I was going to make it a blog along project– but I got rather absorbed into the project (and the events that followed) and forgot all about the blog after Friday night- so we’ll do an after-the-fact blog along project (lame!).
After battling traffic to get home Friday evening after Mass, I was ready to work!! So I started by moving almost everything out of the room (mattresses, toys, play kitchen, fort out of blankets and pillows, etc). Here’s the before views:
I pulled dozens of anchors out of the walls. And a few wouldn’t come out. So I removed a bunch of floor trim and then started caulking the ceiling to the wall up around the perimeter. I get part way through that and come across those anchors I couldn’t remove. So I went to get some better tools and waste a bunch of time trying to get the anchors out. As I’m finally pulling it out, it pulls the paneling / board off the wall with it, splintering a big piece of the paneling. Hmmmmm. It’s a slippery slope (and one I suspected I may slide down in the midst of this project). I started tugging the rest of that piece of paneling. The wall underneath while clearly old plaster, doesn’t look terrible. Maybe I should go whole hog and remove all the paneling… So I take down another piece. And of course I realize that I’m past the point of no return (not my favorite place to land). Even that first piece coming down was the point of no return because now you’ve got paneling everywhere else and one big non-paneling spot. The paneling all had to go (and I have to admit some secret pleasure mixed with the dread of escalating the project). The walls were far from perfect — zillions of nail holes, uneven spots, the corners were all a mess, some cracks… all repairable. These walls will not be perfect – they will basically have old plaster / repair texture like the other bedroom – and I’m okay with that. And they will be a lot better than the painted paneling (poorly installed) with tons of holes and nails sticking out and uneven seams.
The walls consist of bare plaster, covered with wallpaper, painted over numerous times. There’s no way that wallpaper is coming off. As much as it pains me to leave it, I don’t know any way around it. The writing on the wall indicated who I can blame for the terrible paneling and tells me that it went up in 1975, the year my parents were married. And then was painted over several times and you can tell where it started to come off the walls because there were lots more brad nails randomly tacking it to the wall.
I found a partial can of joint compound in my project stash but need a bigger plaster knife to skim coat the walls. Since it was 11 pm, I just filled the outdoor garbage cans with paneling pieces (and then decided they are too heavy to move downstairs solo). Midnight found me on the couch making a list for an early morning home improvement store run. And then I was too tired to clear out my bedroom doorway of all the trim pieces so I just crashed there on the couch.
As is often the case if I sleep on the couch, I woke up to a cold dog nose (Maggie) much earlier than I wanted. For some reason, Maggie believes if I am asleep on the couch, it is okay to whine in my face at 6 am, rather than waiting till later in the morning as she has to when I’m unreachable upstairs. Sigh. I rolled over and went back to sleep until 8 (I clearly have to teach her a lesson!). I put coffee on, threw on some home improvement clothes, and headed for Lowes for a bigger putty knife and a couple other supplies. By 9, I was home drinking coffee and skimming joint compound on the walls. The skimming took a long time. Really it was a combination of scraping the walls, skimming over the uneven parts (90% of the wall), and then repairing large cracks and the corners. I used repair tape in the corners and then generously coated them and formed a new corner. It took a long time to dry but worked out. I think if I practiced a lot, I could get good at this. Alas, my first time it certainly isn’t anything to brag about. I will say that the holes are filled, the corners have some kind of form again, and no one should ever look really closely at these walls.
Somewhere around noon I ran out of joint compound, only about halfway through the room so of course I had to run back to the store for another big bucket. This stuff is pink when you put it on so it is easier to see when it has dried. I skim coated for a couple more hours and then had to shower and run out the door to set up for Mass. So I’m gone from 3.15 till after 6. I got home, made some dinner, and collapsed on the couch for an hour. Major crash.
Somehow I managed to pull my tired self back off the couch and back up to the room that had gone from army green cave to a look I call “prison cell chic”… not lovely. The walls weren’t dry enough to sand and paint and the horrid carpet was staring up at me. Ugh. So I ripped up the horrid, smelly, stained carpet and dragged it downstairs. I ignored the wisdom of Friday night (realizing the heavy trash cans were too heavy for one person) and managed to move them down the stairs one step at a time, very carefully. I lugged the carpet into my car and took it down to the curb. Good riddance! Next I ripped out nasty, smelly, horrid carpet pad and then ripped up the tack strips. By now it was midnight and time to crash. I was so happy that I’d already gone to Mass and had done the truly unpleasant parts of the job. I could throw a coat or two of paint on the walls the next day. As I laid on the couch again, every muscle in my body was twitching from all the heavy lifting. I knew tomorrow was going to be painful but hey, sometimes that’s the price of doing business, right?
Once again, Sunday started with an early whine (which I ignored again- consistency is key or so they tell me). And then I really woke up shortly after 7. My first thought was to notice that I hurt everywhere. The second was a prayer of thanks that I didn’t have to move for a while yet and had gone to Mass the night before. Two minutes after that heartfelt prayer my cell phone rang. It was my sister, calling from the hospital. “Didn’t you get our text?” Uh… my phone was on vibrate and I was pretty dead to the world. Anyway, her water had broken and they were at the hospital to have the baby, a week early as I’d been praying for!! And then “Can you go get the kids and take them for the day?” Sure! Of course! So I hauled my hurting self off the couch, threw on some clothes, and ran out the door to get the kids to Mass. So I didn’t get any painting done. My house wasn’t really prepped for visitors but I moved aside home improvement supplies and pulled out the toys. We had a great day together- I sure do have awesome nieces and nephews!! One of our outings for the day was to take them to my brother’s house so the kids could meet their cousin Christopher for the first time (okay fine, I missed him and needed to see his sweet face too). They are all so great.
The afternoon brought nap time for Mary Grace, though she thought she didn’t need one, I convinced her that Aunt Reenie’s bed was the place to be and I supplied her with adequate blankies and dollies and stuffed kitties to facilitate a nice 3 hour nap. Meanwhile the other kids played and read and scratched Suzie, my friend Karen stopped by for a brief visit and brought us a chicken for dinner (what a Godsend!), and then we got the phone call! Cecilia Joy arrived at 3:22 pm! A beautiful girl weighing in at a petite 7 lbs 3 oz, 19.5 inches long. Good labor and delivery for Mom. Hooray!! I started dinner preparations, fed the people, and then we headed for the hospital to meet the new girlie. Of course, everyone loved her, lots of oohing and aahhing and wanting to snuggler her sweet little self. I was no exception. I don’t think it matters how many times you meet a new baby, they are always so perfect, so sweet, and such a perfect expression of God’s love for us.
My dad took the kids back to his house for bed and I went home to clean up after dinner. Beat. Sore all over. With a prison cell chic bedroom to work on some other day. And so incredibly thankful for another tiny person in my life.
Monday evening found this tired person sanding the walls down. Running out to Milan to drop off a meal and swap cars. And then heading home to get a coat of primer on everything – walls and ceiling. It highlighted the places that needed additional sanding and spackling and confirmed my suspicion that these walls are very textured. It was hard to see how textured with the old paint, joint compound, and random writing all over the walls.
Tuesday evening, still tired. Went to a Penance service and Confession. So I got a very late start on the painting. Managed to paint the ceiling (only needs 1 coat because I’d already primed it). And I got the first coat of color on the walls.
Here’s what I have to say about the color: If there is a patron saint of finding the perfect colors in the mis-tint aisle, I have somehow managed to curry favor with that saint (let’s pretend it has nothing to do with the frequency I visit home improvement stores, shall we?). I had bought a gallon of $5 mis-tint light blue a couple months ago with this room in mind- but I was nervous only having one gallon because the other, smaller bedroom used almost an entire gallon, so this one could need more. So I’ve been scoping and was trying to decide if I should mix this pale blue (that I really like) with a beige or green that I already had to make enough to cover the room. Well last week I was at Lowes (one of the three trips there) and there was a gallon of pale blue that looked incredibly close to the one I already had. Last night when I mixed them together it was hard to even tell the difference between cans, they were nearly identical! And the paint was really thick and went on with great coverage. I will do one final coat and call it done (*and by done I mean the ceiling and wall painting done– the project goes on). Thank you patron saint of clearance paint, you are my new favorite!
And then there’s the chimney… it appears the chimney was covered with plaster and also wallpapered and painted. But there is a lot of construction adhesive as well. I am trying to decide how I want to deal with it. I could plank it with wood. I could try to remove the rest of the wallpaper and adhesive and just paint it. There’s also the consideration that I may widen the chimney to bring the HVAC up from the basement, so I don’t want to overdo it in case I have to undo it. Hmmm. So I’ve avoided it thus far and it is keeping the prison chic look going for the time being.
~~~~ Thursday ~~~~~
Thursday evening was a night scheduled to be home!! All evening!! I spackled a few small holes still showing up and then painted the second coat of blue. I LOVE the color. It looks so peaceful and so much lighter than the army green. I’m also thrilled to have curtains that I can re-use from the old house – I think I need to cut it in half and sew a few seams and then put up a curtain rod. I also spent too much time scraping the chimney and not getting very far. I’m more and more convinced that I should just paint over what is there and then do a wood planked chimney when I widen it later.
Stay tuned for more progress…