Learning New Tricks

This past week we painted the office.  We went with Retro Avocado by Behr.  The color was kind of chosen for us because of Oscar the Rug.  We were going to use it as our accent color in the living room.  We bought a gallon of it and were ready to paint.  Then fate intervened when I found Oscar.  Since Oscar is very close to the Retro Avocado, we decided to use the paint somewhere else.  The office was the lucky winner, it’s a great color.

It looks much brighter in our office.

When we paint, we divide and conquer.  Jamie rolls and I do the brush work (because is Messy Marvin, he’s been known to get paint on stuff when not painting).  The other colors we have used in the house (Groovy Grey and Glass of Milk) have covered with one, maybe a light second coat.  Retro Avocado on the other hand is pure color and required three coats of paint.  So much fun when you are cutting in a textured wall that meets a textured ceiling.  I usually paint the trim first, then cut in the wall color, and then follow up with the touch ups (I always have touch ups).

With the wall being very green and the trim being very white I knew any little imperfections would be noticeable (mostly to me).    Past experiences with our textured walls of trying to tape the trim and cutting in the wall color usually makes for lots and lots of touch ups.  I knew that technique wouldn’t work.   I got creative,  it worked and I thought I would share it with you (if you haven’t already thought of it or seen it somewhere else- I haven’t seen it anywhere, but I also haven’t looked either).  I started with this method of painting crisp stripes on a wall and adapted it for painting trim.

First I painted the trim, waited for it to dry.  I taped off the trim with blue painters tape.

Next, I went around the room and painted a quick coat of trim paint on top of the paint to seal the edge of the tape against the wall.  I waited for it to dry thoroughly.

After it was dry it I painted the three coats of the wall color and let them dry (I didn’t want the wet paint on the tape to mar my trim).  Jamie removed the tape by going very, very slowly.  We just wanted to make sure it didn’t pul up any paint with it.

And behold, it worked beautifully!  It was a lot of work, but with how many laps around the room we had to do it was totally worth it to not have to do touch ups.

We will be back with full room shots of the office.  It has started taking shape.  I love it when an idea works.  You end up feeling like a superhero for the rest of the day.



Adventures in Lighting, Part 2

A quick recap of our last post:  we bought a spray painted sputnik light, had it sandblasted, had the stem lengthened, hand oil stains, we ended up spray painting it.  Well, that took a lot less words than the last post.

Our adventure continued when we wanted to actually hang the light in our dining room.  See, we have these lovely vaulted ceilings with beams, which means that there isn’t an attic or crawl space to go up into when we want to hang a light.  Lucky for us there are already wires sticking out close to where we want the light to be.  Yes, lucky for us.  And this is where the “old houses are harder” lesson continues.

Since we don’t tend to be very handy and prefer to keep all of our digits, we asked our contractor to create a box for the light to hang from.  We are difficult and wanted it to hang between the beams, so they had to create a faux mid-beam beam.  Jamie suggested, before we get the whole thing hung, that maybe we should test the wires and make sure they work.  They didn’t.  Our contractor thought they were almost original to the house, so it’s probably for the best that they didn’t work.

So, now we have a hole in our freshly painted wall, light sockets hanging out of the wall, and a half finished box on the ceiling.

Turns out there wasn’t anything wrong with the wires.  Previous owners were at fault.  Some where along the line, someone put in a 4-way switch and wired it wrong.  After the electrician got it all straightened out, he lengthened the wire, put a hidden junction box in the wall and reinstalled the right type of switch. Maybe it isn’t that old houses are harder, it’s hire a professional to do the wiring.

The painter came later and patched the hole and repainted it for us.  That made me ecstatic, since we had painted that very spot a little less than a week ago.  He covered the wires, painted the new beam-box, and patched the small part of popcorn ceiling that came down when they were uncovering the wires.  We have plans for that popcorn.  Eventually it will be gone.

The light is up now.  It’s beautiful and makes the dining room inviting.  Before it was kind of looking like a table sitting in a walk through area.

Since I waited so long to finally post this the fun star bulbs we ordered came in.  Behold our finished sputnick:


Now for some beauty shots:



Let’s get a closer look at those light bulbs…

Just in case you can’t tell, we are very excited about our new light, or is it lights.  Either way, it’s awesome.



Adventures in Lighting, Part 1

You would think after spending seven months waiting for this house, three months in this house and hearing “there’s a problem” from our contractor countless times that we would eventually learn nothing is easy or simple when it comes to an old house.

Let me start at the beginning.  Before we even had the keys in our hands we knew we wanted a sputnik chandelier for over the dining room table.  We watched them on ebay sell for way more than we were willing to spend, but we had hope that one day we would get one.  We mentioned to our friends at Rocket City Retro to keep an eye out for one for us.  Turns out they had one in their back room.  Only problem was that someone had painted it silver and the paint was flaking off.  It was ours if we wanted another project.  So, we bought it with the hopes that we would be able to have it restored to it’s original brassy beauty.

We had it sandblasted to get the paint of of it.  That left it a sparkly champagne color and actually kind of pretty.

We took it to a lighting store to see about having the sockets removed so that we could have it powder coated to be shiney again.  Turns out that with 24 arms that would require a lot of work and subsequently a lot of money.  We decided to leave it the sandblasted color which was slowly growing on us.  We asked the lighting guys to extend the stem and skipped on our merry way.  Ok, it was more like drove away in a hot car with a cranky three-year-old.

After about two weeks we got the sputnik back and new problems surfaced, or there were new problems on the surface.  Turns out the lighting guys didn’t wear gloves when they were working on the light, so the oil from their hands created dark brown/black spots on the sandblasted brass (bad blogger Morgen didn’t get pictures of that part of the process- looking at it made me sad).  I decided it wasn’t worth the money to have it re-sandblasted (I’m cheap like that).  So, I tried cleaning it.  First with 409 (fail), then with steal wool.  The steal wool probably would have worked if I had tiny hands and a week of free time.  So, I did the unthinkable, I spray painted it again.  Rustoleum makes a spray paint that is very close to the color of the sandblasted brass, Champagne Mist.

I was planning on spray painting the stem of the light anyway since it didn’t match the light.  I misted it just enough on the sputnik to cover the oil marks and trying to keep the sparkle of the sandblasted brass.  I then used a clear coat in matte to seal it and hopefully prevent any future oil marks.  Unfortunately, it lost a little of it’s sparkle, but the sparkle was very subtle.  And if I ever want it back I can cough up the $30 and have it sandblasted again.  Only this time we will make sure to seal it right away and stop oil marks before they can happen.

This post turned out way longer than I thought it would, so it will be continued with a part 2 where you will learn why things are never simple with old houses, and hopefully a final post when it’s hung up.

It’s different.  It’s unique.  And hopefully when it’s hung it will look amazing.  Check back soon for part 2.