Sunday, March 24, 2013

Industrial Bookshelf

Since last fall, we've focused most of our attention on the office.  Deanne put together an inspiration board, we repainted the walls, patched the ceiling, replaced all of the baseboards, window casings, and door casings, built a desk, hung curtains, and refinished a desk chair.  We're slowly but surely making our way down the checklist.

A while back we watched an episode on HGTV where they built a shelving unit out of galvanized metal pipes and we've been itching to give it a try ever since.  Our office has a long empty wall so we thought this would be the perfect place to put our very own bookshelf.  

We started by gathering the wood.  I explained the project to my grandpa and although I'm not sure that he could quite envision what we were building (or why we would want to build anything out of galvanized pipes); he said he might have some wood that would work.  We drove around the Burg to search through his various stockpiles for some pieces that would work for this project.

He and my dad rough cut the wood to length (so it would fit in the car) and brought it to our house the next time they were in town.  The planks are roughly 1" x 10" x 6'.  We wanted the wood to look rustic so we really like that you can see all of the saw marks and imperfections.  Once we had the wood, I cut each piece to the exact same size.  From there we stained with our favorite shade (Minwax Special Walnut) and applied two coats of poly.


With the wood ready to go, we moved on to the metal pieces.  We decided that 12" long 1/2 inch galvanized pipe and matching pipe flanges would give us the shelf spacing and strength that we needed.  We priced everything out and found that the pipe was cheapest at Menards and the flanges were cheapest online at Ron's Home & Hardware.  We ended up needing 24 pipes and 48 flanges.  The flanges took 4 screws each so if you're trying this, make sure you buy enough screws.  The 50 pack that we initially bought didn't get us very far.  Lastly, Deanne had the idea to put the shelf on wheels so we bought 6 industrial-looking casters at Menards.

With everything ready to go, we started building.  We knew that this thing was going to be heavy so we thought our best bet would be building it it place.  We started by attaching the wheels to the bottom shelf and simply worked our way up.  This part wasn't difficult but it took a while between pre-drilling the holes and cleaning the galvanized pipe.  We found the best way of cleaning the pipes was rubbing them down with cotton balls soaked in mineral spirits.

The whole project went pretty smoothly but we did run into some problems with the wood being warped and with the pipe threads being slightly crooked.  All things considered, we're very happy with how it turned out.  The only thing left to do is attach it to the wall.  Considering how heavy this thing is, we don't want to take any chances with it toppling over onto anyone.

So here's where we stand with our checklist for the office:
  • Clear out room
  • Remove baseboards, window trim, and door trim,
  • Replace power outlets
  • Fill nail holes
  • Patch ceiling
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint walls 
  • Hang new Baseboards
  • Hang new window / door trim
  • Fill nail holes (in the trim)
  • Paint trim
  • Caulk trim
  • Replace light fixture
  • Finish Desk
  • Re-finish new (to us) desk chair
  • Build shelving unit 
  • Convince Deanne to let me put a TV in this room
Aside from convincing Deanne to let me put a TV in there, we just have a bookshelf to decorate and a few things to hang on the wall before we're all done with this room!  


Monday, March 11, 2013

Susie & Ike's Basement Remodel- Guest Blogger (DIY vs. Hiring Out)

We are back with round two of Susie & Ike's basement remodel mini series! In case you missed her first post, read all about it here.  Enjoy!

So when my husband said, let’s start planning the basement, my immediate thought was “oooh, what colors should I pick” and “where does my craft table go?” What I didn’t see coming was the steep learning curve ahead of me. I consider myself a fairly well educated person, but I had absolutely no idea where to start when it came to such a major remodel project. I mean really, who knows the price of tile vs. carpet? So we decided to list off the projects in a somewhat chronological order and decide whether we felt we could tackle them ourselves or if we should contract it out:

-Stud basement*
-Install electric boxes*
-Install necessary television and cable lines*
-Hang drywall*
-Mud/tape drywall
-Install ceiling grid*
-Install ceiling tiles*
-Install flooring
-Install baseboard
-Install bar/cabinetry
-Complete lighting*
-Hang televisions*

The items with the asterisk are items we figured we could (and by we, I really mean Ike) could accomplish to save money. Now, before I go any further, it is important to note that we had the hands-on-help and guidance of his contractor cousin for a majority of those steps. And we couldn’t be more thankful we did. While I am sure Ike could have tackled it solo, it would have taken three times as long and been even more brutally exhausting than it already was. To give you an idea of labor hours, it took approximately two full weekend days each to stud, hang drywall, and install the ceiling grid. For reference, we measured approximately 160 feet of perimeter walls.

While they were tackling the “boring” parts, Ikester and I were busy stopping at every home hardware shop in a 30 mile radius learning everything there was to learn about flooring, cabinetry, and countertop options. For any of you moms of toddlers out there, you can only imagine how fun it was after the 7th store. But, let me tell you, I am an encyclopedia of information which I can’t wait to share in upcoming blogs.

So my whole purpose with this post is to help you identify what items you could take on and what you may want to considering hiring out. With that said, here is a summary of things I learned that may affect your decisions:

-Overestimate…on everything. From time to materials needed and the costs associated, it is essential to overestimate. Between making return trips to the hardware store because you didn’t realize you needed that certain tool until it was necessary to complete the project and the cost it took to buy you that tool, your time and money may be better spent hiring a contractor. I mean really, when are we ever going to use tin snips again? And although all those tools are $10-20, it adds up in the end…and Ike started with quite the extensive toolbox already. So when you lay out portions of the project, it may be a good idea to cost all tools and materials necessary for completion. Don’t forget to include transportation of such materials (thankfully we own a heavy duty pick up truck that was able to transport an obnoxious amount of 16’ long 2x4’s.)

-Do not underestimate the exhausting labor. When you hire someone not only do they complete their given project, they also do all the legwork. For instance, the above mentioned transporting of lumber…and then the carrying it through your living room, down a set of stairs, and around a corner. 12’ x 4.5’ pieces of drywall are awkwardly heavy, and when you need 30 of them, the prep work in itself is overwhelming not to mention the actual installation of them. So when I said it took a weekend per portion of the project, that was just the actual install. Thursday nights were set aside for purchasing, transporting, and trekking it all downstairs.

-It’s overwhelming for everyone involved. As a mom, I look forward to the weekend when my husband can split childcare duties with me…and for that matter, so does my son as he enjoys quality time with dad. On the weekends Ike worked on the basement he started at nearly 5:30 am and didn’t stop till 8 or 9 pm. Keeping a toddler out of his way wasn’t always the easiest. Not to mention, the ongoing mess any construction project incurs. My house was coated with an 1/8” of dust on a continual basis and my floors had more boot tracks than a nature walk does. Needless to say, we missed the quieter weekends. Oh, and a quick pointer for families out there, invest in a set of play tools for your little one, not only does it distract them from the real ones, it makes for cute picture opportunities.

-Every spare moment is devoted to the project. When a contractor is hired, you are still required to pick your finishings and the such, but most often you are only dealing with that one person. Between estimators coming for floor measurements, spending countless hours on the Internet browsing for the lowest cost option, and again, numerous trips to every hardware store around, your project quickly becomes your life and that of your partners, too. For every section of the job, especially those we hired out, I got at least three quotes on. That’s three times the trips to carpet stores, three times the estimators coming to your home, and three times the phone calls.

So, while we did sub out some major projects, we still acted as a general contractor of our basement completion. No doubt this, along with my husband’s hard work, saved us money. However, I thought it best to prepare all you readers out there so you really know whats coming. Because if you’re anything like me, you read all these cute DIY blogs and think, “that could be us,” not realizing the sheer amount of work that goes into each step of the project. In the end, though, both Ike and I admit we’d probably do it all over again!

See you next time to finally talk about something fun…color schemes!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Desk-tacular Part 2

If you’ve been following CMC over the past year, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve slowed down on our posts as of late.  As you may remember, I broke my wrist a little over a year ago, had surgery, and spent 12 weeks in a cast.  Several months after the cast came off, I still hadn’t regained full range of motion and I was still having some pain; so I decided to have it checked out.  The Doctor ordered a scan and discovered that the bone (the scaphoid if you're interested) never healed correctly...  Long story short, the next course of action was to have a second surgery to replace the screw in my wrist, fill the gap that had formed with bone graft from my hip, and insert a pin into my hand to help stabilize the wrist.  I had the surgery between Christmas and New Years and I’ve been in a cast for 10 weeks now.  If the prognosis is good, the cast and pin will be removed for good this Friday!!!  

On top of that I left my old county government job and started a new job with a state transportation agency.  Needless to say, the first two months of 2013 have been a whirlwind.  

Looking back, I probably should have been more careful with the recovery from my first surgery.  There’s no one incident that I recall re-injuring myself but between drilling and hammering while in a cast, playing rec. league basketball and softball, wakeboarding, kneeboarding, a Super Spartan race, and all of the landscaping that we did last summer; I didn’t do myself any favors.    As you can imagine, this time I am being much more careful!  That being the case, I’ve pretty much been stuck on the couch for 8 weeks.  I can’t say that I will be picking up a hammer anytime soon but we do have some projects in the works for when I’m finally healthy. 

In the mean time I’ll be showing off a few of the projects that we finished up in our office.  Last May, we posted about building the desk (more on that here).  I guess the precursor that I gave was wrong...Anyways, with the base of the desk constructed, we tested several stain colors and ultimately used a combo of Minwax English Chestnut and Special Walnut, then applied 2 coats of poly.  

With the base complete, we moved on to the desk top.  We bought an old antique door at Attic Antiques in Galesburg and then cut it down to the size that we wanted.  With the desk cut, Deanne picked up some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and we painted it "Paris Grey."  We also brushed on Annie Sloan Soft Wax (in clear) to seal in the new paint.  When we picked the paint color, we didn't mean for the desktop to match the walls.  We thought the desk would be more grey (the walls more blue) but it doesn't bother us that they match so we decided to leave the door "Paris Grey."

Since we wanted to used a paneled door for the desk top we needed to put a sheet of glass on top in order to give us a smooth writing surface.  We took our measurements to a local glass shop and a few days later we had a piece of glass the exact size of our desk.  

This project took way longer than it should have but we are very happy with the end result.  The real challenge will be keeping the desk (and the room) clutter free... Although our progress seems slow, we've come a long way since the before pics

Our vision is actually becoming reality! Here's a sneak peak of the rest of the room (more to come).