Building a Bed Foundation (Box Springs)

We didn’t buy a box springs with our queen mattress because we had a platform bed which didn’t need one. But the new log bed for the master bedroom requires that the mattress be elevated about 7 1/2″. I could have bought a metal box for about $120 and put it together to lift the mattress into place, but it seemed like a simple project for which I already had all the wood so I decided to build one instead.

My inspiration came from instructables, as well as photos of bed foundations including a nice photo of one for sale on Craigslist.

Full bed frame for sale

Full bed frame for sale

This was similar to one I found that someone put together from a kit on Amazon, but I couldn’t find a wooden kit. And I thought building it would not be too difficult.
Instead of 2 x 6’s, I used a couple of 1 x 8 pine boards that we had from the trim in the house that I knew I wasn’t going to need for the post since I plan to cover the exposed one in rock. The old 1 x 8 pine was actually 7.5 inches wide, the new stuff is only a bit over 7. Maybe 7.20?
I had two newer pieces and two older pieces and several 1 x 4’s from a bed I bought for the logs. I cut them to 78 inches and 58 inches for the new frame and used the nail gun to tack them together.
When I started to use the nail gun, it wouldn’t work. I read the instructions again and noticed that the right light was blinking. That meant a jammed nail. But when I opened the door part, I didn’t see a stray nail. So I put it back together and got the same error. When I took it apart again, I noticed that the punch that pokes the nail into the wood was not back in the gun so I tapped it back into the slide and the jam was repaired. I was worried I would have to take it in for service just when I was getting many projects to use it. But luckily I was able to fix the problem.
I cut 2 x 4 pieces to reinforce the corners and screwed them to both boards with two screws each.

Boards tacked with 2 x 4 corners

Boards tacked with 2 x 4 corners

Then I put in spacers and cut 1 x 4’s to carry the crosspieces and nailed them into the sides. I also used a 2 x 3 as a middle support, screwing it into both boards.

Frame with mid and side supports

Frame with mid and side supports

We brought the whole thing in and it was just about an exact fit. Then I put the cut crosspieces about equidistant across the top and screwed them in.

Crosspieces for mattress support

Crosspieces for mattress support

The bed foundation is sturdy and works well with the queen mattress bringing the mattress right up to the bottom bar on the headboard.

Mattress meets bottom of headboard

Mattress meets bottom of headboard

I had reinforced the headboard because it was put together with plywood keys and some of them fell out as the rounds expanded or cracked. I repaired some and then nailed a 1 x 2 frame around the slices of wood.

Back of headboard

Back of headboard

I had to shim it a bit to account for the varying thinkness of the slices.

Shimmed boards for backing

Shimmed boards for backing

I bought a 4 x 8 piece of 1/4 inch sanded plywood and had a piece cut that was 60 inches by 36 inches, then I shaped it to size with a circular saw when I got home. I stained and polyurethaned the back on the good side and then attached it to the back of the headboard with nails and screws.

Backing stained and polyurethaned

Backing stained and polyurethaned

With the bed made up you can see the wood between the slices of wood that holds them steady. This reinforcement will allow us to lean against the headboard to read etc. without worrying that we are loosening the wood rounds.

Bed made up with head and footboard

Bed made up with head and footboard

Bed with quilt and shams

Bed with quilt and shams

Bed on oriental carpet

Bed on oriental carpet

The bed is a piece of art. It was built by our friends Lewis and Steve Fender, brothers who live on each side of their meat processing shop in Spencer, Indiana. It is made of cross sections of local wood both common and rare. The middle round is a piece of angel grained maple that inspired the construction of the bed. There is also walnut and ironwood and poplar, and oak and several other local tree species. They have made numerous carvings, turned wood, several pieces of furniture, and wood strip canoes. Whatever project they come up with it is a wonder to behold when they are finished. I feel privileged to own this beautiful bed made by them.

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White Brick

I’m painting the concrete brick walls in the master bedroom and bathroom. They were dirty and marred by splatters of concrete from the floor.

Painting the brick wall

Painting the brick wall

I used the left over low VOC primer from painting the walls and the Yolo no VOC paint from a craigslist purchase.

Bedroom brick wall

Bedroom brick wall

Before painting I had to caulk the space between the brick and the drywall walls.

Open edge between drywall and brick

Open edge between drywall and brick

I used foam backer but had purchased 1″ diameter because the space seemed so big and that was way too wide so I cut it in half and in some places in quarters. The caulk line was thick but better than the open space.

I taped the walls and ceilings to get good paint lines and not mar the tan surfaces. We moved a wall in the bathroom and that unpainted space had to have mortar and old caulk chipped off. It is not very visible with just the primer on the wall.

I also cleaned up the floor behind the tub to start laying the tile so that I can install the tub and start tiling around the toilet and sink so they can be installed too.

Ready for tile behind tub

Ready for tile behind tub

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Stove Hood Light Fixture

After a frustrating afternoon trying to snake a light cord through the wall behind the stove, Dave suggested I try getting a camera. Seemed like a good idea to me so I went to Amazon and bought an Endoscope/Borescope which happened to be a lightening deal.

Goodan Endoscope

Goodan Endoscope

This little device has a flexible but stiff cable so that it could be manipulated in the wall somewhat. It has a lighted end to see what the camera is seeing and although I didn’t need the length it is 5 meters long. The image is projected to a phone screen through a wifi connection directly to the device. It can also be attached to a USB port on a computer. The application that is downloaded to the phone to see the image also allows for photos or videos of what is on the screen.

Dropping the wire

Dropping the wire

I used a flexible piece of wire to catch the camera wire and pull it through the hole drilled above the stove. It took several tries and once I got the wire through to the attic but when I tried to push the electric cord through the gap, the tape tore and I lost the connection and had to do it all over again! So I tried a couple of other methods, none of which worked as well as sending the camera down from the attic to below the level of the stove hole and then catching the cable with a wire hook and pulling it through the hole.

The wire hook

The wire hook

Then I attached the wire to the camera with tape and pulled them up through the drilled holes. In the attic I taped the cord to the wire, the second time securely enough to get it back down through the two drilled holes and out the hole that connected to the stove light. It was easy to take a photo of what the camera was seeing with the app.

Taking a photo

Taking a photo

I plugged the end of the light cord that came with the fixture into the connector. I also taped it to make the connection less subject to pulling apart. Then I plugged the cord into an outlet in the attic. Two screws hold the fixture in place over the stove and the light is an LED tiltable version so the light shines down on the stove not in the eyes.

GetInLight Swivel LED Fixture

GetInLight Swivel LED Fixture

Unfortunately this fixture did not allow for rear wiring and I didn’t want the wire to show at the side, so I cut open the back with a dremel tool and moved the wire from the side to the rear. The on/off switch is on the light fixture.

Rear connected light

Rear connected light

I first bought a 22 inch straight LED fixture that could be direct wired or plugged into an outlet with the wiring through the bottom or side, but I had to mount it on the rear wall not up under a cabinet so the light shone directly in the eyes of the cook. The tiltable model is only 12 inches but it seems to light the area adequately without shining its light in my eyes.

Stove light fixture

Stove light fixture


It was not easy but it was nice to finish this small task. I also vacuumed the floor to set up the old guestroom again and cleaned and placed a decorative table. I keep working on projects large and small to create a more finished home.

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To Ditra or not to Ditra?

I’ve decided to lay the floor tile before reinstalling the family room bathroom toilet and sink. I don’t really want to install them and then later take them out again to tile. Why not tile first? The question was whether to use an underlayment on the concrete or not. Ordering the substrate delays starting the project and adds extra cost.

That bathroom floor has several cracks in it. I’m not sure whether the bigger shower and its thinner concrete has caused more cracking or if it is just a weak area for some other reason. In the upper right corner I have one of the tiles I am using laid out. It is hard to tell it from the stained concrete floor.

Bathroom Floor Cracks

Bathroom Floor Cracks

There is even a crack that went through the base of the toilet when it was installed before the walls were up or drywalled. We took it out to finish the drywall.

Toilet Base Crack

Toilet Base Crack

The toilet crack made me believe that if the floor continues to crack, the tile will also crack. I’m using Schluter products in the showers and it seems like a good preventative to use the Ditra uncoupling membrane on this bathroom floor.
This layer is mortared into place first before the tile is set. The Schluter site explains how the membrane works to minimize or eliminate cracking even on OSB plywood.

DITRA provides uncoupling through its open rib structure, which allows for in-plane movement that effectively neutralizes the differential movement stresses between the substrate and the tile, thus eliminating the major cause of cracking and delaminating of the tiled surface.

I chose to order the Ditra through an ebay site because it appeared to be the most convenient way to get it, although it is about the same cost at our local big box store, It is not in stock and would have to be shipped to the store. Big box stores take as long or longer to ship to store or home as online stores.

Ditra Underlayment

Ditra Underlayment


So I can lay out the tile and cut pieces but wait to install it until the membrane arrives.

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SPT Dishwasher Repair

We use our small dishwasher regularly and over the past months we noticed the dishes have not been getting as clean. I cleaned the filters, took apart the arms and cleared them of debris and cleaned the stainless steel interior. I ran an empty load with vinegar in the bottom and in a cup on the lower rack. Doing this maintenance helped get the dishes cleaner but it seemed that something was wrong. Finally we got an E1 error just after the start of a load and the dishwasher stopped running. The owners manual said that meant the water input was too slow.  The manual lists low water pressure or partially closed faucets or restricted input as causes, but upon further research it appeared that the most likely culprit was the water inlet valve.

It was not difficult to take the dishwasher apart. The bottom comes off with four screws and the pump and inlet valve were located behind the kickplate which is removable. The dishwasher has a heavy concrete bottom but the workings are above and in front of that.  I had to take off the back and loosen the side to reach the two bolts that held on the inlet valve.  I broke the valve’s connection to the hose that supplies the water to the machine but I was replacing the valve anyway.

Unfortunately, the parts for the SPT seem to only be available from Suppentown and the inlet valve was not listed as an available part. I read several SPT repair questions and at some point I saw that a Frigidaire 154637401 Inlet Valve would work as a replacement. I ordered one from Amazon because although a bit more expensive, I can get delivery in two days.

Frigidaire Inlet Valve

Frigidaire Inlet Valve

Frigidaire Inlet valve 2

Frigidaire Inlet valve 2

This valve was very similar to the broken one from the dishwasher however its attachment plate was too long so that if bolted in the same place as the original, it crimped the inlet hose. So instead of bolting it on the side, I screwed it to the metal bottom above the concrete and attached a 3/8″ IPT male to 1/2″ sharkbite instead of the original dishwasher hose.

I think the Danby portable 18 inch dishwasher valve would have fit exactly. But it was only later that I found that part and Amazon didn’t carry it.

Danby Inlet Valve

Danby Inlet Valve

The Danby 18″ dishwasher is similar to the SPT and I found a service manual for the built in model. So in the future I may be able to use that to help make needed repairs.

I have enough left over 1/2″ pex to use through the rear of the dishwasher and I hooked the pex up with more sharkbites at the wall. I added a ball valve as the outlet did not have a valve, although there is one not far away, I prefer to have one right behind the machine. I put all the panels back on and only ended up with four extra screws. Then I ran the short cycle without dishes and it worked fine.

Dishwasher repaired

Dishwasher repaired

I was very pleased to get our $500 dishwasher that I bought used for $150 repaired for only $20. The internet is a wonderful tool.

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Whoa! Living Room Put Together

We have been pushing ourselves to get the house together after the drywall installation. I finally finished the rest of the concrete floor with steaming, washing, staining spots and cracks, sealing and polishing.

Living Room Floor

Living Room Floor

Today we were able to move some furniture back in and finally lay out the Persian rug from my grandmother. I love the rustic Old Hickory furniture with the plush wool oriental rug.

Living Room Furniture

Living Room Furniture

Even without trim and baseboards the room looks wonderful to me. I also had to clean the drywall spackle and dust from the large TV cabinet. And I had to purchase new blades for the ceiling fan. I could not find the original blades and I really wanted the fan to help cool the room. So I bought a set of Kichner blades that were on clearance and redrilled two holes to get them to fit. There are several time consuming steps to the finished product.

Living Room with cabinet

Living Room with cabinet and fan

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Slow But Sure

As I continue to scrub, seal and polish the stained concrete floor, my system has continually changed. The steamer is definitely the effective tool here. I’ve been steaming the whole floor with the standing attachment and wiping after steaming an area that I can reach to get the dirt off.

Steaming master bedroom floor

Steaming master bedroom floor

Then I went over the spots of paint and sticky stuff which I think was Great Stuff drips with mineral spirits and a razor blade in some spots then attacked the remaining stains with the steamer hand brush again wiping after steaming an area.

Hand steaming spots

Hand steaming spots

After cleaning the whole floor again with the recommended Zep neutral cleaner, I finally sealed the floor using a natural lambs wool pad which was much better at spreading the sealer without bubbling than a mop or fiber pad.

Sealed floor

Sealed floor

The last step is four coats of the Zep Wet Look Polish. These are easy to put on with the disposable microfiber pads as they dry in 30 minutes. The master bedroom floor and closet floor have been finished. There will be tile on the bathroom floor so it was only sealed not polished.
I cleaned and polished the floor with an 18″ Rubbermaid microfiber flat mop. The mop base is covered with heavy duty velcro which holds the different mop heads. To mop the floor I used the reusable blue pad and to polish I used the disposable white pad. I just poured the polish directly on the floor and spread it thinly with the mop. I have the commercial mop head but I can only find it now on the spray mop. It is a sturdier head than the new model on the plain mop.

Polished floor

Polished floor

The last room to finish is the living room. Instead of starting with the standing steamer attachment, I started with the hand brush attachment on the spots. I found that if I used the steamer on the spots first there would be fewer to try to clean with mineral spirits. I also tried denatured alcohol and acetone, but mineral spirits seemed to work the best although not perfectly.

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Some Little Improvements

During the floor scrubbing and prep for sealing and polish there are some other small projects to keep things interesting.
For some reason the drain pipe in the family room bathroom required a huge gash in the drywall to fit through the wall. I saw a light fixture at the Restore and it occurred to me to use the base plate to cover the gash and make a decorative statement. I used the dremel tool to cut a large enough hole in the plate to slip over the pipe. I don’t remember why the supply lines are offset from the drain. It looks wrong but there might have been a reason!

Bathroom drain hole

Bathroom drain hole

Bathroom drain plate

Bathroom drain plate

I wonder if I’ll ever finish cleaning up drywall dust. It was stuck pretty badly in the bark of the log bed footboard. I had to use a scrubbie, a brush and eventually even the steamer to get it looking clean again.

Dusty bark footboard

Dusty bark footboard

Cleaned footboard

Although most of our stuff is packed away, I found a magnetic knife bar in a box of tools. I bought it from the Ikea discount room back in Arizona. I had one of these in the Arizona house and it worked well for storing our good knives close at hand. So I took a little time and put it up under the kitchen wall cabinet.

Knife magnet bar

Knife magnet bar

Undercabinet knives

Undercabinet knives

I can work all day on little projects but the big ones are making some progress too.

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Light Fixtures

A few more light fixtures were installed. The closet light was reused from the original house and it took all afternoon and three tries to get it working. First I had to find screws that were long enough to fit into the box, then another set that were long enough to hold the light fixture against the ceiling. I have a collection of screws to reuse from other light disassembly. I used a plain cross piece wall plate and that had one screw hole that was a bit reamed out so I had to move one screw over to another hole.

I turned on the switch the first time I got the base and the bulbs in and the light worked, but when I put on the glass cover, it stopped working.

I took it down and made sure the wires were tight. The black was a little loose, so I tightened them all. I put it all back together but it still didn’t work, then I tested the switch. It had power to the bottom but with the switch on it did not have power at the top. Bad switch? I replaced the switch with an older one and hooked up the light to test it and it worked. Then I put the wiring in the new casing extender that lines the switch up with the wall and connected it.

I had a very difficult time finding the two screws through the holes in the base that tighten the light to the ceiling. Arms over my head made it uncomfortable and it was hard to see in the darkened closet. After the first and second times I put it up I guess I had it figured out as I got it back together the third time quickly enough to go for my daily visit to my mom.

Master closet light

Master closet light

Before our trip I had ordered the wall plates for the last two sconce lights for the bathroom. I had to use a special wall plate that was not available at the box store. I bought five of them from ebay for about $13.

Wall plate for sconce light

Wall plate for sconce light

Yesterday I got the last two sconce lights installed in the master bathroom. I had to use some alternate connectors at the top of the lights because I didn’t get enough of them when I bought the set. The connectors were smaller so I put a washer and nut on the screws first and then capped them with the smaller connector. These are above the lights so not noticeable from below.

Master bathroom sconces

Master bathroom sconces


I won’t be able to install more fixtures until I get them unpacked. But I still have outlets and switches to adjust with the extenders.

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More Kitchen Cabinets

The oven cabinet was completely unfinished and I wanted to put a finish on it so that it would match the other cabinets and be easier to clean. I have been using Minwax “Express Color” water based stain in light oak and water based Minwax Polycrylic finish. Both are incredibly easy to use and dry extremely fast. Instead of wiping the stain on and off, I used a wide foam brush to apply both the stain and the polycrylic. I got the whole cabinet finished with stain and two coats of poly in one day.

Oven cabinet stained

Oven cabinet stained

The drawers and the cabinet were well scrubbed before the stain was applied.

Drawers washed

Drawers washed

The finished oven cabinet was shoved back in the corner and leveled.

Finished cabinet

Finished cabinet

I also put a second coat of epoxy on the fourth cabinet, the one in the foreground. i haven’t trimmed the edges yet but it is put in its former place. Actually I was getting used to the more open kitchen so I may move this cabinet to a wall in the dining room. We have the additional cabinet top under the wall cabinet now and in this position it really limits access to the kitchen.

Kitchen so far

Kitchen so far

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