What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Ongoing Kitchen Saga

Yesterday marked the three week period for the kitchen renovations. Most of the staining and finishing has been taking place in the garage. Unfortunately, weather conditions have not co-operated. We have experienced very high humidity levels followed by sever thunderstorms mixed with high temperatures that are not good conditions for staining or applying top coat. At the moment, I have 5 door fronts that need staining and top coating but again the skies are threatening some nasty weather.

We bought both the hinges and sink online. The hinges alone were $2.10 cheaper per pair than we could buy here. The hinges arrived todays so we will be able to start putting the doors back on the cabinets tonight getting the kitchen one step closer to completion. The sink was more of a matter of size than price. It should be here within the next couple of days.

We ran into a bit of a problem in that the trim between the cabinets and ceiling was looking very yellow after staining the cabinet frames. So I did a quick adjustment and decided to stain this trim as well. Now last minute changes are expected from any renovation project but as things happen this was not a huge problem to deal with.

As you can see from the picture, staining the trim got rid of some of the yellow tones. This is the cabinet over the breakfast bar. It shows how the kitchen and family room ceilings are connected. Once the stain cured for 24 hours, I applied polyurethane (satin) by brush.

Both the sanding and polyurethane created problems indoors. I really think the sanding was the main problem. Our dryer is natural gas so it stunk as did the the stove burners even though they were covered along with the oven. This is with all windows and doors open during application and curing as much as possible. Two loads of laundry seriously smelled like kerosene. To put this in perspective one load in my washer is the equivalent of three loads in a standard washer. I had to rewash twice to get rid of the smell. Talk about not being a happy camper!

Anytime we do renovations, I am the first to squirrel away things that can be re-used. This stems from trying to be environmentally friendly as well as being frugal. HVAC vents are a prime example. They are seldom in such bad condition they cannot be re-used. At the same time they can look rather tired and battered. Giving them new life is as easy as using spray paint. This is also an ideal way to get a custom matched vent colour to your decor. The choice of spray paint colours is quite extensive so you should be able to find a paint that will match. If you really want to try it (I have not) you can use a specialty spray that simulates rock or other surfaces but for easy cleaning I would recommend using a satin or gloss rust retardant paint.

Remove the vent cover. Soak in a solution of TSP to remove any grime or dirt. Brush with a brass brush then rinse well. If there is any signs of rusting on the cover, smooth with fine steel wool. Rinse and allow the cover to dry for 24 hours before proceeding. Spray with a rust retardant spray paint if the vent will be placed in a location prone to moisture or use a spray paint of your choice for other locations. I recommend using at least two coats of paint and you can cover with spray polyurethane for further protection if desired. This really isn't necessary but in high traffic areas like entrances or bathrooms you might want to.

A can of rust retardant spray paint will cost about $5. A more neutral colour will allow you to spruce up about 10 vent covers. Replacing these would cost about $4 each so for $5 you end up getting something that would cost $$40 and you are saving them from going to a landfill. If you are spraying them specifically for the decor element then of course the cost per vent will depend on the number of vents in that room. However, don't discount the fact that simply spray painting your vents can make them blend in better giving a smoother look to the room so for the price it is still worth it. Sometimes it is that little extra touch that does make a difference.

Garden Gnome
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