You can paint anything! (Well, sort of…)

Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Painting | 0 comments

My grandmother’s hope chest was once passed down to me with the proviso: “Just don’t paint it.”  Yep.  I’m THAT person (and apparently it’s well known.)  And while I’m sensible enough to know not to paint family heirlooms, I do have a bit of a penchant  for painting pretty much anything .  And why not?   If you’re not happy with an accessory or a piece of furniture or, well, pretty much anything, a coat of paint can bring instant pizazz (does anyone say pizazz anymore?  They should!) to a sad looking something-mer-other.

Case in point.  I present to you… a mirror.  Tada!

Old plastic mirror painting project

I’ve had this mirror since my early university years (so it’s at least 15 years old) and I think it was a $9.99 Zellers special originally.  The frame is definitely some sort of plastic, and over the past decade and a half, it’s done that yellowing thing that white plastic does over time.  It’s also been marred by the occasional renegade mascara wand…

Old white plastic mirror painting project

But, despite being ugly, there’s otherwise nothing wrong with it.  The glass isn’t wonky (you know, when mirrors get to the point where they’re just SLIGHTLY warped and they make your toosh look ginormous?  Yep – hate that!) and it’s sturdy and it’s survived about seven moves since my tiny little university apartment days.  This mirror is definitely a trooper.  (An ugly trooper, but a trooper nonetheless.)

So, my solution?  Paint.  Of course.  Did I bother to scuff ‘er up at all?  Nope.  A light sanding probably would have been a great idea, but it was an extra step that I didn’t feel like taking for a once-$9 mirror (I’m super lazy like that.)  That said, I did indeed prime it with a high adhesion primer (my beloved Zinsser Bulls Eye Primer.)  And then a couple coats of Snowfall White paint later (to match my trim and baseboards) and I suddenly have a much nicer looking mirror specimen…

Old plastic mirror painting project

Mirror painted Snowfall White

Old plastic mirror painting project

Easy eh?  It’s obviously not perfect (I had a moment of dirt-blows-in-fresh-paint-panic while painting the mirror in my backyard – one of the hazards of painting outdoors), but it was free (since I already owned both the paint and the mirror) and it’s absolutely fine for the top of our stairwell (which seems perfectly suited for a full-length mirror!)

So see?  You can paint anything, really!  Except maybe your grandmother’s hope chest.  :)


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The stairwell saga, part three (and part THE END) (I hope)

Posted by on Jan 22, 2012 in Painting | 0 comments

The stairwell walls are painted.  Hooray!  And they actually look pretty good – I hadn’t noticed that the old paint was, well, SHINY (I’m guessing pearl or satin?) until I covered it with glorious eggshell (even Sweetie noticed that the new colour is way less shiny.)  (And if Sweetie noticed it, there must be a big difference.  I could paint a random wall in my house fuscia [fuschia?  fushia?  OMG that's a spelling-bee stumper] and I’d probably have to point it out to him before he’d actually notice.)  And so, with walls done (I heart you, Edgecomb Gray!), this weekend has become a trim weekend.  I hate trim weekends.  Painting the baseboards (technical term: stringers? I think?) in my stairwell has possibly been the most boring painting project ever (and I still have one more coat of paint to go.)

One of the contributing factors for why I despise painting trim?  I can’t paint straight.  At all.  I am one of those poor sad people who needs tape.  Everywhere.  Like, lots and lots of tape.  Or else things just get really messy.  So while the process of painting the trim (primer coat went on yesterday) (yuppers – I prime everything.  Way less frustrating than going back afterwards to try and seal in all those mystery stains when they peek through your lovely new paint job) (and plus it’s a high adhesion primer, which works really well with my aversion to sanding) didn’t actually take that long, taping took forever.  And ever.  And ever.

Stringers desperate for paint - do you blame them? If you listen really closely, you can almost hear them whispering, "paaaaiint me..."

Miles and miles of green painters' tape. The subtle green stripes are kinda pretty, non?














People who can paint trim and these sorts of things sans tape amaze me.  Seriously.  Craig Lowe, you are my hero.

(Explanatory aside: Craig Lowe is the painter guy Mike Holmes brings in to paint post-demolition on Holmes on Homes.  Sweetie calls him my boyfriend.  He does indeed make me swoon just a little.  Not because he’s particularly handsome [he is kinda cute though], but because that man can paint a mean room.  Without tape.  Sigh.)  (Random reference, I know.)

While painting the stairwell, I’m figuring I should also paint the doors to the bedrooms (since they’re the original 1940s ugly stained/several-thousand-coats-of-varathane doors, and they don’t really match anything.)

For the record, I love my doorknobs.  They need some cleaning up, but old doorknobs make me happy.

I’m thinking I might eventually take them all off and give them a good coat of Oil Rubbed Bronze spraypaint (a la Sherry from YHL.)  (Hi Sherry!)  For now I’ll just paint around them though…

a) because I’m lazy

b) because I prefer to spraypaint outdoors and it’s, like, minus a gazillion degrees out right now

c) because I just want this stupid stairwell project overwith (and getting fancy with the doorknobs wasn’t part of the original plan for right now.)

SO there it is.  Stairwell-Painting-Project Progress Report number 3.  And hopefully the last one – there’s nothing like spending your weekend (or three) in a tiny little stairwell.  But it may just be the nicest stairwell ever (ev-ver) when I’m done.  Or so I’m telling myself.


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The stairwell saga, part two (I heart progress)

Posted by on Jan 15, 2012 in Painting | 0 comments

Lots of progress on the stairwell so far this weekend (which makes me happy – a weekend without some sort of renovation progress makes me sad.)  (Yup.  I’m a little obsessed like that LOL.)  Here’s what I’ve done so far…

I caulked all the baseboards to the wall.  This is always my least favourite step when I’m painting a room.  Caulking is gross.  It’s sticky.  It’s unruly.  It gets all over.  (So, really, this is all one big admission that I suck at caulking.)  BUT, it makes such a huge difference to how things look (so, while I gripe and groan, it’s a step I never skip) (unless, by some miracle, things have already been caulked, in which case I do a little happy dance.)  (Sadly, there were no happy dances spontaneously erupting yesterday.)

Mind the gap please. Mind the gap.

(Aside: I PROMISE to eventually get a better handle on this whole picture-taking thing.  Darkest.  Photo.  Ever.  And it kinda makes me a little dizzy too…)

Here’s the same stretch of baseboard after a little love from the caulking gun (and a coat of primer too)…


Way better eh?  (Oooh.  And a way better camera angle, with better lighting too.  Gotta say, I’m pretty darn proud of that there shot of my baseboards.)  :)  Caulking the baseboards to the walls just makes everything look so much more FINISHED.  I can’t believe in the 70-ish years this house has been standing, no one has ever thought to do this.

Once all the gaps were all tidied up, I primed everything.  I probably didn’t need to – I’m doubting that the paint on the walls was oil-based or anything like that.  But I’ve learned through experience that priming over everything, as much as I hate the additional step, ensures that there will be no surprises (nothing is more annoying than having a mystery stain that you didn’t notice pre-painting suddenly seep through your new pretty paint job), and it just seals anything, um, weird the previous owners did in (there are all sorts of strange marks on my walls.  Not so sure what most of them are.  Don’t really want to know.)  PLUS, with all the patching I did, priming kinda became a mandatory step.  :(

So that’s how I’ve spent my weekend so far!  Here’s the stairwell to date, all primed-up and anxiously waiting for a coat of lovely greigy Edgecomb Gray…

If a stairwell could look excited about paint, I'm pretty sure this is how it'd look.

Progress makes me happy.  :)


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The stairwell saga (aka: it’s the weekend so, obviously, I’m painting :)

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Painting | 0 comments

Happy Friday!  It’s (nearly) the weekend!  Yay!  Which means it’s back to painting for me (painting is my weekend hobby – some people read, others socialize… me?  I paint.)  My current project is the stairwell leading to our second floor.  I can’t say it’s a particularly inspiring project.  The colour I’m using (BM Edgecomb Gray to match the downstairs hallway and living room) is nearly identical to the existing colour (so I’m pretty certain that the “WOW” moment [you know - when you peel away the painters' tape to reveal a fresh new awesome colour on your walls and kinda stand back to marvel in all the loveliness for a sec] will be somewhat lacking) but the walls were pretty beat up and dinged and dingy looking, so they will look BETTER at least.  Even if I’m the only one who knows it.  Just to demonstrate, here’s the stairwell (looking down toward the first floor) mid-patching job…

The long white patches are covering cracks. Oh plaster walls - why must you be so difficult?

(Sorry about the crazy dark/awkward image btw.  Blogging lesson learned: do not try to take good photos of a tiny dark stairwell while standing in a tiny dark stairwell after dark.)  Not sure what, exactly, the previous owners of this house were up to in their stairwell, but whatever it was it made a pretty decent mess of the walls.  Plus there were several good-sized cracks that needed patching (oh the joys of living in a house with plaster walls) and a big indentation in the ceiling at the top of the stairs where previous (and, ehem, rather lazy) owners painted (we’re talking multiple layers of paint) AROUND the lovely boob-light (which, obviously, is being replaced) and smoke alarm (which is also being replaced.  Who knows how old the existing one is…  And plus, it’s an icky dirty-ivory-ish colour.  A nice fresh bright white one will look way prettier!)  (Or at least as pretty as a smoke alarm can look. :)

So there it is.  My project for this weekend!  I can’t say I’m particularly excited about this one.  It’s one of those things I’m doing because I SHOULD, not because I’m particularly inspired by my stairwell LOL.  Although, that said, the quest for a new light for the top of the stairs is a bit exciting.  Yes – lighting makes me happy.  I’m a little odd like that.  :)

Happy weekend!!!


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