April 25, 2017

From Drab to Delightful: Spray-painting the Door Hinges

We have these brass door hinges all over the house.


Originally, we thought of buying new ones. Then we realized that we need about 30. Instead of spending money on hinges, we decided to replace only the rusty ones. For the ones that look salvageable, we got this:


We couldn't find brushed nickel, so we hoped satin nickel would do. Tonight, hubby spray-painted the first batch of hinges.


It looks pretty good, doesn't it? Yay for spray-painting!
 

April 17, 2017

From Drab to Delightful: Replacing the Ol' Carpet

It wasn't in our plan to replace our carpets.

We already got a very reasonable steam cleaning estimate from a carpet cleaning company. But they pointed out that given the age of our carpet (since 1991) and the normal wear-and-tear, he can only do so much. It didn't sound promising.

Of course, I'd wanted to rip out the carpet for the longest time. I wanted hardwood or bamboo floors. But what would I do after ripping it out? Our neighbors pretty much warned us against doing that. "You don't know what's under the carpet. What if it's not wood?" One of them got their stairs completely done from scratch, which cost them so much money (upwards of US$10k). For a while, we'd rent Rug Doctor then eventually just shrugged it off. Even sprinkling baking soda and diligently vacuuming wasn't really doing much. It was futile.

We did the rounds of big box home improvement stores and local flooring stores for quotes. Even if we loved hardwood floors, that was way over our budget. But the carpet quotes were still staggering. At some point, I went to the nearby ReStore and saw boxes of hardwood flooring. Maybe we could install it ourselves? Hubby installed our kitchen floor before.

Then we factored in the actual costs, including the time, effort, materials and equipment rental. It was crazy. Getting frustrated, I vented to our next-door neighbor who told us Empire installed their hardwood floors. Maybe we could get a good deal. One email and an appointment for free estimate was set two days later. They price-matched the quote we got from Lowe's, then made it better by offering a lower price.

We chose Pendleton's Almond Stick. It's the second one from the bottom right.


On the day of carpet install, I forgot to take pictures before they started ripping out the old carpets in the dining room. This is the old carpet pad.


They quickly rolled up and taped the old carpet, then threw it out our window. It landed in our driveway.


Now here's how the carpet in the living room looked like when they started ripping it out. Then you'll see the picture of the carpet pad.
This is the in-between picture. It's so shudder-worthy. Good riddance, old carpet!


And the stairs? It's made of wood. We could've sanded and stained it ourselves, but who knew? It's actually in pretty good condition. But we signed up for new carpets and the installers were around already. We wouldn't even have known that it was wood, if not for them.


Here's a before and after shot of the stairs.

On the left, UGH. Just look at it. Our neighbor told us that it's caused by the furnace. Guess they have the same thing too.

On the right, gorgeous.


Here's the living room.



This one's inside our walk-in closet.


Our bedroom


Our guest bedroom


The little hallway going to the stairs



It took them two days to complete the installation. They were pretty efficient, kept the mess to a minimum.

Much as we wanted hardwood or bamboo floors, we couldn't afford them at this point. Thank goodness for Empire's price-matching, we ended up with a pretty solid carpet. It was actually of better quality than what we were considering from Lowe's, so it's really a great deal. No regrets with this update. We let professionals do their job and they did it excellently. Two thumbs up!


April 8, 2017

From Drab to Delightful: Changing the Bathroom Cabinets (part 3)

Now this post is all about the master bath cabinet.


Strangely, it's smaller than the half-bath cabinet. What's more, unlike the half-bath cabinet where you only see the front, you can actually see the sides of the master bath cabinet.

Which was made of laminate.
Which means I had to paint it too.
Which sucks because painting laminate is quite tricky.

Ugh!

Anyway, here's the cabinet without the drawers and doors.



While I sanded it till my right shoulder was sore, the stain just looked streaky and yucky.

Left side of the master bath cabinet

Right side of the master bath cabinet

I was afraid that I didn't sand it enough to make the stain stick. I was ready to just buy a can of paint to cover it up. But I decided to stick with it, no matter how annoying it got. I tried a foam brush, a roller and even a sock. It still looked lousy. The roller soaked up most of the gel stain. Same thing with the sock. So I went back to my trusty foam brush. I hoped the second coat would improve things.

It did! The white reflection is actually the toilet, so that's not bad.

Left side of the master bath cabinet after third coat

Right side of the master bath cabinet after third coat

Of course I had to slather on a thick amount of stain, more so than usual, but thank goodness it improved!

Add caption
While it looks black in the picture, it's really a dark shade of brown.

Nearly forgot to share this picture! This isn't the current state of the cabinets and drawers since I'm already at the topcoat phase. I took this picture while drying them - some are on their third coat of gel stain; others, second coat. There are still two drawers up for sanding when I took this picture.


Back to the master bath cabinet...now we're thinking of replacing the current countertop and sink with this vanity top: Glacier BayNewport 37 in. AB Engineered Composite Vanity Top with Basin in White (US$109.00).

We'll see how it goes.

  

April 7, 2017

From Drab to Delightful: Changing the Bathroom Cabinets (part 2)

Here's the continuation of my previous post about our bathroom cabinets. I'm actually painting two cabinets of different widths. This post is about the half-bath cabinet. I'll post about the master bath cabinet separately. Anyway...

Here's how the half-bath cabinet looked like before this paint project started.


Then how it looked like with the first coat.

Icky, right? Fret not, here's the cabinet with the second coat.


I was planning to apply three coats, but after consulting with hubby, he kept saying the cabinet looked so good already. So instead of doing a third coat, I just touched up the little streaks with the gel stain.

Today, I applied the first layer of the topcoat. According to the General Finishes website, here's the dry time of the High Performance Polyurethane Water Based Topcoat I'm using:

DRY TIME
Dry Time to Touch: 30 min. 
Dry Time to Re-coat: 2 hrs.
Dry Time Before Light Use: 7-10 days 
Dry Time Until Cured: 21 days 
At the rate I'm going, I figure I'll be done with this project by Monday. I allot 12-24 hours in between coating to make sure it's pretty dry. For the cabinet doors, one side gets 12 hours drying time so both sides get 24 hours. At least the drawers dry pretty quickly.

I'm so excited to see how this cabinet will end up looking with the new handles!


April 6, 2017

I gave in

So I gave in. I got myself a handy little sander and spray painter, which should arrive this Saturday. Yay!

While I find cleaning, sanding and painting the two bathroom cabinets quite a Zen experience, my right shoulder has been acting up. Do I save money or save my shoulder? My shoulder, of course!

I considered renting these handy tools, but when I inquired, they only had commercial equipment available.

Here's the paint sprayer I chose: HomeRight C800766 Finish Max Fine Finish Sprayer

Photo from Amazon website.
And here's the orbit sander: Black & Decker BDERO100 Random Orbit Sander, 5-Inch

Photo from Amazon website.
I can't wait to use them! I'm even thinking of sanding and spray-painting most of the doors here at home. We have about 10!

OK, maybe that's a crazy idea. Hope they'll work excellently! *crosses fingers*

April 4, 2017

April 3, 2017

From Drab to Delightful: Changing the Bathroom Cabinets (part 1)

Let me just put it out there: replacing or updating our bathroom and kitchen cabinets is not in our to-do list (you can find it here). I can very well live a quiet life without doing anything to the cabinets. It does the job of storing our stuff. That's all I want.

Years ago, we had a kitchen designer come by and discuss our dream kitchen. Which, from his estimate, would cost upwards of $10,000. No way! I'd rather travel with that money.

But this time, if we're changing stuff, why do it half-assed? We're replacing the faucets anyway. Why not try to update the current cabinets? I want to keep the current ones. It's more eco-friendly to use what we have and keep the cabinets away from landfills.

As it turns out, many people paint their cabinets. I came across two cabinet kits that seem to do a good job.

The first one was Nuvo Cabinet Paint. I saw pictures of cabinets painted with Cocoa Couture (US$69.95) and fell in love. I also looked into Rust-Oleum's Cabinet Transformations® Dark Kit.

The bug to paint our cabinets bit me and bit me hard. I kept watching YouTube tutorials on how to get it done. It seemed to involve a whole lot of elbow grease, a whole lot of waiting and a whole lot of patience. Not exactly my strengths.

Then I stumbled upon this post. It's possible to change how the cabinets look like for less than US$100? I'm down with that! The post motivated me enough to try painting our guest bathroom cabinets tonight. I read it last night, read other similar blog posts, mulled it over during breakfast today, then headed out to buy the supplies in the afternoon. If I waited too long, I might chicken out from actually doing it.

I went with General Finishes Java Gel Stain and a topcoat. Each pint was $18+ (can't remember exact price). It wasn't available from the home improvement store chains. I found the gel stain and topcoat at a nearby unfinished wood furniture store.


The rest of the supplies, I got from good ol' Dollar Tree. I figured if I mess it up, at least I didn't spend so much. If you're not familiar with Dollar Tree, each item in the picture below costs US$1.


Now you might be wondering, "how bad does their cabinets look like?"

Well, here's how it's been for years. Just your usual dings and scratches, normal wear and tear. Nothing dramatic.


Now here's the cabinet with the first coat of gel stain. If it looks streaky, well, it's supposed to be like that with the first coat. Then it's supposed to improve with the second and third coatings, plus the topcoat. I'm not worried. Instead of using the recommended white sock, I used a foam brush to apply the stain.

Here are the two doors and two drawers with the first coat.


Like usual paint jobs, it's the prep work that takes so long, what with the taping and sanding. I wonder if it's worthwhile to rent a sander when it's time to paint the other cabinets? If this turns out great, I have 14 more cabinet doors and 7 drawers to sand and stain. Oh boy!

Anyway, I'll take some more pictures tomorrow when I've done the second coat. I'm supposed to apply the second coat after 12 hours, then the third coat after 24 hours. But since it's still not summer here, I'll wait 24 hours before applying the second coat.

To be continued...

April 2, 2017

From Drab to Delightful: Changing Ceiling Light to Pendant Lamp

Hubby went on a light fixture installation spree today. Not only did he install the flushmounts, he also replaced the ceiling lamp in our foyer stairway. We used to have this.



At night, it was bright enough for what we need, but it's not brushed nickel. It had to go.


We got this Ikea KROBY pendant lamp for $24.99. It was nickel-plated and did not cost mucho dinero.


Here's how it looked like uninstalled.


For some reason, this illustration cracked me up somehow.


Here is it after installation! Now it's easier to change the bulb.


It's one heck of a gorgeous lamp. Even better, it was just $25! What an awesome buy!