The Project Spiral

I’ve been dying to plank the ceilings upstairs for a long time. I am not a fan of the old ceiling tile squares and to make matters worse, they are badly installed and the lines aren’t straight and there’s an inch gap on all sides which is wonky and used to allow dead bugs to fall down (before I caulked them). It is a Type A nightmare for sure. (And no, we are not surprised that something done in this house was poorly done).

Let’s take a moment though to talk about a little thing I call the “Project Spiral”… if you’ve ever done any sort of project, this may sound familiar. The situation in the yellow bedroom upstairs is a perfect example of the project spiral. I had a short term roommate for a couple months. It should have been fine but ended up being kind of weird and complicated. Regardless, she didn’t spend much time at the house and when she did, she spent most of that time shut in her room. When she moved in at the end of October, I moved out of that bedroom and into the “kid” bedroom figuring it is easier to displace myself for guests than a roommate. I love that little yellow bedroom. It gets great light and though it is tiny, there’s something very cozy about it. It has the old textured plaster walls but I painted it and put a new laminate floor and thought it was pretty great.

Righto. So the roommate moved out and I was having house guests coming so I thought I’d just clean the room, maybe rearrange furniture, swap out the dressers, and call it good. Of course I actually want to plank the ceilings and thought maybe this would be a good time- seeing as no one is living in this room or staying in this room. Plus it is a tiny space to try the planking in and very budget friendly. Maybe…

IMG_0356Around this time, I overreacted to the incredibly busy-ness of the last three weeks and scheduled myself at home. Every night. Because burn out, people, burn out. Work is insane. I had overscheduled my evenings for several weeks. And I needed home time more than anything else. So there I was, at home, in my paint sweats, and decided to paint this old Craigslist stool to turn it into a bedside table for the guest bedroom. A nice low key paint project that I could do in my living room, surrounded by dogs, while watching Fixer Upper. Hard to go wrong really. I paint the stool one night, wax it the following night, and then take it up to see how it fits into the bedroom.

I should mention that the bedroom is 10 feet by 7 feet (about the size of an average walk in closet). A full size bed takes up the entire width of the room. There’s not a lot of room to play with. But being the eternal optimist, of course I think I can rearrange things and find space that isn’t there. So I’m scooting the bed to put the newly painted stool turned bedside table (to hold the newly painted lamp). And I notice the walls look really dirty. You can see the outline of all the places the roommate had put up pictures. On closer inspection I realize it is soot. I knew she was burning candles up there– fine– and never opened the door– fine– but I wasn’t expecting this! Sigh. I decide to see if I can rotate the bed so I have to remove the mattress and box spring. When I do, I notice there are coffee spills on all sides of the bed– and coffee stains running down the wall where the bed was. Really?? We can’t wipe up coffee when we spill it all over the bed and wall?? I go downstairs and get some cleaner and rags and start scrubbing down everything.

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It is while scrubbing down the walls I notice there is a bunch of adhesive gunk on the wall and in several spots it has actually pulled the paint off. What?? I mean, who glues stuff to the wall?? Particularly knowing you’re only going to be there a couple months? Now I’m just annoyed because I am going to have to repaint. On the other hand,, this room was originally painted with one gallon of unknown clearance yellow ($5 baby). Naturally there’s a bit left for touch up but not enough for repainting the whole room. Ugh. And touching up walls that have been covered in soot is not going to work.

And thus the spiral…
Paint a stool to use as a bedside table =>
Rearrange furniture =>
Find soot and coffee stains all over the walls =>
Scrub walls =>
Find adhesive and peeled paint on walls =>
Must repaint the walls…
and if I’m going to repaint, I might as well go ahead and plank the ceiling amiright? That also leads to upgrading the window trim and painting that too, and while I’m doing trim, I should probably swap out door trim too so it all matches…

The project spiral.
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I decide to pull off one ceiling tile to see what is underneath, fully aware that this is the point of no return. The tiles are very solidly glued to the original plaster ceiling. (Maybe I was secretly hoping to find old planked ceilings already there– alas old plaster ceilings covered with adhesive holds far less appeal for me). I see no reason to remove the ceiling tiles and will just glue and nail the planks over the existing ceiling tiles. Let’s call it extra insulation, shall we?

So I went to Home Depot after work on Thursday. I got sheets of luan board (very thin plywood often used as underlayment). A whopping $12 per 4×8 sheet. I need 3 sheets for this room but decided to get 4 since I know myself well enough to know I may need it. I asked the nice man at HD to cut it down into 8″ strips (the long way). He said they have a new minimum of 12″. Darn. I thought for a moment. I mean, I do have a table saw and could cut them down myself (other than the fact that I can’t transport a full 4×8 sheet in my CRV). Honestly I don’t want to. I ask the guy how wide his blade is (1/8″) so I ask him to cut the sheets down to 11 7/8 (so they will all be evenly sized) and I decide to just go for the wider plank look. Anything is going to be better than the ugly ceiling tiles.

Once I got home, I notice he cut the planks 11 5/8 instead of 7/8. Meh. What is done is done. I could cut these all in half at home– hmmm– I opt to just go with the wider boards.

Next Up: Actually planking the ceiling…

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