We are near the halfway point in the One Room Challenge™ with Calling It Home and House Beautiful. It’s the ultimate hump day-the Wednesday of the entire challenge. The day where we begin to see a glimmer of the deliciously relaxing weekend that is before us, with enjoying our newly remodeled space as the only agenda. And cookie dough. Cuz that’s always on the agenda. For some reason, there is still fuel in our tanks. I think it has something to do with the overwhelmingly encouraging nature of the ORC™. In partaking in this experiment, we are learning that scheduled public progress reports eliminate the excuses we often make for ourselves when working on a project. There is none of that ‘we’ll just get to this tomorrow’ business because we are held accountable, in the best way, to this community of dedicated DIYers. Though there have been moments where we look at each other and ask ‘how will we get everything done?’, we only need glance over our shoulders at the past couple of weeks to recall the incredible progress we have made. Seeing that growth blows a huge gust of wind under our sails as we glide into week three.
Moving on from life lessons learned from the ORC™. What did we achieve this week? Ladies and gentlemen, the list:
Week two to three has resulted in our most photo-worthy progress thus far as a result of transforming our dated, orangey oak cabinets into a smokin’, bespoke tuxedo. The top cabinets were raised ten inches and bridged to the ceiling with crown molding. This one tweak made the ceiling appear much higher. A brick molding trim piece was then attached to the bottom of the upper cabinets to hide the underside, which is now visible. Yes, our washing machine hails from the 1970s. It belonged to Marco’s Nonna and we love that beast so much, we moved her from our last house and sold the newer model that came with our house. #theydontmakeemliketheyusedto
Marco caulked every last hole left by the nail gun as well as the seams where the trim and cabinets are joined. This is our favorite caulk. It goes on really smoothly, doesn’t shrink as much when it dries as other brands we’ve tried (which cuts down on the number of times we have to repeat the process) and is paintable. Once the caulk dried, everything got a light sanding. I then primed (using our favorite Zinsser B-I-N shellac-base primer to prevent tannin bleed-through) and painted the upper and lower cabinet bases in place. The uppers got Benjamin Moore Simply White in satin and the lowers BM Black Satin in satin. Making over the cabinet doors was a longer process. They too were sanded lightly to remove the polyurethane, primed and painted. One coat of primer and three (whew!) coats of paint were required to completely cover the dark wood.
After the paint cured for two full days, we added new hardware pulls, reattached the original hidden hinges and rehung them.
We like to use a Henry Ford-inspired process whenever performing a repetitive task like installing hardware/hinges. We find the job goes much faster and more smoothly when we create an assembly line of sorts. Our roles are generally the same: I ready each door by placing it on blocks, remove the packaging from the the new hardware, organize the screws and wash/dry the hinges for reinstallation. Marco measures the cabinet doors/drawers using a cabinet hardware template, drills additional holes when needed and attaches the hardware. Marco devised this primitive piece of wood (second pic below) to ensure square drill holes #engineersareawesome. Oh and we matched each door to its original cabinet with a numbers system just in case there was any variation in sizes between doors.
Try not to be too jealous of our kitchen countertops, mmmkay?
In addition to giving our cabinets a makeover, we installed a new butcher block countertop with a square stainless steel sink and brushed nickel faucet. We always apply wood conditioner before staining. This yields a much richer and more even stain application. We then stained the countertop using Minwax stain in Early American. Early American is a gorgeous mid-tone brown which reads warm but not red. It’s my fave. We applied two coats of water-based poly and let it fully cure prior to installing the counter. We opted for a narrow stretch of counter above our washer and dryer that terminates in a waterfall edge. Our detergent and other everyday essentials rests on this upper deck. This little detail is one of my favorite elements in the room thus far. I love how the warm wood tones in the counter read with the black and white cabinets.
I could kick myself for thinking this because it is so utterly #firstworldprobs, but my design-lovin’ eye just won’t quit her day job: I would have preferred a matte black faucet with masculine lines to this curvy, brushed nickel broad. Brushed nickel just ain’t my thang these days and black would have played so beautifully with our hooks, light fixture and door hardware. But alas, this faucet was free (we won it through a promo), and it just seemed wasteful to buy one when we had this guy all “Pick me! Pick me!”. I may swap this one out down the line with a black faucet (or purple or whatever is en vogue at that time) if we find another need for this guy. Aside from my aesthetic aversion, this faucet is a vast improvement on the old one. We love the taller profile, which allows us to soak garments and fill buckets more easily, and the pull-down faucet with spray feature is getting heavy use around here.
We feel so grateful to have this space. Transforming it into something that functions so well for our family and is simultaneously beautiful to look at makes us happy.
I might drag our mattress and a mini fridge in here so we never have to leave. And you know how I love to take a stroll down memory lane:
As always, please go check out my friends’ spaces. There is some amazing stuff happening around ORC™land! See you next Thursday when we’ll share our custom-built mirror frame, freshly painted service door and light fixtures. Spoiler: they’re already installed and they’re HOT. I mean, not literally-they’re LEDs. Wow that was a dad joke if I’ve ever made one. We have to patch the holes left from the old fixtures and prime/paint the ceiling before we can do their beauty justice. Can’t wait to show you! Ciao for now!