Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Have a Sickness

Yes, everyone, I have a SICKNESS. It is called home renovation-itis, and I stay up late at night thinking of home projects, dream about them, obsess about them while I'm working, and google things like brad nailers (not that I would ever surf the web for personal reasons at work), and sometimes utterly drive myself crazy with my obsession.

I am starting a blog because I’ve learned so much over the home renovation/decoration process, and I have more projects to do. I want to share what I’ve learned and done so I can (maybe) inspire and teach others, as other bloggers have certainly done for me. I am continually inspired and amazed by people’s ingenuity. I am not alone in this obsession, people . . . there are many, many others out there who also have home renovation-itis/decoration-itis, whatever you want to call it.

Today's project is called . . . adding moulding to an island. I have been so inspired as I've googled these words. I found this blog (love the name of her blog, BTW), and thus began my inspiration for my island project. 

Here is her gorgeous kitchen island and paneling work, which I was trying to emulate for my island. 

Here is what I had to work with:

Please ignore the gratuitous kitty kat photo. She wanted to be featured in my new blog so she can become a celebrity. 

My island is a boring, simple builder's grade island that probably has been installed in thousands of homes all over America. I have painted and glazed it in a cream color, but it was a maple wood color when we moved in. The boring blandness of it was driving me nuts, and I couldn't stand those side pieces of trim that stick out and seem to have no place whatsoever. It needed some dimension, some pizzazz. It needed moulding!!! There is nothing better than moulding, moulding, and more moulding! It was time to do something with the island and do it FAST. 

But the problem was . . . I don't have a lot of carpentry skills. In fact, until today, I've never even used a saw. Inspired by many other women on the internet and their carpentry skills, I went out and bought a simple miter box at Home Depot for $4.97. You can see it (it's yellow) on the top of our island. This is all because I found a blogger who used this inexpensive tool with a handsaw to cut her foam moulding. I am intrigued by this lightweight material, which is why I was inspired to try this project myself. I bought this to frame the island at Lowe's:

It's 3 1/2" wide, which will frame my island nicely and will cover that weird open place in the corner at the bottom, since that's exactly 3 1/2" wide. Here is a pic of that weird cut-out at the bottom right.

This foam stuff is a polyurethane foam material, but don't be misled, people . . . this is hard stuff, not like your styrofoam coolers. It is durable and would work for my island. I also bought this at Lowe's:

This is just 3/4" wide screen moulding (again, made out of the same polyurethane foam material). We bought this to go between that weird trim on the island (under the nice base moulding as a support) since it's 1/4" thick, which is how much that weird trim sticks out. 

And since I wanted a pneumatic nailer (I'm tired of using a hammer, dear readers), we bought this at Home Depot:

It's a Campbell Hausfeld Brad Nailer/Stapler. We got it for the bargain price of $39.97. My husband had never bought a brad nailer before because he thought they were expensive. Well, this is how we found this particular nailer: I called Home Depot and asked, "What is the cheapest brad nailer you have in stock?" The sales associate told me "We have a Campbell for $39.97. But I haven't heard of that brand. We also have a Porter Cable brad nailer for $69.97. That's a good price for a Porter. I would get the Porter." So I googled the reviews for the Campbell Hausfeld, and bought that one. It's cheap, it does the job, and I am not (probably) going to use it extensively (except for a super-whopping big project I have to do putting up crown moulding in our whole downstairs in the future).  A hint here: when you go look at the finish nailers at Home Depot, this was not located with them. This was in the air tools section. This is important because, for some reason, they only seem to have the more expensive finish nailers in the finish nailer section. Pretty sneaky, if you ask me. You need an air compressor for this brad nailer (which we have on hand). If you buy a brad nailer, make sure you have (or buy) the right air compressor for the nailer you have (the PSI--or pounds per square inch--varies on different air compressors). The nails (500 of them) are included with the nailer. The nails that were included were the 1" long ones, which is what I needed. You don't want to go through your cabinet so you can see the nails on the inside.

Then we went home. I have never used a saw before this day, my friends, nor have I ever used a brad nailer before this day. So I did both. First I used the $4.97 miter box from Home Depot with a handheld miter saw. Yes, you can cut the foam moulding stuff by hand with a handsaw, but it is still hard to cut (maybe I'm not the strongest person in the world, OK?). So after the first two cuts with the handheld saw and my griping, my wonderful husband told me he would set up his electric compound miter saw for me. Thus came my very first lesson in using this sort of scary piece of machinery. Once you use it, it's not so scary. I never knew that, all these years! I have seen my hubby do projects for years, but never have I used that thing! I was intimidated. So no more. I have been initiated . . . .  Yes, it was way easier to do the cutting with that electric saw. But if you just use a handheld miter saw and cheap miter box, it will get the job done as well. You just have to hold the moulding really well as you're cutting, or it will slip around a lot.

My next lesson . . . the brad nailer. I didn't even know it was called a brad nailer until today. I had seen the term finish nailer, but brad nailer? Is it the same? Yes, I now know it is. So we proceeded to unpackage the nailer and set it up. We oiled it up (5 drops), inserted the nail strip, set the depth penetration, and I was off! If I can just stop flinching when I use it, I will be okay . . .

It's been a long day, readers. After three hours at the zoo in the hot baking Florida sun, and then coming home to work on the island project, I am exhausted. Here is our progress thus far:

We've framed out one side of the island. Of course, I will have to caulk, paint and glaze when we're done, but I am happy to get this much done. It has been a day of learning, and I am very happy. I am starting to feel accomplished . . . .

More tomorrow.