Archive for July, 2011

Painting A Closet

Nothing like a little weekend chaos. Guess what we did this weekend? Here’s a hint:

And another hint:

And another hint:

And one last hint:

Um yeah, all that house insanity was for this:

Specifically, to paint Clara’s closet.

See, whilst standing on a chair in there hanging the little ribbon chandelier that I made last week (you know, right before John asked me how it was hanging), I decided it was high time we painted that little future-reading nook for the bean (we envision a big cushy beanbag and a ton of books in there for her to dive into). Isn’t it funny how one small project can snowball? One minute you’re standing on a chair hanging a ring o’ ribbons and the next minute you’re tossing a ton of stuff into the guest room, stashing shelves in the guest bathroom, setting up a pack & play in your bedroom (to allow for painting while Clara naps in there), and rolling back the ol’ nursery rug to keep it paint-free.

As you can see in the picture above and below, there are already some pretty sweet adjustable shelves for books and toys and all that hoopla when we turn this closet into a closet slash reading nook (Clara’s nursery was the former owners’ office, so the shelves were used for all of their paper and file storage- but it definitely works for board books and blocks too):

But it could definitely use some freshening up. Check out the grody baseboards:

And the hanging bar that appears to be gnawed on:

So out came those already white shelves with the silver brackets (and into the guest bathroom they went)…

… so I could paint all the trim and that hanging bar with some slick semi-gloss white paint (Olympic No-VOC paint in off-the-shelf-white).

It was already a huuuge improvement. John and I went back and forth about what color we should paint the inside of the closet. In our first house’s nursery, the walls were soft pear and the closet was a fun light aqua color along with the ceiling. And we loved that. But since we went with a soft gray-pink in this room we didn’t want to do the same blue closet and ceiling thing all over again. So we decided that we should try something with texture instead of a new color. Like a pink tone-on-tone stencil. That way it’ll feel connected to the nursery while having a little somethin’ extra in the pattern department – maybe even something subtly metallic. But nothing too loud or crazy since there’s a bright floral curtain that hangs at the closet entry as well as on the windows across the room.

You know that fine line you walk between fun & playful and crazy & chaotic? Yeah, we figure if we have plans to add crown molding along with paint and possibly a stencil to the nursery ceiling we shouldn’t go too nutso on the closet – especially if it’s for quiet book reading/baby chillaxing. So for zero dollars and zero cents we opted to paint the closet the same soft gray-pink tone as the nursery walls (Proposal by Benjamin Moore color matched to Olympic No-VOC paint). Thankfully we still had some left from painting those walls back in December (<– cutest Clara pic ever in that post, bee tee dubs). But back to the painted closet. It’s a nice clean start.

Even before it was dry I got into one of those moods (you know, when $herdog comes out and she decides to fly by the seat of her saggy gangsta pants). So I dragged the whole family to Ben Franklin (weekend family time = clearing rooms to paint, painting while the bean sleeps in a pack and play in your bedroom, hitting up the craft store) where I grabbed some 99 cent water-based metallic craft paint in pearl white and champagne (all the metallic paint at the paint store is $20+ and not quite VOC free yet- but this stuff should hold/wear as well as latex paint unless Clara takes a pressure washer or some sandpaper to it – and it’s a lot less fumey). I also grabbed a cute little $1 rubber stamper with a girlie medallion on it.

Do you see where this is going?

I decided it might be cool to apply some sort of hand-stamped pattern to the wall with that rubber stamper instead of a traditional stencil so it looked kind of irregular and imperfect like handmade wallpaper. And I loved the idea of layering the soft champagne color over the light pink walls so it would be subtle enough not to take over the whole nursery or anything (I also grabbed the pearl white paint in case the champagne was a bust). I envisioned it being this little glittering magical world for Clara to duck into and get lost in a book.

So instead of focusing on how long hand stamping the entire closet would take I thought about how much Clara would love it. And crossed my fingers that it would work. Oh and it bears mentioning that John predicted that it would not work at all because rubber stampers are for paper & ink and not walls & craft paint. Who brought the killjoy to the craft store? I did. But I also had the inspiration with me (El Beano). So I walked out semi-confident in my spur-of-the-moment idea.

As for application, I learned by experimenting with some paper first that the best way to get the paint applied nice and evenly (and not too gloppily) was to lightly brush it onto the stamper with a paintbrush. I used a completely out-of-the-way corner that can’t be seen from the doorway of the closet for experimentation (it would also be covered in shelving and could be repainted with pink paint if all h-e-double-hockey-sticks broke loose and my little stamp method was a bust).

Behold, tiny champagne medallions:

I loved them but they were way too subtle and finely-detailed in person. It almost looked like someone with gold lipstick kissed the wall since you couldn’t quite make out the medallion shape (and from the side they looked kind of bumpy and odd). They actually photograph a lot better than they “read” in real life, which is a shame because I didn’t want John to be right. But alas, it wasn’t the right answer for the closet. So it was back to the drawing board. Literally.

That’s right, in a serendipitous turn of events I tried wiping down the still-wet paint with a wet paper towel and it lifted right out. Well, not right out. I had to put some muscle into it and really scrub, but it came out with a little elbow grease so I could start over. And I was mighty impressed with my painted-earlier-that-day wall for holding up to all the manhandling going on so soon after the paint went up.

And yes I did say “so I could start over” a few sentences back. That’s right. I wasn’t done with my crazy craft paint yet. This time I was wondering if I could freehand some sort of fun painted pattern with the same champagne paint (using a wider brush than the rubber stamp so it would hopefully be easier to make out and less detailed/muddled).

First I experimented with imperfect horizontal lines…

… then I moved onto a bunch of x’s in a row (kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss)…

… then I played around with some sweetly imperfect dots that I made by squishing the paint brush against the wall…

Before wiping anything away I called Killjoy John and Happy Happy Joy Joy Clara in for a consult. Clara wanted to kiss the x’s (I kid you not – I think the girl’s smarter than a fifth grader) and John and I both liked the horizontal stripes best. But we weren’t sold enough to slap them all over the walls quite yet. Sometimes holding back is hard for me, but it’s easier for John. He pointed out that we never regret thinking things through just a little bit before rushing in and doing something we might not love as much as something else in the long run. Especially when said project could potentially take five days and make you see stripes when you close your eyes for three more days after that. Bah, voice of reason = annoying, but right. Point taken.

So because I was incapable of getting off the stamped/painted/stenciled train, to the internet my fingers flew, where I found this cute stamp that I love. John is also (miraculously) down with it – maybe because I joked that it looked like wi-fi to him.

It reminds me of the scalloped fish-scale-like piñata that I made for the bean’s birthday. And since Royal Design Studio offers 10% off to YHLers (including us, haha) with the code YHL10, we’re definitely considering springing for this guy. Especially since we didn’t have to pay for wall paint since it was already on hand and we found metallic paint for $1 a tube at the craft store. I haven’t ordered the stencil just yet, but I’m definitely thinking about it. And now that the ribbon chandelier snowballed into a closet painting project, I guess I should mention that I’m also thinking about:

Oh and speaking of the ribbon chandelier, I still haven’t ironed that guy (girl?) yet. Maybe I should add that to my bulleted list so I’m inspired to get ‘er done (you know I love to cross things off). Or not. Oddly enough, the windblown look is still doing it for me. I know, I’m a strange and mysterious creature.

Speaking of which, we only have one True Blood Season 3 DVD left (with two episodes on it) and we’re sad and excited all at the same time. Since I had fun with the Sookie sidechat on Friday I thought we could discuss teams. I’m Team Eric. Is anyone on the Bill trolley? What about that Alcide guy? I’d get on that before the Bill boat for sure, but Eric is definitely mah man. Oh and I forgot about Jason Stackhouse. He might be above Alcide for me. Hmm. Anyone else painting or stenciling a room? A closet? Let’s chat about home stuff or tv or something else entirely. Anything. Does that sound desperate? Sorry. I’m just a chatty lady who has been stuck in a closet all weekend…



How To Hang Your Ironing Board On The Wall (The Easy Way)

As much as we love having our new built-in shelves in the laundry room, they did kinda get in the way of our oh-so-fancy ironing board storage system. You know, the one that made a clanging noise whenever the spin cycle kicked on?

So clearly the ironing board had to find a new home. Earlier on we thought about making a little cubby so the ironing board could slip into our built-ins, but we wanted maximum space for baskets and bins and bowls (instead of breaking things up and making it narrower). We contemplated just shoving him (her?) in a closet somewhere else in the house, but somehow it felt like he she it belonged in the laundry room… just not looking all busted and ugly.

Those nice little dark streaks? Would you be surprised if I told you they were residue from Sherry’s oft-used no-sew hem tape? Picture the wife hanging her head in shame. And an old more-fun cover that we had was also ruined in a similar manner (ripped – oops). Maybe Casa Petersik is where ironing board covers go to die?

Sherry contemplated sewing a new cover herself (possibly out of ironing-board-disfiguration guilt), but after popping over to Etsy (specifically, here) for some inspiration, she instead found herself inspired to buy a charming little handmade-by-someone-else cover (long story short: she was enamored with the fabric and unable to find it herself at a few local stores that she hit up). So 24 bucks later we had a much more presentable looking ironing board that Sherry is excited to display 24/7 (and has vowed not to maim). She’s more into that ironing board cover than a person should be.

Do I get any husband points for letting her go the pink route? Even I’m man enough to admit that it looks pretty awesome with the grellow walls.

Obviously leaning on the wall wasn’t our storage solution. Nope, we wanted to hang this lady (now that it’s pink, I’ve decided it’s a girl) on the wall. We briefly considered some sort of pulley system from the wall or ceiling that would allow it to fold out for in-room ironing, but thanks to the space being about as narrow as a bathroom stall, we decided we’d much rather hang it somewhere to store it, but keep it removable to accommodate ironing in a more spacious room (Sherry’s partial to the living room, I like the bedroom). The perfect wall for the job was this one (opposite the door) since it had some eyesores of its own to be covered – er, accessorized?

Yup, remember those two painted-over fuseboxes? We figured hanging our chipper little ironing board there was a multi-tasking solution. This way we can easily access the fuse box by simply removing the iron (just like a framed photo or bulletin board, which some other folks opt to hang there instead).

Since all of the ironing board hook / caddy things we found at the store also had a spot for an iron (and our iron ain’t pretty enough to showcase, plus we worried about slamming into it since the room is so narrow) we decided to “make” our own by repurposing two jumbo sized coat hooks from Lowe’s (about $6 each). To hang them, we used long strong wood screws and intentionally drilled into studs (so we didn’t risk hitting any wiring that runs to the fuse box and got a nice secure hold).

The hooks worked perfectly – which was quite a relief since they were the only ones I could find that I hoped were big enough to accommodate the wide ironing board bar and attractive enough to pass TWT (The Wife Test). The only thing we were somewhat undecided about was which direction to hang the ironing board. Sherry preferred the look on the left (pointing up), and I liked the version on the right (which Sherry thinks is “upside down and weird”). Feel free to rock the vote and weigh in on your favorite ironing board direction. Can you handle the excitement? Oh the things we debate around here.

But this is my post, so the rest of the pics will have it hanging my way. Sorry lady-wife. By the way, we realize the ironing board looks a bit far from the appliances (especially from this angle) but that’s intentional because:

  1. we wanted to position it over the fuse box
  2. we didn’t want to be banging into the ironing board every time we opened the washer door, so it’s happily out of the bang zone. And if we ever get around to switching the way the dryer door opens that one won’t bang either (right now it swings the other way).

Oh, and notice the missing cabinet doors two pics up? That’s because we had another little project going on at the same time. Those built-in cabinets that we inherited are great for concealed storage (aka, the place where ugly stuff goes to be ugly) – but they were sort of an off-white color that clashed with the freshly painted white trim, and the hardware was kinda blah.

In fact, we had another jeepers-creeper-where’d-you-get-those-peepers-knobs situation going on like this oldie but a goodie. Except this cabinet monster is a vampire since we’re in the midst of watching True Blood Season 3 on DVD (no spoilers – we’re only halfway through). Just picture it saying “Sook-eh, that was not my intention” in a weird Southern accent a la Bill Compton.

So off came the doors, knobs, and hinges. Here’s the old hardware (white eyeball knobs & brass hinges) next to the shiny new replacements. The pink glass knobs (yes, there’s me permitting pink again) were around $4.00 from Hobby Lobby after a 50% off sale (is it me, or are they constantly having 50% off sales there?). The brushed nickel hinges were $3 a set from Home Depot. Together they make for a much more updated (and fun) finish on those cabinets.

But first the cabinet doors and frame needed a coat of Kilz no-VOC primer and two thin coats of white semi-gloss paint (Olympic Premium No-VOC Base 2), which you can barely detect making a difference in these photos. You can kinda see how the door on the left has been framed with fresh paint around the edge. Maybe. If you happen to have binoculars or a magnifying glass next to your computer.

With primer and paint dry and the new hardware screwed in, things were back in working order within about a day or two (although we kept the doors cracked for another 24 hours, just to combat any stick-age).

Not the most dramatic makeover you’ve ever seen, but hey – sometimes it’s the little tweaks that make us the happiest. Sherry says those pulls remind her of pink champagne. Not that she’s ever had any, but she thinks it sounds fancy. Then she said something about pink diamonds but I tuned her out.

Oh and if you’re curious as to what’s actually in that cabinet… in a word: junk. In a few more words: a drill, paint and supplies, seldom used laundry items, bungee cords, and some saws. You know, the usual. If you’re Dexter or something (saws, drills, and bungee cords? yikes).

Oh but before I go, here’s our updated laundry room to do list.

We’re still debating the whole window treatment part, hence the question mark. That window isn’t a privacy issue (you just see the top of the built-ins and the ceiling from outside) and we wonder if even a simple roman shade would just crowd things since the window practically grazes the built-ins and the white trim and mullions are nice and clean on their own. So we’re planning to figure out the light fixture and then make the call.

Anyway, what’s up with you guys? Anyone have an ironing board cover that they’re loving a little too much? Do you have some small projects like new hardware & hinges or a coat of primer & paint that you plan to cross off your to-do list by the end of the weekend? Anyone want to come over and do some laundry with us? Seeing how many people we can pack into our tiny 3.5′ wide space could be a good time. Or a science experiment (my guess is 32 & Sherry’s pushing the envelope with 43).

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner. Click here to see if it’s you.

Psssst- To jog your laundry room memory, so far we’ve replaced the washer/dryer, taken down window shutters & cluttered shelves along with frosting the door (all here), filled some ceiling cracks, painted the room, and added some built-ins