Archive for August, 2011
Handles, apples. It’s all the same. Right Matt Damon? What? You don’t think Matt Damon reads this blog? Of course he doesn’t. Anyway, I’m back to share the hardware makeover play-by-play and a ton of pics that we couldn’t squeeze into our door-painting post on Wednesday. So fasten your seat belts. Oh yeah, it’s gonna get crazy.
First I have a secret. The hardware on our sliding doors in the living room looked like this:
Le yikes, right? It’s all sorts of bad with the swoopy handle and the Donald Trump-ish gold finish. Sidenote: remember when I had a dream about The Donald? Memories.
If you look a little closer it’s not even shiny and new looking gold, it’s all rusted and neglected…
So as you can probably tell from the photo above (duh) down they came. We stripped the hardware off of both of the sliding doors in about five minutes (I took one side while John got the other one) by just unscrewing things on the front, back, and side to free them with a regular old philips head screwdriver…
… and then we removed the doorknob and the rusty old door knocker on the front door (also with a screwdriver – there were exposed screws that we just removed from the back).
You can check out our door-painting post for more details on that stuff (like how we sanded the paint around the hardware that we removed so it was nice and smooth before painting).
But back to our pile o’ removed hardware. Here we have the sliding door hardware along with the doorknob, deadbolt, and the door knocker from the front door:
It was like a Gold Hardware “Where Are They Now?” Special on VH1. Some folks weren’t as crusty as others, but they were all well past their prime.
So after some decent amount of online research and chatting up the paint pros at Lowe’s (there’s a woman at the one near us who is phenomenally knowledgeable) we learned that the most recommended method for refinishing hardware (to gain the most durability and long-lasting finish) was:
- Sand as much of the hardware as you can with high grit (200+) sandpaper to rough it up
- Use a liquid deglosser (like Next, which is low-VOC and biodegradable) to degloss everything to get oils and sanded particles off of the hardware before spraying
- Apply one thin and even coat of high quality spray primer meant for metal (we grabbed Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Coverage Primer in gray since we figured it would blend more than white)
- Apply two to three thin and even coats of high quality spray paint meant for metal in your color of choice (of course, our poison was: Rustoleum Universal Metallic All-Surface Spray Paint in Oil-Rubbed Bronze)
So I grabbed my high grit sandpaper and started on the first step: sanding.
Ahhhhhhhhh. Baaaad idea. The sandpaper left tons of obvious scratches in the gold finish that I knew wouldn’t completely be covered by thin coats of primer and spray paint. I should have taken a picture of the one side of the doorknob that I thought I ruined with the dumb sanding step but I was too busy freaking out. So naturally I made some sort of sound that resembled a walrus screaming and chucked the sandpaper as far away as possible while cradling/apologizing to my doorknob and promising him that I’d never hurt him like that again. Luckily I realized the knob would be installed with that part underneath, so only Clara-height children may be able to see the slightly roughed up texture on the underside. Whew.
Update: A few smarter-than-me commenters recommended trying steel wool or super high grit automotive sandpaper to rough up the surface, so I plan to try that next time. Just tossing that out there for anyone who might be doing this (who may want extra “insurance” that the spray will hold).
So it was out the window with step one, and on to step two: deglossing. I just used some rubber gloves and a rag to apply Next Liquid Deglosser (which is low-VOC and biodegradable) and then let everything dry a little so it wasn’t soaking wet before moving onto step three: applying one thin coat of spray primer. But when I went to grab the primer I noticed something intriguing on the ORB can next to it. It said “paint & primer in one” right on the label. Duh. No need to beat a dead horse.
So I trusted my beloved ORB spray primer + paint to lead the way and just applied three thin and even coats to all of my hardware (that I strategically placed on cardboard so I could access all of the exposed parts by piercing the long metal interior hardware rods through the cardboard so they stood up). I will now repeat that thin and even is the key when it comes to spray paint. If you apply thin & even coats they won’t be globby and thick, and they’ll bond/cure very strongly, which will greatly reduce any issues with things flaking, scratching, or peeling down the line.
Oh and see that key? That’s a secret.
I decided I didn’t want to muck up the inside of my lock with spray paint, so I used a spare house key to block the spray from getting into the lock (while allowing me to access the rest of the knob). I didn’t push the key all the way in for fear that the top of the key would block some of the outside of the doorknob, so I just stuck it halfway in so it would block the interior part without inhibiting access to the metal facade around it. Then I just removed it and used it on the deadbolt’s keyhole when I sprayed that.
Oh and another spraying tip would be to put all of your screws into the hardware and pierce them through the cardboard so the ends of them get sprayed to match (like the two that you see below). Also, be sure to move things like latches back and forth between coats to make sure you can access all areas of the hardware with spray paint. Like this…
… and this:
About an hour later (I probably waited 20 minutes between each of my three thin and even coats, just to be sure it was nice and cured before piling more on) I was left with these beauties:
Who sees a winking face? Just me?
I probably waited six full hours after my last coat of spray paint before reinstalling anything. Just to give them a lot of time to fully cure and ensure that I wouldn’t scratch or ding something while putting them back on the doors. I can’t speak to the long-term durability of this process since it has only been… oh, about 48 hours. But I can tell you that reinstalling them went really smoothly and everything works just as well as it used to and nothing was even remotely marred or dinged during installation or in the past two days since.
So I guess we’ll check back in with an update about how they hold up over the long haul (these doors are used every single day thanks to a dog who loves going in and out). But so far, so good. And it definitely beats buying all new hardware (we figured we didn’t have anything to lose in trying to make the old stuff work before resorting to trashing it and splurging for all new hardware).
Oh and it bares noting that things look pretty black in some of these pics, but it’s just because ORB is a mystical creature. So it’s hard to capture the true color that you see in real life (which is a rich metallic-y chocolate). Actually, the exterior sprayed shots above show the true color really well. It still looks like that inside, it’s just seemingly impossible to get it on film.
Perhaps the most exciting thing is that in taking this style quiz, the thing that I loved most about the room they said was “my style” was the white door with the dark hardware. And now it’s mine. All mine. Mwahahaha. (<– yup, I broke out my maniacal laugh)
I think it looks delish with the oil-rubbed bronze curtain rods and the dark beams. And John digs it too (delish just isn’t an adjective he’s apt to use).
Me-ow old sliding door friend. My how you’ve matured. Well, as much as a twisty twirly old 80′s knob can really mature.
And you’ve already seen our freshly sprayed front door hardware, but let’s just revisit it for a moment:
So yeah. We’re happy with our little almost-foiled-by-the-sandpaper process. Although I must admit that after I sprayed the underside of the knob, the scratches were hardly noticeable. So maybe if you’re a staunch rule follower (and not a freaked out walrus impersonator like me) you could get away with the sanding step. Either way, I have high hopes that the deglosser and included-primer will do their job when it comes to adhesion (especially since our old scratched and rusted fixtures weren’t too glossy or shiny to begin with).
As for the ORB finish: Hi my name is Sherry, and I’m addicted to oil-rubbed bronze. They say you can’t help who you love. But it could be worse. I could be addicted to sanding things, which would have been a cruel joke since sandpaper was the kryptonite of this project. I wonder why. Has anyone else successfully sanded their metal hardware before spraying it? Was it not all scratched up? Maybe it just looked “brushed” in the end? I just didn’t trust myself to do it all in one consistent direction (aka: not make a hot mess that was oh so obvious after the spray-job). So in summary, my method was just to: use a liquid deglosser (although I’ll also try steel wool or extra high grit sandpaper next time), lay everything out on cardboard standing up so it could be sprayed evenly from all angles, use a half-inserted key to block any keyholes, spray everything thinly and evenly in 3 coats applied every 20 mins or so, be sure to move toggles and locks so all parts of the hardware were sprayed, and let it cure for about 6 hours before rehanging it.
Oh and the total cost of this project was $6 for the spray paint (I was able to return the unopened can of primer and I already had the deglosser and that dastardly sandpaper on hand). But for someone who needs to purchase deglosser, you might want to budget four more dollars for that. Considering a new knob, deadbolt, knocker, and two locks and four handles for our sliding doors would probably come to about $200, I think we got one heckova deal. So I’ll let you know how they hold up. If they’re anything like our ORBed sofa legs (which we sprayed five months ago, and they still look mint) we’ll have bona fide jazz hands going on. So it’s probably only a matter of time before I really go nuts and remove every last interior brass door and hinge and go to town. Like I said, my name is Sherry, and I’m addicted to oil-rubbed bronze. Holla.
UPDATE: Our handles are still holding steady. Check out the update post here.
Two things first:
- We updated yesterday’s door-painting post with further-away exterior shots for everyone who requested those (and also updated our header- woot).
- Sherry knows she owes you a door hardware post (she’s editing pics and writing it up for tomorrow) but just to keep you dizzy, now we’ll dive into some office stuff. Told you we were all over the place these days!
Hot on the heels of our recent nursery furniture shuffle, we decided it was high time that we got shifty with our nothing-has-changed-in-eight-months office sitch (functional or comfortable aren’t words we’d use to describe that space thus far). Actually, adding a file cabinet was the first step (other than that it’s just been our old stuffed plopped down in a new, larger space). We went from a 10′ x 10.5′ office/guest room/playroom in the old house to a 13′ x 10.5′ in this one, but with windows and doorways in new places it’s not making everything come together naturally – or even remotely efficiently. So allow me to bust out some graph paper to illustrate the situation…
As you can see, we’ve got two doorways (a small one to the kitchen, a larger one to the dining room) and two windows (one looking into the carport, the other out to the front yard). It basically leaves us with only two functional walls and a couple of corners, which is why we’ve so far been living with this layout:
I’ll wait while you marvel at my paper cutting / marker drawing skills. While you do, here’s what the room looks like in real life. First, the view from the dining room:
It’s funny to think that this desk that once spanned almost an entire wall in our old office looks so dwarfed in this new room. But since it was the longest piece of office furniture we had, it made sense to plop it on the longest wall to begin with. Plus, it was nice to have a window to look out while we work (even if it only looked into the car port). We actually tried a few other rushed arrangements on move-in day and liked this best (which isn’t saying much). So it stuck for the last eight months.
Now here’s the view from the kitchen with the green sleeper sofa (technically loveseat) as centered on the window as possible without crowding Sherry’s chair.
And as for the one corner you can’t see (with the Effektiv file cabinet), here’s the best shot I could get before Clara and Burger came storming back in to re-mess the space (that ottoman’s full of toys and for some reason Clara doesn’t enjoy having them put away as much as we do).
But Clara wasn’t the only one about the mess things up, because we had some furniture-rearranging plans up our sleeves.
Sherry and I have had this itch to see if thing would work better with the sofa and desk swapped (we initially tried it when we moved in but it was before we got our secondhand desk chairs or turned the formal living room into a dining room) so we rolled up the rug and slid the pieces into their new homes. Our logic behind the switch was: 1) it’d be nice to upgrade our window view from the carport (which will eventually be an enclosed garage- albeit one with lots of windows to let in maximum light) to front yard greenery…
…and 2) since the sofa matches in the blue/green color scheme of the dining room, we thought maybe it would tie the rooms together better than our desk (while looking more living room-y and less office-y through the big dining room doorway).
But sadly, we knew almost immediately that this layout wasn’t gonna work. I noticed very quickly that getting into my chair (I’m the seat on the left) was very difficult. Not only because it’s a bit cramped (hello sofa arm!) but also because the chair doesn’t
easily slide slide at all over the rug. So scooting my chair out was more frustrating than cutting Burger’s nails (which is definitely up there on the frustration scale).
One option would be to shift the couch and rug, but then things would start to get weirdly off center. Plus, none of that would solve having an AC vent right at our feet with the new placement of the desk (you can see a sliver of it above), which made us want to wear wool socks in the summertime. My toes are cold just thinking about it.
But it’s not the end of world, since we’re not married to this furniture 100%. In fact, we’ve been dreaming about upgrading our desk for a while now. Allow me to return to my graph paper to explain. Let’s start by looking at our current not-working furniture arrangement one last time:
We’ve always thought it’d be cool to create a “built-in” desk using materials like base kitchen cabinets and a wall to wall countertop. It’d give us a lot more surface area, plus it would add a ton of drawer and cabinet storage underneath. Sure it might seem like a major undertaking to some, but since we both work from home 24/7 we’d really love to make this room, well, work hard. And when aren’t built-ins a good idea? So we knew this desk-under-the-front-window shuffle would just be a test before we invested in (or built) something customized for the space, like this:
But of course we now know that would just exacerbate the sofa-cramping situation, cause issues with the whole rug/chair conflict, and most of all freeze the heck out of us every time the vent kicked on (and possibly roast us in the winter when it was heat). We know we could shift the sofa and rug a little to remedy the first two issues, but we think the room will just start to feel off balance with them shoved in a corner, like so…
… and it still doesn’t solve the whole vent issue (which we wouldn’t want to close or partially block since it’s one of the only ones in the room besides the one near the file cabinet).
So thanks to our little furniture shuffling experiment, we’re 100% sold on adding our built-in desk to the original long wall (which would look pretty sweet through the large doorway in the dining room). That way we’d also get an even longer workspace (we already dream of having space to spread out and as much storage along the bottom as we can). The slight bummer news is that we’re back to the carport view with the desk there. But you win some, you lose some. More storage/work space + no extreme temperature issues due to practically sitting on the vent trumps the view we hardly take time to enjoy since we’re nerdy bloggers with eyes that are glued to our laptops (or our baby) anyway.
As you can see it doesn’t totally solve the sofa situation, though. Which got us thinking that the sofa may need to find a new home, since he honestly doesn’t seem to fit perfectly, and maybe a smaller armchair + ottoman is a better fit. Like so:
After all, the priorities for this office are just (1) workspace for us and (2) play space for Clara. Noticeably missing from that list is (3) sleep space for guests, which was the whole motivation for fitting a sleeper sofa into our last office (which also had to function as guestroom – which definitely cramped our style when we were both working from home full time). But now that we have a dedicated guest room, we can relax a little on the must-sleep-guests aspect of the old office. Whew.
So next on our agenda is to start scoping out built-in solutions. We’d love to find something to retrofit at, say, the Habitat ReStore or on craigslist so we can avoid the cost of true custom built-ins and give some old kitchen or office cabinets a second life. So that’s all TBD for now. But hopefully not for long, since we’ve left the current office furniture where it was so we’ve got chilly toes and a janked up rug to keep us motivated to get ‘er going (for fear that if we put things back the other way they’d stay there another eight months).
Why are the rooms we spend the most time in always the last ones we figure out?
What’s your home office situation like? Do you work from home 24/7 or just do a little internet trolling during evenings/weekends? Are there any desk or built-in solutions that you love and would recommend? Or are you also dealing with something sub-par that you can’t wait to remedy? Any other freezing toe issues out there? Not fun.
Psst- We were having slow loading/site crashing issues from 10-11am for the third morning in a row. And it’s kind of a Groundhog Day-esque nightmare that we keep thinking we’ve solved (and then it happens again). We’re still working on it (pretty much constantly for the past 72 hours). So sorry for the trouble!
We’re back as promised with the whole front door shebang. First, here’s what we started with:
Yup, it was an old maroon storm door with three issues: 1) the grids didn’t match up with the six paneled door behind it, 2) it was always jamming, and 3) it didn’t latch closed very well, so it would bang open in a storm.
It was nothing but a nuisance to us, so we opted to go storm-doorless (just like we chose to do in our first house) since we didn’t use it once in eight whole months (we have a screen/storm door on the side of the house that we occasionally use along with screen doors in the living room and sunroom that we use a lot more often). It’s definitely not a choice that everyone would make, but we’re psyched to go storm-door-less so we can appreciate our awesome six-paneled solid wood door that was hiding behind it:
So off came all the hardware that held our slammy-jammy storm door in place. Then all we needed to do was spackle those holes and use some exterior paint to touch up the trim (thank goodness the previous owners left that in the basement for us).
Oh but before we did any spackling we got to the fun part: picking the paint color. We held up a ton of options in all colors of the rainbow (plum, turquoise, navy, lime green, and beyond), but kept coming back to a happy yellow color. Here are the final four contenders (they look pretty similar in this pic but they varied slightly by how much white or orange they had in them). After looking at them in all types of light (morning sun, afternoon shade, artificial porch light at night, etc) we ended up choosing the top one: Full Sun EB1-1 by Valspar’s Eddie Bauer Home collection.
But removing the screen door and spackling & painting the trim wasn’t the only prep task we took on. We also decided that our awesome original door knocker (which was rusting and peeling) could use some love.
So we carefully removed it with the hope of bringing it back to its former glory and reinstalling it on our bright yellow door when we were finished painting.
Then we sanded the paint around those areas, just to get everything nice and smooth.
We also opted to remove the rusting brass plate on the bottom of the door and spackle and sand those holes. We didn’t have one in our first house and prefer the uninterrupted look of one big boldly colored wood door (but it’s definitely another one of those personal preference things like nixing a storm door). Oh and we also took off our door handle and lock too – since we had hopes of sprucing them up while they were removed like the door knocker.
And now for a shot of sunshine in a can:
We mentioned that we chose Full Sun EB1-1 by Valspar’s Eddie Bauer Home collection as “the one.” So we talked to the paint pro at Lowe’s about what exterior primer + paint she would recommend (sadly none of which are no-VOC yet). She recommended Valspar’s Duramax since it has a built-in primer and is formulated to be extra durable since it’s exposed to the elements outside. So we had her color match our Full Sun paint chip to the Valspar Duramax stuff and grabbed a quart of it in semi-gloss finish for around $15.
Oh but before we applied a single coat we used a liquid deglosser (Next Liquid Deglosser by Crown since it’s non-flammable, biodegradable, and low-VOC) to remove any oil, grease, or other paint-adhesion-saboteurs (I’ve never typed that word, and I have to admit I liked it). Basically it’s a shortcut when you don’t feel like sanding something you’re about to paint (albeit not as thorough, but usually good enough to get ‘er done). You do definitely want to sand any areas that aren’t smooth before deglossing though (like the nail holes from the brass plate and other places we removed hardware or spackled) since liquid deglossers don’t smooth things, they just remove residue that might mess with paint adhesion.
Then it was time for coat one of our yellow primer + paint, applied with a small foam roller (to cut down on brush strokes) and a 2″ angled brush (to get into the frames of the six paneled door). Of course one coat didn’t do the trick, but for yellow paint going over deep maroon it was actually a pretty impressive showing for just one thin coat:
And four thin and even coats later (yes, there I go with the “thin and even” thing again), honey was looking miiiighty fine:
As in, I couldn’t stop staring at her and smiling. So glad we chose such a happy color to wake up our drab brick and cream wood-sidinged exterior. And it looks just as cute from the inside as it does from the outside:
Mmm, glossy yellowy goodness. It came out really smoothly, partially I think due to using good exterior paint, and partially due to those thin and even coats that were carefully applied with a small foam roller and high quality 2″ angled brush. Not globbing it on (and waiting for each coat to dry before moving onto the next paper thin one) is the key to no visible brush strokes when things dry.
Oh yeah, and you might notice the hardware is all sorts of spruced up. We’ll be back with a dedicated hardware-upgrade post full of photos and instructions when it comes to that part of the process (there are too many pics and not enough time to squeeze that in here).
In the meantime, here’s the door from outside (I couldn’t completely close it for pics because it was still drying – but if you paint something in the morning, by evening it should be all cured up and ready to close).
Isn’t our porch happier without the old broken maroon screen door + dark hidden front door combo?
Shucks, it just makes me giddy. And John
loves it too. Oh happy day.
So there it is. A front door makeover that involved:
- checking out swatches taped on the door at all times of day (to ensure nothing would change from something we love in morning sunlight to something we hate in evening porch light)
- removing the screen door and spackling/sanding/painting those holes left in the door surround
- removing the hardware and sanding those areas to smooth them before painting
- permanently removing a rusted brass plate at the bottom of the door and spackling/sanding those holes
- thoroughly deglossing the entire door
- refurbishing the hardware (we’ll be back with all those details for ya soon)
- applying four thin and even coats of exterior primer + paint in semi-gloss for a nice shiny finish
- reattaching the hardware when the paint was dry enough (but not completely closing the door until evening, so it can fully cure)
Woot. Love it. As for the budget breakdown, whoop, here it is: one quart of Valspar Duramax paint in semi-gloss from Lowe’s: $15. Das it. Oh and if someone didn’t have spackle and a deglosser on hand those might be around $4 each on top of the cost of a quart of paint. We still have tons of paint leftover bee tee dubs, so a quart for a front door should definitely do it – even if you’re painting both sides of it (we left the back of ours white like our interior doors).
Have any of you recently painted your front door? Any plans to if you haven’t? Is it crazy that this is the fourth time I’ve painted a door in five years (and the second time I’ve gone with a happy yellow color)? It’s just so dang cheerful. Here’s hoping it spurs us on when it comes to about a million other exterior upgrades that we want slash need to tackle (including the possibility of painting the cream siding around the door, and even trying something with the brick exterior down the line). I guess time will tell where we’ll end up with that stuff. But you know we’ll keep you posted…
Update: There were a bunch of requests for some wider shots from the curb, so here they are. Remember that nearly everything else in the pics besides the yellow door might be on our change-that list down the line (so it’s all a work in progress)…
… especially the big barricade o’ bushes that makes the door nearly invisible from certain angles…
Wouldn’t the power to move bushes with the point of a finger be an awesome superpower? Methinks I’d pick that over flying and reading minds.