You Can Hang Your Hat On It

Hello and happy Monday!  Well, as happy as a Monday can be.  How was your weekend?  Saturday brought beautiful weather with temps in the low sixties.  A touch of spring that I’m desperately clinging to.  Yesterday started out nice, but ended with a snow storm complete with thunder and lightning.  Never have I witnessed a snow/thunder storm combo.  We took advantage of the nice weather and ran errands and grabbed lunch on Saturday.  Which is always a treat.  And we made a little tweak to the entertainment center.  But let me back up, several weeks ago, Ben put in all the drawers.  Then I primed and painted the inside and outsides.


Last weekend he attached the drawer fronts using this technique.


After some debate and opinion gathering, we chose handle option number 1, the simple (cheapest) square ended one.


My favorite and so pretty.  After all, hardware is jewelry for a room.


As usual, our projects are never in the quick one week and done style.  Oh no, we like to drag it out, because what else would we want to do?  Pshh, that’s totally it.  That means we still have a few things to do.  Number one, cut pieces for the toe kick, prime, and paint.  The only wood accent I want is the pretty top, not unfinished pine.


Annnnd I still want doors on the upper cabinets.  We don’t have a lot of clutter there, but the bounty of speakers and electronics doesn’t look pretty.  Doors would also help cut down the amount of dust.


For now, I grin like a fool when I see finished drawer fronts with functional storage behind.  The boys now have a place to keep toys.


The top drawer closest to the stairs is super handy to store hats and gloves (and other randoms like plastic pea pods) that normally get lost in the closet.


And that brings us to this weekend’s little tweak.


We hung the tv to the back wall, making it easier to clean under.


In addition to showing off more of the dark wood top.  What do you think of the nearly finished entertainment center?  Tall, dark, and handsome, right?  Of course that’s about the only thing that is done in the living room.  Now I want to repaint the walls with a little color (notice the blue swatches?) in a flat paint.  Satin is entirely too glossy on the knock down texture.

Climbing a Dusty Mountain

Not long ago, we had a ketchup and mustard look on our unfinished entertainment center.

After my bathroom painting marathon, I decided to knock out the entertainment center so we didn’t think of hot dogs.  While I painted, Ben added the face trim, side detail, and crown molding.

Of course painting isn’t that easy.  Oh no, first I had to fill every nail hole, wait for the filler to dry, then sand it smooth.  And then the priming phase.

Man was I ready to start painting.  Originally Ben and I had agreed on a white entertainment center with a colorful backing.  So I tested out my options inside the cabinets he built and liked Ben Moore’s Yosemite yellow.  But then we started talking it over and decided white wasn’t the direction we wanted to take.  Why the sudden change of heart?  Well, Ben pointed out how much light the front window lets in, which also means a lot of glare.  Bright white might cause a lot of eye strain when we’re relaxing in front of the tv at night.  White is a safe choice, and maybe too safe.  Let’s try a darker color, like gray.  But I didn’t want a sea of gray, so it had to be different enough from the wall color.  I picked out two Ben Moore colors, Kendall Charcoal and Amherst Gray.

Kendall Charcoal was a great deep gray, but too blue for our liking.  Amherst Gray was too light.  While at Home Depot shopping for some other supplies, we walked to the paint department and looked at more swatches.  I pulled out a Behr color that I’ve liked for years, Squirrel.  About six years ago, I painted our master bedroom this color, but Ben said it felt like a battleship.  Since then, he has come around to more modern designs, and doesn’t hate all gray paint.  But we quickly agreed Squirrel was too light.  That’s an easy fix, we just chose the color below, Dusty Mountain.  Without hesitation, we bought a gallon of eggshell paint and headed home.

In the pictures above, you can see we bought the paint before I was ready to paint.  After finishing the prep and priming, I started with the color.

Love at first sight.  Especially paired with the reddish Bubinga top.  Yum.

Ben came home, saw this and proclaimed his love, too.

I think the green undertones are lovely and reminiscent of an expensive library.  Just picture this color on crazy tall shelves with a brass bar for the sliding wooden ladder.

{image via}

But I couldn’t let go of wanting a splash of color.  Using the yellow left over from the cabinets, I tested it on the backs.

I love the idea, but the contrast was too much for tv watching.

Ben suggested I paint the back Wood Smoke like the walls.  Instead, I took the easy way out and painted it Dusty Mountain.

Ahh, that’s better.  Ugly speakers blend in with this more.  We’ll build doors for the side cabinets, but the yellow will be a fun surprise inside.

If we had cabinet grade plywood, we could have built the drawers.  Sadly, Home Depot doesn’t have any in stock because it’s seasonal.  Ummm, what?  Hopefully they get it in, because we can’t make the fronts until the drawers are installed.  I’m telling you, our plans are always contingent on something else.

Progress is progress, and I’m happy.

So, what do you think of the color?  Are you into darker, saturated colors, too?  Or are you more of a light and airy person?  Do you and your significant other agree on colors easily?

Ketchup and Mustard

Going on in our living room.

See what I mean?  Of course it won’t stay like this forever.  Painting will happen, probably white for the sides with yellow for the backs.  While we’re liking more modern and industrial element for this house, I wouldn’t call this look industrial.  More like unfinished.  More trim work, framing out the cabinets, and building doors to cover the cabinets still to come.

Let’s not forget the drawers at the bottom for ample storage.

The shelves are stationary, support cleats holding each in place.


Ultimately, these cabinets will have a similar look to the kitchen cabinets we built.  Wrapped at the top with crown molding, shaker style trim on the sides, and shaker doors.  Instead of glass inside, we’ll use fabric to help cut down on dusty electronics while allowing heat and sound to escape.  Oh, and to hide the ugly speakers.

Speakers are ugly, but the cords are even uglier.  Fortunately, Ben is a cord ninja.  A one inch space at the back of the shelves makes tucking cords behind easy.

Drilling a hole just above the center shelf runs the cords along the back shelf (out of sight) through a hole, down the wall, to the TV.

Now I’ve got to go paint shelves so we can actually use them and get the bookshelf out of here.  You know, between caulking/filling holes/priming in the bathroomscraping wallpaper in the kitchen, and taking care of two crazy kids.  No biggie.  Haha.

What do you think?  How do you store your electronics?  Or hide cords?

Finding Our Center

While the boys and I relaxed, played, ate, and shopped, Ben was still working his butt off at/on our house.  In fact, he finished the shingling on the house roof, with only the pool roof left.  While he was up there, he started determining the placement of the Sky Tube.  If you’re not familiar with a Sky Tube, it’s a small, round sky light, similarly installed like a vent.  Ben installed one in the windowless main bathroom at our first house and we loved how much brighter it made the room.

The main bathroom in the Mountain house is windowless, and very dark.  As fate would have it, Ben was looking at Craigslist for insulation and found a 14 inch wide, brand spanking new in the box Sky Tube.

But, let’s go back to our recent Sky Tube conversation.  First, take a look at the bathroom as it now stands.

Before leaving for Minnesota, Ben and I discussed the placement of the Sky Tube.  I thought centering it on the 8 foot by 8 foot room would spread the light around the best, like this:

He agreed and that was settled, right?  Wrong.  While away, Ben installed the roof part of the Sky Tube, and decided he preferred it centered on the bath tub, like it was at our first house, which would look like this:

And like this from the door:

Either placement is fine with what Ben has already done on the roof.  The flexible duct work can move to either place.  I see where he’s coming from, because when centered on the room, the Sky Tube doesn’t look centered on anything. With the shower curtain closed, the shower is slightly darker than I’d like.  And it would be nice to have the additional natural light in there, so maybe centering it over the shower is the best placement?

Really, the placement is only a few feet apart, so it’s not the biggest deal.  But I’m wondering, which do you prefer?  Centered on the room? Or over the bath tub?

Other than a small hole to mark the location for Ben to find in the attic, we haven’t done anything in the bathroom for it yet.

So that’s the latest debate.  What have you been debating over recently?  Which rug to buy?  Where to hang something?  Let’s share so everyone can vent and feel better.

Center of Attention

We’re all over the house lately.  Last weekend we worked on the bathroom.  Ben took a few days off last week to start the slow process of tearing cedar shakes off the roof in preparation for new asphalt shingles.  Local weather forecasters gave an 80 percent chance of rain on Saturday morning, so Ben chose to work inside.  {Have you ever noticed weather forecasting is the only profession you can be wrong 90 percent of the time and not get fired?  It didn’t start raining until five in the afternoon.}  Not wanting him to get burned out with a single project, I told him to work on anything he wanted.  Of course, his man-stincts (man instincts) kicked in and he started our entertainment center.  In most American homes, the entertainment center is the center of attention.  Am I right?

After building a few bookshelves, entertainment centers, and cabinets, we’ve figured out the quickest, easiest, squarest (totally a word) way to build.  Following that same process, Ben and Handy Sammy cut pieces of cabinet plywood to size and assembled three 33 inch wide by 30 inch tall by 24 inch deep boxes.

Yes, that is one huge entertainment center.  We considered a smaller size, but the living room can handle it, and we spend plenty of time here.  For everything to look built-in and sit flush with the wall, Ben pried the baseboard off the wall.  Then he started with the toe kick frames.  Two by four boards on edge are strong and a perfect height.

Though built-in furniture lends itself to being permanent, we didn’t want to damage the floors if we decided to pull this out down the road.  Instead, Ben used long screws to hold the toe kick frames tightly against the wall, securing to studs.

Before going any further, Ben ran wiring from an outlet to add another behind the TV.  Just after this, he decided to add spacers between each box to beef up the frame he’ll add.

The spacers aren’t anything intricate, just pieces of 1/2 inch thick scrap MDF strips at the front and back.

Before attaching the cabinets to the base, Ben screwed the boxes together.  This helps keep the entire piece level, rather than adjusting the individual pieces.

My biggest concern with a large cabinet is walking space.  We’ve still got about 4 feet between the stairs and the edge of the cabinet.  Plenty of room to move.

That’s where we’re at now.  Bubinga left over from our kitchen remodel will go on top with open shelving above and on either side of the TV.  In the future, we might get a bigger TV, so we’re leaving a 64-ish inch opening.  Drawers below is a new thing for us.  But it seems just as functional as a cabinet.

While looking for paint color inspiration, I found this pretty media center; similar to our plan.

I mentioned before that this thing is a beast, but pictures can show that better.  The five foot wide bookshelf turned media cabinet looked tiny.

Now the TV looks little.  Ha.  And that red has to go.  One step at a time.

If only I could decide on a paint color.  White is always an option, but I don’t know if I’m sold on it.  We loved the wood paired with warm gray, but I’m fairly certain I’ve settled on Wood Smoke for the walls.  South facing windows let in a lot of natural light, but I don’t know I’d like a black entertainment center.  Wood is out of the question because we’re using MDF.  Then again, I could paint it white and paint the backs of the shelves a poppy color.  Yellow maybe?  Green?  We’ll carry the room crown molding over the top and I don’t want that to look strange against a color.

Do you have any color suggestions?  Have you painted the back of a shelf for color in a safer place?