Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today I was motivated to do something about my closet. Actually, I'd hardly call it a closet. More like a really really small room, with a rather inadequate wooden rod bowing (from the weight of the clothes) across the length of it. Pretty pathetic. But I have to say, it does have a window (people were SO SMART in the 1920's)!!
Here's the main dilemma: I haven't been able to find any decent looking craftsman or mission style closet rod/shelf supports. Does such a thing exist? Even if I knew what such a thing looked like, I could probably make it. But temporarily, I've installed a couple of Stanley® brand supports from Home Depot. And I have to say, they look like crap. Kind of like something you'd see in a cheap apartment that has all the beautiful hardware leftover from the 70's and 80's. If anyone knows of some alternative, please let me know!!! After installing the Home Depot Stanley® special, here's where things stand:
It's a lot better than what I had before, considering I can pile all of my crap on a shelf above my clothes, but I'd like to have something a little more 'period' looking. Since the ball is rolling with the whole organization thing, there's a little extra space left to add a shelf for shoes, on the left side of the closet. After a few hours of flying by the seat of my pants, I come up with a little shelving unit that I incorporated into the wood already present in the closet.
Unfortunately, the wall wasn't quite square, so I ran into a few issues that I'd rather not talk about. Let's just say that I probably should have finished the project a few hours before I actually did, because I was trying to figure out a way to make the shelving unit 'look' square, although it really wasn't. I finally ended up allowing the shelves to protrude beyond the face of the unit, and angling the front corners back toward the vertical sides. You'll see in the picture what I'm talking about.
It's not my best work, so I think I'll be painting the unit instead of staining it. This will (hopefully) hide some of the abnormalities. Here's the product, before painting. And hopefully I'll find some alternative to the ugly Stanley® brackets!!!!!

Adding a kitchen outlet

As it would figure, the perfect little nook for our toaster oven has no electricity near it (see left side of photo). Instead, all of the kitchen's electricity is to the right-side of the sink. My hopes of putting an outlet on the far left wall were dashed, when I discovered there was a horizontal stud in the plaster, where the counter top meets the wall. After wasting some time trying to figure out how I would get through the stud, I decided to take an easier approach.
Pulling off the siding of an old house isn't as difficult as it would seem. The first step was to remove the window trim, in order to allow access to the whole piece of siding. Then GENTLY pry the siding to pull the nails from the wall stud. Piece of cake. I still managed to break one of the pieces.

I ended up taking electricity from the same breaker as the other kitchen outlets, to make things simple. And there was a junction box located conveniently beneath the kitchen floor.
After cutting a hole in the drywall, and installing the electrical box, I was ready to roll. The white cable seen in the photo is just a feeder. I ended up pulling a metal-clad cable to the electrical box to be safe. On the other side of the wall, I installed a GFI outlet, since it's in a (potentially) wet location, and a light switch, for a future project :o) And voila! A happy toaster oven . And happy siding!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Kitchen table made of old wood

I have some pretty exciting news. Two days ago, as part of my normal morning routine, I was browsing through the 'free' listings on craigslist.org. I came across a listing for free wood. The person had just finished a remodeling project, and was giving away wood that was left over. I assumed this meant a few 2x4's and plywood. Well I went over to see if any was left, and much to my excitement, there was a huge pile of old wood. Yes, OLD wood! The person had torn out much of the wood in their 1920's house, and I filled up my trailer with the stuff, all Douglas Fir. They probably didn't feel like going to the trouble of removing layers and layers of paint. I guess it's good news and bad news. I really hate to see people tear out original wood while 'remodeling', but I love it if they're going to give it away for free. I'm just thankful they didn't throw it in a dumpster and send it to its demise.
Since my house already has all the fir woodwork it can handle, and on closer inspection of the wood, it was weathered from being on their front porch, I decided to make a shabby chic style high-top kitchen table out of it. As you can see, our cat Teddy enjoys it as much as we do. The layers of paint on the wood turned out to be a great thing. After chiseling off various layers to expose hidden colors underneath, we ended up with a pretty cool looking centerpiece for our kitchen! Now we just need to find a couple of tall stools.