Sunday, August 17, 2014

Remembering Frames Past

Like with the upstairs bathroom, I'm reluctant to remove anything that has some history to it, but the old tiles in front of the fire place were dull and stained and beyond reviving. I'd made the same decision about the bathroom tiles, but not until after a few weeks of hand-wringing.

Since we had plenty of left-over tiles from the stairway project, we thought they might also look nice by the fireplace. The first challenge was to build a beveled frame for them using some left-over oak boards from the old kitchen floor. Jam felt the need to supervise me closely, because cutting wood on a angle and then making a frame takes patience. Here he is, pretending to be asleep so that I take my time. Clever dog.

I took some art classes in college, and in one of them we learned to stretch the canvas and make a simple frame for our painting. Looking back, all I can remember now is that frame, looking at it and probably thinking about how I could have done a better job--I'm certain that the stuff I painted inside the frame was hopeless crap. Oh well, some of us just make the frames.

A few coats of varnish and now it blends in with the floor OK. I still need to grout, probably a dark color, but I'm in no hurry. The fun part is over.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Doggy Speed Bumps

Our dogs have no regard for the welfare of our floors. I just spent an entire week sanding, with machines and by hand, to remove the years of doggy toe-nail gouges from the oak planks in our living room, and then I carefully applied three coats of a tough polyurethane to the surface so that it now looks smooth and healthy again.

But to the dogs, the stupid floor is more slippery than ever, forcing them to either walk slowly (which is no fun at all) or to extend their toe nails and run like wild animals.

Unfortunately, floor varnish takes several weeks to cure and harden. It is very vulnerable at first. Even after I explained this, the dogs do not care--I just get blank stares. They love to run from the bottom of the stairs down to the kitchen, like race cars spinning out and losing control on the track, and they will not see my side of things.

Then I realized that if I strategically placed some chairs in the path, they would not be able to generate enough speed to do any harm.

A photo of our living room with two chair where no chairs should be

So now they walk like little angels through the maze of chairs. Ha, ha.