Egg Knobs

The Minnipin house had been a rental before it went up for sale. Only two probably-original door knobs were still here. One, a pretty glass one-way knob on the linen closet, the other a character-filled iron looking affair on the old, original door to the basement storage room. What was here was a range of brass, bronze and silver doorknobs, all keyed, probably for renter security.

The door knobs needed replacing, if not for aesthetics, for safety. Keys to all these doors hadn’t come with the house. I dreaded the moment I’d lock myself out of a room, or when a young child might lock itself in. I needed privacy knobs, but keyless ones.

Pretty glass knobs with privacy features were out of budget. Poking around for something actually appealing, I stumbled across egg shaped knobs on several home store sites. The more I read about them, the cooler they seemed. Turns out that egg shape is easier to turn than the standard round knob. I liked their old European vibe and the look. Egg it was going to be.

I settled on Schlage’s Siena Privacy Knobs in satin nickle (no fingerprints).

Install was easy, even for a first time door knob installer like me. The hardest part was working around all the dings and previous installs this almost 70 year-old house had endured. The second hardest part was patience. At around $24, I couldn’t do all the doors at once. So the upgrade was a one-a-month sort of thing. Both Amazon and Lowes were my sources, depending on prices at the time I bought each one.

Two years later, I’m loving these knobs. The inevitable lock out has happened a couple of times, easily solved with the pin release that comes with the set. They’re easy to use and keep clean. Part of me still wishes I had those pretty glass knobs from the fantasy upgrade. The eggs so clearly aren’t original to the house. But they work. They feel clean. They add a little pleasant interest.

Also, they made it easy to decide on little egg knobs for the kitchen cabinets. These cabinets might be original to the house. They seem like they were made in a time when people got excited about machine finishes and what a router and a jigsaw could do. Solid, if not super space efficient, they’re still going strong. Hole free, it was obvious that the cabinets had never had knobs or pulls.

For the kitchen, I settled on York Satin Nickel Cabinet Knobs. This was also part of my Interim Kitchen project. I wasn’t sure they were strictly necessary — the Minnipin house had been without all these years. Why now?

Hmm. Well, the first reason was function, ease of door opening. And a second was just that twitch to do something to make these cabinets a little fresher, since replacement wasn’t an option.

So, so glad I did the project! The nickel adds a little gleam to the kitchen overall, somehow making it look more ordered. Those slow moving drawers are much easier to handle now. Cleaning is simpler too, partly because the cabinet edges stay cleaner and the knobs are freshened with a quick swipe.

These pulls have been great. So great I used the extras from the kitchen project to replace a couple folding closet door pulls, and even for the basement storage unit.

Yay! Overstock was my source for the pulls, which are sold in handy packs of 25. Average cost is $2.50 per.

No one has paid me to say any of this. I’m just loving my crazy little egg knobs.

 

 

 

 

 

Interim Kitchen: Painted Linoleum Kitchen Floor

Oh the kitchen floor was ugly. Yes, it had taken a beating from the seven animals and me trekking through in a four season climate. Yet it was ugly before that.

My realtor said the high value upgrade would be to extend the wood floors in the living room to this area. At $4-$5k, it’s not in any short term plan. Laminate wouldn’t look great next to the real wood. Tile would be cheaper. I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted tile in the dream kitchen (tile does get pretty cold in the winter). And even if I did want tile, it’s possible the layout of the kitchen could change, if ever the dream kitchen materializes. Dropping $1500 on tile now just seems like burning cash.

Still, we’re talking ugly. So ugly that when you looked at the pretty living room wood floor abutting the linoleum, all you’d see is the linoleum. And it was tan. There’s nothing wrong with natural colors but the rest of the kitchen has a 1947 cottage feel, with white painted cabinets and a black laminate counter (yes, I dream of replacing that too but it isn’t as hideous). The tan floor screamed rehab remainder.

Original linoleum. Hides the dings but the faux tan marble isn't great in the Little Egg House
Original linoleum. Hides the dings but the faux tan marble isn’t great in the Little Egg House

I wanted it gone. For cheap. Time to scour the internet for DIY ideas.

As the title of this post probably tipped you off, I decided to try painting the linoleum. I found several great articles that got me inspired:

The View Along the Way

Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body

Thrive bravely showed how not to do it

A Home Full of Color, which went with stenciling

The project was taking shape. Time to think seriously about the planning. Here were my issues and what I decided to do about them:

Big floor, most used room in the house, seven animals: there was just no way to do this project except in pieces.

Seven animals and project-girl me, dirt a constant factor: a single color floor would just draw attention to dirt and mess. I clean but I don’t want to have to do it twice a day. The design would need some pattern to it.

Cheap Thrifty DIYer: This project needed to be done on a budget. Decided to use paint I already had on hand (Kelly-Moore Dark Gray and Country Cotton), splashing out cash for the primer, stencils and finish poly coat.

Slapdash painter: I’m not always the most meticulous of painters. Implementing  a perfectly executed geometric design was doomed for failure. I decided to try using stencils to give the floor some design but go with different paint weights in the stencil. Because I didn’t want perfect geometry, it seemed sensible to go with a random medallion look instead of damask or something requiring more regimentation. My goal was a pretty-yet-slightly worn look.

Time to get started:

1. First, I went to the paint store and talked to the helpful folks there. They looked a little nervous and suggested doing a test. I was lucky enough to have a small landing a the top of the basement stairs that would be perfect for this. If it was a disaster, it was easily covered with a small rug and the rest of the kitchen would not be compromised. So that would be the place to start.

Landing, pre-paint
Basement stair landing, pre-paint

2. Starting spot chosen, I sanded the floor with my random orbital sander. This was quick, and had the function of deglossing / stripping the shiny off the floor. Some posts suggested buying deglosser but I didn’t. Since I was doing a test area, I wanted to see if sanding and priming with a “no sanding required” primer would solve the gloss removal problem.

3. Next it was time to prime it with a super adhesive primer. I used Zissner’s Bull’s Eye 1-2-3, which retails around $15.99 at Ace. Using a water-based primer mattered because the paint that would go on top was also water-based.

Here's the landing primed
Here’s the landing primed

Next coat was the leftover porch and floor paint I had in Kelly-Moore Dark Gray. I’d already used this on the exterior base of the house. It was a color that could work and no additional cash outlay required. This went super fast and smooth with a roller.

The cats also felt like the paint went down well and were compelled to walk through the one spot I had not covered
The cats also felt like the paint went down well and were compelled to walk through the one spot I had not covered

Patience was the next step. I let coat one cure for 24 hours before doing the second.

Six hours later, it was time to stencil! I like medallions and picked up a few stencil’s at Michael’s that seemed like they could work.

First medallion down
First medallion down
More medallions
More medallions
Enough medallions
Enough medallions

Once those were dry, time to poly the floors! I used This stuff went down beautifully. You’re supposed to roll it on but I painted it in three thin coats. Loved quick dry, but blocked it off to cure for 24 hours.

Here's the painted landing by the back door
Here’s the painted landing by the back door

I liked it! It was pretty. It seemed durable. Time to work on the rest of the floor.

Because the primer would be covered, I sanded and primed the whole big floor at once. It would get beat up until painted but it was better to kick up the serious dust from sanding only once
Because the primer would be covered, I sanded and primed the whole big floor at once. It would get beat up until painted but it was better to kick up the serious dust from sanding only once
Section two painted. I based my segmenting on what I could still get done and allow animals access to the kitchen
Section two painted. I based my segmenting on what I could still get done and allow animals access to the kitchen

Kitchen done!

{insert full pic}

Some lessons and after notes:

There is going to be hair. I tried so hard but inevitably, I’d find the occasional pet hair stuck into the paint. Where I could, I removed it but some places, I ploughed on and hoped for the best. Stenciling helped hide the stubborn ones!

It’s sturdy and fixable! I’m six months into this floor and there are few chips. These are mostly due to me dropping really sharp items directly onto the floor. One was due to dragging something really heavy on it. In all instances, I’m able to sand (if necessary), dab a little gray onto the spot, and polycyclic over that. This takes about five minutes, every other month. The scratches are all down to me, it should be noted. The seven animals and their claws seem to have zero effect. I do think I’ll slap down another layer of poly sometime in the summer, just to keep it fresh but

You can mop it with your steam mop: Yay! I was really worried about this one because that’s my favorite way to mop.

Water splashes show and then disappear: this is a hardworking floor but it stays nice looking.

I’d do it again, but maybe not in the winter: I think I could have better managed the animal traffic if it were more congenial for them to be outside, instead of supervising my every move

I wish I’d done under the fridge, the laundry closet and the pantry. I left these parts undone, mostly because my back can’t take moving really heavy stuff. No one seems to notice or care but in a perfect world . . .

All in all, I am happy with this one. I think it adds a sort of pretty charm to the Interim Kitchen and people say nice things about how unusual it is. And I figure that if I sell the house before I can do the dream kitchen, a fresh layer of linoleum is a pretty cheap fix.

What do you think? Are the medallions too froufrou? Would you do this in your home?

Interim Kitchen: New faucet!

My sister gave me a very generous Amazon card at the holiday. While a whole counter-sink upgrade was not in the cards, a new faucet for the Interim Kitchen might be doable with the great gift card (thanks W!).

This is the came-with-the house faucet and sprayer. I guess someone liked the challenge it provided in filling pots
This is the came-with-the house faucet and sprayer. I guess someone liked the challenge it provided in filling pots

The goals were:

  • Add height, so pots were easier to fill
  • Keep a separate sprayer. My last faucet had the integrated one and while it worked, I did not love it
  • Brushed nickle, to minimize on annoying water spots
  • Something that would look pretty and right under the original curlicue sofit over the sink. This place has a cottage look and it seems silly to fight it. Also, I love that the kitchen was built in a time when folks got excited about the new technology of elaborate machine wood cutouts
  • A place for an integrated foaming dish soap pump. This would free the counter from both dish and hand soap bottles. Clutter redux!

This little beauty on Amazon (Premier Sonoma Lead-Free Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet with Matching Side Spray, Brushed Nickle) got some good reviews and it seemed to meet all the other goals. Also it had a single on/off handle on the side. Perfect. It only required two holes, leaving one for my foaming soap dispenser. Price was about $144

Premier 120025LF Sonoma Lead-Free Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet with Matching Side Spray, Brushed Nickel (Amazon, $143.65)
Premier 120025LF Sonoma Lead-Free Single-Handle Kitchen Faucet with Matching Side Spray, Brushed Nickel (Amazon, $143.65)

This dispenser from Kitchen Classics got the best reviews on Amazon and I snagged it.

Built in FOAMING Soap Dispenser - #1 Selling Built In Foaming Soap Dispenser **SAVE MONEY** Top Quality 304 Stainless Steel (Satin) HUGE 17oz Bottle - Installs Quickly **Requires Properly Formulated Foaming Soap** We Also Sell Organic Foaming Soap

The look wasn’t perfect and curvy like the faucet but the one that matched better wasn’t a foaming dispenser. Since it was brushed nickle, hopefully it would just sort of disappear.

I strongly prefer foaming soap because I think I use less soap to get the job done, which is better for the environment and my wallet. Additionally, I wanted a dish soap that would also be good as a hand soap, removing two bottles (dish and hand) from my sink counter. Plus, foaming soap is more fun.

The soap I use is Simple Human Lemon Liquid Dish Soap. Mixed into a 1/3 soap, 2/3 water mixture and shaken (not stirred), it foams nicely and is not too drying on the hands. Also, one refill bag lasts me more than a year, which is cheaper than buying bottles of dish and hand soap.

Simplehuman lemon liquid dish soap refill pouch, 34 fl. oz

And here’s the end result.

Here's the curvy, pretty, pot friendly faucet. The sprayer is nice and heavy, on/off is simple, and my foaming soap dispenser disappears pretty well
Here’s the curvy, pretty, pot friendly faucet. The sprayer is nice and heavy, on/off is simple, and my foaming soap dispenser disappears pretty well

And there you have it! A tidier, prettier sink area for the Interim kitchen.

Opinions? What do you look for in a kitchen faucet?

The Interim Kitchen Overview

Like many, I’ve got a kitchen I didn’t love when I got this house. But a major, beautiful overhaul to turn it into the kitchen of my dreams is just not in the cards anytime soon. Despondent (okay, not really), I decided to write up the kitchen of my dreams and then see what I could do to get closer to it incrementally. This section journals those adventures.

What’s an ideal kitchen for the little egg house:

  • Plenty of natural light
  • Generally light and bright, with pretty, inspiring lighting
  • Storage
  • Easy access to everything
  • Well functioning, attractive appliances
  • Easy access to laundry
  • Pretty, solid surface counters & attractive backsplash
  • Eat in/hang out spot
  • Mud room style entry
  • Great lighting
  • Wood or tile floors that flow nicely with wood floors
  • Classic look and feel, suitable for a small 1947 cottage

Okay, so my list looks a lot like everyone else’s. There are some limitations natural to a 1947 cottage. For example, it’s always going to be a laundry closet and not a laundry room, unless I want to banish laundry and myself to the basement.

What I started with:

  • One window, one dark kitchen door, one dark basement doors
  • Mismatched pantry doors
  • Horrible overhead tube lighting but a light over the sink and stove
  • Low ceiling
  • Pointless sofits, highlighting the already too low ceiling
  • Old cabinets, not space optimizers, but sturdy enough
  • Laundry closet that doesn’t quite close
  • Stackable washer and dryer from old house
  • Pantry cabinet with odd door
  • Hideousness of lineoluem highlighted by adjacency to nice wood floors
  • Unfunctional faucet over stainless sink
  • Older, white appliances with issues
  • Peninsula with room for a little seating
  • Generally spacious room size
  • Laminate counters with unmatching backsplash

So, not all bad, even some good bones to work with. I budgeted out the dream kitchen and it’s really not in the cards. So here, I’m showcasing the work I’m doing to make this space become a happy-to-be-in room.

Please stay tuned for project-by-project posts on the Interim Kitchen.

Painted Linoleum Floor

Pot Filler Faucet

Egg Knobs

Slide Out Drawers for Cabinets

Organization Finds

Appliance Haven