Stairway Reveal

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Before photo, hallway carpet
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After photo, hallway carpet

So I took a bit of a weekend break from Andy to finish this project so I can move outside for the summer. I touched up the edges where the walls meet the ceilings, with white ceiling paint. I scrubbed and scraped the beautiful wood steps. I couldn’t bring myself to re-glue the stair post that had been loose since I was a toddler. I think it may have been a product of my sister or I getting our head wedged in there (I’d bet it was me).

I ordered some nice laminate plank flooring from BigBox because it was a superb price and debated laying it in the hallway, but the pine of the bedrooms would have been juxtapositioned against the Brazilian cherry all wrong. So I took the remnant from carpeting the new room and got to work. I removed the old carpeting, and was again glad I did, because my parents’ Yorkiepoo Tebow did indeed mark it in at least four places. As I rolled it and bundled it for the garbage men, I rolled my eyes at my mom’s insistence that her dog did not have accidents.  I remember telling her a year+ ago, as I cleaned up after him, “of course they’re not accidents. They are ‘on purposes.’ He doesn’t know he’s not supposed to use the house as his personal bathroom.” The last of all possible rugs and carpeting  have been removed. Good riddance!

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Tracing the new carpet using the old carpet

For this I definitely used my Ironclad TuffChix gloves from SafetyGirl. They kept my hands clean, as well as kept them from getting chewed up by the rough carpet backing.

Before I tossed the old carpet, I used it as a template for my new piece. Since this pattern has sculptured squares, it was very important to keep it straight. I think I did a good job. I replaced the brass threshold trim pieces and tacked the end piece over the curve of the first step. Here are the before and after shots. I did keep to budget very well on this, using leftover paint, carpet, and padding from the other rooms. The only things new I used were some rollers and a brush.

For the rest of the summer I will be headed outside. I have a dilapidated chicken coop stuffed with junk, a shooting range, storage barns, a greenhouse, a mancave, old dog houses, gardening sheds, etc. to go through. Lucky for me I have men friends who are eager to look through these in exchange for taking off my hands the things I can’t use. I will be salvaging what I can at a local scrap dealer. I will also be listing a girlfriend to help with yardwork in exchange for helping her with her own.

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Before photo, stairwell (looking up)
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After photo, stairwell (looking down)

And I’ve been largely silent on Andy lately. He’s been super-busy with Lucy’s end-of-season hockey, and now both Lucy and Grace are involved in many spring events – softball, honors bands and concerts, track, you name it. Lucy is a viable driver now so buckle up! We were lucky to wrap the weekend up with a wonderful turkey dinner, with two sets of mashed potatoes – skins on for Grace, and skins off for Lucy. And because Andy broke the serving bowl full of veggies, no broccoli and carrots.

Stairway Risers

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Before stairs

This weekend I had a decent chunk of time but it was too nice to spend most of it indoors. I had a nice lunch with a college friend Brit, and as we were eating Lebanese food at a new eatery, it wasn’t long before we each took out our phones to show each other our remodels. She mentioned that she has a pink tool belt – probably ours! I told her she can get a pair of workboots to match. Later I took advantage of the warm and sunny Saturday to get my mower out and make sure it was ready for the year. I also scrubbed out my kitties’ litter box. Both of these tasks were well-suited for my Safety Girl pink work boots. I was able to wash my sheets and hang them outside to dry. I love clothes dried on the line!

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In progress stairs, carpet coming up and first coats of paint down.

Sunday my friend JD came and helped me go through the garage. We cleaned, cleaned out, and organized, and I sent him home with whatever he wanted that I didn’t need, for his help. In about an hour and a half, it was still cluttered, but it was cleaner and more organized clutter. This will be an ongoing summer project, and will definitely require Safety Girl’s Tough Chix gloves. And a tetanus shot.

After the sun went down both Saturday and Sunday I forced myself to paint the stairway. I am still working on the trim. I removed the runner because I love the look of the bare steps. Prying out the staples in the carpet again required the gloves. I will still need to put another coat on all the trim and clean the steps well. I am debating whether to shampoo the landing carpet, which is still in decent shape but isn’t the most contemporary, or replace it with a leftover piece of the sculptured gray carpeting from the music room. I’ll let you know.

One more weekend here (two if I do the carpeting) and I should be ready to reveal it.

Brit is going to come help me with the flooring someday this summer and I will buy her those pink work boots for her effort!

Cutting in Like a Pro

20150411_064059I’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.

20150411_063954Use 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.

Guest Room Reveal

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Interior Wall before
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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?

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Greenhouse window wall After
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Greenhouse window wall Before
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Gun cabinet wall Before
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Gun cabinet wall After

Continuing in the Guest Room

20150131_164514 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. 20150214_164610

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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