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Dining Room Paint Removal Update!

It’s been a few months since we worked on the dining room. Looking back through the photos it was apparently January when we last worked on it! I’m excited to report some more progress. As always, we seem to have underestimated the time paint removal takes though. We started work around a week before July 4th. We were having the family over for some July 4th BBQ, so it seemed like a good project to try to get accomplished. At one point I remember Patrick commenting “You think we can get this done by the 4th?” (Referring to the area of the three windows.) Well, here we are approaching September and we’re still not done. Surprise, surprise! ;-) But I’m still excited how good it’s starting to look. I’m currently at the phase where I use a toothpick and flathead screwdriver to get into the small corners and crevices. Where do I find those dentist picks? Haha.

So without further ado, here are some photos of our progress since June. In the close-up you can still see how I need to get into some more of those hidden places.

Dining room paint stripping

Nothing more exciting than peeling off a big chunk of paint!

Dining room paint stripping

Concentrating so, so hard.

Dining room paint stripping

Dining room paint stripping

Dining room paint stripping

Acrobatic skills required.

Dining room paint stripping

Dining room paint stripping

Dining room paint stripping

Starting to look pretty good.

Dining room paint stripping

Dining room paint stripping

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Working on our built-in linen cabinet

Okay, we haven’t been posting a lot lately, but it’s because we have been busy working!!! Sometimes when you work until late in the evening there just isn’t time to write.

Our latest project has been stripping, sanding, and re-painting the linen cabinet in our bathroom. We loooove our built-ins, so we have spent way too much time taking all the paint off just to put paint right back on. It is a little painful when you work so hard to just cover it back up, but it looks really nice in the end. (So it is worth it!)

The linen cabinet in our bathroom was still 100% in tact when we bought the house, and it was carefully preserved under 90 years of paint. With a little help from the trusty heat gun and the old paint-stripper we were able get most of the paint off. Then a lot of sanding (by hand) made the surface flat. The sanding really is the most important part since it is what really makes the final finish look good. Make sure to use a fine grain sandpaper to really get it smooth. If you don’t sand enough you might as well have just painted over the existing paint. We like to think of our built-ins as pieces of furniture that are attached to the floor.

The linen cabinet originally had plastered walls, but we decided to line it with the beadboard to tie it back in with the room. Our contractor also built us new shelves.

So here are the photos:

In the beginning… It doesn’t look so bad in the picture, but it was covered with so many layers of paint. The last layer was a flat white latex paint. It was obviously the cheapest paint they could find. It needed some TLC, but you’ll just have to take our word on it.

Linen closet before

This is what it looked like when we took it all apart! It looked quite bare in this state. I still can’t believe our bathroom looked like that at one point.

Linen closet construction

And the bottom portion at the same time…

Linen closet paint stripping

Aren’t those colors lovely?! These are a few of the many layers of paint we had to remove.

Linen closet historic colors

Working with the heatgun. Yes, we were too lazy to take everything out of the cabinet.

Linen closet paint stripping

Doing the final sanding. This is one of the most important parts.

Linen closet sanding

Ready for paint!

Linen closet sanding

Have you ever seen anybody so excited to paint? Didn’t think so…

Linen closet painting

I like this view! :) We added this little storage space over the linen cabinet, and we painted it blue to match the walls.

Linen closet painting

The finished product! This is really when all the hard work pays off.

Linen closet painted

We still need to do the doors, and we have started working on the drawer. Of course with the tempature warming up we might be spending more time in the yard over the next few months.

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Steffi Strips!

Last Saturday it was snowing, so we decided to make an amateur video of Steffi stripping! ENJOY!

Our trusted paint stripping technique starts with the heat gun to remove the easy stuff. We then use a chemical stripper to get rid of the hard parts and the detail. Lastly, we sand the remaining stain off with 180 grit sandpaper. It’s a pretty involved process (that looks easy in the video), but the results are worth all the effort.

The music is by Jack Tuttle. He has some wonderful MP3s on his website, and he even gives lessons if you are in the San Francisco area. His website is www.jacktuttle.com. Thanks Jack!

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Built-in Fairytales

Once upon a time there was a sad butler’s pantry…

But we slaved for hours and hours and hours stripping paint and have almost completely restored it!! The only thing left is to add the doors. (The new hardware has been ordered and is on the way!)

Check out the short video we made to follow its journey through the restoration process. And yes, we did make some improvements along the way – it’s deeper than the original size to accomodate more food (and alcohol) storage and we added a granite countertop that matches the rest of our kitchen counters.

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Living Room / Guest Room Door

One of the drooling parts about our house has always been the door between the living room and guest bedroom. The design matches the exterior windows, the kitchen butler’s pantry, and the coffered ceilings. And of course beautiful unique window designs like that are hard to come by these days.

Bedroom/Parlor Door

We had worked some on the door in March and April before friends and well as my parents were coming to visit. The fact that there was a door at all was somewhat of a luxury at that point. The fact that the door should be able to close wasn’t even on our minds yet. Well, of course for our visitor’s sake we wish we could have provided a closing door, but we just weren’t at that point yet. We have thought about what to put there since, and for a while were intrigued by the Eastlake door set. Though at $182 after shipping we haven’t exactly jumped on the “deal” and I’ve told Patrick we should ask for it for Christmas or something. The exciting part about the Eastlake set from Rejuvenation was also that they offered it for modern “holed” doors. Though our door is anything but modern it has sadly been badly butchered over the years. When we bought the house someone had removed the original mortise door set and carved out a hole to fit a modern door set in it.

Bedroom/Parlor Door Mortise

When we were in Chicago over the weekend we stayed with a friend in a cute old apartment in Rogers Park. The apartment had some really cool door knobs that we hadn’t seen before, but the design seemed perfect for our door and the style in the remainder of the house. Though the Eastlake design is very cool it also seems to lean towards the late Victorian-era style. The design of our friend’s door handles just seemed to fit better with the lines of the windows in our house. (Just to note: our friend didn’t paint the door.)

Historic Door Handle

We joked with her that she would come back from work one day and she would find a cheap door set on one of her doors. Now that we’re back home we’re on a mission to find this style door knob! The unfortunate part is that we don’t know what the name of the style is – which doesn’t exactly help. I found one style on Rejuvenation that is kind of cool but not really that close: Bevel Edge Plate. Though they don’t offer it as a set so we’d have to piece it together ourselves. After that I finally got a little bit closer to what we’re looking for: the Quincy Set where at least the handle is heading in the right direction, and the Heritage Set that seems to be the closest one yet. It’s close, but not entirely there yet. The line seems to be more defined on the plate of our friend’s door knob than the Heritage knob. I wish I could see the Heritage knob from some different angles so I could better determine the resemblance. So I guess that’s where we’re at with our living room/guest room door knob. If anyone reading this happens to stumble across my friend’s door knob, or perhaps recalls the name of the style please, please, please let us know! We would love to get this style for our door – without having to kidnap our friend’s! ;-) And if someone doesn’t feel comfortable leaving a comment we can also be reached via email – info [at] westviewbungalow.com.

On a side note, and perhaps reflecting back to my previous entry, we had a great time in Chicago. One thing we were bummed about was that we figured out that we would miss the “Historic Chicago Bungalow Expo” this coming up weekend. (Maybe we could have found our door knob there!) Bungalows aside, one of the first things I noticed was the amazing lawns from the airplane. Then arriving at our friend’s house and walking around town I was only reaffirmed how amazing these lawns were. Growing up as a child in Germany I remember these lush, green, soft lawns. With the Atlanta summer heat the common grass varieties are Zoysia and Bermuda, both of which have never felt as inviting and soft to me. I was starting to think my childhood memories were just false illusions until I saw my dream lawns up in Chicago. How I envy thee! And to answer some Oak Park questions – yes, it was a very friendly and inviting neighborhood. The lady at Caribou was very bubbly and friendly, as was everyone else we encountered there (so don’t let my grouchy tour lady story hold anyone back from visiting). The neighborhood was beautiful and the houses are so huge! We’re definitely looking forward to visiting again sometime (perhaps for next year’s Expo?), and when we do we’ll have to see about getting together with some of you Chicago house bloggers so you can show us what your town is all about! And perhaps share some more funny renovation stories… :)

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