Thursday, 26 October 2017

Customising the Basement lighting

I needed something with a rustic modern feel for the Basement apartment main living area. So I bought a shaded chandelier as I thought it had nice simple lines and might look good in an aged bronze or shabbied up a bit.

At first I just painted it a bronze with a slight black wash on it and called it a day.

But the orangey colour of the bronze and the stark white shades were bugging me. Solution? More black!

I probably need to stipple a bit of brown or bronze back on but we are getting somewhere. Next I needed to deal with the shades.

I took some of the twine on the left and wrapped it around them.

Not bad!

I'm quite liking this look.

 Much better!

Wait, not so fast.. I turned the lights on. 

LOL.. there is no light!.. Epic Fail.. Oh well, I have a back up plan so back to the drawing board. :) 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The hunt for Tree foliage may be over.

I took a break from the basement, to work on the San Franciscan's front yard tree. I've been having a bit of a saga trying to find appropriate scale leaf foliage that I don't have to punch and paint, leaf by leaf myself... I'm far to lazy for that caper. :D 

I really wanted to use CandyTuft as Brae from Otterine Miniatures does but apparently it's considered a noxious species in Australia and therefore can't be imported.. Of course it is... *rolls eyes* 

I trolled around on Australian dried flower websites for weeks, but found nothing I thought was suitable. Incredibly frustrating.

I also tried dried moss with model railroaders leaves.. but they just looked out of scale and clumpy. 

My last adventure involved drying leaves from a tree in my backyard in the Microwave.. cheap option, if a little dangerous. 😜 ...It had the unexpected side bonus of making my entire house smell like Eucalyptus. :)

They looked ok and I especially liked the little nuts that were on the branches but it wasn't really the look I was going for and it was just too brittle. Clutzy old me kept knocking leaves off left, right and centre. 

During all of these trials I had been scouring the fake flower sections of all my local craft and junk shops looking for appropriately scaled plastic or silk foliage. Last week, I finally hit upon these leaf sprays at Spotlight. They have the inspiring name of... "mini leaf hanging bush" lol

I bought four. Hopefully that will be enough to cover the tree sufficiently. I don't expect it to have dense foliage but a good overall cover would be ideal.

I deconstructed the "bushes".

They handily unplugged at a convenient spot so I don't think I will have to cut them up any smaller.

Now to try them on the tree.... Whoa!.. A bit wild lol.. and still a little sparse. 

That's OK.. I'll trim off the tree in a rounder shape and use the off cuts to fill in the spaces.

Getting there but still more shaping to do.

Skittle dropped by for a visit. :)

Cheeky Squirrel!

OK, time to pull all the leaves off and give them some paint.

I gave the leaves a light dusting of a sage green satin paint. Just to take the edge of the bright forest green. Then I painted the stalks brown using Americana Chalk paint in "Rustic".

Out the back with a drop sheet we go and....Yikes! What a job.. It took me about six hours to paint this lot.... and I've only done one side! The rest of that job is for another day. My back couldn't stand it any longer.

 The tenant's a little annoyed that I'm working on Skittle's house and not his.

Meanwhile, Upstairs Guy dropped by to check out the tree progress. Say Hi guys. :)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Basement Floor grouted and Ceiling trims in

I've been continuing on with my push to get the basement finished so I can move upstairs to the kitchen and dining room. :)

I finished laying the half cuts of the apartment's brick flooring and gave it a wash of watered down white paint to tone down the red and give it a bit of an aged appearance.

Then I grouted.

Checking fit around the back of the bathroom with my phone. ;P

I'll grout the doorways after gluing and the joins to the wall will be covered up by baseboard.

I used spackle for grout, the type that starts out pink and dries white. I tried using a pallet knife to apply it but I found it was easiest to just use my fingers to push it into the cracks. Messy, but it works. :D

It was so easy to apply in comparison to the mosaic grout however I think I would prefer it to be grey. I do have some grey spackle so I'm not sure why I didn't use it.. Anywhoo.. I may give it a wash of watered down grey/black paint or use some chalk pastels to give it a bit of colour but we shall see, because I don't mind it as is at all.

I'm still testing finishes for the Garage floor. I would really like for it to be brick as well but I'm not sure my mini budget extends to buying clay bricks for a garage floor! :) Not to mention the additional weight it would add.

I was recently trolling around the aisles of Bunnings the other week (as you do) and I came across these drawer liners.

They come in a roll and in several colours, but I chose grey as the most realistic colour for a Garage floor. It's also nondescript enough not to interfere or compete with other decorating choices. I thought the tiny coin mat design reminded me of that rubberised flooring you see in higher end garages & workshops sometimes. Like this.

I cut out a piece and tried it out. I think the scale is right and it's a dream to use, easy to cut straight lines following the circles and then just set and forget. I like it, and I like the fact that it makes the apartment floor slightly higher than the garage floor, meaning a slight step down. I feel it would be that way in Real Life.

I haven't glued it down yet because I'm undecided if the San Franciscan would have this type of floor (maybe the owners were looking for a cheap solution to cover up old cracked concrete :D ) but I would definitely recommend it for a "new" house garage.

The bathroom floor is still undecided but it may remain as is with the tiny square white tile sheet by JR industries. Here is a picture to refresh your memory.

Moving on to trimming out the ceilings. As you can see below I've already planked the ceiling and put in most of the beams, but I've left some unsightly gaps behind due to my less than credible measuring skills. :)

I debated using proper cornice in between the beams but couldn't convince myself that a basement and a garage would have warranted such a finish. So I bought some balsa wood strips to use as simple square trim.

Looks like it's going to work along with a generous serve of spackle.





Much better!

Ahhh Trim, you are a sub-standard carpenters Saviour! 

Next up, window and door trims. :) 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Basement Bathroom - Part One

I found some time to work on the basement apartment's bathroom today and it's really starting to come together! I've been working on it for a few weeks but haven't really blogged it so I'll add some things already done here to keep a record of my build and so you don't think.. how did we jump to here! 

I started out by making the walls of the room out of foam-core. Due to limited space I've made the room a bit of an odd shape. It's essentially a rectangle with the corner cut off, to steal back space for the main room of the studio apartment. I attached the walls to each other using glue and Tyvek for a stronger connection. I'm using a Classics Narrow Door for the bathroom as it's such a narrow space. An open full width door would nearly hit the sink/basin on the other side of the room. :o Using this door meant I had to pad out the wall with the door with basswood sheeting because the door is deeper than the foam-core.

I used the door as a template to mark out the door opening on the basswood. Then cut it out with an xacto and a straight rubber backed ruler.

Clothes pegs make good clamps for small jobs. :D 

Testing fit. The little space in the diagonal wall will be a frosted window to allow light into this potentially dingy basement bathroom. :)

All good. I spackled, primed & wallpapered all the areas that weren't getting tiles with painted card stock and then set to work on the shower stall.

I have decided on a "marble" subway tile style for the shower stall so I cut hundreds of little tiles from a real life marble look vinyl tile I got from the hardware store for the princely sum of 89c.

The tiling was a bit of a tedious job as its on three different walls and one isn't yet attached to the other two. That mean't every row that went in had to be checked against it's other wall counterpart to ensure the tiles stayed as close to lined up as possible. *rolls eyes* I was growing weary of it towards the end. I'm glad I didn't decide to tile the entire room! :D

I'm considering using this flooring, though I'm not convinced it looks "right". But it is clean and unobtrusive which I like. What I really want to do is buy some of these 1:24 scale hexagonal tiles from Henry Bart and paint them white for a spectacular small hexagon floor. I'm not sure I have the patience to wait for them to ship from France though.. Or the patience to lay them .. lol! :D

Next step, grouting!.. I'm using pink spackle that drys white. Love this stuff! So easy! ;)

It looks so different (and better) with the grout in place. There is a gap down the left hand side because these two walls are still in dry fit. I'll grout the gaps between the walls and the floors when I finally glue everything together. That won't happen until the very end because this little room greatly impedes my ability to see and get into, the corner of the apartment where the front door is. So I need to finish off all trims in there before I glue this room in place. 

My little window has been created up there in the corner. You can see the ceiling detail here too. Beams and boards painted white. The boards are cheap stick on wooden flooring from China (Yay for free shipping from China.. must be patient though, it takes forever!!). The Beams are balsa wood sticks as is the trim/cornice. I'll attack this with spackle to fill in all the gaps once it is glued to the ceiling. (Again, still in dry fit. :) )

Oops, I see I have a little crack in my spackle grout up their under the window & in the corner... Probably caused by all the manhandling required to wrestle these walls into place.. The perils of wanting a tight fit! I'll have to fix that! But not until glue!

Tap and Shower Rose testing. Looks about right.

This shower will have a glass (perspex) frame-less seam for a modern high end look. Testing for fit. :) 

And in situ. :) 

I took these photos with the room upside down and the floor not attached hence the light coming in from the bottom. I like the effect though.. Maybe I should install some floor lighting? Haha... Nope!

A close up of the rose and tap without the perspex reflecting. 

 I like the way the perspex frame looks in this photo.

Excuse the droopy rose, it's just kind of stuck in the hole, & like everything else is not glued in yet. It would be asking to be broken off if I glued it now while the walls are apart. Also excuse the weird colour variations in my pictures. They were taken over the course of the day and the light changed a lot. I also had to lighten up a couple because daylight was leaving me behind, fast! :) 

Taped a light to the ceiling to see how it looked.

Not sure I'll use this exact fixture, but I want something a bit modern I think. I was just going to give this room a round nondescript ceiling light, but the marble and perspex seem to be asking for something more. Hmmm..

And a pic without the perspex reflection. 

Let's turn the light on! 


 And one without that #$#@! perspex reflection. :D

Ok, I'm on a roll.. need to get back to it. Until next time!