Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reno's With Rosie - Goodbye popcorn ceiling!

The day started out okay with a nice cup of coffee, reading a book, lounging around in my pj's, but.....little did I know.

After a while I heard the sound of busyness coming from the kitchen, a lot of busyness and not the pleasant baking or cooking sounds that foreshadow some kind of deliciousness eventually making it's way onto the table. These noises had a very different feel to them, a bit like that hollow feeling of anxiety (or outright terror) that the "dum dum, dum dum" sound from the movie "Jaws" produces.

The sound of furniture being dragged around produces a similar feeling in me and probably in many other husbands out there. I find myself thinking, "oh, oh, this is going to be expensive!" or "So much for relaxing!" or "I think I'll drive to Jasper for the day." I think it's time I started listening to that voice more carefully.

Back to this particular day - after a while Rose popped her head in and very kindly offered to make me a breakfast sandwich, "you better have breakfast, we're going to take the popcorn stipple off of the kitchen ceiling this morning."

"Huh?" was my clever reply. "Sure, I just watched a video on You-Tube about it and it looks really easy. (Curses to you, You-Tube, what did you have to go and do that for?)

"I left it on the computer, come and watch it." Rose called out, "I'll get things ready and we can do it together!" 

"OOOOHHHH, how fun." said my inner voice, my outside voice wisely said nothing.

But I could see the writing on the wall and actually I was excited about getting rid of the 35 year old gross, greasy, smelly popcorn stipple that should never have been sprayed onto any ceiling, let alone a kitchen!

So I surrendered gracefully and dutifully watched the video filled with some good but obvious suggestions: spray ceiling with water, but not too much! Wear a dust mask, put down a drop cloth, don't damage the ceiling, hold putty knife at 30 degree angle, catch scrapings in a paint tray, etc, etc. 

"Hey, it's not brain surgery buddy!"

4 hours later - it was all, "wow, that looks great, but I'm pooped!" It took a few tries and a little compromise to find a good system for us but we settled on this: Rose sprays the water and wipes excess off the walls, I climb up and scrape the ceiling emptying the tray into the bag that she holds for me and then I go and rest while she sprays the next section and so on.

The hanging cabinet is coming down.

The biggest conflict was trying to get her to wear a dust mask, it went something like this: Rose - "I (cough, cough) don't, (cough, cough) need one, this house is (cough, cough) only 35 years old, there's no asbestos!" Me - "you need to wear one, look, I'm wearing one, didn't you hear him in the video, there could be asbestos, at least keep out of the kitchen while I'm scraping!"

But eventually she found an old one and put it on, (the top of her head) but it finally found it's way down to her mouth and that made me happy, she looked so cute.

We ended up scraping about 20 pounds of stipple off of the ceiling and it really brightened up the room. Last week on my day off we took down a floating cabinet that hung right over the counter, blocking a lot of light and making it hard to properly make use of the counter top. That made a huge difference and really let the light in and made the kitchen look more open and modern. 

A few weeks ago we did the gallery wall in the living room and converted an old coffee table into a dining table, (see previous blog posts) and painted about half of the house. Rose also got a hold of an old leaning shelving unit at the Re-store that we mounted in the hallway and now holds some of our antique book collection and some old cameras of mine.

So all in all, the renovations and redecorating are coming along nicely.

Last week we were lucky enough to have a friend in the machine shop business make us a cool piece of decor from an old gear that came out of a big truck transmission and it looks great in the living room! It kind of matches the huge train station style clock that we mounted over the mantle. 

Another interesting, (and weird) bit of decor that we added recently is my dad's old collection of bowling pins and bowling balls, I would call them, "quirky but cool." My father Ron owned "Continental Engineered Bowling Supplies" way back in the sixties and we kept a few things from that era so it's fun to be able to display them now in a place of honor. 

Future projects: as soon as we can get a hold of a big enough tile cutter we've got a whole bunch of tiling to do on the hearth in the living room, the kitchen floor and the bathroom floor and the tub surround, so we have that to look forward to, "Yay, Not!"

But the truth is, it's kind of fun to get these things done and they're usually not as bad as my overactive imagination makes them out to be, thanks to my lovely, creative wife. 

But when she married me, little did she know...... 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Reno's with Rosie - A Tables Tale

There once was a table, a beautiful, round, mission style, tiger oak, wood dining table. This table had a good home, it was well looked after and it was happy. Then something happened. The table didn't know what it had done wrong, all it knew was that it was thrown out of the house, discarded like it was just some piece of mass produced particle board junk furniture. 

They hauled it outside and threw it into an old coal shed, dirty, dusty, dry and crawling with mice and other vermin. There it sat for many years, wondering, wondering what it had done wrong. Over time, parts of it were lost, the beautiful expansion leaf, gone! Now it wasn't even complete, instead of seating 8 or ten happy people, the best it could ever do was maybe 6. 

After many years had passed, a strange thing happened, people came into the dusty old storage room and picked up the table and carried it out into the sunshine and clear air, it could breathe again!

The new people loaded up the old table into the back of a black rambler, a 1972 AMC Ambassador and they drove off with the table inside. It never even looked back.

The new people seemed nice, "Ronnie and Bun" they were called, sometimes Bun and sometimes Bernice, it was all so confusing for the table, but it didn't care, it was going to a new home. Maybe there would be kids!

The new man, "Ron" then did a strange and alarming thing, he started up a saw and chopped off part of the base that made the table a table, now it was a tiny little short, useless, "coffee" table and they hauled it down into the "rumpus room" with the hideous wood paneling all over the place and they put their feet up on the table. "Oh no", the table thought, "this is almost like being in the coal shed."

In time, the table became one of the family and it was happy as a coffee table, almost. When the kids grew up and got married and moved out, it was still okay because now the table was old too. When Ronnie and Bernice moved to the acreage, "leisure acres" they called the place, they took the table with them. When they got sick and moved off of the land into a condo in Westlock, one of the few things that came with them was the table.

When they finally passed away, the table was worried. Would this be the end?

But no, someone wanted the table. A good looking young-ish couple (named Doug & Rose) came and loaded it up into a mini-van and drove it back to Edmonton. "Oh oh" the table thought as it was hauled down to the basement storage room, "Is this the end?"

There were no mice this time but there was a fuzzy feline that looked at it funny, "what was that cat thinking? Was it planning something bad?"

This time the wait was short, only a few years passed before one day the lady came down and looked at the table, "my, she is looking good" the table thought to itself.

A few days later she came back again with the man, they talked and he tried to talk her out of her plan, "we have a perfectly good table" he said, "that's true, but it doesn't owe us anything and this one will be great again if you can fix it and extend the base. You can do it, can't you Dougie? You are so talented, you can do anything!"

The mans stern expression seemed to soften and he squinted in concentration at the table as she squeezed his arm and smiled winningly at her handy husband.

"It wouldn't be hard, if we got a good piece of solid oak and made a new box, we could extend it back to it's original height."

The table listened hopefully, excited that just maybe it was getting another reprieve!

The man and woman went away for a time and then one day, they returned. They cleared a space and rolled the table top out and carried it upstairs. The table glimpsed a fine piece of oak sitting against the wall and did some quick calculations. "Yes! Exactly enough good quality oak to rebuild the base and bring it once again back to life as a proper table, of a proper height, elbows yes, but no more feet!"

And now, the rebuilding story in pictures.

The table (as a coffee table)  at Doug & Roses gift opening in 1983
Our $50 piece of solid oak waiting in the kitchen,
thanks Windsor Plywood!
The operation begins, "anesthetic please."
Table top #222 looks on anxiously.
Ouch, I hope I can figure out how this goes back together.

Building the extension, good old elmers glue.

Now it's back together, time for some stain.

Stained, waxed and waiting for people. 
(elbows only, no feet!)

Looking good, all oiled, waxed and happy again!

That is the story of a table that returned to life, bringing joy and happiness to one and all!

The End (or is it?)