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.

Stairwell Assessment

20140719_132619The 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 landscape20150314_151938. 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!

20150314_151912I will be using the standard gear from Safety Girl, Construction Gear, and Discount Safety Gearpaint brushes, rollers, coveralls, respirator, and gloves.

Here are the before shots so you can see what I am working with.

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_164514This 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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Painting the Guest Room

With winter here, my time to work on the house is throttling down. I shovel and clean the litter box far more (see blog20150201_122417) since my cats are only inside in the winter. My mom has had some surgeries and I’ve spent some nights with her.

Because there is so much clutter in this room that is either waiting to be picked up, or will be repurposed in the room when done, I must work on this one wall at a time. I don’t like that. But the wall against the steps will be where the bed goes, and a dark gray. The rest of the walls will be a lighter gray with the darker trim. So I am painting the highlighted wall first, pushing everything I can against it, and finishing. This week is the prep work and dark wall.

20150131_164337Before I ever started, I had to remove all the pictures placed helter-skelter on the walls with random nailholes and many pen marks x-ing the spot. There were two sets of curtain brackets even tho that room has seen only blinds for at least a decade. I patched the holes and lightly sanded. Then I deglossed all the trim and taped off my dark grey on that wall.

The salesman talked me up to a greater-coverage paint for that color, and I am so glad he did. As it was, it took 2 brush coats and one roller coat to make sure all the dimples were hidden. With something so dark, any missed spots would be unforgiving.

Proof positive our paint brushes and rollers are the best – halfway through the wall, my roller handle snapped off the extension pole. I’ve been using that roller handle with our roller since the dawn of time, and the roller is still going strong. Because I didn’t want to stop the job to run into town to buy a new handle, I finished the wall with our 4” paintbrush. I cleaned the floor best I could with my tea and oil concoction, and decided that junction looked good enough to push the furniture against.

no64517_-00_purple_side_purple-rain-boots-puddletonsMy weekend with Andy was absolutely wonderful. We went out for about an hour for a drink to toast the memory of an old friend of his on Friday night. Saturday we attended Grace’s honors band concert and then to dinner with his parents. And Sunday we washed our cars together and broke up the ice in the driveway. I was so excited – I wore my wellies for the first time. I wish I had pics to show you, but take my word for it – they were adorable!

Spare Room Makeover

20150111_10005420150111_100009I want to bring this plain room up to a contemporary standard. When my sister and I were little, it was big enough to fit our twin beds and a partition separating sleeping quarters to a play area. Today I stand in the middle of it and think how small it is. It saw us through childhood, then my parents switched some of the rooms around and it became their room, then when we left home my parents each had a separate bedroom and this became my dad’s. This will be the office/spare adult bedroom. It has my grandparents’ antique spool bed. The last time my dad painted the trim, he didn’t tape anything off and the plank floors have an inch of sloppy paint strokes around the perimeter. There is still dust and clutter. The paint is peeling from the trim and the walls are outdated and full of nailholes.

20150111_100014Again I say this room will be easy – I will declutter it of discarded canes and stepstools. I found a leatherworking kit that will go to the basement until my brother-in-law comes to get it. My dad fashioned a gun cabinet to house his rifles and paraphernalia that will eventually go to my middle nephew but until he’s out of his parents’ house, he’s not permitted to have guns. My grandmother’s blanket chest, our first kitchen table, and an old chifferobe line the walls of this random room. I need to theme it out and organize the flow.

20150111_100030I will be cleaning, painting vertical surfaces, and scraping as much paint off the floors as I can. If I can’t live with the results, I may have to put carpeting down. I will need to get rid of the trestle table. I am hoping to finish this room in a month but I haven’t yet picked out colors.

Here are the before shots, and I will again be using the typical equipment from Discount Safety Gear, Construction Gear, and SafetyGirl. I still have some coveralls, an unused Purdy roller, the wonderful brush I have been using and cleaning for each room, and the gloves to which I have become addicted.

20150111_100042What does February have for Andy and I? Grace will be playing at an honors band comprised of the best of each area school’s musicians, Andy will be taking Lucy to yet another hockey tournament over Valentine’s weekend, but will be coming home early to participate in Grace’s Confirmation. We decided last year that Valentine’s Day is too overdone and commercialized. We chose a date in March to celebrate our blessings. There are many in each of our lives. As we head into this month of love, we here at SafetyGirl, Discount Safety Gear, and Construction Gear hope you remember to also count your blessings!

Library Reveal

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Sofa wall, before

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Sofa wall, after

Before I give you the big reveal in the library, I wanted to include a link back to the living room blog. There are some updated pictures with some finishing touches. The cream chair in the corner by the fireplace came back from the upholsterers last week. It is an old, ugly quality-made chair that was my dad’s mom’s. It was his favorite chair. One year ago today as I write this, I came downstairs to get my dad out of that chair to start the ritual of pills and unmentionables that come with aggressive cancer and more aggressive chemo. Before I touched him, I knew. I double-checked. I woke my mom. I called 911. Then I called Andy. The chair was so ugly that no one wanted it. Bless my mom’s heart, she spent quite a bit to get it done.

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Window wall, before

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Window wall, after

On to the library. I am so pleased with how this turned out. Over the weekend I rearranged furniture, assembled the TV stand wearing SafetyGirl’s Tuff Chix work gloves to keep handprints off the wood, placed rugs, and cleaned everything again. I put my mom’s wedding portrait on the antique desk as well as some of the leather books that were gifts to my grandfather.  I love the chair by the window, to have a cup of tea and watch the news on the rare evenings I have time. Andy dropped by to help me carry the TV stand box up the steps and immediately tested the sofa’s dual recliner feature. He pronounced it comfortable enough for even his bum knee (the result of a basketball injury last month). The first thing I did when I put the room together was get in a  workout. I so missed those, since getting to the gym is only convenient a couple times a week. I have great peace in finishing this room.

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TV Wall, before

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TV Wall, after

20150117_100026I can’t say enough about Construction Gear’s disposable painting coveralls for making this job so clean and easy. Total cost for the twin rooms was $800, with furniture and rugs. Even with the deep discount, I am concerned new kitty Gus will be using the sofa for a scratching post and reserving the right to add a blanket over the sofa.

I was debating on which room should come next. Because I am not fully sure what I want to do with the kitchen, because it will require a lot of time and money and I will be taking my last two MBA courses this spring, and because I seemed to move my tools and gear to what will be the office/spare bedroom, I am going there next. Please join me while I feature again the great painting gloves and rollers and brushes from Construction Gear.

 

Repurposing a Lamp

This weekend I had to wrap up the library to a point, in order to make room for the sofa delivery today. I was able to put enough paint on the general vicinity of the walls in the evenings last week that one final coat and some touch ups Saturday in broad daylight was good. Our 12-pk of polyurethane gloves and disposable coveralls have suited me well on this room, where I could put on a glove and smock, paint a bit, and save it all to pick up where I left off the next night.

20150108_19235120150108_193246The hanging lamp my mother wanted and traded me for the horrible plastic green one left in her apartment, I decided to use the leaded glass shade my dad had on a lamp that was throwing sparks. I had thrown the lamp away but saved the shade, evidently just for this purpose. I broke off the plastic green shade and simply slid the antique shade over the chain and cord, with nice results. For working with the glass and plastic, I used our more durable Tough Chix gloves. I really do love these gloves. They fit well, look great, allow my hands to breathe, and protect like nothing else. Priced less than $20, it’s no wonder they have a five-star rating!

You can see how the walls are shaping up in the background of these photos.

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Saturday I dropped my car off at the local shop for its biannual oil change (!) and while I was waiting, I went shopping in the plaza. I found this great wall decal for a buck. I couldn’t pass it up.

I placed my furniture about where it will go, leaving the space for my new loveseat. I also have a rug and TV stand on order. All of that should arrive this week. In my free time I will work on polishing the floors; I am not sure of the best way to clean and shine them yet. I’ll report on that next week.

My new furniture was my splurge for these two rooms, the living room and the library. Aside from those, my total cost was $80 for these twin rooms. With those, I have about $800 in them. Higher than my budget but the only new furniture I am purchasing so I am just grinning and bearing the credit card bill.

 

 

Cutting in the Library Chair Rail

20150105_194931The holidays are winding down, and inventory here at SafetyGirl, Construction Gear, and Discount Safety Gear is out of the way. Life as we know it will soon resume. Sunday I had about an hour and a half to continue cutting in the chair rail. Because the walls were not primed for the wallpaper, they are sucking up the paint like a sponge. I have three coats of this tedious work and haven’t even gone all the way around the room yet. I am guessing it will take about ten hours to paint the room. Because our paintbrushes are so precise, I am working carefully without masking tape between the wall and chair rail – it will take less effort and give me better results than trying to correct the bleeding caused by the masking tape. I will also be using our paint rollers. I love that they are so durable I can give them a good scrubbing and set them aside to use in another room or two. My previous experience with rollers is that they fall apart when you try to clean them.

Tip: when you are in the middle of a paint project and have to stop, wrap the brush or roller complete with handle in a plastic grocery bag or plastic wrap, and put the whole wad in the refrigerator until you can get back to it.

20150104_123946My mother decided her apartment would look great with the tiffany-style light my dad fashioned himself, so I met her Sunday afternoon to bring her the lamp and take the pendant light the previous tenants had left, for my use until I can get the one I want.  I also wanted to get her a fleece bathrobe, since I could not find one I thought she would like for Christmas. While we were at the department store, I saw a clearance floor model of a dual recliner that is perfect for the library. I put 500 unexpected dollars on my credit card and will have delivery of my new loveseat next Monday. This is also incentive to finish the room before then, so I come home to perfectly-placed seating.

20150105_194859This week I will push to finish the painting, which is less than desirable after dark, and find a product to clean and polish the wood in this room. Challenging but I think I can do it. I also have some clutter to deal with, and need to buy either a long low mission table or barrister shelves on which to put my television. I hope to have some before and after photos for you then.

Are you here to read about my adventures with Andy and the girls? It was a sparse weekend while I worked and got a new kitten (another story for another day) but we all 20150106_184601played a quick game of chase together Saturday before I dashed off with the world’s best chicken parm and they went to mass, and Sunday we sat down together for a homestyle meal. My text to Andy Saturday night: “Do you know how much weariness was erased when I came in to three smiling faces?”

The room I expected would tuck in nicely to December, will end up taking two months. Given the warmth of the holidays, it’s hard to feel too bad about that.

I hope everyone had a safe New Year celebration, and has a wonderful 2015!