Can They Even Dye My Eyes to Match My Gown? Uh huh!

Since I've already bored most of you with some serious scrubbing details, lets just say that the scrubbing continued for a few more hours until I was left with this: Which is about as good as it was going to get.  Basically, we got it to the point where there was no more caulk or paint left on the tub and every crevice was smooth to the touch.  We also cleaned it super deep so that when you touched it there was no more dust/dirt/rust/disgusting grime on your hands.  It was exhausting, and I was so excited to move on to the much anticipated next step... priming! I always prime with KILZ for all of my woodworking projects, but this time it was especially important to use since it also has a built in stain-blocker and sealer.  Don't want any gross-ness from Tubby's former life sneaking into its new makeover. To apply, I used a foam roller to get a nice, even coat without brushstrokes.  For the hard to reach areas at the end I used a brush, but I found that the foam roller covered about 98% of the surface. One quick coat of primer later and it was already looking a million times better. The great thing about primer is that it doesn't have to be completely even.  I've found that a solid, thin coat is better than multiple coats or glopping it on to try to force it to be more even.  At this step, it's not about the look, it's about the coverage. Before I get into the painting part, I have to tell you guys the story about the paint, mainly because I'm sure most of you have had this experience in one form or another.  My husband and I were at a big box store to purchase the paint for the outside of the tub.  We found the perfect color based on our very thought out game plan and color palette regarding our future guest bathroom.  I get up to the place where they mix the colors for you, hand him the swatch, and I start talking to Brad about how glossy we want the finish to be.  I believe I said something like, "well, we should probably go with semi-gloss since it's for the outside of the bathtub and it might get wet..." and the paint mixer says "wait, you're using this paint on a bathtub?"  Oh boy. Clearly the kid did not understand that it was a vintage, cast iron claw foot rather than an acrylic tub like they sell in store.  As I continued to try to explain to him the game plan, he brought over another associate who confirmed to me that it definitely would not work and that I needed a special kind of paint that had to be special ordered and bla bla bla.  I assured them that I was not crazy and that it would work.  (Haven't they seen Sarah's House Season 2?  Psh, clearly not.)  To make matters worse, somewhere in the conversation the second associate said, "Are you sure you want to go with this color?"  Burn.  So, after about 10 minutes of them insulting my color choice and general DIY knowledge and skill, I gave them both my most charming smile and said, "Okay, just mix me a quart of this paint in semi-gloss... please."  (BTW, my husband, the nicer counterpart in our relationship, had his head buried into his hands during most of this.  I later apologized for embarrassing him in the store.  Wouldn't be the first time.)  Usually I'm very chatty with the paint mixers... this time it was quite quiet. Anyway, the point of that long story is that it makes me absolutely crazy when the sales people try to talk me out of things.  Don't they want to make a sale?  I know they probably get a lot of crazies coming into their store, but I always go in with plenty of research under my belt to explain away the crazy... at least to myself.  Luckily, this isn't as common as the sexist power tool dispute.  You know the one, ladies.  It's when you go into a big box store and have a few questions about a power tool and they answer all of them while looking at your husband.  Ugh. Putting this story temporarily on pause (oh yes, there's more), lets move on with the painting.  I ended up purchasing Wishing Well in semi-gloss from Valspar.  I bought the kind that has paint in primer in one for some additional coverage, even though I had already primed.  (Better safe than sorry, right?) I used three coats to get an even finish.  Here's a quick progression between the first coat and the last coat so that you can see how the extra time and coat-age makes a difference:
First coat of paint
After three coats of paint
See the difference? Once the paint was nice and dry we put the feet back on that we had prepped last weekend.  Luckily, this step was super easy since they were just held on by a nut and bolt.  We did purchase new nuts, bolts, and washers for the feet since the old ones were so rusted.  I think it cost us a grand total of $2.13.  In my mind, a totally worthwhile purchase. Here's a closer look so that you can see exactly how the feet are held on. We're very thankful that the tub doesn't way a metric ton even though it's cast iron.  It's still incredibly heavy, but Brad and I were able to flip it onto its right side once the feet were on.  (Maybe it's all that extra weight training I've been doing...) Ta da!  Pretty tub.  Lemme hit you with a quick "before" picture so that you can compare. Pretty big difference, huh? I still have a little bit of work to do on the inside.  There's a bit of caulk and some stains that I need to work out, but that's just a little more cleaning.  Probably another few hours... next weekend. But, it's finally starting to look like a tub that I would actually bathe in.  So exciting! To end our story with the big box paint dudes, Brad and I went back in today to pick up the nuts and bolts for the feet.  And the paint guy was there.  And I called him a hooligan under my breath to my husband.  At around the same time the paint guy said hello to me and asked me how my project was going.  Drat, he remembered me.  I can already see that having someone open the spray paint cabinet for me is going to become much more difficult.  (sigh.) Anyway, I am very pleased with the progress and even more pleased with the fun, youthful color that we picked out for the tub.  Yes, it was risky, but I think it paid off.  It will definitely be the focal point of the bathroom, which I think is a good thing.  Even Brad, who is terrified of color, loves it.  I wish the pictures did it justice... it is SO much more fun in person.  Anyone else taking some serious risks lately?

Pedicure Day for the Bathtub

Well, dudes and dudettes... I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that my new claw foot tub has been delivered to the house to the tune of $325 (which included delivery).  The bad news is, this sucker is going to take a lot more than a weekend to finish.  I was so wrong about how much it would take to get chubby tubby into shape.  But, in the meantime, here's our progress. We're starting on the bottom of the tub since it obviously requires the most work.  All of the feet were bolted into the bottom, so all we had to do was unscrew them to free them from the bottom of the tub.  (Although it sounds easy, they were pretty rusted in there, so it took some man power.)  We're definitely going to have to replace those bolts when we put the feet back on.  They were so rusted that there was no way to salvage them. I had this brilliant idea to use a paint remover/de greaser to get the first coat of paint of of the feet.  I found this one at Lowes and purchased it since it was water based and low VOC.  Sounds promising, right?

So, I coated the feet with the gel using a paintbrush and let it sit.

While the feet were "soaking", the husband and I got started on the main part of the tub.

The biggest problem was the side that will eventually be facing us when the tub is installed.  (Of course, right?)  The previous owners had caulked it into the wall, so it had a thick layer of white mess all over it.  When they pulled it out of the wall, it even took a baseboard with it that was still attached.

Luckily, once we scored the caulk with a box cutter, we were able to peel off most of it.

Once we peeled off all that we could get, we were left with this:

As you can see, there was still quite a bit of caulk left on the top of it, but it was too thin to peel.  So, I took 80 grit sandpaper and started sanding until my hands went numb.  Then I was left with this:

Vast improvement.  Now, back to the feet.

After they had been sitting in the paint remover for a while, I took a Scotch scrubber pad and went at them.  And, the results weren't that great.  The next tactic was to sand the crap out of them.  That was much more effective.

Once they were sanded down, I dumped them into a bucket of CLR to remove some of the extra rust that was on them.

I bet you guys can guess the next step.

More scrubbing!  This time, cleaning off all of the CLR and the rust.  We went through a rotation with the feet... CLR bucket, scrub, back to the CLR bucket, scrub some more... until we were finally convinced we had gotten all of the muck off of them and the surface was smooth.

Then, it was time for painting.  I used two coats of Rustoleum's Metallic Spray Paint in Satin Nickel, making sure to spray really lightly to not get any dripping.

Here's a close-up so that you can better see the finish and the cute little claws.

So pretty, sparkly, and new (looking).  It amazed me how much detail was in the feet once we were able to get through the mess.  There is one foot that's not in amazing shape... it has a giant hole on one of the "toes", so we'll just put that one in the back corner when we're reassembling the tub.

With the feet done, we moved back to the tub.  We've been rotating through almost the same process that we used on the feet on the outside of the tub.  But, instead of CLR, we're using diluted bleach.  So, we're sanding, then scrubbing down with bleach and steel wool, then sanding again, and then bleaching, and then... you get the point.  We're just trying to get the smoothest possible surface so that we don't have any weird bumps or peeling paint in the future.

Here's where we ended up on Sunday night:

It's getting there... slowly.  BTW, here are the before pictures one more time so that you don't have to scroll all the way back up:

When you look at the "before" and the "in progress", it definitely looks like we've made some headway... right?  I had no idea what a big project this was going to be when we took it on - but I can't wait to see the final product once it's all painted with its pretty new claw toes on.

Side note, this thing is an amazing work out!  I was sweating bullets scrubbing this sucker.

What did you guys do over the Cinco de Mayo weekend?  Anyone else take on a project that turned out to be bigger than imagined?  Anyone lucky spend it drinking Coronas by the pool?  (If so, I am incredibly jealous.)  Either way, hope it was a great one!

Chubby Tubby

Boy, oh boy.  Today is a happy Tuesday, my friends.  I have found my new best friend and bathtub, Chubby Tubby.  (Name is subject to change as we spend more time together.) Some of you may remember a LONG time ago when I promised you all a guest bathroom renovation.  Well, friends, we are one step closer to gutting the disgusting blue palace.  Today, through the power of craigslist, I have acquired my new best friend the claw foot tub.  For any of you who have done bathtub research, you know that a new cast iron claw foot ranges anywhere between $2,000-6,000, so I was so thrilled when I bought this beauty for $300.  Even better, I paid an extra $25 for the guy to deliver it straight to my house and drop it into my garage. Other than a chip or two on the lip, the inside of the tub is pristine.  That's always the thing with antique tubs, you almost always need to have it refinished.  There was no rust to be found anywhere, just an ugly paint job on the outside.  (I learned from watching Sarah's House on HGTV that the thing to look for when buying an old tub is to check if there's any rust or cracking along the drain or near the feet.  Those are the warning signs that your tub may not last very long.) Speaking of Sarah's House, she's a big part of the reason I've always wanted a claw foot tub.
Sarah's House Tub
How fun is that yellow?  Ever since, I've always wanted to restore an old tub and paint the outside to add a punch of color to the bathroom. A few months ago, when West Elm was having their bath sale, I picked up this River Rock Shower Curtain loving how fun and youthful it was: Since then, that aqua has been a big part of the color inspiration for the bathroom.  I had originally wanted a clean, white washed look for the bathroom, but since the shower curtain purchase I've been a bit color happy.  Speaking of color, I also love the light blue that is on the walls in their advertisement photo above and how it offsets the teal in the curtain. Not sure what to paint my new tub, I headed over to Design Seeds to see what kind of color palette would coordinate with what I had already planned.  When I came across "Island Play", I knew I had a winner. Time to break down my thinking. Lets all imagine for a minute that the tub gets painted that darker blue color second from the top on the swatch.  (Don't mind my terrible 5 minute photoshop). And, while I'm usually a huge fan of grellow, lets change that color to a deep brown to represent the dark plank tile that we have in mind for the floors. When you put together the whole picture, you get something like this: That doesn't look too crazy, right?  Maybe I'm just on a bathtub high right now, but that all seems to work pretty cohesively.  BTW, the wall tile pictured above was my cheap-o purchase from Habitat for Humanity that I got when shopping for my shutter for the pinterest challenge.  And, of course, I'm sure a few of you remember Napoleon the vanity that I built to replace the ugly pedestal sink. So, the bottom line is that it's all coming together.  Slowly.  But it's inspiring me more and more every day to start the gut.  We keep pinching our pennies and getting one element at a time.  But, I think the next big purchase will be a contractor to fix the plumbing.  That in itself is exciting since that means we'd be taking that step after demo is complete and the gut has commenced. Anyway, the tub arrives at Casa Strickman on Saturday afternoon... looks like I have my weekend project all planned out!  Do you guys have any weekend projects to tackle now that it's getting warm outside?  Anyone else taking their sweet time on a big project?

Brina Side Tables

 

I love building pieces of furniture for other people.  While I definitely love making knock-offs for myself, there's something about using a friend as a loving "client" to build for.  To take their ideas and style and mold it into my own is such a fun challenge for me. Do you guys have that one like-a-sister person in your lives who knows exactly what you're thinking before you even think it?  Enter my super cute, super stylish, BFF, Brina, who has been living with ugly, mis-matched end tables for her master bedroom for WAY too long. Continue reading "Brina Side Tables"

Cutting and Frosting Glass

I'm not exactly sure when we lost all of our closet doors, but when we moved into our house almost a year and a half ago, only one of our four bedrooms had them.  (Then again, our house didn't have floors, either, so at that point I wasn't so picky.)  I'm going to guess that they were trashed in the first round of construction before we even purchased the house, because the only "before" picture I can find of our master bedroom is this one from our appraisal:
Thank you for this gem, previous owners. LOVE the window treatments.
Just looking at that and knowing it was one of the better rooms in the house makes me wonder why no one had me committed back then. Continue reading "Cutting and Frosting Glass"

Building a Retaining Wall (pt2)

Waking up today was not easy.  It was one of those mornings where everything hurts - legs, back, arms.  At least I know yesterday's wall-building was an effective workout.  And there was still quite a bit more to get done today. Where we left off yesterday, we still needed to cut the blocks for the side, add the top layer of blocks, and also level out a whole lot of dirt inside of the retaining wall.
Not too shabby for a days work
Continue reading "Building a Retaining Wall (pt2)"

Building A Retaining Wall (pt1)

A few months ago, Brad and I paved an entire patio with a built in pergola all by ourselves.  It was not easy... it took us about about a week and a half to get the whole thing done, but we love it, and it's kinda amazing.
Pergola of awesomeness
But, the worst part of the patio was the digging.  And, there was a lot of digging.  About two full days of it.  And that dirt was awful.  It's not the good dirt that they show you in the how-to Lowes video that we studied before we got started.  That looked like it came up pretty easy.  It was the crappy clay dirt that has been sitting stagnant since probably 1963 when our house was built.  But, the previous owner had a giant shed where our patio now is, and the grass never grew back right. Continue reading "Building A Retaining Wall (pt1)"