New Display at the Front of the Shop

Now that the weather is nicer I have improved the area at the front of my shop.

I bought an old bicycle which I spray painted red, and painted everything, the seat, the tires, the basket, everything!

Then I used old pallet wood to make a flower box to fit in the basket.

 I also have a new number sign under the light by the door.

And I needed a two-sided sign for outside, so I made one and attached it to a post that sits off the edge of the deck that runs across the front of the shop.

This is a wood spinner, or whirlygig that I hang off my sign to attract the attention of passersby! I made it myself with thin strips of wood.

I’m not sure if any of you noticed, but the wood screen door that I repaired and blogged about before here is not in any of the photos.  That’s because it blew open a few weeks ago and broke.  Now I need to fix it again!

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Shop Counter

I have been working for the last couple of days on a counter for my retail shop. Because I don’t have much square footage in that room I wanted a counter that was not too large.  I read an article a few years ago about selling at craft shows, which said that when you have customers it is best not to sit nor display your crafts at a regular table height. I found this to be true, because customers are usually standing, and if you are sitting on a chair, they are looking down on you.  So… my counter would be made at a height that I could use while seated on a bar stool.

I decided to use 1″ x 4″ wood and paint the wood different colours and then distress them.  This is how I make a lot of my products, with the distressed look.

Since I am on an island, I chose beach type colours… white, two shades of turquoise and two shades of blue.

I laid out the pieces of wood to see how many I would need side-by-side to make the front of my counter and figured that ten pieces would be best.  That ends up being about 36″ wide.  I used only four pieces for the sides and it is U-shaped.

Horizontally, on the top and bottom of the painted pieces I used some worn looking 1″ x  6″ pieces of wood that were “hanging around!”
Here’s a side section, the painted boards are pin nailed to the horizontal ones:

The top was made with four pieces of the same 1″ x 6″ boards, which kind of look like barn board, they are a nice grey-brown.  The top overhangs the front and sides by about 1 1/4″.

Step right up, I’d be happy to serve you!

Darn… now I have to find a stool, I’m not sure I want to make one, but who knows?

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The Chalkboard Wall

As I said in a previous post, I decided to make a chalkboard wall in the store area of my workshop house.  Actually this wall has been painted for a few months, but I needed to wait for the floor to be in before I could continue.  And the floor couldn’t go in until the walls were done (because I didn’t want to get paint splatters all over it)… so I finished the planked walls and the laminate floor and finally it was time to get to the chalkboard wall. It’s actually a wall and a bit, because I decided to turn the corner and paint the chalkboard paint to the left of the door that leads to the workshop.

This is how my wall looked after I put the freshly painted baseboards on:

Now, chalkboards need to be conditioned before they are used. If you don’t condition a chalkboard you will always see the first thing you wrote on it.  To condition you prime the chalkboard by laying chalk on it’s side and cover the whole surface:

Then you rub in the chalk with your fingers and wipe it down with a cloth:

I felt my chalkboard wall needed something else, so I made a frame for it using lumberyard 1x4s, some stain and two coats of shellac:

The corners are mitred:

And then I added a little something for fun:

So, the retail area is basically done, although I do need to make myself some type of counter to sit at, in front of the chalkboard wall.  And I need to get my creations in there!

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Retail Space Walls Planked (or is it Tiled?)

I have been working on the walls of my retail space, which is a former bedroom and front hallway in the new house that I’m turning into my workshop.  Although I purchased the flooring a few months ago, I felt it best to do the walls first so that I wouldn’t drip paint on the new floors. As any of you DIYers know, it’s better to do things in the correct order.

At first I thought I would just paint my walls in the space that will house my products, but for two reasons I decided against that.  Firstly, the walls were not in good condition due to the fact that I removed a wall, closet and door in order to make the two areas into one.  (…and anyone reading this blog for a time will know that I don’t really enjoy patching and mudding drywall).  Secondly, I will need to put a lot of nails or screws (and maybe even shelving) in this room, in order to display my signs and other things I make.  I felt that hanging something off of drywall would not be as good (solid) as having some type of thicker material to “grab” the fasteners.  Initially I thought of horizontal boards spaced about a foot apart to help with that problem. Then, I started seeing quite a few bloggers who “planked” walls in their houses, and I liked the look, so decided to try that!

So, for a recap, this is the area I’m working on and this is how it looked when we bought the place:
(standing in the front hallway, the door goes into the bedroom)

This is after I removed the wall and door:

And, here is after I took out the flooring:

Okay, so what I did was get ten sheets of 1/4″ plywood underlayment at the lumber store.  It comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets which I had the store cut to 4′ x 4′.  This is much easier for me to handle and I did not want to put up any 8′ lengths of boards anyway, so the maximum length of my boards will be 4′. I primed all twenty sheets, which was made easier by having a basically empty workshop, and then cut the 4′ sections into strips of just over 5 7/8″ wide on my tablesaw.  This gave me 8 strips per 4′ length, or 16 strips from each 4′ x 8′ sheet. For anyone not doing the math, this is 160 strips!!

I proceeded to find the studs on all the walls (I use a strong magnet) and had all strips end and begin on studs. The studs were not at the usual 16″ apart, but this is a very old home, and this front section was added on at some point, so it didn’t surprise me. The ceiling is not at all level, so that was also something I had to deal with (and also wasn’t surprising!)

I started on the end wall, using my nailing gun to put nails wherever I found studs.  I used pennies to horizontally space out the strips (do not ask me how many times I had to pick up pennies that fell out of the slots, I lost count after 427) and I also staggered the boards from end to end, like tiling, with a space between the end of one board and the beginning of the next. (Most people butt them up together, but I wanted the visual look of the spaces both horizontally and vertically)

Here are some progress photos (this took quite a few days of work):

Now it’s time to paint the walls!

Retail Space Laminate Floor

I have been spending full days at my new workshop house, there is just so much to do.

In my last post I said I was trying to find some laminate to patch the floor where I took out the wall and also where the old floor vent was.

  I looked everywhere and could not find anything to work.  I even considered a patch of something different around the front door area that would be covered by a mat.  The more I looked at the old flooring, the more I could see there were many small pieces patched together (and not actually clicked together) in the laminate and I would need to do a huge area as a patch.  I gave up on that idea and decided to buy new flooring.

So I began to take out the laminate in the retail space.  Here is what I found under the doorway.

And then when I took the layer of OSB off:

Isn’t the old vinyl floor amazing?  Would that be from the 70s?

Now the patch for the grate area was not so simple.  I had to go downstairs and add two braces between the floor joists, to put the new floor patch onto.  First I cut through the plywood underneath, about 2″ all around, to give a ledge for the new floor (OSB) to sit on.  Then I cut the OSB piece to sit on that ledge and I nailed it to the braces underneath.

About stripping all the laminate out of the retail area, this was NOT something I planned on, both time-wise and expense-wise. So I then figured I might as well use the old laminate in one of the bedrooms upstairs that I will use as a storage room.

There are three bedrooms upstairs, all have the same stick-on tile flooring.  Here’s the one at the front of the house:

I removed the tiles and the baseboards and started to put the laminate (from the downstairs retail area) up in this room:

As I got to just over the half way mark, I realized that I might not have enough pieces to finish the room.  Many of the pieces were chipped or had damaged edges which would not allow them to click together properly.  I then worked like it was a puzzle, setting out the best pieces where I could trim ends to fit.  After laying them all out where they would go, but before actually cutting and clicking them together, I had it all figured out down to the last piece.  Thankfully it would just work for the size of the room.  Of course, as luck would have it, I cut a piece incorrectly (from the wrong end) and there was no way to use it because I couldn’t click the ends to anything, they were both cut!  How disappointing, but I did manage to look through all the scrap pieces again and find a way to work it out with another piece.  What a lot of time, on something I didn’t even plan to do.

The room will have to stay painted lilac for now, and the baseboards and window trim all need a coat of paint, but I really need to work on the workshop and retail spaces first!

The Retail Space Taking Shape

As I last reported, (actually I didn’t report I just showed a photo) we were in the midst of electrical work.  The workshop house needed pretty much a total re-wiring.  Many of the outlets, switches and lights were improperly and/or dangerously wired.  We called in a professional electrician to sort everything out.  He said it was one of, if not the worst, house he had ever worked in.  Just my luck.

The whole basement area was like a spiderweb of wires going every which way.  Some were not connected, some were, and some led to … who knows where (those ones had to be capped off).  The electrician was at the workshop for almost two full weeks.  Can you say $$$$ ?

After he left, I spent a day and a half picking up old wires and vacuuming up the actual spiderwebs that hung from every beam.

On to the front room, which will be the retail space, that was last shown to look like this:

Since then, the studs for the closet were removed and the door and frame taken down.

That left me with this:

Then I tried to fix the ceiling where the top plates were.  I am not a good drywall finisher, but it looked good enough to paint.  (If you visit my shop please do not look up upon entering!)

Before I work on the walls I am trying to find some pieces of flooring that match the laminate that is there now.  There is laminate missing where the wall to the bedroom was and also a few pieces that have nail holes in them from the closet, which sat on top of the laminate. So far I have been unable to match it, there are so many different laminates and this is from about 7 years ago, so the chances are slim. I might have to redo the whole retail floor with something else.  I will check Home Depot this week, it’s my last chance to find a match.

The retail space continues over to the place where my workshop will be (to the left of the door when you walk in) and I need to block that off.  I don’t want shoppers to walk into the work space and I don’t want sawdust in the store section.

I will have to make a wall just past where the stairs go up.  Directly across from that wall is a window, so the wall I make will need to be on a slight angle.

Here’s a view from the other way, looking towards the front door. Looking at the next photo, the wall will start on the left just before the stairs and end on the right, just past the window. I’m not sure that it shows in the photos but a wall straight out from the stair wall would end up in the window space, thus the angled wall is needed.

I will also remove that large grate and will need to patch the laminate there as well.

Enlarging the Front Entryway

While husband was throwing dirt into the excavated holes that were dug for the water leak repair, I started removing a wall at the front where my retail shop will be.

My daughter helped  for a couple of hours by removing some drywall screws, I did the rest of the dismantling of the wall myself.

Here is a rough sketch of the front of the house to give you some perspective of where I am working:

I am making the current bedroom and entryway in to one large room, which I hope to use in the future for sales.  I need to remove the closet area and the door into the bedroom.

The bedroom looked like this in the real estate photo:

Here’s a photo taken from the entryway, looking at the bedroom door:

And here is one taken from the same spot, looking straight ahead to the door that leads into the kitchen (behind the wall on left are the stairs that go up):

When I take apart a wall made of drywall, I do not just smash it all apart. That might be quicker, but it’s very messy and harder to clean up and remove the debris.  We take the drywall pieces to a transfer station in the bed of our pickup truck, so it’s easier to take larger pieces and not just piles of dust!

I start by seeing if I can find where the drywall screws are and unscrew them.  If I can’t see any, then I do smash a hole and see what I can find from there.  The man who lived here previously was a drywaller and he did a good job of covering his screws ( which is unfortunate for me in the places I need to remove walls.)

Once I locate the end of a board I then find the screws and scrape the heads visible with a sharp tool. Once the studs are found, you know the screws are spaced along the studs. With an electric drill I remove as many screws as possible and cut the panels with a box cutter knife into sections.  I took a couple photos to show how I do it.

Here is the closet wall from inside the bedroom:
Here is the closet partially dismantled:
And here is as far as I have done (or undone):

You can see the front door, to the left, just past the closet studs.  The two windows in the background will be in the workshop area.  I will need to make some type of a door or wall between this new larger room and the workshop to keep sounds and dust out of the retail area.

Tomorrow the backhoe man is returning to fill in the rest of the excavated holes.  We will need to get the area levelled out and gravel put in.  We do have a driveway that goes on each side of the house and around the back.  This will help with future customers to get in and out of the property.

Thanks for following along!