It’s been quite a journey, but we have a really long way to go still. Fixing up an old house is a lot of work! But every day we are making a little bit of progress and I finally have one of the rooms finished. It is, however, the smallest room in the house, but it is DONE! We are still in the midst of finishing up the trim paint in the big living room, but the walls are finished. The molding around the ceiling needs another coat of paint because there is a bit of the overspray from the gray paint on the walls – so there are lots of itsy bitsy speckles of gray on the ivory molding up around the ceiling.
The other really major project that is taking quite a bit of time is the fireplace. The shelves on either side of the red brick fireplace are made of dark wood (not very nice dark wood or we probably wouldn’t paint them even though we’re trying to lighten things up around here – but these shelves kind of rough and ugly!) with doors covering the bottom two shelves. The other shelves go all the way to the ceiling. So, following some inspiration from (where else???) Pinterest, we decided to paint the shelves the same ivory as the molding around the ceiling, and white wash the red brick. It’s almost finished, but not quite. It is tricky to get the brick painted just right, so we have been experimenting – which in itself is challenging because once you put white paint on red brick, there’s really no going back. But I think we’ve found the right “mix” for our project.
This past weekend, we finally finished the half bath off the sun room. And since I’m pretty much OCD about painting projects, it took me a long time (and my back is killing me!) to get the ceiling and walls painted with the corners just right. I usually take a small artist brush after everything else is finished and touch up along the top edge of each wall and along the ceiling so that there are no drips or messy smudges from one to the other. Also, the molding around the middle of three walls is painted white to match the ceiling, and the walls are a very pale pink, “Barely Blush,” I spent a bit of time making sure those lines were cleaned up.
Throughout this project, I keep hearing, “Mom! This is so old and ugly! We should just throw it away and buy new stuff!” Of course that is coming from a kid who doesn’t have to pay for all that “new stuff,” so I explained to her that a couple cans of spray paint can go a long way towards making the old and ugly stuff really quite pretty and charming, and it will work just fine at least until we can afford to buy a bunch of “new stuff.” Or forever, actually.
This little half-bath was really kind of pretty when we moved in. I liked (kind of) the wall paper which was stripes of burgundy, gold, and ivory, with a wide border of big flowers in the same colors. In fact, this wall paper border was the only one in the house that I (kind of) liked at all, and wouldn’t you know it??? One day there was a loose edge on that border and someone (not sure who because no one as confessed!) pulled on it, and whoops! It all came off in one big strip. I wish all wall paper would come off as easy as the one that I didn’t want removed quite so soon. So that’s why I don’t have any pictures of that room as it was when we moved in.
The biggest problem in this little half-bath (as in all of the other rooms in our old house) was that it was so DARK! The walls were painted a very dark burgundy which matched the wall paper perfectly, but in a room that small, the dark burgundy really made it feel kind of claustrophobic. At least to me. There is a pretty corner cabinet, as well as the corner cabinets above and below the corner sink, which are quite nice, but the wood along with the dark walls just made this teeny tiny room not a very happy place. Bathrooms must be happy, don’t you think?
I figured I could manage to complete this little room all by myself, so I began a couple of weeks ago to pull down all that ugly old wall paper. My girls actually love to pull that stuff down (it is such a mess!) – so I gave them the privilege of getting the walls ready for paint. Of course, when it got “too hard” for them, mom had to step in and finish the “hard parts,” but after a couple days of scraping and stripping, scrubbing and washing down the walls, we were ready . . . to patch the holes and uneven places that had been covered by the ugly wall paper.
It appeared that there had been a cabinet in the corner previously, which was not in the same place as the corner cabinet, so the wall where the old one had been was really rough and uneven. I did ask for hubby’s help with that as he is much better at using that gooey stuff to patch holes. Then we had to wait until the next day and sand those places down, but I managed to get that done. Pretty good, but I realized that the walls weren’t perfectly smooth when I was painting. But much better than before, so we were good.
FINALLY, we were able to start painting, so I began with the wall just inside the door and I was surprised at how well the light pink paint covered the dark burgundy. It still took two or three coats to be completely covered, but I was encouraged. It is tricky to paint right up next to other surfaces that you don’t want painted, like the corner cabinets, but the good news is that latex base paint comes off of other surfaces quite easily if scrubbed fairly quickly after it dries. So don’t scrub the walls where you actually WANT the paint too soon after you finish your paint job. But I was able to use a little scrubby sponge and all of the accidental swipes of pink paint came right off the wood surfaces. (It is very difficult to get good pictures in a small room! You can’t get far enough away from anything to get a good picture of the whole project in one picture).
Then I was able to paint the ceiling with antique white using a roller and standing on a kitchen chair. Worked on the edges with a small paint brush; then painted the molding around the middle of the walls the same antique white. Several coats to cover the dark burgundy completely, with lots of little “touch ups” here and there. When the walls and ceiling were finished, I had so much fun fixing up some of the “old and ugly” stuff with a fresh coat of paint.
The shelf over the toilet had been painted before and it was dark, too, so I found Linen White chalk paint spray and fixed that old shelf right up! I decided to use a soft (not bright) gold for accents, so we painted the light fixture (“new” globes that were taken from the ceiling fan in the living room – perfect for this little bathroom), the light switch plate, and the toilet tissue holder with spray paint. Then I had these cute little pictures of Anne Geddes babies that had shades of ivory and pink, so I painted the frames, some gold and some white. I found the cute sunshine mirrors at Walmart and they matched perfectly! I painted an old mirror frame with the soft gold, and I painted an old wire basket with the same gold spray paint to hold extra rolls of toilet tissue.
We will probably paint the handles and knobs on the cabinet doors to match the other gold stuff, and we even discussed painting the cabinets white . . . but since they are not really DARK wood and they are really quite beautiful cabinets (they might be custom-made for that bathroom as the cabinets in the kitchen are custom and they might have been done at the same time), I’m thinking we will keep them the way they are. Unfortunately it is difficult to get good pictures in a room without a window for natural light, but you can see the difference that a fresh coat of paint makes in fixing up our old house! I hope we can finish up the living room this weekend – more pictures to come!