Monday, January 30, 2012

Mailbox Makeover

Behold our white plastic dinosaur mailbox:

We have been living with this rust bucket since day 1 and I finally decided something had to be done. Aside from that, we had removed the outdated house numbers plaque from the top of our garage and never got around to replacing it with something more modern (I wonder if this is why some of our packages never made it to our house... hmmm...)

We were procrastinating because our house is entirely brick and stucco, and there's really no decent spot to drill numbers into. So I figured I'd knock both projects off the list by combining them somehow.

Step #1: Get a new mailbox:

I realized when mailbox shopping that these things are quite costly. I didn't want to use a standard wood post, so I did some bargain hunting and found this nice black post here for around $45 shipped, which I thought was a great deal compared to similar looking products. Then I picked up a matching black mailbox at Lowe's for around $15.

Next it was time for the house numbers.

I didn't want to just slap some vinyl numbers onto the side of the mailbox, so I had to get a litte creative.

I grabbed a leftover piece of trim (from our foyer board & batten) and decided it was the perfect size to make my own plaque.

After trimming the wood to size and painting it a bright white, I carefully chose my font and printed out two copies onto sticky-back paper (one for each side):

 Here is where a Silhouette machine would really have come in handy. Unfortunately, I am sans Silhouette, so I grabbed an Xacto knife and got to work the old fashioned way.

All done... wasn't so bad.

Then I carefully applied my template to both sides of the plaque and gave them a few coats of ORB spray paint (sorry, no pics of this step).

Once dry, I peeled back the liner to reveal my numbers.

It worked!

Finally, I gave the plaque a couple good coats of poly to weather seal it.

Once it was dried and cured, I put four screw eye hooks (2 for each side) into both the wood and the bottom of the mailbox. Then I used some simple S hooks to hang them... and voila!

For under $60, our mailbox is no longer the embarassment of the neighborhood. And now the UPS man can't miss our house, which is a good thing because our kitchen cabinet handles are scheduled to arrive any minute. And you know what that means.... kitchen reveal soon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Favorites

I'm switching things up again by introducing a new series I call "Friday Favorites". There are so many awesome things I come across on a daily basis (most of my day consists of being at the computer, so I can't help but run into stuff!) and I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you from time to time.

Today's favorite has been something I've almost purchased a few times...

How great are these?! They are the work of Liz and Rick, from OldNewAgain on Etsy.

They have everything from carved state key organizers:

to napkin holders:

and plenty of words and letters...

The best part: you can customize everything!

I want everything in this shop. All over my walls in every room.

I had my eye on this sign for my kitchen, actually...

But at the last minute I changed my mind and made my own sign.

Sneak preview:

That's all you get for now (step by step tutorial coming next week).

Speaking of the kitchen... there was a minor setback. It appears the cabinet handles won't arrive until Monday now, so you should expect the big kitchen reveal on Tuesday. I know, I'm bummed about this too. But the wait will be worth it, I am just loving how everything is coming together.

In the meantime, I have some other fun projects to keep me busy this weekend... like a DIY chalkboard... perhaps some bathroom mirror framing and crown molding? We'll see. I might even have the big kitchen AND master bath reveal next week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quick Kitchen update

First of all, you may notice I've made a few changes to the blog. I figured it was long overdue to switch things up... so I've made navigation a bit easier with a Search function, timeline of posts, and popular posts feature on the right. I've also included a list of some items I love that are in my own house which I'll periodically add to.

Moving along with a quick update on the kitchen: The paint is dry and almost fully cured. Our carpenter is scheduled to come tomorrow and install the hinges. Our door handles are still in transit, so we're hoping for everything to be 100% complete by next weekend. That should mean a full kitchen reveal in next week's post assuming there are no hiccups... fingers crossed!

Here's our kitchen now, awaiting cabinet doors:

My absolute favorite part of this entire project is my new open shelves (x10000). I've been having so much fun finding accessories to display. Next weekend can't come soon enough. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Well this is exciting.

The current state of our kitchen:

We are knee deep into our biggest DIY project yet—refinishing the cabinets.

Before I give you the play by play of this weekend, let's get familiar with how the kitchen looked prior to the madness:

First thing on the agenda was building some open shelves on the big empty wall. I considered trying to fabricate my own for half a second, then reality kicked in and we decided to hire a pro (the same guy who built this wine bar cabinet, in fact...)

We paid him $250 which I thought was extremely reasonable. He built everything from scratch, including the corbels (and they came out exactly as I had pictured). He even installed the top shelf for us. The bottom shelf, however, was another issue. The corbels needed to be drilled into the glass tile, which requires a special drill bit—one which he did not have. We picked one up at Lowes for around $8 and (very nervously) gave it our best attempt....

The tile survived, but we drilled too low (oops) and were left with a big gap between the corbel and the shelf:

We shoved some shims (wrapped in paper) to try and fill the gap and thought maybe we could putty it in... but eventually came to our senses and decided we need to drill a new hole.

And so we did.

Then this happened...

Yep, it cracked. Not from drilling... but from tightening the corbel to the tile. It wasn't even that tight... glass tile is just sensitive. Lesson learned. There's around a half inch of crack visible below the corbel, but it's not very noticable unless you're really looking for it.

Mid-installation action:

For extra reinforcement, we drilled the corbels into the bottom of the shelf.

If you're wondering why the corbel is in the corner of the wall up against the microwave, that is (unfortunately) where the stud was so we had no choice. Safety first!

Finally, success:

 With the shelf installation out of the way, it was time to prep for sanding.

We removed all of the doors and brought them into the garage where we set up our workstation:

Then we carefully taped around the tile and walls:

To spare you the mundane details of everything, we're following John & Sherry's instructions for this process. Luckily, they've done all the research for us, so all we have to do is go through the steps and hope it works.

Here is a super condensed recap:

We spent the rest of Saturday patching holes and sanding (using 60 grit first, then 220 to smooth). Sunday morning we finished the last bit of sanding and wiped everything down with deglosser.

Then we primed using Zinsser's Cover Stain (oil based in the gold can).

One thin coat of primer on every surface did the trick.

We managed to get all of the priming done on Sunday, so this morning it was straight to painting. I picked up a gallon of Benjamin Moore's Advance line, in off the shelf bright white. For our application, we used a high quality 2" angled brush and a skinny roller (both recommended by the BM paint salesman). Grand total for paint supplies: $62.

Coat #1 is still drying, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow for coat #2 (the paint can says 16 hours between coats). Since each side of the cabinets will need two coats (at least), the paint alone will be a four day long process—not including any touch ups. Then we have to wait 3 days for it to cure.

And then...

New handles!

After going back and forth between oil rubbed bronze and brushed nickel a thousand times, I finally opted for the nickel. This is because a) the sink and faucet are both silver, and b) our hinges will be silver. As much as I die for ORB, it just wasn't in the cards this time.

I also got a killer deal...

That's 16 handles in all, and the grand total came to $78.66 after I used my ebay bucks certificate. Not too shabby! The reason they are all different sizes is because we have 5 different sized doors/drawers, so I figured it would be best if the handles were proportionate to the door size rather than consistent across the board.

As for the hinges, we're ditching the old exposed suckers and going with concealed soft-close babies. We did some research and found that you had to route a hole into the cabinet for the concealed type hinges, which is something we were neither capable of nor comfortable doing, so we called up our handyman (the one who built the bar cabinet and our shelves) and he said he'd take care of all of the hinges and installation for $325. Well worth it to us—I bet you won't be able to tell these cabinets were from 1992 by the time we're done.

So that's about all of the pictures and words I have for tonight. Our hard work and living in this mess has definitely been worth it—I'm loving the results so far.

The primer told me it loved me too.