…and then there was paint…

…and what a difference it makes!

It took the collective efforts of two girlfriends, three masks, about a half dozen bottles of beer and lots and lots of elbow grease to get those walls sanded down and ready for texture.  Then putting on the texture was fairly seamless (though we did have to go to Home Depot 4 times on Saturday to keep buying bottles of texture), which means we could then prime, then paint and VOILA!  Painted room!!!  The color is Light French Gray by Behr and is a very light and airy blue-gray color.  I love the color!  It’s definitely very calming and soothing – and certainly better than looking at holes in walls!!!

Speaking of holes in walls:

…haha….yea…still no shower yet.  We finally *finally* decided on a shower “system” for our shower (more on that later).  Once that hurdle was out of the way, we could finally get around to installing plumbing.  Once the plumbing was installed (and checked and double checked for leaks) we could put up the vapor barrier!  After that it comes walls, then the tiles!!  Wheeee!!!  Still much to be done in here, but it’s progressive.

Ok, so now about the shower “system”.  Since we gave ourselves about 6 extra square feet of showering space, we thought it would be fun to have two shower heads – ya know, for parties and stuff!  I personally like the flexibility of having a shower wand for cleaning (and the occasional dog bath) but I prefer a fixed shower head (waaaay prettier!).  So we got both!  We had to compromise and get chrome, which we are finding is so much cheaper than brushed nickle or oil-rubbed bronze (which we prefer).  Chrome is a little harder to keep clean (and fingerprint free!), but when it’s clean and shiny it kind of has the same effect as a clean black car – sharp, glitzy and glam!  Chrome it is from here on out!  The other thing we figured out was that buying a shower “system” is damn expensive!  We looked all over the place (including Overstock, the big box stores, directly from the manufacturer, etc, etc) before I found Faucetdirect.com.  It’s so much easier to use than Overstock (at least when it comes to bathroom fixtures anyway) and they’re headquartered in Kennewick, Washington, which is only a hop-skip from Portland so we literally ordered our faucets and got them about two days later – score!  I think we’ll be making a return trip to their store when we get around to the tub and sink faucets…le sigh…

Oh, do you wanna see something weird?  So it’s probably not readily evident in the photos, but we moved the shower wall out a wee bit and reduced the loo wall a wee bit (we don’t need THAT much privacy, okay?).  But tell me if you can spot the big change in the photos below??  Hint – focus on the light fixture…

Before we moved the walls...

After we moved the walls...

Did you figure it out?  When we moved and patched up the walls, we “centered” the light fixture.  No, we didn’t move the light fixture.  But NOW it is centered….ahh builders and their irregular measurements and design sensibilities.  Don’t they know lights should be centered??  Le sigh….Oh, and we still have to finish patching the ceiling and paint it, but we’ll wait to do that until later…

If I had to predict?  I’d say we still have four-five more weekends left of work plus some last minute touch ups.  Given the fact that we have to wait on outside factors for the shower door and counters, I’m hoping we’ll get everything wrapped up by Memorial Day….sorry, sis…looks like we’ll still be sharing a bathroom when you come and visit!  😦

We’re remodeling our master bathroom and it’s a doozy!  You can click on the following links below to see what it’s all about: The Bathroom begins…, Demolition Day 1 and Day 2 and how we got rid of all that trash!  Our budget and a tile preview and a little look-see into what MY view is when my hubby is installing electrical and a video view of what all of the demolition looked like before we started installing things. Check out our desperate attempt to keep the house clean while we renovate and another video update with a sneak peek at our gorgeous marble floors!  Then you can also see moments of despair as we struggle to maintain sanity after over a month of bathroom renovating!  Stay tuned for more updates!

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Room of Requirement Progress….it’s getting there….

It’s not finished….but the BIG things are finished, namely the painting, crown molding and trim work to jazz up the cheap Billy Bookcases.  Yes, we took $60 bookcases and put crown molding on them (well, actually just really chunky chair rail because it’s easier to work with) and they look so much more custom and built-in and expensive.  Adding the doors and accessorizing them “monochromatically” also helps!  Ah hell, pictures are better!  Just sit back and soak it in..

All right, I just gave you a whole bunch of data without writing anything but I’d imagine one of the first things you’re thinking is, “What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks have you done behind that couch?!”  That’d be a cityscape and, yes, we painted that – it’s not a stick on or anything like that and we did it with….drumroll please….painter’s tape!!!  Just like our stripe routine in the laundry room from long ago (you can read about how we painted stripes in our laundry room by clicking here and take a peek at what it looks like now by clicking here):

And honestly, it was actually much simpler because we didn’t need to worry about being completely straight or level (which is pretty obvious when you’re standing in the room – haha!).  Here’s how the room was looking when we were taping the wall out:

The only “building” we really tried to copy was the Sears Tower (which is backwards and it’s not called that anymore, but don’t tell anybody – oops!).  Outside of that the composition was very random and we kind of like the haphazard approach to it – doesn’t seem too perfect or imperfect.  We actually used “Frog Tape” for this because we’ve heard wondrous things about it.  To be honest, I was kind of skeptical because we have textured walls in our house and we did the Laundry Room (above) with regular ol’ blue painter’s tape and a coat of glaze and had no issues.  But everybody *says* it’s the best, so we figured we’d give it a try.  Let me just take a little detour and tell you about Green Painter’s Tape:

  • Supposedly it has moisture lock out technology – kind of like diapers.  Once you paint over it, it supposedly “seals” to the wall with no worries.
  • If you’re doing something like what we did above, first you paint your base coat, wait for it to dry about 48 hours, hang your tape, then paint the same base coat color over the painter’s tape – this adheres it to the wall.
  • Then you paint your other color over top of that (after it’s dry, of course!), do another coat and then take the tape down before it has a chance to dry after the second coat.

So here’s how it actually happened in Tell’er All About It land, whose rules just aren’t the same as in Frog Tape Land:

  • Paint Walls, wait 24 hours, attempt to tape, tape falls down…..begin to cry.
  • Wait another 24-48 hours for dark paint to dry – AGAIN – then put up tape.  Still not sticking!  If you look at the pic above, you can see we were having trouble getting it to stick all around.  Beginning to think this green tape junk is bunk…
  • Decide to forge ahead and paint the base coat on the painter’s tape to see if this “magic moisture lock out” marketing broo-ha-ha is worth it’s weight in gold, especially with our “orange peel” textured walls.  Green tape stays on the wall, but there are pretty obvious gaps between the tape and the wall.  We just paint extra paint in the hopes that it’ll learn its lesson.
  • Begin painting the lighter color…

  • …decide to dive right in and just paint the whole darn thing.  If it leaks…well….what’s the worst that can happen?  We have to touch up paint?  Whatever….
  • Dr. J stays up ’til midnight to paint the second coat, rips down the tape and does a happy dance….it sort of worked!  But L-blogger’s asleep…probably shouldn’t wake her up….will wait ’til morning.

You can see for yourselves how it turned out, but this was of course after we did all of the touch up painting:

How would I rate the Green Frog Tape?  I’d give it a B- on textured walls.  I think it does the job well enough, but we still had to touch up paint a few places on the wall (especially our criss cross building in the far right corner).  In fact, when we painted our laundry room a year and a half ago, we used regular ol’ painter’s tape with the glazing method and I have to say that I think it did a much better job.  Now that could also be because our lines were very even and symmetrical and the paint surface (a Valspar paint brand instead of a Glidden paint brand) felt much “dryer” than the surface we were dealing with above (hence, the paint was able to stick better).  But I consider Glidden (a Home Depot brand) to be vastly superior to Valspar paint (a Lowe’s brand) in every possible way, including coverage and durability, so I’m definitely not knocking Glidden here.  A lot of the issue here really stems from our textured walls, which make it impossible to paint over.  I think in the future I’ll go back to the glazing method instead of the paint method.  It’s more “glue like” and sticks better than paint, but that’s just my two cents.

In the end, though, we’re really happy with the wall mural.  It’s something unexpected in a house that screams “builder’s basic blah”.  But remember, we are NO WHERE close to done in here.  We still have a ton of touch up painting to do, furniture to bring in, accessories (btw, we’re doing lime/apple green accents in case you couldn’t tell), pictures to hang, etc, etc.  But it’s getting there….

PS  I’ll post more detailed info on how we trimmed up the Billy Bookcases in another post so stay tuned for that.

The Room of Requirement gets teased…

Here’s a little teaser for all of your painting woes….and when I say woe….I really mean WHOA!

…and if you’re looking for some comparison photo ops, then look no further than….

If you follow me on Facebook, then you probably now understand why I said a few weeks back – sometimes neutral just doesn’t cut it….

Cork floor Redux

I’ve missed writing, I’ve missed all of my readers, and I’ve missed working on my house this summer!  Where have we been?!?  Can you say “crazy is the new normal”?  Let’s just say that we’ve been busy spending time and money on everything BUT the house and so there isn’t much to report.  And to give you a slight glimpse into the craziness that has been our lives lately, I have to share this project that took us two months to complete and it’s probably one of the most inconsequential things we’ve done to the house thusfar!  Hilarious, right?!!  But here goes nothin’!

Do you remember awhile back when we installed the Cork flooring??  You can click on those underlined links over there to remind yourselves.  Go on, I’ll wait…..ok, enough reminiscing!  Basically, we have this huge upstairs hallway that just serves as a pass-thru to all of the bedrooms and our *now* snazz-i-fied upstairs laundry room (pause for a litle bit of eye candy mayhem!):

…but when we installed the floors oh, so long ago (nearly three months of “cork-i-ness” and I am still lovin’ it!!) we left a few items blissfully incomplete and decided that we would get around to it eventually with absolutely no rush needed.  Namely the shoe moldings and toe kicks.  Here are a few pics to show you the goods:

Hallway before shoe molding

Hallway after show molding

I know it’s hard to see…oh, and do you like our dog bowl get-up?  Seriously, our dogs are the most spoiled dogs this side of the Milky Way.  I had this brilliant idea to buy this boot tray from Ballard Designs as a method to corral all of our boots and shoes in a cute-sy Pacific NW kind of way, but when we adopted Tiki, we realized that her “drinking problem” (i.e. – gets more water on the floor than in her mouth) created a perfect opportunity for *my* beautiful boot tray to become an easier-to-clean drink tray – le sigh.  What I wouldn’t do to have a non-drooly dog – and she’s twenty pounds!!!!!  But I digress…..on to more befores and afters…

Hallway before shoe molding

Upstairs hallway after

Delicious shoe molding completed…and, wait…what’s that I see?  Wait, didn’t that vent used to be white?  Go ahead and look – I’m not stopping you!  Very perceptive, my young padawan.  When we had the white-ish/creamy carpet in this upstairs hallway (go here to see some shudder-inducing before photos) the floor vent was painted white and sort of receded into the carpet with no muss, no fuss.  But as soon as we finished up the cork flooring (which has brown-ish/red tones in it), that white floor vent stood out like Britney Spears at a MENSA conference and it was just screaming for a little makeover.  And it’s really nothing that a  little bit of $5 spray paint can’t cure (leftover from this spray-painting project from over a year ago, so this makeover actually ended up being F-R-E-E!).  It was super simple, too!  In fact, there were only 5 steps:

  1. Remove vent
  2. Give it a quick clean up (wet rag + dry cloth)
  3. Turn it over and paint the underside first – let dry

  1. Flip it over and paint the top – let dry
  2. Voila, you’re done!

…and since we’ve used this spray paint for over a year now on our towel holders, knobs, and faucets in our master bath with nary a chip in sight, we felt pretty confident that putting it on a floor vent (which gets some occasional foot traffic) wouldn’t be such a big deal!  And we were right!  It’s held up beautifully and looks just as good, too!  I admit, though, that this vent has no moving parts (it’s a return vent) and if it did, I might feel differently about spraying it on a vent that had wheels and pulleys, but that’s just me.

…and what about those shoe  moldings?  Let’s just say that Dr. J is pretty awesome and managed to take his time (per my request to just “take it easy” this summer) and just worked on that as he had the opportunity – hey, I’m all about putting my hubby to work, but after our laundry reno earlier this summer, we definitely needed a break!  And I think he did a fab job – check out his handiwork here:

…and for those of you who have ever cut shoe moldings/baseboard, then you know that my hubs did a pretty good amateur job!  Hey, I’m proud of him!  And even though it took us two months, I’m happy to report that we didn’t stress one bit having houseguests galore over this summer with and without shoe molding installed.  Lesson learned, ladies and gentleman – enjoy life, and NOT a perfect house.

Belly up to the bar!

It’s been six months since our beadboard bar makeover and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results!  It’s held up really well to a fair amount of abuse, but we felt like it was missing something:

….can you guess what it is?

Yup, we *finally* purchased barstools to go with our, ahem….BAR!  Nobody ever said we were quick to the punch here at Tell’er All About It!  Actually, it just took us a long time to agree on a style that we liked and we are uber stoked with these.  We like that the lines are simple and uncluttered and as much as we both wanted to have a “back” on our barstool, what we’ve found is that these are very easy to slide in and out of without much heaving and ho-ing which just encourages people to belly up even more.  And since they are fairly small, they tuck underneath the bar when not in use, which frees up our very limited floorspace for more important tasks like throwing toys around with Maggie and the occasional cleaning job (sadly, perhaps a little too occasional).  Also, we can safely say that we’ve had one get-together already and they proved to be very popular!  Alas, there was a problem…

…the color of the corbel (which is an orangey-red) totally clashes with the espresso tone of the barstools (which matches all of the other wood tones in our family room area to a tee!).  Annoying!  Well, annoying if you are Dr. J and I (and, believe it or not, he actually brought it up first before I had the chance!  Love that guy!).  Well, it’s nothing a little paint can’t fix!

Basically we primed the corbels (pronounced COR-bulls if you’re curious) in a white primer and then painted them the same color as our baseboards and our beadboard (Valspar’s DuJour in Semi-gloss)!  Now nothing clashes and it makes for a much more classy and chic after effect.  Here is the less clashy and more streamlined after:

It’s amazing what a little paint can do!  The thing we like most about this is that now the corbels don’t stick out like sore thumbs like they used to.  But you can bet your bottom dollar that Dr. J and I were kicking ourselves for being such doofuses to not paint these back when we updated the bar to begin with.  Le sigh.  What’re ya gonna do?

So You Tell’Us! What do you think?!  Would you have painted the corbels or left them as-is?  What about the barstools?  Are you a fan of backless ones or must your barstools have backs?  So many questions!

Before & After Bliss: Be our Guest…Room!

It’s finito!  The Guest Room is finally finished and we can finally break out the good china and start singin’ “Be Our Guest” like the Broadway singers we are….not!  Not only does this transformation look like a million bucks, but it smells better than its former “Smoking Allowed” persona!  It’s certainly not “new carpet” smell, but that will come later when we finally shell out the big bucks for new carpet (probably sometime in 2011-2012).  We also have the satisfaction of knowing that we didn’t spend an arm and a leg for this gorgeous transformation – though we did *use* our arms and legs….and backs and knees and feet….ouch!  We’re still hurtin’ from this transformation and glad that it’s over!  But what about the big reveal?!  Ok, fine – here it is!  Remember what this dull Builder’s Buttercream painted room looked like before we moved in?

Well, here’s what it looks like as of now…after our Ben-Gay inducing transformation and without the benefit of sunshine to brighten things up a bit:

Isn’t the beadboard-plate rail combo just dee-lish?  And doesn’t it just provide a certain little some’n some’n to that room?  The plate rail is probably my favorite part of the whole room – architecture *and* organization in one?!  Seriously H-A-W-T!  And what’s even better, is that this project has been weighing heavy on our minds ever since we broke out the Monty Python references back in September with the proclamation of our Quest!  And here we are, close to 6 months later and it’s *finally* completed!  And it couldn’t come soon enough – Dr. J’s Grandmother is coming to visit this month and we wanted to be sure to get it all ready for its proverbial close up in time for her anticipated (though brief) arrival!  But enough about that, here are a few close up shots of the Guest Room in case you can’t make the flight out to the Pacific Northwest…

We still need to hang some artwork and play with furniture arrangement a bit but overall, we’re super excited about the results and can’t wait to welcome guests to our new digs when they come to visit!  We still can’t decide if the bed on the beadboard is a permanent home or if we should put it in front of the window for an added sense of drama and a better view to that gorge beadboard!  Eventually, when we go to sell, we’ll probably “stage” it so the bed is in front of the window so that potential buyers can look at the pretty woodwork, but the room does flow better this way.  But seriously, You Tell’Us!  How did we do and would you want to come visit us in the Pacific Northwest now that you have a swank bathroom and spiffed up guest bedroom to sleep in?!

And lastly, are we crazy?  Probably so, but you’ll either be devastated or excited to know that Tell’er All About It has decided to take a mini-spring break and hold out on major renos and DIYs for at least a couple of weeks.  We’ll explain more on why later, but I can tell you that a) I’m not pregnant (so stop asking!) and b) it’s yet another bribery technique to get people to come and visit – hehe!

So how did we get to this point?  Feel free to check in on our other installments in this room, like how we came up with a plan, choosing the paint colors, hanging and painting beadboard, and installing the crowning achievement in this room, baseboards and crown!

Paint our Guest….room….

Sing it with me, people!

Paint our Guest! Paint our Guest!

Put our Brushes to the Test!

Tape the walls and stir the paint, Cherie,

And we’ll create a mess!

A poet and lyricist I am not, but a DIY-ing machine…..? Well, *that’s* another story.

Normally, I wouldn’t devote an entire post to painting, but I have to admit that I did *not* (I repeat) did *not* use my no fear patent-pending-no-fail-color-picking process.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Instead of trying to find the right color for our walls by picking up multiple chips and then painting said chips on the walls, I just went for a straight-to-video color match – i.e. I had a pretty color specific palette already picked out with this Pottery Barn bedding, which I just brought to the paint store to match up:

While the colors are on my hit list to get rid of, the money I save by re-using it is priceless (i.e. – FREE!). There are plenty of colors to choose from on that bedding, but how to choose the right ones?  Looking around the rest of our house, it’s pretty obvious that we generally like soft, neutral colors (see The Nickel Tour if you don’t believe me!). However, we both agreed that the soft, neutral colors, while beautiful and soothing, were already well represented throughout our house and we were ready to try something a little bit different! Not only that, but since this is a bedroom (i.e. it has a door and can be closed off from public view), it really allowed us to go a little bolder than we would normally just for the fun of it!  And remember, it’s only paint!  It *can* be painted over!

So since bold and beautiful is the theme, what colors do we choose?  There are many bold colors in this palette and we had to pick just one….or did we?  After careful consideration we decided to pick not one, not two, but three different colors!  Don’t be scared, it’s actually not that crazy!  This is the color palette we decided to go with:

From left to right it’s Glidden’s Spiced Gingerbread for the accent wall, Glidden’s Tawny Birch for the ceiling, and Glidden’s Honey Beige for the remaining three walls!  Oh, yea….did I mention we are painting the ceiling?!  We’ve never attempted a ceiling paint before, but for all those interested, painting a ceiling guarantees you will get more on your face than you will on your walls – hehe!  I looked a little more like a Toddler after a fingerpainting class than a trying-to-be-classy homeowner painting a room.  But I digress.  The ceiling was a bit of a pain to paint, but it was something that definitely had to be done due to the smokey smell in the room.  Should it come as any wonder that P-A-I-N-T has the word P-A-I-N in it?

Since we’ve decreed before that this room was likely the “Smoking Room” for the previous tenants (yes, this house was a rental), the smoke-y smell just had to go!  And since we can’t change the carpet straight away, painting is just about the next best thing.  It won’t get rid of everything, but it’ll certainly mask it for a little while.  We actually got a few helpful tips from some of our readers, when we brought up this pesky problem a couple of weeks ago on our blog, and we had a few helpful suggestions on how to best deal with this problem.  We decided to go ahead and take my big sis’ advice and paint the ceiling to just go ahead and be done with it.

So the final verdict on the paint colors….?

….cue the music….BE…..OUR….GUEST!