New Name for an Old Room

20140719_132630I thought the laundry room would be the most disgusting room, but when I moved to the New Room, I saw I was wrong. Apparently the entire house is going to be a surprise like this. My parents had 3 birds and there were peanut shells and bird food under every single piece of furniture I moved in this room.

20140719_132626As I mentioned in the introduction to this year-long project, Daddy enclosed the porch after about 3-5 years and we started calling this the “new room.” It’s been probably 35-40 years being new. Over the years it’s been a TV room, craft room, office. It was the room in which Daddy spent his last month, and died peacefully in his mother’s chair. It’s really not a new room anymore. I plan to move my piano in here, as well as a table that can be used for crafting or surplus guests for a holiday. Would it be a parlour? Does anyone have any suggestions on its new name?

In this room, my tasks are removing the furniture and cleaning the room out, removing two coats of wallpaper that have been on the walls for probably 30 years, painting the wainscoting and chair rail, rag rolling the walls, adding trim, replacing the carpet and padding, and then decorating. I would like to give this room a new name (finally) but I’m not sure what that should be. I would also like to give this room a contemporary and elegant look. The carpet I got as a remnant the other weekend20140719_132651, in a subtle taupe. I need to mottle the walls with a combination of silver, beige, and white, to tie all the colors together. Right now the colors are a tealy-mint green under taped-on industrial grey carpet, and the latest pass of wallpaper is about 15 years old.

I’ve been using the sticky knee pads, gloves, respirator, and coveralls faithfully, and I like the products. But you probably would like to hear about some different ones, so I will dig back into my box of goodies. I’ll use the disposable face mask for patching the walls when I sand them and be sure I have the First Aid Kit on hand.

To get started on this room, I tried to clean it out of furniture. The local AmVets are getting the entertainment system and bookcases that I am getting rid of – unless they are too big to take. If that’s the case, I suppose they are just going to sit in my car port for awhile. I started randomly pulling wallpaper off the wall (and some of it is coming off very well!). I picked up paint chips and a paper tiger at my local BigBox. My dad had a comprehensive collection of railroad lanterns that he kept in this room, so my first task this week is to unscrew all of the old hooks that held his collection and continue cleaning enough so there is room to work and start to methodically use that paper tiger on the walls.

Until we meet again…

Home Remodel – detour along the road

20140928_133230I need to add a couple side projects on this home project. Remember in the bathroom, I was unhappy with the old sink base hardware, but the new hardware came with screws that didn’t fit? This weekend I got the new hardware anyway and found my dad’s bolt cutters in the garage. Result? Screws that fit! I am adding $25 in cost to this room. I can sit back and call it done, thanks to many of the great construction and safety products at SafetyGirl, Discount Safety Gear, and Construction Gear.

20140927_185952Additionally, in preparing to start work on the New Room (I’m not sure if I will change the room’s name, or not), I had to get rid of all the furniture I didn’t want. Andy claimed one of the bookcases, and while the gross carpet was still down, I deglossed it and slapped 3 coats of black paint on it for him. 20140927_074223He came and got it yesterday and I hope it was dry enough that it didn’t ruin the upholstery in his van. I used the disposable coveralls and gloves that I’ve been using, for this, too. I am finding disposable gloves are indispensable for pretty much everything in the house.

Laundry Room Scrubdown

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20140928_092308This weekend was a continuation of the last in the laundry room, so I won’t bore you with details. My goal was to scrub the whole thing down and paint it, and the reassemble it in a more organized version.  I did the floor the same way I did the bathroom. I cleaned it with TSP, then I took 50 gallons of rainwater from my dad’s rainwater collectors, dumped it on the floor and squeegeed it off. Then I used TSP in hot water again and deglossed. Then I primed, painted, and sealed. When I painted, I wore gloves and a whole-body-with-hood disposable coverall, which made for a really sweet cleanup of me. Here are the before and after shots.

Sunday my mom came out and reupholstered four occasional chairs while I deglossed the laundry room. I am including a photo because they look so nice and I am glad she did this for me.

20140921_163659I talked to Lucy about the possibility of us painting a mural on the wall, including Grace if she wishes. If that happens, I will follow up with the design. Next week I am going to take a break on the home repair and give the whole house a cleaning. Then I will start looking at the New Room. It has always been an afterthought kind of room, in my life, though my parents used it quiet a bit after we left home. I am going to turn it into a crafty, musicy, artsy type of den. Some comfortable chairs, the piano, a table for beadwork or scrapbooking. The view out the window is wonderful for morning coffee. Thanks to Andy and the circus (see that blog here), I have the carpet on order and waiting for my call. For that room I will be stripping wall paper, painting both the plain walls and the paneling with chair rail, recarpeting, and maybe working on one light (ugh). I will be featuring the leather work gloves (for the carpeting), knee pads (carpeting) and the typical painting gear from SafetyGirl, Construction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear.

Industrial Cleaning: A Day at the Circus

During the week, I moved the hoosier from the laundry room to the kitchen. It feels very good to get things out of the house; I used four garbage bags during just a precursory cleaning and started a scrap metal box. We used two boxes for giving away. All week, the thought of how much gunk there is in this room, set me on edge. Even when my dad repainted the floor every ten years, he didn’t move the washer and dryer and give that area a good cleaning or paint under them. The blessing here, however, is that they got new appliances about 3 years ago and I am pretty sure all that was cleaned well when they units were swapped out.

20140913_101531This was going to be a short weekend at home, and while I typically start my weekend work Thursday night, by the time I got home, my new stove (another story for another day) was being delivered and when that was done, I went straight to bed. I spent Friday night feeling overwhelmed and didn’t do anything on the house. Andy came over at 7:30 Saturday morning with a big smile and coffee mug out. We walked around the kitchen a little and he gave me suggestions and vision. He really is good at thinking outside the box. He left to take Grace to Lucy’s track meet and I got to work. I took the remaining items off the shelves and wiped it all down lightly. Then I donned the disposable rubber gloves and a disposable coverall, mixed the TSP to industrial strength, and started scrubbing the ceiling and walls.

Because these walls need serious coverage, I decided to use the thicker ceiling paint on them. This will wipe out the can of paint. So far, the cost on this room is zero. I am using leftovers. Because of the cheap budget here, Andy took me to a local bi-annual warehouse sale to look for carpeting for the next room, the New Room. It was a big tent sale with free hot dogs and popcorn, and a local radio station with a wheel of prizes. While Andy went to look for his favorite saleswoman, I got food. “Want some popcorn?” I asked when he came back out. “nah.” “Hold mine, please, while I eat.” After my hot dog was gone and I reached for the bag of buttery goodness, there were but a few kernels left. Hmm. I also spun the prize wheel while Andy’s impatience very quietly peeked out from around the corner. The guy manning the booth said I won whatever I wanted from the table. After a weekend of festivities, there wasn’t much from which to choose. “Would the girls want clown noses?” “No.” “What’s on this CD?” “If I were you, I’d just take a T-shirt.” “Do you want to spin the wheel?” “No. I want to get home sometime today.” So I grabbed a T-shirt and the DJ gave me four clown noses anyway. I was going to write that they are still in my purse, but they are not. I have no clue where they went but someone is going to have a fun day when they find them!

We ended up looking at the remnants because if you find one that works, you get more bang for your buck. After rooms of cheap-looking and cheap-priced carpet, and gorgeous offerings in sizes that would not work, we happened upon the perfect shade of taupe in a subdued pattern, in a size that would work, and a price that was about 1/3 of retail. “I’d take it if I were you.” He stood guard on the roll while I finished looking and when I got back, he again insisted on finding his favorite saleswoman. She wrote me up while he flirted and stepped on my foot. I did something I don’t ever do – paid for delivery. But there was no way a 12’x20’ rug was going to fit in Andy’s sensible white minivan, much less my Miata.

20140913_131811When we got back, the girls were busy with their friends in the kitchen. I thanked Andy for the date (“hey – it was like a carnival, complete with a meal, right?”) and went back to finish my cleaning.20140913_131841

By the end of the weekend I had scrubbed, patched, and painted the easy half of the laundry room. You can see by the photo on the right, that the ceiling is done but the walls here are cleaned/organized but not painted. This room is going to take another week or two. When I dropped my paintbrush behind the dryer, I noticed that my parents did not, in fact, clean the flooring when they got new appliances.

So I will leave you with a big “to be continued.”

~BS

Fixtures and Finishing Touches

This blog’s focus, two little words: install. lighting. Cost: $50. Total cost for the bathroom: slightly under $200 with some leftover materials for the next room.

20140824_161002My weekend started early; Thursday night Andy was busy with the girls and a friend chatted me to see if I was ok. JD was in our circle of friends in high school and we reconnected right when my slide down the slope of divorce, death, and job changing started. He checks in every once in awhile via text just to see if I am alright. I told him I was, but he insisted on stopping over just to make sure. At that point I was in my PJs and had found a leak in the bathroom plumbing. I tried to deter him but I suppose when some people care about you, it’s a good thing. I changed back into clothes and let Andy know I’d be visiting for awhile during our regular phone time. JD and I decided the marine sealant I used on the flooring was good for the leak – it was in the sink drain and all parts were secure except one soldered vertical piece. We sat in the midst of my disastrous house and caught each other up on the last few months.

Even a surprise visit from an old friend can’t stop the inevitable. The bathroom called. I was lucky enough to find some brushed nickel wall sconces at a reasonable price at BigBox but finding the help during daylight hours was the challenge, thus they are last. I am decent at wiring; once you recognize that the wiring either works or it doesn’t, and as long as you don’t use your body as a conductor, it is safe. Andy came over Saturday with tools and equipment, to knock it out with me.

20140824_171619If you know my dad, you know that no project is standard. He loved to create from found objects and scrap, and for the bathroom wiring, apparently he used salvaged industrial wire that had four strands. So not only did we have an extra strand to cap off, but what was coming from the wall was as unmoving as the rock of Gibraltar and barely fit in the box. Additionally, he somehow tied the ceiling fixture in to the left sconce wiring, so there were an extra full set of wires. We did not get the lights up Saturday.

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Left, Before

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Left, After

Andy came back Sunday with more tools and equipment, and after another 2 ½ hours, roll of electrical tape, and 17 different types of pliers, we got them up. Something is loose somewhere in the wall that if the lights aren’t a certain way, they don’t work. Or one of them does. They look beautiful, however, and Sunday night I finally got, and left them, positioned to both work. Monday morning, neither of them turned on. At least I got up early enough to spend 15 minutes wiggling them around so I could light my morning. I finally got them positioned properly and hope no well-intended OCD guest tries to helpfully straighten them that last millimeter.

I am including before and after pics just because it’s so satisfying!

Coming up will be my “gimme” week. I will sit back, enjoy a more open flow in this tiny space, and add the fun stuff: roll the towels and add the accoutrements. When we talk again, you will find me starting to tackle the laundry room, which is the most disgusting room in the house. It is next because it is how all of the visitors enter the house and I really need to be glad when people arrive, rather than cringe. Even though this room is also small and has no wallpaper, I know better than to call this job “easy.” I will be cleaning it out, cleaning it, and repainting ceiling, walls, and floor. Sounds simple, right? Hah! Five tasks, five weeks. I suspect that my one-year deadline for the whole house will not be met.

I will be featuring the pink hard hat but using the disposable gloves, knee pads, and coveralls, as well.

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Right, Before

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Right, After

~BS

Painting a Vinyl Floor

20140822_235959This is another segment in my farmhouse refresh series. I am still in the bathroom, forever in the bathroom. Over the last week I debated painting the floor, or laying a river stone floor. I decided I would paint the floor and see how it held up. Even knowing the vinyl is a step away from dead and I have a contingency plan, it made me nervous. Everything I read said painting it can turn out great, or a disaster. I read four or five different sets of directions on doing this, as if you don’t paint it properly, you regret the project. I was painstakingly careful with each step. I understand the finish won’t last forever but until I can afford reflooring, I wanted it to look nice.

I got a late start to the weekend, as Friday evening was a celebration for Andy’s parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary! I am so in awe of being able to put up with one person, day in and day out, for that long. Kudos to them. They are a beautiful couple, and the meal was a lovely family dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in their town. I had the lasagna – divine! Gracie went with us but Lucy had to work. I wore a boho dress Andy brought back from a cruise earlier in the year. You know, one of those long things with handcrafted lace at the neckline that makes you feel like a princess and is extremely comfortable all at  the same time? A table full of relatives, some who had traveled from out of state, everyone sharing and laughing. The word I’d use to describe the meal is exuberant.

We weren’t back late and Andy was asleep as soon as his butt hit the leather sofa, so I left and got an early start Saturday. I had already glued down the popped up tiles, and filled in chipped corners, with a marine sealant/epoxy.

20140823_065639If you decide to paint vinyl floors, I will pass on what I read were the important bits: sand it to scuff it and scrape any odd globs off of it, clean thoroughly (I used Trisodium Phosphate at household strength), let every step dry before starting the next, and make sure your sealant is clear. Take the time to tape your edges off carefully, and spend the extra money to get the better masking tape. Be sure every product is made for high traffic, and porch/patio or exterior use to ensure durability. That’s IF you decide to paint your vinyl tile floor.

I followed the directions on dry time but it still flaked off when walking on it after the allotted time. I touched it up and allowed it to cure for a few days before sealing. I used a high-traffic high-gloss clear polyurethane, three coats, with about 72 hours between coats, and then a full week before I put the floor into service. Maneuvering from the hallway to the tub, standing on sink and toilet was interesting but kept me off the floor – and limber! Until I added the sealer, I was not sure on the floor. The sealer, though expensive, really made the difference.

Cost for this project was $30 for high-traffic porch and patio paint, $10 for the cleaner and deglosser, and $40 for the clear gloss sealant (the primer was costed in a prior post).

20140823_132805The disposable gloves were an absolute necessity for the floor project. The TSP cleanser is not to be used on skin, so I wore the gloves when I was scrubbing. I used them also to wash and rinse the floor and hung them to dry, so they were ready to go with the deglosser and painting steps. And again I used the disposable coveralls. I think I may need to get a new package. A side note on those – in the heat of the summer, they were very warm. They are breathable, but it was definitely an extra layer of insulation. Because of the gloves and overalls, I was able to go right from working, to the store, just by removing those.

I toyed with the idea of using the respirator when I sanded the floor, but as I didn’t use a power sander, it seemed like overkill. I gently scuffed and then scrubbed. There wasn’t much dust. I did, however, need it on the fumes from the polyurethane.

Next week I must tackle the lighting, which I have been putting off. I don’t like to do that alone, at least without anyone in the house to call 911 if I zap myself. I’ve wired an addition before, but it’s been decades.

~BS

Rag Rolling

20140810_093358Now that hockey season has started (if you have kids that seriously engage in the sport, you know it requires about 13 months and billions of dollars a year), I will have some weekends to myself as Andy travels or hosts for hockey showcases, championships, and tournaments. Lucy plays while Gracie values the dad-time. Sometimes I go, but sometimes I need to sit out to allow their full bonding time. This weekend, Andy had two hockey dad house guests for a weekend kickoff to camp. I was hoping to get the walls and floor done with my copious spare time. Ha!

20140715_201112I have heard two schools of thought on stripping wallpaper: those who think it’s a nightmare and those who think it’s relatively easy. My opinion is somewhere in the middle but I will tell you, my mind has been changed about stripping all the wallpaper in the house. I heard about a secret weapon called a paper tiger but I couldn’t find one, so I just peeled, squirted, peeled, wiped, rinse, repeat. Because this job alternated tasks and I am doing this alone, the tool belt from SafetyGirl was really quite essential for keeping my screwdriver (scoring) and cleaning rag right near where I was working.

As I was stripping, one of the wall sconces fell off the wall and nailed me in the forehead. Luckily the wires remained nutted and the bulb didn’t break. “I know Daddy built you, light fixture, but Daddy ain’t here. I have no trouble tossing you in the garbage.” Remember my fear that I would find something amiss under the wall sconces? I kind of did – when the paper was removed last time, that second layer was left on and the new paper applied over it. It was almost impossible to remove.

I have to give credit where it is due: my dad was the king of repurposing and making things work. My mom is the queen of doing things right. I have to assume my dad was the one who left the traces of paper there.

The stripping took about a week of after-work work. Saturday I wiped down the walls, patched the dings, sanded, and primed. I used the half mask respirator when I sanded. If you’ve done drywall work before you know the value in this. So nice not to have to remove dust from my hair, nose, eyes, skin – you name it!

20140816_145517coverallI was going to rag-roll a seafoam glaze coating over white walls but the glaze ended up turning the very pale paint a warm beige. I am ok with that. I experimented and used a wet rag and the additive method, rolling the rag by hand, then scrubbing when almost dry, to smooth the pattern a bit to look more organic. That job was beyond a mess and I was glad to have Discount Safety Gear’s disposable coveralls. I wore one for the entire wall painting job, and I probably could have broken that down into two, the thing was so covered. The disposable rugged blue gloves were also a necessity because I would still have sticky glaze darkening my hands as I write.

An out-of-town friend was to stay with me Saturday night after spending time with her mother, which forced me to cdisp work gloveslean up mid-project. Gail ended up canceling due to a death in the family but I was very glad I was forced to clean for her arrival anyway. Andy invited me over to meet his friends, since I’d be available. Oh, and can I pick up a bottle of tonic water on my way? Mrs. Ford likes vodka and tonics and she may come out. Really?!? Picking up groceries for another woman? He said, “I’ll pay you back.” “Oh, no you don’t!” I said. “I prefer the right to bring this up for years to come, rather than have the dollar.” I arrived, tonic in hand, hyperventilating with all that still had to be done. Lucy, Grace, and what seemed like seven or eight other girls (I think in actuality there were only three) ran to the street fair down the road while the adults visited for a bit.

20140817_190925Sunday morning, I looked at the bathroom with fresh eyes before church. The walls looked unfinished, so I used the same metallic textured paint to paint a border at the ceilings, then I filled it in with chunks of texture smeared on with a small scraper. I think I got the stripe a bit too wide but I like it anyway. Again with the gloves and coveralls. Since I was using found and extra paint and glaze, cost for this phase was only $2.50 for the patch.

Painting the floor still makes me nervous, because while the vinyl tile is a step away from gone, everything I read said painting it can turn out great, or a disaster, and I can’t afford to replace it. I am also toying with the idea of what is called a Chattahoochee floor, or river stone/pebble floor. I am reading conflicting reviews, however, on whether this is best done by epoxy, or mortar and grout. I think if I did this, I would overlay the existing vinyl tile with black landscaping plastic and work that surface. With the weight and stones hugging the toilet it would stay in place, but also be much easier to remove if I don’t like it. I will ponder the floor for another week.

I ended up being glad I stopped for Mrs. Ford’s tonic, even though Mrs. Ford herself didn’t show up. Andy made me the best gin and tonic I have ever tasted. Quality gin, fresh lime juice, lovely garnish. I could happily live in that man’s kitchen.

~BS