Home In Disarray

July 15, 2012

DIY Mondrian

DIY Mondrian
By

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Craig and I are fond of fine art.  Unfortunately we do not have the income stream to support our love for it.  When Craig and I first started dating we went to art shows and whatnot and I fell in love with Monet’s San Giorgio Maggio painting.  But, like I said, we were both broke college students.  So Craig got a canvas and some oil paints, then painted something similar for me! You can see it (and an attempt at a Van Gogh) in this photo from when we first moved  into our house.  We are no strangers to making obvious forgeries of fine art.

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Another thing that we got when we first moved into the house was a HUGE 4×6′ canvas.  But then we got busy, and it ended up in the garage, and we didn’t bother to ever do anything with it.  But since I got started on this redecorating kick, started by my mom’s visit and subsequent repainting of the kitchen/dining/living/family room, I finally knew exactly what I wanted to do with the canvas and what colors to paint it.  Great success!  In case you aren’t familiar with Piet Mondrian’s work, he was a Dutch painter in the early 20th century, and while he did many different compositions, he became famous for his geometric works with names such as “Composition in Red, Blue, and Yellow.”  Here you can see a couple Mondrian pieces from MOMA or the Metropolitan behind the Brancusi sculpture from when we were in NYC a few years ago.

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First I figured out the dimensions and sketched it up.  Mondrian generally used primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, plus black and white, but we wanted something that would fit within the colors that we were using in the house.  I used graph paper so I could easily replicate the dimensions on my canvas with a ruler.

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Then I mocked it up using MS Paint to verify that I liked the way that the colors interacted with each other.

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Then I hauled the canvas out of the garage and took the plastic off of it.

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It was too big to really go anywhere but the kitchen counter, so it went there!

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Then I got to measuring and sketching out lines with a pencil.  I was initially going to paint black stripes where I wanted lines, tape over them with frog tape, then paint the colors in.  Unfortunately I didn’t quite think through trying to cover black with lighter colors(and not too much thickness), so upon discussing the method of approach we figured that out and decided to do it the hard way.  That involved painting up to (or nearly up to) the lines I’d drawn with colors, letting it dry, then masking off the colors to paint black in.

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It was time consuming.  Really time consuming. I probably spent 6+ hours taping and measuring and making sure the black looked straight.  I also learned that the frame is not in fact straight and can not be trusted.  I ended up using calipers and a good straight edge to check line thickness and straightness.  It was a project that required a steady hand and a great deal of patience.

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Finally I finished taping (and triple checking to be sure that the lines looked straight and the tape was stuck down properly.  So I got to painting it.  It took 2 coats of black paint, and then I immediately pulled the masking tape off to help keep the lines smooth and avoid having it dry and rip off.

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Here it is drying last night.
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I was going to hang it vertically on the first wall you see when you walk in our front door, but due to only having 8 foot ceilings, it looked a little weird, and when the dogs started wrestling, they bumped into it, and I did NOT want them destroying it, so we went horizontal over our sofa.

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Cost breakdown –
4×6′ primed canvas (on sale) – $48
1 roll 1″ frog tape $8
Misc sample pots of latex wall paint – $0 (we had all of these already)

Total –
$56 & 8+ hours

Posted in: Art, DIY
July 4, 2012

Our “cheap” coffee table project

Mid Century living room reno
By

Hardy Har Har

Ok, so I get This Old House magazine.  A few months back they had this article on building a hairpin legged coffee table.  I like hairpin legs and the whole mid-century look, so I got to coercing Craig into helping me build it.  After all, the article said under $100

This Old House Coffee Table

The catch was, we weren’t going to use wood.  “Why?” you may ask…  Here’s why.  Helo likes eating wood furniture.

Wood coffee table eaten by dog

So…. A stone top it is!  I figured we could get a granite remnant for $50 or so and then get some legs and be good to go for under $150.  But then Craig didn’t like the $50 remnant that I picked out, so we got a marble remnant for $186.  Oops.
Beige Marble remnant

Beige Marble remnant

Then we had to cut it.  That was a $30 diamond blade.

Cutting Marble remnant with circular saw

And then we broke it.  So we had to cut it again.  Did you know that marble is super brittle and prone to fracturing along all of those beautiful veins?  Neither did we.  But we learned. Pro-tip – if plans change partway through your project, do some googling on your smart phone before dropping nearly $200 on a piece of stone you know nothing about.
Cutting Marble remnant with circular saw

After that, there was about 45 minutes of wet sanding to knock down some of the etching from it sitting out in the elements for however many months.  The cost of sand paper and sealer worked out to about $40.

The hairpin legs came out to about $90 after shipping, and a sheet of plywood to mount them to came out to about $25.  Then misc supplies like T-nuts, bolts, and silicone adhesive came out to another $25 or so.  I won’t count the cost of the paint for the plywood or other misc items that I already had lying around.

We finally got it all pulled together last night and after the silicone drying, we moved it into the living room this morning.
Marble remnant coffee table

Marble remnant coffee table

Try eating that!!!
Marble remnant hairpin leg coffee table

Marble remnant hairpin leg coffee table

Marble remnant hairpin leg coffee table

Total cost:
$370

Oh, and if you come over, don’t spill acidic stuff on it, it will etch the surface, marble reacts to acid.  Or if you do, clean it thoroughly right away.:squint:

Posted in: DIY, House, Projects