One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Week 6 and we finally have paint.

It’s week 6 of the One Room Challenge and normally this would be the reveal post, but, I am so relieved for the extra week this round! If you’re new to the One room Challenge, it’s a biannual event created and hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. It’s usually the kick in the pants that most of us need to finish a project that we’ve been dragging out. Or is that just me? Thanks for creating this event with me in mind, Linda!

Anyways. We have 4 relatively tiny bedrooms upstairs. I chose to work on the guest room in my house for this round. I love my house, I chose it because I saw the potential and it desperately needed someone to love it. But. The walls are fucked up badly.

For this one tiny bedroom, I had removed the drywall and drywall screws to expose ugly green faux finish and make a planremove the faux finish, repair the walls with joint compound, stripped down the trim and sanded the walls, and then finally primed everything.

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Week 6 and we finally have paint.”

One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Deferred gratification and a boring post

Welcome back to week 5 of the fall One Room Challenge! Created and hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. This is a bi-annual event for designers/bloggers/adrenaline junkies to choose a room to remodel/refresh/etc and blog weekly about their progress for 6 weeks. For the first time, it was extended a week to remove some pressure and stresses on participants that are dealing with fall out from natural disasters.

And, dang. Last week, I was ALL UP in my feelings.

My mood has improved much this past week because of PAINT! My god, what a essential thing visual progress is to the soul.

I had previously removed the drywall covering the plaster and all the drywall screws before I started the ORC.

For reference of what this room needed before I could even get to paint:

I introduced the room, that had metallic green faux finish on the walls. Next, I scraped off the faux finish with razor blades, to expose the state of the plaster underneath. I patched holes with drywall and cracks with joint compound. Finally, I sanded the walls and stripped all the trim to prep for primer/paint.

Here’s how it looked last week: Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: Deferred gratification and a boring post”

One Room Challenge Fall 2017: My progress is an even UGLIER room than last week.

My finger prints are gone and I’m starting my career as a bank robber. Or perhaps a jewel thief.

I’m pretty much going to have to if I want to keep bankrolling these projects.

It’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge, created and hosted by Linda of Calling it Home, and this week has been tough. All the kind words of encouragement are what keep me going though, and that’s why I’m so appreciative of the challenge. THANK YOU!

Where it started: Here’s where I left it last week:

I am so, so tired and discouraged and I’ve either been wearing the same gross project clothes or the same sweater for several days because I’m too tired to care and I haven’t had a chance to do laundry. I have layers of paint under all my nails, blisters and super sore muscles. Project dust always makes me break out. I’ve been waking up at 3:00 am to double check my calendar on how much time I have and thinking about what needs to be finished. My alarm goes off at 6:00 am, so, that ain’t cool.

My body keeps threatening an ugly cry when I’m at work. Body, you fucking traitor.

To catch you up on what led me to this disastrous state: I previously showed the room I was working on, made fool hardy claims of ease, repaired the walls (much to my chagrin) and decided to strip the woodwork.


JK. Even if you tried to stop me, I’d still do it.

Continue reading “One Room Challenge Fall 2017: My progress is an even UGLIER room than last week.”

One Room Challenge Spring 2016: Pre-reveal reveal post

It’s week 5 of the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. That means that next week is the reveal and we all have one more week to pull it all together. I’m so excited to see everyone’s rooms!

Are you all ready to read another 1000 words about paint?


I spend a lot of my life painting. On Friday, I had to tell all my friends that I couldn’t be social ’cause I was too busy painting and deep conditioning my hair. I’m totally kidding, guys. I spend my Fridays painting and deep conditioning my hair…. I don’t have friends.

Here’s how the room started:IMG_1144If you’re curious about the progress from that point, check out weeks one, two, three, and four.

This room is small, but it still managed to take:

  • 1 gallon of oil based primer
  • 1 gallon of latex primer
  • 1 gallon of Tricorn black
  • 1 gallon of flat Pale Bud
  • 1 quart of satin Pale Bud

After I spent all that time painting the walls and trim with Behr Pale Bud (mixed in Valspar Aspire – I think the price and quality of this paint is excellent), they kind of just looked white, and not really pink at all.

Then I realized that I’m not going to waste hours of my life painting, and then stressing about an inoffensive pale pink white color. It’s subtle.

I knew that wine as a coping mechanism for anxiety was going to pay off some day.

Moving on. I went to Home Depot and rented their rotary laser level to mark off the line where the black and white pink would meet on the walls. It cost me $41 and was so, so worth it.

It took some work and precarious balancing on a tiny table to get the bubbles level. Then I saw where the line was on the walls and it was lower than I had envisioned in my minds eye.laser level laser level

Then I was like idgaf and left it where it was.

I’m totally so cold and calculating. I’m practically a super villain.

It only took me about 15 minutes to tape off the line and paint a thin coat of Pale Bud to fill any gaps.

A coat and a half of Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black (again mixed in Valspar Aspire), with paint pole snapping mid-painting, and I was pulling that tape off to reveal some fine lines.IMG_1260

I was like: Danggggggggggggggggg. That’s a crisp line, yo.


My rugsUSA braided rug arrived and I got all excited and put it down before cleaning the floor. The shape of the room, with the slanted door frame and radiator makes it a little tricky for the rug size. I went with a 6×9 to take up as much of the available space as I could.IMG_1275

The rug pad is MIA, but it turns out that this rug is so thick it might not even need one. I’ll still probably want to find out where it is out there in the world, since I paid monies for it. I’m terribly unreasonable.

The off white color of the rug helps the walls look a little more pink in contrast. IDK. I’m grasping at straws here.

After I put the rug down, my daughter saw the room and said “Mom! I love where you’re going with the room you’re working on!” to which I kept a cool demeanor on the outside and was like “fuck yeah!” and warm and fuzzy on the inside.

Another byproduct of the angled door and radiator is this shallow space:IMG_1271

It’s only like 14″ deep and limits what can be put here, without interfering with the whole walking into the room thing. That means a dresser is out. I thought about building something, but, let’s be real, I simply didn’t want to.

I remembered I have this wall thingy from ikea that I bought like 5 years ago. I am planning to put on some furniture legs and paint it. It should tuck right in there behind the hanging chair, and provide a little storage for books and stuffed animals and all the little shit that kids somehow accumulate without having money.

I worked on the roman shades. I was able to use some scrap 1x2s that I had laying around (it’s a normal thing to have scrap lumber hanging out) to make them less deep. I got one all done, and the second one is still on my list. I messed it up the first time, but now I know that I was doing way too much and should be able to fix it pretty easily. Removing all those staples again tho….. groans.

Basically, the room needs to be cleaned and will be prepped for the install. I feel so profesh calling it that.IMG_1266 IMG_1269 IMG_1267

Things left to do:

  • Paint walls and trim
  • Scrub everything clean
  • Rug
  • Fix roman shades (FML) and install
  • Assemble day bed, brackets, wood slats cut down
  • Acquire mattress and bedding (bedding is stupid expensive – even the tiny twin versions)
  • Hang chair
  • Create storage
  • Make pretty

Shit. Did I do anything this week?! List – you the worst.

At least my work trip was pushed back and I will be home the days leading up to the reveal.

Follow along on instagram also, and make sure to check out the other link ups.


One Room Challenge Spring 2016: Painting and chillin’

Welcome back! It’s week 4 of the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. If you haven’t yet, make sure to head over there and check all the other rooms’ progress. It’s amazing what these bloggers can do in 6 weeks.

To bring ya’ll up to speed, week 1 presented a horribly pink room with a ton of nail holes and cracks in the plaster. Week 2 wasn’t much of an update at all (shame), and week 3 had a lot of progress with patching/sanding/priming the walls.

The rest of the past week was spent fighting off the beyhive because I’m Becky with the good hair painting. Between this bedroom and my dining room, it was a total of 2 coats of primer on walls/ceiling, all the trim/doors, 3 top coats on the ceilings and 1 on the dining room walls. My body is beat – and I don’t have a lot to show for it in the ORC room.

But I apparently have a lot of words to describe very little. Brevity isn’t my thing. I always suspected that was the case, but writing blog posts about paint has definitely proved it to be true.

Since the ceilings are fairly low in here, and one side slopes due to the roof, I decided to go on ahead and embrace that by painting the ceiling black. The room is so bright (which is good), but the dark ceiling gives the eyes a nice place to rest. I likes it.IMG_1242 IMG_1243

Between some coats, I took the opportunity to swap out the light switches for dimmer toggle versions, and installed a ceiling medallion and my Lucent Lightshop fixture. I turned it on and the angels sang.DSC_1250

It’s always a hassle for me to install new light fixtures with this old house. I never know what the ceiling pan situation is going to be like, and the included screws don’t usually fit. It took two trips to my local Ace Hardware (love that place) to get the right length screws that would work with the pan/ceiling medallion – but I was determined to install it.

Rylie was like :’Ummm. You’re having a hard time with that.’

Thanks for that astute observation, sweet little child.

Pink paint color swatches are very deceiving in their paint chip form. I felt all sorts of betrayal.

I chose 5 samples, they all looked rather innocuous on their tiny little squares and in their paint pots – until I got them up on the wall.Valspar Angel's Sigh, Behr Prelude to Pink, Behr Sweet Roses, Behr My Sweetheart, Behr Pale Bud

L-R – Valspar Angel’s Sigh, Behr Prelude to Pink, Behr Sweet Roses, Behr My Sweetheart, Behr Pale Bud

Sorry for the terrible picture. It’s been raining the past several days.

I like My Sweetheart actually, but it went way too peach for this room. Angel’s Sigh is terrible, just terrible.

So – I did what any normal person would do. I deferred to the 5 year old. She chose Pale Bud, the one I had in mind, actually. That will be this weekend’s project. Yaaaaaay. More painting.

Once the painting is done, I can start bringing some things in.

I ordered a rug, this one by RugsUSA. I have my fingers crossed that the “off-white” color works with the paint and upholstered day bed (a craigslist find.) I ordered it when it was 70% off, and then an additional 10%. Woohoo.

The hanging chair arrived! Such a relief that it’s in my greedy possession. The box was too big to get through both my front and back house doors, so I had to take it out and I am pretty sure I heard neighbors laughing at me whilst I struggled. WhatEvs. They’re probably just jealous they ain’t got it like that.

And. The big box provided the kids a lot of entertainment in the back yard. Until they started squabbling over turf and I came out with a box cutter and broke down their house. Life lessons.

I learned a life lesson also. I don’t know how to measure for roman shades. For the depth, I thought it was the depth of the WHOLE window casing, not only the casing directly around the window. So, they are too deep. I’ll have to figure out to how to retrofit them without completely messing them up.

Things left to do:

  • Paint walls and trim
  • Scrub everything clean
  • Rug
  • Fix roman shades (FML) and install
  • Assemble day bed, brackets, wood slats cut down
  • Acquire mattress and bedding
  • Hang chair
  • Create storage
  • Make pretty

Not too bad, all in all! I’m actually feeling a little guilty, like this room was too simple for the ORC, compared to how much work other people are doing.

Yikes. I hope that I don’t tempt the fates to mess up my life with that thought.

I can’t wait to see all the reveals in a couple of weeks.


Big plans for the smallest room in the house and the porch and aluminum storm windows got painted

As seems to happen with most of the projects I start, I had no intention of working on this one anytime soon.

I didn’t know it at the time, but it really started years ago when I started renovations on the rest of the house, and decided to paint the original clapboard on our enclosed porch.

I am not really sure what I was thinking, but I went to Home Depot yanked a pine green swatch off the wall and left with a gallon of exterior paint.

In my zeal, I started painting right away. It was going quickly and I was pleased with the progress… until I took a step back. No, no, No. I did NOT like the color and I stopped mid-painting. There ended any emotional attachment to the porch, no longer used for dinners or lounging in the sunshine. Dead to me.020

It was around that time that extra shit that I didn’t want to see inside, or have the room for started to make it’s way outside to the porch. A radiator from the kitchen (still unattached to the plumbing, but now back in the kitchen!), the extra couch when Ugly couch came along. The old tv console when I made over the craigslist credenza. Before I knew it, our porch was white trash as hell and I didn’t even care.

We would just walk past it and straight into the house. I of course had the wherewithal to die a little inside anytime a guest would come over, natch.

Then this past summer, my husband suggested that maybe we should spend some time on it. I was working on the pantry, and pushed it out of my head, kindly suggesting that he could get started on it.

After finishing the pantry (updates soon!), I thought that maybe he was right. Maybe it didn’t have to look quite so terrible. Maybe when the mail man dropped off our mail they wouldn’t assume that we had a distillery upstairs in the bathtub making moonshine.

It was late summer at this point and in Minnesota we never know when fall is going to happen.

I drove off to my local Ace Hardware and picked up a gallon of Clark + Kensington flat exterior paint color matched to Behr Cracked Pepper and a gallon of satin paint color matched to Benjamin Moore Black Tar.

It was relatively quick to clear most of the stuff out of there. After vacuuming and wiping down the walls with TSP, I got to painting! YES! So good to see the green disappear. The clapboard got a coat with a paintbrush in the Cracked Pepper and the trim got the satin Black Tar.023 021

Then… the aluminum storm windows stuck out like a sore thumb. And I HATED the steel exterior door that fit so poorly in the door jamb and almost ruined my marriage.027

You probably didn’t think an inanimate object could do that, but it most def can. Last fall, my husband and I were trying to re-hang the door and adjust it so it wasn’t so drafty. This led to such annoyance and aggravation, which led to a ginormous fight. I was bitterly reminded of this when I looked at the door, and my feeling toward it quickly turned to contempt.

I feel all the feels – strongly.

If we I (as soon as I bought the paint somehow jurisdiction of this project became mine and my husband slinked off to the shadows, thanks hon) was going to spend time painting and beautifying the porch, why would I leave such ugly storms and door?

This is where our littlest room gets affected.

As is common with a lot of older houses in colder climates, there’s a very small room between the exterior door and interior house door. In the case of my house, I have the porch door, the exterior house door, the small room (I’m going to call it a ‘vestibule’) and interior door.

I hate the porch door too – it’s only 29″ wide! Ugh. Can’t hardly fit anything through it.

Anyways, hating two out of three doors was too much for delicate psyche and I made some decisions.

I liked the interior door, it’s solid hardwood with a nice glass pane. And the measurements were 36″x84″… which are the dimensions that the exterior jamb needed and the contemptuous steel door fell flat of (thus the draft.)

OMG! Brillz idea. Let’s get rid of the steel door, move the existing wood door to replace that one and then order a new door for the interior! One with lots of glass that will lighten the area visually.

Except, apparently this is no longer a common skill. I mean, I knew it wasn’t one of my skills, but I figured someone had it. I made several, several phone calls and got the same response: “we only install pre-hung doors.”

Pre-hung doors come from the manufacturer screwed to a jamb and sill. Old houses have to be retro-fitted for that kind of sill, which raises the frame opening up.

I pouted. I already have a jamb and a door. I don’t want a pre-hung door.

I turned my attention to something I could do. Removing some trees that obscured the street from the porch and painting the aluminum storm windows.

It only took about 40 minutes to cut down these trees and bundle them up! Sunshine on the porch!006 007

The previous owners hated me. They must have. That’s only exclamation I can think of for why they put non-paintable silicone caulk on every surface they could.

It took me probably 15+ hours with a putty knife and razors to remove all of it from the 10 window frames.

I removed the bottom glass pane to leave only the top and screen, vacuumed the hell out of them and scrubbed them with TSP and a brass wire brush. I found a garden sprayer to be invaluable for this! It’s a wet process though, I recommend keeping the wet/dry shop vac close by. At one point, I was like a dentist. Spray/suction combo for the win!029 030 031 033 034 035 036

After giving them several hours to dry, I re-caulked and carefully taped the glass off with frog tape and painters plastic. I left the screens in and put plastic loosely on the other side (I did run into a problem with this, but I’m not sure of the solution.)039

I purchased the Campbell Hausfeld DH380000AV Pressure-Feed Spray Gun from Amazon and used a 6 Gal pancake compressor. The manual says it won’t work, but it does.

Two coats of Zinsser latex primer and two coats of the exterior paint in Black Tar went like a breeze! The sprayer made things so so so much easier. I was thrilled.

The issue. The plastic on the outside got stuck to the screen with paint, causing some paint to stick to them. I have decided to re-screen them when I have the chance!

Anyways. YES. DO THIS. It made such a difference visually.033 behr cracked pepper ; benjamin moore black tar ; painted aluminum storm windows

While I was working on that, I started asking my coworkers for recommendations on handy men or carpenters. One suggested a good friend of hers. I gave him a call, explained the situation, he looked at it and promised to come back later in the week to move the door.

Happy dance! Nervousness. Things never go that smoothly.

I had picked out a door to order, but held off since I was worried that there may be in issue moving the door and then I would have a useless door taking up room and mocking my life’s decisions.

As promised, Arnie and his friend showed up and instantly got to work. They planed the door down to fit the jamb and cut new mortises for the hinges in the jamb. Then they attempted to screw the hinges to the jamb and they caught on nothing! Removing the casing showed that there was a several inch gap between the jamb and framing.

At this point, they had been working on this for hours and it was getting late. They used 3″ wood screws and got the door hung.

I was thankful for how much time they put in, and ultimately they did solve my problem.

But, those wood screws were ugly. And I am so over ugly right now.

I spent a couple of hours last Friday putting wood blocks behind the hinges and between the jamb and framing lumber. Then putting the pretty screws in the hinges.

This was a blessing because I was able to shim the jamb so the door shuts snugly! I used great stuff to insulate. No more drafts!009 010

The door is currently painted Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray on one side, and Juniper on the other. I like both the colors, but I don’t like the blue against the black trim. 005


I painted the porch door Juniper and I love the brightness of the green against the black.011

The exterior door is going to get a coat of Clark + Kensington OPI Care to Danse? as soon as I get two minutes away from the living room and One Room Challenge.

Which leads me to the plans for the vestibule….

New door ordered! After I got over my initial shock of how expensive doors are. Wowzers. I ordered through my local lumber yard and chose a Buffelen door in Douglas Fir with 4 glass panes. Buffelen 6054G door

The original doors in the house are 6 panel. I wanted to nod to that but liked the more modern aspect of the larger glass panes. It’s going to get a coat of the pale pink paint and dressed up with some gorgeous crystal knobs from Rejuvenation.

The larger glass will also work better to see this wallpaper that is going up in the vestibule. ellie cashman deisgn dark floral 2 black desaturated

Yes. Black, brass, pink and flowers.

I am also waiting on this little beauty to arrive and light up my porch.lucent lightshop sputnikMy husband had the best idea when he suggested we clear out the porch.

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.


If the kitchen walls could talk

Ya’ll ready for some mundane wall talk?

Back in April of 2014, when I demo’ed the tile floor to make way for new walnut hardwood, I got a little feverish and pulled down all the dry wall, removed the soffit to expose the ugliest radiator pipes, and demanded that my husband remove all the drywall/plaster/lath from the ceiling. After washing off the debris and horror of what I had just done, I was left with this:

It's the only 'Before" photo I could find!
It’s the only ‘Before” photo I could find!


Cracking yellow plaster walls, ugly radiator pipes and insight to how my 100 year old house is being held up (which gives me night terrors that the house is going to collapse, some things just shouldn’t be seen (it’s structurally sound, my anxiety knows no bounds))

After the house being jacked up, new flooring installed and part of the wall was removed, I started tiling the walls above the baseboards and skim coating/patching the remaining walls. I got two coats of durabond 90 on the walls, and abandoned it. I didn’t finish the cuts in my tile job, either. tile wainscotting

The cabinets were installed, and because nothing in old houses are plumb, the cabinets didn’t fit. So the contractor removed part of the drywall, and installed the cabinet. I was not at home at the time, and by the time it got to this point in the project, I pretty much loathed the contractor and wanted him to get the hell out of my house, finished or not.

So. It all sat like this, until, I announced that I would continue working on it. Erm, back in December.

On a whim one day whilst I was working at home, I got up and finished all my cuts for the tile on the wall, and grouted. I hadn’t started on the backsplash yet.

I removed the rest of the 1/2″ drywall down to the top of the base cabinet. I changed the light switch receptacle for a shallow one, since the wall cavity was less than 3″. shallow light receptical

Of course, even my 1/4″ thick drywall didn’t fit between the  upper cabinet and the middle stud. I could have cut the drywall to butt up against the cabinet, and not go behind it, but then it wouldn’t have any support behind it. I made a make shift cleat but using a spare piece of wood and screwing it into the stud, so the drywall could attach to it. Kind of hard to explain, and I’m sure not the professional method. 007

But! It worked. Moving on.

After all the seams in the new drywall and joints between the plaster and drywall were dried, began the sanding. Since I was not very skilled or meticulous about skim coating, all the wall surfaces needed to be sanded. Ooft.008

My husband helped me tape up plastic on most of the cabinets and doorways. It still crept everywhere. Natch. 011

My momma didn’t raise no fool. I used a palm sander on the walls and 80 grit sand paper to smooth everything out. It took me about an hour and a half, and a lot of climbing up and down a ladder. Talk about dustayyyyy. 010

After everything was cleaned up, I use the word ‘clean’ loosely in this household, it was time for priming the walls.

I decided to use my new gallon of Zinsser Oil Based Primer. I had never used it for such a large surface, but guys, it handled its shit. I may always use it on walls that have had a lot of patching. Yeah, you end up throwing the roller away, but I only used a 1/4 of the gallon, where latex may have been 1/2-3/4 can. I did follow up on the walls with a second coat of latex primer as well. 012 013

So much better, right?

Since I was already on a week long bender, high as a kite on paint fumes, I figured that I might as well paint the vinyl windows while I was at it.

I removed the latches (and spray painted them gold), and gave the window a super thorough cleaning with acetone. Meticulously taped everything off and cut little squares to size of painter’s plastic.Spray painting vinyl windows

I used Krylon Fusion in Gloss black. The inside stop had previously been painted black (see above above pictures), and after the vinyl part of the window was black, it felt like way too much black. I am very good at creating more work for myself, I taped it all off again, primed and painted about 5 coats of white on. I like how it turned out, and will probably continue to paint the upstairs vinyl windows, too. Painting Vinyl windows Painting Vinyl windows

Christmas happened, and I took a kitchen break to enjoy time with family.

I got back to it, by tiling the little cabinet nook back splash. Let me tell you, even inside in the basement and with hot water put in the wet saw, it is COLD to get sprayed with the water. Let alone the fact that it sprays into your lap, leaving the sensation that you’ve just peed yourself. gloss subway tile - the tile shop

I had removed the window apron before the tiling and cabinet installation. I didn’t want to make a lot of cuts on the tile or have the tile be thicker than the apron,, so I used all full tiles for 2′, putting that underneath the window apron. I shimmed out the area and put the window apron back on, after cutting it in two pieces to allow the peninsula cabinet to be flush with the wall. 023 025 026

It left some noticeable gaps along the side of the window, and the tile wasn’t capped off. 027

I went to the lumber yard about bought a basic profile, pre-primed pine chair rail. I think I put it upside down? Idk. I liked it better this way, and feel it mimics the baseboard nicely.

Everything got patched, caulked and painted.The Tile Shop Gloss subway tiles

All the trim got a fresh coat of Sherwin-Williams Floor and Porch paint in Snowbound 7004, and the walls were painted Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor, mixed in the Aura line and 25% darker. I haven’t used the Aura paint before, and I’m not sure if it’s the paint itself or how much goddamn pigment was in that can, it covered beautifully!Sherwin Williams Snowbound 7004 Benjamin Moore Dark Harbor Aura

I was dragging my feet on updating about the kitchen, because I feel disappointed that it still doesn’t look DONE. That might or might not have something to do with the fact that there isn’t a finished ceiling. No, it can’t be that simple of an explanation. I am way deep and complex, guys.

Somehow this post got over 1000 words, damn. I’ll continue in the next post with more updates.

Painting glossy wood trim – Dark and White

First of all: Hardcore stained wood fanatics – Be cool, don’t jump my ass.  kthnxbye.

I have been painting the wood trim in my house. Someone put this poopy colored (no exaggeration, I’ve had a baby, I know) opaque varnish all over the wood. You can hardly see any wood grain anymore, but is very glossy and the dark color drags down the whole house.

Gross poopy colored opaque varnish
Gross poopy colored opaque varnish

See? Yuck.

I start by patching all the holes and/or cracks with spackle. I have found the light weight kind the easiest.caulk and spackled

Then paintable caulk in any seams.

Don’t forget to caulk along the sides of the moulding where it meets the wall!

oil based primer on glossy wood
Pre-caulked seam between trim and wall
oil based primer on glossy wood
After caulk between trim and wall

I use my trusty oil based primer. I know that there are latex primers that say the stick to glossy surfaces, but besides the BIN kind, I just don’t trust them. I have been using Zinsser, although I am not loyal to the brand. Make sure that you have mineral spirits on hand, very helpful for any drops and cleaning the brush. I like swishing the brush in mineral spirits, dawn soap, and then swishing in new mineral spirits for brush cleaning. For mini foam rollers, I would dispose of them after each use.

I use my brush to get the primer into all the little nooks and crannies, and then go over it and the flat areas with a roller. The first coat will NOT look good. Or opaque. Or white. In fact, it’s going to look pretty awful. That’s cool.oil based primer on glossy wood oil based primer on glossy wood oil based primer on glossy wood

I am a double primer sort of girl. I feel like the second coat gets any tiny missed spots. I use the same method of the brush and mini foam roller.

If the final top coat will be dark, use a gray tinted latex primer. I used Glidden Gripper Primer underneath the F&B Down Pipe top coat.Glidden Gripper primer on oil based primer on glossy wood 011 Glidden Gipper Primer on oil based primer on glossy wood

Two coats of Farrow & Ball Down Pipe (the last one being Estate Eggshell), and done!Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell

If painting white, after the oil based primer, do a second coat with white latex primer. I use Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 primer. I thought that I had a picture of this coat, but I guess I don’t! Sorry! It will look brighter white, but still patchy.

If going from dark wood, like my trim, to white, expect to do at least 4 coats (more likely 5.) Two of primer and 3 of top coat color. I personally like Floor and Porch paint for trim, it’s satin and durable. I used Sherwin Williams in Snowbound 7004. This is the 5th coat:Sherwin Williams SnowboundSherwin Williams Snowbound Sherwin Williams Snowbound

It’s just so much brighter already!  

Painting up in here

I’m always incredibly jealous when I read other blogs and they move in to a “fixer upper”, and that means painting the walls. They put in their awesome furniture, style it, and then it looks all glorious.

Petty? You bet.

Especially because I did move into this house and paint all the walls, and it looked glorious. Then, I went all crazy face on it. And now I have to put in 2425721 hours of patching and sanding, to get the walls in a semi decent shape for painting.

But. I did. I did put all those hours of wall prep in.


This is also the first room that my husband has helped me paint. Yeah, in 6+ years together, he hasn’t ever helped me paint. I’m sure that’s some sort of blogging crime. I told him that OUR MARRIAGE NEEDED this. J/K. No, I didn’t. Yes, I actually did.

I guess he didn’t want to test the limits of my insanity. He rolled, I did cut in, we had a paint fight, it was adorbsies. Ok, so he did one coat on the walls, but, for reals though, it went so much faster than if I did that last coat by myself!

I chose Farrow & Ball Down Pipe – color matched to Behr. I’m planning on ordering a gallon from Farrow & Ball for the top coat, but why not save $70 for the first coat?

After 3 coats on the ceiling (1 primer, 2 paint), and 3 coats on the trim/baseboards (2 primer, 1 paint) and 2 coats on the walls (1 primer, 1 paint), we are here!

Farrow & Ball Down Pipe color matched to Behr Farrow & Ball Down Pipe color matched to Behr

Perhaps a reminder of how the dining room project started?

damaged plaster
damaged plaster


Is that a non-water damaged and non-green ceiling?!Farrow & Ball Down Pipe color matched to Behr

I still have to paint the radiator (I spray primed the hard to reach areas).

Panel/picture molding, crown moulding, and the opening casing will have to happen, then one last coat of paint.

It may seem a little underwhelming to most, but it was a huge triumph for me.