Home Improvement

Open For Business

Let’s see… when we last left off on Monday, our open shelves had been primed in preparation for their big hanging debut.

While we had the primer out we went ahead and slapped a coat on the hood cover too (using a 2″ angled brush in the cracks followed by a small foam roller to smooth everything out). Things were instantly looking less wood-sy on that wall.

Once the primer dried on both – we used Zinsser Smart Prime which is low-VOC and was recommended by a few pro cabinet painters that we know – out came the same high-durability paint that we used on our cabinets (yes, there’s still plenty left!) and we gave the brackets, shelves, and the hood a couple of coats. Two thin and even ones over one coat of primer did the trick. We also applied those with a 2″ angled brush followed by a small foam roller to keep things smooth and even. Oh and the paint is Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Cloud Cover, bee-tee-dubs (which many pros use to paint the inside of their clients’ cabinets along with the outside, so it should stand up really well to everyday use once it’s nice an cured up).

But the exciting stuff really started to happen when we finally got to the point of ACTUALLY PUTTING STUFF ON THE WALL. Yowza. Sorry for the caps. I said we were excited, right? Excited might be an understatement actually. Luckily, since we had already drilled all of our screws into the wall, the hanging step was pretty easy. Up went the brackets on the short side…

…followed moments later by the shelves themselves. Can I get an “Ooooh”? How about and “Ahhhhh”?

Don’t worry, we weren’t gonna just let them sit there unsecured. We just had some other things to do first – like making sure everything was still level. It was. Phew.

So then we put everything up on the long side of the wall.

We had mentioned in the previous post that we had originally planned to screw the shelves into the wall (we even made some pocket holes in preparation for this step). Well, after feeling how solid the brackets felt (more on that here) and not really wanting to put 12 more cringe-inducing holes in our tile – we opted to just use those pocket holes as a spot to screw the shelves firmly into the brackets (so the screw actually went straight down, not at the angle of the pocket hole). In hindsight, we definitely could’ve skipped the pocket hole step, but at least now the screw will be hidden in a spot that we can easily caulk over.

Speaking of caulk, that was our next step after everything was drilled together. Since there were some dark seams where the shelves met the brackets, we just ran a thin bead of white paintable caulk along the top of each bracket and smoothed it with our finger to make the shelves and brackets look more like one unit. Tedious? A smidge. Worth it? Totally. Then of course we painted over it so everything matched.

And with that folks, we were done! Except for more waiting. Booooo.

As eager as we are to immediately fill them with plates and bowls and cups, we resisted that urge in order to let all of the paint cure a little bit longer – just because we caulked those screw holes and around the edges which called for some touch up paint. We definitely don’t want to jump the “fully cured” gun (which could result in a bunch of dents and dings in our shelves during their first few days of use). So for now we’ll just have to enjoy these empty “after” shots thanks to following the full curing time on the paint can’s directions. But tomorrow – oh baby, it’s on. Sherry’s even planning to shoot a little time lapse video of the process of loading them up.

Oh and of course we still have to add crown molding to the ceiling to finish things off and make the top of the hood a lot more seamless. But slowly it’s all feeling a lot closer to “done” than “just started” – especially now that the hood is painted too (never mind the fact that we still have some patch work to do on the ceiling along with that aforementioned crown molding).

We’re really happy with how the brackets turned out, so we haven’t thought twice about our decision not to do true floating shelves. We think these are really charming – and they’re super stable so Sherry could probably hang off of them if she wanted. Instead she wants to fill them with ceramic animals. Same difference.

It’s nice that there’s still plenty of room to load them up and make them really functional, even with the brackets (no, they will not actually end up full of ceramic animals- not on my watch). Our shelves are deep enough for our 12″ dinner plates and the brackets are 15″ apart so we should have lots o’ room to put everyday stuff up there – which we hear from other open-shelf-having folks works really well, since it’s used often enough not to get dusty).

And even though it was a bit weird at first to see our wall of penny tile suddenly broken up by these bright white lines, it’s cool to see the thing we’ve always envisioned come that much closer to being a reality.

So we should have pics (and a video) of the shelves all filled for you tomorrow. Until then, we’ll leave you with this slightly-closer-to-after shot of the room. We’re definitely getting there. And we’re counting down the seconds to Operation Cork My Floor (along with adding that crown molding, patching the ceiling, adding a pendant over the sink, covering the base of the peninsula with some decorative wood planks, hanging some art to the right of the fridge, do something to the side of the pantry, etc).

We feel especially giddy when we look at old photos of the room back when it looked like this:

We can hardly picture that old room anymore. Isn’t it funny how quickly your brain replaces things? It’s so crazy that we lived with the room just like that for over six months before even painting the paneling. But once we finally got the ball rolling… well, it’s still rolling. Haha. Is anyone else in the home stretch of one of their home projects? Though I probably should knock on wood when I say that, since it sounds like a sure way to jinx myself into some last-minute wrench in the plan (he says as he gets up to literally go knock on wood while crossing his fingers and eyes).

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Holey Moley

Our ceiling was having a little hole problem after some electrical wizork last week (warning: $herdog is in full effect in this post)…

So we did the normal thing and donned sunglasses and hats along with breathing masks. Why? Because we can’t find our safety glasses (book shoots = can’t really find anything). And ceiling dust is gross when it’s up your nizzle.

Then we got our patch on. I’m the designated Spackle Wench in our family, but John has longer arms, so he helped me by doing step one: lightly sanding the outside of the holes we were patching.

Then it was time for these guys from Home Depot. They’re basically a wire mesh patch that’s stuck to sticky paper. You stick it on the hole firmly, spackle over it, sand things down, and paint. Das it. They really make things pretty easy – even on a ceiling (the most notoriously annoying plane to work on in any room). Hardest part: gravity. More on that later (there’s video evidence of my struggle).

After the mesh patch is stuck up on the wall (darn, no pics of that, but that’s all in the video), just get some spackle on the biggest putty knife you have and squish it all over the mesh pad. Smooth it as much as you can with the spackle knife, but know that sanding everything down afterwards is when you’ll get the finished look you’re going for (so it’s always better to build things up slightly more than you need since you can always sand it down).

Then just wait the recommended drying time and get to sanding. I like to use a sanding block when it comes to sanding large planes like walls and ceilings, just because it keeps things straight (sandpaper is so floppy that it’s hard to keep things as rigid in this case, but it’s great for sanding furniture since it flexes to follow the lines of those items, like the legs of a chair).

After sanding everything (and sweeping/vacuuming/showering to get the white powder off of everythingintheentirekitchen-urgh!) it hopefully looks like this. See the three dark-ish areas where those holes used to be? They just need some paint (along with other dirty areas of the ceiling that got grunged up under the old fluorescent lights).

Here’s the hole next to the new pendant lights that we patched too. Oh and see the one over the sink- that’s still waiting for a fixture, so it stays. We’re on the hunt so we’ll keep you posted when we plug that guy up with something light and pretty.

Two coats of ceiling paint later (bless the previous owners for leaving that behind for us), any evidence of those old holes were history:

Here’s the other former-hole next to the pendants after paint. See it? Me either. Huzzah!

And here’s a video. Admittedly, things got a little wonky (falling spackle, shrieking Sherry, an offhanded mention of a slug, etc). Yes, there are outtakes right in the middle of the thing. But it kind of perfectly captures the whole process. You’re gonna get messy, and it might take a few tries to get things to stick. But in the end, you can totally get ‘er done. As in, this is about a 2 on the difficulty scale. So put on your Brave Girl Underoos and get ‘er done! Or your Brave Boy Underoos if you’ve got those.

Hope that comes in handy for ya. Next up in the kitch: shelf planning and hood painting. Hootie hoo. Then floors. Momma’s excited. Bring on the colorful plates and bowls! Ah accessorizing, the best phase of every project. And the cork – that’ll be a room-changer for sure. What are you guys up to this week? Any hole patching? Shelf building? Painting? Secret project-ing? Spackle-dodging? Tell $herdog all about it.

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