Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rebecca Wrecks the Pantry

One thing I will say about our new home-it is true to the 70"s aesthetic. Too bad that works better for clothing then it does for interior design.  Although the slab golden oak does bring out the pattern in the contact paper wall covering.  Notice the tiny knobs for handles. 

The inside is not an improvement.

The shelves are built double depth right up to edge of the doors. And covered in dirty white contact paper.  There is a single light bulb with a pull chain. The linoleum is original to the home and the less said about it the better!

We basically just threw stuff in there and lived with the disorganization for 9months.  Wow! Most people at least get a baby after that much time.

Welcome to the Level 4 Hot Zone. Please burn your suit and shower after leaving.

We paid a crew to remove the popcorn and the wallpaper in the entire house. This is my 5th house rodeo and the biggest lesson is: Get the basics fixed first.  Start with a fresh palette as much as possible before moving on to the more fun decor stuff.  It is a really messy and dusty process.  But worth in the end.

So back to the pantry.  Unfortunately taking off the popcorn and wallpaper didn't magically change this into a reclaimed barn door with beautiful heavy metal fixtures.  The position of the door and available wall space made using a sliding door impossible.  I also learned about replacing doors from my previous fixer-uppers.  It is rare that a new standardized door will fit perfectly in an older opening with out some carpentry work.  Since my carpentry skills are just above not cutting my hand off, I decided to work with what I got!

I removed the doors and took them to the studio.  Since I am adding trim to the flat doors, I removed the side molding to allow for that extra relief.


I cleaned the doors and the trim surround with Paseo which is a strong de-glosser and degreaser. You can use TSP, Krud Kutter or Simple Green.  I use a clean rag and wipe the Paseo over the surface. You will see the "schmutz" coming off on the rag.  Keep turning the cloth and replacing for a clean one as you work. You don't want to reapply the junk you just took off. I wet my cloths before throwing them away. No rag fires please! When working with a degreaser/de-glosser make sure you wear gloves and the room has ventilation.  Safety first always.

The doors and frame are sanded with a medium grit sanding block. My doors are so old that the finish just came off in uneven patches. Use a damp cloth or denatured alcohol to remove the dust.

I painted my doors Royal Taupe Setcoat to give me an even well-sealed base.  See that faint hazing on the dried paint? That is Crème Activator from Faux Effects.  It's a great product even though it looks like snot in the bucket.  It is a barrier product that slows an above layer bonding to the sub straight.  Unlike Vaseline there is no petroleum in this product. The product will evaporate and the upper layer will dry and bond firmly over night. No sanding or mess. Plus you don't have to worry about getting all the petroleum jelly off! Crème Activator is a Gold label product intended for use by professional cabinet finishers. It is totally worth taking a Faux Effects cabinet class to learn how to use it. It is a staple product of  the cabinet classes I teach.

I used a small white fluffy roller to apply the Crème Activator in a thin even layer.  Fold a terry towel and wipe down the crème activator. For those of you trained in CA, this is the step you usually forget. You will think you are taking it off but don't worry. This just keeps you from applying too much! I let it set-up about 30 minutes.

I mixed Faux Effects' Sandstone with water (1 quart to 1 cup water) and whipped it into a paste. I troweled this over the surface covering 95% of my base.

My Sandstone dried to the leather stage in 30 minutes.  I used a wire brush to scrub the surface. The effect is similar to a Cerused Oak.

The wire brush removes lines of the Sandstone because of the Crème Activator.  To create more texture, I use an old chip brush to apply more Sandstone in a stria effect.  If you don't have access to Crème Activator, you can still do a version of this finish.  Just skip the troweled layer and brush on the Sandstone to create a rough wood texture. You may have to repeat this step to get the build and coverage you desire.

I also use the brush to apply the Sandstone to the sides of the doors.

The Sandstone layer needs to dry overnight. 

My motion shot hence the blur!

I mixed FX Thinner with Stain & Seal and brushed it over the surface.  This is a water-based stain and water-based glaze medium.  I spritzed the surface with water and used a damp cloth to move/remove the stain the length of the doors.

When the stain dried, I rolled FE Old World Finishing Paint in Coconut 100% over the surface.  This is a mineral paint that dries to an opaque matte finish.

When the Coconut is dry (a few hours), I sanded with a medium grit sanding block. This is a dusty process. As I sand, I wipe the surface with a damp cloth. This lets me know how much of the underneath layers will show.  The surface will feel amazing because the Old World Finishing Paint really fills in the low areas of the texture.  Old World Finishing Paint is a now available in a range of pre-tinted colors.

I sealed the surface with Aquaguard Satin which is a water-based poly.  I use a black foam roller like the one pictured above. This minimizes bubbling especially if you thin the topcoat with water (about 10% - 20% is enough). Let it dry an hour before recoating.

I measured the top and bottom of my bi-fold doors remembering there is the break where the door folds out.  That means that each panel has 2 narrow doors attached with a hinge.  Each panel needs 4 small molding pieces for a total of 8 pieces. I used paint grade popular strips from Home Depot and applied the Sandstone treatment and sealed. Then I cut the strips and painted the edges as needed.  To affix, I used Liquid Nails.

Since I couldn't get my barn door, I wanted to add a little rustic charm with metal tacks.  Now the tacks at the hardware store are usually smaller and not as decorative.  Sources include D.A.D.S Nails and Decotacks.  It is important to use a good tack. Less expensive one (and by that I mean cheap) will bend or break when you hammer them in.

Since these were a hammered metal using a hammer was not a problem. If you need to protect the tack finish, create a starter hole with a nail. Then place the tack in the hole and knock in with a rubber mallet.

I painted my trim in Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee. Because of Bruce's lung condition I won't use oil based paints in the house.  I have tried several water-born enamels with varying degrees of success. My most recent venture with a water-based version of a popular trim paint was not so great even though I've used it for years. It pilled and pulled back even after sanding the wood trim. The next day it rolled off when re-wet with a brush. I need 3-4 coats for coverage over a light wood. And after 2 months, it pulled off with low tack tape.  Of course I could prime the woodwork first. But many people use enamel to avoid priming and top-coating. And using stinky primer defeats my purpose of protecting Bruce.

After talking with my local rep, I used the Advance Water-Born Alkyd in a satin finish.  It took 2 coats over the cleaned and lightly sanded trim but it rolled well with a foam roller or a good paint brush. The finish dried to a true pretty low luster satin.  It costs about $79 a gallon but goes a really like way. In my opinion people are too cheap when it comes to paint.

I added these fun large vintage looking handles. The size easily covered the existing hole from the poor sad tiny knobs.

The kitchen paint color is Benjamin Moore Rockport Grey-more on the paint color and what happened with the walls in a later post.  As you can see, I've removed the baseboards around the entire kitchen in preparation for my biggest project to date-replacing the floor.

Now let's see what happened behind the doors!

A u-shaped  gives more room and accessibility to a small pantry.  The existing shelves were in great condition and the shelf paper came off easily.  It turned out that the deep shelves were two pieces, one in front of the other.  After removing the front shelf, I measured the sides.  Then I cut the wood I removed to make small side shelves for each side. I gained 6 additional storage spaces!

I painted the shelves in the same Royal Taupe Setcoat and top coated with Aquaguard Satin-just like the doors. Remember to paint and topcoat both sides so the shelves don't warp.

Most contact paper is really generic or ugly.  I made my own with wrapping paper. I Aquaguard on the wood and then decoupaged the paper using more top-coat on top. A brayer will roll out the air bubbles.

 I could have built out the wood brackets already in the pantry but honestly, I was ready for this project to be done!  I used 2 metal brackets and a corner brace from the hardware store for support.  Then I used wood screws and drilled down through the top of the shelf to the wood wall bracket. Very secure!

Since moving into a smaller space I've come to appreciate the power of organization. Even an unseen space can be more tidy and functional.

The hanging wire baskets and dog food bin is from IKEA.  The Lazy Susan's and can holders are from the Home Store.  I built this cart from IKEA to hold our baking goods.  Putting everything into glass jars makes for a nice and clean presentation.   I even cut out a shelf so the cart would slide easily into the back of the pantry!

That's it! It's crazy but a cluttered home created a cluttered life for me.
 Now I actually feel more settled in and calm.
The down side?  Since I can find the food again I have to start cooking.

If you would like to learn about Faux Effects Cabinet products join me for a class. I will be teaching May 5-6th at the Sarasota School of Faux & Architectural Finishes in Florida. Please call 941-921-6181 for more information. I also have cabinet classes listed on our Surfaces Website!.

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