Project relapse and Gray paint is hard

It’s been quiet on here, although I have been busy on the house.

I knowwwwww that I should wrap up the last couple of projects on the foyer, and while I was waiting between coats on one of those projects… I turned my attention to this room:


The pantry is a little 6×7′ room right off the kitchen, and next to the mud room.

It had some original cabinetry, but the drawers hardly worked anymore and I didn’t need the large flour sack drawer (which was stuck and couldn’t open at all.) The counter kind of became a catch all.

This is the only picture I found that kind of shows what was going on in there. Man! I guess a lot has changed in the kitchen area.


When I decided to have the walnut flooring installed, I wanted it in the pantry also. Since the original cabinetry was on the subfloor, and the floor sloped badly, I demoed everything out. Sleepers were installed and the flooring laid.

Then, it sat like this for almost a year. 009

Please, judge away. Filled with paint cans, extra moulding, and kitchen stuff that hasn’t found a home, etc.

Where the old cabinet was, before the drywall was removed
Pre drywall removal

It didn’t take too long to clear out all the stuff in here, and remove the drywall. At which point I discovered that the walls were in pretty rough shape and the drywall ceiling WAS the ceiling.

Let me just tell you, these walls were DISGUSTING. Popcorn kernels stuck to the wall, twist ties from my mom’s generation and enough grime to make me want to vom. I washed them with hot soapy water, that may have been more dawn soap then water. 016

I was in hardcore project mode and forgot to take any pictures of the walls after I removed the drywall! Or many after I had patched the large holes with drywall. Curses.

The area around the light switch had a hole with nothing behind it for attaching the drywall to. FML. I got creative and put a piece of extra lathe (what? Ya’ll don’t have bags of lathe in your garage?! Ludicrous.) in that area, screwed to the existing lathe and drywall to that. Probs not what a professional would have done, but it worked pretty well!015 plaster repair plaster repair plaster repair

It took awhile to patch all the holes with 1/4″ drywall because the holes were all irregularly shaped. After they we more or less filled in, I used screen mesh and Durabond 90 for the large holes and the corners/cracks. I have learned to go very light with the coats of Durabond, since it’s much harder to sand down. After 2 coats of the Durabond, I switched to my fave, EZ Sand 90. The 20, 45 or 90 after the joint compound type is the general amount of working time before the ‘hot mud’ chemically hardens. I like using this kind because you can do more coats in one day, instead of waiting for it to air dry. plaster repair plaster repair plaster repair plaster repair

The walls are up to their 5th coat in the deep patches, and second skim coat on the walls.

Sooooooooon it will be sanding it all smooth and priming. And it NEEDS a good primer.041

That might be evil soaking out of the walls through my new joint compound.

Since the drywall ceiling was staying, the popcorn had to go. It was my first time removing popcorn ceiling and it was pretty easy! Let me tell you, actually way more easy than patching a million cracks on the ceiling.

I followed some very basic steps:

  • Protect the floor with rosin paper/plastic
  • Cover electrical
  • Saturate small sections with soapy water (I used a spray bottle since my area was so small. A garden sprayer would work better for large areas, but it would be way more messy and wet!)
  • I used a 4″ joint knife and scraped in a straight lineremoving popcorn removing popcorn removing popcorn removing popcorn

It looks much better already. I accidentally bruised the drywall in a couple little spots. Those will get some mud and everything will get a light sanding.

The baseboards, window apron and part of the door casing were removed with the cabinetry. I have started on the baseboards with some simple pine 1×6 boards that I had lying around. Like, for reals. I have had them hanging out in my dining room for months. Totally not a normal lifestyle. 039

They will be finished off with some quarter round shoe base, and I haven’t decided on the cap yet.

The ceiling will get crown moulding (molding… whatever. I must have read too many books by English authors. And the latter makes me think of something that’s gone rotten.) Crown looks nice and all, but it’s also because the drywall ceiling was put in AFTER the 1/2″ drywall was put on the walls and there is now a noticeable gap.

I am supposed to be driving out to the lumber yard for all of these things right now, you’ll notice that I am writing this and drinking my millionth cup of coffee instead. Priorities, guys.

So, that’s where it’s at.

On to the paint color. The room is on the East side of the house and gets tons of light. I want to keep it light and bright, with a little depth of color. Translation, not white. I considered using a pale purple color like Farrow&Ball’s Calluna, and then had a crisis of conscience for my poor husband living with so much pink already. On to gray. OMGGGGGG. Why is gray so hard?!

I have 4 up on the wall right now (painted on pieces of rosin paper so they can be moved around), Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud 50% lighter, Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud, Benjamin Moore Gray Owl and Clark+Kensington My pointe exactly (from the OPI line)

Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud 50% lighter, Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud, Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, Clark+Kensington My Pointe Exactly
Top to bottom, left to right: Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud 50% lighter, Benjamin Moore Cumulus Cloud, Benjamin Moore Gray Owl, Clark+Kensington My Pointe Exactly

I like all of them? I hate all of them? I’m so confused.

This small room has been a deceptively large amount of work and way more money, like all projects. But has gone much faster than my projects seem to normally take! I’ve probably put in about 30 hours of WERK into this room already. Maybe I’m slow? IDK.

I have ordered a custom light to be made, and I am so excited for it. The lead time is 4 weeks, and I hope to have the room put together and functional by that time!

Possible organization has been making me overly excited these days. I guess living in a constantly messy construction zone has changed my threshold for joy.



I started destroying renovating my house as a form of controlling some aspect of my life when my general anxieties grew too much. I was with a toddler most of my spare time, and home ridden (naps and bedtime, etc.), when I wasn’t working Monday-Friday.

It initially had an adverse affect. I started so many projects, without finishing anything, that my anxiety mounted and there was so much chaos at home and I didn’t have control over that, either.

Starting this blog has been so incredibly helpful for me. I can enjoy working on projects around the house again. I get a sense of satisfaction from finishing a task, and sharing on here. I hope to share information that may be helpful to other people, also.

But part of that enjoyment is not rushing the process, not to stress to have everything perfectly done and styled – for a blog post. ‘Cause that ain’t real life, yo. At least, not mine.

My day to day is waking up at 5:45am and work (sometimes at home and sometimes at the office) until about 3:00. My husband usually leaves for his job around the time I get home, and then it’s my shift with the 4-year-old until her bedtime at 7:30, and I suppose adult supervision at home after 7:30. We worked out that schedule to minimize daycare, since she is in preschool only 3 hours a day. My sweet guy is the one with Ry in the morning. He takes her to school and picks her up, feeds her lunch and gets her ready for nap. He is a father and launderer extraordinaire. I adore him.

But he does not care about this house stuff even a little bit.  Which means that I get to make most of the aesthetic and budget decisions, but I also have to do all the work. We are definitely not that adorable husband/wife duo, she paints and he does the carpentry. Nope. One woman show in this house.

I get that though, and I’m thankful that he’s supportive of my crazy.

My pictures (and house!) will never be perfect. I  think that I would like to get a better camera some time.  Although at the moment it’s like, camera or new dining room light? Such is life.

I am working on accepting that this is a long process, although that is hard for me and I want it all shiny and done yesterday.

All of this is a too wordy, and not very well written, way to say that I don’t necessarily get a lot of work done on the house, all the time. A lot of times after 7:30pm I only want to sit on the couch with wine and watch Netflix. By the way, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix is freaking hilarious. Netflix better pump out some more episodes soon.

Wow. If you made it this far, gold star!

For the visitors of my blog, regular or not, I really do value it.