Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cleaning Cupboard

We had this odd empty space at the end of our kitchen counter.  I think the previous owner had a freezer with a top opening lid.  We decided to build a storage cupboard to hold the vacuum and cleaning supplies.  But after all the home improvement we've done around here we needed a place to house some of the work materials as well.  Plus, it gave us a chance to use the other wardrobe door.

I drew up some plans (the photo of the paper is useful, right?) and had 18 mm (3/4 inch) plywood cut at the lumberyard.  I used the Kreg Jig, screws (I think 1 1/4 inch, maybe 1 1/2 inch) and wood glue to join the plywood.  Then the handyman adjusted the wardrobe door and attached it.

There are a few short shelves along the back of the cupboard for supplies.  But I wanted to leave a large enough space in the front for easy access to the vacuum, mop and brooms.

Refurbishing Antique Wood Furniture

We love antique wood furniture and are always on the lookout for old pieces.  Sometimes we find things that are in pretty good condition but need a little sprucing up.  I've found that using Boiled Linseed Oil and steel wool is an easy way to refresh old furniture.  I bought both at a hardware store ages ago and keep finding more uses for it.  Most recently I used the oil and steel wool on a little table we wanted to use for our telephones.

We loved the table overall, but it had scratches and water marks that wouldn't come off with a soap and water.

Once the wood had been cleaned and dried I used some fine steel wool (it's 000) with Boiled Linseed Oil.  The steel wool comes in a large roll, so I ripped off a piece and applied the linseed oil directly.  I then applied the oil along the grain.  It's kind of like putting lotion on dry skin; but it also cleans out grime that has gotten into the wood over time.  As a bonus it helps make scratches less apparent.

I usually leave the oil on the wood for a few hours to give it a chance to sink in.  One some pieces I've left it for more time, some less...and I can't tell a huge difference.  The Boiled Linseed Oil does have a strong smell so I like to use it in a well ventilated area.  On a large wardrobe it seemed to took weeks for the smell to go away completely, but on this small table the smell only lasted a few days.

I use a clean soft cotton cloth to wipe off all the remaining oil and am always so impressed at how clean and shiny it leaves the furniture!

I love such a simple process that leaves us with lovely old pieces!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tall Cupboard

One day we were walking in an unfamiliar part of town.  There was a beat up wardrobe out on the street and I loved the doors.  I didn't have any tools on me to remove the doors and I thought MAYBE we could use the entire wardrobe.  So I asked a friend to pick it up for me.  It was a heavy wardrobe and he managed to put it in his van and deliver it to us so I gave the friend 20 pounds.  It turned out the wardrobe was in too poor of shape to save, but my pride was on the line.  I either had to admit to Niall I paid money for garbage or find some use for the wardrobe.

We have a funny alcove in our kitchen that is narrow but very high.  I didn't want the space to go to waste, but because of the odd shape I couldn't find anything that would work.  I modified the Single Locker plans from Ana White to design a tall cabinet.  And used one of the wardrobe doors.

My favorite thing about the wardrobe door is the handle.  Niall used Brasso to clean it up and I think it looks lovely.

I made the tall cupboard out of 18 mm (3/4 inch) plywood.  I tried cutting it myself with a circular saw, but the cuts weren't straight enough.   So I took the wood to a lumber yard and had it professionally cut.  I had to get a little help from a handyman to get the cupboard straight, attach the door and get it anchored to the wall.  (It's so tall it could easily topple!)

My second favorite thing about the door is the detailing at the top.  The veneer was so damaged that I didn't think I could strip the door (and I didn't have the patience) so we primed and painted the door to match our kitchen cupboards.

We primed the plywood with two coats and then used and Eco-Friendly eggshell in white to finish it.  To keep the door securely closed we used a long double sided magnet strip.  Now that funny alcove is being put to use.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Recycling Center

We had a shelving space at the end of our kitchen counter that felt like wasted space.  Do you see the shelves on the left next to the sink in the photo below? 

The shelves came out and Niall and I decided that's where the garbage should go.  But I wanted the garbage out of sight and out of reach of a very curious little girl. 

I decided to build a unit for our garbage and recycling.  I modified plans from Ana White for a recycling center and used Ron Hazleton's video on building a slide out trash bin for additional guidance.  I carefully drew up plans and had MDF cut at the lumber yard so the cuts would be straight.  However, my plans weren't spot on at the project was difficult.  One of the handymen helped me with this (or more like I helped him as he did the bulk of the work) and he told me it was a headache! What made it difficult was the slide out drawers with the tops cut for the plastic garbage liners.  Can you tell there's a plastic garbage can in there?

We painted it to match the kitchen cupboards and added the oak handles. Now it's finished and I never knew I could be so pleased with garbage.