Sunday, January 20, 2013

Domestic Update!

The recent lack of posts on the blog is because I have been busy planning, gathering materials and working on various small projects here around the headquarters.  I'm set to begin major renovations of both my kitchen and bathroom both of which are stressful and time consuming endeavors to say the least.  

I've finally got around to replacing the old three plug outlets with new ones and installing some attractive outlet covers and switch plates.

My house is a 1950's ranch style.  It was built in a time when building materials and workmanship was  still very high in quality yet building codes were pretty much standardized and close to what we have today making upgrades with modern components easy and simple.

Also by the 50's the wood trim used in finish carpentry had also been standardized to smaller dimensions and Yellow Pine seemed to become the wood of choice for trim probably due to its availability and low cost.  The shellacked pine trim in my house is structurally fine but it is old and dated.  I was recently browsing at the local home improvement store I an noticed that they now offered solid oak trim with the same profile cut as the original pine in my house.  I bought enough baseboard and foot to finish out the kitchen and bathroom once new flooring is installed.  I also got some casing to redo a window above the sink.

I'm using clear polyurethane to seal the wood.  Oak is one of my favorite hardwoods and it is my goal to one day replace all of the pine in my house with this wood.  Oak looks fairly plain when raw but once the clear finish hits it I love how it turns a peachy orange color and the grain pops.

Here's an extra pretty piece. Its got some tiger stripe like curly maple that's not often seen in oak.

I re-trimmed the kitchen and bath about 15 years ago when I installed vinyl flooring but at that time I couldn't find the matching profile in oak so I just used what was available.  I like the simple, spartan look of the original trim and I'm glad I've now found that same pattern but in oak.  

When I'm trimming out I use this miter saw to cut the pieces to fit.  It is a bit slower than a power chop saw but it does cut very accurate angles.  Since I do my own work I'm not under any kind of time constraint and I just enjoy the human powered element.

Over the years I've done electrical, plumbing, drywall and plenty of painting but one thing I never got around to was tile.  I figured the back splash between the counter top and the cupboards in the kitchen would be a good opportunity to learn a new skill.  

I wanted a lighter more neutral shade for the tile work since my counter top will be a darker gray color.  Looking around in the tile section I found this Turkish marble in a close out sale.  I like it because it is a natural stone cut to tile shape and not man made like the ceramic and glass tiles on the market.  These tiles have little pits and flaws but just like wood its a natural material and therein lies the beauty.

Here's a macro shot of the back of one of the tiles held up to a halogen light source.  The marble is semi translucent and has a pretty fiery orange color when back lit.

Another close up shot shows the crystalline growth of the minerals in voids exposed when the saw cut the slice. It looks like pita chips or some kind of cookie! 

I'll update more as I move along through the process. Stay tuned!


  1. Bob Villa:

    When you're done, would you mind popping out this way and sprucing (oaking?) up our place? Sounds like you've got a good bunch of projects in your future. Don't forget your "before" pictures!


  2. I second that suggestion... before pictures are essential!