Posts Tagged ‘Built-in’

The 2nd floor is finally done!

To remember the good-ole days, here is the 2nd floor when we moved in;

A shot of the awkward half wall during demo;

Here’s a link to what we were aiming for.

We removed a wall, ripped up carpet, dry walled over the paneling, built a $90 built-in, removed the popcorn ceiling texture, switched the ceiling lights, painted, built a railing, covered the concrete in paper-bag flooring, re-installed the crown molding, changed the electrical boxes, and painted some more.

And here it is:

The view from the basement (prior owners’);

And Current;

Here is the cost breakdown for our 280 sq. foot room:

Drywall: $145

Primer: $40

Paint: $60

Paper Bag Flooring: $80

Built-in: $90

Railing: $25

New Ceiling Lights: $75

New electrical: $30

Total: $545 (ouch, how did it add up to that!?)

Covering this room in $2 a sq foot hardwood would cost more than that, so we’re satisfied enough.

Then there was the great furniture shuffle.

For the first time, my books are no longer double-stacked on garage shelves. It’s awesome! It went from two of these…

To legitimate shelves!

Now I have room for more books 🙂

One of my favorite things is how well the Pink Floyd Canvas turned out in the room.

I also love the new view into the basement (better than a wall of paneling!)

There is still work to do, but it will happen later. The windows, interior doors, and 4 of the exterior doors will be replaced after the PMI is dead. That will include the fogged slider door, the garage door, and the window in this room.

Your days are numbered, 70s brown door with no trim :}


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The rail and built in top are stained and installed. We sanded the surfaces down, rounded some corners, and put one coat of Minwax Early American stain on it.

Here is the lumber looking all patriotic. Michael followed the stain up with three coats of satin finish polyurethane. We’re 100% foam brush people when it comes to stain, btw.

We were then finally ready to assemble the railing and the built-in.

Here is the rail top in all it’s glory;

And the built-in, with it’s new top and a sample of drywall dust. It was attached to the bookshelves and the small half-walls to each side with pocket-screws.

We fit-tested the wood a few weeks ago, so we knew it was capable of fitting (with a tiny 1/16 inch clearance on each side). All we had to do was line the board up exactly parallel to the window wall (several feet out, where the wall cut-out is), and slide each side of the 12.5 foot long 2 by 12 into place; perfectly synchronized. However, since then we’ve installed 1/2″  trim in the way around the wall cut-out. Whoops. We wedged them in there eventually 🙂

Below is the (finally) assembled half-wall.

Here’s what that view looked like when the previous owners were here. I like ours better :}

I also put the second coat of the blue paint up. The pic below is the current room. Look how symmetrical the former tetris wall is ! It even has Ethernet and power ports. Fanciest $90 built-in I’ve seen 🙂

Now I need to get back to painting things white. The built-in shelves and most of the trim are still just primer. We’re getting there 🙂

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We picked out the stain color for our built-in top and rail. We wanted to use one of the several stains we already have.

In our box of stain stuff, we  also have a wood stain paint chip to keep up with what they all look like.

We’re going to use Early American this time, the same color as the coat rack upstairs (which I luurvve).

We also finished painting the air vents for the 2nd floor. They match fairly well after three coats. Painting them instead of installing new white ones is saving us $16.62. I’ll take it 🙂

Next up: sanding and staining the built-in top and rail.

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Time for another update! Last weekend the 2nd floor looked overpoweringly white, like so;

Michael patched the ceiling and door trim, and so I primed the door trim, the crown molding, and the built in. Then I primed them again. I’m still not done; I have to actually paint them all (twice).

During my white painting streak, I tried out Sherwin Williams’ “Brilliance” ceiling paint. Pretty bombastic name for a flat white latex paint. Two coats went up, and it turns out to be… pretty standard ceiling paint. It was only $20.57 after a 25% off coupon, so I would buy it again at that price. I’m so glad I’m done with that ceiling. I put 4 coats of white on that ceiling. I’m done. Stupid ceiling.

Then (finally) Michael was able to install our new lights, which I love.

The old ceiling lights were 2-bulb brass things:

We replaced them with the Maxim MX 2681 from lighting direct. They are both 3-bulb lights, and I got them for $38 each after a coupon. I couldn’t get a good picture of them, but Lighting Direct was able to…

After adding 6 bulbs and coat after coat of white paint, this room was blinding.

At this point, I should have painted the trim, built in, and railing lumber white twice (then I wouldn’t have to aim while painting trim, because mistakes would end up on wall primer). Should have. However, I was tired of painting things white over and over again, so instead I did this.

It took me about an hour and a half, and I was giddily happy the whole time. I probably asked Michael “Doesn’t it look Awesome!?” about 20 times. This paint is a huge color change from the white, so a second coat is 100% needed. I used 3/4 of a gallon so far.

You can see how much progress Michael made on the railing this weekend in this picture.

The wood top is going to be stained darker, close to a walnut.

The old air conditioning vents (the gaping holes near the ceiling) were brown, so we bought two bright white vents to replace them. Then I saw this photo on Pinterest.

I like how the vent blends into the wall color, it’s much less abrupt than a white box up there. So we’re going to attempt to paint the old (free) brown ones. First coat is done.

We’ll see how it goes. Now I get to paint the room blue again, and then back to white-on-white-on-white painting.

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The 2nd floor is continuing to get marginal improvements. I finished priming the walls, ceiling, and built-in Friday night. It took about 4 hours and 2 more gallons of primer….

And then I noticed the entire section that I missed. Whoops 😉 Luckily I hadn’t trashed the itty-bitty 4″ roller that I used on the built-in. It took a while, but it was better than using another roller cover.

Michael also installed the MDF trim around the new half-wall and the staircase. It will be painted white after we fill the nail holes, etc.

The room is quite colorless right now.

We started out with a Valspar latex drywall primer ($13.53), and switched to a 5 gallon Zinsser Bulls-Eye water-base primer ($12.51 per gallon). So far, I prefer the Zinsser. The Valspar technically had better coverage, but at the expense of using a lot of paint. The Zinsser was low-odor, but the Valspar smelled about like Elmer’s glue; nothing. We used about 3 gallons total for this room.

I used a traditional roller on a broomstick; not one of those (in my opinion) uselessly expensive specialty ceiling rollers. I didn’t have any splatters or drips with either primer. The built in has two coats of primer with a cabinet-grade foam brush, it will probably get one or two more coats of primer before I start with paint.

After priming, we can really tell how well we did with our first drywall mudding job… It varies. Some seams look perfect, and some look like whoever finished it had clearly never seen it done before 🙂 The scary portion of the ceiling in the basement looks textbook perfect.

We’ll paint the ceiling next, but we have some repair work on two seams and some patching on the ceiling before we can. Then the blue goes up on the walls.

Today Michael worked on the railing (the fun part). Soon we’ll be left with only lame projects, lol. Drywall repair won’t be nearly as interesting as installing the new lights, for instance…

Here’s the project so far…

  1. Demo! (Carpet, Popcorn, trim, the 1/2 wall)
  2. Frame 1/2 Wall!
  3. Drywall!
  4. Paint (25%)
  5. Install paper floor!
  6. Build a Built-in (50%)
  7. Finishing touches! (Replace brown power outlets, light fixtures, air registers, etc.)

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I’ve been working on the drywall mud. I am extremely slow; my attention span is about 2 hours and then I wander off and work on something else. That’s probably why the last of the seam tape finally went up today… and the built-in is nearly complete. Emma contributes when she can.

The first coat of mud is up everywhere except this area. This area frightens me.

We have got a lot done on the built in though! This was the area that we’re trying to cover up before. It’s a weird tetris-shaped half wall.

We took three of these bookshelves and cut them down to fit the space.

Behold mini-bookshelf.

We put file cabinet drawers in two of the lower shelves.Each drawer has three sections of files in it, but they’re only about 10 inches deep.

The top of the built-in is two 2 by 12s. We’re going to stain it a dark walnut color, and paint the shelves white.

Here’s the current room

The hard part is done, but we still need to permanently attach everything, paint the bottom, stain the top, and install the drawer handles.


Drawer hardware: $31

Lumber (4 extra shelves & table top): $59

Total: $90

It’s not really that bad for a 12.5 foot wide built in, but it was more than we expected.

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