Hello! I’m Ana, a mother and homemaker from Alaska.
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posted by Ana White

NOTE: For our Facebook Fans, we are working hard to get our Facebook page back.  It was hacked and stolen last week.  I will update you when I have confirmed information on it's status.  Thank you for your patience.

We've been trying to work hard up at the Momplex, finishing up the other side.  It's been a struggle with a new baby. Baby usually wins, resulting in not much getting done on the second Momplex unit.

There is a lot of baby talk getting done.  

And here's one thing we finally did get done up at the Momplex: Interior Doors!

I remember back when we built our house, and stained the doors.  We just stained the doors and hung them.  I always meant to get to adding a clear top coat.

Well, you can guess what happened next.

A then baby Grace rubbed toothpaste all over the bathroom door, so now I needed to sand the dried toothpaste off and restain the door, and then clear coat all of the doors.

Yeah, that didn't happen right away, and she got to her bedroom door with crayons.  

Fast forward to today, and pretty much every door in my house needs to be sanded, re-stained and top coat applied.  All because I skipped that extra protective step of adding a top coat right away.

So this time, we did things right.

We purchased prehung pine unfinished doors from our local home improvement store.

We took the doors off the jambs (you can see the jambs in the background).  Then we lightly sanded the doors with fine sandpaper, working to remove any marks, rough patches, and even out the sanding.  

Then we vacuumed all the sanding residue off, and started staining.  We used RustOleum Wood Stain in Early American.  It's a one coat - so no pre-stain is required.  

You just brush the stain on,

And wipe it off with a rag.  

It's a good thing the staining process was so simple, because we had eight doors to do, with two sides on each door. 

Once the stain was dry, we applied top coat.

We used RustOleum Polyurethane in a satin interior. 

In between each coat of poly, we sanded with fine grit sandpaper - I'm using 600 here for the final coat of poly.  Three coats are recommended.

It took us several days to finish the doors because of dry times between coats.  

Once the doors were dry, we reattached the hinges back on the doors and jambs,

And then slid the pins back in to the hinges - the door is all back together now!

I'm going to have to do something about those brass hinges .....

Now on to the doorways!

We want the floor to float under the doors,

So the doors are set up on shims when installed.  This will allow the floor to expand and contract under the door.

We'll again be using the door hangers, like we did on the first Momplex unit.

The door hangers worked really well and made door installation so easy.

The hangers just get screwed to the outside of the jambs,

And then at the doorway itself, you mark a level line down the hinge side of the doorway -

And then you place the door with the hangers inside the doorway, line up the hangers with the level line (on the hinge side first)

And screw the hangers through the drywall into the rough framing of the doorway.  

Once you get the hinge side done, you then close the door, and attach the other side of the jamb to the wall by keeping the gap between the door and jamb consistent.  If this makes no sense at all, check this post out for more details.

One door done!!!

Once all the doors are done, we went back and shimmed the jambs and nailed through the jambs where they are shimmed into the framing for extra support.  Overkill, I know.

But you get just one chance to do this right, so you might as well shim the doors.  You won't regret it.

Well, at least not until you start cutting all those shims off.

With the doors done, the design scheme for this side is really coming together!  We'll be adding crisp white trim around the doors and baseboard so the rustic door really pops in the room.  

What do you think?  Have you stained doors before?  Have you used the door hangers? We'd love to hear your side too!

posted by Ana White

For me, the sawdust is where it is AT.

Wood is my medium of choice.  I love how easy to cut wood is, how naturally beautiful it is.  I love how it smells when you work with it, I love how functional it becomes when you use it.  I love that wood is renewable, and while it renews, it renews our air.  I love working with wood.

But while taking on a Momplex, we've had to work with alot of other mediums.  Styrofoam blocks, poured concrete, and drywall.  Drywall was definitely my least favorite.

What always amazes me, no matter the project, no matter the materials you are using, the same principles apply: start square, cut square, take your time and be precise, don't skip steps, work with your materials, think ahead.  If you can do that and use a saw, you can do pretty much any DIY project around your house.

For the Momplex Vanilla kitchen, Mom-Who-Likes-to-Sew really wanted white on white on white.  With our dark winters, she wanted a bright, fresh kitchen.  So when it came time to tackle the backsplash, we choose white subway tile.

I also loved that the subway tile is shiny - there's no windows on this wall because it's the shared wall between the two duplex units.  So the shine gives the illusion of a window or at least depth.

After DIY-ing the countertops, for easy clean up we took a second to cover the countertops with paper.  Preparation is key to a successful project.  It's taken me years to get that.

Because we only have about 30 square feet to cover in tile, we went with a pre-mixed thin set.  It's a little more expensive, but for this quantity, we are talking a few dollars difference to have the premix over mixing it ourselves.  That, and we don't have running water at the sink yet to mix and clean up, so this stuff is the ticket for us.

Per the tile we are using (following directions on the thinset), we applied the thinset to the wall.  First we applied the thinset, then we used the grooved edge of the trowel to make the grooves.  The grooves allow the tile to adhere without air pockets building up behind the tile.

Another note - if you are using white grout (as we are) make sure you use white thinset.  I once made the mistake of not caring what color thinset I used, and I can still see it peeking out in the grout.  You live and learn!

Then the tile just gets applied to the wall over the thinset.  

 

We worked in small areas so the thinset wouldn't dry out before we got the tiles layed.

The subway tile we used is mesh backed, and you just flip it to get the tiles to stagger. 

We used alot of spacer to help us keep the grout lines consistent.

Where there are no electrical outlets, things went pretty fast.

But here's where they start to slow down.  We got to cut tile.

For $25 we rented a tile saw.

Grandpa Tim showed up and helped us out by cutting the tile.  I liked how he used a clamp to hold the tile in place while he cut.

It's hard to see, but we did get super lucky with our tile install (but it may be something you want to plan for if you tile a backsplash).  All of our electrical outlets landed exactly on the fourth and fifth row of tiles - so all we had to do was cut those tiles for the electrical outlets.  

We ended the tile with a bullnose.

Then we waited overnight for the thinset to dry (per thinset recommendations).  

Grout time!!!

We choose a premixed grout as well to save on time, waste and cleanup.

We grouted the tiles, using a grout float, pushing the grout in between the tiles,

Isn't it looking good???  I love this part of a project, where you are so close to being done, and you get newly inspired!

Thank goodness we covered the countertops in paper, because that grout made a giant mess.

Grandpa Tim showed up and helped us clean the grout off the tiles.  

After that, we sealed the grout lines right away.  Gotta keep the white grout white!

The subway tile is one of my favorite parts of Mom's new kitchen!  She loves it too.

I love how the electrical outlets are hardly even noticeable in the tile!

So what do you think?  Have you tiled a backsplash before?  With subway tile?  Did you like it?  We'd love to hear your side too!

Thanks for reading!

XO Ana + Fam

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