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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Tuscan Kitchen Decorating

The walls in a Tuscan kitchen have a unique, old-world look. You can achieve this using a faux painting technique. First, you paint the walls a bright base color such as butterscotch or butter yellow. Then, sponge on a deeper shade so that the walls look as though they have faded in some spots. There are many books and Internet sites that can give you step-by-step directions on this method of applying paint, as well as product suggestions. If you want to go the extra mile, you can texturize your walls using joint compound mixed with paint. “Pouncing” the mixture onto the walls creates a colored, rustic roughness characteristic of an authentic country kitchen in Tuscany.

The next places to paint are cabinet doors. Use a strong, contrasting color to really give your Tuscan county kitchen character. Deep reds and bright forest greens are especially popular on cupboard doors. While you’re out looking for just the right shade of paint, spend some time in the hardware section of your home improvement store. This is where you’ll find the pulls and handles to add the finishing touch to your Tuscan cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Heavy, burnished metal or ceramic knobs will both look great in your kitchen.

Now that you have the background set, it’s time for the focus pieces. A Tuscan country kitchen harkens thoughts of family and friends. A large table with simple chairs is a sure invitation to your own family to spend quality time in the kitchen. Brightly colored seat cushions make the chairs even more inviting, and a wooden bowl of fruit and nuts encourages a long visit.

Browse through kitchen supply stores and you’ll find a dazzling array of decanters for oils and spices. In a Tuscan county kitchen, cooking ingredients are often stored in plain sight. Glass jars filled with dried beans and pasta should line your counters, along with terra cotta planters and cooking utensil holders. Pewter and copper vessels are also a good choice you’re your Tuscan kitchen. If you have the floor space, freestanding metal or wooden racks can be used to hold commonly used pots and pans, as well as sunflower-print table linens. Pots of herbs on a windowsill and trailing houseplants on top of the refrigerator add even more of an Old World feel to your new kitchen look.

Installing New Showerhead

he first step is to decide what type of shower head you want to replace. While most shower fixtures connect to a standard size pipe thread, you must make sure you have enough clearance for your new showerhead. If the stem (the portion of the pipe from the wall to the existing shower head) is short or close to the ceiling you will want to check before purchasing a large fixture.

The Tools You Need – For this project, you will need a wrench or pliers and some teflon tape. Depending upon the age of your existing fixture, you may also need to have a pipe wrench on hand as well. You may also want to have something available protect your fixture from the jaws of the wrench or pliers (a folded rag or piece of rubber from an inner tube work well)

Remove the Old Showerhead – If you have an older unit you probably have some rust, oxidation, or lime buildup that may make removal difficult. If the fixture does not readily unscrew, use two sets of pliers/wrenches (with the jaws of each protected as indicated above), one set on the stem and the other on the fixture. Apply equal pressure to both sides to until the showerhead starts to move. Be careful not to apply too much force as you do not want to break either the stem or existing showerhead. Once the shower head starts to turn you should be able to remove it by hand.

Clean and prepare the stem pipe – A little preparation here could save you quite a bit of time later if you decide to replace the showerhead again. Clean the threads of the stem of any rust or lime and apply teflon tape to the threads. This will help the new showerhead install easily, provide a good seal, and make it easier in the future if you ever have to replace the shower head again.

Install the New Shower – If you selected a simple replacement showerhead all that remains to be done is to screw the new fixture onto the prepared pipe stem. Make sure not to over-tighten when you are installing this – hand tight plus a quarter or half turn is probably all you need. If you have purchased a more sophisticated fixture like a shower massage wand you may have a few pieces to install. Make sure that you apply teflon tape to all threaded connections (unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer) to ensure a good seal.

Building Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchen plans can easily be found online, or if you prefer you may visit your local hardware store
to purchase plans. When you are looking at plans, be sure to get a cost estimate for the completed project
and add 10% to that estimate to cover any incidentals. Also keep in mind that an outdoor kitchen will definitely add value to your home. So while you want to be careful about how much you are spending, you also need to keep in mind that you are adding value to your property by building an outdoor kitchen.

After choosing a plan you can save some money by being careful where you purchase your supplies. If you are building a brick or a stone outdoor kitchen, it would be worthwhile to check with a local building supply company for any discontinued or “extra” materials they may want to get rid of at low cost. For example, I’ve known people who got stone at ½ price because the wrong color was ordered for a job, so the company wanted to get rid of it and sold it cheap. These are the types of deals you can look for. If you are a real planner, you can start designing at the end of the summer to build next summer. That way you have plenty of time to look for deals.

Before you go running off to buy your supplies, you should map out, in your yard, exactly where the outdoor kitchen will be located. Do this BEFORE your purchase any supplies so you will know that you will be happy with the size and placement of the kitchen. You will also want to do this so you will not be surprised by an obstacles in the middle of building that may add cost to the project.

After choosing the plan getting a cost estimate and mapping out the kitchen, you can start to purchase supplies. All this time there is no need to purchase cabinets or appliances. Build the outdoor kitchen
first, then you add the furnishing.

Aluminum Railings

You may not require very many tools. You require some skill in cutting and fixing screws. The tools you would require for are

Tools Needed:

  • Circular saw
  • Wood worker’s Clamps
  • Hand saw
  • Rough files 8″ long
  • Power drill and drill bits of 1/8″ 3/16″ & ¼” diameter
  • 3/8″ Hex head driver
  • Level
  • Tape Measure
  • Chalk
  • Twine thread
  • Hammer
  • Scriber for marking aluminum
  • Safety goggles
  • Hand gloves and
  • Mask.

The materials required for are

  • Aluminum formed sections 2X4 “and 4×4”
  • Wooden Inserts
  • 3/8″ Hex heads
  • Bottom posts
  • Aluminum cleats

While making aluminum railings please refer to the local building codes and select the material that is allowed in the local codes. Not doing so may cause problems later on. So please be careful. If the design is to be approved by the local builders association or architect, get the approval before starting.

Please prepare design for your aluminum railings. The sketches will help you in firming up the material requirement. This way you will not make any purchases that you do not require. Even if the dealer is ready to take back the unused material, the dealer will not pay for transportation of material back to store and may have some deduction for the returned material.

The method of making straight aluminum railings is as follows

  • Bottom support: The bottom support can be fixed to the wooden flooring at the bottom with help of anchoring bolts.
  • Preparation for railings: After fixing the bottom supportprepare the complete railing on a level floor and erect it in the bottom support only when it is completely ready
  • Center rail inserts: Either you can use the clamps made for fixing center rails, or you can use the wooden inserts. For fixing wooden inserts, some skill is required. On two opposite sides of 4×4″ post, you can cut a rectangular hole (of inside dimensions of center rail) on opposite side so that a wooden inserts can be fixed and bolted the rail with 3/8″ hex bolts.
  • Verticals and middle railings: The verticals and middle can now be assembled and loosely attached to the bottom support. At this stage, not all the 3/8″ screws will be tightened. When the entire railing has been put up, the screws can be tightened up starting up from both ends and meeting at the center.
  • Inserts for top rail: The wooden inserts for top railings can be fixed up now. It is easier when the complete railing is made. The wooden inserts can extend about half the depth of top rail so that fixing up the top rail is easy. The wooden inserts should be fixed up in the verticals with screws so it does not move
  • Top rail: The top rail will have slots of the size of wooden inserts and spaced so that the top railing goes into these slots easily. The top railing is to be fixed to the verticals with help of cleats. This will ensure that the top rail does not move and the usable portion of top rail does not have any protruding bolts.
  • After the screws have been firmly fixed up they will need to be protected with silicone sealants.