Stencilling a Subfloor: a budget friendly makeover

Ah, this was a project I planned to tackle before we even moved into our house just over two years ago.  How time flies!

img_9598

Perhaps you’ve already read about my first stencilling project?  Well, I knew that the solution to the stained (and in my opinion very unappealing) master suite carpeting was to rip it out and stencil just like I’d done to the apartment kitchen.  I even decided to stick with the same colours  and pattern!  According to the mix information I purchased the paint for this before we even moved… and here I am finally done with it.

I began tearing up the carpet on Monday the 13th thinking that with luck I could be done for the weekend.  Ha!  I just completed it on Thursday and only did so by opting not to clear coat.  (I’d wanted to do everything properly and thus apply several coats and let it dry for days as directed, but that meant not stepping into the room until next week, doing things in stages thanks to furniture issues, plus a lot of work… nah.  It’s good.)

Here is a before picture showing the carpeting.  It seems I did not take many photos of the room before we moved in, and you do not see the brown mystery stains here.  Any shades of tan, beige, and brown have never been my thing, and by the time I finally began tearing it out the carpet had additional pulls and damage.  It was beyond time to go.

img_5290

It was easiest to start inside the closets, and oh look!  A mystery stain!

img_9323

The padding underneath was actually really nice, but it had to go since I wasn’t about to put in another dust collecting carpet.  Annoyingly, previous workers had been rather careless with spackle and paint which left the floor a bit lumpy.  I didn’t want to try sanding anything though, because with the plywood it seemed weird to.

This was a lot of work, and I didn’t quite finish removing the carpet on day one.  I’d begun thinking it was perfect timing to bring the trash out for collection the next morning, and it ended up being 12 contractor bags full at the kerb not counting what was still on the floor when I quit for the evening.  At this point I may have been having a second thought or two.  The were about two million staples to find and pull up!

Last time when I stencilled the apartment kitchen floor I neglected to prime first.  That was not to be skipped now!  When I was nearly done brushing it on I noticed that the can said it wasn’t meant to be used on flooring.  Oops.  Perhaps it would have been better to stick with only the floor paint after all and no primer?

It looked a lot cleaner after priming anyway.  The next day I brushed on a few coats of the base colour.  In the apartment I’d regretted having the edges dark since it showed dust bunnies too well, but I ended up doing the same thing here with the navy blue exposed at the edges.  Actually, I was very close to switching to the grey except that I’d already completed the cutting in and taping for the navy.  In the end I suppose it works out better in this case to have the darker one at the edges to disappear better under the heaters and disguise imperfections?

I filled in most gaps which included rough cuts around doors and a lot of gaps in the landing area.  I’m unsure why they never installed any trim there and had to add some myself.  I really don’t like quarter round and always opt for cove moulding instead.  Rather than wood I used the foam stuff thinking it would curve with the “tower” wall, but the piece I had ended up snapping around a nail, so I filled the wide gap instead.  Eh, it works?

Previously I had made a painted border, and I wanted to again, because I think it looks more complete with one, but I was intimidated by the idea of taping a curve.  Whether this room would end up with a border or not was up in the air until I actually attempted to tape.  It wasn’t bad at all with just a bit of care and finessing.  I was rather proud of myself!  😀

The navy had an entire holiday weekend to cure before taping and stencilling.  I only eyeballed the distance from walls and tried to account for projecting bits of trim to balance with the baseboard heating units.  No portion is perfect, but I am entirely pleased with the results.

It was at this point that I considered switching to grey for the outside border, but I’d not trimmed the tape or planned for that.  The navy matches very well with the bits of carpet on the stairs too, and that helped me decide to keep it as the main colour.  So, another line of tape was added within the perimeter of this.  Just look at this!  So proud!  😀

Before quitting for the day I wanted to complete the border by brushing on the navy to seal the edges and then two coats of the grey.  I peeled up the inner tape before anything dried too much in hopes that it wouldn’t lift any layers that weren’t supposed to.  Success.

In the kitchen I’d measured and begun the pattern symmetrically, because the room was narrow.  Here I decided that the most important focal point was the space between the entry door as one walks up to the landing, so I began there.

 

This is how far I made it the first day:

And finally I was done late on day two and just barely with enough paint in the tray for the last bit:

img_9577

Working on a much wider room was a challenge, and I had a difficult time keeping the pattern on track.  It isn’t perfect, but I’m still quite pleased with everything.  Here is the tour starting with the landing:

img_9553

Standing in the corner is one of the steamer trunks that my paternal great-grandfather used when he left Slovakia in 1900.  Each of my uncles has one or two, I’m told, and my parents had two but kept this “uglier” one in the damp basement (and mum painted the “nice” one, sigh.)  I rescued it a couple of years ago, washing and waxing away rust and mildew and treating the leather, but the bottom (back here) is falling apart.  😦  It is a fairly awkward item to keep around, but I don’t want to lose a rare bit of family history, and so here it lives.

Last fall I scored an older one, with at curved top, free from a neighbour after it didn’t sell at their yard sale and about to be tossed!  It is also in less than excellent condition but has a nice look with neat metal reinforcements at the edges and lovely bare wood. I’m going to let it dry out this summer then preserve it.  I’ll be sure to write about it here.

img_9591

img_9595

img_9598

img_9600

img_9602

img_9610

img_9665

img_9641

img_9659

For the photos I decided to set up the cradle that I refinished to match the bed (which I also stained and waxed to have a greyed Restoration Hardware look.)

img_9622

img_9623

L and I are much happier now with the room and feel like it finally has our style.  I’m also glad to be rid of the dust-trapping aspect of carpet and look forward to a much easier time when vacuuming.  The only thing that I might do something about are the closet doors and trim colour.  It would be a pain, but it could be worth gel-staining the wood to a darker tone?  I’d really like to paint it but think that would be a shame to do and will not, but a deeper shade could make a big difference.  The trim already looks significantly better here than it used to having been touched up to hide strange fading and wear.  As for the doors, they are loud and feel flimsy.  Depending on measurements I could rig up some Ikea PAX sliding doors or something one day?

Next I’ll have to finish painting the bathroom.  Colour goes a long way, and paint disguised the nasty formica-like vanity, but one day we hope to renovate it.  I’m sure that will be many years from now if ever, but it doesn’t stop me from envisioning marble tile and some sort of wonderful tub.

 

A Big Project: Staining Wooden Siding (what have I gotten myself into?!)

img_6095

I got myself into a bit of a mess of a project, and there is nothing to be done except somehow complete it.  😀  With luck there will be enough dry and warm days to do so.

Our house has wooden siding.  The newest section was a kitchen addition/expansion off the back, and there is plenty of life left in the stain on it.  However, the rest of the back is only passable, and the front is weathered badly.  Many spots are silvered wood instead of stain, and somebody was too aggressive with a power washer before we bought the place.  Time to stain!

Foolishly and optimistically I decided to DIY.  Last week I power washed and even lugged the washer up onto the roof to get the worst sections cleaned up there.  So far (and I’ve only put in about five hours, really,) it isn’t awful, but I am pretty sure already that next time this will be a pay-a-professional sort of job.  😀  Honestly, it has been perfectly pleasant so far, but realistically I expect severe regret to hit at some point in the next week or two.  I’ve only finished one section completely and a few boards in another.  The going is slow.  I’m also waiting for a 32′ ladder that will not arrive until next Wednesday.  Drat!  I have no way to transport one, so I went with Amazon for the quickest shipping and best total price, but this Prime item required more than the usual two days… and I’d not counted on that fact.  It really sucks, because this week until Saturday is the best weather for staining.  I can only hope more dry groups of days will be in the forecast.

Once it became clear that I’d really be tackling this project my husband asked me “what colour?”

It was an easy choice to go with the current stain colour.  The previous owners had left us a handy reference can, and I always thought that the colour was pretty great.  I’d describe it as a red: a rusty-orangish-terracotta-slightly-brownish-red sure… but basically a red.  It perfectly fits the house which is a 1960 “contemporary,” according to the real estate listing.  With a large grid of windows, some brick; too many front steps, stone, and masonry “features” in the front; and two major additions that transformed it from some sort of mundane ranch to something less easily categorised: the interesting but somehow neutral brown-red worked.  To the eye the siding colour and brick melded attractively, and nothing competed for attention except for the sad expanse of foundation  lifting the structure above the hillside.  (The cinderblock steps and front foundation were enhanced with a parge coat and topped with bluestone.  It looked gorgeous but wasn’t done properly, and now is it spalling and crumbling apart most hideously.)

Why change such a well chosen colour?

We like to take walks around the neighbourhood and judge discuss what we like and don’t like about the houses and landscaping that we pass by.  Sometimes there is a detail that I’d like to copy, and sometimes we laugh that you just cannot account for personal tastes.  Near us there is a stunning home.  It’s a stuccoed Tudor style probably built in the ’30s, and it is painted a vibrant red.  The area has quite a few similarly styled homes, but the colour makes it shine like a jewel set in the towering dark pines of their yard.  It is cheerful.  Even on cloudy days it seems there is more sunlight there, and we both love the red.  So, when I went to the local hardware store to have some Arborcoat mixed up, the old can’s tint formula in hand, I hesitated.  Instead of having the lady there send me on my  way with a few cans of the terracotta hue I said to her “you know, I had planned on keeping this the same, but I think my husband would really like a brighter red, but I don’t know…”  She replied that men usually do seem to prefer louder colours and eventually she sent me home with a couple of sample jars: Redwood and Barn Red.

Immediately I liked the old terracotta when I brushed a fresh swatch of it near the front door.  The barn red seemed… really red.  Wow.  Okay… Lastly, redwood struck me as far too orange without a second thought.  Later L. came home and didn’t hesitate to exclaim that the red was awesome, and that barn red it would be.

Oh.  Uh…  I wasn’t so sure.  His selection caused me a lot of angst over the next day or two.  I brushed more samples in other areas.  I sent photos to my mother for her coworkers to vote on.  It was driving me crazy.  For the record, my mother was also leaning toward the terracotta, but all the votes were enthusiastically for the barn red.  I went back and purchased a few gallons mixed as barn red, and the guy who mixed it responded that it was a nice colour and “welcome to 1950” when I expressed concern at the change and brightness.  That night I actually had bad dreams about the decision!  On Sunday we went sailing with some friends, and at some point I asked their opinions as I related the dilemma.  After seeing photos they voted barn red, and I was glad when they began to tell us about a really stunning red house up the block… the same one we’d been so fond of too.

So, I began staining on Tuesday.

I haven’t gotten terribly far yet, but I’ll admit that it does look quite nice after all on the end of the kitchen with French doors that I did complete.  I’m really enjoying the Arborcoat solid stain and how well it goes on.  It is my first time using a Benjamin Moore product, but I always appreciate a stain or paint that is a pleasure to work with, and luckily the Aborcoat is very nice indeed.

Now I have to get back to work on it.  I’ll report back with progress (or when I’m done,) and about other things that I am working on.  I’ve also been fixing up our windows with fresh paint, re-glazing, pretty new sash locks, and re-furbishing/removing the old storm windows.  Any days that aren’t suitable for staining have plenty of other work to fill them. Oh, and I did a temporary facelift on that crumbly, ugly front foundation and steps.  That isn’t complete but already looks much better.  I just don’t know if it will last until spring or whenever we can have a professional repair it solidly.  For that I cleaned the crumble, patched with Quickcrete (until I ran out,) and rolled on a coat of Behr foundation paint.  I still have to finish the patching, paint the edges and corners, and roll another coat, but it looks so much better.  The best part is getting rid of the pale, bluish paint that clashed jarringly with the rest of the place.  The clay taupe-grey that I selected in-store worked out great.  I took a risk in grabbing two gallons without seeing a colour chip at home, so I a pleased it worked out.

Here are a couple of shots that show how nicely the terracotta matched the reddish slate stepping stones:

And here is a reference photo of the front of our place from the street.  It was taken last fall:

front-photo-from-last-fall-2015

And then the masonry mess:

And a bit after with the paint.  I think the darker shade is far better:

 

Compare:

Basement Improvements

IMG_1181

So many projects, and so little time.  Each weekend I am trying to tackle something.  However, a few must be devoted to seeing family and friends, and the to-do list is longer than ever.  About a month ago I had a few days off and used them to work on as many home improvements as possible.  The ugly unfortunate looking finished part of the basement was something I’d really been looking forward to making some changes to.  Truly it was the most un-apealling area of our home, and it needed some help.

First of all, it still had a pile of unpacked boxes in the corner (soaking up water too, I found, yuck.)  Then there was the tangled nest of cords that irked me.  (Right after moving my husband wanted the TV set up, and he did it himself since I was otherwise occupied.  He and I have different takes on cable management, so there was a nest of unknown wires clumped behind the console for months until I got around to beautifying the basement.)  😀  Aside from these eyesores close to half of the walls had somewhat white paint that was very dingy and marked up.  The remaining majority were vintage wood paneling.  The floating floor has a bit of a moisture problem and is bouncy and uneven with rot underneath, and I have plans to eventually rip it out, waterproof, and install tile.  The baseboard trim was very beaten up, scratched, and generally looked bad.  Some wasn’t even stained, clear coated, or painted at all.  It still isn’t, actually.  There is a drop ceiling, which I don’t prefer but understand the need for, but it has the big oblong kind of tiles with the institutional worm-eaten finish that just doesn’t scream cosy or anything pleasant.  With the moisture and their size they sag unattractively too.  My plan is to replace them with square tiles that have a smooth and recessed finish, like this.  Oh, and there were dark luan doors with chipped, shiny-brass handles and really old vertical blinds blocking the casement window.  Sounds great, right?

Here are my before photos:

blinds computer corner stair area

Funny how it doesn’t look so bad in photos.

So, I took down the blinds and changed the door knobs to my preferred brushed nickel.  Much better!  At first I thought that a cheerful yellow would liven up the space and go well with the tone of the Pergo, the panelling, the sofa fabric, and so on in spite of it being out of character and my husband detesting the idea.  I tried it anyway, and didn’t like it at all either. Probably I chose the wrong yellow, but I went ahead and wasted a few hours only to decide to repaint immediately.  Our favoured grey was yet again the answer, I thought, but it took a moment to settle between the lovely paint, “polished limestone,” from the hallway upstairs and master bath or “silver tinsel” from my sewing room and the flat I lived in before moving into my husband’s.  Note: I should come up with something to call him on this blog, because it feels really odd to keep repeating “my husband!”

Afterwards I painted the worn out trim and one of the doors with “coconut ice.”  I think it was the biggest and best change.  Now I am considering to paint the panelling as well in the grey and the rest of the trim.  It could look nice and sort of like the New England seashore, but I’m nervous to make such a permanent alteration.  I’ll hold off on that decision a long while.

Yellow:

IMG_0958 IMG_0960 IMG_0992 IMG_0994 IMG_1006 IMG_1015

… and the grey:

IMG_1160 IMG_1163 IMG_1177 after paint

Last weekend we were near a Restoration Hardware outlet when visiting family and had a nice time browsing and dreaming.  My husband really liked certain heavy and sort of Spanish-medieval styled stuff that I think is a bit much, but we also found some things to agree on.  I prefer more simple and rustic things mostly.  We are searching for a media console, and I might try to transform a thrifted one if I can, but it was helpful to discuss what we like and don’t like.  Besides this he has found that he loves leather chesterfield sofas and ottomans, and we are dreaming of replacing ours.  It is all fun to contemplate: the floor tile, furniture options, and such.

I want to mention and link to two wonderful things that we have in the media room.  First of all is Litter Robot.  It is hands down the most amazing appliance I can think of besides refrigeration.  I’ve had cats all of my life, too many cats at once according to most standards, and Litter Robot has been a wonderful change.  It is really expensive (Jebus, I think they raised the price a couple hundred too!,) but since it actually works and doesn’t bog down or break like the other automatic litter solutions that I’ve tried I have to recommend it highly.  I do save a lot on litter compared to a regular box too.  Unfortunately, my husband’s cat never adapted to it, and I need to provide a normal litter too, but my four were much less work thanks to it.  I love it.

The next item is a cheaper dehumidifier.  I knew we needed one, and when I saw that they generally start at well over a hundred dollars I was annoyed and didn’t know which to choose.  I opted to try out this cheaper unit since it was less investment but actually looked nicer than the more expensive ones, and I highly recommend it too.  I ended up buying another for the unfinished part of the basement too, and it works just great.  Hmm, I should mention that we have a Roomba in the media room too, and even though I don’t consider it a vacuum replacement it does help the tracked litter situation tremendously well.  (I would have a litter capturing tray with carpet if the problem-kitty didn’t think it was an extended litter.  Those work too otherwise.)

So, there is a post.  😀

The BEST Wallpaper in the World!

Today I reluctantly moved boxes, bolts of material, sewing machines, and tools out of the room designated for sewing and projects.  Why?  …Because wallpaper.

guest room and sewing room before IMG_8241

IMG_8247 IMG_8248 

IMG_8244

It wasn’t the most hideous and a part of me could even find it cute, but I really didn’t want a busy pattern in the workroom to interfere with visualising things or clashing as a background in photos.  Once again I felt a little bit sad and guilty to make the change, but I had decided to go ahead and make it the space that I wanted instead of working with the paper.  Except, I was dreading the wallpaper removal.  Over the past couple of months I put off purchasing any supplies required or paint.  I asked my mother, my friends, and Home Depot employees if I could just please get away with painting over it against all my and their knowledge.  Nope.  It had to go if I wanted to paint, and I do always like to do a job correctly if I’m putting in the effort.  Finally I bought paint and removal tools.  Still, I dragged my feet.

Today turned out to be the day to begin for a few boring reasons.  (I will not have as much free time in the future and with any luck that will be soon.)  I’ve also been distracted with many sewing ideas in the past weeks, but every last implement is still boxed up.  Nothing can be made until everything is unpacked, organised, and set up.  😦  So, I put myself together and spent half of the morning moving the boxes and such into the guest room (making an unsettling mess in there.)  I’ll sure be motivated to finish this room quickly!

Then I opened up the scoring tool and scraper packages, found a spray bottle and a sponge, and read the stripper instructions.  Before saturating anything I tried prying up a corner of the paper, and OMG!!!!  The corner came up and I was able to peel the entire sheet off in one piece!  Not only that, but in under three minutes I’d peeled off half a wall!!!!  It only took half an hour or so to remove all of it.  I’ve rolled up the paper to re-use as drawer liners.

IMG_8251

IMG_8260

IMG_8254

I can hardly believe how lucky I was with this wallpaper, and I am thrilled that it did not take days.  I’ve already patched the many holes and few sections that pulled away.  I guess I’ll sand today as well before other chores since one is vacuuming and mopping.  Tomorrow I’m busy but perhaps I could begin painting Friday?  I believe I’ll need to start with the ceiling, much as I hate to bother, because it is a bit dirty and messed up.  😦  Also, I wish I hadn’t opened the scoring tool and could return it along with the stripper stuff, but I can’t really complain about this project too much.  I might manage to have the room done and organised next week, and that would be great!

Homemade Chalk Paint: ugly thrift store armoire becomes shabby chic coat closet

Today I have another old project to write about, because I’ve been slacking on new things.  Therefore I might not have ideal photos, but I wanted to share about some of these past projects anyway.  Let me start with before and after shots side by side:

armoire before armoire done

When I moved into my husband’s flat I wasn’t too happy about the place.  Although it had some charming features there were quite a few drawbacks in its layout and location, and I did my best to improve what I could.  For example, I’d grown used to a conveniently placed coat closet in my old place, and not having one anywhere near the door in his our home was frustrating.  If you have read earlier posts you may have noticed that I like need things to be “away” and tidy.

Clutter makes me anxious and distracts me, and having coats, shoes, umbrellas and the like on a coat rack or arrayed at the door appear as clutter to my mind.  I wanted doors and drawers!  So, I began considering armoire options at Ikea although I don’t particularly like the style or quality of Ikea furniture.  Then I stopped by one of my favourite thrift stores, Unique, and spotted a great solution.  The armoire may have been extremely ugly, but it was solid pine, had a useful arrangement with drawers, and it was cheap.  (I believe it was 30$?)  Immediately I texted a photo to my husband for approval and assured him that I’d paint it.  He despises green, but he trusted me and said to go ahead and buy it if I really wanted to.

armoire at thrift store

The next problem was that I’d driven a sedan to the place, and DH’s car was even smaller and a two-door.  No worries…  I paid, took my trusty screwdriver out of my purse, and disassembled the thing before packing it into my car.  I’d checked out the construction beforehand and saw that it was possible.  😉

At home I put it back together and painted right away before anyone could freak out much about the lovely, almost fluorescent, semi-transparent green stain.  I had paint leftover from my flat in a greenish grey which I could use.  It had too much of a green cast for my husband to let me use it on the walls, but I figured he could deal with it on the armoire.  It was called “silver tinsel” and is a perfect colour for pretty much anything in my estimation.  Since there were some flaws and damage to the wood I decided to embrace the imperfections.  I’d been wanting to try chalk paint, and this seemed like a good time to.

Reading online gave me a “recipe” of paint, water, and plaster of paris.  There are other formulas too, but I wasn’t sure about using things like grout.  Plaster seemed brilliant, and I mixed up a batch then brushed on a base coat.  Next I mixed a batch that included a bit of white too, and I used it to sort of dry-brush over corners and panels in as artful a way as I could manage.  Meanwhile I added a little more white into the mix as I went, because I wanted to have a lot of depth and variation in the colour.

armoire brushing on the paint armoire brushing lighter mix of paint armoire while painting

When I was done painting, and it was dry, I sanded certain areas lightly with a fine sandpaper.  On the panels and corners I didn’t sand much; just enough to smooth things and show inner layers of the paint.  Only the handles were sanded enough to see bare wood, because DH warned me that he thinks distressed finishes are weird and uh… he doesn’t like it.  So, I just did a tiny bit to push the boundary slightly.  😀  (It has worked somewhat, and he now approves of certain imperfect looks if not when it comes to painted items.)

Here it is again, done, and some closeups:

armoire with coats armoire done

armoire done detail 2 armoire done detail

I seriously enjoyed painting with the DIY chalk paint and in this style.  Very fun.  Chalk paint won me over, and after this I used it quite a few times… whenever I had the chance.  So far I haven’t shelled out for Annie Sloan or even the types now available in craft and hardware stores.  I am curious to try some of the real stuff, but I have nothing to use it on right now.

I did not use wax afterwards, and I haven’t on any of the pieces that I painted with chalk paint.  I was really afraid to apply wax and worried it would change the colour.  In any case the coat closet looks just fine even after some three years of constant use, but I probably will do a few test pieces with wax eventually.  Everyone else out there waxes, and there must be a good reason for it, I’m sure.

A Past Project: Stencilled Wooden Floor in our Kitchen (and it is a Preview of a Future Project!)

pretty

When I moved in to my husband’s flat I had a lot of improvements in mind.  While the apartment had a lot of space and character there were some things which could use a bit of a facelift and better functionality for my personal style.  The bathroom was pretty horrid, but the kitchen could use some work too, I thought.  😉

Here is the only “before” shot I seem to have:

best before photo that I have, sorry

The chipped floor really got on my nerves even if the cabinets, counters, and the rest were alright if not amazing.  That floor, yuck!!  (You are reading the blog of a woman who installed ceramic tile in the last two flats she rented, because… I have something against vinyl.)  Given that he owned the place it wasn’t crazy, but we also wanted to keep the project as cheap as possible.

I suppose that hideous stick on tiles would have been the cheapest option, but they wouldn’t please me any better and do not hold up well.  Tile of any sort was out of budget, so I decided to stencil after seeing it online.  I was inspired by Lovelyetc, and I shamlessly stole her paint colours and all.  Just look at how many beautiful things pop up at the very start of a Google image search for stencilled floors:

image search

Inspiring, isn’t that!

I began tearing up the tiles and the plywood beneath it which was in poor condition:

tearing up plywood

Then I bought a cheap orbital sander and began the messiest, worst, most awful part of the job:

beginning to sand floor the grain

I recall that I used “chimney smoke” as the base colour, but I forget the lighter grey.  It is the one Lovelyect suggested though.  I also followed her advice on Varathane, but it appears that I did not prime first.  Umm.  That’s… embarrassing.  Hmmm.

hmmm no primer base layer

I don’t know why I did not prime, but I certainly will next time.  There IS a next time, because I already bought supplies for the next stencilling project.  I even re-purchased the stencil, because I lent the other to my mother.  (She used pale lilac and purple to create an entirely different look in her attic.)  Of course I considered choosing a different design, but this one really is my favourite, and my husband agreed.

On to the non-primed base colour:

base layer hmmm no primer

The next day I taped the border and began.  Positioning the layout is a big deal, but I eyeballed it.  What is really important is to go over the edge of the tape with the base colour to prevent ugly bleeding.

planning layout

first stencil closeup as stenciling  

getting there closer!

That is as far of an After as I can show right now, but I do plan on another post about the kitchen transformation.  …But here are photos of my sister-in-law’s hallways from when I stencilled them for her:

IMG_9586 IMG_9598 IMG_9602 IMG_9601 IMG_9600

I’m finally back! :D (and Part I of Transforming an Ugly ’80s Bathroom on a budget.)

I am shocked that today, the 20th of February, is a month to the day since we closed on our house… and that I have basically abandoned this poor blog for so long due to the move!  I just now set up my computer, and writing this post is the first thing to do online.  (Of course I’ve been browsing via phone and iPad meanwhile, but writing had to wait.)  Right after this I’m off to Amazon and rareseeds.com to make some purchases wish lists  that have been on hold.

Moving is the worst thing I’ve ever gone through, but everything is improving slowly now.  The weather has been causing a lot of trouble on top of things (like having the move cancelled hours after they were to show up since they forgot to inform us the night before that the storm would indeed cause a problem…)  Now we have realised that most people don’t buy a home and move in the winter NOT due to holidays but probably in consideration of the crappy and unpredictable weather.  Makes sense.  Duh.

Thankfully the increasingly arctic temperatures have at least put a stop to the heavy snows, and I’m not killing myself shovelling instead of getting things done.  Everything finally been unpacked or repacked and stored carefully for dealing with later.  I’ve done some painting although no room has been entirely completed.  I’m jumping from project to project as energy, materials, and ideas permit (and my husband’s requests for certain things to be made ready.)  I am very happy, but I haven’t been this busy in a decade.  All the work has even burnt off ten of the extra fifteen or so pounds that I’d put on lately.  W00t!

So, today I’d like to begin by posting Part I of our master bathroom transformation:

While the house we moved into is mostly lovely and technically move-in ready, I can’t leave anything alone, and besides that the master suite was added on in the mid ’80s.  No one ever changed anything in the bathroom since then.  It’s… not our style or colour scheme at all.  I actually moved my showering to the main floor’s bath just to escape, but my husband doesn’t mind the setup for showering.  Neither of us is keen on the tile or much else and plan to make a dream bathroom some day.  Some day being far away toward the end of the two-thousand-teens I really wanted to make some “temporary” improvements.  Although new tile and perhaps a fancy change to the tub, toilet, vanity,and shower must wait some things can be done now or soonish:  paint, something to improve the vanity, a new faucet, and maybe even some details like the toilet handle, switches, towel bars, window treatment, and towel bars all can be changed to vastly improve and update the room this year.

Here is a before shot of the vanity area.  I’ll share others of the bath in later posts.  Right now many of my clothes are piled in the bathtub since the wardrobe boxes had to be emptied before the movers left, and I was out of space until I construct a new PAX closet… anyway…

Before vanity

Note the lovely, plastic and chrome faucet topping the gorgeous, off white formica and “distressed” golden oak vanity.  😉  We aren’t a fan of the tile colour either.  At least the cultured marble is a nice white.  I can work with that.

I opted to leave the cabinets to the side of the mirror on the wall.  I don’t love the idea or them, but I told myself to let them be and decide later.  My plan was to paint all of the oak trim since it was in poor condition and to paint the walls a shade to work better with the tile colour.  The white was alright, but some sort of a sage or something could make it look more intentional and hopefully more pleasing to us.  For the trim I wanted a darker colour, and I figured I’d make a mix with plaster for homemade chalk paint?

Choosing the colours was tough.  There were four strong contenders, and I preferred the darkest (“greycliffe”     ) best.  Eventually I talked myself into going light, because we tend too much to very dark around here, and it is a bathroom after all.  I still kind of regret it, but changes can be made in the future.

choices

The greenish one was too green for my husband since he has a bizarre and deep hate for any and all green.  “Polished limestone” and “dusty miller” won.  Optimistically I thought that I’d have the whole room painted by evening yesterday.  Ha.  Ha.  Instead the priming seemed to take a lifetime, and I gave up on meticulously painting the oak only.  See here, the moment I said fuck-it.

giving up

All primed:

primed

By the time I had to clean up and rush to the train station I’d just about finished.  To be fair there were touchups required, but I was *done,* yay!  Unfortunately it was dark and photos didn’t work out well.

After vanity last night, done

In the morning it looked much better.

After vanity in the morning lightAfter vanity

The plan had also included painting the mirror frame, but it turned out to be paper backed and a pain to take apart.  I stuck this one there for now and expect to just buy something better eventually.  If I take down those cabinets I could get a big frameless mirror then use nice moulding to trim it out, for example.  We’ll see.

Stay tuned for Part II and other house posts!