Monday, February 25, 2013

The Studio Living Room. 2 Rooms under $1500

Praise Be!!! Just a little detail touch up painting is now left.

The studio apartment was created during the 1930's apartment conversion, it consists of a: kitchen, living room, and bathroom. We tried, honestly we did, to save the original oak floors, but it was not in the budget as half of the floor was actually gone and replaced with plywood due to a plumbing issue decades (and I do mean decades) ago.  The color is Coventry Gray from the Benjamin Moore Historic paint colors collection.

Before, with the plaster patching completed.

 The Union Jack pillow was an amazing knock off I found that mimics a Jonathan Adler design pillow I saw at his studio in Minneapolis, sadly could not afford one of his amazing couches.  The radiator cover was found on craigslist from a home of similar age and was modified by DH to fit the space.  $20.00 plus paint is fab find that keeps this restoration true to our vision.  The bistro chairs are actually for my set that goes outside, so I'll need something different for in here.  The kitchen table was my great grandmother's and was used as a work bench for 40+ years. It is on the restoration list for summer.

This room will house DH's decorative motorcycle collection,  and in the after photos you can see one on the shelf already.  Both posters are WWII propaganda posters in honor of grandad who served in both world wars.

So what did we spend it on? (includes the  kitchen)
$500.00 flooring
$450.00 furniture on sale (remember...always ask for a better price)
$100.00 various paints and patching materials.
$0.00 light fixture left by a previous tenant.
$8.00 Edison Bulb
$50.00 Posters and frames (yes on sale)
$20.00 Curtains ebay
$150.00 curtain rods and tv cabinet from Target
$50 misc decorations
$5.99 the rug on super clearance.
$20.00 radiator cover on craigslist
$50.00 plumbing parts
The table is a family piece and the chairs I already had.
 The cabinet and Union Jack Tray are both from Target, the table is Ikea.  Cannot wait to get a flat screen for that wall!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Studio Apartment...Onward to the dungeon!

Our first major project at Howard House is the Basement Studio Apartment. In the 1930's my grandfather added a studio apartment to one corner of the basement.  This unit was was lived in up until about 1986 when it was then used as storage room.  To my knowledge the only work done to this room from 1970 on was a tragic attempt at wallpapering in the early 80's.  Repeat after me..we do not wallpaper bathrooms and we do not wallpaper basements. WHY?  HUMIDITY!!!! Seriously people, basements in our part of the state are damp, wet nasty messes.  

Our goal was to restore this space and keep it's industrial feel. No flowers in these rooms, its all about the sophisticated Man Cave. 

Soaking the original kitchen hardware to remove decades of paint.
  Restoring painted cabinet hardware.
The kitchen hardware was removed.  I had this brilliant idea that I would spray paint it all black.  Bad idea, it chipped when reattaching to the cabinets. However, after much research I learned that you could soak antique hardware overnight in a slow cooker with a little bit of laundry detergent.  The next morning you can then brush off the layers of paint with a tooth brush.  Amazing trick!!!   The reproduction replacement cost for these pieces is astronomical, so this was a great savings! 

The progression of the craigslist radiator cover.
 The search for a Period Radiator Cover:
Ah...the much maligned radiator, if I had a nickel for every time I heard some fool say, "Take out those old radiators and install central air."    Well I say to those people, you are wrong. If you buy a historic home, don't take out the very things that make that house charming and historic: the radiators, the plaster and the original windows. If that is your goal, there is a nice 1980's edition on the other end of town. I'll drive you out of my neighborhood and over there.    The husband I went in search of a radiator cover that could turn this small radiator into a bench seat.  We were lucky to find a lady in Minneapolis who had foolishly removed her radiators (and regretted it) who was selling her covers.  With a few slight modifications by the husband and a few coats of paint we now have the perfect bench seat.

Progression of the basement. You can see the start of the plywood patch in the lower right.
We could not save the oak floors...I know... throw your antique chairs and vases my way, but we tried nearly everything and as some of you know we did save the hardwood floors at our rental and those were covered in bad linoleum that I had to hand scrape off.  
 The Laminate Flooring...or the last time you will ever see me install it.
So in my defense, two things happened:  Item 1...there was a large sheet of plywood in the middle of the floor where the wood had been damaged in the early 1970's.  The patch job was awful and huge screws had been placed into the remaining 5" strips on one side of this sheet.   Whomever did that horrible job for my grandparents had ought to be ashamed!!! Item 2, there had been additional water damage and the floor had warped and come up in multiple places, most likely from an overflowing toilet in the studio bathroom.  Yuck!!! The kitchen floor had completely disintegrated and the living room was a patchwork mess.  Underneath this floor appears to be wide plank pine that was on top of a dirt floor..NOT cement.  It actually butts against the cement for the rest of the basement. Egads!!!   I do remember hearing that the basement floor was dirt before the 1930's conversion to apartments, but seriously...DIRT?!  So alas, my intentions were to save the floor, instead we covered it until we can afford the ridiculous amount it will take to fix the oak and tear it all up and add a cement pad.  So enjoy the hickory laminate I found on super clearance.  I am probably wrong in all of my assumptions regarding this floor and that those pine boards I saw would be fabulous, but until the budget allows we can make due with this substitution.


The kitchen progression up until the counter was installed.  Almost done!