Sunday, September 25, 2016

Let There be Light... and Paint

Let there be light... entryway light!

Now that we have gotten some of the "required" house improvements complete (new roof, new furnace, landscape re-graded, and popcorn ceiling removal) we are now getting around to some more cosmetic fixes.

One of the big improvements is the entryway light. The existing one was a brass, 90's, builder grade fixture. None of those adjectives are a good thing. I was so excited to get it out of the house that I forgot to take a picture, so here is one from two years ago when we had the ceilings de-popcorned.

When looking for a new fixture there were a couple things I was looking for.
- We need a tall fixture, as the entryway is somewhere around 25-30 feet tall, but not very wide.
- We are slowly changing all the metals to a brushed nickle finish instead of a shiny brass.
- The house is more of a transitional style (between traditional and modern,) so something a little contemporary but not too modern.
- I'm not a fan of exposed light bulbs, so some sort of glass shade is preferred.

Here are the options I had narrowed it down to, and I included the height of each fixture as comparison. (Honestly anything would be an improvement!)

Option A: 29.25 inches

Product Image 1
Option B: 28 inches

Option C: 26 inches

Product Image 1
Option D: 28 inches

After much debating, going back and forth, we finally picked one. Both Dear Husband (DH) and I preferred the same one, and it just so happened to be the least expensive by a lot. Either we have cheap taste or we got a really good deal (I'm hoping it's the latter.) We chose... Option D.

Only after we chose it and as I was ordering it, I realized that the fixture is part of the same "design collection" as the lights we picked for our bathrooms!

Along with upgraded lighting we are also refreshing the paint, both inside and out. Talk about a game changer. Of all the improvements we have made, I really think this will make the biggest visual difference.

The existing color is a light beige/tan sandy color with dark brown trim. I wanted to change it to a warm charcoal gray with white trim. Here is a sneak peek of the colors we were picking from.

There are three different grays, and three different whites (which are impossible to distinguish in the photo.)

I will leave you in suspense as to which one we picked for the outside, but here is the color palette for the inside:

I know it probably looks pretty boring to most people, but I am afraid of color, so this is a big step for me. The bright blue and yellow in the upper right are for the front door and the craft room.

I have to keep reminding myself to be bold, color will not hurt me!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Refreshing the Deck

Our deck needed some help. Serious help.
We had sealed it three years ago, but with the harsh winters and facing full South our deck sure gets a beating.

The biggest problem was that whoever installed it, put the boards too close together. When they get wet, the wood swelled, sealing tighter together, This caused a large six-foot puddle to form on the deck anytime it rained! Then of course in the winter it freezes into an ice rink. 

I could have just drilled some holes along the boards, but I would have had to put a hole every 6". I could have removed the boards and re-set them, but most of the screws were rusted and would strip as soon as torque was applied.

So what I decided to try was to rip cut (parallel to the wood grain) down each of the seams with a circular saw. I set the cut depth so it would cut all the way through the decking, but as little into the joists below as possible. It took a bit to get the hang of it and I veered off in a couple spots but for the most part they were in inconspicuous areas.

You can really see the difference in the picture to the left where the middle space has been sawed through.

It hadn't rained for quite a few days and the temperature was in the 80's, but as I was cutting some of the sawdust coming out was damp. Turns out the boards were so tight together that the center core of the wood would never dry out. This made the deck even more difficult to cut.

All of a sudden the deck looks a lot bigger when you are fighting for every inch. I had to take a break after every 4 or 5 boards because of the heat and my hands were starting to cramp up.

A few days later I got a couple blisters on the web of my hand from pushing the saw for so long.

That many long cuts really created quite a bit of sawdust. 
Dear Husband (DH) had the BRILLIANT idea to use the leaf blower and it worked like a charm! And here I was just going to use a broom like a caveman. 

Of course I was anxiously awaiting the next rain to see if my hard work made a difference.

Thankfully, it made a huge difference!
The individual boards still hold water since they are still warped, but no water is held between the boards.

This means everything dries up sooo much quicker!

We made sure to seal the deck once it was fully dry so it stays a bit protected for the next couple years.

A few weeks later, I noticed something funny... the gaps between the boards were larger than the width of the saw I used.

What happened is that as soon as the boards were able to FULLY dry out, all the way down to the core, there was no more water making them swell, so they shrunk down and the gaps widened. This just allows for even better airflow and quicker drying. Thankfully the gap isn't too big... just don't wear stilettos out there!