Frank Lloyd Wright Quote

"Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union"

Frank Lloyd Wright

Monday, March 24, 2008

Dining Room: The Inspiration

The inspiration for our dining room is this picture of the dining room from the Eddie Bauer Bungalow Collection at Lowes. We're going with red-ish wall color on top of white-ish plate rail and wainscotting.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Getting the Hang of Skimcoating

As I posted earlier, the first coat to go on top of the rough plaster was hot setting mud which was mainly to level things out as much as possible. The next coat is the topcoat, which is a thin layer of regular lite all-purpose joint compound. I get the 3.5 gal box of Beadex from the HD and dump it into a clean bucket. Then I add some water and mix thoroughly with my drill mixer until it is an even, light mixture, about the consistency of cake frosting. You'll have to experiment with this process, but when you get it right it really feels like you're frosting a cake when it goes on the wall.

Since I typically work in small increments, I save the extra joint compound by cleaning the walls of the bucket with a wet sponge and then adding about 1/2" of water to the top of the surface. That will keep it from drying out. The next time you're ready to use it, either scoop out the water with a dixie cup, or just mix it into the mud with your drill mixer again.

This time around I spend a lot of time prepping the walls before I broke out the mud. I paid special attention to all of the corners where little bits of paint and wallpaper hide out just waiting for you to come along and snag them with a knife full of mud, which leads to streaks in the finished surface. I also decided to do a small portion of the wall and really take my time. I think it paid off.

There's not much to see in this picture, which is exactly what I was after. A light sanding should be all that's needed before it's ready for primer.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Bathroom Hardware

The bathroom project hasn't technically started yet, since I'm not even half way through with the dining room, but I've been drooling over the Restoration Hardware Bistro collection for long enough dammit!

This is the Bistro tissue holder in polished nickel. I really like that the paper just slides on the end. Nice design!

This is the new toothbrush holder with a stout porcelain cup. As much as I love the design, I gotta say it's expensive, and the cup was sold separately! As with all the pieces, the toothbrush holder is mounted to the wall with 5/16" anchors that work in drywall or plaster. These are very sturdy.

This is the double hook. For some reason, my old double hook had a mounting plate that covered two holes that had been used in the past. The new bistro hook lined up perfectly with the two original holes, leaving the previous holes exposed. I'll patch those when I get around to painting the bathroom.

I also ordered a 30" train rack to go above the toilet, but it is backordered until May. I'll post pics when I get it installed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New "Before" Pictures Unearthed

I have a shortage of pics of the house in it's pristine "before" state, but I did find a couple hidden away in an obscure folder on my laptop. This is the dining room after the new light fixture was installed, but nothing else had been done at this point.

Here's a view of the original "wet wall". As in the dining room, I had already installed new overhead lights before I took the picture. Those wall cabinets were the only two original cabinets. I tried saving them so I could donate them to The Rebuilding Center, but they were built into the house and had to be destroyed in order to get them out. The blue paint in the back of the cabinet is actually the plaster wall; there was no back to the cabinets.

Here's a view in the opposite direction. The Big Chill refrigerator was the first thing we bought when we moved into the house. It set the tone for the remodel we knew was on the way. I can't believe I actually considered keeping that awful beadboard.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Skimcoat Dining Room Walls

Before I put on the first coat of drywall compound, I used some fiberglass mesh tape to cover any cracks in the plaster. The tape combined with the strong setting-type drywall compound will help prevent the cracks from reappearing in the future.

After taping the cracks I put up the first thin coat of "hot mud". It's a plaster-of-paris based mixture that sets chemically into a relatively hard layer. Tomorrow I will do the first topcoat using a regular light topping compound, to be followed by one last topcoat later this week. If all goes well I'll be putting up moulding within a week or two.

Lesson Learned: Clean the walls first!!! I usually go over the walls with the edge of a 6" drywall knife to knock off any cling-ons leftover from the wallpaper. I obviously forgot. Don't make the same mistake! It's very frustrating to be putting on a beautifully flat, thin coat of mud, only to have a gouge running down the middle. Argh!

Turning the Corner in the Dining Room

I'm done taking things off the walls and ready to start putting stuff on the walls of the dining room. The plaster is in very good condition overall but I do have to patch just a few holes and hairline cracks. As in the rest of this house, the builder never put a topcoat of plaster on the walls so they all have the rough texture of the brown coat. I'll go over the walls with a thin layer of hot-setting drywall mud and then a topcoat or two of topping compound. This will give me the smooth texture I'm after.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Mystery Wallpaper Revealed!

If you read the Wallpaper Detective post, you know that I speculated about the existence of a long-lost layer of wallpaper that must have been put up in the 40's or 50's. Well, as I was scraping the last remnants of wallpaper out of the 1" wide gap between the door and sideboard moulding, I found a piece of the missing wallpaper.