Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Before and After Pics

The renovation of the master bedroom was started by previous owners.  Here's a look at things then:
If you double-click the photo, you'll be able to see the water stains on the drywall from a leaky window.  Note the poorly done drywall joints.  Note the unfinished super-soft pine floor.

It was Eric who got down on hands and knees and sanded that bloody floor to infinity and beyond.  We then painstakingly filled each and every gap using a latex-based silicone.  We then white-washed the floor using a white latex paint and wiped off each board before it was dry.  Then, drum roll please, Eric did what Eric does best:  he varnished the floor, and that's where my story begins.

Eric's used a lot of varnish in his day, and his technique is the best.  He's picky, detail-oriented, and takes his time.  Good varnish can't be rushed, and you have to be willing to wet-sand between coats using at least a 600-grit sand paper.  To say that Eric knew what he was doing by the time he reached this Waterloo is an understatement.  The first coat went on like a charm.  We didn't have our menagerie at this point, because I am sure that today, with one ever-shedding dog and 3 cats in various stages of moult, we'd never be able to lay claim to a manoeuver of this magnitude again.  Eric donned his Tyvek suit complete with an elasticized hood and went to town.  To say this floor was a thing of beauty was an understatement.  The first two coats when down without a hitch.  We ran out of varnish on the third coat, and I was sent out to get another gallon.  What happened next cannot be believed.  The paint company even sent out a representative to check out our claims.

Eric cracked open a new gallon of varnish, and painstakingly applying the third and final coat.  Now imagine Eric's surprise when, all of a sudden, right before his eyes, the varnish started to form what are called "fish eyes" in the industry.  Don't worry - you're not alone - we weren't aware of this phenomenon either. Fish eyes are crater-like impressions that form on the varnish, and solving our problem became somewhat of a challenge to the manufacturer.

A representative came to our house to inspect the damage.  Much head-scratching ensued, because every type of varnish, be it semi-gloss, or high gloss, would form fish eyes.  After laboratory analysis, it was deemed that the first gallon of paint was a "one of".  Had we had enough of it, we could have varnished the entire floor and been blissfully unaware of any problems.  Alas, the company concluded that our original varnish was compatible only with itself, and they were unable to supply us with the same incorrect formulation, because they weren't quite sure what had gone wrong in the first place.  In the end, one particular batch of semi-gloss varnish was okay, and Eric laboriously set out to sand down the fish-eyes and apply one final coat.

In the end, we had a beautifully finished floor.  Pine, being a soft wood, is notoriously easy to dent or scratch, hence my use of the past tense.  What Cooper's claws have done to the finish, well...let's not go there.

For Eric's trouble, the paint manufacturer threw in a few gallons of paint to finish the bedroom.  That was nice of them.  Considering Eric lost about a weeks' worth of sleep, it was the least they could do.

We changed all the windows (except those in the kitchen) with new Argon-filled thermal pane windows with PVC frames.  To do it all again, I think we'd look at triple-pane windows sans-Argon.  Argon will leak - it's not a matter of if, but when.

Having a room with angled walls presents a few challenges.  The first of those would be the lack of any proper hanging storage space.  The second is finding furniture that is low enough to fit into the knee walls.  We lucked out at IKEA, finding what we needed from their Stolmen line.  We also need to mention that we occasionally run into the walls, but you've probably figured that one out already.  It would account for at least part of our insanity.
The above photo also shows the Velux GPL-model ("hinged room window" in Velux-ese) that Eric added, to a) give us more light, and b) give us a bit more headroom. We love this window!  We added the optional screen, as well as the roll-down shade that blocks out 100% light, and yet another optional UV-screen that covers the sunlight from the outside during summertime.  You can still see out, but it filters the light to prevent fading in the room, as well as lengthen the life-span of the window, given this is a south-side exposure.  The window flips inside-out for easy cleaning.  Had we known how much we'd enjoy this Velux, we would have added more.

It's nice to open it up, and feel as though you're standing outside.  It also gives up opportunity to take photos such as this:

It's sort of like having your personal little turret from which you can survey your domain.

(If you're into that sort of thing, that is.)

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