DIY Lessons Learned: Hearing Protection

by Bruno Bornsztein

DIY Lessons Learned: Hearing Protection
The Project: Anything LOUD! In my case, that includes using a table saw, using a miter saw, mowing the lawn, changing a dirty diaper, etc. etc. 

The Story: Hearing protection is just one of those things people like to ignore. Most folks will throw on some eye goggles or a face mask in the appropriate circumstances, but for some reason prolonged exposure to really loud noises doesn't seem to bother us. Why is that?

Think about it: those few...

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Week 13 Journal: Pack 'em Up, Move 'em In

by Bruno Bornsztein

Moving in day at the Curbly House
Nine months ago, Alicia and I walked into a house with lights that wouldn't light, windows that wouldn't close, and a stale pall of neglect that was evident in every corner. And for some reason, we both decided we liked it. Not as it was then, of course, but as we pictured it could become.

After many months of hard work, bits of good and bad luck, and sleepless nights (thanks, Baby Z), we're finally living in the place, and we couldn't be happier. Read on to watch our video journal, and find out how we made the final push to get into the Curbly House.

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DIY Lessons Learned: Protecting Your Volunteers

by Bruno Bornsztein

DIY Lessons Learned: Protecting Your Volunteers

The Project: 
Enlisting the help of friends and family to clean up the Curbly House after months of messy construction. 

The Story: At some point in the course of any big DIY project, you're bound to need some help from family and friends. That moment came for us when it was time to get the house ready for move-in. Think: months of demolition debris, drywall dust, paint spills, and general construction garbage. It was pretty nasty.

A ton of...

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Curbly Original
Week 11 Journal: Painting the Curbly House (Finally!)

by Bruno Bornsztein

The Curbly House: Week 11 Journal
(Note: this post was supposed to go up last week, but I just couldn't get it out the door in time. Sorry!)

This week has been pretty crazy: a new baby boy at home, Alicia's starting to pack up in preparation for the move, and I've been working on transforming the Curbly House from a dark, messy construction zone into a freshly-painted, light-filled, livable space. Read on to watch our video journal, and get a first look at the (almost) finished interior. 

 

So, the biggest decision we had to make was whether to paint the woodwork, refinish it, or leave it untouched. We knew we'd have to make that choice from the minute we walked into the house, but we didn't really make up our minds until the last possible minute. Alicia was always leaning toward painting it all white (she felt it was too dark and stuffy). I wasn't so sure, and thought it would be pretty beautiful if it was sanded down and refinished a lighter (or no) stain.

(This was the living room when we bought the house. Can't remember what the rest looked like? Check out the Curbly House introduction blog post.)

During construction, we moved so many pieces of trim (walls shifting, etc.) that simply leaving it untouched wasn't an option. There were too many gaps to put all the trim back as it was before. That left painting or refinishing, and after a serious look at our budget and timeline, it was clear refinishing would be too hard.

So we decided to paint all the woodwork. Alicia was thrilled; I was a little hesitant, but now I'm totally on board. It looks amazing.

We started by washing the wood (with TSP) and lightly sanding it to take the shine off. Then we sprayed a coat of Sherwin-Williams Multi-Purpose Latex Primer.

Side note: We decided to go with latex instead of oil. After a long talk with the experts at my local Sherwin-Williams store, I was convinced that their ProClassic Latex Enamel would look every bit as good as oil (ok, almost every bit), last forever, and not take on a yellow tinge like oil will. Plus, no horrible oil smell.

After a first primer coat, I went through the entire house filling tiny nail holes and dents with spackle or painter's caulk. Then another coat of primer, and another round of spackling. I also sanded between coats to help smooth out the finish.

Finally we sprayed on two coats of the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Latex Enamel with a high gloss finish. With each coat of paint, the wood looked better and better, and using a spray gun instead of brushes gave us a really smooth, shiny finish.

However you feel about painted woodwork, I think you'll agree that the house looks much lighter now:

created at: 09/03/2012
 

Next, we moved on to the walls. Spraying was no longer an option (we would've had to tape all the woodwork, and you can't tape freshly-painted enamel). So we brushed and rolled the walls, carefully cutting in around all the trim.

Cutting in the stairwell

A good paint brush helps a lot when cutting in (see my post from last week), and we got to use the Purdy XL Elite, a versatile brush that holds tons of paint, and works well with high-solid latex paints, like ours. Cutting in is tedious, painstaking work (often times you're in weird positions, painting over your head or lying on your back), but after you get in the groove it's kind of relaxing, and you can really see your progress.

created at: 09/03/2012

We teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to use their brand new Emerald paint line for the interior paint. Emerald is a zero-VOC paint, with a lifetime warranty and ridiculous coverage. It is just ... thick and creamy, that's the best way to describe it. And we loved that it's zero-VOC, especially with two little ones in the house.

created at: 08/29/2012

created at: 09/03/2012

Now on to the color choices. You can see all of Alicia's color inspirations on her Pinterest board, here.

Here's Ayla’s room. Alicia chose a peaceful blue and a vibrant pink called Rainwashed (SW6211)  and Lotus Flower (SW6310):

created at: 09/03/2012
 

created at: 09/03/2012
 

In the bathroom we went with a color called Quietude (SW6212):

created at: 09/03/2012
 

Our bedroom is painted in a soft gray called Alpaca (SW7022). You can really see how the white woodwork plays against the flat gray. 

created at: 09/03/2012

The back bedroom is our nursery, and it faces south and west. We choose a shade called Simple White (SW7021) that really bounces the afternoon light around. Eventually this room will turn into a playroom, so we’ll add color through stencils or wallpaper. 

 

created at: 09/03/2012

 

The play room is painted with a color called Sea Salt (SW6204). This is another neutral that gives center stage to the natural light in this window-filled room. 

 

created at: 09/04/2012

The living room, dining room and stairwell are painted in a color called Aloof Gray (SW6197). It’s a warm gray that morphs throughout the day as the light changes. Sometimes it shows more green, at other times it takes on a rich gray color. 

created at: 09/03/2012

created at: 09/03/2012

Even though we're still far from done (lots of touch up, decorating, etc.), I already feel like we made the right choices with the paint colors, and with the decision to paint the wood. The house looks completely different (and that's a great thing)!

Now that the walls are painted, it's time to put in the lighting fixtures, switches and outlets, and do a few other finishing touches. Then, it's time to clean the place up and move in!

Stay tuned .... 

This is a post in the Curbly House series! Follow along as we document every step of our complete home makeover, from gutting the walls to putting up the finishing touches. And don't forget to let us know what you think in the comments! 

 

Our painting project is being sponsored by Sherwin-Williams and Purdy. We're so thankful for their help with this project!

Still, all opinions in this post are mine alone.

 

 

 

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The Curbly House: Painting Like a Pro

by Bruno Bornsztein

The Curbly House: Painting Like a Pro
It's just like the children's book says: "Everybody Paints".
Wait...is that what it says? Whatever ... it's true.

Painting is the one DIY project almost everybody has tried. And most people would feel comfortable trying it again. But it's not until you start a truly big painting project that you appreciate the value of having the right tools and high quality supplies, and that's just what I learned when we started painting The Curbly House. Don't believe me? Read on to see why starting off with the right tools from the getgo saved us countless headaches throughout our project.

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Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Keep Your Safety Glasses On!

by Bruno Bornsztein

Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Keep Your Safety Glasses On!

...Or, why Murphy's Law also applies to your peepers, people.

The Project: Cutting out old gas lines in the Curbly House, to make way for new electrical wiring and structural reinforcements (yes, these old houses were lit gas lamps!).

The Story: It was late in the day, almost time to wrap things up, but there was one lingering steel pipe up in the ceiling that I wanted to cut out. "Five minutes," I thought, then I'll go home. So I pulled out my...

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Week 10 Journal: Finishing the Bathroom (and A Surprise!)

by Bruno Bornsztein

Curbly House Journal: Week 10 - finishing the bathroom


Start Wizard of Oz Voice:

People. The Curbly House now has a functioning toilet! 

End Wizard of Oz Voice.

Yeah, I bet you were wondering how we were getting along all this time in house with no bathroom. Fact is, the bathroom has been gutted for weeks, and those of us working on the project have been making runs (hah) to the nearby gas station for nature's calls. No longer! Read on to watch my video journal, find out how our new bathroom started coming together, and see if you can spot a special surprise that we've been expecting...

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How to: Cut Tile at Home...and Not Seriously Injure Yourself

by Bruno Bornsztein

3M DIY safe prep tips

The Curbly House is moving into the 'finishing-up' phase, now that the walls are all closed up, taped, mudded, and sanded. Better yet, the bathroom walls and floor are ready for tile! I'll do a post later this week about our tile-laying adventures (don't worry, there's no tile inspection to fail), but today I wanted point out some important safety tips. Read on to find out how I'm make cutting and setting tile an injury-free process.

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Curbly Original
How to: Choosing Wall Art with Meaning

by Alicia Lacy

Finding Art with meaning on Art.com

Last month I explored ways to add color and pattern to the Curbly House (check here if you missed it). But sometimes color and pattern aren't enough; art should also have meaning. You want to look at your walls and see a story in every picture. So today, I'm going to show you some tricks I've used to help inspire my search for art that's beautiful and personally significant. Read on to see what I mean (get it?)

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The Curbly House Quest for Color Continues

by Alicia Lacy

Our Quest for Color Inspiration Continues

In my first post about choosing colors for the Curbly House, I found all kinds of beautiful color inspiration using the Sherwin-Williams' Chip It! tool. This little button led me to some great color combos and palettes, and helped me select wall and trim colors for nearly every room in the house! But the ChipIt! tool also helped us think about how to bring accent colors into each room through paint and decor. Read on to find out what I'm thinking, and to give me your feedback!

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Week 9 Journal: Entering the Home Stretch

by Bruno Bornsztein

Curbly House: Week 9 Journal

Wooo! After almost of a month of trying to get our stupid bathroom plumbing approved, we finally passed our rough-in inspection! That was a huge deal, because it meant we had the green light to start closing up interior walls. And that's one big step closer to completing the project! Read on to watch my weekly video journal and see what other big steps we took this week.

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