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Furniture & Decor

On this page we have outlined some of our furniture and d├ęcor ideas.

Other Appliances & Electronics

On this page we have outlined a few of our ideas on appliances and electronics for our new home.

Our Lot & Community

This page is all about our Lot and Community information.

House Options

This page is all about the House Options we chose.

Construction Status

This page outlines the status of the buying and building process and where we are along the way.

Future Projects

This page is all Future Projects, both big and small that we would like to do to our house.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quick Bar Project Walk Through (~90% Complete)

The project isn't done yet but we have used the space a few times because it is functional.  We took all the plastic off everything and cleaned it up for our daughters birthday a few months ago and just haven't wanted to get it all messy again with drywall dust.  Finishing up the drywall work and painting the top half of the walls are the last major tasks in this project.  There are a few dozen little punch list items but nobody would know about them but us.

Here are some pictures of what it looks like right now.


Still have to finish mudding that back wall and side wall near the sconces




Ended up moving those pub tables due to how cramped it is. Going to put in
a standing bar shelf on that wall under the sconces.




Upper and Lower Cabinets Stained and Poly'd





















In this pic you can see we moved the pub tables to try them out. really like them
over there... except we had originally planned some oversized chairs there.




In this pic you can see the Red Wall on the right. We decided to do all the
walls this color instead of our original faux idea. Just more rich and warm.












This is the color we are going to do throughout the bar



Bar Project #17: Stained Cabinets, Doors and Drawers

Wow!!! Way over due for an update... :-(

This work was actually done back in March/April but we hadn't posted the progress or pics.  Sadly we haven't done any work down there since then.  We have worked on a few other projects but have been trying to enjoy the summer while we can.  So lots of time at the pool and a few trips. :-)

Worked Accomplished:

Lower Cabinets
-Sanded Lower Cabinets
-Applied Pre-stain Conditioner
-Stained with 2 Coats of MinWax Jacobean Stain
-Added 2 Coats of Semi-Gloss Poly

Upper Cabinets
-Sanded Upper Cabinets and Bridge
-Applied Pre-stain Conditioner
-Stained with 2 Coats of MinWax Jacobean Stain
-Added 2 Coats of Semi-Gloss Poly (Purchased the Spray Can Version... Worked Really Well, especially being up on the wall and having to balance on a ladder and get in all the grooves on the bridge crown molding)

Door and Drawer Fronts
-Sanded Cabinets Doors and Drawers
-Applied Pre-stain Conditioner
-Stained with 2 Coats of MinWax Jacobean Stain
-Added 2 Coats of Semi-Gloss Poly (Used Spray on Poly)
-Added Pulls to drawers and doors
*Purchased the rubber bumpers to go inside doors and drawers but haven't put them on yet
** Full Disclosure: We have 8 more to do because we couldn't fit all the doors and drawers on our temporary work surface (an 4x8 sheet of plywood on saw horses)

Lessons Learned:
-While staining the doors and drawers on a flat surface it was tough not getting some drips and a bit of discoloration on the edges of the doors and drawers. Will need to look up some solutions for this but for the most part you can't see the imperfections.
-Although we really liked the spray on poly, it seemed as if we had more of an issue with bumps and debris getting on the surface.  Going to research and see if it can be buffed smooth without scratching the poly. We may just have to sand it down and add another coat.


This is the Spray Poly we used on uppers and doors


Starting Staining Lower Cabinets


















Added Pre-stain Conditioner to Uppers







After First Coat of Stain







After 2 Coats of Stain and 1 Coat Poly (Still Wet)






Applying first coat of stain on doors

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Movie Poster Case Project

I know we are in the middle of building the bar and this might seem out of place but it is relevant.  For some reason it is taking much longer than expected for the stain and polyurethane to dry, so we have to find other things to work on while we wait.  Many of the remaining items on the bar "to-do" list produce dust and we can't do that while we have wet stain or poly.  Also, it is still too cold out to stain in the garage, so we had to find other things to do that are related.
In the bar area, just outside the media room is a wall we had planned on decorating like the outside of a movie theater (sort of).  We wanted to put somewhat authentic poster cases and put some of our favorite movies in them.  If you ever look online at these things you will quickly find that they range in price from $600-$2,000.  Even for a custom 27" x 40" framed and matted poster it is $300 for a nicer frame (not just plane square black).  So we went online and looked at various frames and picked the ones we liked and sketched out a plan.  The first one was the proof of concept and an opportunity to learn all our lessons and make mistakes :(  Despite the imperfections that we will correct down the road (both on the next 4 we have to make... and later on this one), it turned out really nice. Oh... and total cost was around $175.  The Lexan was $65 of that.  I really prefer the Lexan over glass due to weight and durability but it would have been cheaper to buy the premade 27x40 frames on sale from Hobby Lobby for $35 and just not use the frame... just use the glass and poster backing.
Lessons Learned:
 - Didn't mark which side was the smooth side on the birch plywood. Before cutting it was obvious but after it wasn't... and after test fitting several times, when we went to glue everything together we accidentally put 2 of the 4 pieces upside down and didn't notice until we painted and the rough grain showed through.
- Used spackle and caulk to fill gaps and try to blend some of the seems between pieces of wood.  We cut everything pretty tight but you could still see small gaps because of the edge.  Next time we need to do 2 things. 1.) Sand more and to a higher grit (maybe 400) to help blend and also produce a smoother surface for paint. 2.) Use bondo versus spackle to achieve a smoother surface and blend better. At some point, we will sand down the first one, bondo it and re-paint.
- We initially started building the inside frame with screws and things moved a little. Partially because we used glue too and also because we couldn't get clamps on every intersection.  Also, the screws wanted to split the wood because we didn't pre-drill.  So we switched to just using our nail gun and brads which worked much better.


Here are some pictures:




Humble Beginnings...the outer frame




3" Recessed Boarder




Dado cut for 3" x 1/4" Birch strips. Didn't actually use a Dado blade, just
made 2 passes with a regular saw blade moving the piece over 1/8" of an inch.




All dry fit and ready for assembly




Glued and nailed together with wood putty in all the nail holes




We made an 11th hour change. We had some scrap left over from other
projects and this one, so decided to build up the top and add crown




Final product with crown. We also caulked a few of the
seems in this pic too.




Back view... also starting to spray Kilz primer.




Lexan cut down to size and added to custom picture frame
we made.




All primed, ready for paint




We just hit the pack with flat black to seal the wood and
give it a finished look if you were able to see the back at all




Painting on the metallic gold paint. Of course
EVERY imperfection is showcased with this stuff.
Ugh... next time we will do better.








All painted




Picture frame painted




Movie poster case with picture frame attached




Frame mounted and Lexan installed. We are going to
paint the wall behind these flat black.




Poster added... we hadn't mounted the poster to the
poster board yet, so you can see a little white at the top.




You can kind of see some lines on the wall where we
laid these out. We had to move them over 2.5" after
adding the crown molding.



Saturday, March 26, 2016

Bar Project Series #16: Staining the Bar Top

So this is something we have really been looking forward to.  The bar top itself is the main piece of furniture, if you will, where people will gather.  It's the thing that will be used and looked at the most.  So it's appearance, size/design and durability are very important.

We would like to say that it turned out perfect but it didn't.  Now, some would say the imperfections add character... but when you put so much time and effort into something, you really want it to be as perfect as possibly.  Not to mention the point made above.  People will be looking at this thing for years to come... and potentially home owners after us.

Lessons Learned:
 - Build bar top independent of bar wall and level/install after the fact
 - This would help alleviate the need to fill gaps... which leads to my next point
 - The gap filler product left residual product deep within the grain that we could not see prior to staining.  Although we sanded well, the Wood Filler product was resident in the grain and discolored the stain.
 - Minimize the amount of glue that gets on surfaces you will later stain.  Much like the wood filler, although we thoroughly sanded areas where wood glue had gotten, it left behind just enough in the grain to discolor the stain (or not allow the stain to soak into the wood).
- Pay closer attention to the amount of time the stain was soaking into the wood prior to wiping it off.  We started staining on one end of the bar and when we got to the other side, we started wiping off the excess because it had been about 15-20 minutes.  Although we did go back to the beginning to start whipping, the area we had just stained had only been sitting for maybe 3-5 minutes when we got to it and began whipping it down.  This showed a clear difference in the coloring of the wood.  So on the second coat, we set a timer and started on the opposite end of the bar so it would have a longer period of time allowing the stain to soak in.  When the 15 minute timer went off, we whipped down about half of what we had stained, then set the timer again and kept going... repeating this a few times until we were done.
- Use Foam Brushes when applying the Poly from the start.. We started with a regular bristle brush and had 2 issues.  First, it left more brush marks than the foam brushes did and second it was creating bubbles that would dry as bumps in the Poly.  This also makes clean-up easier because you don't have to clean these inexpensive disposable brushes.

Items Accomplished:
 - Sanded Bar Top with 120/150 and 220 grit
 - Applied a Minwax Pre-Stain product to ensure even adhesion
 - Applied 2 coats of Minwax Jacobean Stain (Oil Based Stain)
 - Applied 3 coats of Minwax Polyurethane (Oil Based Poly)
    - Note: We applied 1 coat of Satin, didn't like it and then added 2 coats of Semi-Gloss... it seemed to work out well and didn't look cloudy or discolored.




Applying Minwax Pre-Stain




Pre-Stain all Applied




In this pic you can see the areas where the stain didn't take all the way
Reference our Lessons Learned above :(








Second coat of stain added... still drying here



2 Coats of Stain... All Dried




Adding first coat of Satin Polyurethane




First Coat of Poly... Still Wet. This was the Satin, so
it was not nearly this shiny when it dried




First Coat of Poly all done but still drying








First coat of Satin Stain Dried... we didn't like the sheen. Not shiny enough




Lightly sanding with 220 to add second coat of Poly (Semi-gloss this time)



3rd Coat of Semi-Gloss Poly Dry. This is the final sheen...
Will have to get better pics without glare :-)