Room Painting! The Office

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Repaint - Office
Half-painted trim and wallpaper so loose on the wall you can squish your whole forearm behind it were the motivation for this mad-dash of rehabbing the office. Jim was out of town for 7 days and the dog had just undergone spaying surgery, so it seemed like the perfect time. In just 7 days I had everything done, except the second cutting-in by hand, replacing the outlets, and hanging the artwork!

The 7 day process was only possible because the wallpaper in this room was much easier to remove than the previous two rooms. 'Mostly came off in large sheets. Now I understand what people mean when they claim to enjoy wallpaper removal. I got 90% of it off the walls in the first 3 hours of work. And then getting the remaining 10% was quite a struggle, but no moreso than the other rooms. In many spots, the wallpaper removed some of the primer and paint layer underneath it, and even with lots of sand-spackle-sand, the edges are still visible if you're looking for it, or if you run your hand over it. Every room is getting primed before being painted, mostly because it looks like paint chips off the smooth plaster pretty easily. None of the walls appear to have been primed before being painted on, so hopefully some modern primer helps the situation.

Bonus- because the wallpaper removed some of the paint layers underneath, I was able to observe that the walls were the same mid-toned aqua as the hallway closets!
Repaint - Office

These baseboard radiators might be in the worst condition of all the radiators in the house. I typically scrape with a metal putty knife, sand with a power sander, then hand sand, clean with a wire brush and soap, prime with Rustoleum Clean Metal Primer x2, and then paint with the same latex paint used for the trim. The hope is that the Clean Metal Primer will help prevent the rest of the paint from chipping off, and also bond well to the exposed metal. The baseboards in this room probably took twice as long to scrape as the other trooms. Even though the final finish isn't smooth, it's at least not eye-catching. Most of the fixes around here I just hope for 'not eye-catching.'
Chipping the paint on the baseboards
Posing with the Chipping Radiator Baseboards

This room used to be the master bedroom, hence the giant built-in wardrobe which currently houses lots and lots of office-related travel goodness that we used to keep in shelves. Now we can put all our bric-a-brac on display instead:
Repaint - Office
We still need to sand/prime/paint the window sashings and purchase some new curtains and hardware, but the progress so far is an enjoyable upgrade.
Repaint - Office

This was also a great opportunity to cover up some over-looked trim-painting, which seems to be quite common in the house...The trim was painted an off-white creamy color which is coming back into style, much like the metallic wallpaper we removed from the hallway! But what's not coming back into style? Dingy paint that hasn't been touched in 50+ years, and half-painted trim!
Someone with poor eyesight may've painted the trim...

The walls are painted Benjamin Moore 'Smoke' (Regal Select) in an eggshell finish. I wanted something light blue with a bit of green in it without looking baby blue hence the gray. Benjamin Moore Smoke has a fair amount of gray in it, but I like it a lot. So much more soothing than busy yellow wallpaper! 'Quiet Moments' or 'Palladian Blue' were possible runner-ups, but I'm a big fan of the amped up gray in Smoke. I enjoy its color changing throughout the day. During daylight, the walls are clearly blue, and when there's low-lighting the walls look medium gray with a hint of blue. The window sashing still needs to be painted (when it's warm enough to keep the windows open). I'm thinking Benjamin Moore Hale Navy for that.

The trim and baseboards are Sherwin Williams 'Extra White' (Emerald) in a semi-gloss finish (wait for a 30-40% off event). Ceilings are Zinsser Stainblock Ceiling Paint in flat bright white (straight out of the can), this room could probably use a third coat of ceiling paint. There are spots of the wall and ceiling that encountered some water damage at some distant point (the wallpaper was unaffected). Some small corner of the office has ceiling that gives a bit when pushed. 'Something to watch out for. Ah, old houses!

Room Painting! The Hallway + Stairwell

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell

From the dining room, the hallway takes you past the downstairs bathroom, the den, and turn a corner to the office, the front door, and up the stairs. Here's the first part of the hallway before/after (note the half painted trim at the bottom of the den doorway in the 'before' photo, this is a recurring theme in the house):
Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell

When you turn the corner, it takes you to a little hallway that goes past the office and to the front door (where you see that we are yet to replace the peeling linoleum flooring in the entryway - on the TODO list!):
Stairwell Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell

As you look at the stairwell, you turn back around toward the hallway you just took (oh, check out those sweet tan ceilings with peeling paint in the 'Before'):
Stairwell Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell

And here's a gratuitous close-up of the phone nook:
Stairwell Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell

Looking down the stairs, note that the ceiling is not remarkable at all! You can, of course, see where the paint was peeling if you're looking for it. No amount of sanding/spackling/sanding/priming seems to completely hide it. But if you're not looking for it, the eye barely looks at the ceilings at all! Success! On the right is an in-progress shot of slow-going de-papering to re-illustrate the extent of the ceiling peelings.
Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell Removing wallpaper in the hallway
...and that's saying nothing of the peeling/stained/faded metallic wallpaper made of gingham-esque gold flowers on a teal grid that was formerly on the walls. This wallpaper was also torture to remove. 4x6" pieces coming off, after large amounts of prep and effort. Just the worst. It probably took an entire month of Jim and I working on weekends + Mondays + Fridays to get this whole space rehabbed.

We filled the stairwell with 6 prints from etsy/PurpleMooseBasics. They're vintage-inspired National Park posters of 6 different parks we've visited. Yosemite, Sequoia National Park, Saguaro National Park, Carlsbad Caverns, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Petrified Forest. And at the foot of the stairs is a black & gray version of etsy/NasShannon's Rumi artwork, mentioned in the art post.
Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell

Looking back into the dining room...all the closet interiors (right photo) are painted a bright aqua, which the trim, office walls, and bathroom vanity were originally painted. That must've been quite the 50s spectacular!
Repaint - Hallway + Stairwell One of many hallway closets...

Walls are Benjamin Moore 'Suntan Yellow' (Regal Select) in an eggshell finish. I wanted something a little bolder, but still light enough to brighten up this rather dark area. I had seen Suntan Yellow in a kitchen on Kylie M. Interiors which gave me some hope. During the brightest portions of the day, Suntan Yellow looks like it thought about being a pale yellow for a moment. But there's really too much orange for it to play at being pale yellow for very long. As the hallway gets darker it becomes more of a bold golden color. Lots of oomph, but still decent light reflectance. 'Just what I was looking for.

The trim is Sherwin Williams 'Extra White' (Emerald) in a semi-gloss finish (wait for a 30-40% off sale). Ceilings are Zinsser Stainblock Ceiling Paint in flat bright white (straight out of the can). Light fixtures are West Elm's Sculptural Glass Faceted Flushmount - Small (Milk) (wait for a 25% off + free shipping event).

Room Painting! The Dining Room

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Repaint - Dining Room
The dining room was the first room we face-lifted and it is just a breath of fresh air, even without all the new furniture it needs. Even with a giant dog crate in the corner. Here, let me show you:

Dining Room
Repaint - Dining Room
Chipping paint, radiators with exposed metal peeking through. Faded wallpaper showing the location of artwork that hung in the same location for 70 years. Stains on the wallpaint where furniture rested against it...This is every room in this house. A little bit of paint and a lot of elbow grease really goes a long way with each room we touch. Even if we don't yet have the furniture to fill it!

Dining Room
Repaint - Dining Room
We start with the arduous task of removing the wallpaper- this stuff is really stuck on - it takes a wallpaper tiger to score the paper, then fabric softener + vinegar + dish soap in steaming hot water, soak the wallpaper for 15 minutes with a sponge, then scraped with a sharp metal putty knife and even then it only comes down in 4x6" pieces. The process is slow. Then we scrub the walls with TSP, scrape at chipping paint, sand, spackle, sand some more. Prime with Zinsser Bullseye, sand again, paint the ceiling x2, paint the trim x2, cut-in the edges by hand x2, roll paint onto the walls x2, and then repeat the whole process for any windows or doors in the room. Eventually, once the paint has cured for ~48 hours, I get to hang artwork, and Jim switches out all the outlets, grounds them properly, and replaces light fixtures as needed (very, very needed in this room).

This room, and every room, needs a lot more attention to furniture. The dining room will get a handmade trestle table, and likely some shiny modern chairs. But first thing's first. The paint.

Repaint - Dining Room
Walls and trim are Benjamin Moore 'Classic Gray' (Regal Select) in an eggshell finish. We just ignored the extra tall chair rail in here, and painted everything the same color and finish. It's a small room, I didn't want to make it feel smaller than it already is! I like the Classic Gray paint in this room, although, with all the natural (northern-ish) light it gets, it can appear washed out to pure white. But after the busy-ness of that magenta wallpaper, warm white/gray feels clean and fresh to me.

Ceilings are Zinsser Stainblock Ceiling Paint in flat bright white (straight out of the can), which appears to perform okay. It does require at least two coats for full coverage. The built-in cabinet is painted Benjamin Moore 'Hale Navy' (Regal Select) in an eggshell finish. Light fixture is West Elm's large mobile chandelier. The print is PopChartLab's 'Birds of North America' poster. A lot of bird watching gets done in this room.

Framing a Cross Stitch Piece

Sunday, January 27, 2019

9. Add hanging hardware, ready to hang on wall!
When I saw NarwhalInkDesign's Wifi Password Sign I knew it had to be turned into a real cross-stitch, with a replaceable space for the password and network name. Converting the print to a counted cross-stitch pattern wasn't too tricky, then I just had to do the cross-stitching work on 14-count aida cloth!

Wifi Sweet Wifi Cross Stitch with space for network name + password
Once that was done, I printed off the wifi network name(s) and the password onto cardstock, and enclosed it in acid free tape. It's important that everything that touches artworks be acid free. Acid free mat board. Acid free backer board (or foam core). Acid free tape. Even for non-cross-stitches, as tape with acid in it will eventually eat away at whatever object it's attached to.

I followed FeltMagnet and Lord Libidan's tutorial for framing a cross-stitch. It seems to have worked out alright, I just need to buy some new hanging hardware to attach to my frame, since it was originally included as part of the backer board...but the backer board gets replaced with acid free foam core board. It's also important to use a mat with stitched work, so as not to flatten the stitches against the glass.

0. Framing the Cross Stitch, Supplies
1. Cutting foam core board (acid free) to size of frame backing
2. Placing foam board on top of backside of cross stitch (centered)
3. Pinning the cross stitch fabric to the foam core boar
4. Sewing the cross stitch *fabricv* (not the foam board) to each other, zig-zagging
8. Press holder tabs down

I suspect this will make a fairly lovely addition to the guest bedroom.

Front of the Cross Stitch Back of the Cross Stitch (yeah, it's a mess)
Framed Cross Stitch

Art I'm Digging

Sunday, January 20, 2019

With so many walls to decorate, even my old stash of artwork from the gallery wall is going to run dry! But the internet is an amazing place for discovering new artwork (that may even be affordable). Below are a handful of my favorites.

  1. Rise and Wander's 'daydream' mixed media paintings/drawings are pure magic, but her block prints are also amazing. Aftyn's instagram feed is full of mesmerizing works-in-progress.
  2. Multi-part nature photograph prints, like TheRiverKing's mountain print, MIRAMARART's circle forest set, and SageSeaPrints' Sky Print are lovely options for larger works spread across multiple pieces.
  3. There's not a whole lot of photographs in this list, mostly because I prefer to use personal photos in my home. But I'm digging this 9-square layout with white mats and frames for, say, a collection of travel photos. This keeps the gallery wall looking less cluttered, and more like a large, singular piece. Anna Tsoulogiannis’ home on TheEveryGirl has this approach done in a super lovely way:
  4. I already own a print of "Grew Into" by ClareElsaesser but everything in her FLOWERS and... series is amazing. One day I'll own one of the large format prints from that series, maybe from the seconds sale.
  5. If a print of giant Andrew Carnegie terrorizing downtown Pittsburgh isn't surreal enough, there's always the robot (and pop culture) injected artwork of Dave Pollot. I'm particularly fond of Giant Robot Painting.
  6. As a perpetual crafter, no wall is complete without some needlework. I recently adapted this print by NarwhalInkDesign into a cross-stitch pattern, with a replaceable label for the wifi name + password. Perfect for the guestroom.
  7. I like the idea of hanging some modern-farmy street address numbers onto a wall somewhere. Like this lovely piece from TheWoodsCollective.
  8. Having recently purchased 6 vintage-inspired National Parks posters from PurpleMooseBasics, I would be remiss to leave them off this list. This is a nifty way to document some/all of the National Parks you've visited, and PurpleMooseBasics has one of the more complete collections (they even have White Sands National Monument)!
  9. Word art may be pretty basic, but I like the idea of word art from your favorite authors. Perhaps your favorite 13th century Sufi poet, like this Rumi-quote print from NasShannon?
  10. Botanical prints, like, a whole wall of ferns like these downloadables from DigitalGraphicGoods.
  11. justshortandsweet makes some lovely, colorful himmeli wreaths, or you can diy your own!
  12. Pop Chart Labs is a great source for posters of lists of things. Like this Birds of North America poster:
  13. J says I'm allowed one quilt on the wall at a time. I'm thinking something bold for over our plain mantle, like Libs Elliott's Rebel Quilt or a double-width Range Quilt from Robert Kaufman fabrics.
  14. Tiny Gritty by KimmyMakesThings to show your Philly pride, of course.

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