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!
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…
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…
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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Our stairwell painting project is definitely not a wow-er. I wish it was – I put a lot of work into that silly little dark stairwell! Sadly, it pretty much looks the same as it did before, just better and cleaner and neater. Wanna see? Let’s consider this my not-so-big reveal…
Here’s where we started…
(See all those patches? Yep. Our stairwell was just that disasterous.)
Fast forward a couple of months and a lot of paint (BM Edgecomb Gray on the walls, and Snowfall White on the stringers, trim and doors) and here’s what that same little stairwell looks like now…
One of my favourite improvements is the mirror at the bottom of the stairs. It’s called Melissa (yep – that’s half the reason why I bought it!) and I found it on clearance at Sears a while back (the other reason why I grabbed it up!) Rona still sells this same mirror at full price (see here), so I’m quite proud of my lovely little bargain. :) It’s a dark, windowless little stairwell and this just seems to brighten the landing up a bit (plus I just think it’s pretty!)
Oooh! And see those lovely stringers near the bottom of the pic? They weren’t always so lovely. That loveliness is the result of a whole lot of filler (there was a huge gap between the stringers and the wall originally that yours truly fixed up with loads of caulking), careful (crazy time consuming!) taping (click here for pics of the groovy green tape stripes I had going for a while) and a lick of paint.
Just looks so much cleaner now. :)
The boob light at the top of the stairs has been replaced by Ikea’s amazing Alang…
(Alang is indeed a-lovely, non?)
And I painted both the doors to the upstairs bedrooms. They were originally wood-grain and coated in what appeared to be a gazillion layers of 1940s varnish. The white is way better (if you ask me!)
I heart our doorknobs. They’re old and aged and imperfectly perfect.
Lastly we added a mirror at the top of the stairs. Afterall, one must make sure she’s presentable before greeting her public. ;)
And poof! The stairwell is done. Ish. I’d like to eventually replace the thick brown (leaf-patterned) runner with something fun or striped or something like that, but for now it’s in good shape so despite that it’s brown (did I mention that it’s brown? Yep. It’s brown…) it’s staying, for a while at least. And I’d like to add something to that wall at the very bottom of the stairs (a pic from our wedding [almost 4 years ago] perhaps? We should really start printing those at some point…) but that’s not an urgent stairwell upgrade at the moment either.
For now, it’s better! If you didn’t know I’d put weeks (and weeks and weeks) of weekend-work into that little dark stairwell, you’d just think that it’s a fresh clean stairwell. But it’s the projects that you don’t notice that add the most value, I think. At least I hope. :)
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My Jess was my partner in crime during our second and third years of university. There were bars. There were beers. There were soda biscuits with Cheese Whiz at 3am. (And lots Ally McBeal and Cybill watching in between.) We had so (too) much fun together in the two years we were roomies. I cried the day my Jess moved out.
We’re all grown up now (I suppose.) We’ve both adopted new roomies (our hubbies), and Ally McBeal and Cybill are long gone from tv-land (dear Cybill’s friend Maryann: I miss you.) Jess has three awesome little boys, and I have two awesome furry boys. We still meet up for the odd beer when we can, but we’ve graduated from soda biscuits slathered in processed-cheese-in-a-jar to real restaurants and coffeeshops (oh the luxury!)
And our bar days have been replaced by Ikea dates. :)
Today, we are meeting for our first ever Ikea date. I can’t wait. Not only do I get to hang out with my Jess (and her Cameron, the happiest baby I’ve ever met), but I get to do it at Ikea. Am I a happy Joy? Yes. I’m a happy Joy. :)
I’m excited to be Ikea-bound a) because I get to see my Jess, but also b) because so many projects are so agonizingly close to being complete around here, but require just a little Ikea-love before I can swish my hands together (like they used to do in old movies – you know what I’m talking about right?) and declare (outloud, of course, and rather overdramatically) “done!”
There’s my stairwell. Oh, stairwell project, how your unfinishedness haunts me. The walls have been carefully patched and painted (in lovely BM Edgecomb Gray), the baseboards (stringers?) tediously caulked and taped and repainted (the rumours are true: I do indeed have rather beautiful stringers now)… And yet I can’t yet swish my hands together. Why? Because I’ve got a bare lightbulb hanging from my ceiling at the top of the stairs. Yes. You read that correctly. A. BARE. LIGHTBULB. Please don’t tell. I’m a little embarrassed. And it’s even more embarrassing that that sad looking naked lightbulb has been swinging (all uncovered and stuff) for over a month now. Yup. Consider me officially mortified.
Yes, we could have just put the original ugly boob light back up (um… if I hadn’t thrown it away in disgust…) but after all the hard work I put into that stupid silly stairwell, I’ve refused to compromise. No, it needs a new lovely fixture. And Ikea has the answer…
Alang is Alovely, isn’t she? And she’ll look even more alovely at the top of my stairwell. :) When Sweetie and I last visited Ikea, they were sold out of dear Alang, so I’m guessing that I’m not her only fan (although I may be her number one fan.) (I love her just that much.)
I also need some of these…
…for my yet unfinished pretty little laundry room. It’s hard to put shelves on a wall without brackets (unless you’ve got one of those fancy schmancy floating shelves) (I do not have one of those fancy schmancy floating shelves.) And I desperately need shelves on the wall. I have THINGS (a few baskets, a pretty little picture, a new-to-the-laundry room clock) (oh, and laundry detergent too) to put ON a shelf in my laundry room, just no shelf. It’s a bit of a problem. So, Ekby Stilig brackets, you are indeed on my list. :) If Ikea-shopping was anything (at all) like The Bachelor, Ekby Stilig brackets: you would be getting your rose.
Lastly, I need a little more Slom in my kitchen…
…since I ran short on Slom mid-pantry project a couple weeks ago. And an unfinished pantry is an unhappy pantry (pretty sure that’s how the saying goes.)
And so, off I go (like, literally, right now) to meet my Jess, her Cammy, and my eagerly (if a jar can look eager?) awaiting Ikea-finds. There may even be a cinnamon bun waiting for me on the way out too (according to Jess, one cannot truly appreciate the full Ikea-experience sans cinnamon bun. Who knew? Apparently I’ve been doing it all wrong for so long.) Our Ikea date may not be quite as exciting as Cheese Whiz on crackers at 3am on a schoolnight, but it sounds like a delightful way to spend a snowy Saturday afternoon to me. :)Leave a comment
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.
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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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.)
(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…
Progress makes me happy. :)
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