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Posts Tagged ‘wallpaper’

It’s been a works-in-progress weekend at Guin’s Yard!

On Saturday, the dining room project started in earnest.   The wallpaper came down, making it a little less “off to see the wizard!” in the unflattering Emerald City kind of way.

For 25 year old wallpaper, it came off pretty well, and I’m pretty psyched to offer that anyone who wants my wallpaper steamer, let me know – because we now have a wallpaper-free house!

Before:

…and after:

At least in person, it looks strangely larger without the dark wallpaper.  There will be some wall repair; in a number of places the wallpaper took the underlying primer with it, but not too terribly much sheetrock damage.  It should be ready to prime and paint in a week or so’s time.

Speaking of painting, we’re making progress on settling the colors for the dining and living rooms.  We have big squares of test colors on the walls to help us decide:

From here, we narrowed things down:  the green in the upper right (SW Willow Tree) is out; the pale blue gray in the upper left (SW Sea Salt) is in for the living room and top of the dining room.  One of the two bottom colors (SW Silvermist, right; SW Oyster Bay, left) will go below the chair rail in the dining room.  But which one?

I couldn’t decide, so I painted more squares.  (Silvermist is on the left; Oyster Bay on the right.)  Guess what?  Still can’t decide… so I guess I can’t make a bad decision.

That little fabric square in the middle is the curtain swatch.  I ordered the curtains for the living & dining room, plus a fabric-bordered bamboo roman shade for over the kitchen sink on Saturday.  They should be here in 10 days or so!

Since I haven’t shown off the fabric draped on the back of the couch yet, I’ll do that now:

Three cheers for Joann Fabrics sales.  These four coordinating fabrics will be used to re-cover the seats on the dining chairs (set of 4 and set of 3), cover throw pillows for the couch (living room?  family room?  both?), and re-cover the stools that tuck under the sofa table (in the family room).  I’m excited to see them redone!

I also got the first coat of black paint on the legs of my end table project.  After six coats of polyurethane, I deemed the tops done:

and set up shop in the basement with primer and then black paint:

It’ll be another ?2 coats of black paint to finish, but they’re well on their way.  I’m really happy with how they’re coming along.

Finally, since the weekend wasn’t full enough (!?), we went to look at carpet for the living & dining rooms.  We’re finally getting around to doing that — although maybe just these two rooms for now.  We brought one of the sample boards home to stew over.  We’re still thinking berber, to hide traffic patterns (read:  Puppyapolis 500 loops) a little better than plush.

Since we want to use the same carpet throughout the carpeted rooms in the house, that knocks a lot of the colors out of the running.  “Golden retriever neutral” is the plan.

I’m thinking “Ecru,” 2nd from left in the top row.  Maybe.  (Since I’m doing so well with decisionmaking this weekend.)  I need to stare at it in a couple of different light situations to be sure.

At any rate, I didn’t finish a darn thing this weekend, which can sometimes be frustrating.  The house looks worse now than when I started, because the living room is piled with dining room furniture, the lamps are on the floor (because the end tables are belly up in the basement), and things are generally running amok.  But it still feels nice to be making measurable progress toward the rooms that I see in my imagination.  It also feels nice, when the world gets a little crazy, to be able to pick up a paint brush and just go change something.  I like having the space (and the to do list!) to do that.

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This project has had some seriously unforeseen staying power!  I’ve been waiting to post pictures of the finished half bath, but alas – it’s been more than 4 months since we “broke wallpaper” on the project, and if I was 12 again and on a car trip with my parents, they’d be telling me “20 minutes” in response to “Moooom, when are we gonna get there?”  So here’s rest stop detailing the progress.  We’ll start with…

…the Befores:

On deck for change:  the walls (from flowered wallpaper to paint), some of the hardware fixtures (the toilet paper holder looks, in person, sort of like a medieval torture device), and the vanity light fixture (which was the same as the glass bar fixture pictured in the full bath post).

Here’s how far we’ve come:

Check out those walls!  Theyre smooth!  And blue!

Check out those walls! They're smooth! And blue!

Don’t laugh.  We’re really proud of them.  🙂  The wallpaper didn’t come off as easily as the upstairs bathroom’s.  Upstairs, the thick textured wallpaper peeled off in huge swaths; the arduous part was scrubbing the glue off the walls.  Downstairs, the wallpaper was thin and much more inseparable from the sheetrock.  Too much steaming, and the wallboard got soaked.  Not enough steaming, and the wallpaper shredded.  There was no winning.  We steamed it off in one day, but it was a long day – 12 or 13 hours of taking turns with the steamer, swapping out whenever the steamer got a headache (or the munchies), whichever came first.

Sleepy Blue (SW6225)

Sleepy Blue (SW6225)

Next we spent 5-6 weeks, from mid-November to days before Christmas, spackling, sanding, and repeating.  Unfortunately, when we took the wallpaper down… the wall came with it in a lot of places.  We rebuilt the entire section of wall between the sink and toilet, which had been damaged by water and blackish purple mold (ick) from where a wet hand towel probably hung for 25 years.  We took down the toilet paper holder and hand towel ring, and patched the holes.  Then came the primer, and about a week before Christmas we were ready to paint.  Two coats and a toilet tank re-installation later (it had to come out to get to the walls behind it) we had a usable, BLUE half bath, bringing us back up to two working loo’s with a day or two to spare before our 11 guests arrived for Christmas dinner!

In January, we picked back up with the vanity light project.  The walls were a lot more involved than we’d expected, so we hoped this would go smoothly.  It didn’t.

We wound up doing more wall rebuilding when we discovered that the light fixture we’d chosen didn’t fit the electrical box that was already there, and the sheetrock had deteriorated to the point that we could push screw anchors straight through it.  So we did some more wall repair, and some more painting.  Fast forward to March:  the light fixture is finally up!  And…

…junk.  With only one of the three glass bells up, it’s already resting on the the mirror door of the cabinet.  With the other two bells installed, the door wouldn’t open or close, and it would look really disproportionate.

So now we need to find a flat mirror (not a cabinet) that will tuck behind the lights.

I never loved the medicine cabinet; I thought the depth made the small room feel smaller, and the honey oak finish isn’t a winner — but I was looking forward to finishing the room and moving on.  Looks like it’s back to the drawing board – this is the highest-effort 20 square feet in the house from an updating perspective!

I guess we’ll be keeping the “construction zone” look for a few weeks more!  (Wish us luck – we’re hoping hanging a new mirror won’t result in more wall structure issues!)

At least the walls look good!

At least the walls look good!

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This is where we started:

As a quick inventory of problem items and challenges, I see:

The walls:  textured wallpaper in a floral/Japanese garden print.  Not only am I not a huge fan of wallpaper generally, but I find this pattern a little busy, and definitely not ‘me’.  A little more objectively, it’s also starting to peel at the application seams a bit.

The floor is more challenge than problem.  Since it’s in good condition and we generally like blue, we’re keeping it – but it’s going to limit the colors and looks that we can realistically go for.  That complicates repurposing bathroom accessories from our old house, most of which were sage green.

I also prefer to decorate rooms so that the flooring is not the boldest or most interesting thing in room, because I find myself looking down all the time.  I’ll be

looking to balance it a little better with more color on the top half of the walls – which apparently needs to be blue!

The light fixtures:  Although they’re not in the picture, both the construction-grade vanity fixture and the overhead fixture (heat lamp/fan) could use replacement.

The shower curtain rod – as silly as it sounds, the shower curtain rod was rusty, and made the room feel dingy.

Let’s get a better look at that wallpaper, shall we…?

NICE!

We found 4 extra rolls of it in the closet.  Just in case we… wanted to do another room with it?  Here we also have a mid-project shot of that vanity light fixture.

While I’m noticing that paint can on the floor — ceiling paint that goes on purple and dries white — awesome stuff.  We were able to do a much better job painting the ceiling with that paint than with standard ceiling paint.  I’ve seen both Valspar’s and Sherwin-Williams’ versions; Valspar’s is about $10/gallon less expensive.  No comment yet on relative quality!

And, TA-DA! – the finished result:

The odd pinkish cast seems to be the camera's fault - sorry!

DSC_0037Ok, so the sage green towels aren’t great – but we have six bath towels in that color that we’d like to keep using, and I promise, the colors work a little better in person!  We tried for a shower curtain that would work with both the blue and green, which was a relatively tall order.  This one came from Bed Bath & Beyond.

New vanity light fixture

New vanity light fixture. With 3 bulbs, it's much brighter than the old 2-bulb fixture, not to mention much nicer to look at.

We replaced the straight, rusty shower curtain bar with a new curved chrome finish one, which would also match the new light fixture.

Mountain Air SW6224

Mountain Air SW6224

The walls are Sherwin-Williams Mountain Air (SW6224), in matte Duration Home paint.  The color is from the same paint chip as the family room/downstairs half bath Sleepy Blue – but one shade lighter.  Sleepy Blue would have looked great with the floor, but I was concerned that the dark blue floor next to white tile, next to a strong blue on the walls, it would break up the space too much and make it feel smaller, rather than more open.  We also wanted to be able to use the blue valence for the window, since we already owned it, and it matched the floor.  It did pretty well, being re-homed from the living room in the old house, to here.

So, in a couple of weekends (and admittedly a lot of elbow grease), we went from here:
to here:
DSC_0032
I think it looks a lot bigger now – and the light blue walls, darker blue valance, and blue in the shower curtain balance the blue floor much better.  The bright chrome finish of the new light and shower curtain rod, and the extra wattage also leave it feeling brighter and cleaner.  All in all, I’m much happier with the room now, and as bathroom updates go, this one was really very inexpensive.  I’m still looking for something to hang on the wall over the toilet, but I’m not sure what would stand up to the steam of the shower.

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