Decorating · Furniture · Gardening · Misc. DIY · Paint jobs

Whole lotta painting going on, etc.

Two weeks or so and a lot has happened. Not as much as planned, but oh well.

Let’s start outside.

We’ve had a week and a half now of snow, which is fun in December, not so much now in February. It’s starting to taper off but will probably take a week to melt at least. I think we got a good 18″ in total this week, of course, it’s gotten piled up all over the place much higher than that.

Dad’s driveway behind one of my pink flamingos:

This was only halfway into the week’s snowfall. :p

The view out of my living room window was a little more picturesque, if only because the angle blocks the 4′ high pyramid of snow that developed to block my driveway, undoubtedly started by the snowplow but helped along by one neighbor who opted to toss the shovelfuls of snow from his driveway in front of mine instead of in front of the sidewalk on the other side. Grr…


In other outside-related news, before the snow really started coming down, I think the day before, I decided to pick up a barbeque. It was too cold and windy to suffer through assembling it outside on the patio, so I set it up in the dining room and moved it once it was all together:

And I only needed my dad’s help in two spots – attaching the igniter and the gas burner connections, and attaching the lid which is definitely a 4-handed job.

Looking forward to better weather, I think I mentioned starting some flower seeds already, and I finally gave in and got a grow light and moved the seed trays to my kitchen counter after a couple weeks of no germination by the living room window. Sure enough, the next day I had my first seedling come up, which was probably gonna happen anyway, but whatever.

At this point I have a bunch of delphiniums and echinaceas, and even a few little columbines. Oddly, I have no sign of life from the rudbeckias, which were supposed to come up sooner than the columbines. Go figure.

Oh well, I’ve overbought for the front yard so if I have no rudbeckias, so be it.

I can always buy some from the nursery and transplant them anyway.

What else… oh yeah, I bought 3 lava rocks for my future Japanese garden in the back yard, as well as a resin “stone” lantern thingy, all of which are currently living along the side of my house:

At least I have proof of concept on this whole winter interest thing, though.

Let’s move inside, shall we?

We’ll start in the living room, since we’ve already had a pic of the snow view from there.

The living room being mostly done, not much happened in here except small things.

I think I mentioned before about the vintage Mötley Crüe mirror. As you can see above, 35 years’ worth of use has rendered the original cardboard “hanger” near the end of its life. I picked up a 12″ frame from Michael’s expecting to remove the glass and just have the frame, the mirror, and the backing, however this didn’t turn out quite as planned and either the mirror was a bit too small or the frame was a bit too big and it would have fallen out. Oops…

And being a cheap-ish frame not a shadowbox, I didn’t have the depth to do any kind of mounting with the glass, some sort of teeny spacer/wedge/mat, and then the mirror, but they do have 12″ shadowboxes, so when I can get down to Victoria again next week I will pick one up and see what I can rig to get the Crüe hung up.

For now I put everything securely under the bathroom sink.

I added my Indonesian wolf mask to the mask collection around the front door.

Speaking of which, I changed the glass insert in the door from a plain fake-divided one that was completely transparent such that the previous owner (who was the one to choose such an insert, lol, or at least the label on the side of the front door gave a date in the middle of her tenure) then added some privacy film, normally more of a bathroom window cheap fix, to the inside of the door:

This would not do. I mentioned before about picking up a new insert for it, and Dad and I got it in one afternoon a few days before the snow:

Way better. No picture from the front as I haven’t gotten a chance to clean off the damn sticker the factory put on the outside of it with the kind of annoyingly persistent adhesive usually reserved for thrift store price tags on glass.

Meh… come summer I have to paint that door, so you can see it then.

We figured out that the same insert will fit into the side door (which currently has those ugly dual glass inserts) and can be inserted into the laundry room, both with the help of a saw, so I’ll eventually have these in all 3 doors. Certainly cheaper than buying 3 all new doors as I originally expected to have to do.

Speaking of glass, here’s the before of a little thrift store swag lamp/chandelier I put up in one corner of the living room, with an assortment of half-broken and half-missing clear crystals:

Kinda meh.

Here it is after swapping those out for some turquoise crystals I ordered on eBay:

And lit up:

Much better. And I had a ton of those left over for other chandeliers as we’ll soon see.

The only other thing I did for the living room was to finish painting the little table I found for my stereo and record player, though I still need to pick up some clear wax sealer:

When last we saw this, it had its blue base coat. Then, it got that distressed and partly removed, then a distressed red layer, and now the distressed yellow layer.

I think I thought I might do a white layer but decided it was finished after the yellow and I’m glad I stopped there.

Let’s now move from the living room to the family room which will become a sewing studio. That will be one of the last rooms completed, but I still got a couple little things done.

I painted a medallion for behind the ceiling light when it gets changed from the current hideous boob light the previous owner had.

First, a pale pink base coat, using these:

Then I added some more personality with some yellow, lime, and silver dabbed on:

It’ll probably be a while before this finds its way to the ceiling, lol… but at least it’s done.

I also started pinning the sides of the chunks of sheer fabric that I will turn into sheer curtains for the windows, mostly to get the pile of yellow fabric the Hell off the dining room table next to the sewing machine and other clutter.

I did not get around to getting any sewing done on them, however they have been moved to clutter up the sofa instead of the table. Not sure if that’s really progress, though.

From the family room we’ll sneak under the stairs and come to the space which I tend to refer to as “french doors” but which is the back entryway from the patio. This is currently a housing ground for assorted things including crap that needs to leave for the recycling depot, crap that needs to leave to be donated at Habitat for Humanity (*cough*ugly boob and track lights*cough*) and assorted houseplants destined for rooms that aren’t ready yet.

Anyway, when it gets done, it will have a chandelier from the house I grew up in. As the chrome was pitted and kinda sad-looking, I planned years ago to paint it white and put colored crystals on it, but never got around to it.

Finally got it painted white, though I didn’t notice the white spray paint is the high gloss I have for touching up the cold air return vent cover for the upstairs hallway. Oops… add “matte white spraypaint” to the shopping list.

At least it has a base coat:

I originally planned on light blue and royal blue glass crystals and I did order them from eBay. I have no idea where they are now, though I distinctly remember putting them in a box before moving to the Island in 2017. Haven’t seen them since, but there are still several boxes in the laundry room storage cabinets at my Dad’s house that have never been unpacked, so I’m sure they’re around.

Except I probably won’t use them now as the room is going to be painted a strong blue and I think they might disappear against it. Instead, I was inspired to order a bunch of red crystals for the chandelier, and when I find the blue ones, I’ll either put them to use elsewhere in the house or I’ll make them into suncatchers or whatever to hang in my windows.

We’ll skip the dining room til the end as it’s had the biggest changes, so let’s move upstairs to the spare room.

First thing I had to do in here doesn’t really show up in photos very well. The ceiling was painted white, but a high gloss white, and it bugged me, so I painted it a flat white to match the rest of the house:

Took 3 damn coats, since this whole room is coated in some stupid stucco texturing thing, including the walls.

With that finally done, Dad could swap the random bulb (yet another temporary thing after ripping out the ugly boob lights throughout) for what sure ain’t my first choice of light but what was both tolerable and low-profile enough for the 7 foot at best ceilings upstairs.

(My brother is 6’4″ and will be staying in this spare room semi-regularly. Granted, probably I’ll just put the bed under the light, but still. No dangly chandeliers up here, unfortunately.)

Kinda reminds me of a UFO.

Anyway, then it was time to paint. I initially thought I wouldn’t since I don’t mind a dark blue, but that was when I was seeing the house in sunny weather before I bought it and in the first week or so I owned it in December.

Then the rains and gloom came and fuck that shit. If it had been a saturated blue like a royal blue, it would have been OK, but it was actually kinda gray, like a slate blue, and that just got depressing.

I tried looking for a better blue but none really grabbed me for this space. Instead, I was drawn to what was originally an option for the dining room, a deep blue-tinged green called “Mermaid Sea” by Behr.

Weird flex since my spare room decor stuff is mostly nautical and ocean-related, all indigo, white, and orange, but I held the swatch next to everything and it still looked good and made sense, and it looked good in that room even when the weather was crappy, so “Mermaid Sea” it was.

First few brush strokes:

And all done (in one coat!):

We still need to get rid of the ratty beige carpet and replace it with grey-ish vinyl plank fake wood flooring, but that’ll be March sometime.

In the meantime, I use the carpet more or less as a drop cloth when I have to paint something small enough to be portable. I mean, I use a drop cloth as well, but I don’t spazz about drips going out of bounds because this carpet is destined for the landfill.

Still have to paint the window trim and the inside of the closet, but meh, that will happen later on.

Next up, the upstairs bathroom. It was a dark relic of the 70s, so I decided to paint both the stucco finish (not original – Dad had to patch something and found ancient floral wallpaper under there, probably from the 40s or 50s… I would have preferred the vintage wallpaper. I mean, I would have still removed it in order to paint, but I would have called it “neat” and maybe framed a sample of it or something.) and the bare wood panelling with a high gloss white.

Before painting, you can see where Dad repaired a weird crack and what the wood looked like:

Who the hell makes their bathroom that shade of yellow/beige? Is it supposed to be nicotine-stained or urine-colored? Ick.

Anyway, I started on it at the end of a long day while talking to a friend on a phone and then listening to a podcast, but it was slow going and I quit halfway through:

Which turned out to be good as Dad had an idea about adding some molding to the inside corners which he hadn’t made yet, so I was happy to leave that. He got the molding all up today so I guess I have to get back to painting in here, and since the “ultra pure white” was showing up as cream on the wood since it had never been sealed, I sense either 3 or 4 coats in my future or a couple coats of primer and then 3 or 4 coats. But it’ll be way brighter when it’s done.

Lastly upstairs… for now… the middle room, which will become my Pro Tools studio room.

Here’s the before:

Actually, that can’t be the before, since the formerly high gloss pressed paper ceiling tiles (seriously, WTF, previous owners from the 70s and 80s?) look pretty matte here, so it must be after Dad and I put 2 coats of flat white ceiling paint on that damn thing. Plus Dad had to repair a corner of the room where he found evidence of dry rot and mould from a prior roof leak, which seems to have been repaired… fingers crossed since I’m getting the roof redone but not until May or June…

At first I thought I thought I would paint the studio blood red. Y’know, it’s energetic, and warm, and cozy, and a bit gothy even though I’m not a goth anymore really but sorta I still have a bit of that and my last name is Draculea, after all, and I had a blood red bedroom for damn near 20 years and a red home office/studio for 10-15 years. And sure the house’s color scheme is more or less “tropical technicolor” but the tropics have a lot of red flowers and Mexico has a lot of red in its art, etc.

Yeah… about that…

It’s a small room and doesn’t take long to paint, but by the time I finished it in red I hated it, wanted to bolt screaming from the room, and had the mother of all vice-grip headaches.

So I did bolt and after cleaning my brush and roller etc., I hightailed it to Home Depot for a can of primer.

Which is a weird story in and of itself. Usually on a Monday after supper they’re not super busy but steady. Place looked almost abandoned as if all the cars might plausibly be staff members’.

Then the entrance door wouldn’t open and I wondered if they’d had to shut down early for some reason, except the lights were on and I eventually saw people in there, but couldn’t get in. As I was standing there going WTF, a dude came up and I told him the door was messed up and suggested maybe we should go to the other end by the contractor’s entrance, but he banged on the door until a customer noticed and he signalled to her about the door so she grabbed a dude who works there who came and let us in, and he was confused because the door was set to open automatically so I dunno what happened.

Then there was no one at the paint desk (usually at least one and sometimes three), so I took my best guess as to which primer to get.

Which the next day went on normally but a few minutes later started to slump and bubble off the wall for some weird reason even though it was normal primer, not oil or lacquer or whatever and it was marked as suitable for all painted surfaces and was going over regular latex paint, which was thoroughly dry by that point.

I got Dad to come look and he couldn’t figure out why it was acting that way, but he figured out if we applied it in a messy brushed manner and kept going over and over it almost like a dry-brush method, then it would stay put.

Major pain in the ass, and it took a second coat the next day to really block the red enough to be able to judge another paint choice.

I wanted to still keep the color warm and considered some orange paint chips but thought they might be too much and almost as oppressive as the red had been. It popped into my head to consider a deep pink or a mauve, so I narrowed it down to 3 or 4 choices and found myself drawn to “Beauty Queen” by Behr, a fuschia that’s just a teeny bit muted. And it seems to change quite a bit depending on lighting – cool enough to almost look purple in the winter daylight but a warm cherry when the lights are on:

Here you see another temporary light bulb. There were two ugly sconces here before in lieu of a ceiling light (remember the ceilings are super low), and there are two new cool sconces awaiting installation that will happen tomorrow-ish now that the paint is done.

Next step: add the crown molding.

Some idiot, er, not-so-handy husband of a previous owner, put chair rail up for molding, which I initially didn’t notice until we painted the ceiling. Chair rail as crown molding is bad, mmmkay? As it humped back down towards the wall it created a shadow that looked like there was a 1″ gap between the top of the molding and the ceiling. So… Dad got sick of my bitching and threatening to purchase actual crown molding and he routered out some pine boards to use as trim instead, which he also primed. I put a coat of high gloss white on the strips this morning and they will be installed tomorrow.

Not perfect, but way better than chair rail, and it was free.

Like the spare, I still need to paint the inside of the closet, touch up the trim, and get the floors in. This will likely be the first room done and moved into up here, because I desperately need private space and “unsupervised alone time” in order to work on music, especially recording vocals which is much easier for me at night when I have no privacy or alone time at my father’s house, and my songwriting partner is undoubtedly getting sick of the ongoing delays.

I hope to be set up with ProTools in this room in a couple of weeks even if I can’t move in for real to the rest of the place for a couple more months.

Next up for here other than what I already mentioned is curtains. For sound deadening, this room will be the only with 3 sets: a double rod with an outer layer of heavy curtains which will be dark blue because that’s what I liked that was on clearance at Fabricland and heavy enough, and inner layer that I’m thinking will either be a black and white canvas-y fabric I saw on clearance or maybe when I get down to the Victoria Fabricland I’ll see something else, maybe lime green? But it needs to be mid-weight and go with fuschia and royal blue. And then for day to day use for privacy and light control, I’ll reuse a set of white paisley sheers I have from the Richmond house that were too short to use in my living room here… unless I see something in the Victoria Fabricland I like better, of course. These will be on a sheer cable attached to the window trim.

Other than that, I have decided on a paint scheme for the upstairs hall. I think I initially thought it would be cool to have it charcoal with colorful art only, but I realize that ain’t gonna look good in the gloomy weather, plus I have 7/8 of a can of the turquoise from the living room left over and will likely have a lot of the aqua for my kitchen left over once I get around to finishing that. So, I’ll go flat white on the ceiling as before, with high gloss white trim (which will be tedious as I have to paint all the stair bannisters) including the weird little ledge halfway up the walls. Below the ledge: turquoise. Above: aqua. But I haven’t even started that yet.

So, last room and probably the biggest single project of the last couple weeks: the dining room.

First of all, I had to paint the ceiling. It was white, but it had some stains and was a bit grimy, so it got a fresh coat of flat white.

Here’s the blech beige the room was before:

Then I did the walls with Behr’s “New Bamboo.” Zamo would approve this rather iguana-esque green.

I still have to touch up a couple spots on the ceiling that got hit with green, and much like I bitched about with the living room, all of the trim seems to be cream or off-white instead of white, so I have to go over the trim with high-gloss white.

In the meantime, I assembled the chandelier I bought for the dining room. It’s an “antique white” which is pretty cream, lol, but I’ll probably get on the step ladder and dab on some matte white paint here and there, plus some copper and gold to match it better to the medallion I painted for in here as well as the chandelier I mentioned earlier that will go on the far side of the stairs by the French doors.

All the crystals are clear, and we know how I feel about that, lol… I will leave some clear ones, but already ordered some deep blue crystals (because I can’t find the ones I already have that are packed away) and I used some of the leftover light blue ones. So we’ll have a mix of clear and light blue and dark blue crystals on this chandelier.

Only a few of them have been added so far, though:

Left: the clear crystals that came with this. Right: clear crystal on top, blue on the bottom.

All the clear crystals will eventually get used up, of course.

Once again, there had been an ugly boob light and Dad put up a temporary bare bulb weeks ago. Yesterday he swapped it for the chandelier and the medallion:

And the view from the living room sofa:

I’m waiting on a Wayfair shipment including an area rug and a blue velvet bench for under the window at one end of the dining table. Those should be here by Tuesday or so, and then I can get the dining room properly set up and start decorating (waiting on some posters from eBay as well).

I already have a short bench/stool that will go at the other end of the table and tuck in when not in use. That leaves my 4 chairs, last seen getting their blue base coat. Since then they got a dose of “Mermaid Sea” for a deeper green, a layer of the same “New Bamboo” as the dining room, and high gloss white. All of which were done in a distressed style with wet distressing to remove some paint before it even dried and then sanded dry distressing between coats:

I wasn’t totally thrilled with them after the white, but as I started the sanding distressing, I’m liking them more.

But I dunno, maybe they need more layers or something. Still a work in progress, and then they’ll need a clear wax sealer.

In other news, the window trim is not real wood but MDF. And someone screwed up installing it in the dining room, such that there was a gap of 1″ between the top of the trim and the actual window casing. Y’know, to let in that cold air.

This was made worse by bamboo blinds that turned out to be sorta broken such that you had to tie them off to keep them up, thus putting pressure on the trim they were attached to.

Didn’t think I had a photo but when I looked at photos I took during house inspection, it was clearly visible, though I don’t think any of us noticed.

(Last owner used the dining room as an office, probably why the damn wood floors are so gouged up in the middle from the chair rolling back and forth… this is why I love area rugs…)

Anyway, I’ll be using sheers and curtains, so I got Dad to remove that blind and he secured the trim back in place with a bunch of finishing nails.

So… long one, but that’s what happens when I get lazy on the blog front, lol…

I also did a bit of cross-stitch and am working on my EAC needlepoint course, but don’t really have photos of those.