Meyer Wire Renovation: The Kitchen

As you know I’ve moved to Connecticut and have been working at Meyer Wire. In addition to learning about wire (we have classes), writing up orders, bringing them into the digital age and attending meetings, I’m also overseeing a renovation of the offices. I’ve been focusing my efforts on the thing our office lacks the most: a kitchen. Our “kitchenette” is an old broken desk, sagging under the weight of the coffee maker and microwave. Our food is stored among office supplies and filing cabinets. When we eat lunch, we all cram around a desk with sides, which means we have to sit with our legs turned sideways (it’s an awkward pose). The only sink we have is a shallow sink in the bathroom meant for washing hands, not dishes. Considering we are here all day, 5 days a week, we deserve a better setup when it comes to lunch.

Here are some before shots of our “kitchenette”/ storage closet:

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Did I mention the stained carpet or broken ceiling tiles? That’s just a bonus of fun in that room.

THE WALLS + TRIM: 

Since this is the first room we are renovating, it’s important that the decisions we make here, work for the overall renovation of the office. For the walls, I want to go white! Right now we have wood paneling and almond colored walls and it’s time for an upgrade.

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For the trim I’ve decided to use Behr Semi-glass in Ultra White. For the ceiling I’ve decided to go with Behr flat Ceiling Paint. And for the walls I’ve decided to go with a White flat interior paint, as the walls in our office have little bumps that the flat paint helps hide.

THE CEILING:

Above I mentioned the white we are painting on the ceiling tiles. While I would love to get rid of the tiles all together, they do serve an important purpose insulating the temperature and sound from the rest of the factory. Since the tiles have to stay, we might as well replace the bad ones and also paint the almond colored frame that the times sit in.

It’s looked like this for the last 30 years:

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Time for an upgrade, am I right?

THE FLOOR:

Currently the floor is a smelly, stained blue carpet with lots of threads coming loose (you can see it in the photos above). While this messy carpet is fine in an industrial setting (if we spill, it doesn’t matter!), it’s not cutting it and needs to go. I’m opting to go with the a tile recommended in one of my favorite blogs (ManhattanNest). We are going with the Tarkett 12″ Midnight Speckle Vinyl Tile. They sell it at Lowes so it’s easy to get, cheap ($.66 each!), and looks so nice in Daniel’s kitchen. Check out his photo below:

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So to recap, the walls will be white with bright white glossy trim, and black floors with white speckles. I think this look will really brighten up the office!

Now specifically for our new kitchen space, I’ve decided to go with the new Ikea Sektion kitchen in Haggeby white. Thankfully this cabinet style is their cheapest, and I think it looks really nice for the price. Best of all, I can do all of it myself between the assembly and cutting the oak wood countertops (also Ikea) and even adding the sink. Ikea delivers for a $60 fee which is totally worth it, and we could even get our refrigerator through them for a good price. Here are some drawings/renderings I did to make sure I’d be happy with my choice of cabinets:

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I’m currently in the process of finishing the install of all the cabinets, but I can tell you it looks AWESOME so far! I can’t wait to get a little further and share those photos with you.

Here’s a sneak peak (ignore the ugly carpet, as that won’t be changed until spring/summer). I’ve placed a few samples of tile down so you can get a sense of where it’s going:

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DIY: Intagram Art and Magnet Fun!

Let me start by saying that I miss DIY posts and hope to do a lot more in the future. This past weekend it was cold and rainy here in Connecticut, so instead of exploring New Haven I stayed in and did some art projects. I just moved into my apartment this month… well really this past weekend. I’m now fully in the apartment, but it’s missing that personal flair that I’m used to. For Christmas my sister got about 10 of my instagram photos printed for me by Printstagram. They are 4″x4″, great quality on thick card stock and it got me thinking… ART PROJECT TIME!

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Here’s a look at my dining room above. The console/bar table and dining room table are BMeyer Studio originals fyi (contact me if you want to buy them!). You can see it’s gorgeous, but lacking in personality. As the note tells you in the photo, Ill be making a very large painting to go on the biggest bare wall. That’s coming up next week.

In the meantime, Im focusing on another wall in the room:

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I decided to make a display of all the photos I took on my northern road trip (LA to Portland along the coast, then Portland to LA inland through the National Parks). It’s a great timeline and reminder of such a fun beautiful trip. Plus, the pretty colors add a nice artistic, fun art piece to the room.

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Printstagram  sells 24, 4″x4″ prints for $12, which is a great deal! I ordered 2 sets made, which gave me 36 photos for this art project, and left me with 12 extra images of friends, which I turned into magnets (see later in the post).

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I decided to make my grid 6 rows by 6 columns. I found scrap string and some nails, so all I had to purchase were these tiny clothes pins from Michaels to hang the photos from the string.

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It took some math to figure out where to place the nails in order for everything to be centered on the wall and hang evenly. Trust me, do the math and have it be right. If you eye-ball it (as I often do), you’ll regret it when one row is uneven.

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Photos don’t do it justice, as in person it really lightens up the room. It gives the room a fun pop of color, and even the sag of the string gives the room a playful feeling. Plus the photos tell a story and mean something to me.

***BONUS DIY!***

With the 12 left over instagram photos I decided to buy a cheap magnet roll from Home Depot and turn the photos into magnets.

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This was super easy, cost practically nothing and now I can see photos of my friends every time I’m in the kitchen.

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When I was moving my stuff out of my parents house and into the new apartment, I came across a box of old photos from my grandma’s house. I noticed small Photobooth photos of my grandparents taken when they were dating. They had a light, thin metal frame and were also perfect to turn into magnets.

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They look so great on the fridge and are actually getting seen, as opposed to being boxed up in the basement. Aren’t they adorable?

Happy July 4th, 2014 Weekend!

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Are you one of the lucky people already on vacation? Or Are you half-daying it today? Lucky! I’m going to sneak away from LA for a couple days. Last year friends rented a house on Manhattan Beach and it was such a fun staycation. This year we are doing the same thing but in a new (surprise) location. Follow me on instagram to see my real-time photos and see if you can guess where I am!

I’ll be back to my old tricks on Sunday… in fact I have 2 wood bedside tables in the works. Now it’s time to make the drawers! Oh and I’ll be in Africa in 2.5 weeks?! Still so much to do…

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On The Chopping Block

In lue of a Font Friday post or a Weekend Guide, I’m sharing a piece I’ve been working on every morning for the past week. I don’t recommend using power tools earlier than 7am due to sleepiness levels, but sometimes it’s the best way to start the day!

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To start this project, I began with lots of different types of scrap wood. Always save your scarp wood, as cutting boards don’t require much wood and it’s a great way to save the scrap from ending up in a landfill. After planning the wood, cutting down and cleaning it up a bit I was able to play with the color/grain variations and create the design I wanted. For this project I wanted it to look like controlled-randomness. With the dark and light pieces mixed among each other.

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After a lot of very speedy gluing (it dries so fast!) I clamped the wood (in a level way) and then wiped the access glue. Because this will be used for food preparation, I used a special waterproof glue meant to withstand the food and washing of it after. You don’t want gaps where bacteria can get trapped and make you sick over time.

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After the glue dries (allow several hours) it’s ready to be planned and sanded down to perfection. It’s starting to look like a board now!

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This was my first time routering the edge of wood. I’ll admit, I was so sure I was going to ruin it, so I practiced a lot on some scrap wood. Thankfully burn marks and errors can be pretty easily sanded away afterword.

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Here it is above, with a smooth edge and sanded to perfection. No more burn marks, just gorgeous wood. Once the dust is wiped/blown away, it’s time for oil!

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Look at the difference the oil makes! The goal with the oil is to get the wood fully saturated, because if it’s full of oil it won’t absorb any food bacteria. It really brings out the colors of the piece too and it’s super fun to apply. You can see from the reflection above, I put a lot of oil on which is good. Keep reapplying the oil every 2 hours until it’s no longer absorbing the oil (because it’s reached its saturation point), wipe away the excess oil and you’re done!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

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Happy Weekend Everybody! This image is from a short building session yesterday very early morning. It’s going to be 1 (or even 2) great cutting boards when I’m done with this. Today Im focusing on a few other projects and hopefully this weekend will cross a couple items off the list. Get out there and do what you’re passionate about!

UPDATE:

Here’s one project that’s been in the works for a few weekends and is finished today. It feels good to cross something off the list, so I can make room for more projects!

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Here’s a detail shot:

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I love the shadows 🙂 It’ll be making it’s way over to the shop soon!

A Hike + A (Table) Waxing

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Happy Saturday everyone! How is May going for you? I’m trying to be really positive about May and so far it’s been treating me well. The past week has been in the 90’s in Los Angeles, which means weekend exercise is limited to early morning and dusk to avoid over heating. I met up with my friend Susie at Trails Cafe (in Griffith Park) for a yummy cheap breakfast before a walk with her 8 month old puppy Birdie. Mid walk we caught a deer eating fruit from a tree in a neighbors back yard. It was a nice reminder that even in a major city there are some nature filled moments.

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Around noon, when it was too hot to be outdoors we said our goodbyes and I stopped into Home Depot where I bought this amazing Kreg Pocket-Hole System. I think it’s going to be a game changer when it comes to my furniture pieces. When I got home I sanded and glued a table Im building for a friend (a future project to share with you) and I used the Howard Wax I bought last weekend on my newest coffee table. I love the sheen it ads and the orange scent. It just feels more natural. You can see above it looks pretty great. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get to share the finish installed product with you.

Tomorrow bright and early I’m running in the Los Angeles River 5k Fun Run so I need to complete this Saturday with a run and then hydrated night-in so that Im ready for tomorrow. Hope you all are enjoying your weekend! What did you do today? Leave a comment and let me know!

 

Nail Art

My sister stopped by my house last night and as I gave her an update on some of my art and building projects she pointed out a piece she enjoyed and said I should share it. It wasn’t personally my favorite which is why I haven’t shared it with you yet, but she liked it so I figure it was worth posting about.

Several months ago I collected some scrap MDF (although I think the project would have worked better with real wood) and painted them. For the first piece I painted it a creamy pink color I already had (yay for saving on supplies!).

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Next I printed a heart image that fit the mdf and taped it down. I bought some small gold nails from Lowes, and used a T-square (above) to nail in the outside shape of the heart in an organized manor. I nailed it in right through the paper.

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Once nailing was complete, I ripped the paper away to reveal the nail heart outline.

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I bought pink and red thread from Michaels (look up their online coupons on your phone while in the store and you’ll find instant coupons that they scan right from your phone. SAVINGS!) and wrapped the thread around the nails in a random way. This image makes it hard to tell, but there’s an ombre effect in person of light pink to dark red.

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The piece that my sister really liked is this LA metro map made in nail art (she’s a travel buff as you know). Each nail represents every station stop, so not only does it look cool but it functions as a real metro map. I think the mdf backing is why I don’t like it and I’d love to remake it on real wood boards where the grain shows through. Ahhh, future projects.

This was made with the same technique as the heart piece. I painted the mdf and then printed an LA metro map to trace with nails. It didn’t take too long and the tread colors match the real metro line colors. It was a cheap fun project that I did while watching a netflix movie. Give it a try!

Sanding and Staining

Recently I’ve had several friends say that their favorite part of Life Absorbed is seeing my projects and crafts. This is good news, as over the next year I’m hoping to transition it to be more focused on my design projects. This past weekend I got back into my workspace (*cough* garage) and worked on this future coffee table. I love the look and can see this being made into a headboard (maybe with built in side tables?). Ahh, the possibilities! Right now it’s my “testing table”, as I’m going to try a new Howard wax finish on it. I’ll let you know how it ends up.

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Like all wood projects, it’s a lot of sanding before I can get to the staining fun.

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This is the current state of the table top as I wait for the stain to set. There’s a gel stain that is more expensive, but makes the stain apply evenly. I’ll have to try that on future designs similar to this, as you can see some parts of the wood are resistant to the stain. But I like that warn aged look 🙂

Can’t wait to see the outcome and share it with you. Who knows, you might see it up on my shop some time soon!

Kitchen Storage Unit

A friend recently came to me and said, “Help, we need more counter space and storage in our kitchen” (I’m paraphrasing, as he is far more eloquent). As you probably know, I love any chance to build and use my miter saw.

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The first step is drawing out plans and elevations. To get a sense of materials, assembly and all of our options. Since I’m a cheap-o and cost is an important factor in the design, I like to generate my materials list as I go and also divided into sections. This way I can easily say “If I want and extra shelf, it’ll cost me an extra $30” or “designing the table top this way is $10, but this other cooler way is only $5 more”. I take this list when I go to the hardware store and helps me effectively get all the lumber. This list also helps me generate a cut list. I cut list is as it sounds, a list of all the pieces of wood I need to make the table. If you follow your (accurate) cut list, you can cut the pieces and then assemble.

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How much wood do you think it takes to make a table? Answer: a lot of wood. See above. It’s good to get an extra piece of each size of wood because you never know what issues might come up. These were each only a dollar or two, and having the extra pieces is really helpful and gives you more options while you’re building.

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Once materials were purchased, I began by assembling the butcher-block style table top using nails and glue and then clamping it together. Since I knew this would be a slow process with drying time, I started with this first and then took time between gluing to work on measuring and cutting the other pieces.

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Eventually, after lots of measuring, cutting, and screwing down wood, I got to take stock of all the pieces above. Since I knew I’d be transporting this in my car, I had to take that into account while planing my dimensions and assembly. I figured I could lay these elements flat in my car and then assemble them on-site at my friends house, but I wanted to make it so I had to do the least amount of work at his house.

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The next step is sanding and staining all the elements. Above is the base of the table top. You can see how dark the stain is against the raw wood. While staining I find it best to lay it on thick, wait a few minutes and then wipe away to desired results. It’s also best to do this not in direct sunlight. You don’t want the stain to dry while you’re waiting for it to seep into the wood, since it’s staining and not painting the wood. Once it’s full stained and wiped down, then it’s good to put it in the sun to speed up drying time.

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Look at what a difference the dark stain makes. It became so elegant looking. After more sanding, it was time for the clear coat to protect against moisture (which will keep the table from rotting if it gets wet). I used a luster finish of a clear coat polyurethane. I had used this on other projects and it makes the wood look so finished and smooth.

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Doesn’t it look so nice? I did two coats of the polyurethane to really protect it. It also helps soften the rough spots and fill in gaps. I did this with the two shelves, 4 legs and base frame of the table top.

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Now back to the table top itself. I let the butcher block style top stay clamped for the week while I waited for the next weekend to finish the project. Once the top felt solid, it was time for heavy duty sanding. The more sanding the better, as it will smooth and even out the wood. Mine wasn’t perfectly level, but I think that’s part of it’s charm. It’s also going in the kitchen of an apartment for three guys so the rougher and more manlier, the better.

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The next step is to stain! Like a typical butcher block, they wanted to go with a lighter stain than the rest of the table to make it stand out. Once it was stained and sanded again I did the same two coats of the luster polyurethane and let it dry. Install time!! I drove the elements to my friends house for assembly. It was tricky doing it in their house, but with their help we made it work. I find a good trick is to only screw it in loosely until you feel everything’s at a 90 degree angle and at the right height. Then go back and add more screws and tighten the original screws. It’s very hard making things level and perfect, so take your time with this.

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Isn’t it pretty? I’m really happy with how it came out.

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Here it is “dressed” as we say in show business.

If you are interested in a table like this, or you want to commission me for a custom original piece, contact me! I love this type of project and look forward to more. I’m actually working on my blog shop, where you can place orders and even purchase art you’ve seen made here on the blog 🙂 I can’t wait to share it with you!

DIY Necklace Holder

A friend of mine (Tamar) came to me and said, “I’ve run out of room for my necklaces. Can you help me hang a bulletin board so I can use pushpins to hang them from?” and my response was “we are making you a real necklace holder”. It made me realize my own necklace holder was at capacity (see below):

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That means it’s time for a DIY necklace holder for both of us! I combed pinterest to see what the world is making and love the look of different drawer pulls that jewelry can hang from.

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Coincidentally, as this project came up I happened to be wandering around the clearance section of Anthropology (the only part of the store I can maybe-afford) and saw these drawer pulls above. What a coincidence that just as I’m embarking on a project that involves a mix of drawer pulls and they’re ON SALE for $3ea! I hadn’t even designed my jewelry holder yet, but I knew I had to scoop these up while they were there and I sent Tamar to also get a bunch for her holder.

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Knowing I would need to cut the ends of the long drawer pulls, I bought a Dremel to add to my tool collection. This is pretty timid as far as tools go, but it’s super handy. I highly recommend it and it comes with all sorts of attachments that can sand, buff, cut wood, and even grind metal.

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Above you can see the beginning of my jewelry holder (on the left) and Tamar’s (on the right). Since she has a long closet where she’s hanging it, hers is a 3′ single piece of wood. My necklaces need to fit in a narrower space, so mine is two rows. I sanded and stained them to bring out the grain. Thankfully I collect scrap wood and had left over stain, so this was all free.

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Glue time!

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Disregard my messy work space, but I want to explain the process as I worked on these alone at night and couldn’t get great photos. Once the stain and clear coat dried on the wood, I marked where I wanted the drawer pulls to go. I then predrilled holes, slightly smaller than the thickness of the drawer pull rod. Then I screwed the drawer pulls into the wood by hand. The rod sticks through the back of the wood where I attached a bolt to keep the pull in place, so then I used my Dremel to grind (cut) through the rod so that it’s relatively flush against the bolt (later images show this).

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These 5 hooks aren’t going to hold a massive collection, which Tamar alerted me she has a lot of necklaces. It’s problem solving time!

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I went to Home Depot and purchased their largest golden hooks (since it looks nice with the golden wood stain). I came up with a pattern of hook placement that works well with the 5 unique drawer pulls we already bought. You can see above I pre-drilled little holes to make screwing in the hooks easier.

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Lastly, you can see above that the bolt which secures the drawer pulls in place makes it so that it will sit 1/8″ off the wall. To make sure this doesn’t cause marks on the wall, I purchased furniture pads with an 1/8″ thickness (which normally go on the bottoms of chair legs) and put them on the edges. I also bought picture hanging kits from Home Depot which allow this to comfortably hang 1/8″ off the wall. Each of these is really cheap.

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Above you can see how mine turned out! Doesn’t it look nice? You can’t even tell it’s 1/8″ off the wall.

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Here’s Tamars as we were installing it above…

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And here’s the final look! Isn’t it great! Now that’s a lot of necklaces!