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Painting a grotty floor

14 Oct

The floor in the guest bathroom was pretty grotty. It looks much nicer in photographs than it did in reality. I read  this on other people’s blogs (like two of my favorites: Manhattan-Nest and Design-Crisis) and I think “eh, it looks great in the photo, how bad can that thing look in real life?” and now I know, that thing can look pretty awful in real life while looking quite decent in  a photo. I’m also one of those people who laments nearly every time someone paints wood.

It looked much worse in person, believe me.

It looked much worse in person, believe me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the floor was awful and it would have cost a lot of money and made a huge mess to sand it. It had deep splinters and grooves (possibly 40+ year old sanding machine marks) and nailheads sticking up. It was stained and just plain grotty, really that’s the only word for it. So I decided to paint it.

I had seen all sorts of lovely white painted floors in books, magazines, and web sites. Perhaps they, too, looked better in the photos than in real life. Because the white I chose (milky something from Benjamin Moore mixed up as floor paint at Rocky’s) looked like there was a yellow flourescent light glowing on it at all times. And the big gap between the floor and the skirting board became very noticeable. I gave it two coats, but it just wasn’t working.

Whitish floor paint going down. White does not hide flaws, FYI.

Whitish floor paint going down. White does not hide flaws, FYI.

Whitish, ickish floor.

Whitish, ickish floor.

Even a bathmat didn't improve the look.

Even a bathmat didn’t improve the look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had heard that you MUST use floor paint on floors. So I trotted over to Home Depot to have them mix up a quart of floor paint in the color that is on the walls in the bathroom. I used leftover exterior paint from my stoop on the walls thinking (a) I had it hanging around and (b) if it’s supposed to withstand exterior conditions, it will probably do okay in the bathroom. Waste not, want not. Well, Home Depot only sold gallons of floor paint, and the white had only used half a quart, so I figured I’d do an experiment and use more of the leftover exterior paint on the floor. I also got $5.00 worth of some quarter-round-ish gap filler baseboard shoe molding and stuck that in the gaps, and that is a huge improvement up close (you can’t see anything in these photos, sorry. But trust me).

Taggy doing an industrial chic modeling shoot.

Taggy doing an industrial chic modeling shoot.

All this work is making Taggy sleepy.

All this work is making Taggy sleepy.

Blue paint on walls in bathroom

Blue paint on walls in bathroom

Blue floor and skirting boards. Hooray!

Blue floor and skirting boards. Hooray!

Long shot, while paint is still wet (it's less shiny dry -- satin finish)

Long shot, while paint is still wet (it’s less shiny dry — satin finish)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ll see how it wears (I’m hoping the two coats of actual floor paint under the two heavy coats of blue will act as a primer), but it looks great. I’d like to replace the threshold with one of those nice marble ones, but I forgot to measure it when I was at HD, so I decided to just paint it in the meantime (i.e. forever).

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Leopard paper back up

15 Apr

The leopard wallpaper I used in this bathroom is discontinued (I discovered this a few years ago when I wanted to paper the ceiling with the same), so I only have a few precious scraps of it. Luckily, it’s a totally random match (and it’s dark in there) so you can basically throw up an uneven piece anywhere and no one is the wiser. So here is the completed wallpaper patching:

Wallpaper fixed.

Wallpaper fixed.

Art back up.

Art back up.

Not bad if I do say so myself. And you may also notice that I skim coated and sanded the ceiling. Now a wise person would have painted and primed the ceiling prior to putting the artwork back, but it was all sitting on my washing machine and I needed to do some laundry, (plus I don’t have any more of the gold paint), so I figured I’d put up the paper and re-hang the artwork first, then I’ll be very very careful (ha ha ha) when I prime and paint.

In other news, I did a little re-org with some of the art in there and moved this print to the kitchen on what had been an unforgivably bare wall:

Woodcut from Assisi.

Woodcut from Assisi.

 

Whenever I go to Assisi, I pick up one or two of these remarkable woodcuts from an artist there. I think it looks nicer here than in the powder room.

Here are two others by the same artist also in the ktichen:

Two other Assisis views

Two other Assisis views

Closer shot

Closer shot

 

They are all views of Assisi or scenes from Saint Francis’ life. They’re beautiful and intricate. I have them all around the house and like to give them as gifts, too.

So that’s the news here.

Always look on the bright side of life. Da dum, da dum, da dum da dum da dum.

13 Apr

Monty Python’s little ditty “Always look on the bright side of life” was playing in my head as I just put up this nifty sheetrock corner tape stuff that I found at the Home Depot today. Who knew? Probably professional contractors who install sheetrock for a living. But I love to learn new things and was dead chuffed to learn about this stuff. So I slapped some up there (“carefully” cutting it to the correct size for each length of wall and adhering it with joint compound) and put a thin skim coat over the whole bare piece of  ‘rock (that’s trade lingo, you know, I’m cool). I’ll sand it tomorrow morning before church and see if I can get away with it as is or if it needs another coat.

In case you missed the moral of the tail, the bright side of the unfinished work is that I got to learn about sheetrock corner tape. Don’t grumble, give a whistle. 🙂

Corners filled in and one coat of compound

Corners filled in and one coat of compound

Magic sheetrock corner tape. $1.49

Magic sheetrock corner tape. $1.49

The trouble with contractors

13 Apr

I don’t know what it is with contractors. At the end of the job, they always seem to slack off and do poorer work. Do they know that you’re really fed up with them disrupting your routine and making a mess and you just want them to leave? Do they know you’ll just pay them and go and not make them do things the right way? Are they just sick of the job and stop caring? Who knows. Does this happen with other people or is it just me? I find that just about everyone I hire to do something around the house starts off doing quality work and then slacks off towards the end.

So it went with these guys, who did a really crappy and not satisfactory job of closing up the ceiling in the ground floor (leopard) bathroom. No sanding, not enough plastering (joint compounding), big gaps between the ceiling and wall, and they bought the cheapest and flimsiest toilet seat in the world to replace the one that was broken by falling debris. Sigh. Luckily, what they didn’t do is within my skillset, but I really wasn’t planning on spending the weekend plastering and sanding. Whatever, they’re gone, I can finish it, and THEN I can clean, but it’s disappointing. 

Non-finished ceiling.

Non-finished ceiling.

Non sanded joints.

Non sanded joints.

A light, yay!, Non-removed ceiling and non-anti-mold painted wall, boo.

A light, yay!, Non-removed ceiling and non-anti-mold painted wall, boo.

Whole lotta debris.

Whole lotta debris.

Where ceiling doesn't meet wall.

Where ceiling doesn’t meet wall.

More views of the Waterworld! 2013! project.

7 Apr

I guess I couldn’t face taking pictures of everything all at once. Here are some more photos of the damage and the repairs. All this plastic piping is new, replacing old cast iron stuff.

In other news, I managed to change the fill valve on the top floor toilet, so that’s not running anymore. However, the ground floor toilet is not flushing, so i can’t use that one (and the 3rd floor is disconnected), so I now have to go up to the fourth floor (or ask one of my neighbors) any time I want to use the loo…. Hopefully, that’s just for one more day as the guys are back tomorrow to start the wall/floor/ceiling repairs (and fix the freakin’ toilet).

More new pipes.

More new pipes.

New pipes.

New pipes.

Nasty ass dirt floor and sewer stuff.

Nasty ass dirt floor and sewer stuff.

Another in the broken pipe series. So gritty, so real.

Another in the broken pipe series. So gritty, so real.

View of water damage and new electrical at head of basement stairs.

View of water damage and new electrical at head of basement stairs.

Pipes and bubbles

5 Apr

Here is the condition that the old pipes were in:

Some of the old pipes.

Some of the old pipes.

You see the need for change.

Here are some rather intriguing bubbles on the wall outside the butler’s pantry where the major water damage happened:

Water bubbles on wallpaper (painted over last year) behind butler's pantry.

Water bubbles on wallpaper (painted over last year) behind butler’s pantry.

Am hoping these dry out over the next few days. They’re coming back on Monday to do the wall and ceiling repair. The thing I hate the most about home improvement projects is when the weekend comes and no work happens, so I clean the house, then Monday comes and it’s filthy all over again. Sigh.

 

Water, smoke detector, bleah.

4 Apr

So. The new plastic waste pipe is installed — all four storeys of it. They did it in one day, which is great. The water that was not going down the pipes for several days did some pretty decent damage, though. A good bit of the ceiling in the powder room (first floor, the one with the discontinued leopard wallpaper) collapsed. A couple of sections of wall are gone in the second floor and in the stairway to the basement (that’s no biggie), and I need to let everything air dry out for several days to prevent moldification. Also lost a toilet seat due to a giant chunk of cast iron and ceiling falling on to it. No people or animals were hurt, so that’s okay.

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As all this mishegas was unfolding, my smoke detector system also began to malfunction. So at 7:20 yesterday morning (while I was in the tub), at 3:30 this morning, and again at 6:00 this morning, the piercing alarm rang out. Thank goodness the fire department only came that first time (I was in the tub and barely had the time to dress myself, never mind get on the phone, before they arrived). I’ve got an ADT tech coming tomorrow to fix the sitch. I think it’s a simple case of needing a new unit. After learning that the ADT technicians charge $150 for the first 30 minutes and then $39 per 15 minutes after that, I came to the conclusion that I’m in the wrong line of work and should really become an ADT tech in order to pay for my home improvement projects.

I really need a good night’s sleep with no collapsing ceilings or fire alarms. Also want to note that the dogs did not even get out of bed when the smoke detector was blaring a few feet away from their little pea brains.