Installing New Closet Handles

31 01 2011

There are a lot of small upgrades around my house that need to be completed, so I’m doing them piece by piece.  Since I planned to paint my hallway doors and closets anyway, I thought it was a good time to update the hardware as well.  And it was a fairly easy process (though I’ll explain why and where I should have taken some more time).

Needs a bit of updating

I started by removing the handles before I painted.  Generally, the handles are screwed together on the inside of the door (which was the case here), with two Phillips’ head screws.  I removed those, pulled the handles apart to remove them, and then used my screwdriver to lever the side plate out.  I later unscrewed the side plate from the door jamb as well.

All out!

Left with an empty hole

After the paint had dried, it was time to install the new handles.

I went with the brushed nickel handles instead of the burnished copper looking ones because I didn't want them to be a statement piece.

I started with the door jamb piece

This part is where I could have taken more time.  As you can see, the previous piece was rounded.  The new pieces that I purchased were more rectangular and they were larger.  I could/should have taken the time to chisel out the edges so that the piece could sit flush against the door jam, like the previous piece did.  However, I didn’t do this – the door knobs fit, and the doors all closed properly, but to do a really good job of it, that’s what I should have done.

First, I placed the doorjamb piece to make sure the holes would line up

Then I screwed it in - I had to create a new hole for the bottom, but it was no trouble - I was able to do it by hand

Next, it was time to put the handle itself on.  I started with the side plate.

This goes in first, because the handles hook into it

As you can see, there is a center piece that looks to be square, and then a circular piece to the right and to the left – these circular pieces are lined up with the holes on the other door handle, and the screws are attached here.

At this point, it’s also important to make sure that the side plate is flush with the door – again, I should have chiseled out the door so that the side plate sat totally flush. I didn’t, but screwing it in tightly was enough for it to fit properly.

Line up the holes with the two holes on the other handle, and start the screws by hand

The screws needed to be started by hand, because the angle of the door knob makes it tough to use a screw driver here. Once they're almost all the way in, you can use a Phillips' head to finish tightening them

Then, screw in the side plate and check to make sure everything lines up and the door closes and latches properly

The difference between closet door handles and bedroom door handles is that bedroom door handles lock.  You don’t want to be able to lock a closet door (hopefully!), so it’s not necessary to get locking door for closets.

These are the only two closets upstairs with handles – all of the bedroom closet doors are on runners, so they only have those little metal circles to use as pulls. Which has me wondering as I write this if I can find replacement ones for those in silver…hmm…

Anyway, fabulous results, and I couldn’t be happier. Now the only thing I need to do for these doors is replace the hinges! Let’s hope that goes as easily as the Lowes employee made it sound!

I still can't believe the difference!


Happy Days Are Here Again!!

28 01 2011

Okay, so this would have been even better had it been my 100th post, but that was this morning’s post on painting closets.  What a milestone blog!  (Just kidding).

But, I’ve got some fabulous news.

Remember how I told you about the saga with my creepy neighbor?

I’ve been ignoring him since our run-in, and have noticed that he’s been outside less.  I’ve seen him a couple of times outside the front of his house when I’ve driven by or been walking my dog, but just pretended he wasn’t there.  But he still makes me uncomfortable.

Today, I got a phone call from my next door neighbor, who had some “neighborhood gossip.”  He’d run into the creepy neighbor’s wife while she was walking the dog and learned that….


Creepy Neighbor has MOVED OUT!!!!

Can you hear me cheering from where you are?

I knew I wasn’t the only one who found him creepy, but now it’s confirmed.  We don’t know too many details, but apparently, although they’re not talking divorce at this point, he’s not coming back any time soon.  My prayers have been answered.

One of my Facebook friends told me to celebrate by opening the blinds – I thought that as soon as I heard. Of course, as you know, my windows are sealed up for the winter, but come spring, I plan to be sitting on the deck A LOT and having the windows open all over the house A LOT.  Now I can work in my yard without wondering if he’ll creep up on me from the other side of the fence, comment on what I’m doing, ring my doorbell late at night, go through my garbage for “finds” or just sit on the deck, staring at my house for hours.

Since I’ve been ignoring him for months, it won’t change my life all that much, but I can tell you – WHAT A RELIEF.

Not a bad way to start the next 100 posts, huh?


Painting Hall Closets

28 01 2011

I had big plans this weekend. I thought I’d paint all the doors and trim in my hallway.

Ah, how often I overestimate how much time I have.

So anyway, that obviously didn’t happen.  But I did manage to get the two closet doors primed and painted.  And let me tell you, what a difference! I knew it would brighten up the hallway, but it’s like a hallway in a different house now! I can’t wait until all of the doors and closets are painted and updated!

I started by removing the door handle hardware from the two closets – I had picked up some handles at Lowes already, so I knew I’d be replacing them with new ones.  I didn’t want to take the doors down – originally, my thought was to paint them in the spring or summer, when I could take them down and paint them outside.  But my neighbor mentioned that he’d painted them still on the hinges with no trouble, so I figured I’d do that instead.

I also plan to pick up new hinges for the doors, so it wasn’t as important to avoid painting those.

Once I’d taken down the handles, the next step was to clean the doors. They have slats on them (which I hate by the way, and is part of the reason I didn’t get to paint more doors today).  The slats collect so much dust.  Fortunately, I’d seen Sabrina Soto use a brush to clean off dust on similar doors the other day on Get it Sold, so I knew what to do.

I grabbed my dustpan brush (it would have been nice to have a stiffer brush, but this was fine in a pinch), and ran it along all of the slats on both sides of the door – it made a huge difference.

Next, I put down a drop cloth. I went with a plastic one this time, so that I could fit it easily under the door, and it worked great.  I didn’t tape it down, except along the bathroom entryway.  I wanted to be able to paint the trim around the rest of the walls, so I just kept it close to the walls there.

First, I primed the two doors.  You may be wondering when you need to prime to paint and when you don’t. I happened to read something about that this week – priming is a good idea if you’re starting with bare wood (like I was) or if you are switching from oil-based paint to latex.  Since I was just painting over the existing paint on the trim, I didn’t bother with priming that.  But the doors needed it.


Even with the priming, I still had to do three coats of paint on the doors.  The slats made it a huge pain to paint – I had to paint in between them and then make sure to check both sides for drips.  There were a couple of drippy spots I missed until they’d hardened a bit, but overall, they came out great.

Three coats, done!

Something that came in handy as I was painting – around the third coat, I switched paintbrushes.  I had painted the primer with one brush and then switched to paint, but over time, the paint started to thicken on the brush. This made it more difficult to clean up the drips and to put a nice, even coat of paint on.

So I washed that brush and left it to dry, and used another brush to finish up the last coat.  It made it much cleaner looking and gave it a nice finish.  I’ll have to remember that when I get to all the slatted-door closets I have that are unpainted.  Ugh.

But I think for the other doors, I’m going to use a roller – they aren’t slatted, and in order to get an even finish (and move a bit quicker with the painting), I’ll use the smaller roller I have.  My plan is to do one a night after work. We’ll see how that goes…

Wondering whether my painting the trim is really making a difference? Check out the old trim on the left, and the painted trim on the right!

What a huge difference!

Lowes: How Do I Love Thee?

27 01 2011

Whenever I’m working on a project, one of the first places I head is Lowes.  They always have what I need and even better than that, they have people I can talk to about my projects.

Let’s use last Saturday as an example.  I had a simple project that I wanted to accomplish – new door handles for my upstairs doors.  I planned to paint them on Sunday and thought it would be a good time to upgrade the gold doorknobs on each of the doors – it really dates them.

I spent some time picking out the handles I wanted, and looking a little overwhelmed by what I was carrying, a lovely Lowes employee offered me a nearby cart.  Huge help.

I then thought I might want to change out the hinges on the doors as well, since they’re also a brassy color.  I started to check out the hinges, when the same Lowes employee came over.

He asked me if I wanted to change out the hinges, and I said yes, and he recommended changing them out one at a time, while the door is still hung up by the other one. He said it would make things much easier.  He also explained that outside door hinges are four inches long, while inside door hinges are three and a half inches long.  Further, they have three types – square corners and corners with two different degrees of curvature.

I realized I’d have to check which ones I had at home, and he agreed that was the best solution.  So I had to head back there again to pick up the hinges once I’d identified the right ones at home.

What I really thought was great though was that he respected me.  He didn’t ask me if I had help on the project, he didn’t seem to think I couldn’t do it, he just advised me on the best way to handle it, and what hinges to use.

Every time I’ve had a project and had to chat with a Lowes employee about it, I’ve had the same experience.  So they’ll continue to get my business!

A New Ironing Board Cover

26 01 2011

Now, those who know me well know one thing – I hate to iron.  Generally, the one time I iron is when I’m traveling on business and my clothes need to be wrinkle free for professional reasons.  Don’t worry that I’m wandering around wearing wrinkled clothes – mostly my clothes stay unwrinkled because I hang them up right out of the dryer.

Although I rarely iron at home, I do own an ironing board.  I got it when I went to college, so I’ve had it about 12 years.  The ironing board is pretty good, but the cover is ugly and useless. Every time I iron, whenever I move the fabric of what I’m working on, it pulls the cover and creates a bump that wrinkles.

Since I don’t iron a lot, it wasn’t a priority for me to get a new cover.  But today, when I was at Michaels (one of my favorite stores on the planet), I saw a very pretty one.

Actually, there were two, a pink one, and a light blue and brown one.  Obviously, the light blue and brown one matches better with my living room (where I generally iron).  But although I rarely like anything pink, I just really liked the pink one.

So I treated myself.

Who could resist this?

It looks great on the ironing board and is well-cushioned!

Maybe I’ll even start ironing more regularly!  I just have to upgrade my iron (which I’ve also had about 12 years!).

Sealing Vents

25 01 2011

Shortly after moving in here, I learned that in the summer, you should seal your downstairs vents, to force the cooler air to go upstairs and in the winter, seal the upstairs vents to force the warmer air down.  The first time I did this, I used plastic wrap.  It worked well, but was a bit of a hassle to remember to remove the plastic wrap at the change of the seasons.

Recently, I found out that a company makes magnets that you can stick over the vents to cover them to achieve the same effect.  Bed Bath & Beyond carries them, so I ordered a package of three.

When they arrived, I was very excited!

They seemed pretty straightforward to use.

First, measure them against your vents to get the correct size

Then cut them to the correct size - I also notched out a piece for the open and close lever

Then, apply to the vent to cover it!

The magnets can also be painted to match your wall color if you’d like.  I’m happy to leave mine white, since the vents are white already.

It was a very easy process, and I’m mostly happy with the results – I say mostly because I’ve noticed that when the heater is on, the magnets don’t always stick in place.  The one in my office (shown above) does, but the one in my bedroom, not so much.  I have closed the levers so air isn’t escaping, but it’s still a bit of an issue.

Also, I needed to remember to close the vents before cutting the magnets to make sure that the notch was in the correct place. I didn’t do that to begin with, so that’s part of the issue in my bedroom – I need to fix the notch to make sure it can stick better.

But all in all, I think they’re a good solution.  They were about $15 for three, and I can use them year after year, so it ends up being more economical than using plastic wrap twice a year to seal various vents up.  And then  once I start using my air conditioning, I can move them to a few of the vents downstairs for the summer season!

Living with the Entryway

24 01 2011

Okay, so it’s been about a week since I re-did my entryway, and I felt like rather than diving right into the next part of the Trash it or Treasure it  program, I should live with it for a few days and see how it worked for me.

And it turns out that I really love it – seeing the dark brown rug as I come downstairs in the morning makes me really happy, and coming home after being out is quite a pleasant experience now.

I did notice one thing that was still not working for me – I was still leaving things on the stairs to go upstairs.  That’s not a huge issue, but I feel like I need a place to put them that isn’t so obtrusive.  So I ordered one of those stair baskets.

Of course, the one I ordered and love is backordered until April, but what can you do?  I’ll just have to wait to “finish” the entryway!

On the plus side, my coat closet has been working very well – I’ve kept it organized.  And the front door organization has been great too – the basket for my mail works perfectly, the larger side table gives me enough room to put outgoing mail on top of it, and the key ring holder doesn’t interfere any longer with the alarm pad.

Let’s hope the rest of the Trash it or Treasure it program works out as well for me!