Saturday, June 28, 2014

Some Serious Stripping... and Refinishing Our Wood Patio Set

I did a lot of stripping during the past three weekends- paint stripping that is!  Any other kind of stripping likely won't be my cup of tea :)  but the project I took on almost a month ago was to remove the paint from our old wood patio set so I could get down to the natural wood then sand it, stain it, and properly reseal it.
I thought it was going to be a one weekend type project (and you'd think I would know better by now) but they never are, or maybe our expectations are just way off all the time?  But it wasn't as simple of a project like I thought it'd be, but I'm so glad to finally get this one checked off the to-do list!

I wish I had better before photos of it, but here's a look at the problem we were dealing with because some idiot thought it was a good idea to paint our wood patio set.  Sadly, I admit that I am the idiot that painted them :(  Alex told me it was a bad idea and he was right.
It didn't take long for the chairs to look weathered, worn, and have the paint just plain chip off all over the place.  We used them that summer (2012) after I painted them and when we got them out last summer I thought they looked terrible so I repainted them, even had to touch them up mid-summer.  So this summer when we got them out of storage and saw the same thing I decided it was time to do the right thing and strip off all the paint so I could stain, seal and protect the wood look.

I kicked off my project using my trusty belt sander along with 50 grit sandpaper....  and that step alone took like six total hours of work over two weekends.  That is the main reason this not-so-little project took so dang long to finish.  That much belt sanding isn't fun at all but it is the easiest way to cleanly remove paint from wood and then the surface is ready to stain and seal.  I have to say though that I think it made my arms a little buffer!? :) 
Couple things to keep in mind if you use a belt sander on wood: 
1. Always go with the grain direction on the wood, if you go perpendicular to the grain your wood surface will be very rough.
2. Keep the sander moving, if you hold it too long in one spot you will dig deeper into the wood and your surface won't be level.
3. Keep the belt sander away from metal hardware, your sandpaper will likely rip off the belt if you run into screws/bolts.  Honestly, it happened a couple times to me on this project, just kind of startles you and then you have to stop and get another sandpaper belt.
4. Use gloves and protective eyewear!  If your sandpaper belt rips, it will likely hit your hand so always good to protect them and for eyewear, I know I don't have official goggles on but sunnies worked for me.  Stinks if you get wood dust in your eyes because it'll stick around and annoy you for a while!

Anyway, I did the best I could getting most of the paint off with the belt sander but in the spots where I couldn't use the belt sander I used Klean Strip Sprayable Stripper to remove the paint.  It worked pretty well, you just spray, let it sit for ten minutes, then scrape or wipe off.  
After all of that paint removal effort, I couldn't get into all the nooks and crannies of the table and chairs and sort of said f*** it.  The natural wood surface was showing for the most part and it already looked worlds better so I was happy with it.  Sometimes you have to just make a call on what you can and can't do in a project and trying to get in between all of those narrow wood pieces wasn't going to happen and I was cool with that.

Done with paint removal, finally time for a new step!  Before I could start staining the wood, I used Mineral Spirits to clean off all the wood dust and other debris from the wood.  After that, I used Minwax PolyShades One-Step Stain and Finish to stain and seal the wood.  It's pretty simple to apply using a paint brush going along the direction of the wood grain.
Click here for more info on Minwax PolyShades One-Step Stain and Finishes
Since Minwax PolyShades is intended for indoor use only, I also used Varathane Spar Urethane since our wood patio set is outside.  Alex asked why I didn't use wood deck type stain instead and I honestly just didn't think of it but that probably would work as well.  Either way I think spraying the Varathane weather and UV protectant whether you use indoor or outdoor stain.
Click here for more info on Varathane Spar Urethane Wood Protectant
After that dried, that was it!  I moved the set back up to our deck so we could sit and enjoy it once again.  I know it isn't 100% perfect but I am sooooo much happier with the look now and I won't have to constantly touch up the paint :)  Glad I got it done in time for another family visit this weekend and for the Fourth of July!
We have Alex's parents in town for a visit this weekend, I hope it doesn't rain so we can sit outside and use it!

One thing I know though, if it does rain all weekend I can imagine they'll be a glorious MOA (Mall of America) trip in our future :)  It is one of the Twin Cities finest tourist attractions after all.  Works for me because I need to make a stop across the street at Ikea for my next project (a new look in our sunroom!).  Hope you'll stop back next week for an update on that too!   Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tree Troubles

Alex and I got one project done over the weekend that we have been putting off for a while.  Well  maybe that isn't the right way to say it, I guess we had been in denial and it took us a while to accept the sad obvious truth in front of us- Our poor little post-tornado tree is dead and it's time to cut it down.
Alex and I happily planted this little tree after the 2011 tornado.  It felt really special to us because it was part of the rebuilding following the tornado and was sort of a sign of new beginnings.
See that excited hopeful smile?  Makes me sad seeing it now knowing our tree didn't make it, ugh!
I thought we'd get to watch it grow each year.  Might seem silly, but I am really bummed about it.

Once springtime arrived in Minnesota, I started watering it, watching it, and inspecting it.  Meanwhile, I watched all of the other little trees neighbors planted post tornado start to bloom, ours just sat there all sad and leafless :(  we aren't sure if the harsh winter did it, or if we didn't water it enough in the fall, or if we just planted it in a bad spot.  But it was pretty clear that our little tree wasn't coming back.
Alex had wanted to cut it down for almost a month now, but for a while I kept saying, "but what if it comes back?  Should we wait?"  He let me wait/accept that it was dead and finally cut it down yesterday.

We would like to plant another tree, so if you have suggestions on types (especially ones that will survive the crazy cold Minnesota winters) please let us know!  

We'll probably plant the tree in a different location in our yard, but any other helpful tree tips or ideas would be great!  I hope we have better luck with the next one, we'll see?

Aside from our tree troubles, I finished up our wood patio furniture this weekend too so I'll share that next!  So excited we can finally use it again, be sure to stop back to see it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Back to Blogging and Breaking Project Rule #1

Sorry I've been missing in (blog) action for a while.  Things have been busy for me at the office and we had family from Michigan AND California here for a visit last week.  Despite all that, I still couldn't stay away from a project or two (or three sort of?) when I had a moment to fit some work in.   Yes, sadly I broke the most important rule of all home projects- never take on more than one at a time.   I guess that's a bad thing that can happen when you try to attack smaller projects you've had in mind for a while... and then you find they aren't all that small :).   

Anyway, I guess you could say I had project ADD while I've been MIA - that is if you think my acronym use is clever :) -  Otherwise just roll your eyes at that part and I'll just get to the projects which include our sunroom, wood patio furniture, and sadly the tree we planted after the 2011 tornado..  
With all three in progress, I wasn't sure where or which to pick up on and start writing about but I'm sorting out the pics so I can get going on one soon! 

If one of those projects/topics sound more interesting than the others, let me know and I'll jump on that first! 

Hope everyone is having a nice week so far! 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Home Insider Look: Jon & Katie's 1924 Traditional Gets a Modern Mix Update

If you caught my sneak peek yesterday then you already know that I have a VERY special treat for you today!

My very stylish friend Katie and her husband Jon had a housewarming party over the weekend and I was blown away by their stunning home, so much so that I begged her to let me come back and take photos for the blog.  Their home is too gorgeous not to share, I even have some before and after action for you too (squeal of renovation delight!)   Let's get to it!
Jon and Katie decided on their home after realizing they had outgrown their smaller loft in downtown Minneapolis and knew it was time to say goodbye to the city and hello to a bigger space-  still nearby the city though (Alex & I relate to that for sure!). 

They moved into their lovely 1924 traditional colonial style home back in September and transformed the space to fit their style-  and I gotta say after seeing the before & afters, they made some BIG changes rather quickly!
Katie said their style used to be more modern but after moving into their 1924 traditional space they've shifted to a more eclectic look mixing old with new.  Now it's time to take a look!  So I'll stop yammering on and let you ogle all the pics, then be sure to check out the little Q&A with Katie about their house and projects, enjoy!

PS- Since we're in their kitchen, I have to mention Katie's Whole Lovely Life Instagram which features great healthy living recipes including vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, Paleo, dairy-free, grain-free, and I believe more healthy option recipe types!  Click the link to check out all the info, healthy never looked so tasty I tell ya!  If you dig it too, let her know in the comments!

Katie had the same old house small closet solution that I did- turn a small room into a closet!  
Couldn't resist throwing in a few pics of this cutie :) 

What would you say your home decor style is?
Katie: "It used to be more modern but now that I own an older home my style has shifted slightly more eclectic.  I loved the challenge of taking an older home and putting a bit of a modern swing on it while mixing in older pieces and accessories.  I like to mix high and low to a degree as well or do what I can to make a less special pieces seem more special either by altering them or in how I place or display them.  I also love to make things myself.  Especially art.  For me I want my art to either be created by me or someone I know.  We do have a few purchased pieces which all have a story behind them."

Do you and Jon agree when it comes to decorating? 
Katie: "YES!  Thankfully.  Decor is one thing we don't ever argue about.  He really let's me run with things and offers his ideas along the way.  The ghost chairs outside were his idea!"

What challenges did you run into when it came to decorating once you got into your home?  
Katie: "The biggest challenge for us was working around the spaces and all the windows.  In a loft you have much larger walls with less windows so can put things pretty much anywhere.  With this house we took lots of measurements and had to really plan thoughtfully for our large furniture purchases.  Once we had the pieces the fun part was decorating around them. Another challenge was knowing we wanted everything white with dark floors so we had to be patient while waiting three months just to paint!"

What challenges do you experience living in an older 1924 home?  
Katie: "There is always something to do or replace or a 'next' project.  We took the approach of working like crazy to for a few months to get it completed to where it is today but we still have a list of to-do's both big and small that we want to accomplish in the short and long term.  Also, yard maintenance!  Jon does pretty much does all of it and it's time consuming!  I really miss him when he is outside for hours on end :). You also have to be okay with your husband literally running to Home Depot nightly and sometimes two to three times on a weekend!  Jon is amazing at figuring out how to do things.  I am blown away by all the things he learned to do in such a short period of time.  Some of his projects saved us a ton of money so I will say if you are not adventurous and don't like taking a jump into a ton of different projects it could be challenging to budget everything in."

What advice would you give people when it comes to home decor/ home decor strategy?  
Katie: "I think it's important to find inspiration for your vision whether you look on blogs, Pinterest, retail stores etc.  When you have an idea it's important to find an image of what that may look like in a space especially for your large purchases.  It's also important to think about your budget and what you want to invest in.  Be okay mixing high and low.  There are great pieces that can be found on Craigslist, at Target and Ikea.  For example- the majority of our window panels are from Target and Ikea while the rods are from West Elm.  Also think about what items you have that are special.  So many people store their family heirlooms in their attic or basement.  I love mixing them in because not only are they special and probably have a story but they bring a uniqueness to your space that will be all your own."  

Thank you again Katie & Jon for sharing a look at your wonderful home!

I know I loved everything but the couple things that stood out to me the most were all the unique light fixtures and their artwork collection- and Katie made a lot of it!  Crazy awesome right?!?  And how fantastic does their wood look with the dark/almost black stain?  Love the fresh take for a black and white look!

Who's feeling inspired to decorate/redecorate now?
What was your favorite part of their home?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Katie & Jon's Home Sneak Peek!

I've got a really, REALLY exciting post in the works and just had to share a sneak peek!

Be sure to swing by tomorrow for a look at my friend Katie and her hubby Jon's totally chic home- and some before and afters!  If you love old home redo action and/or high style decor ideas, you have to see all the pics!

***  Are you intrigued?!  I hope so!   ***

Many more pics to share, see you tomorrow!