Monday, December 8, 2014

It's SO DISTRESSING....but I've never been SO HAPPY!!!

Remember this little detail of the Money Pit?!?

Every single door that led in and out of anywhere in this house was scratched profusely by the dog that used to live here.

I imagine the dog looked something like this:

But instead of being a Harry Potter 3-headed dog---I imagine the dog having 3 times as many front paws and claws to scratch the doors to shreds!

The insides were scratched.  

The outsides were scratched.  

The bedroom doors were scratched.  The bathroom doors were scratched.  The laundry room and even the office door were scratched.  Inside.  Outside.  Down low.  Up high.

And to make matters worse---someone had tried to fix the scratches.  Not with scratch cover.  Not with stain.  It looks like they tried to fix the scratches with red fingernail polish.  What?!  Huh?!

With winter upon us--we set up shop in the basement again.  Lucky we haven't fixed it all up down there yet!  Two water barrels served as saw horses.

And we got busy with the task of redeeming these old scratched doors!

We took turns sanding.  Then got smart and went and bought a second sander!

These are solid hardwood doors.  They are heavy and well-made and worth the effort of redemption!

But besides all the dog scratching, they had dings and cracks and all manner of abuse.  This one looks like it's been hammered on numerous times.  Even after a lot of sanding.

We knew we wouldn't be able to sand them perfectly smooth again.  So I read up on the internet on how to DISTRESS wood!  And I really like the look of distressed wood.  It makes the wood look old and ancient and really rather inviting!

So instead of trying to remove all the dings and hammer marks---we decided to ADD SOME MORE!

With various tools we dinged and banged and scratched and messed up the doors all over!

I read about how to simulate worm holes---like the wood was SO OLD that worms had been crawling in and out of it!  I pounded little organic-shaped groupings of holes in the corners of the various panels on the door.

Here a few worm holes.  There a few worm holes.

We didn't sand all of the old stain and varnish off.  We thought leaving some would make the doors look even more old and beat up.  And it was also too hard to sand in all those little corners!

We found a stain that was almost a perfect match for the old stain.  Rubbed it on---making sure to get in all the little dings and nooks and crannies.  It brought out the grain of the wood beautifully!  This picture doesn't do justice to how warm and wonderful the wood looked when it first came back to life with the new stain!

The stain settled into the little holes and dings and gave the door an all over feel of being abused for several centuries!  Just what we wanted! (Color is off in this photo.)

At first, we tried spraying some polyurethane on, but that proved silly and wasteful.  It was just too light of a coverage for such a big door.  So we ended up painting on some "soap and water washable" polyurethane from a one quart can.  It dried in 2 hours and took only 2 coats to get the look we wanted.

But how would it look once we hung it up?  Next to the original oak trim?  We carried it upstairs to see....

It was one beautifully distressed bedroom door!  It matched with the trim perfectly!  And when we re-installed the original antiqued brass doorknob it seemed like a match made in heaven!  Antiqued brass doorknobs OUGHT to have distressed heavy wooden doors to open and shut!

You can still see the hammer marks left by the previous owners---but your attention isn't drawn to that spot because there are dings and hammer marks all over!  It is just an old weathered and beaten door!  That is somehow also very new and alive and wonderful!

A few worm holes.  A few hammer marks.  Rich deep stain.  Nice clean satin polyurethane coating.

It looks so nice!

And compared to the neighboring bedroom door that is still covered with scratches---it's positively wonderful!

So here you have it, again!



It's makes me SO HAPPY!!!

(Now only 10 more doors to go!)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Skeletons In The Closets!!!

Do you have skeletons in your closet?!  I think everybody does.  Or wants to!  But here at the Money Pit, there was a problem...

When we first moved in---some of the closet doors were missing.

The HIS side of the master bathroom/closet area had doors.  Skeletons happily lived over there!

But not the HERS side.  My secrets have had no where to hide!

We talked about buying new doors.  But they would never match with the rest of the house.  And we had another missing door or two in the other bedrooms.   There were some closet doors in a pile in the basement that had come off the closets down there when they did the mold remediation.  But they were really beat up--cracked and missing hardware--and had been down there with all the water and mold!   Perhaps we should just replace all the closets in the house!  Let's see....that's 1, 2, 3.......12, 13,14....20!!!!  20 closet doors to replace!!!?

The problem was too overwhelming.  And when a problem is too overwhelming, what do we do?!

We forget about it.  It goes on the back burner of our minds.  And we refuse to face it.

So that's where closet doors were for the last year!  Somewhere way, way back in the recesses of my mind!

But slowly and surely my subconscious was working on it.  While we were building the new deck, my subconscious was thinking.  While we were planting new bushes out front, my mind was working on it.  While we were painting all the exterior doors, my mind was working on it.  Even when the giant Tonka trucks came to take out the pool---my mind was working on it.

And when the loud booming finally quit and the soft white winter came to make everything quiet---I could finally hear solutions whispering quietly from those back corners of my mind.

"Those basement closet doors would match!  You could fix them!  The basement could get the new closet doors---and all the rest of the house could stay the same."

I dug through the pile of doors and trim in the basement and brought up one of the closet doors.  It didn't seem to be tall enough.  It was very dirty!

And very broken!!

Maybe this was a bad idea after all....

Then I remembered the internet!  I did a google search and found out there were all sorts of repair kits and replacement parts for folding closet doors!  Why didn't I think of this before?!?

Off to the home improvement store I went!


The first step was to stabilize the cracked and breaking wood.  There was a special repair kit just for that!

A piece of sheet metal that held the wood together in all directions and had a hole for putting the replacement hardware back in.  A little screw held it all in place.

I didn't know how it would look.  But I repaired every corner of two broken closet doors from the basement!  I even repaired a broken corner on the HIS side of the closets and another one downstairs!  Apparently, closet door slamming was somewhat of a hobby with the previous owners.

After a lot of fiddling and figuring out how everything worked---to make them tall enough and sit right with the world---I got the closet doors installed!

The wood is still busted out---but it hardly shows up there in the top corner!

Just a little metal piece shows--at the top and the bottom--that probably should have been installed to begin with!  Then the wood never would have split out!  Open.  Close.  Open.  Close!  They work!!!

One of the doors was missing a handle!

Never fear!  I raided the last known closet door from the basement.  It was a super skinny closet that didn't fit anywhere else.  I couldn't believe there were JUST enough closets and handles in the basement to fix all the closets in the upstairs areas.

Now the closets all match.  And the handles all match!  We had to cut another closet door down to fix a missing closet door in the spare bedroom.  But we did it!  A little cleaning and some scratch cover and we are good to go!  We are closet WIZARDS!!

A WHOLE YEAR without a place to hide my skeletons...

But now they feel right at home!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Building a New Home for the Robins!

Remember our lovely Robin neighbors?

Once they were all raised and gone, it was time to tackle the balcony.

At first we thought we might be able to scrape and paint this decking.

But it was so very rotten.  Dry rot had made some of the boards so weak, they crumbled beneath you.  I was worried it wouldn't even hold our weight.  But Scott just climbed out there and started yanking off the railing and soon we were left with nothing but a platform.

The planks at the bottom were rotten, too.  Especially in the corner where the Robins had nested....hmmmmm.  The beams below these planks, however, were not rotted!  They were extensions of the beams that run under our bedroom floor and had been protected by a good coat of paint.  And though we considered getting rid of the balcony altogether, we decided to rebuild it.  The windows in this bedroom come almost to the floor level.  They would be dangerous if nothing was left outside.  I didn't want any grandchildren falling out of windows!

Fritz agreed.  No dogs falling out windows either!

So we started rebuilding!  Made a new floor.  Added some posts for support.  The previous balcony had no corner posts!  Nothing to insure that when you leaned against the railing, it didn't just fall right off!


I wasn't thrilled to have Scott working out there with nothing between him and falling to his death on the concrete below...

...or worse yet, falling an additional 12 feet into the bottom of the concrete swimming pool!!

Sometimes I reached out the window and held on to the back of his belt.  He didn't appreciate that.  But it made me feel better!

Soon, we had railings and balusters.

We put the balusters a little closer together than the previous ones were.  For safety's sake!

Balusters were attached from the top---then hung down loosely.

We built it from the top...then had to come and finish it from the bottom.  Carefully screwing everything into place.

Not bad for having never built a deck before!

It's not perfect!  I'm the one that held that corner post askew when it was attached....

...but we painted it to match the trim of the house and if I hadn't pointed it might not have noticed!

We don't know if this corner will measure up to Mr. and Mrs. Robin's expectations next year.  But we hope so!