Monday, June 23, 2014

Building Bonus Room Built-Ins Part 2

You guys! Remember when I said, look for another post in the coming week? That would have been around the June 10th mark. Well, it is way past that date and here we are! There were business trips, parties (hosted and attended), events and board meetings in the last 2 weeks that really slowed down our progress. Not to mention full time jobs, church and having a 3 year old. I'm not complaining, just trying to justify to myself why things take us so long, like sitting down to write a post!

But we did make progress throughout that time. When we left off, Paul had started the initial framing for the shelving:

The next night after this photo was taken, Paul finished out the base framing work:

Looking amazing, right?! Well, my biggest fear about tackling this project from the beginning was that the built-ins would look homemade, DIY in the worst way. That they'd be rink-a-dink and that I'd regret taking on the task. I know Paul is capable of doing good work, but if we we're going to be spending the money on these materials I really wanted it to look professional.Well, 3/4" pine shelves don't scream "professional" when it comes to finished built-ins. That's what most of them are constructed of anyways but we needed to add the face trim (thank you college education for teaching me about millwork). So we added 1/2" x 1-1/4" trim pieces to the faces of the entire unit. By adding these pieces we immediately went from "OK" looking shelves to the professional look I really wanted. I didn't take a picture of this in progress but I was fooling around with what to fit in the shelves and this photo shows the unit with the face trim pieces pretty well.

Those are some substantial looking shelves!

We filled all the nail holes we had made using our favorite tool in the whole wide world (our compressed air nail gun) and then primed the entire unit.

We primed before caulking because we wanted to see exactly what needed to be taken care of. It's hard to see in the picture but because this house is old, not everything on the wall is exactly 100% level and plumb. Our shelves are, but that left some joints that would need some paintable caulk above the windows, below the sills, along the edge of the wall, etc. 

While Paul was out at a board meeting, I sat to the task and got the joints finalized (with him taking care of all the top shelves when he got home)!

Up next we quickly sanded the entire unit for the final prep stage and got the base and toe-kick re-attached.

And then it was time for paint. So here's the deal. I go into painting, excited and ready to see great changes. And about, oh, seven minutes into the task, whether it's rolling or taping, or priming, or cutting in, I think to myself, "I think I hate painting more than pretty much anything else." EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU GUYS. It's like giving birth. I forget how terrible it is until I'm in the middle of the pushing and there's no going back! The paint can has been opened, the brush and the roller are already full of paint. It would be stupid to spend the next 5 minutes cleaning up and closing up when I've accomplished barely the same amount of effort on the actual painting part. So I tend to start rushing. Which turns out to sometimes be a really terrible thing. So this time, since I was so adamant that these look good, I figured I better not mess them up when it came to the paint portion. What most would consider the easy part.

So we turned on some music and we took our sweet time. And I'd be lying if I said it still didn't suck. 

But there they are, fully painted, fully done.


I've already got them pretty well filled up. The top rows could use some work and I need to hang that picture frame you see in the back of the shelf so you can actually see it. But pretty minor stuff.

The room needs crown molding now, which we've selected. We're debating doing the whole room now vs. adding the crown molding piece to this unit only and then coping the remaining pieces when we're ready to tackle the whole house. 

This is by far the best project I think we've done. Maybe not the most impressive compared to some of the things we did for the house during construction but definitely my favorite.

More photos soon!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Building Bonus Room Built-Ins

Did you hear that? Was that the sound of power tools you heard late last night? I am excited to announce that there is a project in the works at the house. Like actually in the works. It's not a concept in my little head or a savings account waiting to be funded before proceeding. It's a full fledged, power tool project.

When we were originally remodeling the house, we had this extra room on the first floor. It was in the back corner of the house, off of the living room under an arched wood casing. There were built-ins on one side of the room, which we could tell were not original to the house and 5 windows between the other two exterior walls. The room was sunken about 4" and had rotting wood wainscot and the remnants of what appeared to be a fabric wall covering. The trim was all painted a lovely shade of "nicotine white". I didn't really have a plan for this room but figured it would come to me at some point.

We decided that because the built-ins were not original that we'd remove them. I left a house with beautiful built-ins and while these were relatively well built they just didn't give them same look that the rest of the house was giving off. Once they were removed we decided we'd open a path between the kitchen and this room in order to create a full flow for the whole first floor. Previously if you wanted to get to the kitchen from this room you'd A) go through the living room, up two steps, down two steps, through a small hallway and into the kitchen or B) go through the living room, go through the entry, go through the dining room, through a swinging door and into the breakfast nook/kitchen. That seemed insane to us considering how much time we spent in the kitchen and in the living room. So we punched out a wall.

Then we removed the rotting wood paneling and started to raise the floor so that it would be level between the kitchen, this room and the living room.

The drywall was an interesting issue in this room but the crew did a really great job working around the windows and previous paneling quirks. I had big plans to install a long window bench similar to what I did in the kitchen along that small wall with the two windows above. More storage!!

But when we got the pricing back for the cabinets, we decided to nix the extra bench and hold off on making any decisions for this space until we knew what we'd do with it. We could always add the bench later if we wanted. But for the last year, this room has served very few purposes. It is the home of our piano which will stay in this location and our old dining room table, which will not.

You know those great built-in bookshelves I mentioned from our other house? Well those were full of books. And we ripped out the built-ins in this house so we could have a convenient access to the kitchen. And you know where all of those books have been sitting for almost the last two years? In boxes. BOXES AND BOXES OF BOOKS. With no built-ins to put them on. Face palm.

I decided instead of a window bench of storage (because hello existing built-in cabinets upstairs) that we'd build ourselves some built-in bookshelves on the wall opposite of where they were when we bought the house, around these two windows:

A few months ago, I sketched it up, measured, drafted and then we waited for a bit for that ever important funding part. That came quicker than I expected and the next thing I knew we were at the lumber yard picking out our pieces. We got them home and laid them out in the only room really available for 12' long lumber, the dining room.

We removed the base and quarter round from the surrounding area and back wall and cut the overhang of the window sills off on the two outside edges.

Then we built the framing for the base and first shelf.

And when I say "we" you all know I really mean "Paul" right? Much to his delight I do a lot of supervising.

Before I knew it last night, he had made quite a bit of progress.

We actually got two more boards installed before bed last night, the two vertical pieces that rest right against the window frames. Tonight we finish the main construction of the unit itself (saw cuts, nailing, screwing, etc.) and then the rest of this week will involve some of the ancillary items. We need a nailer for crown molding at the top, the base will need to be reinstalled on the face and adjacent wall, the HVAC needs an elbow and a face plate and I need to start prepping for primer and paint and the actual painting.

When we wrapped up last night I just sat on the piano bench and stared at the wall for awhile. Then I went to bed thinking about the wall and I woke up thinking about the wall. We've got to get this thing done so I can think about, you know, another project or something.

More to come in the next week!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Big Girl Room

I've been doing some thinking, and reading over the holiday months and the beginning of the new year and I am solidified in my decision to push past the fact that our home is not done enough and be hospitable anyways - and often.

In this decision to have people over regularly despite the state of my decor - which we are already working diligently towards - I have decided to back track on my original thought process on which rooms to try and finish first.

My initial thought was to take care of the spaces that I considered to be public. The living room, dining room (basically the first floor). But in some of the reading I did, something struck me about making sure I didn't leave my family behind while I was pushing for other people. While it is important to me that I take care of those that visit my home I must make it my top priority to take care of those that actually LIVE in my home. Paul and Addison are in that house day in and day out. They sleep there, they eat there, they play there. I need to make the home they live in, the food they eat and the things that entertain them important before I can make other people feel important eating my food and sitting in our living room. As long as the public spaces are comfortable, and there is food to be served, visitors can still visit whether the furniture is hodge podge or not.

So nixing the completion of the first floor rooms, other than the entry which I've practically finished up, I've decided to focus my attention on our bedrooms and our bathrooms first.

Addison's bathroom is practically done. There are minor things that need to be cleaned up, covered up, adjusted, and/or installed. The only real "missing piece" to the guest/kid bathroom is the crown molding. But art is on the wall, cabinets are installed. While I'm still back and forth on hiring out the crown molding job, maybe we can take care of all the other non-glamorous things this summer to really solidify this room as done (and trust me they are the exact definition of non-glamorous).

But the real reason I'm writing this whole thing in the first place is because of Addison's room. 
For her third birthday (YIKES) among a small present (doll of Anna from Frozen), we decided to go ahead and give her a big girl room makeover.

She's been potty trained since the summer of 2013 (thanks Mom!) and has been sleeping in her crib minus the side rail since then so she could get up if she needed to. She sleeps on hotel beds often as well as the guest bed at my in-law's house and doesn't worry about the height and has yet to fall (knocking on wood). So we felt pretty comfortable going ahead and moving her into a big bed - not an in betweener - but the one she would be in for awhile and things (thoughts on decorating) just started rolling downhill with the decision.

We decided if we were going to do this room it would be on a tight budget, because: A) it's a kid's room and I have a hard time justifying hearty expenses and B) we're working on some financial goals and plans and throwing cash at the house, while important to me, is still a few years off. But just the thought of getting her room finished no matter what my budget was started to get me really excited.

So, I started trying to figure out what I wanted to do, scouring the internet and Pinterest for the latest and greatest and came up with the following (most of the credit here has to go to Pinterest and 6th Street Design School):

While I am pretty good at coming up with rooms and spaces entirely in my head, I didn't have the time or the energy this past month. I needed some jumping off points for her room. I figured I'd save my creative energy for the next space (insert a maniacal laugh here). I wanted to use a few pieces we already had (the bookshelf, rocking chair, mirror and rug) to help save on costs. Right after Christmas, I was counting up the cash that was given to us by grandparents and decided that whatever cash money we had gotten for Christmas would be the limiting budget factor. $0 out of pocket expense was going to be worth the creativity to do it on a budget.

So I made a list of the items I wanted and how I was going to keep it in said budget. Things ebbed and flowed over the weeks. I scored big discounts on the bedding and used some leftover gift card money to help get more for my cash. I found a more cost effective manufacturer for the curtain hardware and then I DIYed the heck out of the window treatments. While I still really wanted the lamps up above, I couldn't justify the cost. Even though I loved them. I would never be able to stay in my budget if I had bought them so I ended up going with Plan B: The Lighting Edition, instead. So after four solid weeks of shopping, sewing, gluing, organizing, and painting I was not only under budget, but I got a few extra things to show for it in our bedroom and we were ready to pull off a one day surprise renovation.

I wanted this to actually feel like a present, so slowly moving things into the room wasn't going to cut it. This caused a few problems because items, including my favorite Land of Nod Cloud Pillow, were  on back order. I had to find things I could get by February 1st. I kept all the items that were for her new room tucked into the guest bedroom with the door closed. She saw some items coming and going and asked some questions and I may have had her carry an accent pillow at the store one day for me but she never really talked about any of it after the fact.

On her party day, I enlisted the help of both sets of grandparents. One set took her out and about while the rest of us went through a written list of succeeding items to get the whole thing accomplished in less than 3 hours.

The wall paint stayed the same, the rug stayed in the same place. I'd already painted the dresser and found nightstand (found it in the garage 1 week before we did her room) in a spearmint green to be relocated as well as the lamps, sewn the trim on the curtains, hemmed them, glued ribbon to the shades and put all of the artwork together. It was just going to be a fine dance of cleaning and putting everything in it's new place.

We went from our make-shift toddler room for the last 11 months completely outfitted with temporary paper shades (read: ghetto):

To her newly improved big girl room in a matter of 3 hours:

We love it. She loves it. We're all happy.

The room lacks crown molding - and I'm totally OK with it.

I think our room will be up next. I found the colors I want to use to tie everything together between our bedroom, bathroom and sitting room. Now to start scouting pieces one by one to make it all work.

PS - I mentioned above that I stayed in budget but I also got extra items...which is why my bedroom is probably next on the list. We got new lamps during this process for our bedroom, and I got a desk to use as my nightstand - all within my budget for A's room. Not bad Christa, not bad.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Radio Silence

Sorry for the silence. Projects really have come to a halt around here, holidays are upon us and decorating is too expensive to get done when I'd much rather buy gifts and spend time with my kid and my husband. My friend Tara noted that the Ryckbost lifestyle is 7 shades of crazy and not only do I agree with her, I adamantly agree with her. The end of this year marks the end of a couple of things for us and I'm looking forward to a lighter and more enjoyable 2014.

We hosted thanksgiving at our house last week. For the first time ever. My parents have been hosting my mom's side of the family for the last 27 years but with their move to Dallas, it wasn't feasible to hold it at their current location. I was thrilled to be able to offer. We don't just meet for a meal in my family. Everyone comes early and stays late, sometimes for days. We had a total of 16 people (that being a light year) who shared the Thanksgiving holiday in our house and I loved every. single. minute of it. 

The house wasn't done. There were hundreds of little things that bugged me and I fretted until the moment people arrived. I worried they would see the imperfections of the this and the that. But they didn't and if they did they didn't say anything. They raved about the house. They asked all sorts of questions and then we just spent time enjoying it. That's the whole point of this house - to enjoy it.

We're not done, I keep saying we're not, and we don't plan to be for awhile. Paper shades still hanging in windows, windows that need work, a fire place missing a trim piece, dining room chairs, rugs, you name it, it probably needs some work and yet, I'm okay with it. I'm okay with not being done. I don't know why I am so worried about whether or not everyone else is okay with us not being done too.  

With the last of the family members heading out this morning, our house has been decorated for Christmas and we're ready for the next few weeks of celebration and the choice to be hospitable and to enjoy our home even when though the this and the that need some work.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Entry

So speaking of tiny rooms in our house, you know the easy ones to get finished out first...we're going to talk about our entry today!

When we first toured the house, we came in through the living room side porch door. I don't think we walked through the front door until maybe after we had already bought the house. Back then there was a mosaic brown tile floor, two closets on either side of the room. The doorbell was attached to the back of the door, was an add on and wasn't audible from any room except this one. Not quite going to cut it. This room was small. It was tight. Like, so tight it was hard to stand in there let alone breathe.

We decided to take out the closets due to the lack of said breathing room. We could store our coats upstairs in our own closets (big enough to hold it all). I wanted this space to be a room for us to "receive" our guests and that wasn't going to happen with it's current set up. We'd be stepping all over eachother. In the process of removing the closet floors, the closets came out, then the tile, then the subfloor. 

We had all the exterior walls insulated with spray foam to help warm it up, we put in a vent for HVAC. It's still considerably colder or warmer than the rest of the house because we keep the glass door shut that leads into the foyer. But I love having this little room to come into first. It provides a buffer to our house. We rarely use our front door but when we start hosting more and more this next year, I hope to have people in and out of here constantly.

Then I painted the front door Totally Teal by Glidden. Over the last year I have gone from loving it, to it being so-so back to loving it again.

We put in a 2x2 mosaic tile floor that matches our large format tile. We installed gyp on all the walls, painted the Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams, threw up some base and quarter round and then left this room to sit for a very, very long time.

Sunday afternoon, Paul got into this room to take care of a couple small issues that needed to be looked at. That afternoon I was all fired up about finishing this tiny and insignificant room. A couple of quick "sale" selections and purchases really got the ball rolling. If you follow me on Instagram you saw a square and filtered version of this:

The console was on sale at Target for $115.00. I also got two square 12 x 12 walnut picture frames at Target on the clearance aisle for $4.50/piece. We placed it in the room, I left the light on and went upstairs to use the bathroom. When I came back down, the table, leaning frame and relocated greenery caught me off guard. It felt so-o-o good to have a room starting to get furnished. Even if it was teeny tiny. So I became ridiculously enamored with finishing out the space. It's perfectly square so I've decided Paul and I will attempt the crown molding ourselves. I have a feeling that we may end up hiring out the rest of the first floor (I think we can possibly pull of the smaller stuff upstairs).

I sat down Monday, gave myself a relative budget and went to work trying to piece together the final items. Here is my plan for the entry:

I am overly obsessed with color right now. But not all over every single piece. I want a really neutral background with usable pieces. I can replace an insanely patterned/colorful 3x5 rug in a few years but if I am committing to furniture I don't want it to be lime green.  Give me some walnut and I'll make my pillows and "frill" be bright.

For less than $500 I am going to completely outfit this little room, crown molding, accessories, rug, console, bench and all. Also, those antlers? Love. Their going to serve as our coat rack for guests. I got some extra cash this month for helping out some friends on some specialty software training, after I use up what I have leftover from that check we'll only be out of pocket maybe $90 for the whole thing and I'm going to push to have this room done by the end of October.

It feels so ridiculously exciting to be able to commit to one of these little spaces and feel good about actually making things happen.

In the last 24 hours I've debated spending any more money in this room at all. We need all those things I mentioned before (window coverings, a guest bed, a big girl bed, etc.) and saving any extra cash I have laying around would help us get to some of those bigger items first. But even though I'm torn, I've decided to commit to the room and worry about those other items later. It's all going to shake out.