Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the steps of my grandfather

My grandfather, the Alois for whom mini Alois is named, was a master cabinetmaker. I'm joking about following in his steps, but I thought about him today as I assembled furniture for the inn. Alois and his brother-in-law operated the Krejsa and Martinek Saloon and Restaurant in Niles, Illinois, in the early 1900s. I never met him, as he passed on long before I was born, but I can feel him and my father looking over my shoulder as I work on this project.

Here is the furniture. It is very simple, but appropriate for the inn. It will be painted, and the chairs will have seat pads to cover the tab-and-slot construction. The table tops will be spackled smooth, as will the cupboards. I don't recall where I got these. They are by Woodcraft, made in China. I put together all three sets, thinking to sell what I don't use, but after doing a little staging, it appears I'll be using all of them on place or another.
Here is where construction stands. All but one exterior wall and the ground floor ceiling glued in place. I'm pleased to report that the stairway and partition wall slide in and out very easily. The swinging door will eventually lead into the kitchen. It is taped to a dowel that is held in place by the weight of the ceiling. I put the dowel there to keep the ceiling from sagging.

The missing wall needs some carpentry work, namely a couple of doorways cut into it before it goes up. As I mentioned earlier, a kitchen wing will be added on the other side of the swinging door. I'd thought to attach it to the main house, but I'm now thinking to make it freestanding. I need to scope out the roof line before making a final decision.
The room layout for the second floor has yet to be finalized. The furniture up there is just scattered about. The general plan is to have the far corner, at the top of the stairs, be a sort of lounge/public area for the guests, with two guest rooms to the left of it and one larger room to the right. A doorway in the missing wall will lead into the room above the kitchen, where there will be a stairway to the 3rd floor/attic rooms and a shared bathroom.

I'd hoped to have a  fireplace in the dining room (on the missing wall), but with three tables, there really isn't room. If I replace one of the square tables with a small round one, it might work. Debating.
The private dining room is looking good. Alois is in his favorite place, behind the bar. He'll be even happier when it is stocked. Although some of the walls appear to be white, the entire ground floor (except for the lobby) is painted Venetian Stucco by Glidden.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Playing in the Mud

Well, the mud is dry, the wallboard mud, that is. Today I sanded and sanded and cleaned the mud out of the slots and sanded it off of the tabs for the walls. Then I wiped down the work area and each piece with a damp rag to pick up the dust the the brush missed, and painted the ground floor sections of each piece.

I used a mini paint roller that I picked up in a paint shop some time ago. I think the store sold Benjamin Moore paints. These were with the display of sample colors. In a spurt of intelligence, I bought more than one, so I have a spare when this one bites the dust. It is a dream for painting walls. The paint goes on smoothly. In this case, one coat is sufficient. Love it!

The order from Hobby Builders Supply arrived today. The hanging lights are going to need some adjusting, as the chains are way too long, but that's a minor item compared to the big electrical question: where to put the electric source. I suppose I can install all of the ground floor ceiling lights and just run the wires up through the ceiling, but then where to? And there are to be some sconces on the ground floor. Where to run their wires?

As soon as I figure that out, the mini electrician can get to work!

The paint color I'm using is Glidden's Venetian Stucco from Walmart. I don't know what it looks like on your computer screen, but the picture appears lighter than the real paint color. I bought three of the tester bottles, and it appears that will be sufficient.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One step forward ...

Well, maybe not two steps back, but it sure feels like it. I've fiddled with the staircase and the lobby partition wall but I think they are now finished. I filled in the original stairway hole and gave the ceiling a couple coats of white ceiling paint. tonight I finally got up enough nerve to cut the new stairway opening. I measured about four times but still managed to be off enough that it took a little more plastic surgery to get it where it needs to be. The staircase unit slides out as one piece.

 Here is the lobby through the hole where the front door will go. I'm thinking of ways to keep it from getting too closed in so as not to lose too much of the view.
 I like the little flash of red glass in the clerestory windows.
 View through one of the oval windows in the lobby. I had to trim the frame of the other oval to accomodate the stair railing.
The underside of the stairs has been framed in. I see it needs a bit of detail work. Notice the doorknob on the little door into the desk area. Lloyd was concerned about how Alois was to get in and out.
There will be a hanging light in the lobby, behind the leaded glass windows. I think it will shine nicely. Am waiting for delivery so I can get it installed.

I've prepped the rest of the vertical pieces -- flat walls and tower walls. I painted both sides with flat white ceiling paint and then coated the inside surfaces with a skim coat of wallboard mud. I spread it on with a palette knife and like the way it looks. Tomorrow I'll paint it and put some of the walls in place.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Testing Paint

Well, after a hiatus of nearly two weeks, there's finally something to report. The major pieces in play at the moment have been primed with real life, matte-finish, latex ceiling paint; the ground floor walls have been painted with Glidden's Venetian something-or-other.  On the good side, I like the color. It is a soft buff yet seems to be a bit reflective, which will keep the ground floor light. On the other side, I should have primed with gesso, as the latex is so thin that the surface texture of the wood shows. Sanding hasn't helped. So, today's agenda includes painting it all again with gesso and recoating with the color. I may go ahead and cut the new doors in the end wall (on the right) before I repaint. Those doors will connect with the addition (yet to be built). All you can see of the wall in question is the edge.
The dining room (on the right) looks a bit small. Maybe there will be room for three or four 4-tops with a deuce in the bay window.

Alois is eager for me to get the new wall finished. That's on today's agenda, too. The lead tape arrived yesterday for the leaded glass panels, and I think my hand is steady enough to paint "Hospoda" on the larger window. We'll see!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Making Walls Out of Toothpicks

That's what dear husband Lloyd says. "Oh, you're really making something out of all of those toothpicks." Ha. Not just any toothpicks. I did get side one of Panel One finished and couldn't wait to see it in situ. Alois was just as eager and volunteered to help. Keep in mind that the protective film is still on the Plexiglas, and the unstained channel at the bottom is a temporary place holder; the door lacks hardware, and the clerestory windows will have some bits of colored glass (unless I get a better idea). There will be glass to fill in the opening by the registration desk. (The bottom part will become a half-door, so the hotelier/concierge can get in and out.

The other side of this panel has been completed and is drying. I've looked up the Czech word for Pub and will paint it on the window of the door before assembling the "sandwich" (she says confidently).

Later: Alois insists I show you the 2nd panel in place. One side is finished. The other side will have to wait until tomorrow. Wait. It is nearly tomorrow now! (Lloyd says it looks as if it's a screen door. That's because the protective film is still on the Plexiglas.) I put up the outside walls again for context. I need to find a nice hanging light fixture for the lobby. It will shine through the clerestory windows. And maybe a small lamp on the reception desk.
Going to bed now. Good night! :)

Building a wall

Here is a photo of the wall between the foyer and bar/restaurant areas under construction. I cut two pieces of Plexiglas to fit the footprint shown in the last entry, then drew the door and windows on graph paper. I found enough stripwood and mouldings in my stash to start cutting pieces and fitting them together like a puzzle.

I'm working on the bottom of a corrugated cardboard box. The schematic is covered with waxed paper, so the glue won't stick. The pile of lumber on the left comprises the pieces for the other side. It will have to be assembled in reverse so the Plexiglas can be sandwiched between them.

I thought about how to put a finish on the wood and decided it would be better to stain the wood pieces before assembly. I'm using the stain pen seen at left. Only a few of my fingertips are stained; I keep forgetting to put on gloves. When the whole panel is glued together, it will be coated with a few layers of clear satin-finish acrylic. When the whole assembly is dry and can be removed in one piece, I'll do the panel to the left (under the wood pile). It will be easier, as there is no door to deal with.

Haven't worked out how the door will be finished. I think maybe a few mullions. I don't want to block the view into the foyer any more than necessary.

I'm thinking I may turn the finished units over, cover them with waxed paper, and assemble the mirror-image units right on top, so they will fit precisely when glued in place. I think the only glue I have that will work is E-6000, so once they are placed in the acetate, there they'll stay. There won't be much room for adjustment.