02 Jun

Built-in Shelves Finished

Finished the built-in shelves a while ago but forgot to post a pic and details since last post on the process. [The trouble with digital media storage is that it is easy to forget what pictures you have on the card.]

I framed the exterior of the shelves with stained ¼” x 2″ poplar lumber purchased at Lowes. The stain was the same red hickory used on the mirror frame followed by sealing with satin polyurethane. Cutting the angles was a bit difficult but the obscurities of my college trig class finally came in handy.

The back-splash is an easy to use product from Improvements (#337192, $27)—aluminum metal wall tiles. They are advertised as “will not crack, chip, or stain” and easy to install. The later—I can confirm—installation was so simple!

Each box of tiles contains 48 4 x 4 tiles and double adhesive foam for affixing  the tiles. The tiles come in almond, aluminum, black, white, chrome or copper and in triangle shaped to spice up your design.

28 Aug

Built-in Bathroom Shelves

Unfinished built-in shelves

Unfinished built-in shelves

In a small bathroom space is at a premium. Recently I replaced a vanity and counter-top  that ran the length of a bath with a European-style, shallow-profile vanity. At that time, a new light fixture and a re-framed medicine chest were added.

While those improvements were needed, the reduction in counter and under-sink storage space were a problem. So, built-in shelves were next.

Finding the studs was the first step. A standard stud-finder worked like a charm and from there I could measure out the 16″ centers and start taking out the drywall within the selected space. (interior space between studs is normally 14.5″ unless you have an unpredictable old home or a nutty contractor built the wall)

Once the drywall was punched out using a flat-head screwdriver and a hammer (most efficient way I have found), a couple shelves of 3/4″ plywood were cut and  inserted. Friction plus some wood glue made for a good tight and permanent fit.

Built-in shelves, close-up

Built-in shelves, close-up

I used some left-over 4 x4 stone tile ($5/sq ft) for the main part of the shelf tops and some smaller squared sheets ($10/sq ft) for shelf accents and  the back of the shelves. After tan grout is worked into the cracks the shelf under sides and frame will be completed with poplar stained to match the mirror frame.

25 Jul

Medicine Chest Update

mirror-beforeIn the process of updating a bathroom trapped in the 70″s, I had to make a decision about the medicine chest. To replace or redo. The chest itself had nothing wrong with it except a worn, out-of-date frame around the mirror.

Rather than contribute to the volume of junk in the local landfill, I opted for replacing the frame. I took the chest out of the wall and disassembled the mirror from the metal box. It was held there by about two dozen screws.

The metal box needed a bit of light sanding and a quick spray paint job. The mirror was in perfect shape and really was a very nice piece of electroplated glass. Probably cannot buy one this nice any more.

mirror-afterThe replacement frame was made with mitered corners from standard poplar purchased at Lowes. I bought a European-style narrow profile vanity from the local box store. It had what the manufacturer called a Cherry finish. Trying to match that color required testing several different stains on scraps of the poplar. The final choice was one by Cabot called Red Hickory. I put one coat of the stain on followed by one coat of satin polyurethane. A light pass with fine steel wool followed by another coat of finish was all it needed to match the finish of the vanity.

Total cost of the project: $20. Compare that to at least $100 for a new medicine chest. Love it.

12 Apr

Cabinet: First look

Symphony Cabinet: First LookThe cabinet for the Birmingham Symphony Decorator Showhouse is beginnning to take shape. This first picture is of the frame made of red oak barn timbers from northern Alabama. There are some really cool knots, nail holes, worm-wood, and rough sawn places that make this wood very interesting and rustic. The majority of the cabinet is going to be crafted from this stock. I plan to use fall peeled maple for accents.