Putting the Mudroom on the Final Spin Cycle

With the window trim and mudroom seating in place, it was time to focus our attention on the cabinets surrounding the washer and dryer. As with any project in this house, we wanted to do it on the cheap. We spent alot of time researching cabinets, both online and some that were available in-store. One consideration was to order cabinets through Ikea, but since we haven’t been there yet to lay our hands on them, we didn’t want to spend the money on something that we weren’t quite sure of the quality. The option that we ended up going with was this unfinished oak cabinet from Home Depot. The drawer slides and hinges weren’t the best of quality, but we figure that these cabinets won’t get a ton of use. And with a few coats of paint they should look pretty decent.

You may remember that we chose to paint the mudroom a shade of blue (Woodlawn Sterling Blue). For the cabinets we wanted to go with something that wasn’t white, but would still have a bright appearance. We went with this color called Montpelier Madison White.


With so few cabinets to paint, I ended buying just a quart. It did the job of covering really well.
The cabinets aren’t packaged that great for transit, so I needed to putty a bunch of scratches and dings. Not a big deal considering the price.

The joys of painting in the winter means you end up painting in your dining room. Maybe our first project should have been to build a garage?

And here is what they look like after a few coats of paint.


I had a little bit of help from Miles when I was painting. Every time I painted over the lines he would beep at me. I think he might be an artist in training.


Installing the cabinets only required contorting my body above the washer and dryer.

I had to add a small piece of trim to the top of the cabinets to fill the gap from the crown molding. This is mostly due to poor planning on my part, but if anyone asks, I’m going to tell them that I did it on purpose.

And here they are! We found our drawer pull and door knobs at Lowes.

The only thing missing was the countertop. Sara and I had talked about having a piece of granite cut, but we ended up just using some scrap bamboo I had laying around from our stairway project. The treads were just the right thickness to give it a butcher block look. I cut them down to size and used a biscuit joiner to put the pieces together.

I never pass up the opportunity to use my router , so I routed the corners of the countertop to give it some detail.

After a few coats of polyurethane and the addition of a few LED under-cabinet lights, the project was nearing completion.



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History Hidden in the Walls

One of the neat things about renovating an old house is finding all of the hidden treasures. Most of this stuff can be found literally stuffed in the walls and ceiling. I imagine some of it just found it’s way in the cracks of the floor, but other stuff may have been placed there. Take for example this little item I found when tearing down the old porch. The old mason jar still sits where it was left many, many years ago.


I have never run across anything valuable, like a pot of gold, or a Bugatti Veyron, but I have found some stuff that is pretty neat. Over the years I have kept it all in a box in the hopes that one day I could display at least some of it. When we found a pair of the old auditorium seats and installed them in the mudroom, Sara and I thought it would be a good place to also display the house’s history. I don’t know exactly how old the house is, but records from the Bangor Museum and History Center point to the house being built somewhere in the late 1910′s to early 20′s. Here is a picture taken by a tax assessor during the great depression. This is the only picture I have of this house before we bought it. I would love more!


Compare that with the way that the house looks today (minus the photoshoppping of the shutters, which we will now call shutter photoshoppery).

What if.....

So what else did I find in the walls? Lots of stuff! I collected more marbles than anything else. They seemed to be in every wall I tore apart.


I also found ads for Model T’s, invitations to local events, birth certificates, pay stubs, fishing licenses, receipts, bottle caps, a chisel, playing cards, stamps, and lots more. The oldest thing I found was a receipt for a screw pulley from downtown Bangor hardware store, the Haynes and Chalmers Company. As you can see, it was dated July 14th, 1909.


The Lone Ranger


While not really “old”, I found this piece of newspaper kinda neat. Castro and the mention of a French invasion. Bay of Pigs maybe?


I also found this pay stub from 1939. This was especially cool since the address on the original envelope was our address. Since I had found other items with the name Mr. Arthur E. Stewart, I could now piece together that he worked at an ice cream factory in the late 30′s. I have heard that there was an ice cream factory in our neighborhood, but I haven’t confirmed that it was the same one where he worked. And doing a bit more digging, I found that he was one of 9 children, but passed away in 1998 in Florida at the age of 83. I would love to learn more about this family and if there are any surviving relatives still in the area.

Mr. Arthur Emery Stewart’s pay stub


Donald Everett Stewart (1924-1974) Social Security card (Arthur’s brother, and 1 of 9!)

Donald Everett

Arthur Williamson Stewart (1889-1969) hunting license, and combo hunting/fishing license. Thanks for keeping it legal Mr. Stewart!



Neat, huh?

So what do you do with all of this stuff? Frame it of course!


And here it is hanging on the wall, with the freshly painted window trim!


So, what do you do with all the hidden treasure you find in your house? Did you ever feel entitled to free ice cream for life when you found secret ice cream manufacturers treasures? Neither did I, but wouldn’t THAT be sweet!?



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Trimming a Little Here and There

I saw a post from a local magazine looking for people to talk about their home renovation stories. I submitted a few ideas, one being the hidden door project, and the other being the new mudroom/bathroom currently in progress. I may not have thought this all the way through, because when she suggested a quick photo shoot and interview at the house in a few weeks, I knew I had lots of work to do. I was mostly concerned with getting the area around the auditorium seats finished. This included putting the trim on the window as well as the baseboard.


Claire meet Valspar, Valspar meet Claire.

I have always been a fan of California paint, and in most cases I would say that it is well worth the minimal extra cost. The bummer thing about California paint (from Massachusetts by the way), is that it’s hard to find in this area. I’m a weekend warrior and the nearest dealer is only open 7-12 on Saturday. I get my motivation at 12:01. My second choice has to be Valspar, available at Lowes. It covers really well, and it also dried quickly. We decided to go with a Woodlawn Sterling Blue for the walls, and an Ultra White for the trim. After getting the seats removed from the wall, it was time to get painting.



The color turned out great and didn’t take too long to get done, even with the ceiling. It was time to move on to the trim.

I had an idea this time around to dress up the window casing a bit more than I had in other parts of the house. It is clearly visible from the dining and living room, and almost becomes a focal point. Some research online led me to a few design ideas that I could easily replicate from some kiln dried stock and precast foam molding. My first step was the put the seats back in so I could notch the stool of the window trim.


Luckily this gets hidden behind the seat .


The top detail was just created by using a few different types of wood. The crown molding is the hard foam material (super cheap and easy to work with if you have a sharp miter saw blade).  The head casing and half round are both pine. I saved myself a bit of money by just routing the half round instead of buying it. Why not, right?


The last step of the trim project will be to put a few coats of white paint on it, and the baseboard trim. I’ll show t you the finished reveal in the next post, with more info on that hidden treasure decoration that we have been working on.



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Color Me Bad

I love moving tile. It ranks right up there with my love for Nickelback, and Daughtry. So imagine my excitement when we had finally chosen our floor tile for the 100+- sq. ft. of the addition and I got to move it in, one box at a time. I realize this isn’t a lot of tile, but ever since I took a job mostly sitting behind a desk, any sort of heavy lifting is enough. I was even more excited after we had started to lay the tile out, that we decided the color wasn’t exactly what we wanted. The color was bad. So every box make it’s way back into the car to return at the store, and we picked up what would become the perfect choice.
I always like to dry fit the tile before mixing the mortar. This gives me a better idea of where my joints will fall, and since the mudroom and the bathroom would both be tiled I wanted to see how the transition would look between the rooms.


I decided to try a different pattern in the mudroom and add an extra bit of detail in the bathroom. It could have been because I picked up a  6 pack of really good IPA, but I was feeling confident in my tiling skills. Several hours later and I was well on my way to a tiled mudroom.


Notice that I tiles the room, and then forget to close the window. Oops.

This next picture might adequately represent how I did my tiling. 3 beers, and everything was fuzzy.


Here’s a tiling tip: When your spouse says “Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if we did a little detail on the floor of the bathroom? It would only involve cutting the corners off of each piece, and adding a mosaic detail in the cutouts.” Just reply: “No. I don’t like that idea”.

In the end it turned out okay.



I did this tile job a little differently than the kitchen. After talking with someone at the Home Depot, he suggested that I use a dry mix mortar since both rooms would be subjected to high moisture. It was a bit dirtier than the premix, but I liked it.


As you could probably tell by the previous pictures, we have also made progress on the drywall in both rooms. And I couldn’t wait any longer before mounting the Auditorium seats I picked up off of Craigslist. They are a little piece of Bangor’s history right in our addition. I can picture Miles sitting here taking his shoes off after school when he gets older. Awwwww shucks.


The area above the sets will become a place for us to display some of the hidden treasures we’ve found buried in the walls throughout the years. More on this later.



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You’re the Meaning in my Life, You’re the Inspiration…

When we made the decision to demolish the old three season porch for a more functional laundry room/bathroom I was excited about the decorating possibilities.  Our style has become more refined as we’ve been working on the house and I was excited to begin working on the colors and fixtures for the space.  I love the look of our current (read only) bathroom and was ready to build off it in another room.

We designated a very small space in the addition for the bathroom thinking that we’d need more space for laundry and random baby stuff, because we all know that for someone only 13 lbs, this baby has already accumulated a lot… I mean a lot of stuff.  The goal of the laundry room was to:

A) get the washer and dryer out of the dining room
B) create more storage

C) give us a better entrance to the house than the front door

The bathroom was really only an after thought for resale value, although it will be nice to have one of the first floor, especially when we have company.

Although we really only needed to have a toilet and sink, for resale value we decided to add a shower which will abut the vanity.  To retain as much usable wall space as possible (and keep it from feeling like you’re bathing in prison) we decided on a small frosted window for the room. Unfortunately that also means that we’ll have minimal light, so we’ll need to keep the room bright with colors and fixtures.

With that criteria in mind I have started my inspiration for the room.  I recently came across this bathroom over at Love and Life at Leadora.

I love the moldings, the brightness and the fact that the vanity looks like a piece of furniture.  Definitely an inspiration room.

Although I love the molding, I’m toying with the idea of using tile on the walls as well. It could get costly and be far more labor intensive than drywall and paint, but may be worth it.  We’ll see.  In the meantime you can see other inspiration rooms on my pinterest bathroom board.


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Breaking on Through to the Other Side

There’s just something about sitting back and watching progress happening to your house without having to lift a hammer. This isn’t the norm for around here. I’m usually the one to get my hands dirty so we don’t have to pay someone to do something that we could do ourselves, but it has been nice to see progress when I get home from work. With the impending arrival of the baby, it was nice to get this project moving faster than normal.


With the installation of the exterior door and progress being made to the siding, it was time to tackle the new passageway to the house. This was one of the last steps for the contractor before I could take over the construction.

Here is the old doorway getting prepped to be framed in.


And here is the wall that will get the new doorway.


The old wallpaper is one of the last visuals of what the house looked like back in the day. I can’t say that I’ll miss it. And just to clarify, it was previously covered up with beadboard paneling inside the laundry closet.

And here it is with the new hole!


One detail that bugs the crap out of me is the level of the floor. The addition sits a few inches higher than the existing floor in the house. It’s kinda a bummer, and presents a challenge when I try to blend the two room together. Not much we can do about it at this point. This entryway will remain open. We won’t have a door here because we want the light to shine in during the day, and keeping the air flow is going to be nice in the summer. I’m also planning on adding a transom window in the doorway, similar to what I did in our bathroom.

Here’s a look at what it looks like inside the addition.

The soon to be bathroom, which you’ll enter through a pocket door.


And the future mudroom.


The outside of the addition has really come full circle at this point, and we were so happy with the way it turned out. It’s just big enough to give us extra space in the house, and still gives us enough of a back yard for Miles to play when he gets bigger.



We still have lots of landscaping to do. Hopefully we’ll tackle that this spring.

Just as a reminder, here is what it looked like before.



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Finally Sporting Wood

Since the concrete had been poured on the addition, we decided that we needed more room in the mudroom, since we’d be using that room more often than the bathroom. Really the only difference between the previous plan and the current is about 6 inches. This would allow the washer and dryer to not obstruct the window to the backyard.Here is the latest plan.


The position of the bathroom window changed, and we also moved the vanity to the side of the shower enclosure. The backyard still remained a DISASTER area, causing much stress.


That door leading to the infinite abyss leads to the kitchen. The ‘Big Plan’ is that once that door is moved to the left and the hole filled up, we’ll be able to add more counter space in the kitchen. The new door from the addition will lead in to the dining room. More on that breakthrough in the next post.

The process of building the foundation took much longer than we had hoped. It seemed to rain for days, and weeks, slowing the process down considerably. Also, we found out that the foundation contractor had an accident with an excavator that put him out of commission for a few weeks. When the concrete had finally cured and the back-fill pushed in to place, we were 3 weeks from the baby arriving.


To see lumber delivered was very exciting! More progress!





And that progress would bring us to 2 weeks before the baby arrived. Here’s a picture of Sara just getting home from work to check out the progress.


In the next post, I’ll cover the removal of the door in the kitchen, breaking in to the new entryway in the dining room, and the exterior will get sealed up for arrival of baby.


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