Tag Archives: painting

Getting Things Done

It’s sort of ridiculous how quickly three months go by. One second, I’m super psyched on this blog and silly DIY projects. The next, Christmas is over and we still don’t have an assembled futon in the spare bedroom. It’d be easy to sit here and complain about how we’ve gotten nothing done, about how all of the rooms look relatively the same, and about how many more things we have to do to make the house feel more like ours and less like an apartment that we’ve been renting for five months. I’m not going to do that, though! Because we’ve made a small amount of progress! And we’ve done what we can afford! And time goes by TOO FAST and the work days are too long and suddenly it’s Christmas and it’s snowing and it is impossible to do anything without my poor little fingers freezing off.

So what have we been busy with around the Schloss? First off, we got this little guy in October:Roland

Jesse found him on a park bench near where he works on one of the coldest nights in October. Naturally, we took the little guy in, got him checked out, tried to find him a home, and ended up keeping him despite our older cat, Bean, hating him. Roland has toughed it out, though. He’s doubled in size since October and just this morning, I caught the two of them sleeping on our bed suspiciously close to one another.

Speaking of beds, we also got one of those! I’d show a picture, but our bedroom is, unfortunately, not a room we’ve made any progress in. However, we bought an awesome frame from Boston Interiors. Having the mattress off of the floor made it feel a lot more like we were living in a house and less like we were crashing on some buddy’s mattress on the floor of some college apartment. Let’s hear it for adulthood!

Adulthood has also brought us other money-sucking endeavors, such as wisdom teeth removal, new tires for Jesse’s car, and astronomically high oil bills. These necessary but totally-not-fun things have prevented us from buying things like rugs, pillows, paint, curtains, and other way-more-fun things, but that’s okay. We’ve had the money to buy lots of awesome beer, so that’s really what matters. Priorities.

Despite how it sounds, we have made some progress on some rooms! Let me introduce the project I am THE MOST PROUD OF. Ready?? Drumroll….

TA DA! CD SHELVES!

CD Shelves IMG_7415

This project took far longer to complete than I would like to admit, but I did all of the sanding, staining, and installation on my own while Jesse was at band practice. Gotta be productive, right? It’s hard to grasp the size of the shelves in these photos (my wide-angle lens is sadly out of commission for the time being), but the longer shelves span the length of one wall while the shorter shelves go from the corner to the window. For the longer shelves, I mounted two of the brackets to studs and used toggle bolts for the middle bracket. This is the first time I’ve drilled a 5/8″ hole through ANYTHING, so it was terrifying and AWESOME at the same time. Everything went (relatively) smoothly. A co-worker let me borrow his sander after I tried sanding one single shelf by hand (never again). The stain came out EXACTLY as we imagined it. And! The shelves hold all of Jesse’s CDs! And they haven’t fallen off of the wall yet! Success! IMG_7414 IMG_7412

Before the shelves were installed, the office received a fresh coat of WHITE paint (not Contractor’s Off White). We also bought a new desk from Ikea and hung things on the walls! It amazes me how pictures on the walls make a room feel instantly more homey.

IMG_7367 IMG_7401

For this room, there isn’t much left! I want to replace the mini-blinds with something more exciting, probably some homemade Roman shades with some funky fabric. As much as I like the white walls, this room needs some serious color. Stark just ain’t my thing.

IMG_7402 IMG_7404 IMG_7394

So what’s in store for the new year? PAINT. Everything is getting painted. The hallway, the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom. I can’t even start thinking beyond that right now, mostly because we don’t really have the cash to do anything bigger than that, and because I can’t get ahead of myself.

We also need rugs. My feet are cold.

As for this here blog? Maybe more frequent updates? Except before we know it, it’ll be March and the snow will be melting and I’ll have to start planning my garden. That’s fine with me…

Advertisements

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.

Voila!

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.

Indecisiveness

Jesse and I have a lot in common. We like a lot of the same music, movies and TV shows (I know he likes Dance Moms and Teen Mom. He just won’t admit it). Aside from his aversion to certain vegetables, we like a lot of the same food. We both enjoy being outdoors, aren’t particularly keen on the beach, and like long drives. We have similar temperaments most of the time, and are pretty much equal on the lazy scale. But. The one thing we have in common that is actually detrimental (not to our relationship, but maybe to other things) is our indecisiveness.

We are  incredibly indecisive. I don’t want to make a decision because I want to make sure that Jesse is happy/comfortable/whatever, and I generally don’t care what we do/where we eat/who we hang out with. I think he feels the same way toward me. Most of the time, we go back and forth for what feels like forever with things like, “What do you want to do?” “Doesn’t matter to me, what do you want to do?” “Well, I decided last time, so you should decide.” “No, I’m pretty sure I decided last time.” “No, I gave you two choices and you picked one, so that’s pretty much like I decided.” And so on.

Normally, one of us eventually makes a decision and we get on with our lives. After all, what we eat for dinner is not a dire decision. However, this home stuff?

We’re useless.

The past two weeks have been a lot of me showing Jesse paint chips, and him saying “Those shades of grey look the same to me.” I have to explain to him that one is a  cool grey and one is a  warm grey and they are, in fact, very different. He shrugs, points at one, and I come back with, “Do you actually like that one? Or are you just picking because I’m making you?” and he grins and walks away.

We do have some ideas, and some of them we will hopefully start putting into motion this weekend. We agreed that the dining room will most definitely be a shade of navy blue, and we have even narrowed it down to two choices. Jesse likes Planetarium, mostly because of the name. I don’t really care, because I think they’ll both look good, albeit slight different, once they get up on the walls. The only thing I am slightly worried about is the gigantic hole in the plaster where the thermostat is “attached”. I think we’re going to have to patch the plaster, which is going to take some time away from actually getting the room painted. BUT, we want to do it right, so we should probably do that. [Edit: Since I started to draft this, we bought plaster and patching mesh, pulled the thermostat off the wall, and you know what? The “gigantic” hole is only about 2″ x 1″ and there is plenty of lathe for the plaster to grip onto. This means we can return the $8 patch and get away with a little bit of plaster! Go us!]

A navy dining room for inspiration:

The other area that we have mostly decided on is that the major walls in the kitchen are going to be grey. I believe we have even decided on a shade, and I think it’ll look great. What we haven’t decided on, and this is all my fault, is what to do with the backsplash. Originally, I wanted to tile the backsplash with white subway tiles and charcoal grout. Looking at the pictures of the kitchen before we moved in, I thought that subway tile would be too large for the backsplash area, and maybe we should parse it down a little. Use the smaller subway tiles instead. Jesse agreed that this would look nice. Then I panicked a bit because 1) we’ve never tiled anything before and 2) what if we want to replace the counter tops? Will all of our tiling have gone to waste? So I concluded that we should just paint the backsplash, and we agreed on an awesome teal color.

Then last night, I saw a Reader Redesign on Young House Love with a tiled backsplash that made me swoon a little. Maybe we should tile the backsplash. Maybe we should learn to tile. It’s not that hard, and I’m pretty sure some friends of ours own a wet saw. On top of this, I got realistic with myself. We are not going to be able to afford to put in new countertops for quite some time (years maybe), and frankly, I’m not sure I really want to just yet. Sure, we have pretty average looking laminate counter tops, but they’re incredibly easy to take care of and, because they’re grey, go with everything. They don’t look that bad. Really. What this does mean, though, is that the time we spent deciding on paint colors has to be re-spent on picking out tiles. White? Teal? Something else? Can we actually do this? And measuring for tile requires a lot more calculating and forethought than measuring for paint (1 can. done.). After looking at tiles, I think we’re swaying back toward painting, but the decision won’t be made until we leave Home Depot with either a quart of paint or a box of tile. And then it has to stay made for awhile, because I’m sure as hell not painting and then tiling.

Then there is the living room. A few days ago, we came up with the idea of painting the walls white and the ceiling… some other color. I want to keep it relatively low-key since the dining room is going to be pretty intense. But then I saw a picture of a lime-ish green ceiling and I really liked it. Totally doable. It would totally match our curtains. It would look so good.

Maybe something like this, but not carried down onto the walls? Or maybe carried down onto the walls?:

And, guys, that’s just downstairs.

People keep telling me that this doesn’t have to be done all at once, and I realize this. We have thirty years (and longer!) to get everything taken care of, and once it’s done, it can be changed. We can re-paint if we want! Yes, it requires more work, but it can be done! What I do want, though, is to have everything downstairs at least painted relatively soon because, honestly, the place doesn’t feel like home yet. We don’t have any of our pictures or prints or band posters on the wall, and it makes the place feel pretty sterile (that, and the eggshell-colored walls in every room). The neutral creme in ever room has. to. go.

We just need to get off our asses and make decisions.

P.S. Congrats to our friends Jocelyn and Jeff for closing on their Housey Home and successfully ripping down the World’s Ugliest Wallpaper! Good job, guys 🙂