“Whitewashing” A Stone Fireplace with Grey Paint

“Whitewashing” A Stone Fireplace with Grey Paint

When I first moved into Berrybrier I knew something would need to change on the Living Room fireplace. It was a stacked stone fireplace and clearly added onto the house in the 60s or 70s. The center was slightly blackened with soot and the stones were wildly different color tones, varying from yellow to red to brown. I did not like it at all and it felt like a jarring mid-century accent in the midst of the turn of the century house.

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The Order I Paint Walls, Ceiling, & Trim and the Refreshed Master Bedroom

The Order I Paint Walls, Ceiling, & Trim and the Refreshed Master Bedroom

When I first moved into Berrybrier, the Master Bedroom was one of the nicest looking rooms in the house. Thus, I filled it with all the junk I wanted out of other spaces (think unopened moving boxes) and largely ignored it.

You guys, this room, my room at Berrybrier, the “Master Bedroom” looked absolutely horrendous for over a year and 4 months. Yup, it took me over a year of doing all the other 20 million projects at Berrybrier, before I thought, “You know what would help you relax and feel more at home in this house? If you actually fixed up your bedroom so you enjoyed being in there.” If I could go back in time, I would have fixed up my bedroom first.

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One Room Challenge: Week Four – Installing and Painting Beadboard and Wooden Shelves

One Room Challenge: Week Four – Installing and Painting Beadboard and Wooden Shelves

Once I had wrapped up the drywall in my bathroom and installed the tile the room was ready to take the next steps towards function! I knew that the drywall scraps and odd corners would be difficult to touch up, so I decided to switch gears and use beadboard to transform the space and make my Sharp Objects bathroom dreams come true. Beadboard was signifcantly less time consuming and less dusty than trying to tape and mud and repair all the drywall / lathe & plaster in the small space!

Those of you with eagle eyes will have noticed from last week’s post that I was able to start installing the beadboard around the time I finished the tile. Here’s that snipit picture showing the one back wall of beadboard up. Sometimes, you just can’t wait any longer, right?

I used simple MDF sheets of beadboard from Home Depot, because they were the least expensive and I wanted to keep costs down as much as possible since this space is “temporary.” If this bathroom was more of a long term space I would have used wood plywood panels or individual beadboard planks. But, since I plan on turning this room into a full bathroom (flipping the shower from the current main bathroom into this space), when I eventually turn the dormer into a bathroom, short term solutions work well.

The back wall of beadboard was the most difficult to install because it was extraordinarily difficult to get the piece into the room. It had to fit through the small door and then squeeze into the entire back wall space while not bending or snapping. After that it was just a matter of cutting the boards to size and chopping out holes for lighting and switches and then a whole lot of nail gunning! I did also have to remove the trim around the window which I’d then have to reinstall. Immediately after I finished this project using a borrowed nail gun and air compressor from my neighbor, I bought myself a battery powered nail gun when Home Depot was having a huge sale. The difference between the ease of use is phenomenal and I adore my new nail gun! Now I need another trim project…!

After the beadboard was nailed up to the walls, I was ready to attack the baseboards. I used the same 8″ flat stock for baseboards that I’d used in my main bathroom, but skipped the decorative trim piece on top. I had over purchased my baseboards originally and was able to use scraps for the whole space! Then it was time to add the finishing touch of quarter round (which ironically, I’d skipped in the main bathroom). This was also scrap pieces left over from the kitchen (which I promise to finish and show you soon!). So yay! Free baseboards!

Before the quarter round was added, the rough edge of the bathroom tile was obviously apparent and it looked pretty terrible. But when I was calculating how much tile I had and laying out the space, I realized as long as I installed quarter round the edge would be hidden and I could get away with my minimal amount of free tile.

Once it was installed, the edge was completely hidden and it looked great! You can see below how the quarter round on the right has all been nailed in, hiding the edge and the left side of the quarter round is lifted, not nailed in yet. It was a TIGHT fit to get the tile to work in the space with clean finished edges, and I’ll admit, it’s not perfect, but it’s a million times better than the space before!

After the baseboards were complete, it was time to address the ceiling as well. The beadboard edge didn’t align perfectly with the not-level ceilings (old house problems!) and so I needed something to hide that edge and create a finished look. I picked up some simple crown moulding from my favorite wood store here in Portland, Woodcrafters. I picked up one 16′ length which gave me just enough to finish off the space. But then, I miscut a piece and rather than try to feather in two pieces along such a short length of ceiling, I bought another 8′ length and cut it to size. It was under $60 for all that crown and now I have a bunch leftover, but I do curse that mistake!

I’d never cut crown moulding before and spent some time googling to figure out how to do it. I found a handy guide that explained all these angles the chop saw needed to be at in order to make angled cuts to the crown when lying flat on the saw. The measurements were insane! 31.6°?! How?! I took a cheat sheet I found out to my saw, determined to somehow make it work, and discovered that my saw handily marked and locked to the crazy angles. Perfect! With that guide, and one miscut, I was able to get the crown up and finish off the ceiling! The corners of the room still had the same gap that that was now hidden by crown at the ceiling, but I had a plan for that too.

Before I could address those corners, I had something else to tackle. I knew that my little Master Bathroom needed to pack in storage while still looking good, but for a while I wasn’t sure the best way to achieve this. After searching around for inspiration, I found this image which I shared when I kicked off this project. I loved how the simple wooden brackets supported the shelves. It looked elegant, old-world, and inexpensive, a wonderful, and rare, combination!

I set out to create something similar in my space. I found these incredibly inexpensive brackets from Home Depot for under $4 each. I calculated I could fit 4 shelves in my space and bought 8 brackets. I bought another 16 foot length of 8″ flatstock (having exhausted my reserves on the baseboards) and carefully cut four boards to the length of my bathroom back wall. I then measured out the distance between my shelves (settling for 14″) and marked up my wall with bracket locations. The brackets slipped over screws drilled into the wall. That was supposed to secure them, but they still tilted and moved a bit. I added a few 2″ nails with the nail gun to further secure them to the wall, just in case! Then all that was needed was slipping the shelves on top. I left a 1/4″ gap behind the shelves so they’d extend into the room just a tad more (and allow me to place deeper items on top of them) and then nailed them into the shelf brackets and side walls with the nail gun. Suddenly it felt like the room had character!

I needed to address the corners of the room still though. I bought corner pieces that were intended to trim out outside corners, but flipped them around to use on my inside corners. I’m a rebel! See how big and ugly that gap in the corner between the panels of beadboard looks? Yuck.

I cut a corner piece to length and nailed it into the corner. Instantly, it looked way more finished and – strangely – more historical. I was just glad to not have a gap!

I cut the rest of the corner pieces to length, carefully measuring between each shelf and lined them up. I figured it was easier to do this now after I’d installed the shelves than to try to notch out the shelves around the corner pieces if I’d installed them first. (I’d also nailed the window trim back up!)

Once I’d cut all my lengths, I simply nailed the pieces into the corner, easy, peasy.

After all the trimwork was installed, it was time to get caulk-happy. SO MUCH CAULK. I caulked all the edges of the shelves, filled in all the nail holes, caulked the window trim, caulked the crown, caulked the baseboards. SO MUCH CAULKING. But, damn, it was looking good in here!

So good, in fact, it was time to prime! Wooopeee! I covered my newly tiled floors with rosin paper and slapped Zinsser’s No-VOC primer over everything. When it was done, you guys, I almost second guessed myself. Should I leave this room white?! It was simple… clean and maybe even historically accurate?

But no, in the end I decided to go with my original design plan and pick up some pink paint. Afterall, this was a tiny bathroom, where if not here should I have some fun?! White paint with black and white floors would be boring, I told myself. But still… it was looking pretty good!

The pink I chose for the space was Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach, which is the perfect pale shade of calamine lotion. It’s not too pink, nor is it fleshy. It’s simply excellent. At night, compared with the white primer, the pink is a barely noticeable hue. I picked up a can of Benjamin Moore’s Natura in Satin which is my preferred paint and sheen. The Natura brand is no-VOC, no-formaldehyde, and uses special no-VOC pigments as well. There is no off gassing smell and the light color paint is thick and easily applied.

Once the first coat was complete, the space really started to come together though! I couldn’t get enough of the color! It did feel old-world. Historical and somehow more beautiful than I expected. It really was the perfect shade of pink, definitely not too pink, subtle and muted enough to feel truly old. Basically the opposite of the bold, coral I’d chosen for the exterior of the house!

With one coat complete that night, I was ready to attach the second coat the next morning and finish off any patchy pink areas. Because of the beadboard and all the trimwork and because it was such a tiny room, I ended up forgoing a roller and brushing out the entire space! I even painted the ceiling by hand in the same shade (it’s such a tiny space, no sense in breaking up the color). The shelving looked great and the entire space felt like an old 1900s pantry, just like my inspiration! Of course, I’d be filling those shelves with linens and bathroom needs rather than dry goods, but the feeling was conveyed so beautifully!

I got ready to do the second coat the next morning and ohmygod I just couldn’t fall more in love. In the morning light, the room glowed pink, like something out of a movie. The light is incredibly flattering and made my skin look amazing and I felt like Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz!

The window allows just the right amount of light into the space and boy was I astounded by the beauty of this little room. It’s so hard to believe this little space looked like this not that long ago! It was so dark and dingy!

Now it’s light, bright, and glowing! It feels intentional, like it was always this way! And most importantly, it feels like it belongs to this 1909 house. The space speaks to the character of the old house and I just adore it. The color looks good with the old, stained wood doors and I can’t wait to pull up that rosin paper and see how it looks with the black and white tile floor!

Boy am I pumped to get the plumbing fixtures in here and style out those shelves! Designers love open shelving!

Have you ever transformed a small space? What were your small space storage solution spaces? Could you live with only open shelving as your primary linen / bathroom storage? Would you ever paint your bathroom pink? Let me know what you think of how this little room is coming along in the comments below!

I’m chugging away on my little One Room Challenge. Be sure to check out the other projects too.

Painting the Stairway and Updating Electrical & HVAC

Painting the Stairway and Updating Electrical & HVAC

The stairway at Berrybrier has gone through some pretty dramatic changes in the last year. When I first bought the house, this area was dark lit by only a single bulb on a pull chain at the top of the stairs and a small square window squeezed in at the bottom of the stair. That little window had never even been trimmed out and a screen sat next to it waiting to be installed. The stair railing was almost black covered in god knows what and the light fixture wasn’t centered on anything.

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Living Color with Exterior Paint Inspiration

Living Color with Exterior Paint Inspiration

Did y’all know that Living Coral is Pantone’s 2019 color of the year? How fun is that?! It’s such a happy bright color and I have a special attachment to it.

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When I first bought Berrybrier, the house was looking seriously rough. The newer aluminum exterior, wood interior windows were a positive note though. But they were green…

You can’t really paint aluminum windows. Well I’m sure you could, but these were in good shape and the factory finish would undoubtably hold up longer than anything else. I turned to Pinterest for inspiration and eventually settled on painting the house a coral color! After a good long painting process the house finally was painted and the transformation just made me ecstatic!

The color is happy and the green windows look great! I absolutely love it. Honestly, now I don’t even think about it all that much. I come home and it makes me smile every time, but I don’t dwell on thinking about the color. Until recently, when I stumbled upon my old Pinterest board with tons and tons of inspiration pictures of coral colored houses! Are you ready to be inspired? I linked to as many of these as I could, but let me know if you know the source of any of these images and I’ll update the links properly.

First up is this cutie with it’s adorable rounded roof line. If this was a dormer, it would be an eye brow dormer, since it’s the entire roof, I’m not sure what it’s called, but I am OBSESSED. With that kind of charm, painting this house a corally pink with white trim is just a given.

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Then there’s this blushing beauty. This coal house is just a drop of coral in a pool of white and I am HERE FOR IT. Stunning. Lovely. Charming. Amazing. And is that a lilac bush next to it? I mean, this is good people!

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Not all coral houses are sided! Look at this lovely little stucco cottage. Tall and skinny, just like I like ’em! I adore those shaped topiaries and boxwoods out front too. Not sure if this is in Europe, but it’s definitely giving off some European vibes!

This house looks very Southern to me and I just can’t get over the black trim details. Black and white and pink could go totally wrong, but not here. The person who chose these paint colors knew what they were doing! Plus is that an oval vent at the top of the house? Who knew a house vent could be so cute!!

This next home has a special place in my heart for sure! I mean LOOK AT THAT TRIM WORK. THOSE DETAILS!! It’s like a lace veil over a blushing bride’s face. Was that the most overly cutesy metaphor ever? Possibly. But I’m okay with it; this house is 100% worth it. I just can’t get over all that trim. It’s a gingerbread house and someone actually lives here!

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Don’t worry, we’re not done with gorgeous trim details. No one does details like the Victorians. And just look at this beauty here. The house, the car, the photo… just everything here is adult cotton candy or crack. Pick your poison. Either way it’s amazing. I’ll take one of both. The house and the car, I mean. 😉

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And then there’s this guy. The world’s most cheery entry. It’s just… SO FREAKING CUTE. And calm. And reassuring. And happy. Are you smiling? I’m smiling! This place is adorable.

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More Southern charm here again. More black shutters. Who needs paint colors? Because this is it – just color match to this. I love that the color of the white trim is just ever so creamy and allows this to feel a tad less like your goth little sister. Plus, I am all about these rocking chairs. I want one. I want three actually. I adore rocking chairs so much!

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Another charmer from the late 1800s/early 1900s. Look at those arched windows. Clearly if you have arched windows, it’s time to paint your house a cirak color. The photo quality makes the trim on this little sweetie a bit yellow in tone but looking at the porch posts I think it’s actually a bit more white. My favorite part? A tie between the slightly darker coral painted stairs and those gorgeous stained wood double doors. Or maybe it’s the detailing on the porch railing balusters. I don’t know! It’s all too good!

This one, this one. This one really has my heart. It looks like a house you find in the medieval neighborhoods of some of the oldest cities in Germany! Those window boxes, those flowers. All of that is just amazing. Look how the house ties into the grade of the hill too. Those details are just so charming! And look how it wraps the street around the corner too! AND THAT TURRET DORMER!! I will quit my job and move into that dormer tomorrow. Pretty please?!

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Ivy covered coral houses? I bring you guys the good stuff. Do ivy covered houses remind anyone else of Madeline? This one has a lot going for it too. That arched window above the porch and entry doors. Those porch columns. That ivy again. I love it. And look at that little white bench nestled in the bushes out front. I want to sit there and read a book, not just any book: Madeline!

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This one reminds me a lot of Berrybrier because the details of the architecture are most similar. It’s a early 1900s folk house with simple details. And it’s freaking cute! This house makes me want to add little decorative moldings above the windows here at Berrybrier. It’s a small detail, but it just adds so much!

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Okay, are you out-pinked? I might be out-pinked. That was a lot of coral colored houses! Are you inspired to go bold and try something interesting? I have seen about twenty thousand million hundred beige and grey houses and I am ready to see some color out there. So hop to and make it happen! Go bold with coral or navy or teal or red or green or literally anything that’s not greige okay?! Okay, I love you, thank you bye!

Priming and Painting the New Bathroom

Priming and Painting the New Bathroom

Happy 2019 y’all! I’m so excited for this new year and I definitely have quite a few goals for the year! I’m hoping to get this blog caught up to the current renovation stages over the next few months and then dig into some fun new stuff. I definitely want to hear more from those of you who read this blog too! Let me know who you are by commenting on this post! Or share with friends and family who might be tackling similar projects. I’d love to continue to grow the readership of this blog so I can continue to put more effort into posting for you guys. And trust me I have a lot to show you!

When we last left the bathroom it was looking like this with a newly tiled and grouted floor and fully drywalled walls! This felt like a huge amount of progress considering just a few weeks earlier it had been gutted down to the studs.

Well after finishing the floors, I laid rosin paper over them to protect them and taped and mudded all the drywall and now it was ready for paint! Finally, finally, finally, this room was looking good and I was *this* close to being able to shower at my own house again! I knew I wanted to do a dark green color for this space and it had been one of those early on decisions I made for this room. I’d even included the paint color in this original design palette I made for the space. Benjamin Moore’s Forest Floor 1498 is bold, dark, and delicious!

I picked up primer and paint from my local Benjamin Moore store: Dick’s Color Center in central Portland. I used my favorite no-VOC, indoor/outdoor primer for the ceiling: Zinsser’s Bulls Eye Zero.

But Dick’s recommended a different primer for the walls which I could color tint to match my paint selection. This stuff had more water protection (good for a steamy bathroom!) and by tinting in a dark color, I’d have fewer coats to paint on top. Insl – X Aqua Lock primer is not no VOC so I wore a mask while painting to avoid the fumes.

I’m no stranger to painting, so this project was a nice and relaxing change of pace from many of the other things that I’d been doing for the first time at Berrybrier. I started by priming the whole ceiling and while that dried, I took out my brush and started cutting in the primer on the walls. I usually just cut in by hand without taping because I find that taping takes forever and I have a steady enough hand. On a priming layer, the steady hand barely matters since I will all be covered with paint anyways. Boy, was it so fun to coat over the bare drywall and see the space really come together!

I did decide to tape off the brand new shower surround though since I would need crisp clean lines there and I threw some trash bags over the showerhead and shower water valves the plumber had installed after the permit was finalized. I did not want to get paint on those newly install fixtures!

There were lots of other fixtures that were not installed yet (like the medicine cabinet and light fixtures) which allowed me to roll right over the edges of the drywall without fussing with cutting around anything. Not having any lighting installed meant I was still using my work light as the only source of illumination in the space which creates some weird lighting!

I also waited to install all my trim work so I could continue rolling to the lower part of the wall and around the windows, thus avoiding cutting in at the trim. Cutting in takes way longer than rolling so it was nice to save that time. I did leave the drywall exposed in those spots rather than painting what was about to be covered.

I also didn’t put too much attention into get perfect paint lines where the walls met the ceiling since I still had to paint the ceiling. That helped speed things along too.

When it was time to get out the roller for the primer, boy did the room feel like it was really truly a bathroom again! The tinted primer was SO similar to the paint color, just more matte and slightly cooler in tone. It was actually really pretty! Conveniently the room was so small I was able to roll up the walls as far as I could reach through the entire room and then do the bit above the shower before moving my ladder to the center of room to roll the top 8″ inches of the remaining space. Nice to be able to do that whole top bit without moving the ladder!

Here it is fully primed and OH MY GOD, ARE YOU EXCITED?! BECAUSE I AM EXCITED!! This room was looking damn fine and this cool green hue was helping me forget the previous magenta pink color real fast! Thank god for that! Below you can see a peek of some of the old wallpaper that was in this space in the space where my future medicine cabinet would be installed too. Isn’t that fun? No idea why it’s applied to the back of the lathe and plaster of my bedroom wall though; any ideas?

While my primed walls were drying, I took out my measuring tape and began to determine cuts for the baseboards in this room. I was prepared for my usual method of measure five times and cutting three. I wanted to do some gnarly baseboards in this space that would look more original to the 1909 house. As far as I can tell the only original trimwork at Berrybrier is the baseboards in the upstairs room which can’t even be original since the upstairs was converted from an attic to living space sometime in the early 1900s. However, the rest of the house sports trim from the 1960s or 2000s so the upstairs bedrooms example is better than anything else!

I nabbed this shot from the upstairs back bedroom with my iPhone and then headed to Woodcrafters, a local woodworking store hoping to match the profile or find something similar. I was doubtful I’d find an exact match and I knew I’d never get the same look of many many years and layers of paint, but I hoped for something similar that would at least envoke the same tone. These baseboards are made of three pieces: 1×8″ flat stock with a 2″ decorative moulding on top and a quarter inch shoe base at the bottom. These were all old mouldings too and the sizing of each board was exact whereas now a 1×8 is actually 3/4″ by 7-1/4″. I was fine using modern boards, because I sure don’t have the cash to buy exact replicas! I based the trim around the door on the window trim which I was reusing, replicating the 5″ flat stock at the sides with a 6″ flat stock header.

I ended up deciding to skip the shoe base in the bathroom because I really didn’t feel like dealing with yet another surface to wipe down and clean in that room. I found a similar trim piece to the decorative moulding at wood crafters and picked up some 1×8 flat stock as well. I took all my measurements for the room and then went to cut my trim only to discover my chop saw only cuts about 6.5″ bevel cuts leaving me to hand saw the other 3/4″ on all my boards. UGH. But with such a small room, there weren’t many cuts so I knocked it all out in less than an hour. I dry fit all the pieces and then placed them on top of all the boxes of bathroom stuff (light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, toilet, etc) that were all stacked in my kitchen and began priming them.

My kitchen looked like a chaotic crazy mess at this point, especially considering the crazy town, half-sanded floor disaster. All the boxes did create a convenient work surface though! You can see below I painted the flat stock and the trim piece for one short wall section. Once the decorative moulding is placed on the flat stock, caulked, and painted, you’d hardly know they weren’t one larger piece!

Now a lot of trim is MDF these days, but I really prefer to use finger jointed pine for painted trim since a) it holds up better to water, b) isn’t a bunch of sawdust held together with toxic glue, and c) has less toxins and off gassing. It’s easy to paint tim when it’s not on the wall like this too. No worries about getting paint anywhere! Just have to remember to paint your boards in the direction they’ll be laid in the space: vertically or horizontally.

It was nice to be able to ping back and forth from the trim to the walls and ceiling while they dried. This project happened in early December 2017, so dry time was a little slow in the winter cold humidity. I prefer painting in Spring and Autumn on warm days that aren’t too hot so you can start your second coat of paint just an hour after the first coat is done since things dry more quickly!

I always use the same type of paint: Benjamin Moore’s Natura. It’s the best paint on the market. It’s no-VOC with no-VOC paint pigments and it’s formaldehyde free as well. It has next to no fumes and goes on super smoothly. The darker paints are a bit thinner than the light colored paints, but both are easy to apply. It’s NOT CHEAP. But it’s worth it to me.

The first coat of paint went in on top of the primer in the bathroom and it was SO HARD to see what had been painted and what was still to come because the colors were so similar. I ended up applying two coats of paint and after that looking at wall sheen to see any spots I missed and need to touch up. The first coat looked a little rough, but it was so exciting to see the full transformation come together!

I actually taped off the ceiling for the first time to see if that would help get crisp lines in this room since I wasn’t planning to do any crown moulding. In the end I actually think it did more harm than good. I ended up going back to touch up a lot of it afterward where leaks had happened or layers of sections of tape didn’t line up right and the line jumped.

When the whole room finished the second coat it was such an amazing feeling. This room had been such an adventure from the start and each set felt so BIG and DRAMATIC. Every time I finished something I felt like jumping for joy and I couldn’t stop smiling. I think one of my favorite things about DIY is the obvious progress you see with each step as things improve and look better and better!

Soon enough the room was painted and I was able to slip in a couple of light fixtures. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY I COULD FINALLY SHOWER AT MY HOUSE AGAIN! I demo’ed the bathroom in late October and now it was mid December and I could finally live and sleep at my house again. I was ECSTATIC!

That was nothing with out trimwork though! My trim boards had all been primed and had one coat of paint. They were ready to be installed! I borrowed Erik’s – my neighbor – nail gun and some of his nails and got to work. The nail set he let me use was great because it came with three sizes. I was able to use the 2″ brad nails on my flat stock and the 1-1/4″ nails for the decorative moulding piece. If I’d used quarterround in here I’d have used the 3/4″ nails for that.

This was actually my first time using a nail gun and I was really nervous. Especially after Erik told me he once had nailed his hand with a framing nail gun. Thanks for that helpful tidbit of information! In the end the nail gun was SUPER easy to use and I loved it! It became my second favorite tool after drum sanders (which will always be first since they saved my kitchen floors!). Just line up the board where it needs to go and nail it in. I aimed for the floor plate and the studs where I could, but lightweight trim holds fine to drywall too!

After that? A WHOLE LOT OF CAULKING. Now I could make a lot of jokes about caulk, because, well, obviously it’s hilarious. But I actually really hate caulking. It’s one of my least favorite DIYs, which is unfortunate because I have had to do SO MUCH CAULKING at this house!

It was difficult to get into the space between the window trim and the shower wall to caulk so I ended up finding a good trick. I bought a small amount of flexible tubing and a tiny clamp for a few bucks and clamped the tubing to the end of the caulk bottle like so.

This allowed me to get into this tight spot much more easily. Also I apparently make very intense faces while caulking. You can see how the caulk filled the clear tube, but the flexibility of the tube allowed me to get the caulk right at where the trim met the wall.

Then it was just a matter of wiping the excess caulk with a wet finger (the part I hate the most since it’s messy). I used to bring a small container of water around to do this, but have since learned that it’s much much easier and neater to use a wet sponge to wipe the excess caulk. So, ignore this technique I’m showing and go get yourself a sponge! Also yeah, I did bring a plant into this bathroom at this phase to make it look pretty mid-renovation! Also I hung my old shower curtain up temporarily, since this bathroom was finally useable again. That was a HUGE step!

Installing the baseboards did mean pulling up the rosin paper and see the room really come together for the first time though and that was exciting enough to counter balance the hell that is caulking! I caulked all the seams as well as where the tile met the floor for maximum water resistance. I took this shot with my iPhone after I’d caulked most of the trimwork. Yowza! It was looking good in here!

Up close you could see a whole lot of caulk and spackle filled holes though. Not great. Luckily, a quick coat of paint was all it would need to make it all come together.

It’s just amazing what a coat of paint does isn’t it?! Crisp, clean, and complete.

I’m going to leave you there today, but this room is SO CLOSE to done! At this point, all I had left was installing plumbing fixtures and lighting and the medicine cabinet. And then – just the fun stuff: final styling and decorations!

Have you ever gut renovated a bathroom yourself? How did that process go for you? Was each stage an exciting next step or were you headsdown waiting for the finish line? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear more too about what you’d like to see more of this year or what kind of posts you like to read. Do you want me to get into more nitty gritty details on DIYing or do you want to see more styling posts about quick and simple things? Or do you not really know and maybe just want to say hi? Love you guys, thanks for reading! Here’s to 2019

It’s PIIIIINKKK!!! My house is painted pink!!!

It’s PIIIIINKKK!!! My house is painted pink!!!

I give up on trying to call this color coral, it’s absolutely pink and it’s ALL OVER MY HOUSE! That’s right, y’all, Berrybrier is finally painted! It’s been a journey – a rough journey – to get here and I’m so glad to show you this today! My house finally looks like a home, like someone loves it! Remember what it was like when I bought the property? Partially blue with a white corner and lots of flaking paint, it hadn’t been updated in 30 years. I saw a very similar picture to this on the listing and instantly knew this place was my house, my future home. It’s a good thing I’m totally crazy, because normal people don’t fall in love with exteriors like this!

Continue reading “It’s PIIIIINKKK!!! My house is painted pink!!!”

Painting Blues

Painting Blues

Ages ago, I talked about trying to decide which color coral to paint the house at Berrybrier. The windows when I bought the house were aluminum clad exterior / wood interior windows. The aluminum exterior was a dark forest green with slight blue undertone which dictated my color choices on the rest of the house. In the end I decided on coral and dove in whole-heartedly with no looking back! I was attempting to schedule the exterior painting around the same time as the bathroom demo, new plumbing, electrical work, and roof replacement. So I was a little busy and things were a little crazy!

I was stressed and stretched thin; but my mom was in town and she volunteered to interview painters while I was at work. It was a huge load off my chest! Unfortunately it turned out that painters are extremely difficult to find and extremely flakey. My mom finally found some people after a few weeks: a married couple with their own painting business. The lady called me about 4 times to schedule a time to meet to sign the contract. This should have been the first weird sign. But the house looked terrible, my mom thought these people seemed good, and I was ready to paint it pink!

Berrybrier | Roof

The woman came over one night last October – a hot October – to sign the contract. It was the very end of painting season in Portland and she wanted to get started ASAP. I was all for it; I couldn’t wait to see the house all in coral. We walked around the house and discussed various things that night: exactly what I wanted painted the white trim color and what I wanted pink, some trim repairs on the back of the house, prep work needed, and payment. We also discussed timing, since the dormer was still being built, the roofers were still at the house, and the electrical was just beginning to get started. I had bought the paint – Sherwin Williams Emerald – during a big yearly sale, so that had been taken care of. The painters were charging about $4500 for the labor for the job which felt like a great deal. They asked for 50% upfront, which was pretty standard with how I was paying most of the various workers on their projects at Berrybrier. The painters were going to start the following week. I ponied up.

The first day of that week, the electricians shut off all the power at the house to do their extensive work. I probably should have guessed that that would happen, but I wasn’t expecting it since they hadn’t told me specifically to expect this. I found out later they didn’t think I was actually living at the house during these renovations! I had to call the painter and let them know that if they needed power to do their work (they did) they’d be delayed three days. This was an issue because the days were getting colder and wetter quickly. We pushed three days which brought us to a Thursday am start.

The plumber started his work in the bathroom that Wednesday. It was supposed to be a half-day job, the water was off at the main line to the house. Of course, with Berrybrier, nothing goes as planned. The plumbing needed another half-day’s work and the plumber wasn’t available again until that Saturday. This meant no water for the painters’ sprayers. I called the painters again, I asked if they could use water pulled from a hose from the neighbor’s house. They refused, saying they needed too much water for that and would rather push their work. That was a little annoying since access to water is access to water, but they were understandably annoyed at the situation. And I was too. This was convenient for no one! However, they were able to work on the house as soon as the water was turned back on. They planned to start work that Sunday and complete as much as they could on the house in the week of sun that stretched out. I was called out of town that weekend, last minute. I was excited to get back and see the progress on the house!

I returned home the following week, mid-week. Nothing had changed at the house. It did not look like anything had been touched on the painting. I called the painters confused. They told me they had found out they were having twins and were in a state of shock. I had not realized the woman was pregnant when she had come over to sign the contract, so this surprised me. It also frustrated me since we’d been discussing our tight timeline to paint the house. I’m all for mom and pop businesses, but it’s also important for these small businesses to be professional. The real bummer? This no-show thing soon happened again and again.

Several times they promised to paint, several times they didn’t come. I was majorly stressed as my insurance company demanded the house be painted by the end of November. Finally, they got it to the stage where the house was primed and the painters agreed to write my insurance company a letter assuring them the house was painted and water-tight. Thankfully, the insurance company agreed that this was sufficient and extended my painting timeline to October 2018 (a full year extension)! But we were still pushing to paint on the sunny days that fall. Unfortunately the painter still rarely showed and his team of painters were non-existent. One person was trying to paint the entire house in a couple of days. This person also decided to spray all the trim and then brush all of the siding. And then he never showed up.

The painters then refused to fix the window trim on the back of the house and refused to remove the silly little old alarm speaker on the front of the house. They refused to clean up the excess cable wires that were all over everywhere. They weren’t doing basic things like filling the holes from the old stair railing (dime sized holes!).And they continued to not show up when they promised to.

Berrybrier | Big Holes.jpg

Other brand new things like the smooth, new electrical pole on the side of the house were painted, but covered in drips. It looked terrible and definitely not like it had been done by a professional!

Berrybrier | Electrical Tube Drips.jpg

On December 9th, after the painter again did not show up. I took a hard look at the house. It looked terrible and it was increasingly clear in the areas that were “complete” that the prep work was insufficient. Some of the areas that had been primed had sticky oversaturated spray in places. I was extremely stressed, upset, and felt helpless. I talked to my neighbor Erik, he walked around the house and agreed the painters weren’t doing a good job. I sent them a text and told them not to bother coming back to the house, but I’d like to settle up a return of some of my payment. Of course, they fired back that I owed them an additional $600.

Berrybrier | Oversaturated Spray.jpg

I had some painters Erik worked with come look at my house that week. They were shocked by the condition and pointed out a lot of things I hadn’t even noticed before. They said the house would now be more work to properly paint than before. That blow added anger to the stress and exhaustion and unhappiness with this project. Combined with a non-functional bathroom, ripped up kitchen, and way too many other projects to count I was a pretty big mess.

Berrybrier | Flaking Paint.jpg

I had another painter, this one referred by my Uncle Scott’s Uncle Dan (a local contractor) over to take a look. He concurred, the house would now be more difficult to paint than before the other guys had started their work and created this mess. Cue the tears and feelings of loneliness and utter despondence. Daniel’s post on the renovation of the side of his house sums up these renovation feelings oh too well! It was a very low point and the house looked horrific.

Berrybrier | Flaking Eaves.jpg

Winter was already here; my house was covered with papered windows and oversprayed trim. It was an extremely obvious and embarrassing way to leave the house for the winter, but there really wasn’t an alternative. So gutters covered in plastic and patchy front paint and overspray it was!

Berrybrier | Fall House 2017.jpg

Even the snow did not make the house look any more charming! Passersby would jokingly ask if I’d changed my mind on which color I wanted. I’d taken a house badly needing painting and made it into a roadside attraction horror. It was mid January before I took all the plastic wrap off the windows. I didn’t have a ladder tall enough to get to the plastic wrap on the gutters… so that got to stay through August the following year!

Berrybrier | Snow House.jpg

My sister moved into Berrybrier in January 2018 and that March helped me patch the trim over the window and back door where ripping off the porch roof exposed cut up mouldings. This was a small improvement, but every little bit of progress counts!

IMG_0951.jpg

Meanwhile I submitted a complaint to the Oregon Certified Contractors Board against the painters I’d hired and tried to focus on the hefty list of other things I needed to work on. The painting would have to wait until summer 2018 and there was nothing I could do about it. This was a HUGE life lesson and a really unfortunate loss of a significant amount of money. But overtime, the stress reduced, the anger faded, and I’ve accepted it and moved on. Because there really isn’t an alternative is there? Have you ever had huge issues with professionals you’d hired? What did you do?