Adventures in refinishing a wood floor

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As I mentioned in my last post, I had a date this weekend with my hallway floor. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but as it turns out, refinishing a floor isn’t half as painful as I imagined! Of course, I did manage to break just about every rule there is for refinishing floors…big surprise there. If this house has taught me anything, it’s that there is more than one way to skin a cat (not that you would actually want to skin a cat. eew!).  I had thought that the varnish had just worn off this floor over time, but a closer inspection proved otherwise. There is tons of tack marks, nails along the perimeter, a tuft of red carpet here and there, and scatter marks from a drum sander. They must have had carpet down at some point, and then removed it and sanded the floor. That’s … Continue reading

The experienced people’s take on refinishing floors

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This post could also be titled, “The pep talk to myself to stop being scared of floors and just do them already!” As you know, we’ve been working on the upstairs hallway. I finished painting the walls (three doors painted, three still to go). And now I’ve decided to tackle the floor up there. The upstairs floors are all original wood floors, I think pine? I’m no wood expert, but since the rest of the house is bedecked in every direction with pine, that would make sense if that’s what the floor is as well. They are completely worn down to the raw wood, no varnish left on them at all…so I’m thinking it will be a fairly easy process to re-stain and seal them. Unfortunately, we know all to well just how well my over optimistic thinking process works out for me…that’s why I’m hesitating. I haven’t quite forgotten … Continue reading

Everything you ever wanted to know about painting wood paneling

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  I’ve been getting a lot of questions about painting wood paneling lately. I figured it would probably be better to address all the questions in one post. This is a bit of an updated re-run from a post I did on my old blog about this, so sorry if this is old news to you readers who have been around for a while. First off, wood paneling is an entirely different beast than drywall. If you think you are going to knock it out in an afternoon, you are going to be sadly disappointed. Ask me how I know that. Just get it out of your head before you start, and all will be well with the world. Before you begin browsing the paint isle, you’ll have to have some bonding time with a rag and some TSP. Depending on how shellacked and dirty your walls are, you may … Continue reading

Updating the guest room’s fifth wall with color

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Do you know what the fifth wall in a room is? Of course you do, look up! Your ceiling is arguably the most looked at “wall” in a bedroom, and shouldn’t be overlooked when painting.  While color on the ceiling may not be your thing, even a fresh coat of just white may make more of a difference than you think. I personally enjoy a colored ceiling, specifically if all the walls are white. The main areas of our house have wood ceilings, while the bedrooms have drywall ceilings. I chose to leave the wood ceilings alone, and paint all the dry wall ones…which were a stylish shade of 50′s pink. Pink…really? Of all the colors you could pick…. Painting a ceiling is just like painting a door, it’s a very easy way to change the look of a room without investing tons of time or money. It’s a small … Continue reading

The future of the guest room

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I’ve discovered that home renovation progress goes in spurts. You just have to get done what you can get done, when you can do it, and be happy with that. Easier said than done for  “I have an idea and I want it done by exactly 4.5 hours from now” types like myself. I’m getting antsy to finish my guest room, but other obligations are taking precedent just now so I’m learning patience. Yay me. Since it’s stuck on my brain though, I thought I’d share some of the before pictures of the room and some of my plans for it. This room is pretty average, nothing especially gross or weird about it. Wood walls, check. Dirty pink ceiling, check. Disturbing burn spot on the closet door, check. Creaky parquet floor, check. Door that you have to body slam open or shut, because absolutely nothing is level in an old … Continue reading

Painting Interior Doors Black – Why I chose to do it

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Doors are pretty average things in a house, and so are walls for that matter. Most of us analyze paint cards and paint samples with great attention, and think long and hard about paint colors for walls…why not for doors? I’m a big believer in making any ordinary “bone” of a house, as un-ordinary as humanly possible. If you’ve got to look at anyway, make it art! One really easy way to do this, is to not overlook the doors! I knew I was going for white walls and trim through the entire house. I wanted the doors to the main rooms (not closet doors) to break up all the white, and to contrast sharply, so I went for black painted doors. Here is a shot of the front hallway in my house before I painted it. Here is that same hallway after paint. (Please disregard the stairs, they are … Continue reading

7 Ways to save money on a home renovation

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You might run across a person now and then (uh hum…me for instance) who holds the belief that their extensive experience of painting a wall or two at one point in their past somehow uniquely qualifies them to redo an entire house. Such an overly optimistic person might find themselves rather thunderstruck when they are faced with the actual figures that an adventure like that is likely to cost. Not that I would know. To that person, I would offer these seven suggestions of how to save some of the money that seems  to disappear like the wind during a home renovation. Do as much of the work yourself as you possibly can. Just because you’ve never done it before, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Most likely you lack the knowledge, not the physical ability….two very different things. Neither the Mister nor myself had ever ripped out flooring, installed counter … Continue reading

A Tour of Lights

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I think the absolute hugest improvement we’ve made to this house wasn’t the AC, or electrical, or working appliances, or paint, or the cleaning…it was the lights. I had no idea I loved lights so much…until we moved into a house that didn’t have them! Was it socially unaccepted in the 50′s to have lights in a house? Maybe they worked night shift and wanted the house to be dark. Or maybe they had a secret desire to dwell underground. With wood from ceiling to floor, and the very fewest, most dim amount of lights imaginable, this place was an utter cave. I wore one of those ridiculously nerdy headlamp lights on my forehead for the first two months just so I could see what I was doing! (Is it any wonder I went on a white wall painting rampage? I think not!) Lights hit the home improvement budget right … Continue reading