Monthly Archives: September 2012

Brass-Be-Gone: One Down, 1546 to Go!

One of the things that we, and everyone we know, immediately noticed about our house is the higher-than-average number of brass fixtures. One in the bathroom. An awesome chandelier in the dining room. The ceiling fan in the living room. The sconces in all of the bedrooms and the hallway. The ceiling fan in the bedroom. The fixture in the attic.

From my understanding, these hideously ugly things were popular at some point. What’s even more amazing, is that they still sell these sorts of things in stores, meaning people still buy them. I can’t imagine why.

Because of the number of fixtures around the house, and the desire to tackle other projects before replacing every piece of brass in the place, I came to terms with the fact that we’d have to live with the brass and all of its shiny goodness for an indefinite amount of time… Until we painted the dining room. There’s something about a fresh coat of awesome blue paint to make a hideously ugly brass and glass fixture seem MORE out of place.

On Saturday, I decided things needed to change.

(Note: The picture above was actually taken before I decided to pull the chandelier down. I lightly poked at the top part, and the entire thing popped off. It was fate that the stupid thing needed to be pulled down.)

Jesse had plans to head to Providence to play with a new band. I had no plans… a perfect situation for spray-painting a chandelier! Before Jesse left, he gave me a hand with taking the chandelier off of the ceiling. Two screws and some un-wiring (after the power to the room was turned off, obviously) later, the chandelier was on the floor and ready to be disassembled. Jesse was concerned that we wouldn’t find a new chandelier before dark (I’m picky. And cheap), and when I told him the old one was going back up, he looked at me like I had three heads. Eventually I convinced him to trust me, without revealing my plan. He couldn’t dissuade me!

Diassembling the chandelier wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had to undo one of the chain links to get the top part off, but everything came apart pretty easily after that. (Note: When doing this, keep track of what piece goes where. I didn’t. Re-assembly was a little more challenging because of this. Oh well, live and learn.) To the garage! I laid a plastic dropcloth over the garage floor to protect it from spray paint distruction, opened the garage door, and went to town.

I wish I could say that everything went perfectly smooth from start to finish. It didn’t. I made a few mistakes:

Mistake #1: Using a plastic drop cloth. Spray paint sticks to plastic drop cloths, which makes the items you’re spray painting stick to plastic drop cloth. Whoops.

Mistake #2: Not properly weighing down the plastic drop cloth. It was windy on Saturday, and even though I was in the garage, the wind was blowing right through it. This meant the stupid drop cloth blew up and stuck to my freshly painted chandelier. Meh.

Mistake #3: Holding pieces while touching up the paint. Spray paint DOES NOT like to come off of hands. I should have warn gloves. Lesson learned.

For the paint, I used Rustoleum in Satin Black. I definitely wanted black, but I didn’t want it to be glaringly shiny. The brass was shiny enough. I sprayed one coat on all of the pieces, waited about 45 min, then applied a second coat. I let the chandelier sit out in the garage for about 2 hours before I went and checked on it. I have a habit of poking at things too early, so I let it sit out without even looking at it. This was NOT a mistake! Even after two hours, most of the pieces were still tacky. I touched up thin spots on a lot of the pieces, moved them all OFF of the stupid drop cloth, and left them to dry overnight.

Once everything was dry, I reassembled the chandelier and Jesse and I reattached it to the ceiling, screwed in my new bulbs (round white >> fake plastic candle bulbs), and restored the power to the room.


There were a few spots on the chain and on one of the upper pieces where the paint had rubbed off. I didn’t degloss the thing before spraying, and I didn’t prime, so I sort of expected that there would be spots that weren’t perfect. I touched up those blemishes with a sharpie. You can’t even tell. Success!

So, do we love it? It’s alright. It looks good (from far away, and in the dark), and it looks a MILLION times better than the ugly brass beast, but it’s not what I would have chosen if we had gone to the store and picked something out. But, for the time being, it’ll be great. Mostly because it was cheap.

Now I have the spray paint bug. I have a bunch of old, cheap frames that are going to get a dose of white paint tomorrow afternoon. Then I will FINALLY get some pictures up on the walls.



Long Time No See

I wish I could say that, after being in the house for a month (already!), that we have made huge strides toward getting the place set up and ready to go.

But, let’s be honest. We are lazy. And we like hanging out and doing things that don’t involve a lot of work. Like drinking beer. And taking walks to downtown Maynard. And watching Pretty Little Liars. Even Jesse admits addiction to this show. It seriously cut into our unpacking/cleaning/painting time this weekend.

We have made a little progress though! We have:

  • Finished painting the dining room
  • Finished painting the kitchen
  • Sealed around the thing where the electrical comes into the house (I’m not sure what the technical name for this is…)
  • Filled in a hole in the field stone foundation that apparently a mouse had found its way through
  • Filled in ANOTHER hole in the BOTTOM of the field stone foundation that Crafty Mouse had chewed his way through AFTER digging about three feet underground (why Bean hasn’t killed this sucker is beyond me…)
  • Discovered that the fridge was leaking and, with the help of my dad, stopped it from leaking


When I first look at that list, I am a little disappointed that we haven’t gotten more done. I get really overwhelmed on the weekends and think that we should be doing so much more, but then I step back and I sort of like the slow progress of everything. We’re waiting for items that we really like. We’re waiting for everything to settle in. We’re waiting to see what we really want, and not what the internet tells us we should want. We did just buy this house a month ago, and while a month seems like a long time, it’s not. Our weekends are pretty busy! We’ve taken day trips to Portsmouth, NH. We’ve come back to the Fitchburg/Leominster area to pick up our veggies, hang out with my parents, and check out flea markets. We spend afternoons hanging out with Allen and Robin and their Most Adorable Child. We eat ice cream. We watch Pretty Little Liars. I make soup.

So while we’re not super fast at getting things done, I think the stuff we have done is starting to make the place feel like home.

Oh, you want pictures of progress? Ok! Don’t mind the crappy iPhone pictures… I can’t find the power cord to my computer monitor. Or, I haven’t really looked for it. Whatever.

The kitchen! I love the colors. LOVE. The backsplash looks awesome, and I’m so happy that we painted rather than tiled for now. It makes it so easy to change if we should get bored (ha, we’re too lazy to get bored). For paint, we used Behr Ultra Premium Plus in colors I cannot remember the name of right now (but will update when I can find the chips). The trim was already painted, and could probably use a touch-up, but that’s for another day (month? year?). I originally wanted to get rid of the grey laminate counter tops, but with the new color scheme, I can totally deal with them for another few years. They don’t look half bad, and they’re super easy to keep clean (aka they hide everything). I also originally thought I would want to paint the cabinets eventually (I’ve seen so many beautiful kitchens with painted cabinets), but I think they look great now. It’s amazing what removing a little yellow can do. This was the before (crappy pictures from Zillow, which still has our real estate listing for some reason):

I am SO GLAD the yellow is gone! The colors in the kitchen now look GREAT with our awesome dining room:

Painting the dining room was a trying experience. Covering white walls with dark blue paint is not the easiest  thing in the world. It took us four coats in places, and a couple of spots still need to be touched up (including that taped-off pipe that I haven’t started on yet). The color we chose was Deep Blue Sea by Behr, and these pictures really don’t do it justice. In the sun, it almost takes on a blue-green color and it looks so much brighter (or as bright) as we were expecting. The room itself is obviously not done. The chandelier NEEDS to go, but we haven’t really looked for a new one yet, and aren’t quite sure what we want. The round table will eventually (before Thanksgiving I hope!) be replaced with a farmhouse table that we’re going to build ourselves. There are a ton of pictures I want to get up on the walls after I paint their frames white, and I would love to get some shelving up too. Maybe next weekend. Or while Jesse is drugged out from his wisdom teeth removal. He’ll wake up and EVERYTHING will be painted grey. He’ll love it.

So! That’s it for now. In reality, it’ll be another month before another post, because that’s the rate we’re moving. This week, I plan on finding the (a) power cord for my computer so I can take real pictures of the house, painting some frames, and maybe narrowing down some chandelier choices. In reality, we will probably finish the first season of Pretty Little Liars and make a good dent in the second. At least we’re being honest with ourselves.