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IBB Myth Busters Edition

23 May

I finished off the floors a few weeks ago and I ‘m happy with the way that the project turned out. During the process I was pleasantly surprised to find out a few of the things I thought were not true.

Myth one: Its expensive
It was really not that expensive and not as difficult as I thought it might be. The biggest expense in the whole project were the sanding pads and the polyurethane. I think I spent $400 total.

Myth Two: Its labor intensive:
I rented an orbital floor sander from Lowe’s and was able to do all four rooms and the hallway in one day. Most of the time I was just standing around holding the sander. As for the staining and poly. It was even easier.

Myth Three: Its dusty:
True, there was dust; but not nearly as much as I thought there would be. The sander really helped out a lot in this regard as it had a built in vacuum which sucked almost everything up. Including every elusive pine needle form the Christmas Trees of the last 75 years. 

Myth Four: Its stinky:
Ok, that one is true.

While doing the sanding I came to the conclusion that this is the first time my floors have ever been refinished. The boards were extremely uneven. It took a while to get every part of each board sanded down when some boards were lower than others. The floorboards are narrow and very thin, almost like yardsticks, and they are face nailed down to the subfloor.  I don’t think the floors were ever sanded down as a whole together. If they were there would be no way that they could have been so irregular. Is it possible that these were prefinished and then installed?

Once the finish was all off and I used all three grits of sandpaper, I stained the floors with a 50/50 mix of English Chestnut and Provincial stains. I did this because I wanted to go darker and I though that this mix looked best with the Gumwood baseboards. Speaking of the baseboards I also sanded the toe kick (because they were really beat up) on all of them and then applied a mix of Gunstock with a touch of Chestnut which matched the color of the rest of the Gumwood right on. 

Finally, I used three coats of water based poly to protect the floors. I suppose oil might have been better but the water based dries much faster and frankly, I needed my house back.





PS. Guess who’s getting a new driveway today?

Ittybittybungalow Does Fall

19 Sep

The air is getting cooler out and it was time to remove the overgrown plantings from the window boxes so I swapped them out for these mums. I got a great deal on them (98 cents each) and was able to replant all my window boxes for 12.00. I got a cheap wreath for the door and things are looking much more fall like around here.

In other news… I was able to repair the giant hole in the ceiling and replace the light fixture with a exhaust fan/light combination. This was an exercise in patience. Once I had figured out how to rewire the fan into the old wiring in my house and reconnect the outlet which was tied into it, I had to repair the plaster. Day by by day, a layer at a time. Finally, a week into the job, also known as late Sunday night I finished the plastering, sanding and repainting!

This is what it looked like before:




All Grounded

7 Jul


‘ve been working on a lot of the details this week at IBB. One of these projects has been replacing and grounding all the outlets in the house. Here you can see one such example (sorry about the cruddy pictures, but I was crouched behind my fridge). This particular outlet happened  to be one of the few in the house that already had the holes but I replaced it anyway so that all the plugs would match. Once I figured out what I was doing it went pretty smoothly. I also replaced all the switches and converted most of them to dimmers (which are way overpriced).  

Additionally, I have replace the quarter-round molding along the baseboard in the kitchen and added hardware to the cabinet doors. Doing all of this is going to force me to do lots of touch-ups on the white since the hardware was anything but easy to install correctly.

Here is a look at the new hardware:

and here is the baseboard with the quarter-round re-installed:

I also tried to replace the power cord on vintage toaster… then it zapped me and started on fire when I plugged it in.
I’ll get back to you on that.

I do have two more outlets to do but I have to replace them with GFCIs since they are close to water and GFCI outlets are also overpriced, so I’m going to wait on those. This weekend I’m going to continue to focus on unfinished projects here is my to do list:

Complete the kitchen backsplash
Second coat of paint on countertop
Purchase a sink mat
Complete organization of basement
Begin and finish attic clean-up
Purchase and install outlet cover in the living  room
Hang new curtains in the living room and bathroom
Hang hooks in second bedroom closet
Organize under the kitchen sink and install cork shelf liner
Re-pot houseplant in the dinning room
Purchase new frames and hang paint-by-numbers in the living room
Purchase picture hooks and hang mirror in living room
Replace glass in living room coffee table
Purchase and install new doorbell
Recover dinning room chairs
Finish stripping and re-install heat grates
re-install toilet paper holder in bathroom

I know that looks like a lot but they are really all small jobs and I can get a leg up on a few of them after school tomorrow. If I complete all of these tasks this weekend then the only thing left to do will be to paint the cellar stairs, the front porch, finish off the board and batten panels in the bathroom and sew the roman shades for the kitchen. Then that’s it! Phase One is complete! Horray!

How NOT to spend your weekend.

3 Apr

You know how NOT to spend you weekend? Well, yes.. I’m sure you have lots of ideas yourself but let me just add one to the list. Replacing the window sash weight cords in your windows. In case you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about here is an illustraion from do-it-yourself


diagram of a double hung window


So… the long and the sort of it was  that I really didn’t know what I was doing. I wound up basically dismantling the whole window.  I removed the moldings and labeled their location, next I broke away all the old paster to expose the lath strips. Following that I cut the ends of the lath strips open with a jigsaw to expose the window well (the part where the weights hang out). I went to Black’s Hardware and got new cording for the weights and then removed the window frames and installed the rope after stripping the old hardware from years of caked on paint. Then I reassembled the frame calked and puttied the molding and then sanded and repainted the whole kit and cubudle. The last step was to call my uncle and complain about how much I hated this job, and how i really didn’t think it was worth doing…thats when he told me their was a way easier way.


In other news… some positive things did happen this weekend. The first is that the rank (the previous owner’s crud) has been banished from the bedroom. The bedroom is now “Weekend Getaway Green” (Sage) and things are finally looking up in here. I still have some patching to do in some spots and the walls and ceilings will need another coat but all in all there has been significant progress in so far as I feel a lot better about sleeping in there.

I also went to Silver Creek on Saturday and bought those chairs that I wanted off of Craigslist. I got all seven of them for 100 dollars and they are perfect and very sturdy! So I get them refinished to match my table and we’ll be all set.

I got a little bit of spring fever and I removed the windows from the front porch. The front ones came out easily in one big piece and the sides just unclipped and popped out with a little coaxing. I labeled them and put them in the garage for the winter.

I met the neighbor next door. I thought they were flipping the house but it turns out they are just renovating before they move in. From what I have seen it seems to be a man, his wife and two small kids. How suburban. Anyways, he seems pretty nice so  that’ll be great. In other neighbor news I went to have wine with Elyse on Saturday night and she gave me the skinny on the rest of the hood. She lives in the Tudor across the street,  and I’m glad to know someone around here.

Lastly, I went to an estate sale on Friday after school. I got a few things like and old croquet set, some antique Christmas ornaments and most notably a large steamer trunk. Its back and has brass hardware and  the initials M.E.B. painted on both sides about 6 inches tall, that was my favorite part. It was half price day so I got it for 32.50 and it looks great at the foot of my bed.

Oh! PS

We don’t have any internet at IBB yet so that’s why you haven’t been hearing as much lately!

DIY Modern Cement Planters

21 Feb

Saw this DIY over at Re-nest this morning. I’m thinking this would be a great project for the front steps at IBB. I’m wondering if I can color them in some way, and make them a bit larger. The link with the steps and materials is on the word Re-nest. Stay tuned to see how this works out at IBB this summer.