Paint it Red!

I've been in a bit of a creative funk lately.  Do you guys ever get that way?  Where you're just feeling uninspired?  That's how I've felt for about a month.  Work has slowed down a bit, and even though we've still been incredibly busy with a ton of family coming into town and a quick Disney vacation (I'll share more about that in a later post), I just haven't felt inspired to create anything.  Very unlike me, and very weird. Then, Saturday morning, I just woke up, rolled over and said to Brad, "I want to paint the front door."  By now he knows better than to challenge any of my crazy ideas, so I think I got a sleepy "mmmhmm" in response, which I took as a "sure, whatever makes you happy". Just like I've felt a bit uninspired, the front of our house has felt a bit uninspired as well. So much... beige.  And brown.  And white.  And non-colors. Walking into the entry didn't exactly feel like a warm welcome, either.  Between the lack of plants we can't grow on the right side of the walkway and the beige on white on brown color scheme, there's just no "pop". After a quick jaunt to Lowes, we picked up a can of Allen and Roth's Front Door Red (perfect name, huh?).  I already have a ton of paint brushes on hand and several foam rollers left over from Tubby, so the only real expense to this project was the $10 of paint. The original plan was to remove all of the hardware on the door to make painting super easy, but it was a bit trickier to take off than originally assumed.  When we tried to remove the handle part, we realized that from the inside there was a stopper that had been pounded in.  No screws to remove it easily.  So, I decided to just leave it on and paint around it.  It didn't end up being that big of a pain in the end, but it would've been way easier to have just completely removed it. Once I started painting, I realized that I'm too short to be able to see the top of the door well enough to cut in.  So, I did a quick tape job around the glass.  The edges were super easy, and then when I got to the curved top I simply ripped up smaller pieces and then traced around the trim with a small box cutter to remove all of the excess tape. As I was painting, I remembered Young House Love's paint mantra "thin and even layers".  Well, some layers were a bit more even than others, but I kept it super thin so there weren't any splotches as I went. Speaking of thin and even layers, Brad initially tried to help me on this project.  I gave him the roller thinking that would be easier than the "cutting in" portion.  As he held up a goopy roller filled with paint ready to attack the door, I thanked him for his assistance and suggested that this was not the project for him.  I heard him go back in the house and say to Piper: "pup, we've been fired".  Poor husband.  He's really great at jobs that require brute force, like hole digging and demo, but things that require patience and exactness are maybe not his forte.  I'm also a bit bossy.  A bit.  Just saying. First coat of paint and it was looking like a lovely splotchy mess. That was when I realized that I probably wasn't going to finish this project in three coats.  In fact, it took seven.  Seven coats of red paint with the primer baked in.  I was about red-painted out by the end.  Here's a quick progression of the more noticeable coats so you can see how the additional coats made a huge difference. Pretty crazy, huh?  SOOOOO many coats of paint.  Thank goodness it was only one side of one door.  But, it definitely adds that "pop" of color that the front of the house needed.  Not so beige anymore! While there's still quite a bit of work to do in the front yard, like actually planting something near that walkway and replacing the gate in between those ugly concrete posts, we really love the red.  Such a big difference for $10! Have you guys had an inspiring summer?  What gets you guys in the mood to be creative?  Whatever it is, share it with me, please!  I could use some creative energy!

Installing a New Window

My husband and I work a lot.  It's kind of a necessary evil in our business that if we're not doing 60 hour weeks there's something wrong.  I'm in visual effects "production", which means that I do more artist management, deal with clients, money... that kind of thing.  My husband is an artist, meaning that he actually makes those awesome images on screen, so he's in front of a computer all day (and night) long.  He's also very fortunate in that he's able to do some of his work at home, so it's important to us that he has a nice office that he can be productive in.  (That's his man space - I've got the garage.) The biggest pitfall of Brad's office has been the old, nasty, single-pane window that faces his back when he's on his computer. Not only was it an eyesore, but like just about everything else that we haven't yet replaced in our house, it was very poorly constructed. See that side of the window?  Yeah.  There's no frame all the way around the window.  There was a track on the top and bottom so that it would slide, and then whoever installed it just put a bead of caulk on the side to hold it in.  Genius.  In the summer it gets incredibly warm in that room when the sun is beating into it.  (This window faces south, so we wouldn't get direct sun, but it would kinda hover around it all day.)  So, before summer gets into full swing, we decided it was high time to replace that old, nasty window. One of the reasons I'm posting about this is because Brad and I had never installed a window ourselves before.  Honestly, we were a little intimidated by this project.  (In retrospect, I'm not really sure why.)  Replacing windows was one of the things that we spent WAY too much on when we first moved into our house almost two years ago.  (We paid about $450 per window to have a few of the necessary ones installed.)  We even got one quote to do all the windows in our one story, 1500 sq foot house for $15,000!  Isn't that just insane?  Maybe that's why we were so scared to install them ourselves.  If the labor is that expensive, it must be hard, right? Well, the answer to that question is "no way, Jose!".  Seriously, this was one of the easiest projects we've ever done.  It took us about 2 hours to do on a morning before I had to go to work.  In, out, window replaced.  I'll tell you guys about some of the tricky stuff, but overall, incredibly easy. My pictures of this project are a little bit limited... this is definitely a 2 man job.  So, having one person taking the pictures while the other one does the work was a little tricky.  But, lemme just start by saying that we followed Lowes's instructions on how to install a window from this video, and we had no problems at all.  The video is clear and concise, and there's not a lot of chatter that you have to fast forward through to get to the good stuff. Once we removed the sliding half of the window, the first (and probably the smartest thing that we did in retrospect), was tape the stationary side of the window. Since this piece of glass wasn't being held in by anything other than a bead of caulk, removing it became a mess.  But, it could've been a giant mess of little glass pieces all over everything if we hadn't taped it.
Starting to remove the caulk
The Giant Mess
See how that could've been really bad?  Yeah.  Those Lowes video people are smart cookies.  But, after a little scraping away at the caulk with a box cutter, the old ugly window was gone. So easy, right?  I couldn't believe it either. All that was left of the old window was the top and bottom track.  The video told us to put a little bit of caulk into the corners to make sure there weren't any air leaks.  We found a special caulk at Lowes that was specifically for doors and windows.  (Not sure it makes much of a difference, but being newbies at this kind of thing it made us feel better.) BTW - I totally remember this picture being in focus when I took it.  Oops.  Oh, and the second point of awesomeness regarding this picture:  don't you love my finger poking through my gloves?  I think it's time for some new ones. Anyway, we put just a smidgen of caulk in the corners of the old window track. Once that dried, we did a quick "dry fit" of the window to make sure we didn't screw anything up in the measuring process.  (Tip: take the movable side of the window out before lifting it up.  It makes it so much lighter!)  We were incredibly thankful we did this as there were a few little corners of exterior wood here and there that needed to be chiseled out before the window would fit.  After we guaranteed that the window would actually fit into place, we started the hanging process by setting the window into the opening and preparing to drill the holes. The neat thing about vinyl windows is that there's this little track system at the base that you completely lift up and out of the window.  That way, you can drill your screw holes at the bottom of the window and they're completely hidden once you put the track back in. So, with the track out and the window sitting pretty in the opening, we started to drill the holes for the screws. First, we went through and drilled our holes with a smaller bit all the way through the vinyl, and then we took a larger bit to just the outer layer of vinyl so that the head of the screw would go through the first hole and catch on the inside second hole.  The Lowes video says to use a collar as a stop for the larger bit, but we were extremely careful and found that we didn't need one as the 2 layers of vinyl were separated and we could tell when we had gone through the first layer. Once all of our holes were pre-drilled, we took the window out and put a layer of caulk around the perimeter of the window ledge. Then, we hoisted the window back onto place. In the video, it talks about having to shim the window into place if it wasn't level.  We had shims on hand, but we were very fortunate in that it was level on all sides without any extra shimming. Since we were happy with the positioning, we screwed the window into place.  This step was definitely important to have two people doing the job.  While Brad was screwing it into place, I was holding the window tight against the house.  Once it was attached, we put a quick layer of insulating foam inside all of the crevices to make sure it was sealed tight and replaced the bottom track. Ta-da!  Pretty, new, fully functioning window.  Brad went a little crazy with the insulating foam, so once it dries we need to cut off all of the extra that's coming out around the edges.  We also need to add the trim around the inside edges, but that's as easy as applying a sticker.  You just peel off the backing and stick it on.  But, see what I mean?  Piece of cake.  I have no idea why we were so intimidated by this project.  Now his office is definitely summer proof!  (That's the one great thing about LA, we don't have to "winter proof" anything, but we definitely have to keep the heat out in the summer!) Any projects you guys have taken on lately that were way easier than you thought?  Or, maybe just the opposite, like my ongoing bathtub project...?  

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Finishing

Plan by Ana White, built and finished by Old Paint Design with Rustoleum Spray Paint in Dark Grey
I LOVE to build.  It is my favorite thing in the entire world.  But, as most of you know, building is about more than just screwing some boards together.  It takes planning, sketching, gathering materials, THEN building... and finishing.  I'm really good at the first 4 steps.  I can usually find something I love and sketch it up during the week in my "spare time".  Saturday mornings are dedicated to visiting my bffs at the lumber yard.  (Where they all know me and can almost predict my orders.)  Saturday afternoons are my building time.  And then I have to finish the pieces.  Which is by far the worst part.  It's so important for the piece to have a beautiful finish, especially after you've put so much time, money, and sweat into it.  It's just so... time consuming.  And boring.  I want my beautiful finish and I want it now... which is why sometimes it's taken me a day to build and weeks to finish a project. It's taken me quite a bit of trial and error, but I think I've finally figured out the quickest, easiest ways to get a beautiful finish.  It's all about the tools and products that you use to get the job done, and since I build to save money, none of these options break the bank. Before I start, I also need to say that I get $0 for anything I post on this blog, so none of the products I talk about are officially endorsed... I just really like them. Continue reading "The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Finishing"

Breaking Down a Pallet

Every few weeks, Brad very lovingly asks me to clean out the garage.  And here is why:
The garage... please don't judge me.
There was once a time, very very long ago, that our garage had nothing in it.  It was quite the accomplishment.  I even remember posting in my facebook status that we were able to park BOTH cars in the garage and that I thought it was pretty awesome.  But, that was a time before I discovered power tools and had about 16 projects going on at one time.  (Like the 99% finished media center sitting in the middle of the floor for my friend Judy that I just can't bring myself to do the last coat of poly on.) Continue reading "Breaking Down a Pallet"