DIY

Study Complete!

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Well I’m excited to announce I finally finished up the study space makeover we started way back in May.  I had every intention of finishing up this space before school started for the kids in August but life and other more important spaces kept me occupied.

Anyhoo.  Last weekend, I finally was able to tackle the final projects that remained – stitching up a cushion cover for the window seat and installing a window treatment above.  I decided to have a lot of fun with color in this space especially since it’s for the kids.  I stuck with a blue and green palette (predictable much Kate?) and mixed in a lot of pattern to keep it fun.

blue and green study with window seat

 

With a width of 9 ½ feet, the room is not gigantic, but but it’s just big enough for its intended purpose, as a creative zone for art and games, for reading or watching movies, and a place for the youngsters to hang out with each other and their buddies. 

kids doing art

 

Yeah that window seat we built from IKEA refrigerator cabinets over the summer sure looks great topped with a cushion and some fun pillows!  I’ve always wanted a true window seat similar to the built in nook I had when I was a kid. 

I sewed a cushion cover with a foam insert for the window seat, but let me tell you, it was the ultra lazy ‘sew the bare minimum’ method. I had lofty ambitions of a piped cushion cover with a perfect zipper enclosure but instead settled on a knife edge cushion, stitched up with some green canvas outdoor fabric I found on sale at Joann’s Fabrics.

window seat from ikea cabinets centsational girl

 

Hello beautiful modern oversized drum fixture!  I searched high and low for the right pendant, and even considered a DIY version, but when I saw the Finley fixture at Crate + Barrel, I decided it was the one.  Large in scale, clean lined and modern, and perfect for the space. 

new fixture in study

 

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Tiling Around a Window

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A few weeks ago, I showed up at the shelter kitchen we revealed earlier this week to make sure the mosaic tile backsplash was getting installed by a skilled volunteer, but unfortunately the tile guy never showed up.   We never got an explanation as to why he didn’t show, he just didn’t.  With an inspection looming, Warren (our partner at COTS) and I looked at each other and decided we would just get ‘er done ourselves that day.

Installing a tile backsplash is not difficult, and it involves following just a few steps from prepping the wall to applying the thin set adhesive, cutting and setting the tiles, and then grouting and sealing.  The more challenging part is tiling around a window with mesh tile so that the grid stays perfectly aligned.  At first glance you’d think it all lines up easily (basic math right?) but we learned that’s not the case – here’s how we got it just right.

tiling around a window

 

First, I’ll apologize for the quality of some of these in progress photos!  I had no idea on this day I’d be tiling when I showed up to the house so I didn’t bring my good camera.  Many are shot with a cell phone in bad light, but hopefully they will be illustrative.   The project took two days, with me working one side of the kitchen, Warren working on the other, and then we paired up to tackle the feature wall together.

There are plenty of detailed tutorials online for installing a simple glass mosaic tile backsplash, including this one from This Old House, but I’ll do a quick review.  What you’ll need:  paper or drop cloth to protect countertop, tile, thin set mortar, V notch trowel, tile saw, grout, grouting sponge, level, acrylic caulk.

First, prep your walls so they’re smooth and ready for tile and double check you have enough tile to complete the project.  (It’s good to have 10% more than your square footage for horizontal or mesh installation, more like 15-20% extra with diagonal installation due to all the cuts.)

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