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!

Masking off Trim for Painting

20141224_112316With the holidays, I am falling a bit behind on the writing, as well as the remodel work.

I traveled to Boston over Christmas as part of a trip with Andy, Lucy, and Grace for a hockey tournament. We piled into one vehicle and stayed in a hotel room with two small beds. Every couple hours we stopped to stretch and grab quick sandwiches. The girls slept, fought, challenged us and each other with trivia and other rites of passage. Lucy drove part of the way in preparation for her driver’s test while I manned the music and Andy and Grace sat in the back making funny faces for selfies. We socialized, toured Harvard just for fun, spent time at a friend’s New England Coastal beach house, and cheered as Lucy’s team won the hockey tournament. Except for the sports, it’s the way I remember traveling as a kid. Andy will soon have Lucy in college and he’ll blink and it will be time to send Grace.

Before we left, I had a teeny bit of time to patch the stripped walls, sand and wipe them down, and mask off the wainscoting from the chair rail. I used our disposable mask respirators when I patched the walls. When you take them off after doing even the smallest amount of spackling, you know it was worth it from the mask’s outline left on your face. Like the other rooms, there will be some items that stay the same here. As I often do while I work, I think of my dad. I grew up in an extended family who believed that if you can’t pay cash for something, you don’t need it. Souvenirs from trips are not cheaply made, overpriced touristy things, but a newspaper or seashell.

20141224_123201When we were born, we were living in my grandparents’ duplex while my dad bought this house for a few hundred dollars. I mentioned before, I don’t believe it had running water, so no bathroom. No kitchen? I think there was a cold storage where the kitchen stands now. Both of my parents went to four-year colleges and got degrees in accounting. My mom quit her job in the city to be a stay-at-home. After a few years, my father chose to change his path from accountant to construction foreman. It paid less per hour, but gave him as much overtime as he could physically take. The day they were married he started planning for our college. I know it’s not feasible to pay cash for everything today. Because of turns of events in Andy’s life, he won’t be able to pay for his girls’ college in full and in cash. Not many people can. My dad did. I am not bragging about money because we had none. We never went out to eat and a pair of socks had to wait until August when we could get school clothes. My mom worked part time to get us fabric to make us prom gowns. My dad worked until exhaustion daily. He drove a red Ford pick-up truck (“Baby”) decades beyond its normal shiny life expectancy because to buy a new one would mean us getting derailed from college. I think that thing was 30 years old when he finally replaced it. We never knew why. We just saw the old, beat-up truck in the driveway he re-shaled with a shovel every year, instead of the new cars on paved drives so many of our classmates had.

20141224_123141Winters my dad was laid off from road work; because he had a reputation as a silent and hard worker, he was often invited to do day jobs for friends in the construction industry. He got a few extra dollars to put into the college funds, but the real boon of doing this was that he was invited to take anything from demolition projects. You have seen the parquet floor and the fireplace mantle beam from what were Pittsburgh-area landmarks. The thing I am saving from this room are the leaded glass doors with cut glass doorknobs that he built into one wall.

2014-12-30 14.25.57This weekend, before Boston, I removed the crystal knobs, taped the woodwork and painted it. I used our paintbrushes and gloves after carefully pressing on the old metal with the tape. I haven’t looked at what decorative glassware is behind the doors. I may put books there if my sister wants the glassware. I don’t think I am going to open the doors yet, but when I do, no matter what I put on the shelves, I am going to put my souvenir of Boston with Andy and the girls in there, too – a perfect sea shell from the day we all braved the December waters on the New England Coast.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

20141129_20392320140719_132720Over the weekend I scrubbed the house and put up the tree (to the left, to the left, doesn’t it look great!?). I promised myself I would not start a new project yet, but I had a spare hour on Sunday between church and my mom’s apartment Christmas party. So I donned the disposable coveralls, disposable face mask, and started stripping wallpaper from what will be my library. I know, it’s an obsession!

This room is the twin to the living room, and I will simply be stripping wallpaper, painting the walls and trim in the same colors as the living room, and polishing the floors. You can see the before photos here. I may need to purchase some furniture for this one. Aside from that, this room should not cost me anything additional. I’ll go through the steps with you here, though.

I will be using the coveralls, the knee pads (when I go over each parquet square, the sticky pads really save my middle-age knees!), our Purdy rollers and Merit Pro paint brushes (still going strong!), and disposable gloves for painting.20140719_132736

Wallpaper Memories

Thanksgiving is almost here, and I am glad this is a quick room! I have used orange oil on all of the wood so it is rich and smells wonderful. As I had stripped the wallpaper, I watched the years roll in reverse.

Friday night I visited my mom and helped her with a couple things, then hit the grocery store. This weekend Andy was – you guessed it – away for more hockey. I have noticed the weekends he’s gone, I pack a lot of social stuff in that I normally can’t, because of his erratic schedule. And for him being away, I am busier than ever!

Saturday morning I got up early and patched the nailholes, and cleaned and deglossed all areas I was repainting, using a scrubby and Construction Gear’s disposable gloves. I love the deglosser because it’s like liquid sandpaper – you get the results fresh paint will stick to, without all the elbow grease. I painted everything, using our Purdy paint rollers and paint brushes. I also wore the disposable smocks, to which I have become addicted! I had brought home 3 choices of steely green and creamy white, and the pair Grace chose was the same one I liked, and I am glad. Doesn’t this look great?After

In the evening, my friend Gale came over and we practiced the Christmas music we will take to local nursing homes next month. ‘Tis the season! When all was said and done, I worked 15 hours.

Sunday after church, I put the house on hold and went over to Andy’s, since he was home. We enjoyed some time in the kitchen – I baked some of our English Tea Store scones for our Monday meeting, plus I wanted to have a meal ready to help smooth the transition from traveling to work week. I made him and the girls a tortellini casserole. I love the smells of cooking during the winter.

This week in the evenings I will paint the trim by taping it off, and then put the insulating glass back in the windows.

Stripping wood and wallpaper

20140719_132759 N20141109_195138ovember was the month to start my dining room. I am a little late on the draw. This should be an easy room and after I am done with this, I will probably take a break to clean and decorate for the holidays. Probably. We’ll see. Friday I removed the carpet and padding from the hardwood parquet floors and oiled the wood wainscoting.

This weekend Andy had another hockey event and I was alone most of the time, so I had plenty of time to get stuff done on Saturday. This wallpaper stripped very well over most of the room. I used some liquid stripper, my paper tiger on the tough spots, and a scraper. From our stores, I used the disposable smock to keep the glue off of me when the paper came down and the disposable face mask for the dust and paper crumbs.

There is a ledge between the kitchen and dining room, that my dad repainted and repainted, using latex paint and not sanding or priming – so it was coming off in sheets. I got paint stripper and stripped the worst of the paint buildup all around. When I did this, I used the half mask respirator, for the fumes, and the thicker poly disposable gloves. I will oil and polish this and leave the wood bare.

Andy brought Gracie by for the first time, during a quick break in his weekend. She helped me choose colors for the trim and wall, which I bought the next day, and played some Christmas carols for us while we sat on the sofa in the room I had just finished.

20141108_15063320141108_104724Sunday I removed the cracking putty my dad used to add a pane of glass to the single panes in this room, then carefully pulled the glass out, to clean between the two. I will paint these window frames also. I removed the shutters. They are quaint and have been part of the house for as long as we owned it, but they are only decorative and keep the already-sparse light out of the room. These windows are high, small, and face a patch of woods between me and the closest neighbor, so I feel comfortable with them being bare.

I still need to finish deglossing all of the paint and finishing the last of the stripping, then I will be ready to patch, prime and paint!

You can see the room before, and then some of the work I did this weekend.

So far, the cost of this room is about $80 for paint and chemicals.