Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Recharged


Well then...I've been absent for quite longer than anticipated.  I also had my second blog anniversary during this time!  So much crazy has happened these past few weeks, some good, some not so good.  

This past weekend Chris & I packed up and headed back to WV to visit some friends.  We crashed their cabin and for that short time we completely indulged in great company, mouth watering food, and some new local brews.  I've never been more relaxed when reading "No Service" in the top left corner of the ol' celly. I kind of liked dropping of the grid.

In other news, Chris and I have started to run again.  I never really believed in muscle memory until now.  I'm only up to two miles but the fact that I haven't had to take weeks off due to weird knee pain has me ecstatic.  Okay, that may be an overstatement but ya know...  We're starting to look for 5k's and ideally I would love to do the Turkey Trot which I believe is a 10k around Thanksgiving. I'm kind of rolling my eyes at myself with that statement, hopefully I stick it out with this running thing. 

I hope everyone is doing well!  



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Staining & Sealing Butcher Block Countertops

The butcher block counters have been the subject to a few questions so I figured it was time to finally share how we stained and sealed them.

For starters we bought two of the Numerar Countertops from Ikea.  Just as a heads up, I've since heard that they may have changed these slightly.  Ours were purchased a little over a year ago at this point.  We ended up stealing my step-dad for the cutting & hole drilling process since we do not have a circular saw.

For the staining and sealing process I set up shop in our basement.  I read a few reviews on the sealer and lets just say that stuff is pungent.  Before I started with any staining I did a little bit of light sanding on the edges that were cut and along the top.  

My first step was to seal the bottom of the counters with Waterlox.  I did this in hopes of make the entire piece water safe and my main concern was the piece that would fit around the sink and over the dishwasher.  I applied two coats to the underside of the counters.  I followed the directions and waited 24 hours between coats.  I would recommend stocking up on those foam craft brushes.  I learned after the first coat that it's not easy to get out of a typical paint brush.  I would pour the Waterlox into a small plastic cup and use a new disposable brush each time.  I learned my lesson after the below picture and changed my methods.


I'm going to be completely honest and say that I wish I would have done more coats of Waterlox on the bottom side of the counters.  They have held up perfectly fine so far, I'm just paranoid and want these to last as long as possible.

Next I used MinWax PreStain Wood Conditioner to prep the wood for stain.  I'm not sure if this next step is absolutely necessary but considering this is going to be our only countertop surface in the kitchen for years to come, I went with it. 


After all that jazz, I was finally able to work on the stain.  I tested a few different options on the piece that we cut out for the sink and I wasn't sold.  The stain on the left was a bit plain for me and the one on the right was too red.  That's when I started to think about mixing a few different stains. 


I went a bit crazy on the other side of the above piece and tested probably 8 different mixes of the below three stains.  Dark Walnut, Special Walnut, & Golden Oak (All MinWax Wood Finishes) are the stains we used.  In the end, we both agreed that equal parts of each looked the best.  


For this step, I tore up one of Chris' old shirts and mixed equal parts of the three stains in a plastic cup.  Then just applied the stain as directed, remembering to stir (you're not supposed to shake stain) it occasionally so the colors would stay well mixed.  The below shows the counters after two coats of the custom mix.  


I liked it but didn't love it.  I still felt like it was reading slightly more red than I had hoped.  This is when I decided to go in with one last coat using only the Dark Walnut.  Another reason I decided to do this was because I had read that the Waterlox can slightly alter the color of the counters, usually toning down/lightening them.  I figured I should go slightly dark than my goal in hopes of having the Waterlox bring it back down to the desired shade.


The above picture is after a few coats of the Waterlox sealer.  In total, I ended up applying 6 coats of the sealer to the tops and all of the edges of these counters.  Again I waited a day between coats and used disposable brushes.  The only thing I did different with the top was some light sanding in between coats.  

After the second coat of sealer I didn't feel like I was getting the smoothness that I wanted so I ran to Lowe's and bought a small hand sander and some 320 grit sand paper.  I went over everything with a very light hand between coats of sealer and then wiped off the dust.  I would wait to sand until right before I applied the next coat and I was amazing at how much this step helped!  

I hope this answers some of the questions about how we tackled the counters.  Please let me know if you have any questions or need more clarity on anything in the comments!  We've been living with these for at least 10 months and so far they've been great!  I would avoid placing plastic bags with type or newspapers on them for awhile as the print does seem to transfer easily but it can be washed off with a little light scrubbing.  Since I don't really like to do any hardcore scrubbing on these I just try to avoid that stuff all together.  

Here are a couple more afters for good measure:)


Happy Wednesday!


Monday, May 5, 2014

The New Mod Chair & Displaying Our Diplomas

Hey there!  Sorry about the unexpected absence!  If you follow along on Instagram (homestylereport), you may remember me sharing a little tease of this chair last week!  I'm really trying to get better about my timing and sharing things as they come along so here we go!


I'm a pretty regular Craigslist stalker and a find like this makes all of that hunting worth it.  We were lucky enough to get this for one third it's original price and only a year old with very minimal use.  Similar chairs I've been looking at typically cost 3-6 times what we paid for it so I'm considering this a pretty good deal!  The best part of the deal has been how much Chris likes it.  He's usually somewhat passive when it comes to the design in our house but he has commented multiple times on how much he likes our new friend.

With the new addition to our office I figured I should also work on hanging a few things.  In the six years since I've graduated college this is the first time my diploma has been hung or displayed.  I've always had this weird design issue when it comes to displaying diplomas.  Sure I'm proud of it but I honestly never thought I would care for the look of them hanging on a wall.  However, Chris has been wanting to get them up for awhile so I decided to throw in a couple of cheap-o letters that I painted black and see how I feel about it.

I'm actually surprised with how much I like having them displayed.  This angle makes me dislike the fact that everything isn't centered but in real life I really like where they are.  I'll probably live with them like this for awhile and then make up my mind, I'm lazy like that. 

After we got the chair in the office we realized our white rug made everything look extremely washed out so that got pulled up.  I've been wanting to replace it so that's just some extra motivation for me to find the right one.  

How was everyone's weekend?  I took Friday off and got my closet area painted and started work on our dining room paint job.  Remind me never to use anchors in plaster walls again!  I've been working on patching the holes left behind by them every day this weekend.  I wasn't thinking it would be a quick paint job but so much.  Hopefully I can get around to that today or tomorrow. 

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