External and internal decorations

"A designer knows when he has reached perfection not when there is nothing left to add but when there is nothing left to take away."

Antione de Sainte-Exupery

Now that I have the back entry of the studio mostly finished (with the exception of a few finishing touches), I need to concentrate my energy on getting the studio half bathroom finished. If you missed the post showing how the back entry looks now, you can find it here… Studio Back Entry Progress (All The Big Projects Finished!) I really lost focus on the half bathroom over the last few weeks. I was going full steam ahead on it right up until I got to a point where I couldn’t do anything else on it until the floor was finished. Then once I started working on the studio floor, the bathroom was pretty much forgotten. So now it’s time for me to get it finished. Here’s where I left off. I got the geometric hand painted design finished on the walls (although I forgot to remove the tape on one wall, so I’m hoping it’ll still come off cleanly and not ruin the design). You can see the details of that project here… DIY Geometric Ombre Square Spiral Wall Design I also made some custom yellow resin tiles for the backsplash/wainscoting, which you can read about here… DIY Custom […]

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I was beginning to think the back entry of the studio would never get to this point, but I finally got all of the trim installed, wood filled, sanded, primed and painted. I also got the doors to the storage closet and bathroom painted, and you might notice that the walls are a bit lighter green. I had originally painted them Behr Hills of Ireland, which turned out pretty dark. So I decided to go a shade lighter and repainted them with Behr Belfast. I think that small change in paint color made a really big difference. It’s still not completely finished. The ceiling light is still covered in layers of dust from when I sanded and finished the hardwood floors, so that needs to be cleaned. I’m not at all looking forward to that task with those 13 globes. I also still need to install the door handle on the back door, and the door pulls on the bathroom and closet doors. In addition, I think I want to put curtains on the back door. I’d like for all of the exterior doors and windows to have curtains/shades on them that I can close at night, because right now […]

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Oh, hey there! It’s me, Kristi. Remember me? 😀 Have you ever followed a blogger who just disappeared? Disappeared from the blog, from social media, and seemingly, from the face of the earth with no word whatsoever? I can think of two bloggers right off hand who did that, and I always wondered, “How could they do that? How could they just disappear like that with no word?” Well, I kind of get it now. July was just a bad month all around for me. I was tired, both mentally and physically. I was dealing with some things that really had me feeling down and discouraged and not wanting to face the world. I was sick of working on these never-ending projects on my house. And I just wanted to crawl into a hole and be left alone for a bit. So in a way, I did that, but not in an unhealthy way. I made a point to spend more time with family, and Matt and I came up with a plan for me to not only have a day off every week from house projects, but a day completely away from the house where I can do fun […]

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We are delighted to have received a new order for structural and civil remedial works to East Lodge at the Nunhead Cemetery in SE15, one... Read more »

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chair makeover - from dining chair to rolling desk chair - 1

Well, I didn’t get my velvet green desk chair. I just never could find one that I liked for a price I was willing to pay. I wanted a high back chair that would actually show significantly over a 30-inch desk, and the only two green chairs I found that I really liked had very low backs that would only show about four inches above a desktop. That just wouldn’t do. So I let go of the idea of having a green velvet chair (or a green chair at all) and set my sights on finding any chair that I really liked, in any color that would go in my studio, that could be used as a desk chair. And that’s when I came across this high back, wingback dining chair from Overstock. I loved this chair immediately when I saw it! The tall back, the narrow wings, and the nailhead trim all whispered my name. 😀 And it’s comfy! Although I’m short, and I’m always more comfy with a lumbar pillow. The only problems were that I really needed casters on the legs, and the nailhead trim was silver. So I added some casters, changed the color of the […]

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Well, y’all, I’ve been struggling with motivation lately, and I have no idea why. I think I had one good day the other day (that I’m pretty sure I mentioned in my last post) where I really felt motivated and got things done, but the next morning, my motivation had completely fizzled. I honestly don’t know why I’m having such a hard time. In all of my time blogging and working on projects, I’ve certainly gone through periods of time where I just needed a break. But this feels like something else. I feel like I’m at the point now that if I had the money to just hire out every single thing, I’d probably do it. I’d also probably be really disappointed in myself in hindsight, though. I didn’t want to buy a fixer upper so that I could hire out everything. I wanted to buy a fixer upper to challenge myself and see what I could do with it. So I’m hoping my motivation will return soon, because forcing myself to work on things that I feel completely unmotivated to do is torture. But that’s exactly what I did yesterday. I forced myself, and I made some really […]

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So, y’all, I’ve been doing some thinking. You know how sometimes, when you move into a new house, you have to just let a room sit there for a while to see how you’re naturally going to use it? Maybe you had originally intended for it to be a guest bedroom, but then you decided to start a business, so it turned into your home office. Or maybe you had intended for it to be a sitting room, but you found it more useful as a home gym. Well, that’s where I am with the carport. As the name would suggest, when we had it built last summer, I had intended for it to be the place where I park my car and truck. But do you know how many times that’s happened since we had it built last summer? Once. I parked my truck in the carport one time in the last year, and that was only because the bed of the truck was filled with plywood and a storm was coming. Yep, I parked the truck in the carport to protect the plywood. 😀 Our plan has always been to build a separate workshop — a separate building […]

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Bathroom countertop with Stone Coat Countertops resin tinted white

Oh, hey there, strangers! 😀 So last week kind of got away from me. It was just one of those weeks where I had so little motivation to do anything. But I did manage to make progress on one project — my resin countertop in the half bathroom. So I want to share with you my thoughts about the new resin product I tried (made specifically for countertops), plus my thoughts on resin countertops in general. So to recap, a while back I made a countertop for my half bathroom using two layers of MDF, which I primed, painted, and then coated with resin. If you missed that project, you can find it here… DIY MDF Bathroom Countertop For An Undermount Sink But when I made that countertop, I used a resin product called ArtResin. As the name would suggest, it’s formulated specifically to coat artwork, and not really intended for heavy use surfaces like countertops. But it’s all I had on hand, and so I decided to use the ArtResin as the first coat, and then order a resin that’s actually made for countertops for the second and final coat. So that’s what I finally got around to doing […]

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Y’all, I’m finally feeling motivated again! I went into the studio yesterday knowing I needed to just get busy and get stuff done. I dreaded it, and procrastinated, but finally picked up my tape measure, took measurements to trim out the cased opening between the studio and back entry, and just made myself do it. And you know what? The more I worked, the more I got into it, and the more excited I got about getting things finished! Sometimes you can’t wait until you “feel” like doing it. Sometimes the doing comes before the feeling. But anyway, Matt and I finally got our plans for the bedrooms and bathroom figured out, and as it turns out, just getting to the point where we can start on the bathroom is going to be a much bigger job than I had originally anticipated. And while we were deciding on those details, I also made a decision (base on some of your absolutely brilliant suggestions!!!) about how to turn the carport into my workshop. But first, here’s the plan for the bedrooms and bathroom. This is how the area currently looks… So here are the changes that we plan to make during […]

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Well, folks, the year is halfway over! I’ve really slacked off lately in getting things done. First, my day off for my birthday kind of turned into a week of being lazy. Then I started my 60-day keto challenge group and focused on that for a while, and then there was Independence Day and that excuse for a long weekend. And now here we are. The year is halfway over, and my progress on my “to do” list for 2019 is nowhere near where I had hoped it would be. The good news is that I’ve gotten quite a bit done on the studio and half bathroom so far this year. At the beginning of the year when I wrote my “to do” list, the studio looked like this… And now it looks like this… I just realized I don’t have any recent wide angle views showing the finished floor, painted walls, and wallpapered front wall. I’ll have to remedy that soon! But that’s quite a few items crossed off of the list. Electrical work is finished (other than installing four lights) The room is insulated and drywalled The flooring is installed The floor is sanded and whitewashed The window […]

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We are very pleased to report that we have secured our first project with Goldsmiths, University of London. The works, this summer, will consist of... Read more »

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It’s Q & A day! And I decided to answer your questions in a video. I’m a Chatty Cathy, so the video is pretty long. If you don’t have the patience or desire to sit through the whole thing, you can find the questions that I answered listed below the video, as well as the time marker in the video where I answer each question. Unfortunately, I accidentally skipped two questions, and then I had some late additions. So I’ve written the answers to those questions in the post below. Having trouble seeing that video? You can click here to watch it on YouTube. In the video above, I cover the following topics: 00:40 – When you were young and thinking about you would do as a career, what was it, and how did you arrive at what you do now? 03:30 – What did Matt do before he became handicapped, and does he have a career now? 06:55 – Updates on Cooper, Peeve, and Felicity Smoke. 10:17 – How do you like the new carport? 11:00 – What/where would you recommend doing/going in Texas? 10:40 – What is in Matt’s game room? 15:50 – What project have you done […]

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I said a few days ago that while I’m excited to get started building my studio cabinets, the two priorities for me were (1) building a desk, and (2) building my workroom table. The desk is done. And oh my gosh, I love it! It’s amazing how much more productive a person can be sitting at a proper desk as opposed to a piece of plywood sitting atop two saw horses. 😀 If you missed the very simple writing desk that I built, you can see how I built it here… How To Build A Simple Writing Desk And you can see how I finished the desktop and painted the base here… My Finished DIY Writing Desk But there is no question that the most important thing going into my studio is my large workroom table. And those of you who have (or have dreamed about having) a huge craft room/sewing room/art studio/drapery workroom know exactly what I’m talking about. I dream about workroom tables. For years now, every time I’ve wanted to sew draperies, I’ve either had to spread out the fabric on the floor, or I’ve set up a full 4′ x 8′ sheet of MDF on saw […]

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Yesterday I showed you how I built a large no-frills writing desk for my studio. I didn’t want any drawers or a fancy design. I just wanted a simple but attractive desk, and this is the design that I came up with… If you missed the post where I showed how I built this desk from a solid core door and a few pieces of lumber, you can find that here… Simple DIY Writing Desk – Part 1 So yesterday, I set out to finish the desk. I knew I wanted a stained top and a black base. The base was easy. I painted it with Behr paint in a solid black matte finish. (When I want black, I don’t use a paint swatch. I just go to the desk and ask for pure black.) Then I topcoated that with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in a flat finish. But the stained top wasn’t quite so easy. It was such a pain to get just right, but I will admit that the pain was self-inflicted. I made one mistake after another that made the whole staining portion of this project (which should have been simple) such a huge headache. But […]

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Simple DIY writing desk made from a solid core door

One of the main pieces of furniture I need in my is a desk to go in my “home office” portion of the room. I decided that I didn’t want anything fancy — no drawers, no frills, and no fancy or bulky design. I just wanted a simple but classic writing desk. And after searching online and finding nothing that fit the bill (especially since I wanted a desk on the larger side), I quickly realized that this was going to have to be a DIY writing desk that I build myself. So I came up with a very simple design, which is also very easy to build. It still needs to be painted (the base) and stained (the desktop), but I did get it built yesterday, so let me show you how it looks so far… And of course, that’s one of my breakfast room chairs. As soon as I find a desk chair for the studio, I’ll be returning this chair to the breakfast room. I had originally planned to purchase some metal legs to build a desk, but I finally came to the realization that if I use all wood, I could build an entire desk for […]

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Black pendant lights and wall sconce for the studio

To say that this has not been a very productive week would be an understatement. This has been a week filled with one frustration after another. I had high hopes that I’d get lots of work done on the studio, and while I’ve certainly tried, things have just not gone well at all. I started off thinking that I would tackle an easy project and install the pendant lights and wall sconce that I purchased for the front wall of the studio where the long desk and built-ins will go. Installing lights is a fairly simple task. Install the mounting plate, connect the wires, and connect the light to the mounting plate. Simple, quick and done! Except when you order your lights from a company you’re not familiar with (because you found them online and they’re super cheap), only to find out that it takes six to eight weeks to actually get the lights because they’re coming from China and evidently being transported via paddle boat (very frustrating in this Amazon Prime world we live in), and then try to install them only to realize that there are no instructions, there are no screws provided, and the mounting bracket is […]

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Matt and I have finally reached a compromise on the addition. If you’ll remember, Matt was ready at the beginning of the year to start on the addition. I wasn’t. And I’m still not. If you’re pretty new around here, let me explain. Right now, our house looks something like this… But we plan to eventually tear down the existing “master bathroom” (I use that term lightly) and sunroom, and add a family room, utility/laundry room, and master bedroom. Then the current master bedroom would be converted into a master bathroom. That would look something like this… And no, I still don’t know where the master bedroom closets would go. 🙂 But that’s not important right now. While Matt has been ready to get started on this addition, I’ve been dragging my feet. Why? Well, first of all, we’d have to take out a loan to get the addition done. Our plan has been to save up the money and then do the addition, paying for it all in cash. But it’s hard to save money when we keep spending it on other things. The garage-to-studio conversion, the carport, and the new front sidewalk were in the $65.000 range, plus […]

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painted chevron floor pattern with wood tannins bleeding through

A little over a week ago, I painted a black and white chevron design on the back entry floor. Before I painted that design, the floor had been wood filled, sanded and stained with one coat of white tinted wood stain. I didn’t do any other prep work before painting the floor because I thought it might be charming to see the wood grain through the white paint. At first, it looked great. If you missed the post about how I created and painted that design, you can see it here… Painted Black And White Chevron Floor Design I protected that painted design with one coat of clear polyurethane and was going to coat it three more times after I finished the whitewashing process on the rest of the floor so that it could all be clear coated at the same time. But a day or two later, I started noticing bleed through on the floor. A few of the floor boards evidently had an abundance of tannins in them, and the dark color started bleeding through the white painted areas. Unlike what I had envisioned, there was nothing charming about this. And as much as it shows it pictures, […]

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finished whitewashed red oak hardwood floors

My floors are done, and while whitewashing red oak hardwood floors is a huge job, I think it was very well worth the effort and hard work. My studio is so light and bright, and I don’t think it would look like that with dark stained floors. I finished the floors last night, so I couldn’t walk on them to take pictures until this morning. Unfortunately, the early morning sun was pouring through the front windows and making it impossible to take pictures without glares on my floor, so I’ll get better pictures later today. But for now, here’s how my whitewashed red oak floors look… I’ll have to admit that I was very unsure about this whole process. The whole thing was a guessing game for me — trial and error — and I was figuring it out as I went along. Fortunately, I didn’t have much error, and the whole project went pretty smoothly. And in the end, the results far exceeded my expectations. I could not be happier with my whitewashed red oak floors! I explained in a previous post how I did a custom stain mix for the floor, and how the whole staining process went. […]

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How I trim my windows and doors

I’ve had a few requests lately for a step-by-step demonstration of how I trim my windows and doors. I’ve shown this a couple of times before, but I looked back at those posts, and they were kind of confusing even for me. 😀 So I’ll attempt to make things as easy and clear as possible this time. I think you’ll be amazed at how easy these window casings (and door casings) are to create. The absolute best thing is that there are no miter cuts!! Everything is square cut, and yet you end up with something that looks custom and very substantial. I’m trimming windows that have never had trim installed on them before, so that means that I’m starting from the very beginning. If your windows are already trimmed, and you’re just wanting to install a different style, that means you probably already have jambs installed, so you can skip ahead a few steps. This is what my window looked like before I got started… If you’re starting with newly installed windows like I am, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure that the drywall is cut flush with the framing around the window, and also […]

The post How I Trim My Windows And Doors (Easy DIY Window & Door Casings With No Miter Cuts!)...

I had enough people ask me about purchasing the big, bold, watercolor floral wallpaper that I created for my studio that I went ahead and purchased the commercial license from the artist who originally painted the watercolor flowers so that I could offer the wallpaper to the public via Spoonflower. You can find the wallpaper here. When you click on that link, you’ll find several options. You can choose between water-activated or peel-and-stick wallpaper. I used the water-activated since it costs less, and I had no problems with it at all. I shared some installation tips here… Studio Wallpaper Is Up! (Plus, Tips For Installing Spoonflower Wallpaper) You can also choose to order a swatch, a standard roll (which is 12 feet long) or you can choose a custom length roll. The custom length is the option I chose for the studio wall, and unless you have 12-foot walls in your room, I highly suggest ordering custom length rolls. That way you have virtually zero waste. My wall was just under 8 feet high, so I chose to have 8-foot rolls printed. Each roll was printed identically, which made matching the pattern very easy. (Don’t forget about that 3/4-inch overlap!) […]

The post You Can Buy...

Bright and bold watercolor floral wallpaper from Spoonflower on main wall of studio - closeup

My plan for the weekend was to finish my floors. As of Friday, they still needed three more coats of polyurethane. Well, as of this morning, they still need three more coats of polyurethane. 😀 You see, my plans completely changed when I looked out the front door right before lunch on Saturday and spotted a package that looked like it could hold about eight rolls of wallpaper. I was so surprised, because FedEx tracking said it would be here today (Monday) by 9:00pm. But I tore that box open, and sure enough. There were eight rolls of gloriously bold, beautiful and colorful floral Spoonflower wallpaper inside. Needless to say, the floors got put on hold (the two coats of poly that were already on them were enough to protect them during this somewhat easy project), and right after lunch, I got busy installing wallpaper. But I couldn’t stop there, so yesterday, I installed the casing around the windows. I didn’t get it wood-filled, sanded, caulked or painted, but even in its unfinished form, I could see this wall start coming together. Here’s how it looks as of this morning… I said I wanted that wall to look like an […]

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whitewashed red oak hardwood floor

I had hoped to be able to show you my completely finished studio floor today, but I didn’t quite get everything done. BUT…I did get the entire whitewashing process finished, and I was way too excited about how things turned out to wait until Monday to show you. So to this point, I installed the floors (obviously 😀 ), rented the big drum sander and sanded the floor, stained the floor with a custom mix of whitewash stain, painted a black and white chevron design on the back entry floor, and added two coats of white-tinted polyurethane. I still need need to do three coats of clear polyurethane on the floor (four coats on the painted part, since I didn’t use the white-tinted poly on that part). But since those clear coats of poly shouldn’t affect the color at all, what I have now should be the finished color. So just a reminder, I started out with unfinished red oak hardwood flooring, which looked like this… Red oak, as the name would suggest, has some very obvious red and pink undertones, and I didn’t want my finished floor to be red/pink. So now, after the whitewashing process, the floor looks […]

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painted black and white chevron floor design - 15

Y’all know that for months now, I’ve been dreaming of having a black and white design on the floor in the back entry of my studio. Whether I used tile or hardwood flooring, I was determined to have a black and white design in place of a rug. (Rugs and floor cloths just aren’t wheelchair friendly, and this area needs to be easily accessible to Matt.) Well, I finally got my design painted, and just in time because my polyurethane for the floor should be arriving today! I went with a black and white painted chevron floor design, and here’s how it turned out… Please excuse my dusty walls and doors. 🙂 Those of you who are able to rent truly dust-free drum sanders for hardwood flooring where you live are very fortunate. I’ve only found one place in the Waco area that rents drum floor sanders, and let’s just say that they’re FAR from dust-free. I got the walls in the studio cleaned off, but clearly I overlooked this back entry. 😀 Now it’ll have to wait until the floors are polyurethaned, because I don’t want to stir up dust right before I polyurethane the floors. Anyway, back to […]

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Studio whitewashed red oak hardwood flooring

My whitewashed red oak floor isn’t finished yet, but we did get the most important (and definitely the most difficult) step finished yesterday — the actual whitewashing of the wood floor. So I wanted to show you how it turned out, and also share the whitewash stain formula that I ended up using. The floor still needs to be polyurethaned, and that will happen later this week. I ordered the polyurethane late, so it’s not scheduled to arrive until Wednesday. I’ll also be adding some white universal tint to the polyurethane to brighten and smooth out the finish a bit more, so the final floor should be a bit whiter and brighter than it is now. But this first step was a very good start towards cutting the red and pink undertones of the red oak floor, and giving the floor a nice, bright appearance. Before I show you the whitewashed floor, let me remind you just how red red oak flooring really is… Many of you suggested that I just seal the floor in its natural state, but red oak is way too red (pink, actually) in its natural state for my personal taste, and any clear sealer (yes, […]

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studio floors during sanding

Y’all, it’s been a hard, exhausting week. Let’s just say that when the week starts off with a sewage geyser inside your house, it doesn’t really set a good tone for the week. It took a couple of days for me to get things back to normal and recover from that catastrophe. If you missed that excitement, you can read about it here… So, I Had A Crappy Weekend (In The Most Literal Sense) Fortunately, there was no extensive damage. The floors and subfloor are fine, so that’s good news. I’ll be honest. After that happened, I kind of just wanted to check out for the week. Having something like that happen in a room that I’ve spent so much time and effort remodeling was so discouraging and demotivating. But Wednesday afternoon, I finally decided that it was stupid to let one really bad experience like that derail an entire week. I needed to find my motivation again. And rather than sitting around and waiting to feel motivated, I decided to put action first, and hope that the feeling of motivation would eventually follow. So I called the equipment rental place to reserve the drum sander and edge sander for […]

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Colorful small bathroom makeover with coral vanity, wood countertop, floral shower curtain, and white painted mosaic tile accent.

I know some of you are showing up here to day excited to see my newly sanded and whitewashed studio floor. If that’s the case, you will be disappointed, because I didn’t make any progress at all on the floor. For some reason, it didn’t even dawn on me to call early (Thursday or Friday) to reserve the drum sander and edge sander. I just woke up Saturday morning and called the rental place (the ONLY rental place in town that I’ve found that has drum sanders), and they said that they were all rented out for the weekend. Of course they were. So I found something else to work on all day Saturday. But this isn’t a post about that project. This is a post about the hellish 24 hours that began Saturday night as I was getting ready to go to bed. As I was heading to the bedroom, I made a pit stop in the hallway bathroom. My pretty, newly-redecorated hallway bathroom. And as I flushed the toilet, water started pouring out on the floor from around the base of the toilet. I grabbed a towel and mopped up the water, assuming that the wax ring had […]

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testing whitewash colors on red oak hardwood flooring - how to eliminate pink undertones - Varathane white stain

Well, y’all have spoken, and the overwhelming majority of you believe that I should whitewash my red oak hardwood flooring in the studio and adjoining areas (half bath, back entry and storage closet). For some reason, I expected it to be a closer race between the two options, but whitewash ran away with the vote. So last night before I went to bed, I tested out some whitewash options. I’ve been researching how to whitewash hardwood floors for a few weeks now, and let me tell you, the info you find online is all over the place. Some people say just used watered down paint. Others say don’t EVER use paint. Some people swear by Bona products, like their white stain, or their NordicSeal. But after reading reviews and seeing pictures, I wasn’t convinced that it was the answer. So I decided to try out some good ole Varathane water-based white stain, right off the shelf of Home Depot. To be clear, the can says it’s not recommended for floors. But things like that generally don’t stop me from trying. 🙂 I figure that the topcoat will be the most important part of this equation anyway, so as long as […]

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red oak hardwood flooring installation - finished

I finished installing the unfinished red oak hardwood flooring in the studio! Those last few rows that have to be nailed down with a regular nail gun are always so challenging for me, and I can never get them to look as good as the rest of the flooring where I use the mallet and the flooring nailer, but at least there’s hardwood flooring all the way to the wall. Thank goodness for wood filler. 😀 If all goes as planned, I’ll do the wood filler on the rest of the floor today so that it’s dry by tomorrow, when I plan to rent the big sander. I’m hoping the sanding will be a one-day job, but if not, I’ll finish it up on Saturday. And then Sunday, I can start the staining process. So naturally, this is the point where I start to question my decision. 😀 I mean, this is a big job — about 540 square feet of flooring. And while I know that I’m known as the person who doesn’t mind redoing projects if they don’t turn out just like I want them, and I’m generally okay with approaching things with that mindset, I really don’t […]

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studio red oak hardwood flooring installed

Y’all, I’m so excited about the progress that my brother and I made on the studio flooring yesterday! We got all of the flooring installed that could be nailed down with the flooring nailer. That left about four or five rows that will have to be nailed down with a regular nail gun, but after working for 8.5 hours, with me standing and bent over almost that whole time, there was no way I could get on the floor to nail those last rows down. If I had gotten down there, there’s no way I could have gotten back up. 😀 So those last few rows will have to be done today or tomorrow. But let’s focus on what we did get done — about 350 glorious square feet of hardwood flooring installed. We worked from noon to 8:30, but about an hour of that was wasted on a tool malfunction. My flooring nailer must have blown a gasket of some sort, because all of a sudden, air started leaking out of the head cap (i.e., the part that you strike with the mallet to shoot the nail), and I couldn’t get it to stop. I took it apart to […]

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Garage Doors

Environmental Restoration

Asphalt Paving

Elite Fence

Floor System