Thursday, April 30, 2015


The workshop has come together quite nicely. I picked up two sets of pegboard hooks at Wal-Mart for $9/set, as well as some heavy duty hooks to hold the burglar bars that I removed from the inside of the house.

The Bosch dishwasher that I picked up at Houston's Historic Salvage Warehouse is also at home in here until plans are finalized for the kitchen renovation.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Skim Coating the Hallway

This photo doesn't really show it, but the walls in the hallway were textured. The paint was pink. The trim was pink too.

There was also a large inset area around the HVAC air intake from where the old house fan used to be. And boy was that a trip learning about how those worked. My friends Erin and Tommy still have theirs. Basically, the hallway in the center of these houses had this huge fan that would draw air up and then forced it out of a central ductwork system. Circulating the air was a way of cooling the house before the days of actual AC compressors and condensers. They were obnoxiously loud though. Erin and Tommys's still works and it actually does cool the house down quite a bit. Dad says his house used to have one back when he was growing up too.

Anyway, I wasn't feeling too crazy about the texture on the walls and decided that the house would look more modern if the walls were smooth. Plus, the walls needed to be skim coated anyway since the texture was patchy at best. When I removed the mirrors that were glued to the wall, it took off some of the cheap latex paint that the previous owner used. Simply painting the walls would have improved things a bit, but it wouldn't have that professional, fresh feel to it. So began the journey of skim coating the walls.

Here's how it goes: you basically take joint compound (I purchased a 5 gallon bucket of pre-mixed joint compound from Home Depot) and use a trowel and a drywall blade to apply a smooth, even coat of compound on the wall. Then, skim it off so that the wall has a flat, seamless finish, let it dry, apply more coats as necessary )this took 3 coats) and finally sand it down. Which, by the way, makes a HUGE mess.


Drywall dust is the devil.
It gets everywhere.
and I mean EVERYWHERE.

Sure, you can put plastic sheeting up.
Sure, you can open a doorway and point a fan toward an open window
          ...that is, until the motor gets so clogged with drywall dust that the fan craps out on you.

(p.s., make sure the neighbors aren't bothered by a continuous cloud of white dust poofing out from your house, and not the kind from Scarface.)

So breaks are necessary to clean out the fan motor occasionally. I found that one of those compressed air cans that are used to clean keyboards come in quite handy. So does a cheap 3" paintbrush for dusting off the trim, the fan blades, everything even remotely close to the work area, and of course, the cats and yourself.

No matter what measures you take,
No matter how careful you are,
the dust will penetrate every corner of your house for weeks
and weeks
and weeks...

and weeks.


You can see here how the joint compound dries white. A nice relief from those pink walls.

2 weeks later I sanded the trim and applied primer, sanding between coats to get that pro finish:

Silky smooth walls:

Next up: prime the walls.

Here's a video that describes how to skim coat a wall. It's a little more labor intensive when the walls are textured, since you need to do 2-3 coats, but the process is basically the same. You can buy buckets of pre-mixed joint compound at Home Depot for super cheap. It's on the aisle where the cement stuff is, usually on one if the side walls of the store.

Houston heat is boiling

...even the ghosts are melting.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Clawfoot Tub Hardware

The hardware for the clawfoot tub arrived today and it looks GREAT! After a long search, I finally came across this set on amazon and snagged it for just $159! Clawfoot hardware usually runs around $1,500 so this set was a steal!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Story of my Life...

This card from my friend Don is so perfect.

4 years of working full time and going to law school in the evenings.
Getting out of class at 9:30/9:45 and rushing to the stores to make it just in the nick of time before closing...
...especially now that Home Depot is my home away from home.

and guess what time they close?

Bedroom Paint Test

Testing out this paint color in the bedroom. I like it!

Clark and Kensington, Blackberry, Eggshell. Sold by Ace Hardware. Color-matched in Valspar paint.
(I ended up using a flat finish, which looks great)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Demo'ing Erin and Tommy's bungalow

Erin and Tommy's bungalow is coming along nicely. Today I helped them remove a portion of the wall between the kitchen and dining room. The remains of the wall are on the sidewalk:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Bathroom Tile Demo

Time to get rid of that tile in the bathroom! I found it easiest to use a hammer and my crescent claw (the demolition god of tools!) The claw gave me enough leverage to be able to lift up larger pieces of tile (not pictured b/c I just chunked them straight into the trash bin).

Cleanup was easy. I just put a trash can outside the window and through the debris into it. I'll have to patch the hole that I accidentally jabbed into the floor, but that's an easy fix.

All done!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Slugs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I have lots of snails and giant slugs around the front porch and the chimney. This is indicative of a moisture issue, which is the real root of the snail problem. Anyway, I thought one of them should meet the bengals.

At first they were kind of bored with it:

Then they got curious:

It didn't end well for the snail.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Kitchen Hardwoods: The end is in sight!

Most of the felt and goo have been removed from the kitchen hardwoods!!!

Still need to do under the fridge and by the cat litter box but considering from where it was before, (which you can read a hilarious post about getting that gunk up here):

*happy dance*

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Guest Bedroom: Textured the walls

I texturized the walls in the guest bedroom to match the walls in my old living room of my last place, which was in the Westmoreland Historic District of Houston's fabulous Montrose neighborhood (a.k.a, the gayborhood).

I'm not sure what they call this texture, but I've always loved it because it looks so beautiful in candlelight. It's kind of like knockdown texture, just without the knockdown.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bathroom: Skim Coating the walls

Just to show how far it's come, here some before pics:
(It's ok, you can scream at how atrocious it was. I certainly did.)


Before: While removing wallpaper

Got the walls skim coated in the bathroom:



Smooth as butta
Isn't it glorious?

Monday, April 6, 2015

3 Brass Birds

3 birds now adorn the dining room display cabinet:

It's the 18th century, the age of Casanova. Candles are lit and gondolas glide along the canals of Venice, ferrying passengers in dominos and masks, like souls crossing the river Styx... "I love Venetian carnival masks, and as some of them look bird-like," says sculptist and bestselling author KJ Bishop, who sculpted the birds. "I thought it would be fun to dress some small birds in them"

(from top)
  • The Bauta Bird - The bauta bird is mysterious, even sinister, an adventurer and seducer -- a phantom whose only home is the night. Size: 6.5 x 10 x 9 cm / 2.5 x 4 x 3.5" 
  • The Pulcinella Bird - The character of Pulcinella comes from the Italian Commedia dell'Arte, where he was a roguish, violent, disrespectful servant -- an anti-authority figure and a trickster. The Pulcinella bird might be nicer, but he's still mischievous, and no doubt he has a few tricks under his hat. Size: 11 cm / 4.25" 
  • The Doctor Bird - The plague doctor carnival mask is based on costumes worn by doctors who treated victims of the bubonic plague. The long beak was filled with aromatic substances such as herbs, dried flowers and camphor to ward off the evil smells that were thought to carry sickness. A doctor dressed in this way must have been a rather frightening apparition to see at one's bedside, but I like to think the doctor bird is a cuter character. Size: 6 x 10.5 x 7 cm / 2.25 x 4 x 2.75"

Material: Brass Open edition, signed with initials on base. Both the colour of the antique brown patina and the amount of highlighting can vary in these birds. The patina has a green-white element that may hardly appear at all, or may show up as small streaks or splashes in the brown.