Halfway There

The bedrooms are done!  I’m so relieved that it finally feels like I’m getting somewhere with all this painting.  I think my bedroom looks great, even though my family argued that I went too dark with the color.  I disagree!


Excuse the blurriness; a photographer, I am not.


Also, ignore the junk everywhere.  It’s hard to keep things tidy when you’re constantly moving things around!  Again, my bedroom was Behr Classic Taupe.  The closets and trim are Behr White- keeping it simple.  Also, debating whether or not I should keep that desk.  The previous owners left it behind, but I can’t decide if I have the room for it.  Decisions, decisions!  Below is the finished second bedroom:

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I’m really proud of this room because of how good the accent wall came out.  I think the two colors look amazing together.. I really lucked out on the selection!  Just as a refresher, the purple is Behr Purple Mauve and the grey is Behr Silver Chalice.  Apologies for the pictures of the living room- it has the most clutter by far.

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The color here is Behr Raffia Cream.  As you can see, I’m not quite finished with this room.  It still needs a few coats on the trim and baseboards, but I should be finished in here by Thursday.  That means, as soon as I get the wood rot fixed, I can get my new floors!

Of course, that wood rot is a whole other issue.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve called the condo management company and the contractor directly.  I just cannot seem to get anyone to actually come out and do the work.  Do people really run their businesses like this?  Any advice for me on this matter?  I have to travel for work soon, so I’m hoping to have all of the flooring work done by then.  But the way this has been going, I definitely won’t be holding my breath.  In the meantime, my awesome family has been able to help with other jobs that need doing around the condo.  My mother was able to paint all the ceilings (go Mom!), so forget every bad myth you’ve heard about painting popcorn.  Trust me, you’ll be fine.  My father got to doing some of the less-appealing jobs, like caulking all of the cracks around the windows and spraying the hornets’ nests that have set up camp on my balcony.  Not fun.

Meanwhile, I’ve moved on to painting the bathroom.  My bathroom is separated into 2 rooms, which I’ve started referring to as the tub room and the vanity room, just to tell them apart.  This is the current status of the vanity room:



The color here is Behr Valley Mist.  I’ve decided to just put a fresh coat of white in the tub room for now.  While I eventually want it to be this nice teal color, right now I have a most hideous bright blue tub and toilet, and those colors would clash for sure.  When I get around to replacing those fixtures, that’s when I’ll change the wall color in the tub room.  Since this picture was taken, I’ve taken the mirror down.  My sister’s fiancee does carpentry work, and he’s going to build me a cute white frame to go around the mirror’s edge. (“Cute” is my word, of course, not his.)  I can’t wait to see it when it’s finished!


Edges of Glory

I find myself being very grateful for the long holiday weekend, because I was able to get SO much work done!  The edges and seams are finished in both bedrooms and the living room, as well as the ceilings and closets.  Progress!



That’s my future bedroom there.  You would not believe how big of a difference painting the closets has made.  Before, they were dark, dirty, cave-like, and definitely not somewhere you would want to hang your clothes.  Now, at least they are usable.  The color that this room will be is Classic Taupe (again, Behr brand in Eggshell).  I actually made enough progress in this room to be able to graduate from a regular paintbrush to a roller.



Ignore my ensemble, it was 95 degrees outside.  I hear that you aren’t supposed to paint when it is that hot and humid outside because of the risk of paint physically sliding down the wall.  However, I have yet to encounter any problems with that, but I’ll be sure to rant about it here if I do.

I’m super happy with the way the accent wall turned out in the second bedroom.  The silver color that I bought reflects the purple perfectly.. I like it even better than the color in my room!



That particular seam is a great example of how the color reflects.  The window is opposite the purple wall, so the light bouncing off that color projects onto the silver, and actually makes it look like a lavender.  Very cool!  We were able to start using rollers on this room too, but we were so busy working that I didn’t have time to take a shot of the finished room.  For the next post!

The only progress made in the living room so far was to do the space around the windows.  These windows are quite odd in that they have no trim around them, so we have to paint right up to the vinyl.  It won’t matter that there is no trim since I plan on putting sheers over all the windows anyway.  I think the room looks super bright now that the ceilings are freshly white:



My ceilings are actually shorter than what is average today- 8 feet is today’s standard, and mine are about 7’9″ (typical for structures built in the ’70s).  I think the ultra white ceilings give me the appearance of that extra 3 inches!

As far as other developments go, I have still not heard from the contractor that my association hired to repair my wood rot & sliding glass door.  I’m getting really frustrated because every time I call them, they assure me that someone will call me back to schedule the work.  I’m on the phone with you right now- why not just schedule it while we’re already talking?  Right now, the timing is not a major issue.  Out of all the jobs that need to be done, the painting needs to be finished first, so that the flooring can go in when that’s done.  But if that wood rot isn’t fixed by the time I’m done painting, it’ll hold up the flooring install, and I will not be a happy camper.


Slowly But Surely…

It might be a small miracle, but there have been no major disasters for the past week.  Woohoo!  Everything is coming along quite nicely, which is making me more and more excited for move-in day.  Painting is really in full swing now, and it is finally starting to feel like my place.  I began painting the living room wall edges on Saturday, and the color is exactly what I had wanted, which was a nice light oatmeal-y color.  I’m using Behr brand everywhere, and this particular color is Raffia Cream with an Eggshell finish.



I should probably start taking digital camera photos to eliminate that wonderful greenish tint my iPhone gives me, but hopefully you can still get a good idea of the color there.  So far, I have only tackled the ceiling edges, seams, and all other spots that cannot be done with a roller.  I’m hoping to break out the rollers this coming weekend.

For the little bedroom, I had imagined a nice purple mauve color, so appropriately, I bought Behr Purple Mauve in Eggshell finish.  Unfortunately, the color turned out WAY darker than I had hoped!  With the exception of the bathroom, it is the smallest room, so using a dark color on that whole room will give off the impression of a cave, so I had to scrap that whole idea.  But, since I already got this dark purple paint on the walls, I’m going to try experimenting with an accent wall.  I went out to Home Depot and picked up a gallon of Behr Silver Chalice (again in Eggshell finish), which I thought would complement the purple nicely.  I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out!



You can also tell that this particular paint will definitely need 2 coats, so I’m glad I will only end up using it on one wall.  Although now I have an extra gallon of that paint since I bought 2 to begin with.  Anyone in the market for a gallon of mauve?

Since the painting is coming along swimmingly, I am trying to coordinate my new floors with the end of the painting work.  And I must say, it’s been nice not to have to worry about drips and splatters on the floor, and trust me, there are a lot.  I’ve been shopping around to find the best option for both flooring materials and installers, and I have finally settled on a particular company and product.  I was hoping to be able to put in wood laminate in both bedrooms, the foyer, and the living room.  However, after 3 companies sent their estimators, I’ve learned that laminate flooring will not be possible in the little bedroom. Well, at least not on my budget.  There is a seam in the middle of the floor that is particular cause for concern.  When anyone steps on a 2-foot section of one of the plywood sheets, it gives under your feet.  Now I’m not saying you’ll risk falling through the floor or anything like that, but all of the specialists assured me that there is probably a rotted joist underneath.  This creates a problem in that the floor bows too much to handle laminate flooring.  I could have a carpenter go in there, rip up the plywood, and see what they find, but because it’s such a mystery without taking a peek, no one can even give me an estimate as to what it would cost to fix.  So, it will be carpet in that room after all.  And perhaps I will have the association take a look at that issue somewhere down the line.  I’m headed down to the flooring company today to make my final choices.  As of now, I’ve narrowed it down to 2 laminate options and 2 berber options.  I’ll probably end up flipping a coin!


Let There Be Paint!

I wish I could start this post by saying the painting was all done and the place looks great, but we’ve only scratched the surface of what needs to be done.  But at least we have progress!  I spent most of last week continuing to spackle; it feels like that’s all I’ve been doing for days on end.  I know I had said I hoped to be ready for paint in the kitchen and bathroom by the weekend, but now I can see that was completely unrealistic.  Some tricky spots need to be spackled and sanded multiple times, and I’ve been waiting one day for it to set and dry in between applications.  Most of the stubborn spots are located above the windows and the sliding glass door, like this spot here.



This is what it looks like underneath where we pulled the trim off above the sliding glass door.  Some of the wall is crumbling at awkward points, so I’m not getting too crazy trying to be accurate with the spackling.  After all, I may need to replace the door to fix the wood rot problem.  Luckily, I have heard from the association about that issue.  The roofing on all the buildings in the complex is in the process of being replaced, and the board agreed to send the roofing company to repair the damage, and to pick up the tab for it as well.  Score!  I haven’t heard from the company itself yet, but I’ll be sure to give an update when I do.

Applying painter’s tape all over the condo has been the next step, and although it takes a while, it’s been my favorite job so far.  Probably because it’s mindless and easy.  However, taping does really highlight where the builders had issues in the construction of the condo.  For example, at first glance, the kitchen counter looks totally normal and pretty much standard in terms of installation.  Applying the tape from left to right, I noticed that one side is perfectly flush with the wall, but the other end it’s at least 3/4 of an inch away, and the gap has been filled in with silicone caulk.  Pretty cheesy (and lazy) if you ask me!



Now, especially with the tape on it, it’s all I can see when I look at it!  Hopefully putting paint on the walls won’t make it any more noticeable.  By the way, the kitchen looks spotless in that photo.  Thanks to my aunt for scrubbing the place down!

As the title of this post might suggest, we have actually been able to put paint on a surface.  We started with the ceilings, which (unfortunately) are popcorn ceilings.  Apparently popcorn ceilings were all the rage in the ’70s and ’80s, but now they’re just outdated and kind of sad-looking.  Not to mention, early spray-on varieties of popcorn ceiling contained asbestos, before it became illegal in 1978.  As luck would have it, my complex was built in 1977, which means it’s highly likely that there is asbestos in the popcorn formula.  It sounds like a big deal, but it’s not a problem unless you try to go about removing it.  So, in all likelihood, the popcorn is here to stay.  Almost every single person I have been turning to for handywork help advised me not to even think about painting the ceilings, because the popcorn texture tends to fall off, sticks to your roller, and becomes a huge hassle.  But I’m on a budget here, people, and I wasn’t going to hire some fancy painting company to come spray paint my ceilings.  Plus, once the popcorn has been painted once, you really don’t have to worry about the texture coming off; it’s pretty much a done deal.  As I predicted, we have had no problems with the ceiling so far.



Since my mother is the resident expert on painting this kind of ceiling (we have popcorn ceilings in our house now), she is heading this operation, and has done an amazing job so far.  We started by painting just the edges with a regular paintbrush, using Behr Flat Ceiling paint in Ultra Pure White.  Just look at that color difference!  My ceilings are very low to begin with, so I bought the whitest white they had, hoping it might reflect more light and make the rooms look a little bigger.  Just as a disclaimer, the taping job I did in that picture looks horrible, but I swear there’s a wire coming out of that hole that made it a particularly difficult spot.

Here are the painting supplies I’ve used so far:

  • 1 qt. of Patch-n-Paint lightweight spackling (we had an extra lying around the house, no need to purchase, but it goes for about $7)
  • 1 5-sheet pack of 3M 9″x11″ assorted grit aluminum oxide sandpaper (I’ve been alternating between medium & fine grit)
  • 1 stiff putty knife (already had one)
  • 2 rolls of ScotchBlue .94″ painter’s tape
  • 1 roll of ScotchBlue 1.88″ painter’s tape
  • 1 3″ flat paintbrush
  • 1 plastic paint cup (it’s handy for going up and down the step ladder and not having to return to the paint bucket)
  • 1 2-gal. Behr Premium Plus Flat Ceiling paint in Ultra Pure White

I’ll keep this list updated as the painting continues!


Endless Paint Prep

This weekend was all about prepping the walls for paint.  After spackling and sanding for hours, I figured they were ready, but one glance from my folks and they could tell I still had a long way to go.  Who knew paint prep would take so long?  I’m trying to focus on getting the bathroom and kitchen ready first, since those are 2 rooms that aren’t getting new floors right away.  I’ve started to tape those rooms, and I hope to have them ready to begin painting by this weekend.  The other larger rooms will need some extra sanding, probably by way of an electric sander.  Unfortunately, the condo association has rules about construction noise, and limits the time you can do that sort of work to business hours only.  Hopefully I can bend the rules just a bit.. I do have a job after all!

One of the other projects I had planned for this past weekend was changing the mailbox lock.  The seller was supposed to provide me with keys to the mailbox, but apparently they never had a set.  So I called the town post office and arranged for a mailman to meet me at the mailbox so I could pop out the old lock and replace it with a new one.  On Friday, I went to the local locksmith and purchased the most universal size they had for a mailbox lock, which came to about $13.  The salesman there explained to me how I could go about changing it, and when I told him I had just replaced a deadbolt recently, he assured me I would have no problem.  Well, when the mailman arrived on Saturday, the two of us took quite a long time figuring it out.  It took us about 30 minutes to change the lock, and I’m very grateful that he took the time to help me; I can only imagine how long I would have been there if he hadn’t.

Because no post on this blog would be complete without a new problem arising, it’s only fitting that I discovered another issue on Saturday.  I was minding my own business, cleaning in the bathroom, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed water coming UP from the sink drain.  Who even knew that was a thing?  I hadn’t run the faucet or any other bathroom fixtures so far that day, so I knew the water was coming from somewhere else.  So I frantically scooped the rising water out of the sink and poured it down the tub to try to get the situation under control.  When it seemed to calm down, I ran down the stairs and knocked on the downstairs neighbors’ door.  They had never heard of such a problem happening in their unit, so I placed an emergency call to the association.  They transferred me to the person on-call, who sent the local sewer company.  Turns out, whenever the people across the hall used their bathroom sink, the water came up in my drain.  To me, that’s just crazy!  The plumber had to cut and replace the pipe to fix the problem, but now the water is draining normally.  Looking on the bright side, the bill for this job goes to the association, not me, since it involved more than one unit.  I’m grateful that at least this issue was cost-free to fix, but if I find one more unexpected problem, it’s really going to damper my spirits.