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


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

A Full Day to Edge; an Hour to Roll.

I am so glad to be done!  *Not really done, because all the white is only primer which awaits the “coconut ice” that I didn’t have time to brush on before the party this weekend.

done hoosier area

Yesterday I had a loooong day.  My back was nearly spasming which made it extremely difficult to work on anything.  The plan was to paint the kitchen and hopefully do some other to-do list items too.  I spent the entire day painting the edges of the kitchen, but I didn’t have a chance to do the rolling.  Today my back is barely any better, but I did the walls.  It looks pretty great at least.  My husband LOVES the shade of red, and I like it a lot, but I’ll admit that I had a lot of remorse about losing the sea-green.  I kept stopping to dwell on regrets, but there was no going back.  Since my husband despises green there was no keeping the old colour anyway.

done clock and vlad done old kitchen area

I do adore that red, but it is very different look than the sea-green.  The kitchen is our style now and the colour dramatic but… dramatically less light is bounced around too.  😉  I used flat, and it went on so gorgeously; covering with one coat.  It has such a great velvety appeal, and I need to remember to check if the paint was nicer (more expensive) than I usually select or what.  All that I recall offhand is that it is called “new brick.”  I saved the lid from my kitchen two apartments ago, and this is the fourth kitchen that I’ve used it in if you count my mother’s.  Every other time I chose eggshell, but the flat is freaking fantastic.

Here is some of yesterday’s progress:

edging kitchen edging edgin old part of kitchen

The last one shows the sea-green best.  You can see the huge difference?  The red just sucks in all of the light.  Both are gorgeous colours, but very, very different.

I also re-painted the dining area and painted the built-in shelving nook there too.  Weeks ago I already painted the living-dining room, but I knew I would run out of paint.  Foolishly I didn’t pay attention to the formula beyond having the chip and that it was flat.  I did mix the old and new, but not before painting a couple of walls.  The sheen was not even close in spite of both being flat from the same store… of different formulas (same brand.)  It caused me to have to repaint all the edges back then and today the the odd walls.  I will not be making that mistake again.

dealing with lazy work painting nook done nook again done nook

Lastly, I switched outlet covers from almond plastic to brushed nickel and also the hinges of the pantry door.  There is so much left that I hoped to do besides painting the trim and bead-board (not happening) before the housewarming party tomorrow.  I have to go to Home Depot and to buy food/beverages still.  Tomorrow is Big Cleaning too.  I’m so tired.  Having the party as a goal helped me get as far as I did, but as a control freak it irks me to have so many details unfinished.  😦  The perfectionist side of me has kept me from attempting more work than I could do my best at.  😀


Yesterday  I saw a few sprouts in the trays that I started.  Yay!  I have a few more to do next week, bulbs to plant, and plants to find homes for.  A few were delivered a day or two ago, but the areas I planned to put them in were solid granite just under the surface.  Crap.  It is snowing right now anyway.  (Go away wintery weather!)  The week after next my friend, mentioned in the gardening post, is coming to visit, so maybe she’ll get me sorted out with where to plant things?  For now I’ve decided to put most of the bulbs in two containers to make it easier.  Those were the most cost effective I could find.  I’ll drill some holes, and they should be fine?

Alright, I need to go…

Endless priming, wall patching, and bathroom updates: switching to brushed nickel

Today I am in a poor mood, because after doing some major cleaning all morning I made a new mess in the afternoon with patching walls and priming.  An ice dam caused water damage in two areas of the kitchen, but I hadn’t painted yet thankfully.  (Now I climb out the window and shovel the roof after heavy snows.  Fun.  I’m also brainstorming some more permanent solutions for next winter.)  The priming is for the crown moulding and bead-board.  I have done some priming over two days now, and it all just feels like a waste of time, like I am just causing ugly, because it turns formerly crisp looking paint into something out of a toddler’s colouring book.  See?

messy priming patched wall

Ugh.  You don’t not want to see the “before” of the ripped apart wall.  I cannot wait to finally finish the priming and painting!  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a completed project for a nice sense of accomplishment to keep me going, and it has been too long since I have felt that motivation.

Yesterday I made some changes in the main floor bath.  The previous owners had done a little renovation, which was beautiful and preserved a lot of the original 1960 charm, but I saw a few details left to upgrade.  They had installed very nice brushed nickel fixtures, but the tub drain was left in the original chrome.  It also didn’t work.  The toilet handle was chrome too, and it is an easy thing to switch (same with the doorknob that I already changed.)  I can’t find the handle on Amazon, but it is by Moen and cost around 15$ at Home Depot.  Look near the faucets and towel bars rather than getting stuck with the selection available in the toilet repair section.  😉  The instructions are clear, so I’ll just show you before and after.  The only thing that did trip me up was that I had forgotten that the nut holding the handle on is the reverse of normal.  I was so frustrated trying to unscrew the darned thing, haha.

chrome handle new handle

handle switch done

On to the tub…

switching drain

The kit to replace the drain is from Amazon.  It looked nicer than those I saw at the store and had good reviews.  The old drain was a little tough to unscrew but not terrible.  I used pliers to get leverage, like this:


I had an awful time getting the linkage out.  It was stuck which probably explains why it wasn’t working.  Advice online said to spray WD40 and let it soak, but my WD40 was missing since the move so I tried orange oil (since it dissolves grime well when I use it to clean up antique/vintage sewing machines.)  It worked and pretty fast too.  Meanwhile I had been taking the drain apart and found a huge clog of hair.  Ugh.  I have a photo all ready, but I suppose I better spare you.  😀  It was as large as my fist!  Here is the linkage after it finally came out:


I attached the new piece to the linkage with the old cotter pin, adjusted the height, then tried to stick it back in place.  That was another hard part, but finally it was in place and seemed to function.  I’d added a new gasket between the plate and the tub although the old style one was behind the tub, because I’d noticed that it was leaking into the basement when my husband filled the tub.  It all appears to work properly now.

new gasket all done

Lastly, I hung up a small wall cabinet to store things.  Aside from a shelf tower in the bath there was no storage at all, and although I am undemanding for bathroom cabinetry compared to most people there is a certain amount required so that the basics aren’t sitting on the toilet tank.  😉


I found it at Homegoods on Wednesday and hadn’t even been thinking to get one, but it seemed like such a wise idea that I reluctantly parted with some cash.  The glass is nice, I think, and I really like the way the white of it melds into the wall.  The plan has been to paint a greyish purple above the bead-board, but now I am strongly considering painting the lower portion and trim instead of the upper walls.  Decisions, decisions!