Dream house, dream life, yeah right. Dream on…

Posts tagged ‘paint’

Upgrading the salon desk

A couple of years ago I bought a new in desk extractor fan for dust and fumes for the nail salon.  It cost a small fortune, and for another small fortune I could have got it already seated in a cheap and nasty laminate desk that didn’t really fit the space I had at the time. (Most of them had one small drawer for storage, if that.)

I started out thinking I’d have to make a desk, then ran across an oval computer desk in a discount clearance centre. I’d seen this desk at $90, looked at it at $69 and decided it was too flimsy (the oval sat atop the  two side pieces (a file drawer and a computer tower box) on 2 tubes that allowed the drawers to roll under the desk.)

When it hit $25 I looked at it again with new eyes. For $25 I got 2 pairs of drawer slides, 8 castors, and a nice large top – all in horrid brown plastic laminate (crapboard as my neighbour calls it). The top was big enough to fit the fan in, which was the most important consideration.  So I bought 2 of them.

I shaped one top, attached it to the bases with 2 posts each side (so much more stable), mounted the fan, set up one set of drawers, cut the other set down and made them sliding shelves,  added some  wings to hold UV lamps and even cut the spare top in half and made shelves.

I ended up with raw chipboard against me as I worked and so it got covered with a layer of duct tape. One day soon I would  give it a coat of paint I said.

2012JAN07salon 007a

Three years later, the salon has moved rooms, the duct tape was half off for the third time and the acetone had wiped away some of the plastic wood finish. It looked charming – not.

2014NOV02 006a

So, since I had the paints out for the kitchen, and I had a sudden surge of clients that left me with a week without any appointments, I taped off the metal, undid the wings, rolled on some primer and a coat of Lexicon white acrylic.

Then I started playing. I diluted some black acrylic, brushed it on, sponged it back, rolled over it with diluted white, brushed some more, rolled some more.

And TaDa!

2014NOV05 012a

I went into Bunnings to see if there was a non yellowing oil based polyurethane to seal it with (can’t use acrylics with acetone around). I didn’t think there was, thought I would probably be rolling on a coat or two of normal poly and watching it yellow up over the next year or two. But the woman serving me said there was a clear paint, not a poly, from Dulux. It was low chemical and so didn’t yellow she said. The label said it discouraged chroming with low chemicals. It wasn’t until afterwards that I discovered chroming is the word for using spray paint fumes to get high!

So I sprayed my desktop.

This was it two days later after 3 light coats.

2014NOV10 001a

No that is not the lighting, it is yellow! Not cream, or slightly off white. Yellow!

Lesson learned – This 2014NOV10 006ais NOT CLEAR.

My desk looked like something pulled out of grandma’s kitchen which hadn’t been changed since 1930.

I couldn’t face the thought of all those layers and dying times again. But I couldn’t live with pee yellow either, even the fake woodgrain had been better.

So I got the primer out again, and  coated the desk. Then a coat of white semi gloss enamel (left over from door frames). Then the next day, another coat of white, this time with some diluted black enamel (left over from my bedroom trim) painted into the white while it was still wet, with a feather. No sponging, no blotting. A couple of spots got a bit of another layer over them to fix up strange bits the next day. No sealer (so it’s not as shiny as it was). And there are brush marks because I didn’t use the roller this time.

But it looks so fresh and bright. And best of all, it doesn’t show the acrylic dust, which was the whole reason for painting it 😉

2014NOV21 048after

2014NOV21 060a2014NOV21 067a

There are black buttons that cover the screw holes, it just isn’t dry enough yet 🙂

before-after-desk

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Choosing colours

First order of business when I bought the house was to change the colour scheme. Last painted in the late 80’s the butter cream yellow and autumn toned kitchen had gone well with the 1975 autumn toned carpet but not as well with the newer pink toned cream carpet laid in the mid 90’s.

A few years back when everyone started painting their walls white I thought they were crazy. I thought I’d be the last person on earth to paint my house white. Somehow, by the time I owned some walls I was hankering after a nice light neutral but not white. I’d never use white.  I’d never decorate with greens either. Oh how we change.

I spent months  looking at colour charts. Next door was so neutral coloured it was basically monotone. I didn’t want that. In fact I had feature walls in mind for most of the rooms. But what colours? I don’t like browns. I hate pinks. I’ve seen some nice reds, but they’re not really me, besides I wanted a relaxing home, not an angry colour. No yellows or creams – too close to the 90’s colours.

I looked at HUNDREDS of colour scheme room photos. Not one of them worked with the amount of varnished wood in this house. Mantles, window sills, skirting boards, bookshelves, entire glass walls surrounded with timber, and I was just about to expose a lot of the floors – more Tassie Oak (Eucalypt), all of it in shades of orange.  I pulled out the colour wheel and looked for complimentary colours for orange. Greenish blues. Hmm, well I quite liked the ocean…

A lot of  sites recommended taking a colour scheme from a loved object, like a bowl or artwork. Everything I owned was bought to go with my mother’s colour scheme so that wouldn’t work. Then one day I saw a cushion in Coles that I quite liked. A couple of weeks later it was reduced to half price. I figured it was a $4 sign. I knew what my main colour and my neutral looked like now.

This was about a year before the teal blues  really started appearing in the stores and colour schemes (wow, I’ve never ever been ahead of a trend before!)

Now to actually find them in paints. I spent weeks with colour cards  propped against all surfaces. Dulux Azure blue was one of the cards (there were about  15 all in the same range of greenish blues. It’s scary contemplating painting with such an intense shade though. Plus I have blues in the kitchen laminex and the kitchen floor and I didn’t want them to clash.azure blue dulux

Indecision reigned and the off whites remained completely elusive. Everything was  too brown, or too cold in tone  or it was a cream.

And then there was the bedroom. The master bedroom was a hideous shade of salmon pink. It needed to be changed. It also needed to be different to the rest of the house. It had to be my haven, not just another room. Since I was somewhat reluctant to move into this bedroom it also had to be something I absolutely adored, AND  completely different from my old room (which had been a light sandy peach for decades, and before that a wisteria mauve.)

One single colour scheme photo struck a chord as far as the bedroom went. From the moment I saw it I was hooked. It was in a Wattyl ‘Inspiring Designs’ booklet. (Most of them inspired me to yawn or throw up.)

wattyl bedroom Mantra

 

Wattyl Mantra looked perfect in the image and I loved the idea of black (Colourbond Nightsky is a fancy name for  black) accents –  although when I finally worked out that the throw rug wasn’t black the only possible black in that photo is a few centimetres of skirting board visible under the bed. When I got a sample pot of Stalactite though I discovered it was as white as it looked on the page. So obviously the ceiling. But was was that wall colour above the blue?  A half dozen sample pots later and long  sessions with the colour atlas and the aisles of sample cards and I was no nearer finding out. Colours that looked perfect during the day in the bedroom looked like cold sandstone or cement at night. Colours that looked great at night didn’t go with the Mantra in the daylight.

Apart from spending a fortune on sample pots I was running out of time.  I wanted to have the majority of the painting done in the lounge, hall and bedroom before I got the floors refinished and I had an annual ‘party’ in early December and I really wanted the painting mostly done by then. Then suddenly I had a confirmed date that the guy would be coming in with the sander.

I hated the idea of paying someone else to choose my paint colours. I’m fairly good with colours, I like playing around with them. So it especially hurt that  I was about to employ someone to essentially pick out two shades of white!

Calling Fiona , the local Dulux colour consultant was probably the best decorating decision I ever made.  The hour and a half that she fitted in at extremely short notice was invaluable.  Not only did she find  three ‘neutrals’ that I just love but she helped me decide upon the azure blue for the living room, made a heap of decorating suggestions as we chatted, redid the entire exterior colour scheme and was so enthusiastic about all my plans and ideas that I could have happily chatted all day. It was nice to have someone validate my choices without suggesting I use “Hog bristle” (I could NOT use that colour, I’d think of the name every time I saw it), or stating that I’d never be able to sell the place with a dark colour on the walls (hello, I just BOUGHT the place, please leave defeatist attitudes at the door.)

Fiona Dawson has, unfortunately for those of us in Tassie, moved to Queensland, and can be found at Dawsons Designs or on Facebook

After the consult I went straight out and bought the paint, no more mucking around with sample pots, these colours were going to have to do. I put the first coat of Dulux White Duck (Half strength) on the lounge wall and thought I’d made a HUGE mistake. It was green. Like duck egg green. Too bad, I had the paint, so on went the second coat.

It’s not green, not even slightly, in any light. It is the most wonderful colour, almost white, but not. Not cream, but warm. Not grey, but neutral. I love it so much that the bedrooms and sunroom which originally weren’t going to change colour from the “Swiss Muesli” they had been for years, have now  (or soon will)  become White Duck half.

 

Check out the final schemes (Posts with accent colours and pics coming soon).

Bedroom

  

Wattyl Mantra double strength. (feature wall)
Dulux Domino (windows, skirting) Wattyl Stalactite (Ceiling – all the ceilings are this which is much brighter than the sample above shows on my screen)
Dulux Beige Royal half (Cupboards and neutral walls)

Living areas

 

Dulux Azure Blue
Dulux Lexicon Half (Trim)
Dulux White Duck Half

 

What’s your favourite colour scheme and how did you settle upon it?

 

 

 

 

 

Let there be Light(shades)

 

 

A friend gave me a couple of lovely tall lamps with wooden bases and shades that pivot so you can tilt them for reading. Unfortunately one of the shades was very watermarked.

2013DEC14 005

Watercolours wouldn’t cover it, and were too hard to mix to match the colours I had chosen for downstairs, so I ended up painting the shades with the sample pots of wall paint. The light doesn’t come through them now, but with the bases resprayed white they look good, if I do say so myself (see the full lamps in the downstairs reveal coming soon)

The  first design I tried didn’t work so I scrapped it and went back to the beginning.

The shading I simply brushed on without cleaning the brush so it blended from one colour to the next.

Then I used silver paint to freehand a design onto each shade.

2013DEC19 002a

I can’t believe downstairs is nearly done and I haven’t started blogging it. It’s been a hectic 3 months. Hopefully the next few months will be just as hectic with  b&b guests….

Glossy Hell

When I die I’m going to Hell (I’ve been informed of this by many people over the years who seem to know.) I now know what Hell will look like. It will be a never ending bathroom with rows of toilets that need painting behind and around the base and shower-bays that need sealing and pipes that have been painted 47 different colours and now need to be sanded back so they can be disguised again. Ever surface will need 4 coats and just as I finish someone will scrape them with a piece of furniture or a mop handle and I’ll have to start again.  Oh and it will be evening and the windows will be open – not that that helps with the smell from the oil paint, and the light will attract everything with wings, all of whom will suicide into the wet paint that is just beyond my reach.
This is my hell. (I just didn’t realise I’d died yet….)

Minuet’s Law

Minuet’s Law:

Anything I own, or touch, WILL breakdown.

Corollary: The cost of the item is inversely proportional to the amount of cash available.

Silly me, I thought actually working would mean I could pay my bills. Instead the education department has decided in their wisdom that somehow I could earn 25000 in 8 weeks (2 of which were holidays for which I don’t earn income) and taxed me at 48% on most of my pays (although not all of them, which really confuses me).

I’ve worked 5 weeks, had a couple of weeks off, worked 5 weeks had 2 weeks enforced unemployment, and on Monday I start another 5 week stint 40 minutes drive away.

In the first break of employment, the toilet cistern and shower taps had to be replaced in the flat and then the tenant managed to clog the sewer drain on a public holiday.

In the holidays, with no income coming in, the fridge in the flat died, and the paint I was using in the kitchen turned out to be a dud meaning I had to spend $160 on new paint. The I got hit with 2 quarters of power bills 10 days apart (why I didn’t get one in March I have no idea).

Then, a week into term I’m offered more work, and my car dies (completely and irrevocably), so I have to rent a car until I can get a tax return done or find some other money.

Plus, despite all sorts of mucking around and trying different arrangements my open fire place still smokes badly anytime the wind picks up, and I’m almost out of wood again. Do I buy more wood (the idea was to reduce electrical heating bills) and put up with the smoke or do I hire someone else to cut the chimney open and rebuild the top in an effort to stop the backdraft, or do I install a woodheater in the fireplace – $1200-3500….

Meanwhile, thanks to a friend’s husband (who is not only a wonderful person, but can saw in a straight line) a few things have changed around here (and once again my house looks like a cyclone hit it).

Tour Time: The Living Room

The official description of this house is 4 bedrooms, 3 living areas. When we moved in, from a much smaller house the number of ‘lounge rooms’ was confusing. No one knew where to  find anything 🙂 So they became the ‘sunroom’ (off the 3 children’s bedrooms, the lounge room (previously featured in the new study/salon/craft room) and the living room where we essentially did live.  Open  plan from the kitchen this room takes up one side of the house. I often say “I’ve bought a house with  no walls,” and this room is a perfect example. L-shaped it has the kitchen bench at one end, double doors and a door to  the hall on one wall, a small piece of wall on the opposite side and an L with 3 sides of windows.

I’ve just spent a couple of weeks with  it covered with  drop cloths and plaster dust.  It’s strange, but it was hard to  find pics to  show what it used to  look like because  I moved stuff around after Mum died, and I have  strong memories of  previous arrangements, but not necessarily  photos of them. One constant – the TV has always been in the corner, so it was visible from the kitchen as well as all of the room.

(Click the image for a larger view)

My father liked television, it was always on in the evenings. After he died I don’t know if it was habit or company or what but Mum always turned the tv on before the news. So it’s interesting that I haven’t actually watched tv in this house in nearly 18 months, and in fact none of the TVs are currently even plugged in, let alone tuned in. (But don’t get between me and my computer or I’ll hurt you ;))

The kitchen end of the living room has changed from  seating to  dining and back again over the years.

I bought the stools from a market just after Mum went, they were a horrid 80’s ‘teak’ orange so I stained them walnut.

The organ only moved into the room when the carpets came up in the lounge.

The L – full of sun all year round.

Those shelves were really annoying me.

That was the before. Several weeks of filling cracks, painting the ceiling,  prying shelves out of walls,  filling holes,  filling more holes, sanding filler, filling along the edges of the windows and cupboards and door frames later, I could finally start painting. I’m still  working on artwork, but…  ta da!

It feels so good to  get rid of that cream (well  okay, it’s still on the windows and the kitchen, but progress has been made!) The walls are  white duck half and the trim is Lexicon.

It’s really hard to get this colour to  photograph properly with  so many windows around it. It’s Dulux Azure Blue, the same as in the study/salon. To me it’s a bit deeper  than it shows on-screen. I love it more every day. I have plans for the cupboards over the bench – hence why they haven’t been painted yet.

From the kitchen – the curve is from the wide-angle lens. (I know nothing is straight in this house but seriously it’s not that obvious.)

De-Shelving

I’ve spent today removing the glass from my bifold doors and sanding and varnishing them ready for the new glass. With any luck  on Monday they will have 5mm shaved off the outside edges (“De plane, de plane!” Sorry, I digress,) and be hung. And that will essentially finish  stage 1 of the renovations. Scary  stuff.

The living room doesn’t have  many walls – it’s essentially  three walls of windows and one of doors. It did have  two sets of built in shelves.

The first thick Tas oak shelves built by my  father in the  late 70s. The pillar they are on is actually a chimney. When we moved in there was a small wood burner in the flat below, and an oil heater in this room. Dad hated oil heaters so it went  so fast I don’t remember what it looked like. The shelves were built to  accomodate a revolving selection of plants from the large glasshouse that Dad had in the back yard.  I don’t seem to  have many pictures, but I have mental images of them stacked with  begonias and coleus, overflowing with  colour.

Hoewever everything I own seemed to be too large or wide or just didn’t fit on the shelves. And the couch was too close to the coffee table and looked clumsy pushed against a shelf.

They also seemed to make rearranging the room impossible – their position in the middle of the room seemed to define all the spaces around them. They had to go.

Problem is, my father built things to last. I didn’t realise until later, but I could have climbed the things instead of a ladder to paint the ceiling! Each shelf was attached to the wall with a 30cm dynabolt (long bolt into  a metal tube that  expands  against the brickwork.  The bolts were placed through holes through the depth of the shelf . The holes were covered by a facing of 1cm thick timber that was not only nailed on but glued too. Each shelf was in 3 pieces – but not just a diagonal seam – it had a another angle in it (hard to describe and not really visible in this pic – the middle shelf was like a jigsaw piece, it interlocked.

Chisel, hammer, more chisels, pinch bar, just getting the strip off the first piece took  some 30 minutes hard work.

One section of shelf the bolt simply wouldn’t  shift so I ended up pulling the whole thing out of the wall. It managed to pull a pulverised brick out with  it. This was the second layer of  filler  in that hole

The phone plug was half way up the wall. Not just inserted in the plaster – oh no, that would have been too  easy, it was mortared in againt the bricks.

Nearly done. A full week of  filling and smoothing and setting and filling.  Of course the originsal wall isn’t flat or level, so that makes it hard to work out what level is smooth.

One edge of this hole is actually  several millimetres higher than the opposite.  It could be worse, the house across the road has textured plaster – every  mend is visible for ever. Renovation there is going to have to start with coating every wall with plaster board.

All in all, although I KNOW where the patches are, most people can’t find them so I’m pretty pleased.

In the opposite corner we had a built in tv unit.

I actually designed these shelves 20+ years ago and we had them built. Practically the tv was too far away from where I put chairs, and again limited the rearrangability (oooh a new word!) of the whole room.

So, lifting off the tops was relatively simple (got to find a good project to reuse that timber).

Then the strips were screwed into the wall – simple. Some of the screws weren’t even filled as they weren’t visible.  Well, three of these long screws managed to strip themselves as I tried to undo them. Tried levering them out of the wall, but they wouldn’t shift (the wood broke around them). No hope of hammering them far enough into the wall. I ended up  using a combination of hacksaw, pliers and brute force to make them break at the top of the thread.

However the green plastic plugs were still in every hole and wouldn’t pull out, nor push in enough to get plaster over them. So the neat little screw holes had to be opened up with a chisel and the front of the plug sliced off. Oh great, more gaping holes to fill.

I used the better part of two large tubs of polyfilla in this room (the ceiling cracks weren’t deep, but they were plentiful). Sometimes I feel like I am singlehandedly keeping Bunnings in business. Plastering done, time to paint.
Coming up – the living room reinvented.

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