Thursday, December 13, 2012

Where did I leave off?  With a cutie doozin sitting in the bathroom staring at me?

No, that wasn't it.  

Oh yeah, I left off having torn up half the bathroom on a random Friday off.

The tearing stuff off the wall thing was easy, it was harder doing the detail work and patching up.  It was fairly tedious to scrape the decades old scraps of wallpaper away and smooth out the walls...and admittedly I could have done a better job here.  As you can see, there's kind of a border around where the window blinds were - I'm honestly not sure when the blinds were installed, but it must have been a while ago because there was quite a few extra coats of paint surrounding them.

I was in a rush to clean things up before Sean got home, so I definitely rushed the next steps.  I applied some lightweight spackle in the most uneven areas, but I probably could have spent some more time making sure everything was extra even.  And waiting longer than 10 minutes before getting impatient and priming the walls over wet spackle.  I am definitely not the most patient DIYer.

Anyway, here's what it looked like an hour or two after I began, after a coat of primer, and before Sean came home.  Not quite as scary as above:

 That's how I let things sit for a few days before deciding I should probably fix things up.  Like I said, I didn't really have a plan, but I did know that I should probably put up some new molding because those windows were noooooot looking pretty.  Speaking of windows, the windows in our bathroom are seriously awful.  I don't know if you can get windows off of a sketchy clearance rack, but if you can, that's definitely where these came from.  They're just awful and cheap looking, not to mention broken so they don't open properly.

So, I basically headed to Lowe's to wander around because I know absolutely nothing about installing molding.  Turns out there's an entire aisle of it, so I wandered for a bit and pretty much randomly picked out a style that looked nice to me.  I knew I wanted a thicker molding overall - mostly to cover up any imperfections - and something fairly ornate to match the rest of the house.  If you'll notice above, the space on the bottoms of the window is pretty narrow, so I had to pick out a narrower piece of molding for down there.  I don't know if that's a "thing," but let's go with it.

My triumphant return home from Lowes!  I also grabbed a gallon of paint from one of the swatches that's been on the wall for several months.

Time to paint!

The paint I chose was called Chinese Porcelain by Olympic.  I loved the color on the chip, but it is slightly different in person.  I don't know how to explain it, but on the chip it's a little calmer blue, and in person it's more BLUE!  I still like it, but it's slightly different than I thought.

The reason I chose blue is because there's quite a few tough shades to work with in the bathroom already - not least of which is the lime green tile.  In addition, the wall tile is bright white, while the floor tiles are an odd off-white/beige with a hint of salmon.  I wanted something that would look ok with all of these different shades and hopefully bring the color scheme together.  I thought either a darker blue or gray would work, but since a lot of our house is gray I went with the blue.  I initially envisioned more of a dark navy, but I painted a few swatches up and it was just wayyyy too dark. 


The bathroom is super hard to photograph because it's either dark or light is streaming in the windows, but here's the first peek at bathroom 2.0.

To install the molding, I just used a simple mitre box.  I've never done molding before and obviously this would have been easier with a power saw, but since I didn't have many cuts to do I just did it by hand.  Then I nailed it into the wood surrounding the windows, sunk the nail into the wood with a mini screwdriver (I don't have a nail set) and puttied over the nail holes.

I haven't painted the molding as of these pictures (ok, I haven't done it in real life either), so it'll look much better and brighter when I do.

You can kind of see in this next photo that I could have done a better job evening out the paint around where the window blinds used to be.  Oops.  Semigloss paint is also not very forgiving for uneven walls.

As a reminder, here's the before:

And hopefully improved (but still in progress) after:

On my list of future things to do is paint this grody bathroom vanity.  Ew.

I also need to add a light over the mirror, but the trick is finding one that doesn't look totally weird with the chandelier.  I'm thinking something simple like this (and I just realized the paint color matches the new bathroom...ha):

 But I'm just not sure.  Thoughts?

I actually think the paint works with the green least as well as any paint could ever work.

One of the most random things about our entire house is this chandelier in the bathroom.  It's super fancy in an otherwise unremarkable space.  However, with the darker blue paint as a background I feel like it kind

So, that's where bathroom things stand as of today.  Nothing too fancy, but I think my total cost so far is at about $40 - just paint and molding.  Even if we end up re-doing the bathroom, at least I won't feel bad about throwing money into a lost cause.

There's still a bit more to do, like:
  • Paint the vanity with some bright white paint;
  • Replace the vanity hardware;
  • Replace the light above the mirror;
  • Add matching accessories (new bath mats, storage, etc.)
  • Add storage! 
I'll get to it ;-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hello, again.

I haven't forgotten about this little place.  

I guess after February or so I stopped really having the motivation to write about what we've been doing around the house.  I think this directly correlated with a couple of frustrating and never-ending projects that were stressing me out for quite a while and making me grumpy...I'm looking at you, crappy interior doors and ugly hallway wallpaper.  I also tend to take less photos when I'm frustrated and angry at a project - because really, who wants to document that?

I promise I haven't spent the past 10 months or so weeping into a bucket of wallpaper remover.  I'm not going to say I've never wept into a bucket of wallpaper remover, but it wasn't very frequent.  I really think I just hit a few months of de-motivation (is that a word?  Let's say yes) that coincided with two somewhat annoying projects and resulted in me slogging through them maybe not as quickly as I should have.

However, the crappy projects are DONE.  Like, officially, finally done, done - all of the doors now close properly, and I spent a few minutes last weekend scraping the last of the paint off the new door hinges.  The darkness seems to have passed and I'm (maybe?) ready to start sharing some fun house-related stuff again.
Since I finished those two doozies, I've actually been very motivated and had a ton of energy on the weekends to keep on truckin' on stuff around the house.  It's looking good.  Really good!  We're finally getting to a stage where we can have people over without making too many lame excuses..."Just ignore the scary looking cracks in the hall, they're not structural we swear (we think?)"..."Yeahhh, some of our rooms don't have doors and/or door handles...sorry?"..."Of course we're going to pick from one of these 10 swatches of paint that have been in the bathroom for the past 4 months...maybe"

I've pulled all the home-related photos from the past few months off my memory cards and iPhone, so hopefully I can actually share all these fun things with you kids soon.  I realized going through photos that I have a TON of scary "progress" photos, and not a lot of fun "after" photos, so I need to take some more afters before all the projects are ready to swear.  I promise you would judge me if you saw some of these mid-progress pictures.

FIRST UP, I guess I'm going in reverse chronological order because it's bathroom tiiiiiiime.

Our bathroom has been a sadly neglected area in our house since we moved in almost 2 (!) years ago.

If you remember, when we first bought the house, the bathroom was a lovely shade of green.  At some point of the history of our house, someone had the brilliant idea to install bright green tile.  Then, later in time, another genius thought it would be a great idea to color match the wall paint to the bright green tile.  Thanks, guys.

To refresh your memory, this is what we were dealing with:

These pictures are from our walk through before we closed - I promise I've cleaned the floors since then.


Yeah, it was a lot of green.

Overall, the bathroom has some good things going for it.  It's a decent size, overall in pretty good condition, and, uh, I don't know I can't really think of anything else positive to say.  On the downside, the layout is a weird and seems to waste a lot of space, and the aesthetics leave a lot to be desired. 

We've tossed around the idea of a full bathroom remodel, but since this is our only bathroom and someone lives in our guest house, I'm not sure how that would logistically work right now.  Not to mention that a gut bathroom remodel seems like it would be expensive, and we don't have the funds saved up at the moment because we keep emptying our home improvement fund on smaller projects.

So, the bathroom has just kind of sat there.  We, meaning Sean, did eventually work up the motivation to put a few (or 4) coats of white paint over the green, but other than that we literally did nothing.  All of the accessories were from our old apartment and we just tossed them into the new place regardless of whether they matched or not (they didn't).

A few months ago I got the motivation to tape up some paint swatches, but then my motivation dissipated.  When people would come over I would pretend like the paint chips were haphazardly taped to the wall because I was imminently going to paint, but I think our friends started to catch on as the paint chips hung there, alone and abandoned, for months.

Until Thanksgiving weekend.  We had actually planned for our laundry room project (to be blogged) as a Thanksgiving weekend project, but ended up more or less finishing the project on Thanksgiving. With three days to spare of the Thanksgiving break, Sean made the mistake of going to work on Friday and leaving me at home unattended with nothing to do.  And lots of energy.

And I'd been eyeing the weird window blinds with hatred for the past few months.  

Notice the paint chips lurking in the back of this photo...

The blinds actually don't look horrible in photos, and maybe you'll think I'm crazy, but I hateeeeeed them.  It's hard to tell but they were super bulky in the room, and hardly let any light in.

So, I did what any normal person does when they're bored on vacation, and decided to start tearing my bathroom apart without any real game plan.

It's goin' down, bathroom.  I don't know why I took a stud finder out for this project, but I did.  Also pretty sure that tool to the right is a gardening tool.  That's how we do 'round here.

When I say I didn't have a plan...I really didn't have a plan.  I'd been eyeing the construction on the blinds for a while but I didn't really know how they were attached or how easily they'd come off.  I basically just scored the edges of the paint along the wall, and then started not-so-gently pulling at the wooden boxes until they came off the wall.

One down...and probably 5 minutes into the project.

As far as I can tell, the boxes were screwed into the window molding.  The downside to this is that tearing them off totally wrecked the molding.  Maybe I could have avoided this if I was more gentle...although the way it was attached was pretty haphazard so I'm not sure I could have.

It's hard to tell from these next photos, but the construction on these was pretty fab.  The boxes surrounding both of the windows were attached to the top of the medicine cabinet with half of an old hinge.  Resourceful, I guess?

   Things went from kind of fun to kind of scary pretty quickly as I realized I had no idea what I was doing, but I kept tearing stuff out of the walls because it wasn't like I could really stop now.

That looks...not good?  I also chipped a tile (second from the left) which is currently causing my a great deal of stress.  It's not pretty tile, but it looks prettier in one piece.

One of my favorite things about tearing things out of an almost 80-year old house is that there are about 17 layers of wall coverings on any given wall.  Tearing up the bathroom revealed snippets of fuzzy patterned (I'm sure there's a real name for this) wallpaper.  

Please take a moment to think about how amazing this room must have looked at one point with bright green tile and fuzzy wallpaper.  It's

I should also mention that removing super old bathroom fixtures uncovered a number of what I can only describe as not lovely smells as I disturbed areas that have probably not been cleaned since before these stupid blinds were installed.

Blinds off - pre-molding removal.

At some point I also decided to remove the old light fixture (which is sticking out of the sink in this photo) and tear out the wood surrounding the medicine cabinet this point why not?

This was also the panicky mid-stage of the project.  As I began to look around, with dust and shards of wood everywhere, I realized that I had no real vision for how this project was going to wind itself up.  And my husband was out, blissfully unaware that I was destroying our bathroom without even mentioning it to him first.  Oops!

Anddddd this is where my story ends for today.  I can pretend I'm building suspense, but really I'm tired and have to wake up in like 6 hours.  

Stay tuned for me hopefully developing a plan about how to fix this scary mess.

Also, here's some of the projects that are either done (some of which have been done for a while...) or in progress that I'll try to share soon: 
  • We totally re-did our yard!  IT IS NO LONGER ALL DIRT.
  • I replaced all 7 interior doors and added new hardware (but not before trying to strip and refinish all the existing doors...blerg)
  • We finally tore down the sketchy 70's (80's) wallpaper in the hallway, only to discover the entirely crappy plaster wall it was hiding
  • We re-vamped the previously ignored laundry room area