I’m still moving slowly, and working in the darkest, smallest area of the house was not fun on such a gorgeous weekend! Because this is a small area and I wanted to marry the upstairs and downstairs with the colors, I am using the downstairs trim color (lightest creamy white) and a mix that I made of the green (living room and library) and all the gray paints I have thus used (purply from the music room, and dark and light colonial in my guest room). Since this is my own creation, I needed to make very sure that I mixed enough to do the entire space.
I started painting the stairwell this weekend, and again refuse to use masking tape. With a very precise brush and steady hand, it’s always not necessary. In the stairwell, unfortunately, I had to switch from right to left hand to keep my line of vision clear, or paint downhill (not smart).
These illustrations aren’t very good because the lighting in the hallway is shadowed by the hand rail, and the color of the paint is the same saturation as the old color.
Start with a very sharp-edged angled brush like Construction Gear’s line of Purdy and Merit Pro brushes. Load the brush with paint halfway up the bristles and remove the paint from the right side of the brush if the long end of the brush angle is pointing away from you. This will leave paint on the side of the brush you are going to press against the wall. Position the brush a couple inches up and out from the point that your wall and trim meet, and press the brush against the wall to fan out the bristles and push the paint to the tips of the brush. Drag the brush down to the wall/trim junction and use that fanned-out brush to get as close to the edge as possible. Drag the brush smoothly towards yourself. Fill in this arc with the rest of the paint on the brush. Move forward on the wall about a foot and repeat. If you are left-handed, reverse the paint loading.
Use the brush to go over spots that will need more attention, due to imperfections in the wall, or to put another coat on any spackle you used to patch the wall.
You will most likely need to trim this out two or three times to get good coverage and remove brush streaks. When painting the main surface with the roller, get as close as you can without going over. This will also help with coverage and to remove brush streaks. Next week I will show you the finished paint job.
When I’m done with this area, I will have three more rooms to paint in this house, out of ten. I admit, I am very much looking forward to the end of painting, and if I ever paint again, I will never decide to paint the entire interior in a year. I am thinking of putting the house on a rotation of one room updated every year. That way, some (like the laundry room) will be done on a good weekend while others (like the living room) will take a month and new furniture.
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Easter’s been here and gone, and it was a wonderful holiday. We had Good Friday off so Andy took me to a very rare dinner. We only have time and money to go out a couple times a year. He spent a good bit of the weekend with Lucy’s hockey, then on Sunday we and the girls all went to church together, and spent the day with his extended family. We had started shopping for Easter basket goodies about a month ago and probably had more fun stuffing and hiding them, than the girls did finding them! One of the places we thought to hide a basket was in the ceiling joists, as part of his drywall has been ripped down due to a second-floor tub leak. We didn’t hide anything there but if I can get him to guest write a blog, you may hear more about his drywall work. It was a great holiday.
I removed the extra handrails. Then I finished scraping the wallpaper and had two small DIY projects: drywall patching and stucco repair. You can see from the photo on the left, how horrid the wall was behind the paper. I remembered a trick from my days of actually building rooms from scratch. Smooth on a light coat of spackle to fill nail holes and other imperfections. When it is dry but not cured, run a damp sponge over it to wipe off excess paste and to get rid of the spackle edges. When it’s cured just a swipe of the sandpaper will do this way. Less dust, less work. I used a double-sided scrubby sponge for this task.
When I was removing the wallpaper, some of the DYI spray ran down to the first-floor ceiling, creating water marks. When I tried to wipe them off, the stucco itself came off! You can see the photos in this post. To patch quickly and easily, I just took the scraper I was using to spread spackle, loaded it up with the spackling paste, and dabbed it overhead onto the ceiling to blend in. Since the ceiling was white, there was no need to paint. Another way of doing this is mixing the spackle compound with water until milkshake consistency and dab with a large-holed sponge. Unfortunately I didn’t have that type of sponge and had to make do!
I also deglossed all the doorway and baseboard moulding this weekend. The products from our stores that made this weekend easier were the ever-famous rubber gloves for the deglosser, and glasses and a half-mask respirator for the drywall. Even tho the sanding was minimal, there is dust all over the area. And you know if it’s on the wood, it would be in my lungs if not for the respirator!
Next weekend is yet another busy one. I sit for my graduate exam and Grace has a PMEA music concert. But I hope to start painting the walls.
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The stairwell seems like a small area at first blush. I am in my final quarter of my MBA and the holidays are almost here, plus I will be having houseguests. Soon I will be heading outside to mow and assess the landscape. I figured this would be a fairly quick area to do. The stair chair and second hand rail had to be removed, and the handicap grab bar at the top of the steps will be removed, but not yet on that one. I will remove that after my family gathering at Easter so my mom has a bit of an easier time going upstairs.
This wall also was not sealed before the wallpaper was put on; it appears it was patched before that layer went on. I spent about 4 hours this weekend and only got a few square feet removed. I am using DIY gel remover, a paper tiger, and a scraper.
In this area I intend to patch and paint the walls, reglue a baluster in the banister, remove the stair runner, and hopefully have enough of the music room carpet remnant to put a piece in the upstairs hallway. The paint will be the creamy white from downstairs and then a mix of the gray upstairs and the green downstairs. The ceiling looks fairly good, and a gentle washing will probably brighten it up.
I am happy it appears I will not need to use any scaffolding or ladders, but the work will tax my shoulder muscles, to be sure!
I will be using the standard gear from Safety Girl, Construction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear – paint brushes, rollers, coveralls, respirator, and gloves.
Here are the before shots so you can see what I am working with.
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Interior Wall before
Interior wall After
I am on budget, just about $60 for the paint, a new roller handle and disposable paint tray. I shifted some furniture to capture the boarding house feel and provide a dresser for overnight guests. The antique stool looks a bit beat up but blends perfectly with the theme of the room. I would like to eventually go back and paint the ceiling and add some crown moulding but 2 months is way too long to spend in this small room. I am coming to the realization that I will be going back through the house, room by room, when I am finished, fixing anything I want to change, and adding things I didn’t have time or money to do the first time. Didn’t they say homeownership is a full time job?
Greenhouse window wall After
Greenhouse window wall Before
Gun cabinet wall Before
Gun cabinet wall After
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I had an upper respiratory infection over the weekend so, on doctor’s orders, stayed at home. Andy says the doc probably also mentioned the word “rest” in there, but I didn’t hear it. I took the opportunity to be “lazy” and watch an on-demand movie and sit with a cup of tea each morning. I skipped church, and only saw Andy for a little bit. Luckily, I felt very motivated. Aside from a family meal at Andy’s (and ice mandating I stay put), shoveling my driveway was the only time I was outside. I am really starting to love the Wellies for this – they aren’t as warm as our SafetyGirl fleece lined boots would be but when it’s near 40 they do a great job of keeping my feet dry and just pull on.
The guest room is almost done and I will reveal it next week, I promise! This weekend I used my blend of cleaner on the plank floors – hot water, a dash of vinegar, and a dash of olive oil. It didn’t get everything up but it it did a nice enough job that I am happy with it. Some of the paint has been there for 40 years – that didn’t budge. But I really wanted the feel of this room to be civil-war-era boarding house and I think what I could not remove keeps in this theme. Here are before and after pics of part of the floor. For this I used our poly gloves (the oil is great for your hands but the vinegar, not so much) and the knee pads.
window with greenhouse
The other main thing I did here was taking stock of the condition of my dad’s mini green house. In the stack of clutter I went through to finish this room, I found some of his seeds. The mini green house in the window is just the start of his obsession. He has a hot house on the hillside, and probably one acre of garden. He would always take us out to walk it with him whenever we’d visit. “And see, Bets, I planted my corn to come up every 3 days. You’ll have to come and we’ll have a roast.” I found the seeds he meticulously pulled from each tomato that was a gift from someone’s garden, placed on a paper towel marked with “Uncle Fred” or “Maize,” effectively creating new heirlooms. I made his aunt’s (my great aunt) day when I mentioned that her deceased husband has an heirloom variety ready to see if it will bud. The ripples of this quiet man continue.
Add to my list of things to do this very early spring: buy peat pots and potting soil.
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I seem to be slowing down on this room. I still need to paint the ceiling, but Andy and I had a twice-a-year weekend without the girls and we wanted to make the most of it. A snow storm kind of sealed the deal that once I got to his place, I wasn’t going anywhere. We went out for sushi Friday night, we celebrated Mass together, we watched some movies, we did some cleaning, we shoveled driveways together. I was to have my friend Gale come in to play with me at my church’s service but the snow canceled our plans, leaving me to play alone. We were also to get together for Andy’s mom’s birthday, but the snow stopped our travel to his hometown. My family shut itself in for an afternoon game and pizza day. It was a great weekend. When I found out back in 2013 that Andy had children, I was ecstatic. They add so much to life, even when things don’t run smoothly. I miss them after awhile of not seeing them. But a few days a year being adults is, well, great.
Even though Gale didn’t make it, I prepared the guest room as I am working on it, for her. I tried to consolidate paint cans and ladders to one corner of the room. While I was taking a break from painting, I added two homey touches to the room: a WiFi password welcome sign on the nightstand with some amenities, and a slate painting.
The welcome sign is simple. There are a number of free templates available on Pinterest or you can create your own – add your home’s WiFi password, frame it, and put it on the nightstand. I also added some lotion and an alarm clock.
The slate painting was borne from a large piece of slate I found cleaning out my dad’s room. I am uncertain what he intended to paint on it, but it is the right size and shape for something, with holes for hanging. I used a long, strong leather thong and knotted the ends so they don’t slip through. Before I painting it, I hung this on a nail close to the floor for a week to make sure the leather would hold the heavy slate. I found a template for one of my favorite sayings and modified it to be a bit more “artsy.” Using the light gray for the walls, I painted this freehand with several Q-Tips for paint brushes. To hang I simply made sure I was on a stud with my nail. I like it!
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This past weekend I finished the painting and removed the tape. Andy was at a quick hockey tournament with Lucy and then Grace had her Confirmation yesterday. It was a good weekend to work. I taped off the trim and did it first, then let it dry thoroughly and then taped to paint the walls. I used a fresh roller on the lighter grey to keep the color true.
I did not intend to paint the doors – I wanted to keep much of the wood – but when I looked at them from across the room, they seemed out of place. So I painted them. Here are some progress photos.
While our brushes do a great, precise job, I used frog tape because of the stark contrast in my paint choices.
Among other things, my parents were Civil War buffs (War of Northern Aggression, if you ask Mo!). I didn’t want a shrine to my parents, because that just screams “creepy” to me. But as a nod to them, I tried to capture the feel of a boardinghouse in the 1800’s. I used the Confederate grey paint with a paler complement and kept the somewhat beaten plank wood floors. All the furniture is heavy and dark, yet still graceful.
I used my local Freecycle to get rid of a lovely but too-orangely-redone trestle table, a small flat screen TV, assorted clock parts, and finally the stair chair! I am pulling together my thoughts and the room as I finished painting.
I would have liked to have skipped painting the ceiling, but the more I look at it, the more the imperfections are screaming at me. So I will add a week and some extra money for some flat white paint, and at least go over the blemishes. I still have the floor, and a bit of moulding would be nice. I really do need a break. Until it’s done and livable, that’s not going to happen.
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