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Chestnut Cottage Chapter II

My last post showed you the work we’ve completed over the last year converting our storage building to usable living space.  Today the story continues to the last several months of this year.  Before I get started I want to send a heartfelt thank you to New Dimension Solutions, LLC for sponsoring this Defined Design blog post and offering my readers a discount on their products!

Why the pig? (Isn’t he cute!)  Well, once again our buddy Craig came through for us.  3/4″ pine boards for .50 cents a square foot!  Deal of a lifetime! These will make the perfect floor.

The gentlemen selling the wood had a lovely farm.  All the critters followed us around everywhere we went.  I loved it!  I’ve always wanted goats, still working on convincing my hub luv.

With the help of my super hero hubby we installed the floors in under 6 hours.  He is my knight in shining armor!  Chivalry is not dead world!  Part of the fun of being married to Steve is that as much as I want to ‘do the work myself’ he refuses to stand by and watch.

Sanding the floor with a hand sander took me another 6 hours.  Confession time:  These boards were all 6′ long and they were intended for walls.  One step we avoided when installing the floor, was squaring the ends. With the floor sanded, I really wished we had taken the time to recut the ends, because of the gaps that were left.  At this point in the game all I could do was fill the gaps with wood putty and sand them.  I actually liked the end results, it made the seams stand out adding more character to the floor.

After a thorough vacuüm and wiping down with a damp cotton cloth, I began applying the white wash stain.  Working quickly I applied it three boards deep from left to right, across the width of the room.

 Once I finished applying I immediately went to the starting point and (using old white t-shirts) wiped up any whitewash that did not soak in.

The upper image is the floor sanded, the lower image is the floor whitewashed.  The whitewash lightened the grain and knots ever so slightly.  Over time unstained pine floors will yellow.  The whitewash water based stain will keep this floor looking light and bright for years to come!

My next dilemma: find a sealer that would not yellow and one that dries to a matte finish.  After searching several hours I ran across New Dimensions Solutions, LLC.  I made a phone call and pummeled them with questions. My concern was I needed a durable finish that kept the whitewash white without compromising the matte look.  They gladly answered all my questions and suggested I try their SKID SAFE™ Sealer and Finish. SKID SAFE™ is not only durable it is available in a matte finish, and has a five-year guarantee!

Love those words Satin/Matte Version!

First Step:  Pour entire contents of bottle in a large clean bucket.

Second Step:  Get a paint mixer and electric drill…

Step Three:  Mix for five minutes.

Step Four:  Apply mixed SKID SAFE™ with mop.  NOTE: Buy a mop that has a dry sponge – NOT a wet/moist plastic wrapped version.

Step Five:  Mop on SKID SAFE™

I applied this to three boards deep and the entire width of the room, moving from left to right and then right to left.  To coat the floor took about 8 minutes.  When I finished, I stood in the doorway and could not even tell I applied the first coat.  Looks like I found a product that would deliver on the matte finish!

Once step five is complete, wait an hour and repeat steps 2-5 until you get four coats of finish applied.
BIG NOTE: You only need to mix for two minutes when applying more coats.  If you wait longer than a day to apply the next coat you will need to mix for a full five minutes.

Here is the floor after four coats of SKID SAFE™.  I am beyond happy!  The final result is a whitewashed pine floor that has a tad bit of grip (slip resistance) to it with a true matte coat.


Benefits:  Water based means easy clean up!  Available in Satin/Matte or Gloss. High Spread Rate 400-4000 square feet per gallon (I used less than 1/4 of a gallon for four coats on 150 square feet). Does not yellow, peel, crack, flake or chip and it allows the substrate to “breathe”.  Stain Resistant to oil, gasoline, food spills and uric acid.  Maybe applied over previous installed coatings and paints in acceptable condition.  Use on masonry, stone, vinyl, metal, wood, paint and composite materials.

Price:  New Dimensions 25th Anniversary Sale Price  $59 Quart, $99 Gallon, $449 Pail (readers of this blog get a 10% discount-see below).

Warranty:  Guaranteed for Five Years!

Life of Product:  Let’s be realistic, floors take a ton of abuse.  I’ve been around a while and I know what it takes to keep a floor clean and pristine – vacuuming twice a week and mopping once a week (under normal use). Based on this I see know reason at this point in time why the finish won’t hold up for the five years.

Quality:  Superior!  I’ve used just about every water based sealer you can find in home improvement stores.  When it comes to sealing a floor this product is the best I’ve ever used!

Environmental Effects:  Any water based sealer is safer for the environment. May cause skin and eye irritation.

Company:  New Dimensions has been in business for 25 years.  They not only manufacture SKID SAFE™ they sell products to protect other areas of your home and business read their questions page to learn more.

Ease of Use:  Super easy to apply.  The hardest part for me was waiting for five minutes to mix it.  It went on easy, clean up was a breeze, it dried fast.

Test of Time:  The finish has been down for seven days, yesterday we brought all the furnishings back in.  We did take precautions with area rugs and took our shoes off.  We still managed to track in a good amount of dirt. After the furniture was in place a quick vacuüm to the floor and it looked beautiful.  Now we are walking on the floor with shoes, it is holding up very well.  I will report back over time and let you know of the long-term durability.

Form/Aesthetics:  The matte look of the floor is exactly what I expected, it keeps the whitewash pine in mind not the finish.  Perfectly happy with the end results!

Maintenance:  Clean with plain water or a neutral cleaner.

I recommend SKID SAFE™ to all my family, friends, colleagues and clients.  I found New Dimensions Solutions, LLC to offer great customer service.  Their product is easy to use and as of today I give it a 9 out 10. I will review again in one year to let you know the true test of time. New Dimensions is graciously offering everyone who reads this blog a 10% discount on all their products until Monday, August 1, 2011.  When you order use the discount code: LISA

New Dimensions is having a HUGE 25th YEAR ANNIVERSARY SALE!  If you need to protect surfaces in your home I highly recommend using their products. They offer a 100% Satisfaction Money Back Guarantee (including shipping costs) on Quartz or smaller sizes.

Until next time,


Chestnut Cottage Chapter I

Part of the charm that made me really like this diamond in the rough we now call home, was the house, garage, and storage shed all boast the same chalet style.  I must admit I was particularly fond of the little storage building.

Many years ago when I first got on the internet I came across an article about Henry David Thoreau’s 2 year, 2 month, 2 day life of simplicity in a small cabin.  That article stirred my childhood dreams of owning a small cabin.  After we moved in I spent several days trying to find that article. Unfortunately I could not locate it, however,  I did find this:

Photo Credit:

A web site that goes into great detail about Thoreau and his cabin.  I discovered our storage building is almost the exact size of  Thoreau’s cabin. I decided to listen to the small voice from my childhood and convert the storage shed into a useable living space.  My first thoughts were to finish it on the inside and install climate control so our ‘storage’ aka photos, papers, etc would not become ruined.

I’ll never forget the day we moved in.  The property manager had a 5 man crew meet us so they could remove all the owners contents from the garage and storage building.  They filled an entire truck with the contents of the storage building.  They said they would return to get the rest, but we never saw them again.  On our own, 10 construction trash bags later, we had it looking like this:

It looks so much better in the winter time, you don’t see the 30 years of wood growth all around it, though the leaves, leave plenty of evidence.

Steve found board remnants everywhere so he stacked and covered them to keep dry.

The two large trees in the front are Chestnut Oaks.  They are 4 inches away from the gable fascia.

We didn’t clean out all the stuff on the right side of the building or under it (right away) – years of who knows what just piled up.

Oh I wish I had taken a picture of the inside before we removed all the stuff!

I give huge kudos to Steve and Isaac for vacuuming out the years of critter stuff.  Sweeping just doesn’t cut it in my book.

Look how the stuff bent the shelves.

The plank floors.  To keep the critters out (not), someone cut strips of tar paper and nailed it at the seams.

The make shift shelving removed – we salvaged every piece, you never know when your going to need a scrap of wood.

Jump ahead to Spring 2010.  Look at how close to the ground the building is!  Steve and I were both amazed it had not rotted, after 30 years.

I found the slate buried throughout the yard. I made a path from the house to the shed.  It’s more comforting to step on slate verses leaves, especially after the neighbors told me there are snakes throughout these parts.

Look at the siding, poor little building is just begging for help!

Digging a deep trench for power with a rented ditch witch.  So thankful for that piece of equipment!  Ran power to the garage first.

Then took power to the storage shed, look at all those roots!  Amazingly, the trees survived the ditching.

Jump ahead 30 days.  Dug around the old footers and poured additional concrete to make them meet building code.  Raised the building (which also moved it back from the chestnut oak trees about three feet).  Installed 2″x10’x15′ boards on all four sides and one in the middle to reinforce the sagging floor.  Built a small stoop and stairs.  Pulled out the slate and rearranged it to fit the new steps.

Clean siding after scrubbing – this little building seems happy again!

This is the right side, notice all the stuff piled up is gone.

It was not fun climbing the ladder to clean the soffit, fascia and gable – very high up there, especially on the back side of the building.

The back.  See all the wood rescued from the shelves under the building.

I forgot to mention earlier that we bought two windows from our buddy Craig (list).  One of the original windows was missing and the other was only a single pane.  These were replacement windows that a homeowner replaced, we got them for $40!  Other than needing new screens they are super nice, they even open inside for cleaning!  Love that Craig guy!

This was my first time installing insulation.  Having to wear long sleeve shirt, pants, face mask and goggles in 95 degree weather made for a couple very hot sweaty days.

Breaker Box – Power Yay!

The old door was cut at the bottom and very rusted, so we invested in a new one.  Installed plywood over the old floor after removing the tar paper strips and nails.

For climate control we opted for a PTAC unit, like those found in hotels.

I took pictures of the drywall process, but I can’t find them for the life of me.  Drywall was the most difficult, mudding the joints was very painful, it took forever to smooth them out.  Drywall professionals are worth their weight in gold!

For a temporary floor, I opted to paint the subfloor with porch paint.  At this point in the construction, Fall was fast approaching and we had company coming.  So I put in a full size bed, a chair, window treatments, and lighting (so long storage idea).  Over the holidays family stayed with us.  Steve and I gave up our room at Chinkapin and we slept in Chestnut.  It’s like luxury camping – we love it!

I’m delighted to tell you the next post, Chestnut Cottage Chapter II is brought to you by New Dimensions Solutions, LLC.  I’ll detail the new pine floor installation with DIY instructions.  Until next time.