On April 15, 2008 we closed on a 1955 Mid-Century Modern home in Merriam, KS that was custom designed by the late Donald R. Hollis of Hollis + Miller Architects. We will be sharing our journey as we update the house to make it our own, while trying to stay as close to the original design as possible.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grout, Pecky Cypress, and Sunroom

Kitchen Backsplash
We had a pretty productive week and weekend. The kitchen backsplash has grout and caulk; all we have to do now is seal the grout.

LD finished the paint touch-ups around the cabinets and caulked the window in our dining nook. She now needs to paint the trim around the windows. She wanted to install the Ikea lighting beneath the cabinets, but unfortunately we purchased the wrong electrical cords. I guess those will have to wait until our next trip to Ikea, or we might order them online.

Pecky Cypress in Family Room
We sanded the pecky cypress wall in the winter, but did not apply a topcoat because we could not decide what product to finish it off with. After much deliberation, we decided on MinWax urethane. It was definitely not my preferred choice because of the VOCs, but in the end the UV protection and resistance to moisture placed it on top. I managed to brush two coats this weekend and considering a third.

The wall came out looking more rustic than I expected. The funny thing was that I was just telling LD that I would love to have an organic element in that room. However, I was thinking more along the lines of a "rustic" piece of furniture, but I guess the house had other plans. Because the wall is so "rustic", we might have to select furniture that is more modern to balance things out.

I'm glad we were able to put the topcoat on the pecky cypress because it gave us a chance to evaluate the two built-in cabinets in the space. For the built-in next to the fireplace we are considering white lacquer for the base and a dark stain for the top. It will be a bit challenging because the wall appears "red" or "rust" colored. We are not sure what to do with the built-in cabinets nearest the kitchen. I think we will wait for the house to "speak" to us again. However,
we are totally open to ideas.

I finally tore out the last of the nasty 40+ year old carpet in the sunroom. We are still inconclusive about the type of floor to put in the room. LD really likes the idea of green slate, but I am really concerned about the weight because the sunroom is only supported by two steel posts. She thinks it will be just fine because the previous owner had a pool table in there.

Today we went to scope out some flooring options. We looked at the SnapStone tile and the new Konecto. But what really seemed to be the winner (for now) are the Shaw carpet tiles. We really liked the Haven pattern in the urchin color, and the Reed pattern in the mangrove color.

We love the fact that the Shaw carpet tiles are eco-friendly, low VOC, EcoWorx tile. We get the samples next week, so we will see how it works in the room.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kitchen Backsplash-Urban Camouflage



LD dreaded installing the kitchen backsplash because she was terrified that it would not come out looking perfect. I tried convincing her otherwise, but deep inside, I too was a little scared. I wanted to procrastinate by trying to lure LD away from the house with a trip to the movies (which usually works, but didn't this time). Instead she asked me to pickup some last minute supplies at Home Depot. When I returned, she had already masked the countertops, and set up the wet saw in the patio. So we dove right in. By 5pm we had installed the first row of tile, and decided to let it dry overnight before installing the second row.

This morning we got up, and started working on the tile right away. We got the second tile row installed, and took a break for breakfast. The whole morning was frustrating because the windows and cabinets were not level, so cutting the glass pieces was already proving to be difficult. LD was going to have to cut over 100 pieces of tile, so we decided to take a break and watch an early morning movie. When we came back, we tackled the top row which involved cutting over 110 tiles in half (these tile pieces are less than 1 inch squared)! She ended up cutting 128 pieces of tiny glass tile.

To finish out the weekend, I installed the light fixture over the refrigerator, and LD completed the interior cabinet work under the sink.

All we have left to do in the kitchen are:
1) install grout, and
2) paint touch-ups.

Hopefully we can get to those tasks during the week.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kitchen Cabinets Are Done!



We were supposed to be done with the cabinets over the 4th of July weekend, but when we started hanging the doors we realized that reusing the original hinges were not going to work. They were too loose and worn out, as a result, the doors would come out very crooked. So I went online, and found some hinges that were similar. They were shipped pretty quickly, but unfortunately they shipped us 19 left hinges and 11 right hinges. I called the company and explained the situation. They then agreed to send us four new pairs overnight.



Well, they were similar hinges, but not exactly the same. We had to drill new holes on the doors and make a million adjustments! LD did the adjustment work, and hated every second of it!! It was absolutely tedious and not for the faint of heart. But we finally got the last pair of doors hung yesterday after lunch. Most of the doors are not perfectly aligned, but I did not expect perfection from cabinets that were neglected and over 50 years old.

Old Hinges

New Hinges

It was nice enjoying a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper at our breakfast bar this Sunday! We spent the rest of Sunday afternoon installing all the door pulls and magnetic catches. Unfortunately, we had to stop because we ran out of magnets. So I will have to go out and purchase more, but as far as I am concerned we are pretty much done.



Breakfast Bar

Our next steps are to:
1) tackle the backsplash,
2) replace the light fixture over the refrigerator,
3) install some cabinet lights,
4) paint the window trim around the dining table, and
5) finish the paint touch-ups this coming weekend.