Inglewood Craftsman Home

Restoring our 1906 home in Inglewood CA on a budget


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Outdoor Vintage Window Scenes

This project was a while in the making. I collected antique windows and shutters over a matter of months, possibly even a year- purchasing some, scavenging others. Jon kept wondering and asking what the plan was for them as they continued to fill up space in the basement. Alas, my Pinterest board describing the vision in my mind didn’t help relay the message well, so he was in the dark until project time.

In the basement, I removed all the old hardware so that it wouldn’t rust outside or ruin the windows. Some of them needed to be repainted to protect the original wood, but most of them had more than enough coats to protect them.

I had a large enough stockpile of windows that I didn’t need to plan the layout perfectly; rather, Jon helped me decide on placement by holding each window up where I asked him to while I stepped back to view it from afar.

We placed them in three areas: on the wall of the house where the guest bathroom juts out, behind the hot tub, and on the neighbor’s garage wall. Jon did all the hanging, drilling first through each window, then through the masonry.

Eventually, I’d like the guest bathroom to have a real window. However, for now, it’s the only wall of the house without any windows! To make it blend in better with the rest of the house, we painted the walls behind the windows white; the glass now appears to at least lead into something dimensional, rather than just sitting on top of the pink wall. This was the toughest part of the installation, as we needed to measure, use chalk lines, and paint somewhat precisely on stucco to stay within the lines. However, the paint seemed to work; at a recent party, people didn’t believe that these aren’t real windows!

Behind the hot tub (pictured at top) is my favorite area for the installation, and I believe the most successful. The addition of both windows and shutters creates a little homey environment for the hot tub; it’s no longer just an item stuck in the corner of the yard, but is now a purposeful and peaceful surrounding. And, as a bonus, the tall shutter blocks more of the view and sound from the neighbor’s yard.

The neighbor’s garage wall has looked empty for a while. At some point, someone painted the wall to match the house (pink stucco, hooray). My “domestic journeys” list had included the task of painting this wall, possibly green or brown to match the other stone walls we’d painted, and bring the yard together. However, I think the windows round things out and bring everything together instead.

Finally, I added one tiny window over the outdoor couch to tie in the laundry room windows to that area as well as to the neighbor’s garage. It all looks like one little homey scene now.

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I still have a few windows and shutters left over- not sure what I’ll end up doing with them yet!

Before Images:

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Office Reflooring and Repainting

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– Guest post by Jon –

Ever since moving in, I’ve wanted to pull the carpet out of the few rooms in the house that still had it. The room in the basement, which now holds all my film gear and my drum set, was the first to have its carpet removed. That went almost immediately because it was in terrible shape. But the other two rooms with carpet (the library and the upstairs office) were in really good shape, so those stayed. But Skinny, our big doggie, has a lot of allergies which cause him to constantly lick his paws, creating stains on the carpet and just a stale smell in general – since there’s only so much you can do to clean carpet.

However, what really inspired this project actually moving forward was Morgan finding the flooring at the Habitat for Humanity store. She was able to pick up 200 square feet of laminate flooring for about $70. So I picked up some extra supplies – quarter round, underlayment, and some new paint – and set to work over the weekend, so that I could have everything set up again for work on Monday.

New Flooring and Paint

Before removing the furniture

kinny enjoying the last of the carpet

Skinny enjoying the last of the carpet

I started by removing all the furniture and stuffing it into the storage room next door. Luckily everything including the couch fit through the doorway, so nothing had to be brought downstairs. Then I patched some holes in the drywall and in the base boards where I had removed some phone jacks earlier.

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Laminate flooring needs time to acclimate to the room temperature and humidity. This helps prevent expansion or contraction which might occur if the flooring was brought from a humid environment to a dry one, or vice-versa. So I actually brought all the laminate up a couple days before starting the project, since it had been stored in the cool, dry basement and would be installed in a relatively hot and humid room.

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Then for the fun part – tearing out all that old carpet and finding out what was underneath. Turns out, under the carpet was wood planks and, for some reason, a border around the edge of the room made of adhesive vinyl title. The wood planks were a perfect subfloor, so nothing had to be done, other than to remove about 1000 staples and nails which were used to attach the carpet and padding.IMG_4171

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Notice the little pieces of padding stuck to the floor. There are anywhere from 5-10 staples for every square foot of floor, which were used to attach the padding. Apparently they were pretty worried about it moving.

 

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With the carpet out I decided to paint, since I didn’t have to worry about the floor, and all the furniture was removed. I wanted to use a more neutral color, and more importantly, it needed to have a slightly shinier sheen. The existing paint was very flat, which made it hard to clean, especially with the texture of the wall. So I picked a neutral grey color for the walls in a satin sheen, a semi-gloss white for the ceiling, and high-gloss white for the doors, moldings, and base boards.

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Scraping the white paint off the trim, revealed and olive, glossy paint underneath. It scraped off so easily  because the olive paint wasn’t prepped properly before being painted white. So, after scraping all the trim and moulding, I roughed up the olive paint with a fine grit sand paper and then cleaned it all with a liquid deglosser.

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Skinny is trying to figure out what’s happening to his room (he sleeps in the office at night … and pretty much all day)

First thing to paint was the ceiling, baseboards, doors, and moulding – all white. Then came the grey on the walls. Since it is a textured wall, and there is no moulding between the wall and ceiling, I used a combination of masking tape and clear caulk in order to get sharp, straight lines. When using only masking tape, the paint bleeds under, leaving a very bumpy looking line. With this caulk method, you put the tape down, then run a bead of clear caulk down the edge of the tape. You then press the caulk down with your finger so that it fills all the gaps in the tape, and is smooth. Then just paint over it and pull the tape before the caulk dries. Perfectly straight lines, even on a very bumpy surface!
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Taking off the shelves that hold the computer and all my hard drives was going to be too time consuming, since it would have had to be completely rewired. So i just taped it off and painted as close to the shelves as possible. It’s covered by a desk and because of all the wires, you can’t even see the wall.

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On day 2 I started laying the floor down, beginning with the underlayment. This room is on the second floor, so a moisture barrier is not needed like it would be if the subfloor was a concrete slab. However, the thin, plastic underlayment that I used provides a bit of padding under the laminate planks, making it more comfortable to walk on, as well as giving the floor a bit more sound absorption.
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At each of the doorways, I used a backsaw to cut the moulding. This allowed the flooring to slip underneath and make a perfect edge, rather than cutting the flooring to match the complicated contour of the moulding. These door jam pieces are the only ones to be glued to the surrounding laminate planks. So on one side they are glued, and on the other they are nailed in with a threshold. This ensures that the door jam piece, which is half the length of a regular plank and has the most traffic, will stay in place. All the other planks just snap in place.

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The last step involved putting new quarter round down to conceal the gap between the wall and the floor. With floating floors, you want to leave a 1/8″ gap in order to account for expansion and contraction overtime. The quarter round covers this gap. For this step I rented a cordless finish nailer. It works just like a pneumatic nailer, but without the need for a long air hose and tank. It would have been impossible to nail all the quarter round down by hand without hitting the wood a few times. The nailer hits every nail perfectly and sets it just below the surface, so it’s ready for filler, all in one pull of the trigger. Also, for those who don’t mind slightly graphic images, check out this tutorial on how to drain your finger after hitting it with a hammer – yet another reason for having a nail gun. Password – “smash”.

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This is what is looks like before and after filling the gaps and nail holes.IMG_4220

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Nice and smooth, as if the baseboard and quarter round are one piece.

 

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Skinny cautiously investigating the new floor. It actually took him a few days to get used to the new surface. It was like watching him walk on ice.

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Dante had no problem – he’s bored already.

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After spending a few hours getting all the furniture and computer equipment back into the room, it’s all ready to go! It looks and smells brand new and should stay that way, since the new floor and walls can be cleaned with just a bit of water. And Skinny is completely used to the new floor. He is no longer walking on ice, and can continue his job of assisting me at work.

 

– Guest post by Jon –

Inglewood Craftsman DIY Coffee Table


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Handmade Wood Table for the Front Patio

–Guest post by Jon–

For the past year or so, on our front porch we’ve been using a Craftsman-style coffee table that Morgan originally found on the side of the road. It was the perfect size and matched the house, but was not meant to be outdoors. Over time, the veneer around the edges of the table top peeled off, and water damage began to discolor and warp the wood. So I decided to just make a new table top, since the rest of the table seemed to be in good shape.

Old, weathered table top

Old, weathered table top

I modified the design a bit from the original table top by using wood slats, in order to drain water, instead of a solid wood surface. I started by making a frame out of 3/4×3″ boards. Using a dado blade on the table saw, I cut rabet joints on each of the end boards, where the horizontal slats would fit in. Then, after cutting rabets on each end of all of the slats, I put them into the frame and spaced them out with 1/16″ spacers that I cut earlier.

Table Frame

Table frame with rabet joints cut at the top and bottom

Closeup on rabet joint

Closeup on rabet joint

Spacers keep each slat the exact same distance apart from each other while the glue dries.

Spacers keep each slat the exact same distance apart from each other while the glue dries. You can see the table legs and frame int he background.

After the top was assembled, I attached a 1″x1″ frame on the underside to mount into the existing table legs.

Frame on the table top

Frame on the table top

I then stained the top. However, the color was a bit different on the top than on the legs. I actually preferred the look of the new table top, so I decided to just make new legs as well. I took a picture of the old frame and legs and went to Home Depot to get more supplies.

The legs and frame of the table

The legs and frame of the table

I cut the four 2″ legs out of a 4×4, used 3/4″ x 3″ wood for the frame, then cut 20 3/4″x 3/4″ square rods for the vertical slats at each end of the table.

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Cut down a 4×4 in to 2x2s

Vertical Slats

3/4″ Vertical slats, with 3/4′ spacers

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Routed out the 3/4×3″ pieces of wood to accommodate the vertical slats.

Assembling the end pieces with the 10 vertical slats was a bit of a challenge because of how many small pieces of wood needed to be glued, but once those were finished, the process went very smoothly.

I put the frame together using a pocket hole jig and two screws going from the frame rails into the legs. Then I added a 10 inch wide piece of 1/4″ plywood for the bottom, since Dante likes to sit there when he’s hiding from Skinny.

Frame all put together and waiting for glue to dry

Frame fully assembled and waiting for glue to dry

Skinny hard at work, as usual

Skinny hard at work, as usual

Then it was on to stain and poly. I put two coats of polyurethane on everything, then an additional two coats on the table top and the legs, since they are the most exposed to the elements.

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After a week of drying and curing in the basement, we have a brand new patio table that should last us a long time!

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Outdoor Lighting

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–Guest post by Jon–

Since making the backyard a more comfortable place to hang out, we’ve realized that there’s just not enough light out there at night. We have some strings of Christmas lights hanging from the back fence and will turn on the lights in all the back rooms of the house to bleed light into the yard, but neither of these methods are very effective and they waste quite a bit of energy. There aren’t any before pictures for this project because it was too dark – so just imagine the photo above being almost completely black.

I came up with a basic plan (where the lights would be placed and what kind of fixtures and bulbs we’d use) and began sourcing all the parts. I decided on a total of 12 fixtures that would run down one entire side of the house and around to the backyard, all of which would be switched by two separate wireless dimmers (one zone for the side of the house and one for the back). We’d also use all LED spots to save on energy costs. A single LED bulb lasts about 25,000 hours and uses 10W of electricity, compared with an incandescent bulb that draws 60W and only lasts 1,200 hours. The total estimated cost for the whole project was around $800, which included 12 LED bulbs, 12 outdoor fixtures, a couple hundred feet of Romex, and wireless remote switches.

Click to View Full SizeWe wanted to cut the cost down a bit, and saw an opportunity with the fixtures. Even the cheapest fixtures that we were interested in cost $40, but luckily Morgan spotted some at an auction for an amazing deal. We ended up with 20 light fixtures for $60, or $3 per fixture, which brought our total cost down significantly and allowed us to have even more fixtures – we decided to go with 15. However, these were indoor, wall-mounted pin-up light fixtures with in line switches, so I needed to make some modifications.

The first step was rewiring the lamp – taking the in line switch out and adding Romex, The second was creating a snoot. A snoot is basically a cone that goes over the fixture to direct the light onto a specific spot and keep it from spilling on the surrounding area. Even though we were using spot lights, there is still a fair amount of spillage that we did not want coming into the windows of the house, or creating hard shadows on the stucco of the exterior walls. We didn’t care about it spilling anywhere else, so I designed a half snoot that would shade just one side of the lamp.

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Click to View Full SizeI took roof flashing, cut it to size, shaped it in the fixture, and epoxied it to the inner side of the fixture. Keep in mind, the hard part about all these modifications is that everything has to be done 15 times, so this process took a while. After the epoxy dried it was on to paint. Everything got a couple spray coats of white, and then a clear coat.

Installation began on the exterior of the house by mounting each light in a predetermined location. Earlier I had hung a few fixtures temporarily to determine exactly which type of bulb (wattage, neck length, and LED color) to use and how far apart to space the lights. I decided on a short neck, 10W bulb with a warm color, which by LED standards is still actually a cooler color than a regular incandescent bulb. The short neck allowed the bulb to sit very deep in the fixture, making the most use out of the can and the snoot. I spaced them about 6 feet apart, which created some nice pools of light on the ground without creating either areas of dark shadow or the opposite- flat white light everywhere.

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After mounting the lights to the eave of the roof on the side of the house, I realized that because of the sideways pitch of the roof in back, the lights would all end up being mounted on an angle, so I made some wedges out of scrap wood, painted them white, and affixed them to the eve. This gave me a flat surface to put the fixtures on and saved me from having to modify the fixtures yet again. So after all 15 fixtures were mounted, I painted the cables white where they ran along the eave, and the peach color where they ran along the house. I then ran the wire into the house and moved into the attic.

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I spent quite a while crawling around on my stomach in the attic, since the areas I was working in had only a foot of vertical clearance. Also, eye protection and a respirator are very important to avoid ingesting 100 year old dust and who knows what else is floating around up there.

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I ran cabling along the entire length of the attic and then another cable along the back side, splicing in all 15 lights along the cable run. I ended up with three lights on the back cable, and 12 lights on the side cable which would run to the two separate switches.

I tried out a few different wireless switches and didn’t like any of them, so I decided to run hard wires down the wall to two new switches. We already had one switch in the wall, so adding another two isn’t very difficult. The fire stops in the wall already had holes drilled through them, so all I had to do was fish two more pieces of Romex cable through. After that, I cut out a larger hole for the electrical box, wired up two new switches (which look like like the old pushbutton switches, except these have a dimmer) and wired everything to power.

Morgan picked up a triple push-button switchplate cover for $8.50 from eBay to complete the look.

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And just like that, we have light going all the way down the sidewalk and into the backyard. They are dimmable LEDs, so at their brightest they look like street lights, and at the dimmest they resemble a soft moonlight – and are actually the same color, so when the moon is out it matches perfectly.

Now we can entertain on the back patio until all hours of the night, and our Airbnb guests can use the back door as their own private entrance!

–Guest post by Jon–

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DIY Stone Kitchen Cabinet Handles

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The Inglewood Craftsman kitchen is a strange place. It was clearly flipped right before the most recent sale; I even found an old real estate listing with pictures of  the kitchen partway through the flip. As we’ve lived here, we’ve noticed lots of little things that didn’t quite work out- for instance, the lightswitch didn’t quiiiiite fit over the backsplash, so the workers cut the lightswitch to make it fit, rather than just moving the box up in the wall. Most of the doorframes are pieced together with original trim, new trim, and random bits of wood. The floor in the kitchen is old pink stone, the cabinets ready-made brown wood, the countertop dark stone, and the backsplash multicolored tile. All of these incongruous ingredients make for a strange-looking kitchen.

Since the remodel had been completed just before we saw the house, the cabinets actually had no handles yet. Luckily, this gave us an opportunity to try to bring some of the disparate elements together with handle choice. After a long search through far too expensive handles in stores and online, I decided to make the handles instead. They’d be stone to match the countertops as well as rectangular and square to match the backsplash.

I sourced blank handles from an Etsy seller. What I didn’t realize while purchasing them is that they’re not quite flat. Unfortunately, that meant the contact area with the stone pieces was quite small unless we flattened the handles. Jon used a drill press in an unusual way for this- putting the handles themselves into the chuck and bearing them down on a grinding wheel. This both flattened and roughened the surface of the handles, readying them for glue. Unfortunately, every single fancy glue and epoxy we tried failed! Each test handle stretched or broke off quickly with very little use. Some internet research revealed the solution: basic super glue. We removed the stones we wanted from the larger tile backsplash arrangement by just cutting the backing with a razor knife, then peeling off the backing. The extra glue left on provided a rougher surface on the stone. Jon drilled even holes on a scrap board to ensure the handles would sit flat and level while drying, and we left the glue sitting for at least one day for each group we completed.

 

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When installing these on the cabinets, we realized that the drawer handle area had thicker wood than the cabinet doors did, so we had to purchase some longer screws with the same threads. Drilling was a breeze with one of those cabinet handle measuring templates available at the hardware store.

 

All in all, here’s what we spent vs. a professional product. For purchase: $7 each (x30= $210)

Our costs:

-30 blanks: $33

-Extra screws: $2

-Set of tile backsplash: $8

-Superglue: $2

Total: $45

We saved at least $165 on this one (probably more, since we also used square pieces, and we’d have had to find those somewhere else as well). Seems to pull the weird pieces of this room together even a small amount! IMG_1970


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The Closet Reformation Begins: Shoes.

IMG_1649We live in a 1906 house with a 1906 bedroom closet… and a 2015 wardrobe. Even with Jon’s minimalist style and easy-shelf-reaching height, this combination in our shared closet  creates a mess.

This project has already proven to be intimidating. We can’t just leave pieces of it in the basement while we make do without it (like we can for bathroom cabinets we’ve never used or doors we’ve found in the backyard). No, this one essentially requires a complete overhaul fairly quickly and all at once. I also refuse to remove the beautiful built-ins that came with the house, such as the three drawers in each closet, but that complicates the design significantly.

Of course, I started the planning on Pinterest. The first project I found seemed like a manageable chunk while I design the rest: shoe racks from moulding. Before this, my shoes were all either in cubbies, in a cheap fabric shoe storage cabinet behind my dresses, or in some of the built-in drawers.

Brick moulding was the material of choice, since the others didn’t seem to support my taller and thinner heels well, determined by some short samples. I planned out the layout, measured multiple times (the walls aren’t exactly even at all points, which was fun), purchased the moulding, cut it to size, and installed! Screws in the studs for support, of course, even though the shoes don’t weigh much.  Some of the teeny-tiny heels slide precariously close to the front of the molding, so I think I may install something with a little texture that can catch them- possibly that air conditioning foam.

The shoe racks actually go all the way over the door as well for even more shoe storage, but I don’t need to use those (yet). Just preparing for the future!

IMG_1650Unfortunately, these racks don’t hold my wedges (or motorcycle boots/shoes), so those are still in cubbies (above) until I come up with a better solution. Luckily, this new system did open up space in the lower cubbies for shirts and sweaters. Flip-flops and sandals also don’t fit on here, so they’re temporarily in a hanging shoe storage rack. And boots are still under the bed in storage compartments, but I’d like to hang them from hangers once the rest of the closest is done. However, overall, I love the view of all my shoes and how easy it is to color-coordinate or choose the perfect pair. I won’t forget about any pairs! And no comment on the wide selection I have!

I got quite lucky toward the beginning of this planning process, and found two very nice full California Closets systems on Craigslist Free (yes, they were FREE)! They looked like this installed in their previous home, so I have plenty of options for layouts in our closet. I may even want to overhaul the guest closet as well at some point with all the extra material. Hoping to have another update on the closets soon!

 

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Composting!

We finally got started composting a few months ago! I’d like to learn vermicomposting techniques, but for now, just the basics.

Found this adorable counter composter on Amazon, of all places!

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Found this huge Earth Machine composter on Craigslist for only $30. Sweet deal, considering it was brand new! I love Craigslist, but there are a few things I won’t buy used- a composter is one of them.

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I checked a few compost guides, and it turns out you can compost:

-Used napkins and paper towels

-Coffee grounds

-Cardboard

-Balloons

-Dog hair (yuck!!)

 

And way more! Hope to have some great soil for next season’s garden. I’d also like to put in a Doggie Dooley or equivalent at some point. Hey, we want to reuse everything around here!