Thursday, September 19, 2013

He Begged Me Not To Do It!

Hi all, Dianne here.  When we decided to make the side trip to Indiana to get minor irritating things* in our motor home repaired at the Newmar factory, we started thinking about the inside remodeling we'd wanted to do for some time.  We had planned to make the trek north next summer for the interior re-do at Bradd and Hall in Elkhart.  Since we were headed to Newmar in Nappanee (just outside Elkhart), it made sense to go ahead with the interior re-do while there and save the expense of the trip next year.  The money would have to come out of savings anyway, so why not?

*Here are a few of the irritating things that were starting to drive us nuts, and that we couldn't wait a year to fix:

1.  Retractable step had acquired a mind of its own and would or would not work on a whim...

2.  One side of the pocket door between the bedroom and bathroom was permanently off the track, and the hardware broken and unrepairable (by us)...  (Meaning no privacy if one of us was already in bed)

3.  Electrical circuit in our bedroom also acquired a mind of its own and usually did not work, (and, yes, we tried new fuses), meaning our closets and bedroom were in the dark 90% of the time.

There are a few other minor things, plus routine maintenance, that needed attention.  

We still love our motor home.  We are not ever tempted to replace it with a newer model -- it is just the right size, has everything we want, and besides that, it's paid for!   

We travel with two dogs and a cat.  This means lots of pet hair to contend with.  We also prefer state parks and natural settings (translation:  dust and dirt) to manicured RV resorts.  This makes for a lot of vacuuming and time-consuming cleaning.  

The worst part of the cleaning routine is the fabric sofa:  

It is prime real estate for window viewing, so there is no way to keep the dogs and cat off of it.  The back cushions were getting smooshed from Bandido wanting to lay on them, so we left them in Texas.  It is permanently covered with a slipcover and dog throws that can be laundered.  It is a pain to vacuum, and takes as long to keep clean as the entire rest of the inside.  It will soon be gone, replaced with a computer desk and ultraleather recliner.  The carpet will also soon be gone, replaced with easy-to-clean hard flooring.

When we purchased the motor home (used) in 2006, the original recliner was the only furniture that showed wear.  We removed it and ever since have used a variety of furniture in its place.  Currently it is our small Lazy-Boy recliner
which we had saved from our home in Indiana.  It is comfortable and matches the decor, but it doesn't swivel and is cumbersome, and it also is nubby, dust-catching fabric.  It will be replaced with an ultraleather recliner to match the other one.

The title of this blog is not about the remodel -- Roger wanted it as much as I did.  The title refers to the wheels that started turning in my brain as I envisioned our new space and what I could do to make it even better.  Roger has been through this many times before, in every home that we've lived in over the past 41 years.  He knows that it will mean living in chaos, a preoccupied (sometimes tired and cranky) wife, and a lack of regular meals.  He also knows it's fruitless to try to dissuade me.

All the hardware and light fixtures in our coach were shiny brass finish (not real brass), which did nothing to enhance the pretty, solid-maple cabinetry.

Some of the light fixtures had started to tarnish and were looking pretty bad.  I didn't mind the style of them, just the finish, so I thought...why not spray paint them oil-rubbed bronze??
Tarnished Brass

Then I started thinking...if I do the light fixtures, I'll need to do the cabinet handles to match.  And if I do the cabinet handles, I'll need to do the hinges to match.  And if I do the hinges, I'll need to do all the screw heads to match.  You get the idea.  

What came next was two days of grueling work to
remove all the cabinet doors.  Roger is not smiling in the above photo -- believe me, that's a grimace.  I did most of the work myself, but had to enlist his help with some of the stubborn ones.  After blisters and much exhaustion, we realized we had the wrong tools for the job and made a trip to Lowe's in the middle of it for a ratchet screwdriver.  Have you ever been so tired you feel despair just by turning down the wrong aisle in a large store, knowing you'd have to walk all the way back?  That's how I felt.  I was starting to feel like maybe I was too old to start a major project like this was turning out to be.

Here are the links I used to prepare for the job:

As hinges were removed each screw was deposited into either a "paint" or "no-paint" container, depending upon whether they would be visible.  Special screws for the hooks, towel holders, and doors were kept separate and labeled.

All the hinges, handles, miscellaneous fixtures and screws to be painted were next soaked overnight in a crock pot set on "warm," with Dawn dish detergent and vinegar added to the water.
The next morning it looked like this...
Next, each handle, hinge, fixture and screw had to be sanded, rinsed, and dried, then rubbed with tack cloth...

The hard part was over.  All that was left was to prime and paint.  

The screws were a special project all their own.  After sanding, rinsing and drying them, I poked holes in an old wine box and screwed each screw into the box, labeling the special screws and putting them in the middle away from the others...

This turned out to be time well spent, because it was effortless to spray paint the screw heads, handy to store and carry them for reinstallation, and the handle hole in the box made for a handy small wastebasket!  

Here are photos of the priming...

The hinges were extra work because I flipped them over and painted both sides to keep them from rusting.  Here's how they look now that they are all reinstalled:  

Now, I know the handles might chip eventually.  If they do, I'll just touch them up or shell out a few hundred dollars for new ones.  

Once the cabinets were put back together, I decided to start on the light fixtures.  Uh-oh....I forgot that these are specially wired to run off 12-Volt DC batteries and I had no idea how to work with that type connection to remove them.  What to do???   Well, here's my solution.  Not ideal, but it worked:

There were only a couple of little boo-boos, and my new best friend Mr. Goo-Gone cleaned it up.

I would not recommend doing it this way -- there was some residue on horizontal surfaces, but it cleaned right up.  Here's how they turned out:



I wanted all this to be finished before the new furniture and flooring, so it would look nice right away.  

Realizing that our window day/night shades had ten years' worth of wear, I wanted to clean them ahead of time, too.  Here's the link I used:

            How to Clean Day/Night Shades

Not having a bathtub, I had to improvise.  I bought one of those large flat drain covers at the hardware store in Creede and put a few inches of water in the shower along with half cup of Oxy-Clean.  

The smaller shades fit there and after soaking for a half hour, I rinsed them and hung them to dry (between rainstorms in Colorado).  

The larger ones wouldn't fit in the shower.  Again, Roger will tell you that my motto is "Where there's a will, there's a way."   A check of the clearance shelf at Target and I picked up a cheap blow-up wading pool.  When we stopped in Kansas on our way east (where we are today), we had the perfect spot and weather to do the larger shades:  

After they soaked in the Oxy-Clean and were rinsed, I laid them out to dry...

When almost dry, I sprayed them with spray starch and closed the pleats, then let them sit tightly closed to keep the pleats nice and crisp.  This afternoon I rehung them all...

They cleaned up beautifully and look great!

Don't try this if your shades are not fabric.  Mine are fabric, and seem to be very durable.  

In order to get the shades down, it was necessary to remove the valences.  They were also covered in nubby, dust-catching fabrics.  Instead of putting them back up, I contacted Bradd and Hall and asked if they would re-cover them to match the fabric they are going to re-cover our dining room folding chairs in.  We'll drop the wooden valence forms off with the dining room chairs on September 27th.  

Charlie was such a big help!
To save money, I removed all the fabric, padding, and staples from the valence forms to get them ready to drop off in Elkhart.
 I will tell you that I would not want to pay somebody an hourly wage to do this -- each valence took hours to do!  It literally took all day to do each larger one.  There were times that I had unpure thoughts about the fine Amish craftsmanship that had constructed them initially.

One minor change we made to our bedroom valences which we decided not to have recovered:
Unnecessary Dust-Catching Swag

Sleeker Look
These swags were draped over both bedroom valences.  The smaller one was just a matter of prying up staples to remove.  The larger one necessitated  a little glue job to close the seam after it was removed.  Now they let in more light and will be much easier to keep vacuumed.

Whew!  These projects began on September 5 and today (the 19th) I'm finally finished.  When we arrive in Indiana we'll begin boxing up everything that would be in the way of the workers doing the renovation.  The big "reveal" will occur sometime around October 18.  Stay tuned!  


Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! You guys are good. If on your way back you head south of Indy on US 231 toward the "new" I-69 freeway to Evansville and I-64 let me know. I live on US 231 six miles north of the I-69's new and vacant of traffic. Email me if you have questions.

Bill and Nancy said...

Boy...I'm exhausted just reading about all that work;o(( Can't wait to see the finished product!!

We couldn't help but smile and think about Roger and his lists. Now, we will remember Diane and her renovation...can't believe you painted all that hardware:o))

You two really are the perfect pair!!

Mac Maisie said...

Sounds like very exciting times, the RV looks fabulous now so we can't wait to see it when it's done!

Mac and Maisie