Saturday, 30 July 2016

ELF kit - the mud room (2)

Eventually all the painting is done.  There are three coats of white matt emulsion rubbed down with the finest abrasive surface you can get hold of.  Even 400 grit sandpaper is too rough for this.  Just a scrumpled brown paper bag does quite a good job but you can get pads used by painters for plaster-work and for rubbing down between coats of paint from the painters section of a decent DIY store.  They last ages and are the very best for all kinds of smoothing work at this scale.

three coats later

The following picture shows the next three steps in the make.
  • The cupboards have been assembled.  
  • They are then waxed.  I use Antiquax (on the recommendation of ELF).  As usual apply thinly and evenly and allow to dry then buff up with soft cloth, you can add more coats if you want more sheen.  I am not trying to achieve a shine just a smooth finish.
  • The handles have been added.  By sheer chance I had exactly the right size drill bit for the stems of these handles so they are a really tight fit.  In fact they needed a gentle tap with a small hammer to get them completely seated.  So no glue was needed.

Now to win the prize for the most convoluted wiring exercise ever.  This is how not to approach any wiring in your house.  I thought it was worth a share to show you what can go wrong when you are a twerp.

I wanted lights under my cupboard.  I got the perfect kit from ELF.  They are very thin sticky-backed LEDs that can be wired into my power strip just like any other light.

A normal person would stick them under the cupboard and take the wires straight through the back of the house (as recommended).  Not for me....

Firstly they were going on an added inner wall which was three plus inches away from the back of the house and now had no access to the back wall from inside the house unless you could thread your arm through a door and down a corridor and work blind.  Yes, gentle reader that's what I did.  Here's how it went.

Not content with this difficulty I had also added a trim at the front bottom edge of the cupboard to make sure you couldn't see the lights.  This would only be possible if you were at precisely the right height from the floor and standing on your head. As I am never sure when I might want to do this, a trim was vital.

That done, I decided I was taking no chances with any 'slack wire being visible - why would it be slack?  I drilled a hole in the base of the cupboard and another hole in the back of the cupboard for the wires to pass through.  Such fun threading through the first hole (not).

Even more fun passing the wire through the second hole when you can't possibly get your hand inside the box.  Yet there was even more fun to follow.

Having worked out where the wires would exit the cupboard I carefully measured and marked the positions on the inner wall.

Now I needed to work out where they would appear on the back of the house.  To save me having to accurately measure rooms and wall thicknesses and do any totting up, here's the contraption I came up with to determine that the hole would be 19.5 inches from the edge of the house and 5.75 inches up from the bottom edge.

 Now I needed a way to get the wire through the inner wall and then through the outer wall across a 'corridor'. I drilled all four holes with a drill bit a little larger than the straw/coffee stirrer I was using as a conduit.  I then threaded the stirrer through the front hole, threaded my arm at an awkward angle though a doorway and down the corridor and felt around for the exit hole and eventually guided the end of the straw through that, by touch.  I now had a 'bridge' between the walls for the wire to pass through.  I made that sound easy.  It wasn't.  I am not sure how well you can see the straw here.

There is a better picture here at the back of the house.

Was it worth it?  Well yes I think so but, as I said earlier, I am a twerp.

All the other cupboards went in place and I just needed to add the skirting board.  This is where I discovered there wasn't enough space between the machines and the walls to get in even the thinnest of thin skirting boards.  I couldn't slap it in front the the machines - it would look clunky and the machines would never come out in real life or this one.

Inspired thinking I added a quarter scale coving as the sort of trim you sometimes get with laminate flooring.  Forget mine goes in (coving) where it should come out (quarter round beading) and its a jolly good fix.

So there we go, job done, one mud room fitted.

For my last twerp confession in this post, lest you should think I am too smart to live...

I drilled a hole in the wrong place!!!!!

I have absolutely no spatial whatevers, so when I am working at the back where right becomes left etc I am scuppered.  I knew the holes should be four and something inches apart and that the second hole was to the right....  but that's to the right from the front view but now, of course, it needed to be to the left.  The Rec room now has a hole in a place I can't cover or use in any way.  I don't want to think about how to 'cure' this right now as I am too busy howling!!!


  1. The Mud Room looks great. You always find a way to do things so you will come up with a solution to your wayward hole. Thanks again for your great inspiration.

    1. Thanks Wilma. It is all fixed....bit of filler, sanding and a little blended paint. Just in the moment you see it you could have a mini tantrum! Marilyn

  2. I have just noticed that you have labelled the wiring coming out of the back of the house. Such a simple method but so effective. I would be stupid enough to try to label the plugs strip.

    1. I write on a bit of masking tape and wrap it round the wire. When I get to the end of electricals and fix on the power strip I have one that has numbers on the connecters so I can write an index on the back of the house and remove all the papers. Only because I am a super tidy freak.... The labels do the job very well as they are. Marilyn

  3. I think we've all done that at some point - drilled something back to front! The mud room looks great and worth all your angst, I'm itching now to seeing it fully stocked and accessorized.

    Your coving "edging" has worked really well and no-one would know (unless they read your post) that the intention had been to put skirting board there. It's exactly the way it would be done in real life with a wooden floor.

    BTW - We share the same labelling system for wiring - at the back of the house it's like flag day!

  4. There is a ton of research that shows spatial awareness is a gendered thing - that's my excuse! This is a woman who you can drive along a road in one direction bring her back the same way and she thinks its a whole new landscape. Makes me cheap to entertain you just need to turn the toy round! As you say the flags are essential if you ever have any hope of identifying a light but I don't want to live with them - no idea why - so transfer to a sort of index system. Will demo it when I get to that point...........loooong time away. Marilyn

  5. Hello Marilyn,
    The mud room is gorgeous! you did a fantastic job of assembling the kit and it was worth every minute of work to install the lights. It is really beautiful. Sorry to hear about the hole...but I know you will work around it no problem!
    Big hug

    1. Thank you Giac - love doing this stuff. I always enjoy the build more than the searching for the things to fill the house so I am trying to keep the process slow and get a long time out of this one. Hole just took a little wood filler, some sanding and a bit of blended paint and all is well. It is just that moment when you step back and look and realise what you did that you can't see the obvious solution - deep breath and its sorted. As I said "What a twerp!" Marilyn

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you Fabiola. It was lovely to do - so nice to get something just the way you want it. Marilyn