the_plan: (Woodworking)
My ed-u-mication in spray painting continues....

I loved the way the early attempts at trims turned out, learned a lot doing doors and bifolds

Time to step it up a notch and try something outside my comfort zone.... we're spraying furniture this week

The big concern all along has been, that using an HVLP system with latex paint the paint has to be thinned out to the point where drips are a definite problem and my mortal enemy (see my adventures with the bifolds!), and the coats must be very thin - anything too wet and the paint will separate before it dries. However the colour separation can be useful in giving you a nice natural looking subtle shadings in the colour which in an antique look can be quite good - if it's not too much.

Armed with that, a plan and with 2 backup plans in hand I took on the challenge.

Medicine cabinet medicine chest
The medicine chest was coming along - but dripping was still problematic.
A lack of adequate space to lay our everything flat was going to mean tackling the medicine chest and the vanity separately. Still I was laying down 2-3 coats a day, by the beginning of Wednesday morning I was starting to fear that I was just painting for the sake of resanding it and painting it again and wasn't really getting anywhere. However, I gave it another day (and 3 coats) and a new plan and flat space to lay the doors and shelves out on, and the cabinet flat on it's back.

medicine chest medicine chest
And lo - there was much improvement.
Thursday we turned everything over and sprayed the other side. Between each coat was the frustration of little marks and mars and glitches I wasn't really happy with and more sanding. However, I was seeing enough improvement, and with the change in methodology was improving things - so I stuck it out.

medicine chestmedicine chest
I'm not 100% happy with the results, but I'd call it a decent amateur job. I wouldn't call it a professional finish. On the other hand I've paid professionals to do a job (flooring actually) for a professional finish in the past and not gotten what I consider a professional finish. I'm an awfully picky b**ch, thankfully so is my hubby. There's still a couple little brush touch ups to do later, but it's done - and I can live with it.

medicine chest

Before and After

Now I'm working the vanity today - and that's being even trickier, and I'm still not convinced it'll work. Despite the sanding, it isn't adhering as well as I'd like. With the dark wood colour I probably should have primed it first. (The medicine chest was raw wood, and thus had to primed before hand). I'm also really beginning to wonder whether an HVLP system is the best type for this sort of work, that perhaps an airless spray system wouldn't require as much paint thinning, and thus give a better result. I'll maybe pick up the cheap $35 one see the difference in the technigue and results before I outlay $700 on a professional system, but at this juncture I figure I'm definitely looking at a professional rig - not just for furniture and trims but for WHOLE WALLS! once we move and start doing a whole house of painting again (not to mention the cottages).
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
I've been working - off and on - on the gardens and landscaping since we arrived here. Mostly it's been piecemeal, a bit here, a bit there. Largely it's been destructive - plant removal. Not necessarily because they were ugly or sick, but because they didn't fit overall with the feel of the place.

So here's a nice little rendering (no laughing at my art skills people!) of the layout of the property - back when we were planning on adding a pergola and a workshop (amongst other things)
labled plot plan

As you can see it's mostly wild and forested. We liked it that way. The horse yards and it's accompanying swamp were separated from the house and drive, and the house is well hidden from nosy neighbours or truck drivers.

Essentially there are 4 main planting beds, and 2 minor ones.

front bed
One under the front window...

front side bed
One along the side of the garage.

bed by the forest
One at the front running along the forest edge.

driveway bed
There's a small bed on the far side of the driveway

the day lily bedday lily bed out back
And the bed I made for the daylilies in the backyard under the kitchen windows

We never much liked the bushes and the peonies and the rhododendron that were planted along the driveway - the dogwood etc are perfectly nice bushes, but there's no rhyme or reason to their placement and they look out of place.
driveway bushes

I always thought the front gates needed something to soften them up - a couple large lilacs on either side maybe.
front gates

It didn't look bad when we moved in - it just didn't look right. I didn't love all the pea gravel, and I'm not fond of hostas, and the juniper bush was out of control.
front vistaview from front door

We never did plan on changing the layout much. We just wanted to make sense of the spaces that were there and tie them in with the natural forest that surrounds us. So we moved a couple awkwardly placed rose bushes, took out a young japanese maple that was badly planted. Then we cut down some trees at one end of the yard last year to enlargen the front lawn and brighten things up a little. We took out a small stand of scraggly pines along the forest edge, and one large maple that was killing all the light.

tree stump removaltree stump removal
Finally in November we rented a digger, and managed to pull all the stumps. This left a great gaping hole in that end of the yard and one more enormous planting bed.

While we had the digger here - I took advantage and dug up all the beds. With the sheer volume of rock in Newfoundland soil it was the only way to get any kind of a decent planting bed.
digging the bedsdigging the beds

As usual, we were dreadfully late getting going on all this and after it was dug up all that rock had to be sorted and cleared. James got 2/3 of the trench to drain the swamp dug and I got the worst of the rock out of the planting beds but it was slow nasty cold going and in the end no new bulbs got planted, and I was even too late in the year to get a load of topsoil in.

So as the snow starts to melt - I've got about 4 to 6 weeks to plan what to DO with these great empty beds once I get some fresh soil in them. (we have a great compost heap of lovely dirt but it's at the bottom of a gully where the digger can't go - I'll have to buy a truckload)

Without any bulbs planted last fall there won't be much early colour, but my Spring Garden catalogue arrived today. http://www.springgarden.ca It's time to start ordering plants, but I'm overwhelmed by the choices and my own lack of any kind of experience in planning a garden.

I NEED YOUR HELP

The juniper is gone, I moved the 3 small peonies to the spot under the window but I don't know if they'll take. I got a couple nice gigantic landscaping boulders, a large blue hydrangea I moved to the corner by the garage from out back, a couple of the hostas left and a handful of columbines that seem to want to run rampant have been divided up amongst the beds.

I need ideas. Hell I need a PLAN - not too expensive (planting budget is no more than $500). I just need it to look neat and tidy and not empty and colourful and fit in to the forested lot - nothing too formal. I need a PLAN that will do well in shade and wet and rock and fits into zone 4 and just make the front yard look NICE again.

Surely someone out there has some gardening experience / ideas they could help a girl out?

... and I still think I'll do a couple lilacs by the front gate.
the_plan: (Default)
As we were planning the bathroom the big design problem was the vanity - originally when we were going to use the travertine throughout the bath a dark wood vanity made sense, but then we scaled the travertine back to just the shower area, and decided to paint the bathroom the lovely dark green of the bedroom alcove.

green and gold




Ok now what we need is a beautiful antique white vanity. Now these are more limited. I saw one at Lowes in Hamilton - but that wasn't going to help much and it still would have busted the $500 budget for vanity and counter that we had. As would have ordering one from Vintage Tub and Bath (although I do still highly recommend them for well priced vintage look pieces). After much futzing and searching and debating costs. I found a gorgeous perfect vanity at Home Depot (hey even Sarah Richardson just used this same vanity last week on Sarah 101). It's solid wood (poplar with walnut veneers), has really nice organized storage inside, and is just a lovely piece - only problem - it's still dark wood.


However, by this point I had been gaining a bit of confidence with my spray painting techniques and decided "what the hell, it's perfect, it's inexpensive, it's gorgeous, I'll just spray it". I'd seen some of the gorgeous results of others having cabinetry and furniture resprayed - it made sense. Ok Ok - it also scares the dickens out of me - I've not done something thing complicated before. However, Home Depot was having one of their 20% Off Bathroom Events - with that price and that deal - I could throw in a bisque cultured marble countertop and still be under my $500. Sure I was still gonna have to buy a mirror and a medicine chest, but it was still not a big stretch beyond our original budget plan.

This had the added advantage of being able to buy the mirror, medicine chest etc that I liked and were cheaper options than buying the matching pieces to THAT set. So I was able to pick up a lovely unfinished cabinet at Kent for $60. I've done these pieces before and really had some fine results with them. Although to use this on a wall we had to turn it upside down and rebuild the drawer.

I was also able to pick up a nice framed mirror from Walmart for $30 instead of $200. I got a nice tall narrow butler's pantry cabinet (12"x14"x60") as well - did I mention there's a storage issue with this bathroom? I'm not sure we'll be able to use that one - it may not fit comfortably and I'm still debating more storage options so we'll leave that to last.

Now at one point I did chicken out and called a local fellow who does professional respraying of cabinetry - for the 3 bathroom pieces - $600 (taxes in). That kiboshed that idea. However, very worst case scenario - he'll spray the vanity for $250. I have a back up plan if I manage to completely ruin this beautiful piece of furniture. And if that doesn't work - well I guess I could paint the bathroom the same gold as the bedroom and buy the vanity again during the next Home Depot sale for $450. Ok - I have 2 back up plans.

Still I'd rather get this right the first time. First coat went on this morning. It's going to take a minimum of 4 or 5 sprays to get a nice even sweet finish - so I'm holding my breath for the next couple days (hopefully I can get two coats a day on - morning and evening).

I'm using the semi gloss hard wearing 'Trim, Door, High traffic' paint that has done such a lovely finish on the baseboards, door trims, and windows.

The colour is the same lovely 'Ivory Palace' that all the trims in the house were painted originally, and we've stuck with a) for simplicity and b) because it really does look fabulous back dropped against the chestnut hardwood and the wall colours of the master bedroom. It won't have the same 'aged' look of some of the other off white victorian style vanities, but it's also not going to be $4500.


The bathroom itself is going to have to wait for the painting to be finished. Because of the size and weight of the cabinet there wasn't much hope of painting it in my basement spray booth - so it's being painted 'in situ'. I'd hoped that I could work on 'non dusty' tasks around it while in between coats - but there isn't enough room to swing a dead cat in that bathroom so it's just going to have to wait a day or two.
the_plan: (Default)
We finished up the master bedroom a week ago. Paint, flooring closets, lighting - but with the master bath not done yet I decided I'd hold off on posting completed pictures until the whole job is done.

We'd pulled the shower out of the master bath some time ago - before we knew entirely what the plan was. See we wanted to redo that bath since we arrived, the shower stall was small, badly placed, and you couldn't turn the water on to warm without soaking the wall behind you.


Shower stall Shower stall



The other issue and more critically - the shower stall was showing signs of mold - thanks to a bad installation and little sealing of the seams. It was minor - but it could be smelled, made the shower useless, and with my husband's asthma, it was critical to find out how far the mold went and how bad it was - and to get it cleaned up.

So we pulled the shower stall with the note that if we got the reno monies we'd redo the shower completely, if we didn't; well we'd clean the stall properly fix any wall damage and reinstall the same shower - only better.
master bath under construction


Ok so we have our reno budget, we scaled back some of our original plans for the bath (by about $5000 worth of travertine). The plan is a full length of the wall shower across the back wall (5'), thus taking advantage of the current plumbing. Leave the toilet and sink where they are, but change out the pedestal sink for a nice cabinet vanity. The pedestal sink is lovely, but in a tiny master bath (5'x9') we really really needed SOME storage. So we moved the pedestal sink to the downstairs powder room which was crying out for a more elegant solution than the dreadful vanity that was there.

With the master bedroom complete, it was time to tackle the stacks of materials we've had in the corner for a while and start the bathrooms.

master bath - stuff master bathroom - tiles



The larger main bath is just getting two new vanities and some lighting, but the master bath is getting a total overall.
master bath under construction
We pulled all the drywall around the shower stall to replace it all with water and mold resistant board. Fixes the minor mold problem that was there, and assures us that along with the Schluter Shower System we've done everything we can to do it properly water tight.

When the kitchen was complete we had about 6 boxes of that gorgeous slate tile left over, and it suits the whole rustic, natural, stone and plaster, oil rubbed bronze, gold tuscany look of the bedroom/bath - so we're going to use it instead of leaving the beige porcelain tile that's there.

Pulling up the tile was a pain.
master bath under construction
And it took most of a day to scrap enough old tile cement off the 1/4 inch ply they had it on to be able to unscrew and pull up the ply so we could lay fresh 1/2 inch. However, again, I feel better knowing that ALL traces of mold have been removed, better quality product has been laid (and yes we DID glue and screw it, even if I am grateful the previous folks only screwed theirs). It also meant we were better able to rerun the drain for the revised shower layout.

But by far the most horrific job was the popcorn ceiling.
master bath under construction

Usually this abomination can be removed simply - with a spray bottle of water and vinegar, and a good spatula. However, as it was installed in a bathroom, it was sealed; it was primed; it was painted; it was NOT coming down. The easiest solution in this case - especially in such a small space - drywall over top the crud! However, that said, it still was high enough profile that we had to at least sand down the worst of it to give a good surface to drywall over. Angle grinders with sanding wheels, and orbital sander, try and seal the bedroom doorway, dust masks and goggles. It was still a horrible horrible job I hope we never have to do again! (no I won't be tackling the bedroom). The dust and crud still got everywhere and is most gross, but it's done.

master bath under construction

It was a long week of hard slow demolition. But we now have a decent empty shell to build on in the coming week.
the_plan: (Bliss)
One of the really wonderous parts of this journey we've been on is the fact it really does constantly evolve. We start out with one plan, and it grows and changes and tweaks and before you know it it doesn't really look like what we started out with in the first place at all.

And yet, it is.

In order for the 'new plan' to fit into 'The Plan®' it must contain certain critical elements, answer deep needs for both James and myself. As you're building the life you've always dreamed of it must contain the critical elements of the dream. That's the thing of it, we've always known the dream - we've not always been sure what the dream LOOKS like when it's all built. So we've added pieces, and taken away pieces and tinkered and tailored it.

Recently 'The Plan®' took another left turn.

I think we're going to leave Newfoundland. It even feels a bit odd saying it. I worked and planned and wanted for years to end up here. Largely at the time it was because Newfoundland was somewhere I could work, that would take me back to my own roots on ocean and specifically the North Atlantic, and James needed to be close to water as well. Newfoundland made sense. And the house we bought in Seal Cove made a lot of sense at the time as well - we needed the privacy, the quiet, the serenity that living deep in the forest gave us, and kept me close enough to work. Then I quit working, relations with the neighbours reminded us that we weren't as enclaved as all that, the kids began to move on, in other words - life changed.

We still want the things we were looking for in this property - just more of it. Room for animals (dogs, cats, horses, alpacas, pigs, lambs, - NO CHICKENS!), the quiet and privacy that the forest and large plots of land provide, we still need the ocean, I need water - ocean, stream, pond, something - for me and for the dogs, I need room the dogs can run without harassing the neighbours.

However, there was still the question of what would our lives look like? What would we do with ourselves day in day out, and how would we afford it?

One of the things that became clear after a while, was that what we came to Newfoundland looking for didn't exist here for us. The dream job turned out not to be such a dream, and our visions of private acres of field and forest by the ocean couldn't be ours. Yes! Those sorts of properties, the ones you see in the tourism ads, the quaint life everyone wants to come and see - that IS here. However, anyone who owns an old farmstead or saltbox with more than a few acres by the sea, they're not selling it. They're holding on to those properties for 'when the kids come home', and the kids will come home.

So one day I'm perusing the real estate listings on the internet, as I am oft likely to do and I come across a commercial listing in Sydney Cape Breton for a 23 acre motor speedway 1/4 mile track, all concessions, stands and out buildings. Now I know this is a joke, we can't really afford it, and all of that, but ONE of the great loves James and I have always had is race cars. Could be fun. So we spend a day looking at it joking about it, considering it, turning it over and seeing if it could work. Including property prices in the area for where we might live. Well owning a racetrack isn't really the sort of retirement business we'd enjoy doing all day every day, so the Island Speedway idea fell to the wayside. However, the property search led us to finding that there was a good possibility we could afford a large piece of property (25+ acres) with a livable smaller home, and the possibility of outbuildings (sheds and barns) and still leave us a sizeable chunk of cash to live on while James builds up the laser business.

We started looking further afield. Cape Breton, Guysborough County, Antigonish. As I was looking I came across this:

It's being sold off in 4 or 5 chunks of various prices - but the whole thing together is about a $1,000,000. We can't afford a million dollars. But I knew - just knew then and there on the spot that THIS was the life we've been looking for.

We don't want a B&B, we're too intensely private to have people in our home, but we love having company. We want self sufficiency and sustainability a la River Cottage, but we're no hair shirt people - we like our creature comforts and our technology. We want hospitality and tourism, but without the tourists.

So here's the dream - the latest evolution of 'The Plan®'. A Writer's and Artist's retreat. All along we've both needed our artistic outlets - that's why James bought the LASER, he needs to be creating, he wants to teach and lead again, I want to play, with colour, with fabric, with metal and wood and paint and clay and.... but I have zero talent for any of those things, and I want space, physically and mentally, to write and cook and sew, and I want to organize it all. And we want to share these things, with all of those people we've always connected with so well on the internet - the artists and writers and cartoonists, and creative people. We won't make a fortune. We don't really want to. We'll start with one of two small cottages, hopefully make enough to justify building more and bigger art studios, add another cabin or two, maybe host some weekend workshops, invite established artists to lead a workshop or two, maybe even eventually build a small professional music studio.

So yeah we're gonna need that forested acreage by the sea after all. We can't find it in Newfoundland, but maybe we can find it in Nova Scotia. I don't have a $1,000,000 to buy it already built. But maybe, just maybe, we can find something, somewhere in Nova Scotia - Fox Harbour Advocate Harbour, Digby, Annapolis Royal, Kentville, Parrsbaro, Cape Negro. I think maybe we can. Maybe even this one. It might take us a while yet to get there, and there might be a detour or two along the way - depending on how things turn out, but then 'The Plan®' is an evolving thing, but I think we're on the right track.
the_plan: (Default)
The Cairo Gold thus far has been a pleasant surprise - even to me. It's not like I've ever picked a paint colour, put it on the walls and said "Oh MY! That just won't do!" And while the 'Battleship Purple' in the office is very nice, it wasn't the look I was originally going for.

The colour, of course, looked VERY yellow in the can... scary canary even. However, experience tells me you just don't know till it's on the walls and dry. It paid off. It IS golden, warm, sunlight, deep and comforting. James likes it, I like it, the Evergreen Forest wall likes it, the paprika bed linens like it. I'm still not sure on the blue/green/gray linens - but that's really an after thought anyway.

green and gold

It really does work so much better than the washed out beige did.

I was working with a textured finish - a dry brush technique using a long stiff bristled wall paper brush to give it a linen like finish.
linen texture Cairo Gold
It really has turned out well and I'm very pleased with it.

I am a bit concerned with the lap lines - this is the result of having to work in sections as a thin coat will dry very quickly and if you work a whole wall at a time the first sections will dry out too much to brush them. The solution would be to do this job in tandem - one person rolling, one person brushing.

Close up of the finish
I can always second coat this if I'm still not happy with it tomorrow, but I'm a bit loathe to do so, as I fear some of the linen effect will be lost with the loss of the lighter beige undercoat.

Well we should have the lighting, and the second coat of trim paint finished tomorrow - that means Monday for the hardwood. If James can get the closet doors cut for me, I'll spray them next week and we should be able to chock this one up in the 'done' column in only 2 weeks. Hey I'm getting quicker!

Colours...

Feb. 2nd, 2011 02:35 pm
the_plan: (Default)
The wonderful thing about paint is - if you screw it up, fixing it isn't that big a headache. But, I'm already behind and don't really want to get into a week of painting the master bedroom.

And of course, I'm all about using what one has, and is available or inexpensive and working it - rather than get locked into an idea or plan that can prove expensive. The problem with this is - the more creative you get with what you already have available - the more difficult it becomes and the greater the chance of messing it up.

Welcome to the master bedroom. Way back when we moved in - I hated, the boring builder beige. A colour so nondescript that ICI has discontinued it. Nevada Sun 20YY 61/231. My original plan had been to do a faux finish in greens (my private forest schema) - Country Cottage light undercoat, Tall Evergreen dark overcoat and accents of Louisiana Hot Sauce and Golden Retriever.

As things go, when we decided we were gonna sell up, that scheme seemed a bit too dramatic, and it went to the wayside. However, the beige was still boring so we decided on a accent in the window alcove - we tried the Country Cottage - too bright (but perfect for the kitchen) and ended up with the Tall Evergreen. (That was when we decided to do the master bath in Tall Evergreen with the ivory marble shower).

All this seemed to work with our bed linens (which had always meant to be a complimenting part of my forest greens theme) which are sorta-mostly paprika-ish red and dark wine and gold duvet cover.

So far so good.

So Walmart has a linen sale on with the perfect King sized comforter sets for $59, very nice, and as our usual linens are inundated with dog fur - an extra set for showings would be a good idea. Except we couldn't get the red; but there's a very nice dark green/blue/gray tones with brown/gold accents set which will still work with the greens and the wrought iron look of the room. I think.

This morning cleaning the walls in prep for doing the hardwood flooring (chestnut bamboo) I decide that parts of the walls are in rough enough shape I should just spruce em up with a quick coat of the last 2 litres of Nevada Sun. But if I'm gonna go to the trouble of painting the walls I might as well brighten it up with a nice finish and some .. depth. In comes the plan for a slightly deeper tone of the same colour, and a dry brush technique to give it a bit of a linen look. Sounds great.

Except - Nevada Sun isn't on ICI's books any more - so we get a VERY close next colour Farmer's Almanac. (20YY 61/231 vs 20YY 63/258) and work from there into a deeper accent of either Moonstruck or Cairo Gold. Still with me?

So ... we got Nevada Sun on the walls now, Cairo Gold dry brushed over it, accent alcove and master bath in Tall Evergreen, Chestnut bamboo flooring, current linens in paprika red with wine and gold duvet cover, and back up dressing linens in green/blue/gray w/brown/gold accents.

Does it work? Frankly I haven't got a clue now. I suspect I may have to keep the back up linens packaged away, and maybe look for a different comforter/duvet cover. But hey, it's only till the house is sold... the next bedroom I start all over again with a fresh scheme!


fighting with colours

the_plan: (Seal Cove)
Another thing we can start that won't cost us anything while we're waiting on funds is the downstairs powder room.

wall paper
This hideous 1970's wallpaper, and nasty vanity (matches the kitchen and upstairs bathroom - the previous owners tore it out of the master bath and the laundry). I suspect the cabinetry was all made on the cheap by the builder - they're just NOT nice, and mostly don't work.

We're going to replace the sink in the master bath - in a tiny bathroom with NO storage a pedestal sink just doesn't work. It will however work in a powder room. We'll swap the toilets (one downstairs is bisque, the one in the master bath is white to match the pedestal). It's all about repurposing what you have that's still good. Just because it doesn't work in a master bath, doesn't mean it won't fix another problem somewhere else. Never throw out anything till you're sure it can't be reused, recycled, sold or donated!

But first... the wall paper has to go.
stripes! A Cat can cause trouble with a mere roll of tape and a level
Here we've stripped the wallpaper, washed the walls down well with TSP to remove the remaining glue. Thankfully they'd used pre-pasted paper and it had been up for 30 years, tearing it down was a cinch! We've pulled wallpaper before that was glued on with liquid nails and contact cement - not fun.

After patching and priming the walls a good undercoat of white was applied. Now for the 'fancy stuff'. We've taped the whole of the walls off in a 6"(+) 45° angle with 3/4" painters' tape. The result is a lattice pattern. We'll paint the whole thing in the cheery Country Cottage green that we have LOTS of (it just wasn't going to work in the master bedroom). When we pull the tape, we'll have a lovely white lattice on a cheery green background, and we can do some fun stuff with painting in vines and flowers around the lattice.

Stripes
It's a small space no bigger than 4x6, the angles on the one wall made it tricky to work with. Even with VERY careful use of the speed square, a level with a 45° angle feature and careful pencil lines, it was very tricky getting the angles to all line up by the time they meet on the 4th wall. I wouldn't have wanted to try this with a bigger room!

James is complaining that the pattern is making him dizzy in a small space. Hopefully once we're finished the trimmings and shelves and vines and flowers on the lattice will break it up enough that he'll be alright with it. Otherwise I guess it'll be the upstairs bathroom for him!

Paint Paint Affects
One thing first though. Because rollering over the tape frequently lifts the edges slightly and you get 'bleeding' under the tape and it ends up looking ratty you need to fix the tape edges down.

There are a number of recommends for this. Some painters will go over the edges in a thin coat of clear polyurethane, some will use a brush to do a quick coat of the top colour over the edges of the paint to seal it. However, we've got a LOT of tape. So what we'll do is roller on a quick coat of the white undercoat - that way any bleeding will be in the same colour as is already underneath. Once that dries it'll seal the tape edges, and we can paint over it in our green.

Next time - we'll see how it all turns out
the_plan: (Default)
Even before my dear daughter leaves us on Labour Day weekend to head off on her own adventure known as "college" I kinda figured we'd start with some smaller projects.

Like painting the man child's room.

The whole thing with painting is: a) it's a super cheap way to make a BIG difference in the look of your home b) if you screw it up - fixing it is also cheap and easy. Honestly, paint is just THE biggest bang for your buck.

So, the Man child is off in St Louis for the summer and not due back until late September. Time to paint. He picked his own colours when we moved in and painted all the rooms. Honestly, it wasn't a BAD blue, just a little dark. Time to neutralize all that dark a bit.

We're still waiting on some funds to come in so - an old trick of mine. Go through the cans of left over paint from other projects and see if we have something already in stock that'll work. In this case - 'Soft Wheat'. We're not sure what the previous owners used it for as I can't see it used anywhere else in the house. Ok, problem, we only have ONE can, and it's a very dark colour we're painting over. General rules say, 'buy a can of primer to cover a dark colour before painting with a light one'. This is true. However, we're not covering fresh plaster, or stains that could bleed through - so there's really no need for the sealing properties of primer. We have a can of base white, that'll work. (Do note, this works because it's what I have on hand - generally speaking you will find that a 4 ltr can of primer is a fair bit cheaper than a 4 ltr can of base white anything.)

Again due to the limited supply of paint, and the fact we don't want to completely destroy the man child's sense of self in his room we're only going to paint the top half and add a chair rail. It's all: looks architectural, saves paint, saves time, saves work, and solves the problem. We're all about the short cuts, BUT, ONLY AS LONG AS THEY WORK,. I know that sounds obvious, but it's not always. I try to save time and money and effort and reuse as much as possible; but, in the end, if it looks like it was put together using bailing wire and spit, or it's not safe, not to code, then it's time to think of a better solution. James and I work very hard at saving money (we don't have a lot to spend on this), but never at the expense of doing a job properly.

Prep Work:
Actually painting is about the smallest part of any painting job. The lion's share of the work is in the prep. What condition are the walls in? Do they need holes filled, cracks? If the walls are in truly dreadful condition consider re-drywalling them. For minor imperfections any plaster patching compound like Polyfilla will do. Things to consider. The higher the gloss level of a paint the more it will show imperfections, but the more scrubbable it will be. Flat paint won't show many wall imperfections, but will pick up every greasy hand print laid on it. This is why satins or eggshell finishes tend to be popular for general usage on walls and semi-gloss is traditionally used for trims, and kitchens and bathrooms - where scrubbability is important.

Now that the walls have any dings patched up and sanded, they need to be cleaned. In the case of this room the paint job on it was only 2 years old - but still general household dust and grime and cooking and ... well the walls still need cleaning first. I always use TSP, an excellent and inexpensive degreaser. Don't skimp on rinsing the residue off with a clear water and a rag after either. If you have had to patch with a plaster compound you will need to use a primer coat to seal the plaster.

There are a lot of methods one can use for doing the line on the wall for painting the upper half. Some are better than others, some are cooler than others. Me? I'm a bit of a gadget freak; a Rotary Laser Level Kit made the job exceptionally simple. However, if you don't have one on hand, and doing the job isn't sufficient excuse to go out and buy yourself an $80 laser toy you can always use a tape measure and a chalk line (helps to have two people available for this method). Last but not least a loooong level, a pencil and a tape measure, but this method is the most prone to error.

Cutting In:
Cutting in is the process of outlining the area to be painted to get the paint right into the corners, and to prevent your roller from getting paint on surfaces you don't want. The question, at least for me, is often, "to tape, or not to tape". I've done both, still often do, it's a matter for me of the size of the job, and my mood at the time. Tape is a bit finicky to put on and is time consuming of itself and a lot of professional painters do insist on taping. On the other hand, a steady hand, a bit of patience and some practice, it's not too hard to do freehand. I learned the knack of it from my older sister, a painting contractor who learned it from her painting contractor ex-husband. Generally speaking, I'll freehand the job if it's a smaller job overall, and I'm not feeling rushed about it. In some ways mindset has more to do with how neatly a job turns out than skill.

I use an angled brush for cutting in. Be careful not to overload the brush with paint, you don't want it dripping, then using the angle and holding the brush at about 45° to the wall, start away from the corner and draw a line into the corner noting at the tip of your bristles there is a small bead of paint. It's that bead you're actually painting with - your brush should never actually get tight into the corner. It does take a steady hand, and patience, and if it doesn't work for you use tape. No biggie.

Cutting inCutting in


The Painting:
You'd think that painting a wall with a roller would be a bit of a 'no brainer', but I've discovered the hard way over the years; it is possible to do it wrong.

Best advise, load your roller - but don't overload it. You want it saturated, but not dripping. Start your roll on in a wide W pattern - this prevents the first roll of the run from being thick with paint and the last overly thin.

Rollering


Then work from left to right over the entire height of the wall keep the handle side of the roller to the right - the direction you're working in. The handle side receives more pressure, and thus releases more paint, if you work away from that you end up with lines in the paint, but if you work toward and roller over that area you end up with a much cleaner finish.

Base white


In the end painting the chair rail the same colour as the supper wall makes it hard to see in the photos and subtle in person, but trim touches like these do add a little something. You don't have to do crown moldings to give a ceiling a nice finished look - a bit of 1/4 round can give it the look of a nicely turned seam on a suit.

Paint finished


(In the end, we did a lot of patching the walls when we removed the baseboards for the purposes of redoing the floors - the remaining paint we had in his blue colour had spoiled and rotted. So again - we went with what we had - 4 ltrs of the blue from the Feychild's room. The final blue is a bit brighter now as well.)
the_plan: (Seal Cove)
The Walrus said, to talk of many things,
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax,
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot,
And whether pigs have wings"


The Plan®
Ya know, honestly, this isn't where in the game we were supposed to be right now. After 5 months of unemployment, and not sure where or how I'm gonna get on, we're gonna have to change the plan.

It's time to think about selling up here in Seal Cove. Truth be told we haven't really done any of the work we'd planned on doing when we moved in two years ago, hell we haven't even finished unpacking. However, we can bank a fair chunk of money if we sell up here and move further 'Outport', but the place is gonna need some work before we do. Some minor maintenance, and some of the finishes here are just so dated as to be embarrassing. It was and is a great house - well built with lovely bones, but it was built in 1979 and some of the finishes haven't been touched since, and the ones the previous owners did do - well they didn't always do the best job.

The kitchen is a nightmare - the cabinetry was handmade by the builder in 1979, and they're dreadful and don't work. The vinyl flooring is OK, but it's cheap looking.

So James is gonna see if the Australian government will let him cash in his retirement savings over there and we'll see if that won't a) get us a cheap place Outport ($129,000?? maybe) - we saw one in Fortune that promises to be a very good deal. And we'll put a little money into getting this place dolled up for sale. If we can walk out with $350,000 we'd be doing OK (mortgage is $144,000). If we can sell the property we've got up in Western Bay as well (been on the market 10 months now) - we'll be right as rain. All that happens we should still be able to look for a small income property (2 apartments) in town. If I land a job that has me commuting, well we'll be able to keep the line of credit going, and I'll have an apartment in town to stay in.

If the funds don't come through, we'll do what we can on the super cheap - I've got enough paint to do some work on some stuff, and we can shift the pedestal sink in the master bath to the powder room for instance. Repurposing is the way to go here. Inexpensive, not cheap! is the order of the day. I'll be tackling most of the renovation work, while James focuses on getting the business off the ground.

Still things are starting to get to a scary place. We've got arrangements made to get the Feychild off to college in the fall - although we're still waiting to hear on the government funding for that. The Man Child is away until the end of September. Hopefully things will be more decided by then. We are not derailed yet!

So it's still The Plan®, we've just had to accelerate things a bit faster than we'd meant to.

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July 2011

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