything was super strong and safe.

Te electrician suggest putting the hot tub in position so that the access panel for the motor faces the old deck / house.  Which is honestly not what we thought to do, and necessitated in Ian needing to rotate the hot tub by himself!

This also means that the new section of deck has to have a removable section to access the motor.

He actually had fun, figuring out how to do this.  He just loves this stuff!

At this point the cross-members were installed on the first section of the deck.

And the landing in the stairs got a facelift and some more support beams.  Now it will match the new section of deck.  The whole deck desperately needs a facelift too, but that is for another day.

We decided to run the decking on the landing the same direction that the stairs run, even though we needed to run the decking for the new section the opposite way.

Once he had a few of the deck boards in, he took a break to work on the stairs.  They were in rough shape, and quite rickety.  We had some company coming with kids, and wanted to make sure no one got hurt.

 Taking things apart and trying to salvage the posts, meant he had to be careful with the dismantle.

It also meant we had to work quickly so that the dogs still had access to the yard.

 The new stairs made a huge difference to the look of the deck never-mind the safety of it.

Next up was creating a removable section of deck, for the access panel, as I mentioned.

Ultimately, Ian decided to create an entire section that will lift out as needed but is well supported underneath.  It worked like a charm!

We love the way the new deck section and stairs look and feel.

 It is going to make for easy access to the tub.

This is about the time that the electrician came in to do the wiring for us.  $1500.00 later, we were ready to fill the tub.  We knew that one of the jets was not working when we got it, we didn't realize that meant we needed a whole new motor.  This model has two motors and the one that needed replacing has two levels, so it was quite expensive to replace.  The new ones run about $800.00, we managed to find a used one for $400.00.  Thankfully Ian was able to change out the motor no problem, so now we are in business!  Time for a fill and a cleaning! Then a drain and another fill!  The tub got christened with it's first use, by our youngest when it was only 67 degrees!  Brrr!

Next up are new railings on the stairs and the front of the new deck. WE also want to re-surface the upper deck and skirt the whole thing.  Add some lighting.  Divide the yard in half so the dogs have their own side when we need to keep them separate. And on and on.....  It is a process for sure!

Thanks for visiting!
Laura and Ian