Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Industrial Modern Masculine Bedroom Makeover (Part 1)

After the great bathroom flood of 2016 at the Neagle’s Nest, I decided it was time to gut the boys’ rooms and finally give them the rooms they deserved.  With the carpet ruined in Winston’s room, it was time for wood in both.  Winston’s room was first since the carpet was already half way ripped out by the water extraction team.  It just made sense.  Good bye carpet! 
After the carpet was gone, it was time for some demo.  I figured now was the best time to address the dreaded P word:  POPCORN.  You all know my disdain for this product, and I wanted it gone.  After a good amount of scraping, it was finally smooth enough for fresh paint.  White ceiling paint to the rescue!  I cannot believe the difference scraping a little popcorn will do for a room, but WOW.  I was already happier, and it was a mess.  Since it was already a war zone, I went ahead and ripped out all the baseboards, window trim, and door trim.  I have been dying to update the windows since the kitchen overhaul, and now was my chance to get started!  Blank slate, ready for updating!  Wow, it's rough taking photos without blinds.

Next came covering those tan walls with the a more modern neutral.  First I patched every single nail hole in his walls.  For some reason it looked like Swiss Cheese.  Granted they shared this room when they were little and went through several room makeovers as they got older, but I swear, I don't remember hanging stuff on every inch of that wall by the window!  I vow to be much more careful about placement when I start installing this time.  I can't believe I overlooked all those holes for that long.   As for a color, I wanted something that would play well with the Collonade Gray that we have throughout the house, but just a shade deeper. I decided to go with Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray for both boys’ rooms.  It’s crazy how different this color looks from one room to the next.  It truly does pull whatever you put around it.  I could not wait to see how it would look with that bright white trim I had planned.

A new ceiling fan was in order since he still had the tiny white one that was installed they were little and had bunk beds.  I was terrified they would get their heads or hands knocked off if I put a full size fan in there.  They still might now just because they are so tall, but I'm pretty sure they could take it.  

Once the walls were painted, I installed all the trim.  1x4 pre-primed boards were what I had for my perfectly crisp, Craftsman look.  I have the same installed in my front room and love it.  I mitered all the corners and used my brad nailer to install.  It goes so quickly when you have all the right tools. I installed the ones downstairs by hand, and let me tell you… just don’t.  Get a compound miter saw and a nailer.  You will never regret it.  Also note, I made sure to leave room to install my door trim.  If you don’t, you will have to install the door trim above the baseboards.  I personally didn’t want that look.  It’s totally up to you, but my way is right.  LOL!

Up next was the builder basic window and door trim.  I went with the Craftsman style trim with fillet and casing cap to match the baseboards and a timeless style that I just love.  I cut a new window sill from a 1x6 pine board using my old one as template but extending the cut out so it clears the window to sit under the 4” side trim and extend ½” on each side.  Bear in mind that a 1x4 board really isn’t 4” wide.  I don’t know why, but it’s just the rule.  It’s actually 3.5”.  So your board will need to be the width of your window, plus 8 so you have a little bit of sill extending past the side trim.  Then you will have to notch it out to sit in your window.  This is why it’s great if you have one to use as a template!  Lots less measuring.  The jig saw comes in very handy here.  There really is something to be said about that whole measure twice, cut once rule.  It works.  Once it’s all cut out and fits snugly in your window frame, brad nail that sucker in to the stud.  Next up I installed the side trim pieces.  They sit on top of the sill and extend up to the top of the window.  Once they are installed, I assembled the whole top portion before installing.  The top consists of a 1x4 that sits flush with your side trim, a piece of lattice (fillet) that extends ½” on each side to match your sill, and a 1x2 (casing) that sits on top the same length of the lattice. I attached the fillet and the casing to the 1x4 with my nailer and then attached it to the top of the window.  I filled in all the seams with caulk, and it was all I was hoping for.  I am in love.

I used the same style trim around his doors as well minus the sill of course.  1x4 trim up each side of the door, with the fillet and casing on top.  I may go back at some point and install a 1x3 to the very top just to bulk it up a little, but I haven’t decided yet.  I absolutely love the way the trim looks in contrast to the white doors.  I am in the process of painting all my interior doors black.  It’s said that every room needs a pop of black, and this definitely works in my book.  It makes my builder basic doors look a little bit more important.  I also have the lovely bright brass door knobs in my home.  A gross oversight when building.  I decided that I was going to make it work for me, and painted them antique brass.  The difference is incredible.  It took it from 1980 not so chic, to a more timeless look.  I’m almost glad I didn’t get the brushed nickel now. 

We moved the furniture back in at this point even though the room was not officially done.  The quilt and the rug just weren't working for me.  I didn't love the lamps or the headboard either, and I had big plans for that headboard wall. Alas, I had to get back to work, and the boy had to sleep somewhere besides the game room sofa, so in he went.  This was his room only temporarily!   He was a trooper and didn’t mind the half way done room for a few weeks.  Come back next week to see the final reveal of the Industrial Modern Masculine Makeover!  Let’s just say some plumbing pipe, and more exposed brick make an appearance!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I eat chicken ... just not mine

Several years ago, I decided it would be fun to get baby chicks in the spring for the boys and me to raise to live in the back yard.  Growing up on 4 acres in the country did not do my current suburb neighbors any favors.  I have had a little bit of everything.  We absolutely loved our little Silkie chicks!  They were sweet, funny, and so friendly! 

While so much fun, we ended up with only 2 fluffy chickens left thanks to not knowing nearly enough about predator proofing.  One fateful morning, both of those sweet little fluffy butts started to crow.  I will subject my neighbors to a lot of things, but a crowing rooster is not one of them.  After a lot of fun and experience, we had to let the little guys go to live on a real farm in the country where they would be appreciated.  Since that day, I have wanted to try again to have a back yard flock, but simply have not had the time to provide the kind of home they really needed… Until now!

Fast forward 8 years, and it was time.  The boys claimed they wanted nothing to do with having chickens again.  Ok – noted.  While waiting for the shipment of my little fluff balls, I just could not stand it.  I popped by Tractor Supply to get supplies, and ended up with 7 Bantam babies to test out our set up.  HA!  I ran inside with the box and started putting the feeder and waterer together.  Instantly the boys were curious about that box.  I finally told them they could look inside – they weren’t interested, remember?  Well, that was is.  One peek at those little guys, and my big guys were hooked.  We were all in.  
As I continued to add to my flock and subtract from it, I quickly realized the little brooder boxes we had were not going to be enough and upgraded to a grow-out pen.  It would only be temporary.  I was going to get this coop built in no time! I am delusional. We needed a whole different kind of Neagle's Nest!

Thanks to knowing some amazing people, most of the materials to build my coop were recycled and free.  I had finally picked out a design to get me started, but I was building this as I went.  Who needs plans, right?  I come from handy stock!  I started with an old exterior sign face to use as the floor.  That determined my size for me.  I picked up concrete pier blocks and got started.  We arranged the blocks, placed the studs to hold the floor, and screwed them together.  Easy peasy.  I really thought this was an indicator on how fast this booger was going to come together.

The wall frames were laid out on my thankfully large patio and assembled there.  I even assembled the window frames while the walls were laid out on the patio.  Once all the wall frames were assembled, the boys held them in place while I screwed them to the base and to each other.  This part went so quickly!  How misleading.  

Once the wall frames were up, we had to figure out the best way to skin it with the outdoor panels I acquired.  Yes kids, I actually used math and geometry after I got out of school.  I know you don't think you will, but be prepared.  Figuring out how to make the materials I had on hand work in a way that you have almost no waste is no joke.  It took some serious planning.  It's a good thing I had time to do that since it rained at least once every weekend I planned to work on it!  I had to get these babies out of the house.  This looks like a cute idea, but wow were we ready to get them outside.

Finally we had what looked almost like a real shed!  Yes, my helpers refuse to wear shoes when working on anything.  There is nothing I can do to make them hear reason, so barefoot we are.

Now, I had to make the difficult decision of how I was going to build the roof.  After deciding which direction I wanted the trusses to run, I built them.  After building all of the trusses, we installed them to the top of the walls.  Again, not that difficult.  Don’t be fooled!  When we put the pre-cut roof decking up, we were mortified to find that they were NOT level at all.  After taking them down a dozen times, I decided to just build the roof on the patio, and then get my big strong guys to hoist them up with me.  This worked FAMOUSLY!  Finally, we had a roof!!!

Rather than purchase shingles from the big box, I decided to stay frugal.  I posted an ad on a local Facebook group and had one box donated, and another offered for $10.  SOLD.  I bit the bullet and purchased the felt underlayment after waiting several days with nobody wanting to get rid of any left overs.  I went big and got the “expensive stuff” because technically it was the same price as the other, but just had less on the roll.  I still didn’t even use half of it even with a wind storm that ripped it off once.  The boys stepped up big time here.  I have a terrible fear of heights after having to help my daddy roof our home more than once.  I also think getting older and having a good fear of my mortality keeps me on the ground.  Teenage boys are fearless, and they ROCKED at roofing that coop.  I could not have been more pleased with them.  I could have done without the bickering, but I guess when you have a duplicate person that you are with all the time, you are going to bicker.  There were no serious wounds other than Xander whacking his thumb with a hammer – twice.  I think he will live.  While they were roofing, I got to work trimming that baby out.  I wanted it to have a cottage vibe, so I did vertical trim. 

Xander, who has an opinion about everything, did not like my idea of a white coop.  He wanted color. Ok. I decided maybe he had a point and opted for a perfect greige with white trim, and a mustard yellow door.  When showing him my mock up, I was told he didn’t like the yellow.  WHAT??  You said it needed color!  “Just not that color”, I was told.  Well, tough.  Yellow makes me happy and it’s already in the back of the Jeep. I got to work on building a barn door to install.  I built it out of 1x4 boards, wood glue, and my handy AirStrike Brad Nailer.  That tool is probably my favorite thing of all time right now.  A nail gun that doesn’t require dragging an air compressor around – yes, please.  Anyway, the door was finished and the boys were impressed.  It always makes me feel good when I shock them.  After it was installed, the rooster sign was hung, and we were almost in the chicken business!

We decided that since it’s so hot here right now, any kind of window would hinder the air flow, so the vintage windows were taken out and stored until we get a break in the weather.  I think it still looks adorable though! The vintage metal nesting box was hung inside and roosting bars installed.  We were ready to move the girls in.  It has only taken them about 4 days to start going inside on their own when the sun starts to set.  Someday soon we will build the attached deck and the covered run to keep them a little safer when we are not home, but until then they get free run of the yard.  The boys who are tired of the land mines, might be ready to help sooner than they thought!

I have a feeling this will be one of those projects that I will continue to work on, but for now, I just love it!  I think they do too.  Yes, it’s a bit more than anyone expected, and I almost died of heat stroke at least twice, but I love my birds.  Perhaps, someday, we will even get eggs.  Until then, what is better than a pet that lays breakfast?

Friday, August 5, 2016

I love popcorn

Just not on my ceiling! One of this biggest mistakes I made when building my house, was to overlook the fact that it would have popcorn ceilings.  ARGH!!!  There is nothing I dislike much more than that lint catching, stalactite form of acoustic.  What was I thinking?  I have lived with it by just avoiding eye contact for quite a while.  After our awful upstairs bathroom flood, I decided to completely gut the boys’ rooms and give them a makeover. 

The first thing that happened, was to SCRAPE THOSE CELILINGS! While horribly messy, it really wasn’t that difficult.  Now, do learn from my mistakes.  First, wear a hat - with your hair tucked into it.  Don’t question it.  Just do it.  I didn’t and my hair looked like a troll doll in a wind tunnel.  Second, wear goggles.  Embrace your mad scientist. Your eyes will thank you.  That stuff is not easy to get out of them.  Lastly, wear a mask.  This is another thing that is a no questions asked tip. You do not want to be breathing that stuff in.  You only get one set of lungs.  Take care of them.

Now, I took the easy route, because I didn’t want to wet, scrape, and then retexture the ceiling. It took a little more care to make sure I scraped it evenly, but it was worth it.  I used one of these.  You can pick it up at Home Depot for less than $20.

If you scrape and leave some texture, you will need to paint.  This is a commitment, because once you paint it, you will have a heck of a time scraping it down to the drywall.  That paint won’t budge.  It was worth it to me.  After scraping and smoothing until I felt it was consistent, I hit that baby with a coat of white ceiling paint. Call me a purist, but I like a white ceiling that matches my trim. 

I can’t get over how much cleaner the room feels!  And that’s not just because the bed is finally made in the lazy teenager’s room. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Builder Basic Kitchen Makeover

My kitchen has had several layers of makeover.  As a single mom of twin boys, not only was money sparse, so was my attention span! I would make small improvements knowing someday I would have the kitchen of my dreams. When I built my house almost 14 years ago, I had no idea what heartache those “Honey Oak” cabinets would bring to me.  From the day I moved in, the honey no longer looked honey.  It looked more like rose gold…and not in the gorgeous rose gold pendant necklace way – in the I have ugly pink cabinets way. Just no.  I don’t even have a photo of them in all their glory! It didn’t take me long to whitewash the recessed panels thinking that would make them more bearable.  It did.  For a bit. 

Don't kill me, Lynette.  It's all in the name of design.

Don’t tell the boys you saw these photos. Apparently I didn't photograph the kitchen except when taking photos of others.

Something was still just off about them, so I finally bit the bullet and painted them a nice creamy white.  I also added cabinets to flank the kitchen window and sink.  I told myself I needed the storage and that it would be worth the loss of some natural light and that dead space in the corner. 

(Are you seeing the pattern here?)

At some point in the process, I also decided that painting the countertops would help me love my kitchen, so off I ran to Home Depot to purchase a mocha color countertop paint.  In my defense, they did not carry the product in black at the time.  I tried to get as dark as I could.  While it looked better for a while, I never loved it.  I even went so far as to paint one of the small sections with black countertop paint when it became available.  If you have ever painted with an oil based paint, you will understand why I never found the time to paint them all black, when clearly I could have.  I lived with patchwork countertops for probably over a year.  Try not to judge me.  It was a busy time.  Thank goodness there is no photographic proof of this time in my life.

When my boys went to grandma’s house for the summer last year, I finally decided it was time to do the kitchen the right way.  I had pinned at least 200 ideas for my dream kitchen.  Surely one of them would make me happy!  I found these lovely brick panels at Home Depot that remind most people of 1970s basements.  They spoke to me.  They begged to be turned into faux exposed brick walls that had been painted and then aged over time.  At first I thought they would make a terrific backsplash, but then decided they simply had to go to the ceiling on the window wall.  I think it was the perfect decision.  I am just about as ADD in my designing as I am in talking about it, so here is where I jumped off track in the best way.  I had to remove that ugly 4” laminate backsplash before I could do anything to install a new one.  When I did, I exposed about an inch of the original countertops (that I had painted over in a design delusion).  Somehow they were not nearly as bad as I remembered them.  In fact, they were pretty great!  Flashback to the photo of the boy with the mummy pumpkin above.  What was I thinking?  Hold on backsplash!  We are putting on the breaks!

No, how on earth am I going to get all this oil based paint off the countertops??  Well, treat it them like a piece of furniture, I guess.  Citristrip to the rescue!  I cannot tell you how much work this was.  I spread on the stripper, let it sit, then I scraped it with a plastic scraper.  Nope.  That didn’t do it.  Spread on the stripper again, scraped it, poured on more, and then scrubbed like Cinderella with a green scouring pad until every bit of that paint exposed a perfectly pretty countertop!  And just think… it had been protected from wear for all these years!  After working arm muscles I didn’t know I had to the point of tears, they were finally finished, and I could get back on track. 

My next step was to pull down those extra cabinets I put in and rip out the builder grade window sill.  With the addition of my island (post to come), I no longer had to sacrifice the space for storage, so they came down.  My Bestie and I had a good laugh at the mossy green paint and the wall decals we found behind them from my questionable design phase.  I swear they were cute when I put them up.  Ok – It was a terrible mistake.

I used my trusty Ryobi Jig Saw and cut the panels to fit.  I also measured and cut out all the holes where the electrical outlets would need to be.  I unscrewed the outlet, pulled them through the hole, and then screwed them back in on top of the brick panel so that the face plates sat flush with the brick.  You have to make sure the repeat meets up correctly kind of like with wallpaper, or your seams will not join.  That is the key to using this product.  That and using spackle to fill those edges.  I stood back and could not believe the difference.

I know you are cringing, but I had a vision! I kept going - around the kitchen countertops and behind the oven. At this point, I realized I had to put it above the cabinets as well to make the window wall look complete.  When I finally got all the brick installed, it was becoming a reality for me.  I could not have been much happier! I used simple white spackle to fill in all the seams with a putty knife. It doesn't matter if they are a little rough.  Paint and sanding will take care of that.  Just make sure you can't see any seams. Let it dry and then sand smooth before you start painting.

Now for the paint.  I painstakingly painted all the bricks with an antique white paint and then distressed them until just the right amount was peeking out.  This was also a labor of love.  Sanding a cabinet is one thing.  2 walls is something else.  But man, was it worth it! After the paint, I sealed the walls with several coats of General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in flat finish.  This was crucial to ensure it would be easy to clean and water resistant. I also took this opportunity to trim out the window in the kitchen with a gorgeous Craftsman style trim that just makes my life complete.  I am updating all my windows in the house room by room to match. I will have a future post about how to make these happen!
After the walls were dry and ready, it was time for shelving.  Say what you will about open shelving.  They are work EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of dusting them off.  They are bright and airy, and the perfect place to display my favorite things.  And really, how hard is it to quickly dust 6 small shelves?  I’ll tell you.  It’s not.  I built my shelves to fit my space, and could not be happier.  I did not photograph the process, but will in a future post.  They make my heart smile.  After a quick coat of General Finishes Milk paint on the cabinets, the kitchen was ready to stage!  Full disclosure.  I added the cabinet above the refrigerator and also bumped up my cabinet and raised my microwave.  I think it gave the cabinets a much needed custom look.  No longer does it look builder basic!  I have plans to extend the brick along the back wall of my kitchen nook as well to make it look a bit more realistic.  It will end in a faux beam that will divide the kitchen from the family room.  I will take a lot more photos of that part of the process. I promise! 

What do you think?  Did I nail the old exposed brick look without breaking the bank with actual brick tiles?  I could not be more pleased with it.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Neagle's Nest is here!

At long last, I have decided perhaps it’s time to pick up this whole blogging thing again.  Time has taught me a lot of things that I have been asked to share, so I thought this might just be the forum to do so!  Neagle’s Nest has finally come to fruition, and here’s to me not getting overwhelmed and letting this blog go. 


These days I fill my time with furniture refinishing and repurposing, home staging, and home improvement projects.  I hope you will follow along with me on this journey.  Some of my projects won’t have as many during photos as I would like, but I will do my best to fill in the gaps!  

Welcome to my brand of crazy!