Let’s Talk About Paint: How to Paint Walls

Last week I went over my favorite tools and products for painting.  Today I’m going to cover my process for painting walls.  Painting walls really isn’t difficult so if you have the time and aren’t afraid of getting a little messy it’s probably not worth hiring out,* especially if you’re working on a budget.

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There are multiple different techniques for painting, but this is what works well for me. If you’ve got your own awesome tips, tricks, and techniques feel free to chime in in the comments!

If you have carpeting, you’re going to want to drop cloth the bejeezus out of it (unless you’re planning on replacing it, then make sure you paint first and voila! Built-in drop cloth).  I’ve had hardwood floors for years and, um, don’t actually do much of anything to protect them.  If you drip a little paint you can wipe it right off while it’s still wet and even if you don’t catch it before it dries you can scrape it off or use some Goof Off.   I really just use a big scrap of cardboard to pile my roller tray and paint can on and just shove it around the room with me as I go. Carpet is not as forgiving, so you’re going to want to be careful about protecting it.

Cutting In

I start by cutting in.  In a perfect world you’d keep a wet edge everywhere you go, but if you’re working solo that’s not always practical. I cut in using a 2″ angled brush (I hardly ever tape anymore) and make sure I cover at least 4″ or so away from the edge so I don’t have to worry about my roller bumping the ceiling or trim.  When cutting in you also want to feather out your wet edge so you don’t end up with a line as it dries.  Basically, once you have most of the paint off your brush (or edger) come back over inner edge of your paint and smooth it out any excess paint.

To get a nice clean line (without tape!) I start by dipping just the tip of my brush into the paint.

***It’s important to have a good brush if you’re going to do this. I used a crappy one once and it was a gigantic mess!  I’ve been super happy with the Wooster Shortcut for cutting in and I think the short handle makes it very easy to control.***

Set the brush down on the wall a little bit away from the edge,

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Then smoosh the bristles down a bit so they fan out slightly.

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Then slowly sweep the brush towards the edge.

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And finally, drag the brush downward (or across for horizontal edges) keeping only the very tip the bristles against the edge. You can see I also still keep the brush at a slight angle so only a small section of it is coming into direct contact with the trim.

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Work slowly and don’t load too much paint onto your brush.  If you’re worried about your cutting-in skills, you can still tape your edges and practice to see how much paint really ends up on the tape.

Walls

The open areas of walls are the easy parts.  Load your roller up with paint and then use the textured part of your paint try to roll off excess.

I work in a N pattern on the walls (most people say W, but I tend to actually make an N or  M)–roll your paint on in a 2-3 foot N….

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….and then roll right back to fill it in.  This distributes the bulk of the paint from your roller and then spreads and evens it out as you come back over it. I set my roller down to get the picture so I starting rolling again on the same side I started with.  If I’m not pausing in between I’d naturally roll my N then double back the way I came, just slightly off-set… whatever works.

paint_walls_2Your may have to go back and forth a couple times to fill it in nicely, but don’t add more paint to your roller, just work with what’s already up on the wall.

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Once you’ve filled in your N then you can go back for more paint.  Start a new N (or M or W) shape, slightly overlapping your previous section and repeat.

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When working with a roller make sure you don’t have too much paint on it (it should be saturated but not dripping) and roll slowly.  This will minimize both paint drips and spray from the roller.  You also want to slightly overlap your previous section each time.  This keeps a wet edge and helps each section of paint better blend into the other.  You also don’t need to put a lot of the pressure on the roller–remember, you’re rolling, not scrubbing.  If you find yourself scrubbing with the roller it’s probably a sign you need a new cover.

If you need to stop partway through (waiting a couples hours until the next coat, ran out of time for day, etc) you don’t have to wash out your brush and roller.  Wrap them in plastic wrap, and if you’re not picking back up until the next day, stick them in a cool place like the fridge (we were out of room in our fridge, but our basement’s pretty cold so I stuck mine there).

No too scary, right?

Also, how absolutely amazeballs does this color look????

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Let’s Talk About Paint

Part 1: Supplies

 

*Super tall walls and stairwells are TOTALLY worth hiring out in my opinion, but I’m not so good with ladders. Also ceilings. Painting ceilings is a bitch.

Let’s Talk About Paint: Supplies

I started painting the dining room today.  I got about 1/2 done but now have to shove the furniture into the other corner so I can paint the other 2 walls.  I’ve done quite a bit of painting over the years–walls, trim, furniture.*  I know not everyone has painting experience though so I’m going go over the supplies I use, and then run through my process.

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At the time of writing this I have no sponsors, no advertisers, no one slipping me convenient wads of cash behind the scenes.  This is what I use and my honest, unbiased opinions.

Priming:

Almost all paints I see these days are a paint + primer, but a separate primer is still definitely worth on some things.  If you’re painting over bare wood or drywall, you should probably prime.  If you’re painting over a finish that may be a little grimy (kitchens, homes previously owned by heavy smokers…. that sort of thing) you’ll probably want to prime.  I’ve been using the water-based Bullseye 1-2-3 primer and have been pretty happy with it.  An oil-based primer will give you even better adhesion, but will also need more ventilation and special cleanup.  Also, you can use latex paint over oil-based but shouldn’t oil-based over latex.

Walls:

I always use an Eggshell finish on walls in all rooms.  Sure there are lists that specify certain finishes for certain rooms based on durability, but my go-to is always eggshell.  It’s cleanable, but not shiny (quick n’ dirty breakdown: the shinier the finish the more scrub-able it will be, but shinier will also highlight any imperfections or texture changes on the walls). If you have kids who are prone to drawing on walls, you might want to bump up the sheen in problem areas.

My paint brands of choice for walls are Behr  (Home Depot) and Clark + Kensington (Ace). They’re pretty inexpensive as far as paints go, but have pretty respectable coverage.

Trim, Cabinets, and Furniture:

I used to always use a high gloss on furniture, and then I discovered satin. To me the satin is more in the range of a “factory finish” level of shine for most things and the high gloss can leave things looking obviously painted. Painting my kitchen cabinets turned me into a Benjamin Moore Advance convert (fangirl!).  I’d read good things about it so decided to give it a shot.  It’s a little pricey, but the coverage is excellent and the finish is beautiful. I was raving to my sister about it and when she saw our cabinets her comment was “I can see why you liked this some much.”

We also used Advance (satin finish) on our trim… after the kitchen.  I went to buy Advance but the Ace near us didn’t carry Benjamin Moore since they’re too close to another BM dealer and the guy there highly recommended Clark + Kensington. I’d used it on walls and been really impressed for the price point and at half the price of Advance I thought sure, why the hell not.  3 coats plus primer (and could probably use another) is why the hell not. And painting trim is a beast so I think it’s better to splurge on better coverage here (but I’ve personally never found the pricier paints worth it for walls). After the kitchen we switched over to my original plan of Advance. It still needed 2 coats + primer, but was definitely looking good at that point (and if you’re only using about 1/2 the amount of paint, it’s not really even a splurge anymore)!

Tools:

paint_supplies_1The basics: paint tray, roller, roller covers (don’t be afraid to splurge on roller covers, or at the very least, don’t reuse your covers to death –>guilty) drop clothes, 2″ angled brush. I really like the Wooster Shortcut, but there is a little bit of personal preference involved.  This is another area where you don’t want to choose the absolute cheapest option and take good care of your brushes.

 

paint_supplies_2Very useful extras: pole/extender for your roller (I really wish I had an adjustable one!), painters pyramids (if you need to prop up something flat to paint the edges), paint pail (sure, you could use any old plastic container, but the handle and magnetic brush holder are pretty sweet), paint tray liners (they make clean up waaay easier, I dump as much extra paint back into the can, let the rest dry, and then peel it off and reuse the liner**), and a flexible pour spout (they conform to both gallon and quart cans, make the paint easier to pour, and prevent paint from clogging up the rim of the can).

 

paint_supplies_3Marginally useful extras: Edger (I have had various levels of luck with these, they work well in some situations but not others, and some of them constantly fall apart or get paint where they shouldn’t), paint guide (like the edger it works well in some areas and less so in others, if you use one keep a damp rag around and wipe it down constantly).

To Tape or Not to Tape?

I used to be a taper because I was told that was just a normal part of prep work… then I read an article over at Apartment Therapy and it changed my life. They claimed that taping was actually more time consuming and even a little more risky than just cutting in by hand. So I tried cutting in the old fashioned way…and it was wonderful!  You need a good quality angled brush and a steady hand, but if you go slow it’s not that hard.

The “risky” part of taping is that it can lead to overconfidence because if your tape is not perfectly sealed or you’re a little too globby with your paint it can ooze underneath.  Also, there’s a risk of peeling off some of your new paint if you don’t time your tape removal right.

Ultimately it comes down to personal preference.  If you’re new to the painting game you may still want to tape everything, but maybe still try your hand at cutting in carefully and see how much paint you really get on the tape.

 

*Ceilings are hands down the worst.  If I ever want to repaint our ceilings I may just hire it out.  Really.

**Cheap, green, whatever you want to call it

Dining Room Day 20: Enough with the Mudding!

I’ve been obsessing over this patch job for WEEKS now!  The better the mudding comes out, the better your paint will look… especially if you pick a paint with any sort of sheen to it–that sheen will just make every imperfection pop.  I happen to like eggshell for walls, it’s not shiny, but it’s not flat either (and if you have kids or a tendency to beat the crap out of spiders you find on your wall, you really don’t want a flat finish because it’s not cleanable At All).

Eyeballing your finish isn’t quite enough; if you really want it to turn out well run your hand over it.  You’ll end up feeling bumps you might not have caught otherwise.* After things were feeling pretty good with the hand test (not perfect mind you, but pretty good) I went over everything with a coat of primer.  Once everything’s an even color it’s also easier to pick out areas that looks a little off, just make sure to check it out as the lighting changes throughout the day.

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I was crazy happy with how good the spot looked after priming.  1) It looked way more even than expected and 2) the texture left the primer and roller seemed to be just enough to match the subtle wall texture that was already there.  I was a little worried about that and had started to look into some of aerosol texture sprays, but think we may be ok!

I also (mostly) finished painting the trim.  I started last week on our day of rest after Vegas and got one coat of paint on about 1/2 the room.  This weekend I got almost everything else done (I couldn’t reach everything since our table is shoved against one wall, so I’ll be working in sections). Trim is the most tedious thing to paint I think.  Walls are a piece of cake, but trim… it’s more of a souffle–time consuming and finicky.

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Because I’m impatient, I also put a little patch of paint up to see how it looked against the trim.

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SO excited to get this room painted!

I switched my day off for this coming week from Monday to Wednesday to help out a co-worker and it ended up working well for me too.  I get a break from manual labor and can hopefully dive into painting on Wednesday.  Karma.

 

*Lighting and shadows can be tricksy

Dining Room Day 7-8: Priming

I spent the last week working on smoothing out the patch job.  It’s a fairly timing consuming project since you have to wait for the previous layer of joint compound to fully dry before you can add another… which pretty much means waiting a full day in between coats.

With the walls well underway I decided to start tackling the trim.  The baseboards are going to come later, but I wanted to get the door and window trim and the crown molding painted before painting the walls.  I think it’s easier to paint trim first (personal preference) and I could knock out the trim while still finishing up the patch job on the wall.

Priming isn’t that exciting, but solid prep-work is important.  All the trim got wiped down with a liquid deglosser and then got hit with a coat of primer.  What I’ve read about using deglossers is that they tend to lose their effectiveness if they sit too long, so I worked in small sections.  Deglossed the kitchen doorframe, let it dry to the touch (about 10 minutes), primed. Then I moved on to one of the windows, degloss, dry, prime… next window, etc.

I’ve been using Bulls Eye 1 2 3 primer and have been pretty happy with it. If you can stomach it, an oil-based would be even better, but it’s cold here and the windows are staying closed.  No matter which primer you choose just make sure to follow the directions on how long to wait between coats because if you don’t give it enough drying time it won’t end up bonding as well as it should.

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If you’ve never primed anything before, don’t panic if it looks splotchy and awful, because it will.  It will make your top coat(s) look SO much better though and it will reduce the number coats you’ll need.

After priming, a bunch of old nail holes and assorted wear spots popped up. I should have touched them up before priming, but I wanted to illustrate the shape our trim was in.

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All the top edges were like this from years of, I dunno, mounting curtain hardware directly to the trim? There were also holes and chips like this everywhere.  Bits of the decorative moldings were chipped and the inside frame had gouges around the nail heads holding it in. I didn’t manage to get a good shot of the sill, but it was even worse.

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I touched them up with wood filler and then went back the next day to sand and spot prime.

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I’d say it’s looking better, but it really still looks like a construction zone here.

Dining Room Day 2+: Patching

So on Day 1 we demoed out the bookcases and most of the baseboards and then patched in some drywall over the now exposed lath board. Today we started taping and mudding all the drywall seams.

I started with a self adhesive mesh tape on the all the flat seams and then covered them in a layer of joint compound. I used the mesh tape because that’s what we still had from patching smaller areas.  It’s not actually recommends for larger areas.  Oops.* You can see how gappy the join is between the 2 pieces is here.

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For joint compound we’re trying out this stuff since it comes pre-mixed (lazy) and claims to be dust control.  We’ll see.  If we were working on a much larger area I may have gotten the stuff you mix yourself, but we’re trying to keep things as simple as possible.

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After the flat seam got a layer of joint compound I tackled the inside corner.  The first video I watched recommend a corner trowel, but I have a about 4′ worth of corner… did I need to buy a specific tool?  Really?  Then I watched this video of how to tackle an inside corner without a corner trowel.  Ok, I got this.

For corner seams you need the paper drywall tape (really need).  It come pre-creased so you just have to rip a piece as long as your corner and fold it in half so it fits right inside the corner.

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This stuff is not self adhesive so you will have to put down a layer of joint compound first.  Be generous but not gloopy, and if you’re worried about how much you’re putting on err of the side of a little too much.  I ended up with a small bubble since I didn’t lay down enough joint compound in one spot.  Oops.

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Once you’ve added a layer of joint compound on each side of the corner, press the tape into place with your fingers so it sticks.  Next, take your putty knife and scrape down along the tape with a firm even pressure.  This will more solidly adhere the tape and sort of squeegee out any extra joint compound.  Then do the same thing on the other side of the tape.

If you’ve decided to forgo the corner trowel to save yourself $6** you’ll just have to work one side at a time.  Now you’ll layer joint compound over the tape like you would on all the flat seams.  Wait for your first layer to dry before tackling the other side otherwise your putty knife will just muck up the nice smooth joint compound on the first side.  Like everything else in drywall it will probably take several coats, so one side, dry, other side, dry, and repeat.

We’ve got some fun depth changes and assorted crappiness happening here so I’ve been working away on getting everything feathered out.  This video was super helpful in getting a technique down.

After a few evenings of work it’s starting to look pretty decent, but I definitely have a little more work to do.

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*There’s actually some conflicting info about which tape you should use when… but the general consensus is that the mesh is ok for small patch jobs, especially with plaster (but should be used a quick setting mud), but paper tap should be used for pretty much everything.  Research first people.  I think we’ll be ok though… I’d be a little more worried if we were doing the whole room.

**Yeah, I know, it’s the principle of the thing.

Day 1: Dining Room Demo

After deciding on the Dining Room as our next project we detoured a little bit in January to follow along with Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.  I think this was a good call to allow us to refocus a little bit on the house as a whole and tackle a couple of smaller projects.

So, the dining room…. it will be a project, but we have a plan! We started by removing the bookcases.

The first one came out really easily.  Despite all the screws it wasn’t actually attached anywhere so we just had to pull it out and haul it into our garage (without getting impaled by any of the screws).

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The second bookcase was an entirely different story. This guy was actually fully built in.  We unscrewed any screws we could find (2) but there were still nails holding it in place.  The nails were sunk deep enough that we couldn’t pry them out so the bookcase wasn’t budging.  Demo time.

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After some quality time with a crowbar, a hammer, and some brute strength the bookcase was in shambles.

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And eventually we were left with this (and a bunch of suspiciously pointy scraps of wood so we are totally prepared for a vampire invasion!)**

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Awesome, right?

We already knew there was some wall damage behind this one.  One of the side trim pieces popped off a while back so we could see some exposed lath board so this wasn’t a total shock.  I had kept my fingers crossed that the wall behind the bookcase would still be ok… nope.

The weird thing going on here is that the main walls were drywalled at some point so what you’re seeing here is a combo of drywall and plaster.

I demoed out the remains of the plaster (which is remarkable satisfying by the way) and Matt tackled the baseboard. The baseboard did not want to budge, but we need to replace all of it (patching would have been nearly impossible).  I had to go make a hardware store run in the middle of it to get a large crowbar so we could get some more leverage now.*

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Now that the demo was done we had to start putting it back together.  We had picked up some drywall*** and started cutting it down to size.  Somehow whoever drywalled the first time managed to make wobbly cuts all around this opening.  How is that even possible? You get a straight edge, a utility knife, score, snap, and voila! Straight line.  How do you mess that up?

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Our patching got a little wonky along the bottom because of the way we had to cut down the drywall to get it home in the first place, but that will all get covered up by new baseboards anyway so I’m not going to stress about super smooth finishes down there. Evening out the rest of the wall will probably take us a while though…

 

*The cashier asked me how my day was going and looked mildly frightened when I responded with “Well, hopefully better now!” while wielding a 3′ crowbar

**Don’t talk to me about sparkles.  I really want the t-shirt I saw that said “Then Buffy staked Edward.  The end.”  Also, this is totally worth watching.

***FYI a 1/2 sheet of drywall barely fits inside a compact car and people will probably laugh at you while you try and wedge it inside (especially if you’re already mildly panicking because it started to rain) and you may slightly damage the rubber seal around the door frames.  Thanks for volunteering my car Matt!

A Little Dining Room Progress

I know I’ve announced the Dining Room is our next big project, but I’ve spending January focusing on Apartment Therapy’s January Cure since it’s nice to spend some time doing a whole house refresh + clean. I haven’t been completely slacking on the Dining Room though.  This week I made use of my media downtime assignment (which I mostly failed out by the way….) to work on curtains for the dining room.

Yes, I’m just going to need to take them down again once we start painting, but it looks nice for the moment and the hard part (getting the holes drilled in the right spot) is done.

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Anyone who spends a lot of time googling decor advice/reading design blogs/perusing Pinterest can probably tell I broke one of the most common design “rules.”  But rules are made to be broken and I’m a rebel.

What is usually recommended when hanging curtains it to hang them higher  and wider than the window frame.  Wider, check.  Higher… not so much.  But here’s the thing, the logic behind this piece of advice is to make your windows look more dramatic and you can use it to fake a bigger window or a centered window.  The problem is that I think there’s an underlying assumption that you’re hanging curtains in newer construction–dinky moldings, average ceiling heights, that sort of thing.  Here we’ve got nicely tall ceilings, big, and some lovely window trim.  If I had hung the curtain rod higher than the window it would get squashed in the space in between the top of the window molding and the crown molding.  It would also hide our window trim.  No beuno.

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Instead I opted to hang the rod across the the “blank” area of the trim so the fancy molding peeks out over the top. It’s still nice and high, but not overly competing with the charm of our trim, which is one of the reasons we picked this house out in the first place.

Moral of the story, there are no hard and fast design “rules.” There are a number of really good suggestions out there that will make sense for a lot of people, but if it’s just not working for you, don’t fight it, no matter how often it pops up on Pinterest.*

The curtains are super cheap IKEA VIVAN panels (no longer sold apparently) that I spruced up with some curtain rings and chunky finials.  The sheers are from Target and just held in place with inexpensive tension rods.**  I opted for sheers again like I did on the kitchen because we’re on a busy-ish street and our windows are about 2 feet from the sidewalk so some semblance of privacy is nice.

Both the curtains and sheers needed to get hemmed so I pre-washed everything first. It’s usually a good idea to pre-wash anything you may need to wash again in the future since there can easily be some shrinkage.  Even though I can’t say I wash my curtains with any regularity, they can get dusty (and furry around the bottom in our house) so being able to toss them in the washer and not worry too much is worth the added step of pre-washing.  In my opinion pre-washing > hand-washing.

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After everything was washed and dried I ironed it all nice and smooth and hung up a panel to mark my hem height. My personal preference for curtains to have them just skim the floor.  I opted for a wide hem so I didn’t have to cut any of the fabric off (in my experience these curtains don’t rip straight at all), I just doubled the fabric over to make a nice smooth hem and give a little weight to the bottom to what are pretty light-weight curtains.

Press.

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Press.

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Sew.

You can either run it through a sewing machine or hand stitch.  Hell, you could use some fusible webbing and I won’t judge you–if someone is inspecting your curtain hem when it’s within a few inches of the floor they’ve got some issues.  I haven’t decided which I’m going to yet.  I’m leaning toward hand sewing because it’s more subtle, but then I’m also lazy…. (no lie, those pins may stay in for a little while).

In unrelated news, I should be getting a new camera this weekend (!!!) so hopefully the picture quality will improve around here.

 

*You know what else Pinterest suggests?  Self-tanning with coco powder.  Yeah…. if you ever start feeling Pinterest envy, just remember that one.

**So Target only had one in stock when we were there earlier this week and it’s on the other window and not hemmed yet.  This one is a little short because it’s from the bathroom in our old Apartment, but you get the idea, right?

Conquering the Closet

Oh the bathroom closet… It didn’t quite fit with the Brown Bathroom of Despair, it was more the Green Closet of Gloom.  Seriously people, painting the inside of a closet dark green (with painted brown shelves) when it is not lit is a terrible idea.  It’s like a black hole.  But green. The existing shelves… I don’t even know what’s happening there.

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Yeah…. this is a perfect example of a poor use of space.  It had to go.

The first step was demoing the shelves.  Should be pretty easy, right?  Wrong.  Some jerkwad had put layer after layer of paint over the screw heads so a screwdriver was completely useless. Using a combination of a hammer and brute strength I managed to get the shelves out.  The walls were already in pretty bad shape so I few more holes to patch wasn’t a big deal.

Originally I thought I’d need to skim-coat the entire inside of the closet.  Thankfully it didn’t come to that.  I used a putty knife to scrape off all the the peeling paint, then spackled over all the uneven bits.  After priming it looked pretty respectable, especially since it was the inside of a closet, so I just painted it all and called it a day.

When my mom and step-dad were in town the other weekend Matt and my step-dad went to work on the shelves (mom and I baked cookies).  I had gotten a sheet of 1/4″ MDF cut down to size earlier (I figured out the height I wanted the shelves, then measured the length since the closet is underneath our attic stairs so most of one wall is angled). I chose 18″ as the depth since it’s nice and deep, but not so deep that you end up losing things in the back.  Since my miter saw can only go up to a 12″ cross cut, I had to get everything cut to size beforehand. The hardware store people were very helpful, just in a “oh, isn’t that cute, she’s building shelves, is your husband going to help you with that?” sort of way that makes me grind my teeth a bit.*

I outlined what I wanted, and left the men to the technical stuff.  I mean, I had Christmas cookies to bake, I can’t do everything. The shelves are attached on 2 sides with cleats (we used 1×2 pine since we had that already, there were already 1×4’s where I put the top shelf so we left those there).  After some discussion we skipped using a cleat on the angled stair wall since we weren’t sure how stable the plaster was and we didn’t want the screws to end up going through the stairs.  We ended up adding legs to that end of the shelves for added stability.

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We also anchored the shelves to the cleats with L brackets so they couldn’t accidentally be knocked loose somehow.  If your walls are nice and square and even you could probably screw directly into the cleats.  Our walls are from a time when “square” didn’t really exist so things are slightly wonky. You can also tell we used inexpensive pine for the cleats, but only from this angle so everything does actually quite nice when you’re not sitting on the floor.

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The shelves, legs, and cleats got painted  after everything was dry-fit (but before it was all anchored in place).  I didn’t bother painting the edges of the shelves since only 1 would be visible and I figure it would be easy to paint an edge once the shelves were all installed.  I was actually right about that too. The shelves took a coat of primer and a coat of paint (BM Advance) and look SO much better now.

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The top shelf isn’t quite level but would not be worth the effort to fix it given that these are closet shelves and won’t be seen too much.  We would have had to rip out the existing board, patch the hell of the wall, put up new cleats, and repaint everything around them.  Sometimes it’s just not worth being an anal-retentive perfectionist.  Sometime I even recognize those times.

The  door was taken off shortly after we moved it and has been replaced with a tension rod and curtain.  The cat box is in the closet so it needed to be easily accessible for our furballs and I didn’t love the idea of keeping the door open constantly. Curtain it is.

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Can you feel that? We are SO close to being done! I’m crossing my fingers for a Christmas miracle especially since my mother-in-law and brother-in-law are coming to visit the week after Christmas so it would be really nice to have it all done.**

 

*I will say I take a rather perverse sort of pleasure in waltzing into a hardware store in a skirt and heels and then surprising the more chauvinistic employees by actually knowing what I’m talking about. This however was not one of those days and as I was clearly dressed as one who is Getting Shit Done.

**She’s like the least judgmental person ever so I’m not worried about that, but it would be nice to have a bathroom that’s not a construction site for guests, ya’know?

Out With the Old

In a perfect world I’d love to reconfigure the bathroom.  It’s a pretty good size bathroom, but the layout doesn’t make the best use of the space.  Sure it would be fabulous if I could rotate the tub so the plumbing connections are against the wall, and swap the toilet and vanity around so I could fit in a sink with actual counter space… but rerouting plumbing is pricey and probably not going to happen.  This means I have to work with what I have, which happens to be enough room for a 24″ vanity. Sigh.

It gets even better though. The plumbing for our sink comes up through the floor instead of through the wall so anything raised on legs is out as well.  I also had to wave goodbye to a practically perfect option because the drawers were a 1/4″ too wide to accommodate our existing plumbing. That was devastation right there. I found another practically perfect option, but not only was it raised (I could work around that if I had too) but it was nearly all sink and no counter.  No bueno.

There was only one option left at this point.  Custom.  Not 100% from scratch kind of custom, but a custom mod to a mediocre cabinet.

newBathCabinet

I ended up with this as my base for several reasons. 1) I liked the counter top on it.  Too many had goofy recesses (mini soap dish? really?) and backsplashes that were unnecessary.  I wanted a white, streamlined sink and didn’t want to shell out another several hundred bucks to replace it in the future.  2) I liked the overall shape–simple and reasonably classic.  3) Price point was good.  I almost picked out a boring-as-hell builder-grade yawn-fest that was cheaper and the only reason I paid more was to get the counter/sink I liked more.

bathFaucet

We also picked up this lovely little faucet.  I am absolutely crazy about the ceramic X shaped knobs.  I really wanted a wide-spread faucet with 3 separate pieces instead of everything mounted on a base, but that was over 3x the price so I had to pass on absolute perfection. This one is pretty near perfect though and so I think I can live with that.

Next up we ripped out the old vanity/sink.  In the process we discovered the shut-off valves were not completely shutting off the water so we had to turn off the water to the house, cut the pipes, install new compression fittings and shut-offs, turn the water back on, and pray we go it right.  We did.

newVanity1

The line of black on the wall is some rubbery adhesive I had to scrap off with a putty knife and razor blade.  And that wood pattern on the floor? Vinyl. Thank god they covered that up is all I can say! Then we measured where all the pipes were and cut holes into the base of our new vanity cabinet.

Luckily the sink did not come attached to the cabinet (which would have been good to know before we hauled the whole box up the stairs) so it was easy for one person to lift and the other to make sure everything was lining up right.  We also discovered this cabinet was  deeper than our old one (measure people!) and had to rip off the baseboard on the side wall (it will be going back once we trim it down).

The sink itself just attached with some silicone caulk so that was pretty simple.

Getting the faucet in was another story… Actually the faucet was easy, the pop-up assembly was the hard part.  If you’re just switching out a faucet you may not even need to deal with the pop-up assembly (drain stopper) but if you’ve added a brand new sink you’ll definitely have to.  The instructions that came with ours were AWFUL.  Part of the reason we were confused was that the part that came with our faucet was designed for a sink with an overflow, but our sink didn’t have that. We got it all sorted out eventually though.

So we’ve got the vanity cabinet in place.  We’ve got the sink installed.  We’ve got the faucet installed.  Go us!  Me being me, this wasn’t good enough, so then I painted the vanity.  The existing color wasn’t bad, but there were going to be some additions made and I didn’t want to stress over getting an exact finish match.

bathVanity

I wish I could tell you the color I used, but I can’t.  I started out with Benjamin Moore Temptation (Advance, satin) and thought it was too light, so I brought it back to get it re-tinted.  The next shade darker was French Beret and the awesome paint people couldn’t quite get that because of the amount of white in the previous mix so the color is somewhere in between the too, but still probably closest to Temptation (you can see the difference where I tried the dark version on the doors, although you can barely tell in real life).

Looking pretty good, right?  Not even the vanity is done yet though…

PAINT ALL THE THINGS

paintAllThings
Original image: Hyperbole and a Half, Modifications: me

 

This is basically the mantra for the bathroom.  The vinyl is nasty, the wood is in sorry shape, and the wall color is just plain unfortunate.  Because I don’t know when we’ll have the budget for a full gut job I’m pretty much painting every square inch of this room.

After I tackled repairing the window trim, I moved on to demo-ing the closet shelves.  Their configuration was bizarre and they’d be annoying to paint around.  Unfortunately as I removed them I notice the paint on the inside of the closet was peeling badly.  Bad news: it will probably need to be skim coated.  Good news: it’s the inside of a closet so I probably can’t fuck it up too badly.

Luckily, skim coat or not, priming everything was the first step. Ok, second step.  First I scraped off all the really lose bits with a putty knife and filled in what I could with spackle and then primed everything in sight.

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Doesn’t that already look so much better?  The beigey vinyl was absolutely disgusting and even just seeing it primed makes a huge difference! The tub base got primed too since it is certainly not staying it’s previous dirty-beige color.

Personally I think it’s easier to paint trim first.  My dad disagrees so this is a clearly a personal preference thing.  Coat #2 for me though was all the vinyl and trim.  You don’t need to worry about a clean edge, just a smooth edge.  Basically any paint you get onto the next surface you’re going to paint make sure you feather out so you don’t see brush lines or blotches. The trim, vinyl, and closet interior are all Clark + Kensington (satin) tinted to Benjamin Moore Simply White (mostly because I had it to use up… I was unimpressed with Clark + Kensington for trim*). The trim did get a second coat of Benjamin More Advance too.

bath2

Aaaaannd now for some blue (Behr tinted to Benjamin Moore’s Opal Essence to be exact).  MAN this was a long time coming! This is just a sneak peak for you.  The bathroom’s not quite done yet–we have a new vanity and faucet to install, closet shelves to rebuild, and additional shelving to add.

bath3

Up next we tackle our pretty dismal counter space issue.

 

*Still love it for walls though–that and Behr are my go-to for walls, but BM Advance has won my heart for trim, cabinetry, and furniture.