Our Wall of Windows Project: Upcycled

Most of you know we bought property in Tennessee that included an old farmhouse and a large industrial building that was formerly a church. We will gut the farmhouse and completely renovate it (but not until next year or so). That means temporarily, all of Mr. Basketmaker’s workshop is housed in the farmhouse and the church building we turned into our living quarters and my studio.

But we needed some walls! It was one large open space. And since this will eventually become Eric’s workshop, we wanted to design the living space with his future basketry headquarters in mind. He always envisioned having all his equipment, tools, etc. in one half and a “dust-free” project area and teaching studio in the other half, separated by a wall of glass.

With our starving-artists’ budget, we headed down to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and purchased a whole bunch of old wood windows for $2 each. Eric built one side of the wall about a month ago. And this weekend, I am so glad that my father-in-law is here to help Eric build the other half because of this:


Yes, that’s Mr. Basketmaker up on a ladder that is mounted on a work table! I wasn’t happy with this but I needed to trust him when he said it’s all clamped down to the table. And I wasn’t as much help to him — he needed someone stronger who could haul things up to him while he builds the frame.

Where there are no windows we decided (well mainly me) to add corrugated steel. I love this material. I don’t know why. When I built a small loft/living quarters in the back of an 11,000 sq. foot building, that housed an antiques store, I bought up in Maine, all my bathroom walls were corrugated steel. I loved it. So when the opportunity arose to use it again, I was thrilled.

Wait…. I think I’m seeing a pattern here. I seem to enjoy building living quarters where there was none before! And apparently so does Eric. When I first met him, he was living in a very old school house up in northern New Hampshire. I didn’t make this connection about this similarity until right now. Sweet!


So we (mainly Eric) built this wall with old windows and corrugated steel. We love it. Especially since we don’t like ordinary — we enjoy creating our own unique individual space. And it helps to be married to a woodworker. He framed out each window and built sills for all. Below is a sneak peak to the corner of our kitchen. Will post the other half of the wall and our very cool custom center door as soon as Mr. Basketmaker and his step-Dad are finished!



Our Kitchen Renovation: Countertops

So you already know that we’re renovating our kitchen. But not a typical renovation. This all has to be done on a low, low, low, extremely low budget. Remember, we’re starving artists so the top two tools for this renovation are 1) Creativity and 2) Sweat Equity.

So we started with converting a kitchen closet into a semi-walk-in pantry. And then we got sidetracked by removing the floor. Then we got sidetracked again with testing out an idea I had for the countertops: Decoupage.

Below are images of the whole process. I’m thinking the pictures are not doing it justice because the counter turned out amazing! Have two more counters to go now!

We have two different countertops in our kitchen and as you can see, they're not in great shape.
I tore pictures from an outdated cookbook that was mostly all text. Then I wrinkled the pages and Mod Podged them to the countertop by applying glue to the pages and a thin layer to the countertop as well. I then rolled it down with considerable pressure to remove any air bubbles.
Continue gluing and rolling until completely covered.
Now the fun part — painting! First color down is a yellow hue that was thinned out with a mixing medium. Painted random strokes and then rubbed it in with a cloth towel. Then I mixed in a reddish brown color and applied to different sections and rubbing/blotting with the towel.
Applying paint and rubbing with a towel. After the yellow and orange/brown colors, two layers of different shades of gray are applied in particular spots to create the ethereal effect.
My part is done. Eric is applying the lacquer. Remember to wear one of those high-end filtered masks since this product has lots of fumes! We estimated about 10 coats are needed.
This is one of the final pics taken. Need about 4 more layers of lacquer and next I will decoupage the back edging to complete this countertop. We love the way it turned out! Especially how the colors change with the daylight and overhead lights at night.


Five Questions Friday: “Ouch”

Q: What kind of week did you have?
Eric: Very busy. Got a few orders out, made a list of materials I need to create for upcoming workshops but mainly I was able to get rid of that yucky white vinyl flooring in the kitchen for you! 

Q: How much do you love this heat?
Eric: I love it. Makes me want to move down South. (editor’s note: I don’t think he’s being sarcastic here.)

Q: Are you going to tell me that I was right regarding our new pantry?
Eric: I was not against the pantry! I was against all the work it would entail.

Q: What annoyed me this week?
Eric: I think two things. 1 – Your laptop just went bizerk and had to go in for service until next week (I know how you cannot live without it) and 2 – Pulling a muscle in your shoulder. I know all your whining over the last two days has annoyed me!

Q: Okay, other than my crying out in pain, what else annoyed you this week?
Stepping barefoot on all those staples and nails sticking out of the old linoleum when ripping it out.
(editor’s note: I told him to stop walking around barefoot!)