Thursday, February 28, 2013

Upstairs makeover: complete!

Our crazy out of control project is at last complete!

Here's the steps we took:
1) Decide, design, measure, and order the materials.  The crown molding, board and batten, and chair rail came in 16' strips, so we had to know how many strips we would need.  We also added in the same chair rail molding for the window trim, and got some MDF for the rosettes and corner pieces.  We did end up having to go back a couple times for more pieces, but all in all we did well.  We didn't drastically over order on anything.  We also had to decide on colors for the paint and purchase that.  We bought 5 gallons of paint total, a 6 pack of masking tape (which we used almost all of!), and we also bought about 10 tubes of caulk and a bottle of TiteBond wood glue.  We already had a caulk gun and paint brushes and a roller.  We borrowed a chop saw, router, table saw, air compressor, and nail gun.  Sometimes a plate of cookies really pays off. :)

2) Move out the furniture and clean the walls.  You don't want to be painting over gunky walls.  Its also very eye opening to realize just how dirty the walls have gotten in the 10 months we've lived here, especially in the kitchen and dining room area.  yuck.

3) We painted next, but in hindsight this was kind of a superfluous paint, since we ended up having to tape and re paint around the trim anyway.

4) Cut, prime, paint, and put up the trim.  We did all the corner pieces first, since it was Cody's design from the get-go to avoid 45 degree angle corner cuts.  Let's face it; walls aren't perfectly straight.  That's the nature of the beast.  Since we'd done blocks with rosettes, blocks with baseboard, it seemed natural to design a block for the crown and chair rail and then to tie it all together with trim on the corners.  Then we did the crown molding, then the chair rail, and then the board and batten (which runs parallel to the studs so we glued that on and just used the nails to hold it in place until the glue dried).  But this was a LOT of trim.  We also did around all the windows upstairs, including the kids' bedrooms and guest bathroom.  Lots of careful measuring and marking, and we primed and painted it all before it went up.  Personal preference, but not particularly necessary.

5) Caulk everything.  Up and down the board and batten, around the chair rail, all the corners, crown molding, and windows.  I think we ended up using about 8 of the 10 tubes of caulk we'd purchased... perhaps more? I didn't keep count.  I didn't do much else for a week.

6) Putty the nail holes with painter's putty.

7) Paint all the caulk lines and nail holes again, and give the trim a good once-over to make sure it is beautifully painted.  Here's where we realized our intial paint project was a bit superfluous, because we really applied the white paint liberally.  It left a rather wide, messy white edge on our already painted walls.

8) Tape off the trim very very carefully.  Paint the edge of the tape once with white, let dry, then come back with the color and paint over all the white.  It took us two coats.  Some places we had to paint where we'd dripped as well.  Remove the tape when it's just barely dry enough to not get on your hands any more--about 30-40 minutes after your final coat and less than 12 hours after initially taping it.  In other words, don't tape off too much!  We had 4 colors total (green, dark blue, light blue, and tan), and we did each color one at a time.  We did the tan in two days. 

9) (still in progress!) Put the drop cloths and tools and paint away.  Cody put together small baby food jars of each color of paint which we are keeping in the cabinet above our fridge in case there's a small touch-up and we don't want to go searching for the whole can of paint.  Then it's time to put the furniture back and clean clean clean!  The floor and sinks really need to be scrubbed, the blinds vacuumed, etc.  Because this was a 3 week project that consumed the majority of our free time, we're behind on regular cleaning.  All my clean laundry is piled up in Katie's crib since she has learned to sleep in her big girl bed.  It's time to get back to normal life!

Master bathroom, light blue

Master bedroom

Dining room wall.  This is the only spot that got the double board and batten, and we built a small shelf above the chair rail.

Laundry closet and hall

Living room/hallway
Close-up of "Innie" corner

Living room window trim

Living room blue wall, and the kids playing Lego Star Wars

Master bedroom green wall

Door to master bedroom and dining room blue wall; you can see here how we tied in the shelf

Close-up of "Outie" corners

Monday, February 25, 2013

Winding up our project

This weekend has been crazy.  Thank goodness Cody has weekends off of work, because I might just have died without him!  We planned to work hard on our upstairs makeover on Friday and Saturday.  We've been working a few hours each day ever since we started, but we really are itching to finish.  So I made a to-do list with specific goals of when each line item had to be completed so we could finish this week.  My plan was to make each goal very achievable, so that we could get ahead of schedule easily.  I love crossing things off the list, and I love being ahead of schedule! 

I've been caulking all week, since last Saturday (the 16th, my birthday) we had put up all the board and batten.  While I've been caulking all the berjillion joint lines, Cody finished the trim.  He has such a great eye for this!  He's designed these amazing corner pieces for each step so the baseboard ties in beautifully with the chair rail and the crown molding.  It's now a very custom look, clean and simple but elegant, and it feels like our style to a T.  Friday went well. Cody got off of work and we caulked and primed and got ready for our final touch-up paint.  We planned to work all day Saturday.

Cue the stomach flu.  UGH!  Katie woke up vomiting in the early morning hours of Saturday.  Anna came down with it about six hours later.  I thought it might just be a 24 hour thing, but now, a solid 48 hours later, Katie's just barely on the upswing and Anna is still sick.  The poor girls haven't kept anything in their stomachs and almost constantly at least one parent has been busy tending the sickies.  But despite the stomach flu, we were able to get quite a bit accomplished.  My sweet neighbor and visiting teacher came over and helped.  I'd planned to have her help paint, but the house and girls were in a more desperate state than the painting.  She did the dishes, helped clean the girl's room, and gave Katie a bath.  It was one of the nicest gestures anyone's ever extended to me.  I am so grateful.

Sunday church was definitely out, seeing as two girls couldn't sit up for more than three minutes without needing a bathroom and a parent to get them there, and I was terrified the rest of us would get it or at least be able to spread it.  So we had a sick day and stayed home.  The girls watched BabyFirst TV and Lee played the computer.  I read Cody's Sunday School lesson to him while he painted.  We sipped on chicken broth and peach milkshakes.

Now it is Monday.  We are ahead on my goal of painting.  Katie is much better--she actually kept her breakfast down!  Anna is still sick, and resting.  Cody is back to work.  Lee is still looking awesome, and I'm praying he doesn't get sick.  And with all the crazy of the weekend, we somehow managed to do the final touch-up painting and finishing of 10 walls/3 colors (dark blue, light blue, and green).  We still have the tan left, which is more than the first three colors combined.  Of course, after that we have a massive amount of cleaning up to do, seeing as during the project there's been dropcloths everywhere and tools and paint...the house hasn't had a really great cleaning in about 3 weeks (I've done a few loads of laundry and run the dishwasher, and cleaned the bathrooms, but that's about it.  I really need to sanitize after this stomach flu as well.)  But last night, after finishing the touch-ups in our Master Bathroom, Cody put away the tools and scrubbed the sink and the mirror.  It is so beautiful, I'm so happy.  I think we might actually finish this! 

Do you need a sneak peek? OK, OK, I'll give you one. :)

Kitchen window.  All the windows, including the kids' bedrooms and bathroom, got rosettes and white trim.

Master bathroom, window & linen closet

Kitchen, pantry & magformer-plastered refrigerator.  You can see how the white corners tie in to the crown molding.

There will be more pictures when we're done and it's cleaned up and everything.  I'm so excited!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The usptairs makeover, V-day update

We've been working hard on my birthday upstairs makeover.  And by me, I mean Cody.  :) As of Valentine's day night, the crown molding is up, the majority of the chair rail is up, and the casing around the windows is almost all up.

Remember waaay back when we were building and Cody designed unique corners for all the trim?  The rosettes above the doors, and little blocks for the baseboard?  Well, I do. :)  We wanted to continue this look with the new moldings, so Cody got busy designing and making prototypes.  When we were both satisfied with the look, he started building them.  We have corner pieces for the crown molding, corner pieces for the chair rail, and more rosettes for the windows.  He started using the term "knick-knacks" for all these pieces.  He built them, and I sat and listened to the Jodi Arias case (sorry, kinda got addicted to that recently) and painted them.  These pieces were the first to go up, because we have to measure from corner to corner, or knick-knack to knick-knack, when determining the length of the trim itself. 

After that, we started on the crown molding.  It also got primed and painted and cut to size before installing.  I am in love with the molding we chose.  It is very small, very petite.  I'm happy because it fits right in with the rest of the trim.  Most of the crown molding available is quite wide, but we have 8 foot ceilings and I didn't want something really bulky.  This crown is about half the width of our baseboard, which I think gives it more balance. 

The first priority was to get the caulking, putty, and touch up paint on the crown molding above the stairs, because we were borrowing a 2 story ladder for it.  I did the caulk on the highest part.  Oh man, I hate heights!  But it's done now, hooray!  The rest is still needing to be caulked, but we can do that with just a kitchen chair.  We returned the ladder. 

The chair rail and window casings are roughly the same process: measure carefully, cut to size, prime, paint, then put in place.  We haven't started the board and batten yet, but that's also going to happen.  So far, I'm just so thrilled!  I'm excited to be done and have the house all gorgeous again, but in case you didn't notice, Cody and I love doing these kinds of home improvement projects.  It's fun work, and awesome results are underway.  Can't wait to show it to you when it's done!

Oh yes, we did pause for the most incredible Valentine's Dinner EVER:
Garlic cream mashed potatoes, artichokes w/ hollandaise sauce, lobster tail, and beef tenderloin steaks... oh my gosh.  Like, oh.        my.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Painting time

Oh my... it's been a long time since I posted, huh!  Well, I've been a bit busy. 

I've been dreaming since before we moved in about how I wanted the house to look.  Unfortunately, we don't have enough money to just try whatever comes to mind, so I've spent a long time on Pinterest and browsing through the clearance sections at nearly every store.  Occasionally I'll find something I love and I'll get that, but for the most part, everything has been purchased here a little there a little, and a lot of things aren't beautiful but they work for now, so I keep them around.  But as my birthday is approaching, I started thinking even more about what kind of decorating I could do on our limited budget.  I realized that what I wanted for my birthday more than anything was paint for the upstairs living area (kitchen, dining room, living room, and master bedroom).  But as Cody and I talked more about it, it seemed counter productive to get paint when we knew we really also wanted board and batten trim/chair rail, crown molding, and casings for the windows. 

So I poked around some more.  Shopped some more.  Started picking up paint samples and putting them on the walls.  I found the colors I wanted.  I decided on the trim.  At last we went to the store and got prices, then came home and did the math.  It's expensive for sure, but not outside the realm of possibility.  We considered just doing the living room and kitchen and not the master bedroom.  But after all this contemplation, Cody grabbed the phone and said, "Let's do it all.  Happy Birthday."  And he ordered the trim for the whole kit and kaboodle!  I am still SO excited and shocked.

The first order of business was to get the supplies organized.  Then we pulled out the furniture, decided how we'll do the board and batten, and taped off the sections we would paint.  We have 3 paint colors we're working with: a dusty slate blue, a sage/olivey green (which I realized after it went on the wall looks like G.I. Joe green...) and tan.  Because we have only 1 roller, we decided to do one color a day so that we had time to wash everything out in between colors.  I didn't have the camera while we did both blue and green, but I tried to take pics of the process with the tan.  First, we take everything down like face plates, pictures, shelves, TV's, etc.  We chose the height of 40" from the floor for our chair rail, so we marked off at 39 1/2" with a couple little pencil marks (seeing as the top of the trim will be level at 40", we weren't too particular with making sure this was perfect.  We just wanted to have the color go under the edge of the trim but not come all the way below it.)  and then ran tape across the barrier between color and white.  The part we were really picky with the tape was around the door trim.  It's imperative that it's straight and right on the corner between the trim and the wall. 

To really ensure that there's a perfect line and the trim stays white, and because we're too cheap to buy the expensive frog tape that prevents paint bleed, we first took our white interior paint and painted along the edge of the trim, to seal the edges.  It took Cody a while to understand what I meant with this step, but it works very, very well.  Then, it was time to roll!

Everything got 2 coats.  I usually rolled and Cody cut in with the brush, but we switched when our arms got tired. 

After everything dried, we made sure to take the tape off within the same day.  It's only good for about a day, and we didn't want to ruin our awesome paint job with peeling, tearing tape!  Now, it's time to get the trim done.  That will be next week's project, and consequently a different post.  I already love the colors we picked.  I can't wait to get it done and show it all off. 

oh... and we listened to really loud music while we painted... and occasionally sang along... And I'm really glad Cody didn't catch my painting-dance to "Play that funky music white boy" on camera...