Saturday, March 21, 2009

Momentarily Done

It only took me 4.5 months and who knows how many hours, but the crown molding project is done. Some pics and my refinishing technique are below.

Just after the popcorn texture was removed.
Same corner after

Close up before
No more popcorn No more paint
Close up after. We still need to paint the walls.

Once I was ready to actually refinish, I used the following process.

  1. Applied Transtint Golden Brown dye stain. Diluted according to the directions with equal parts denatured alcohol and lacquer thinner.
  2. Brushed on 2 coats of Zinsser Amber Shellac. I read a lot of different things about making your own shellac from flakes versus using the premade stuff. The amber Zinsser stuff contains wax which supposedly makes the finish less transparent. The bigger issue is finding premade stuff that is actually fresh. The date of manufacture is printed on the top of the cans. Based on books I have read, I try to make sure the shellac is less than 6 months old. This usually means going on a wild goose chase to find the freshest stuff.
  3. Applied Old Masters dark walnut gel stain. I spent a disturbing amount of time and money trying to find the right glaze. In my opinion, Old Masters dark walnut looks like a mix of Van Dyke Brown and Black. It has a fairly long drying time. Basically, I painted the gel stain on section of molding at a time, and then wiped off as much excess as I could. Abbott Paint in St. Paul and Lathrop Paint in Minneapolis carry Old Masters.
  4. Applied one layer of shellac to seal in the glaze.
  5. Applied a final coat of dark brown Briwax to give the molding a satin finish.

In the end, I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg and I have all the remaining woodwork in the dining and living rooms left to do.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Great Bungalow for Sale

This bungalow just went on the market this week. It is MLS#: 3656594. I am willing to bet it was built by the same people who built mine; same windows, same doors, same chimney, same brickwork including original brick planter box. This one appears to have most of the original windows as well as no aluminum soffits. Unfortunately, I have no idea how intact the inside is or isn't and the MLS listing has very few pictures. I just think it is cool house with a lot of curb appeal. I am really hoping whomever buys it appreciates it for what it is.Check out the original real estate photo from just after the house was built in 1924. I would kill to have an original picture of my house like this. You can see that not a whole lot has changed on the exterior. I can only think of 2 houses I have seen in Minneapolis that still have the original roof caps. I just made up that term since I have no idea what they are really called.

Non-tree obscured view

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Salvaged Fixtures

We are lucky enough to still have most of the original light fixtures. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to the track lighting in the corner of our living room. This is currently the only overhead light in the living room. One thing I have always found odd is that there are 2 light switches by the front door, one that works the porch light and one that seems to do nothing. The living room ceiling has received the popcorn treatment, so I can't tell if there ever was an overhead fixture in the center of the room. Regardless, the plan is now to remove the track lighting and install a central overhead fixture. So far, the tricky part has been finding the right fixture since I have been trying to find one to complement the original bare bulb fixture in the dining room (pictured below). It is very elaborate for a bungalow, but I really like it.

Before this weekend, I had checked every salvage and antique store from here to Duluth without any luck. Amazingly, I found the 2 perfectly matching fixtures pictured below on craigslist this past week. Also pictured is a rare image of my wife performing manual labor. The 4 bulb fixture will go at the top of the stairs and the 5 bulb one will go in the living room. Now I just have to them rewired.
If anyone has any electrician recommendations or tips for installing the electrical box for the living room fixture, please let me know.