Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Building a Formal Pond

 Now that the trees in the English Garden are starting to fill in a little, I figured it was a good time to add the water feature that I had planned on putting right in the center. The first step to building a pond is really simple, figure out where you want it and dig a hole! The next step for my pond was a little different, "formal" ponds usually are symmetrical, have sharp edges and are geometric shaped, in contrast to a "natural" pond with free flowing edges.  To accomplish a rectangular pond, I build a foundation out of concrete blocks. Next I put down a layer of sand to protect the liner.

After the liner was installed I put down a layer of stone in the bottom and began filling it with water. Once the liner was firmly in place, I finished the next couple courses of block.
The finishing touch was to add a spitting fountain to add more interest to the pond.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Building a medicine cabinet out of a vintage mirror

For our bathroom medicine cabinet we wanted something a little more unique then the standard rectangle with a mirror on the front. Also seeing how I needed the cabinet to mount into the corner of the room, the best option was to build it from scratch. At a garage sale we had picked up an old mirror from the 60's with a fancy resin frame that would be the perfect size for our cabinet. The first thing to do was build a cabinet that fit the corner of the room, and had a "face" the same size as the back of the mirror. After I built the cabinet, I took the old cardboard back off the mirror, you can see it laying to the right of the cabinet. I then used it as a template to create a new wooden back out of 1/4" plywood (laying on the left side). This new back is sturdy enough to support the mirror by the hinges I will be attaching.

Here is the mirror mounted to the cabinet on the wall. (Also notice the light fixture that my mom mosaiced with stained glass)

Inside view of the cabinet. You can see the screws holding the mirror to the new plywood back.

Nightime shot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marble Floor Tile - Entryway

My latest tiling project was the side entry floor. After doing the bathroom floor, I wanted to step it up a little and do something a little more intricate. This is what I came up with. It took awhile to cut all the tiles, I think I had around 8 hours running the tile saw. There are only 3 whole tiles on the floor, every other one has at least 1 cut, some of them have 4 cuts.

I don't have a picture of it, but before I started tileing I had to beef up the floor joists. A lot of people don't realize it, but before tiling you should always check your floor deflection. There are online calculators you can use. You put in your joist size/spacing and the length that they span. It may not be perceptible, but your floor may have enough deflection that over time you would end up with cracked grout, or worse yet, cracked tiles. Its even more important to check deflection when using natural stone as it is much more fragile than ceramic or porcelain. Once my floor met the requirements I was ready to get tiling.

I started out by laying down the "rugs", followed by the black border strip. Cutting the black marble that thin left me with a bunch of broken pieces, I actually had to stop the job for a few weeks because I had to special order another case of tile because I was one piece short!

After both "rugs" were done, I did the filler tile with Crema Ivy marble.

The next step was too grout the floor. I used 2 colors of grout, the "rugs" I grouted with a dark grey, it actually came out lighter than I planned, but it still looks good. For the cream marble I used a light tan grout so the grout lines would blend in more as these tiles aren't the focal point of the room.
Flooring is done, just have to install my baseboards now!

Great Auction Finds, Crystal Chandelier, Throne

Its been quite awhile since I posted, we had a very busy summer and end of the year. Now that the holiday's are over and things slow down as we go through winter, I can try to get back on track. Over the last few months we've found some pretty cool things at local auctions to add to our house. A couple of the highlights are a crystal prism chandelier. It actually started out as 2 identical chandeliers, I won both of them, but they were both in such bad shaped that I needed to part them out and put together one complete chandelier. I'm not sure what the previous owners did to them, but it looks like they had been tossed around quite a bit in storage. There were several broken prisms, broken glass and even a broken metal arm on one of them. After getting one put back together and all cleaned up, it turned out to be a really nice piece. The prisms are quality leaded cut glass.
I even had enough left over prisms to add several to another chandelier that only had pressed glass prisms. I love the color you get from the leaded glass.
And probably my favorite piece, my parents actually were able to bid on this for me when I was out of the state for work. Its a hand carved throne that stands 6 feet tall!
The arms are carved lions heads.

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