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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Make Yourself At Home: Rehab at My Sister's

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 If you follow along on the Serendipity Refined Facebook Page, then you know that I'm spending a few days at my sister's home this week helping her with a few rehab projects.  She's got a week off from her job and decided to make the most of it...

                                                                         by updating the entire first floor of her five days.

It's like Extreme Makeover...without hundreds of blue-shirted neighbors coming to assist or Nate Berkus...without Nate.  We've been fearless rehabbers and we've taken on a whole variety of projects this week, including some that I've never done before like cutting marble tile for the fireplace surround but so far, it's going really well.

We're now on a first name basis with most of the friendly folks at the paint store and the home improvement's almost like being famous... only on a much smaller scale. To put it in perspective for you, I figure that the reach  of our fame is about 12 people

                                                                                                .....and all of them are related to us.

Of course, when my sister phoned a week ago to tell me about her plan, I was so excited that I couldn't wait to show up and figure out a way to take over her projects help.  On the schedule: new solid surface flooring in the kitchen, mudroom, laundry room and bath and new carpet in the dining room, great room, master bedroom and bath.  The flooring is being done by the pros.

On our list of projects to complete in four days: painting the laundry room, mud room and kitchen. Installing new marble around the fireplace, installing glass mosaic back splash in the kitchen, changing the hardware on the kitchen cabinets. new switch and outlet covers and a rehab of the storage in the laundry room.

I laughed right out loud when I arrived at her home Monday evening after work. The sight of her range in the garage beside her washer and dryer and all of the doors from the first floor made me smile.  When I saw the kitchen table and fridge in the great room next to the sofa I looked at her and said, "Oh my gosh, you didn't have to go through all of this trouble just to make me feel like I never left home." 
Given the state of things at the farmhouse, having to spend a few minutes locating the fridge before being able to have cereal in the morning really isn't a big deal but at her house, it's not a normal occurrence. I forget that sometimes. 

In the last 72 hours, we've finished 90% of the painting, installed marble on the fireplace, installed 2/3 of the glass back splash tile (back to the home improvement center for more mortar), changed the hardware on about 1/2 of the cabinets (another trip to the home improvement center for longer screws).

The solid surface flooring is installed and carpet will be installed today. (Oh, did I mention that we my sister and brother in law had to move four rooms of furniture before the carpet could be installed?) After that, we can grout the fireplace. 

We've got about 36 hours left to finish the back splash, install new storage in the laundry room, finish the cabinet hardware and do the touch ups in the kitchen. It's a whirlwind and it has been so much fun doing this stuff with my sister and niece.  I forget how much I miss being around them. More updates next week...right now, I've got to run to the home improvement center!


Monday, July 14, 2014

DIY Giant Free Standing Paper flowers on Pipe Stems.

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Giant Free Standing Paper Flowers on Conduit Stems Tutorial

If you're looking for cheap and easy decor for a party or outdoor wedding or reception that will make a BIG statement...consider making some of these giant flowers! As promised when I shared the yellow black and white summer storefront window that I created at the shop last week, today I'm showing you how to  DIY  the giant free standing paper flowers on electric conduit pipe stems that I used in the display.

The process for making the flowers is pretty simple. To make the "petals",  make two stacks with 7 sheets of newspaper in each.  Accordion  fold the stacks of paper with each fold about 1 1/2 inches wide.  After folding, place the stacks side by side and  wrap two pieces  of 12 inch long floral wire around the center, twisting once. Cut the ends so that they are rounded for about 2 inches.

To make the centers, accordion fold 4 sheets of tissue paper and cut them in half (enough for two flower centers). Wrap a single piece of 12 inch floral wire around the center of the accordion then cut the ends into "strips" being careful not to cut all the way through the center (I left about an inch in the middle). After cutting the strips, either separate or "scrunch" them with your fingers until they look messy and fluffy.

Add the tissue paper piece to the center of the folded flower petals by twisting the wire around the petals once.

Carefully fan out the petals and begin to fluff them by pulling them toward the center, one piece at a time, working your way around the flower until all layers are separated.

Giant Free Standing Paper Flowers on Conduit Stems Tutorial

Adjust as needed.  Next, form the stems by cutting electrical conduit pipe to different lengths (mine range in length from 3 feet to 6 feet).  Bend the top of the pipe into a gentle arch using a conduit bender or by standing on the pipe and pulling gently on the end to bend it upwardworking your way slowly down about 1/4 the pipe.  Add a bend in the center if you're adding leaves.

At the curved end of the stem, attach a 1 1/2 inch screw connector. To this, add 4 inch blank octagonal plate with the center punched out and attach it with a locknut.

In the spirit of full disclosure, Kelly's husband, Patrick is an electrician.  I explained what I wanted and he put these together for me but it IS an easy DIY. You can find all of the parts at your local home improvement center.

Last, make a base out of 2x4 wood. Cut two pieces that are 12 to 14 inches long. Form an X. add two 4 to 5 inch long blocks beneath the upper "arm" to stabilize. Glue or nail the base together. Drill a hole through the center to accept the conduit (I used 3/4").

Wire the paper flower to the plate and fasten securely. (You may also want to glue the flower to the plate, I am going to re-use the "stems" so mine are wired on).

Place the flower in the base (add leaves if desired) and wrap the plate and the stem in plastic wrap.  Tape the plastic wrap into place at the bottom where the stem meets the base.

Giant Free Standing Paper Flowers on Conduit Stems Tutorial
Stand a few in your living room...or driveway...or use them to decorate your shop...or party.  

Giant Free Standing Paper Flowers on Conduit Stems Tutorial

 These giant paper flowers are an easy and  inexpensive way to decorate for a party or wedding. They can be made out of tissue paper, newsprint, fabric, or even plastic table cloths.  You'll see these giant flowers again, I promise. I've already got plans to change them for fall...and maybe winter!   Oh...and don't you think that  they'd make fabulous giant daffodils in the spring!?


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Small Space Kitchen Contemporary Makeover Reveal

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When I sat down to write this post about the renovation of the kitchen at the apartment, I typed "it really wasn't that bad"...and then I thought, Really!? Not that bad!?!?!?  Let's recall the fact that during a winter several years ago when the apartment was vacant,  a window was left open and one of the pipes froze and burst.  Remember that when the plumbing repair was done, they drywalled and put joint compound over the wallpaper?! Oh YEAH...that......sigh.

If you saw the apartment bathroom renovation reveal, by now you know that there's a recurring theme of repairs done poorly or not at all and, in case you wondered...the kitchen was more of the same.

After I removed the chair rail, my son spent the better part of an afternoon removing as much of the wallpaper as he could without doing further damage to the wall. With the wallpaper removed, I patched and sanded...and patched some more... until the walls were tolerable...far from perfect... but better.

When I removed the layers of DUCT TAPE and pink foam insulation  from around the air conditioner in preparation for replacing the A/C unit, I found mold...yeah...mold...due to trapped moisture which had formed because water was getting in from the outside and being trapped by the duct tape. 

To repair it, I cut out a section of the wall on the interior and the exterior, reframed the opening for the A/C unit in pressure treated lumber,  then re-insulated, repaired the wall on both the exterior (with caulk to seal the edges) and interior. On the inside, I put up molding to cover the edges. I haven't found a good way to camouflage the A/C unit without impairing the airflow so for now, this is as good as it gets.

The kitchen cabinets and hardware are original to the unit.  We unbolted them from the wall, I removed the scroll-y  piece that used to be above the sink from the smallest cabinet then, sanded and painted all of the cabinets and re-installed them. I was able to  add one 36 inch cabinet by moving all of the cabinets up to the ceiling and to the left corner in a new configuration.

The counter top and sink are also original  but we replaced the faucet, drain, trap...and, of course, the shut off valves because they were leaking...just like those in the bathroom.

Because we moved the cabinets, we had to extend the ceramic tile up to the new cabinet height and, while I was at it (and since the tile was literally THIRTEEN CENTS per tile), I also tiled to the edge of the range which with my careful planning as luck would have it, actually lined up with the upper cabinet. (Don't tell anyone that I didn't plan it this way.) I also sawed out the old blue grout and replaced it with Graphite Gray.

We removed 2 layers of flooring and installed new wood grain laminate. Not an easy job but SO worth it! I painted the steel fire door and added a chalkboard which I framed with some oak trim that was stained to match the rest of the wood in the apartment which isn't painted.

We installed Ikea shelving and purchased a movable kitchen unit to extend the work surface into the "eating area"  as well as a butcher's block  island which gives him a place to sit and another worksurface. As of now, my son now has a fully functional kitchen with enough storage and work surface to be able to prepare meals.  Heck, now that I finally got the oven clean, I may go over his place to do some baking...he's actually got a nicer oven than I do!


Trim and Cabinet Color: Benjamin Moore
Wall color:Sherwin Williams White Matte
Laminate Flooring: Pergo
Island, Movable Kitchen cabinet, shelving and utensil holders: Ikea
Towels: Target
Striped Placemat on island and Wire Fruit Bowl: Pottery Barn
Kitchen Rug: Bed Bath and Beyond
Light Fixture: Home Depot

We've still got artwork to hang but I'm so excited that I wanted you to see how far the kitchen remodel has come in the last couple of weeks! We're building some shelving for the living space (living room/bedroom combination because this is an efficiency) and then I'll do a final reveal of of the entire space.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Store Window with Giant Paper Flowers

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I did some restyling at the shop over the holiday weekend (Vintage Fresh in Downers Grove, IL).    I installed a new summer-themed display for the shop window which includes a newsprint banner and GIANT free-standing newsprint flowers with tissue paper centers that I created.  I wanted the window to feel fresh and happy and to focus not only on summer but also on the shop's specialty: painted furniture.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!

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From me and my family to you and yours, Happy Independence Day!
I hope that you have a safe and happy 4th.

Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.
God Bless America!