Friday, January 28, 2011

The Final Frontier

I am happy to say that I am on my last job of wallpaper removal for this home. This is our south hallway. The house was originally a two family home so we have two completely separate hallways and staircases. It's nice to have two sets of stairs but also a large waste of space too. Luckily the plaster and ceiling is in very good shape on this side of the house which is the "newer" side.When I removed the paper here I uncovered an old doorway which leads to the older side of the house. I am not sure how the rooms were configured long ago or even when the newer side was built. They plugged up the doorway with my favorite "beaver board". I am glad I only have that small section to deal with.
Here is my working platform to reach the walls above the stairwell. I try not to imagine catastrophe as I cling to dear life against the wall while I am working and remember not to step back or look down! I will finish this section quickly so that I can be on firmer ground once more.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Assistant

Continuing to make progress with my painting and no matter how many times I kick him out Flynn seems to find a way to sneak back into my work space. I will probably be picking hairs out of wet paint but I don't have the heart to make him move. Who can argue with such devotion?
Finally settled on a color called "clay beige" from Behr. I always seem to gravitate to the neutrals no matter how much I try for color. I really am more of a textile person and prefer to get my color and texture through my choices there. By the way, I love that Behr paint! I think I am a convert from my old friend Benjamin Moore. It spreads so nicely and seems to cover better too. Sorry Ben.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Never Paint your Radiators in January

My old house is blessed with steam heat and old cast iron radiators. This is a lovely (but unfortunately more expensive) way to heat. We love the occasional clanking of the pipes and the comforting hissing sound that makes you feel all warm and cozy. Although our heating bill does not make us feel warm and cosy at all!
I am happy to say I am down to my last radiator to paint! They are a challenge in the nicest of weather. The small ones can be dragged outside and cleaned and painted in the fresh air but the large ones are so ungodly heavy that you really have to do them inside unless you are willing to pay some very beefy helpers to do the lugging.

Painting in January is crazy. I have to warm up the cold cast iron radiators and room with a space heater then spray paint them whilst enduring the fumes. Even a mask doesn't help much. Then open all the windows and turn on the fan. This exercise is repeated several times until all surfaces are coated. I'm sure my neighbors think I've flipped my lid seeing our new energy efficient windows wide open in single digit weather when heating oil is over $3.00 per gallon.
The look pretty nice all painted. It will be great to have them hooked back up when the floors are finished and get heat back in the room again. Of course it may be Spring by then..ha!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Peeling Back the Layers

I have been a time traveler in my own house this week. I started out by finding this forties or maybe fifties rose print which had sadly been painted over with a bubblegum pink paint. I am thinking very evil thoughts about past residents who paint over wallpaper. They create a hellish task for future house renovators! On top of that there is this sweet ticking and floral stripe that looks early 1960's to me.
Then I found a groovy seventies floral print.
This wonderful old print was in the spare room which will become the dressing room. I wish it was intact because I might have kept this one.
This eighties mauve and colonial blue border print was the most recent and the last (top) layer.
Here you can see how I had to chip away inch by inch through all the layers which required multiple soakings. The lovely pink paint splintered into millions of tiny chips which I had to wash down off the walls. I still need to sand to get rid of them all before the walls are ready to paint.
Three days and a bottle of Advil later. Voila! Beautiful plaster walls which look pretty good as is to me but I don't think my husband would appreciate this look. He doesn't get that shabby thing that I like.
As a side note, look at these vicious looking icicles we have hanging off of our roof right now. I feel like I am living in an ice palace.
More to come later....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Peek at my Project

We have an old house that was built in 1849. This is just one example of the bad renovations this poor old house has suffered. We are down to our last few rooms and our last major bathroom renovation, thank goodness! Here is a shot of me trying to get a good vantage point in this tiny bathroom by standing in the non-functioning tub. How do you like the eighties wallpaper and faux woodgrain vanity with the big balls for lighting. They have seen their day.
These two rooms were serving as my husband's office and my storage (or junk collecting) rooms. They will become a lovely master bedroom and dressing room/closet with an adjoining new bathroom.

Cleaning out is sometimes the hardest part of getting started on a project like this. Thank goodness for our local rummage sale. They got some large bags of donations this year!
Construction began the first week after Thanksgiving.
Wall has been torn out between new dressing room and old bathroom to make the bathroom larger. It will be long and narrow (5 x 13 ft) but still the biggest bathroom in the house.
Those old cast iron pipes will get replaced with new plumbing all the way down to the basement. Everytime we tear a room apart we are faced with this reality. Also notice the lack of insulation... at least our bathroom will be nicely insulated and we got replacement windows for the rest of the house so we are slowly closing some of the heating gaps.

Tearing out is the fast part. I will post some more later about the rebuilding part of the project!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2010 Creatively

I created a little mosaic of some of my 2010 projects. It does make me feel a bit more productive to see a sampling of them gathered together.
Still working on home renovations and not getting much studio or blog time lately. I will post pictures of the project but I've been so busy working! It is coming out great but I am going to bed each night with sore wrists and arms from all the painting and sanding.