Friday, January 22, 2010

Yesterday I grouted the test section.  It was messy and smelled kind of weird.
The grout is dry today and even though it hasn't been sealed yet, you are welcome to come by and walk on it.  It is a test section after all.  Once we get the sealer on and put the baseboards back and everything is the way it should be, I will post a picture of the finished product!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Test Section

My dad caught wind of our penny flooring project a few days ago and gave me a call. I should explain that my dad is a master of all trades.. if anything really catastrophoic with the economy/world in general ever happens, my brother and I are grabbing our loved ones in Columbus and heading up to my parents house. My dad could build us a dwelling to live in with plumbing/electric/etc that could run on air or something, he could raise lifestock and produce to eat and then make a mean meal from it.

Anyway, that said, when dad calls and raises concerns about a project you are doing, you listen.
He pointed out some mistakes that we might be making and pleaded for us to do a test section. He wanted us to wait a year and see how the floor held up.. we are going to give it a couple of weeks.

We glued down the first 64 square feet in the dressing room area today. I thought it would take about 2 hours. I left after 4 and asked Josh to finish that last two rows. Turns out that our squares tiles don't quite line up. Honestly, I'm not totally sure why. If you found our blog because you are wanting to do a penny floor and are looking for tips, sorry, I have nothing.

Anyway, the tiles are down. The next step is to grout and then we will either use some sort of poly or wax to coat the top to protect the pennies from moisture. I think the look will change quite a bit when we grout since the adhesive is white and the grout will be black. The pennies are standing out quite a bit right now as individual pieces, our hope is that the finished product will stand on its own as a big complete picture. Like when you walk in the store you say "This is a nice looking floor... Oh! It's pennies! I didn't even notice!" That's how it is going in my dreams anyway.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Put your money where your flooring is

**This project has nothing to do with our house, but I think people who enjoy reading about how we rip things apart in our house will be interested in this renovation project and plus I'm going to complain about it a lot which just seems uncouth on Tigertree's blog.

We decided a while ago that we were going to tile the whole store with pennies. We have been collecting pennies from our very generous customers for a few months now and by the time we realized that we were in way over our heads, it was too late to turn back.
Obviously it would take too long to lay out each individual penny at the shop, so we thought we could really save some work time there by assembeling square foot tiles of the pennies here at home. We ordered some tile mesh (like the stuff that connects any small tiles when you buy them) which arrived Wednesday and we went straight to work.

We tried a bunch of different ways to attach the pennies to the tile mesh, but after a few hours, a complicated multi-step approach was all we could come up with. I remember something from my lean manufacuring classes about how efficiency goes decreases by some multiple every time the product has to be touched. We are touching the hell out of each of these 200,000 pennies.

Touch 1: Unwrapping

Have you ever been frustrated with a shop clerk that has to open a new roll of change during your transaction? Its so hard to get the paper to start to come off, and then the change gets all stuck at both ends. We have about 3,500 rolls to unwrap. Theres a few days of work that we didn't count on.

Touch 2: Spacing

The pennies have to be layed out in uniform rows so that the tiles we are making will line up properly. The template we made holds something like 175 pennies, and two sets of those make up one square foot.

Touch 3: Taping

After the pennies are laid out they need to be transfered to the mesh. We do this by taping them down in rows of three to lift them off the template.

Touch 4: Glue Application

We are using contact cement to adhere the pennies to the mesh. The fun thing about contact cement is that it need to be applied to both sufraces that it is going to join. So we have to first roll it onto the mesh itself (which by the way came in two giant rolls that need to be cut into 1 foot squares)and then roll it onto the pennies. Wait half an hour and get a huge headache from the fumes and then you put the two together.

Touch 5: Sticking
Once the cotact cement is dry, the penny strips can be lined up on the mesh. Five strips per square.

Touch 6: Untaping
After the bond between the mesh and the pennies is secure, the tape needs to be removed. You might say that this isn't a touch since it just involves the tape. You would be right if about a quarter of the pennies didn't decide to stick onto the tape instead of the mesh at which point I have to pull them off and set them individually.

And that's it! Now you are 1/750th of the way done!

We need about 750 square feet. We started on Wednesday and have been working pretty much non stop. We have almost 100 square feet done. And to make it all HGTV, the Alive is supposed to be coming next weekend to do a story on the finished product.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Here are some better photos of the kitchen. I am making Chicken Pot Pie.. this could be like Rachel Ray's kitchen, no?

We found a couch at the Grandview Merchantile that is basically like a huge bed that is acceptable to have in your living room. Needless to say, we had no choice but to buy it.

I made Rufus wear boots on our walk today. He doesn't really like wearing boots. Weird, eh?

Oh and I should mention.. the door. I almost didn't notice it in the picture because it has been something like two months that it has been there. We had a little incident and had to have a custom door made for our crazy old house. Lowes keeps saying it should be here any day now. Oh well, half the drawers in the kitchen are still missing, what's some plywood on the door? Hooray home ownership!

tiles, cows and dogs

So the kitchen is ALMOST done. Its only been about a year and a half, now. In our defence, though, we do own a store that sucks up a lot of our creative and phyisical energy. For holiday Josh reinstalled his vegas inspired Tiger-christmas-tree.

I did the other half of of the window with these cute vintage birds. I tried to find a balance between the birds fluttering about in a Cinderella sort of way, interacting with the manicans without being too Hitchcock-y.

We did manage to get some house stuff done though. Dad came over to help me install the million pound microwave/hood over the stove. Josh and a few handy friends put in a new sink and faucet (two faucets actually since the first one (from Ikea) ended up being broken.)
I tiled the kitchen backsplash. Josh wanted to be super cheap and get crappy tiles, but I fought for these glass mosaics from Modwalls and won. The blend is called City Sunshine and I think its perfect.

Also, and I realize that these are not really renovations or anything, but the house got some nice gifts for Christmas.
Josh got me this gaurd dog for the front porch. June is super jealous and barks at it everytime we go outside.

I got Josh the cowhide rug that he was been asking to buy for years now. The gift was no so much the actual rug, but the permission to have it in our house. Its growing on me, though.

The next big thing on the list is to get the firplace working. I would like to set a date for that for accountability. Lets say a week. Yes, we will have a fireplace in a week. I will keep you posted.