As it turns out, this kind of project takes a lot of time, energy, and money. Not that we have any of those things in excess, so we have to take it kind of slow and do what we can as we are able. The good news is that a gallon or two of paint is not all that expensive, and when your “hobby” is fixing up your house, we actually would rather invest our limited resources here at home on the weekend instead of going camping or hiking or any number of other fun activities. One day we will get around to all of those fun family outings, but for this summer, our number one goal is finishing up a few home update tasks. My sewing room is the big project for a couple of reasons: for one thing, I need to work out there and I get rather claustrophobic when things are all cluttery and I just can’t be productive in a messy room. Another reason that this is a big project is because it is, well, a BIG room. For which I am grateful but a wonderful room that is BIG and MESSY is a double whammy for me. So we started with the walls, then the cabinets, then the junky old cutting table that was in the middle of the room.
The walls were ugly with stains on them from the previous owner’s wood working projects. The cabinets were completely UGLY having been painted with a yucky flat blue paint (some of them) and the cabinet doors were either painted blue or not . . . either way, they just felt icky even after I scrubbed them down with Mr. Clean. When we started, we just moved everything (and I mean EVERYTHING!) that had accumulated in that room over to one side so we could have room to work. Once that side was painted, I was then able to sort through a bunch of stuff and get rid of things that we had plopped in a corner when we didn’t know what else to do with them, organize the stuff we needed to keep, and put the stuff away once I actually had a clean place to put it. That was a major improvement.
But then there was this amazingly practical but huge, heavy, and ugly cabinet / table in the middle of the room. It was really useful but I simply could not stand to look at it the way it was – so we stripped off the hardware from the drawers and cabinet doors and my husband painted them black. He removed the doors so we could paint them, and they landed on the table top – which was originally a HEAVY old door with lots of scratches and paint splatters and general ugliness all over the place. Perfect place for painting cabinet doors.
Once the doors and drawers were painted, and the base of the cabinet / table was painted, we put everything back together but the top was really a mess by then! One Saturday morning we hauled the whole thing outside in the driveway and the sanding task started. Fortunately we had a nice sunny day without much breeze, so it turned out OK but sanding all that paint and varnish was still a big job. There were also chips and gouges on the corners that were filled with some sort of goop that Hubby had on his work bench. It’s the color of wood and goes on like plaster to fill the holes and gaps. Then when it is dry, he sanded it smooth and you can’t even tell there were places that were rough and chipped.
When the sanding was completed, the whole table top got a good wipe-down with a damp soft cloth and when it was completely dry, we started the painting part of the project. Three coats of antique white latex paint covered it really well, and it matched the bottom of the cabinet. And then, just because, I took some of the light green paint that we used for all of the doors and drawer fronts and did a little dip-and-dash with an old worn out paint brush to create a bit of a texture all over the top and the edges. The final step was to use a clear coat sealer on the top and edges because I will be using this table for cutting and other projects and I wanted to try to protect the surface a bit.
When it was all finished we moved it over so that it is against one wall but sits so that I can access it from three sides – it is the perfect height for standing at while I cut, or paint, or quilt, or whatever else I decide to do out there. Now that we have that one corner finished, I’m working on the floor. We can’t decide what to do with the old concrete floor, but we’ve been looking at a few different ideas. We originally thought about just painting it with concrete / floor paint, but then we looked at some other options that might be more durable than paint. In the meantime, I’m following up on my discovery that it is actually possible to PAINT a rug, and since I have a couple rugs in there that really need something done to them (until I can replace them), that looks like it might be the next major project. Hopefully I can actually get back out there and sew again very soon!
If you look closely you will see that we still have a lot of finish work to do around some of the furnace and air conditioning pipes, and of course that floor makes me crazy but it is OK for now – and that fabric on the cutting table . . . . I’m going to make curtains for the windows on the other side of the room and I might even use that design as a bit of inspiration for the painted rugs. I’ll let you know how all that turns out next week.
Have you ever tackled a major project like this on limited funds, time, and energy? I would love to know how you did it and what new, creative ideas you discovered along the way. I love to read your comments, so take a minute and tell me YOUR story of fixing up your creative space. Later this week I’ll show you how my painted rug is coming along!