Monday, March 18, 2013

Making It Ours II

Not surprisingly, making this house into our home is a series of projects.  That 70s Bathroom is right on the edge of done, but a few last touches elude us.  The right TP holder at the right price, for instance, and the right window treatments.  I just have to step away from that and let the right TP holder find me.  In the meantime, we're starting to tackle the dining and living rooms (essentially 2 ends to a big rectangle).

The panorama feature distorts the room, but you get the idea. 

What we don't like about it:
The walls and ceiling are semi-gloss paint.
The walls and ceiling are pink.
The walls and ceiling have an amateur and inconsistent texture (accentuated by the semi-gloss sheen).
The outlets are upside down and the holes cut for them in the drywall are too big.
The ceiling fan in the dining room is not our style and we'd rather have a chandelier over the table.
The curtains were a few inches shy of both the ceiling and the floor and not our style.
There was a builder's boob light in the living room that we took down the first week.
There was yards and yards of lace on a tension rod in the smaller dining room window.

Top: The brassy-colored curtain rod hung at an odd height, which I will repaint, probably an oil-rubbed bronze-ish color.
Bottom left: Three of 26 holes left when I removed drywall anchors. Bottom right: some of the most severe of the wall texture.

What we do like about it:
The rustic wood floors and mouldings
The wood beam
The big windows
The size is plenty adequate
The wood stove in the kitchen keeps it comfortably warm, so we don't need to use the electric baseboard heater.

Working with Oleal & Associates for interior design, I did the walls in this client's master bathroom in a weathered-looking plaster finish.  Later when I was there working on another project, I did a Ralph Lauren metallic on the ceiling and applied a silvery pearl glaze to the crown moulding. This is very close to what I'll do on our walls, hopefully this spring.

First: We found among my sample board a decorative plaster treatment that we both like and think will look really good with our various woods and with the rustic-ish style of the place and our things.  So, I'm starting by diminishing the texture of the walls and repainting the walls and ceiling with a light khaki color in an eggshell finish.  Upon finishing the dining room and stepping back, it was pretty underwhelming.  Khaki is a real yawner, but it's a good base coat for the future plaster and a good ceiling color.

I tackled the dining room end of the rectangle first.  Here's the border where the new texture and color (left) meet the old color and texture (right).  It's a little darker &greener on my monitor than in real life

Next I'll paint and rehang the curtain rods, this time closer to the ceiling.  I am planning on modifying some Ikea curtain panels we used when staging the house in Portland by lining them and adding a trim detail, probably on the leading edge and perhaps on the bottom or top.  They're grey and don't look great with the walls as they are, but I think they'll go nicely with the finished plaster.

Both Betty (above) and Delia like to peek from the stairs before coming all the way down to the living room.  I painted this partial wall an oxblood red pretty soon after moving in; it's a color from our rug and it helps diminish the big-shiny-black-rectangle-effect of the TV.  Eventually we'd like to build book and tchotchke shelves there around the TV to further disguise it. We'll also add power to that wall so we won't have to deal with the super classy orange extension cord.

The walls in the stairwell (one of which is visible from the living room) will also be re-textured and repainted the same khaki for now.  That project is going to require some fancy ladder and plank work, so I think I'll wait a bit and do it when I'm ready to tackle some alterations to the light fixture at the same time.  One of my mottoes when I was painting for clients was "the fewer times you can move the ladder or scaffold, the better."

Ceilings and walls are de-pinked, de-shined and de-roughed. Curtain rods are down and their anchor holes patched.  Great (or was it Great-great) Grandma's mirror installed over the barrister's case cum bar, garden bench brought in (slowly dried in the mudroom) and set in under dining room window, silicone blood removed from windows.  Next up: finish and install curtains and rods, hang TV on oxblood red wall and hang more art.

And because the secret subtitle to Suddenly Surrounded by Taxidermy is "There's Probably Dog Hair In It" here's a shot of the Beastie Grrrlz helping.  You couldn't see, but I was indicating air quotes with my eyebrows while I typed "helping."

UPDATE (May 16, 2013): We're getting there, a step or two at a time.


  1. Tara, you're a hard working woman! You've already done so much to the place and it's looking great! Can't wait to see how your curtains turned out. Your "helpers" sure are cute, but I think they need to be reminded of the old adage that used to hang in the kitchen of the restaurant where I held my first job... "Horseplay causes accidents".

    1. Aw, thanks! Right about now it feels like it's just a few drops in the bucket. Or maybe the better analogy is "it's snowin', but it ain't accumulatin'"? Or maybe not. ;)

      "Mama we're not horses! You silly!"

  2. I am NOT kicking your butt at this house re-doing! Nope not at All! You know so much about how to repair - the walls look great now! Heck the windows look fab without a curtains on 'em.

    Wish I could paint our ceilings. Well, I could but they are popcorn - the only popcorn I do NOT like - and a pain to paint.

    Your place is really beautiful and coming together!

  3. THANK YOU! And don't be modest! There's just something about window treatment that makes a room feel finished to me, though.

    We have on popcorn ceiling, in the downstairs bathroom. It's already been painted, so at least it'll be easier for me to paint. Of course much harder to remove. Sigh.

  4. Hi Tara! It's Peggy from South 47th~
    WOWzer! Your place is fantabulous! Reminds me of my homestead in the Foothills. I really miss that place at times.
    You have done a terrific job! Very, very talented indeed! Love the use of texture you have done on the walls, and the paint colours are perfect!
    I'll be following you to keep up to date. Can't wait to see all of your goodies!
    Stay inspired!

    1. Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm trying to keep the popcorn ceiling down the list, but our chats have tempted me to move it up. :) I still have to learn how to use a reader or feed or whatever it's called so I can know when you're updating instead of peeking in now and again. I'm so much better at handy projects and sewing than at "internetting."


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