Monday, April 22, 2013

The Loft Improvements Continue, Built in Shelves

I really wanted some built in shelving in the loft.  We have a ton of books and some empty space in the loft and I've been reading about so many other awesome built in shelving projects in blogland--it seemed doable and at my skill level and I was loving the end results.  This was my thinking and now I'm over thinking because this project is way more than I seem to be able to chew.  But, back to the beginning.

I really loved the way Centsational Girls Ikea Billy Built Ins turned out, so I used her ideas and instructions.   Well, I'm still mid-project but this was the jumping off point.  We went to Ikea and purchased 3 of the 15" deep Billy bookcases.  They were $70 each.  This was a day long activity.  Ikea is about 1 hour away.  Just getting all of the boxes out of those huge shelves and onto your cart, then through the checkout is such a process.  Then loading up the car, driving home, and getting the big heavy boxes upstairs was a whole other struggle.

We put together the first shelf and started to move it around to see how the whole unit would fit in the space.  Here is the wall I thought would be the best, to one side of the window.  I swear I had more and better pictures of this but they apparently are hiding from me right now. 

What you can't see in the picture is the 6" baseboard and how the Billy is sitting next to the wall.  In order for the Billy's to have the built-in look, we were going to have to raise them up so the baseboard would be even with the bottom shelf.

We came up with this I design using 2x4s and screws:

Using some L brackets, we secured the I frame to the bottom of the Billy.

We made 3 I frames, I for each shelf.  I'm sure there are better and easier ways to do this but we are novices and wanted to make sure the frames were sturdy and secure.

Then we added a few screws to secure the Billy's to each other, making it one unit.

We did the same with the 3rd Billy.

Then it came time to secure all 3 Billys to the wall.  Ikea includes some L brackets for this with the Billy, we just used those.  We did have to shim our platform first to get the unit to sit flush against the wall.

OK, here is my best picture of the whole unit so far. 

Now, time for the trim to make it look built-in.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Loft Floor Using Allure Waterproof Flooring

First off, this is NOT a sponsored post, no one is paying me to write this, all opinions and 100% my own.  Hello, I've been wanting to share my latest home improvement project  and I have no excuses except for laziness.  I guess I'm much more of a doer than a sharer.  Always something more to get done.  Well, this project is very close to done, at least Phase 1. 

This project started off as a necessity.  We have a really nice loft space in our home, its the 4th floor, the attic space, its completely finished.  It has an open area, a bedroom and a bathroom.  The open area is where the kids watch TV and its also the space that houses the cat litter boxes.  After 2 years of living in this house we had to face facts.  Cat litter plus carpet equals yuck!  The carpet was getting so soiled, didn't matter how much I vacuumed (OK, I probably didn't vacuum that much).  Add to the fact that our cats seemed to think of the carpet near their box as an extension of thier box...double yuck!  One day I got fed up and went up there with a blade knife and removed some of the carpet and padding under their boxes.

We were thinking that we would put down a laminate floor.  The stairs leading up to the loft are a dark cherry hardwood.  Very nice.  We knew we didn't want to spend the $ on hardwood and weren't sure we could diy the installation.  Since most of the house is the dark cherry hardwood I wanted the loft area to be different and lighter.  With the whole cat box situation I started thinking that I wanted something completely waterproof

We went to HD to look at options and the sales guy showed me this product called Allure, they only sell it at HD.  Its not laminate, its vinyl, and its waterproof.  Allure has a LOT of different products and most are water resistant, this was the only one that I saw that was waterproof.

It comes in a ton of colors and patterns.  I choose this maple honeywood color.  I liked the different tones and variations in the tile and thought the color would complement the hardwood in the rest of the house.

This wasn't the most inexpensive option for flooring, I think it was around $2.60/sqft.  Not bad but we could have gotten laminate for under $2/sqft.

I don't have a lot of pictures of the process but there were 3 major phases:
1.  Rip out carpet, padding, remove tack strips and discard.  Think many, many trips up and down the stairs out to the curb.
2.  Lay vinyl tiles.
3.  Install quarter-round and transitions.  Paint or stain to match, cut all the pieces, nail or screw down, sand and paint to finish.

To lay the vinyl tiles, we just followed the directions.  The cuts were made by scoring with a blade knife and snapping.  For trickier cuts, we used tin snips like scissors to cut, you have to be careful when you do this though because the tin snips are not too accurate.  I also used my wire cutters at times to make small cuts.
BTW, I don't think I could find a more unflattering pic of me if I tried, keeping it real here.

Alex figured out to use a flathead screwdriver when we got to the end of the wall and were trying to pull/snap in the last pieces.

Here is a view of the finished floor, end of Phase 2 as I call it.  The next step was to add quarter-round to the baseboards and stairwells and transition pieces.

Here is one of the transitions where the stairway meets the loft floor.  You can see the dark cherrywood that is in most of the house.  We used a piece of of trim from the moulding section for this transition and stained and polyed it to match the stairs.  Here you can also see the quarter-round that we stained for around the stairway.

Comments/opinions on the Allure vinyl tile product:
-- I love the way this floor looks!  Such an improvement over the dirty carpet.
-- I'll have to see how it wears but so far so good.  I have a busy household so it will definitely get alot of wear and tear.  I'm crossing my fingers that it holds up well and as promised on the package, I can't imagine starting over with this floor....
--Installation was fairly simple once you get the hang of it.  There is a bit of pulling/pushing and maneuvering to get the tile to lock in and join to the adjacent tiles.  I do notice a few seams showing and this is not supposed to happen.  I'm not happy about it but I'm hoping that they are not too noticible and that no more appear.
--Because this room was carpeted, the subfloor was very uneven, there are even bumps that I can feel through the tile.  Thankfully we used this product because its flexible and forgiving of the uneven floor.  Otherwise I think we would have had to level the floor before installing any other hard product.
--Also because this room was carpeted, the doorway mouldings are now floating almost an inch off the new floor.  :(

While at the store to pick up quarter-round, I also purchased this nail gun, Arrow Fastener 2 in. Electric Brad-Nail Gun.

Sadly, we returned it to the store.  I only tried it with the 2" brads which were maybe too long (although this product is supposed to be able to handle them).  Only 1 out of every 10 brads went all the way into the wood, the rest stuck out and either had to be yanked out or nailed in with a hammer.  Bummer though because this was easy to use.


So, the floor is done but this room is not.  Next step is to build in some IKEA Billies like Centsational Girl did here

Thanks for reading....  Adrienne