Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ocean Spray & Sand Dunes

I had a very Martha-Stewart-meets-that-guy-from-Trading-Spaces type of a weekend.  

Red Beard and I rent a very sweet and cute and lovely 1930's house from a very nice couple who are the most laid-back landlords I've ever had in my life.  Our only "rules" were to not kill the lawn (and since the owners pay for the lawn service, that isn't a hard rule to follow).  Pets?  Sure!  Painting?  Sure!  Hanging shelves?  Sure!  As a bonus (depending on the day), the house is across the street from my little old granny, making keeping an eye on her a lot easier than if we lived across town.  Especially given Granny's propensity for 10PM phone calls, needing us to come over RIGHT THIS SECOND because she's messed up the cable box again. 

Still old but much improved.

Our house has a lot of original details, such as the custom cabinets and tile in the kitchen, the super cute flippy handles on the cupboards, the little phone cubby in the hallway; we've also got a wood-burning stove (which kept our heating oil bill down to almost nothing this winter), two very nice-sized bedrooms, ample closet space, and a laundry room that's actually bigger than the kitchen.  It's quite lovely and warm and charming and perfect for the two of us, plus a very spoiled kitten.  

Okay, so there are some drawbacks.   For example, as cute as my kitchen is, there is almost no counter space.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.  And half of the space we have is often dedicated to drip-drying dishes (because no one had dishwashers in 1939).   And the upper cabinets come down over the counters much lower than is standard in the 21st century - a wine bottle (let alone a coffee maker or a Kitchen-Aid mixer) doesn't fit underneath them.  Which translates to normal counter items needing to be stored and used not on my counter. 

But by far, the biggest issue we have had for the past 10 months, is the bathroom.  

I was worried when we first moved in about the logistics of sharing a bathroom on a daily basis with a boy.  I've never had to do that before, except on a short-term basis (you know, sleepovers, out-of-town trips, stuff like that).   Unless we go WAAAAAAY back to when I still lived at home, there hasn't been a lot of boy-bathroom-sharing.  And even back then, in our teeny tiny condo, we had a second half bath where my mom and I set up the girlie command station.  

Turns out, sharing was and is super easy.  It helps that Red Beard goes to work at least an hour (if not more) before I do.  But even when we're both getting ready at the same time, it still goes fairly smoothly.

The problem is not sharing.

The problem is (or rather, as of last Sunday, WAS) the walls.  And the cabinet.  And the original tile in the oh-so-asthetically-pleasing combination of shiny dark red and dull pinky-peach.  Our bathroom was gross.  Despite regular scrubbings, and almost daily quickie wipe downs with a Clorox wipey, and pictures, a cute shower curtain, and fluffy towels, our bathroom was just a nightmare.  For some reason unknown to normal people, the walls had been painted a dark teal ... then textured over (the texture behaves a bit like old wall paper, except the teal bled through) with weird ridges and swirls, then painted again a very awful and depressing band-aid color.    You needed a Xanax every time you showered.

Rusted Hardware.  Weird color.  And if you look close, you can see where they decided to paint on the wall instead of cutting in around it.

The toilet is set so close to the wall that you have to lean a little when you sit down.  This is great if you're drunk.  This is not so great on a normal day; it leads to a permanently bruised elbow.  It's also a little "interesting" in the event that you are babysitting for three boys ages almost-3, four, and almost-7.  Little boys whom I love and adore, but who don't aim very well.  I use Clorox wipies on the wall a lot too when Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3 come over.

Notice that the toilet is crooked on top of everything else.

We really couldn't do much about the toilet.  If you use a flashlight, you can see the layers of paint behind it - meaning no one has tried removing the toilet in years.  Red Beard was having nightmares about the floor getting torn up if we tried to take the toilet out ... so instead, I got to practice my yoga when it was time to paint around/behind it.

Did I mention dark & dingy? And permanently dirty looking?
Red Beard spent over two hours with a power sander, trying to mellow out the texture on the walls.  Then he made BFFs with his shop vac and a wet rag, cleaning up from the sanding party.  All of this, after a very long and full work day.  He also made sure to take care of the things I would have totally just blown off, like taking down the switchboard cover and pulling the towel racks off the wall (I would have just painted around them).  Sometimes, he can be a saint.  Naturally, he also had to paint the crown and the ceiling because I'm short and have a slight fear of ladders.  I don't find ladders quite as terrifying as clowns and ferris wheels, but it's a close third. 

After the love of my life did all sorts of prepping for me, we went paint shopping (and had Thai food and got cut off horribly in the Home Depot parking lot).  I was aiming for a very nice not-too-dark aqua color.  Nothing crazy, just something that had enough gray in it to be a neutral.  Plus the shower curtain we already had not only had red and weird peach (to match the tile) but also two different shades of a very nice aqua in it.  I was trying to make the accessories we already owned work with the new paint.

Yeah, it didn't quite work out that way.  

The paint we purchased, while matching the existing curtain perfectly in a small chip, did NOT match once two coats had been worked into the wall.  I say "worked" because the remaining wall texture (post-sanding) did not want to be painted; I had to force the paint into the remaining ridges with a paint brush, then roller, then touch up with the brush ... and roller again.  And touch up again Sunday morning.

Needless to say, I was not going to re-purchase paint and re-paint the walls and re-exert all of that effort.  Instead, I bought a new shower curtain.  Entirely worth the $14.99.  My OCD has been thanking me every time I walk by the bathroom.

Ahhhhhhh, relief from the depression!

We chose two lovely colors, both from Glidden (in a semi-gloss paint and primer combo):  one gallon of Sea Spray (GLB19) for the wallS, and a quart of Summer Sandcastle (GLC06) for the trim, the ceiling, the door, and the cabinet.  

So soothing. 

I also had a can of super duper shiny metallic silver spray paint, which landed on the base of the light fixture, the toilet paper holder, and all of the hardware on the cabinet.

No more rust!  And notice that I did go to the trouble to cut in properly around the wall.

The artwork turned out awesome (if I do say so myself) and budget-friendly.  I downloaded and printed pictures of vintage travel posters and slipped them into $2 frames.  Voila!  Now I just have to spray all the frames a chocolate brown, to match the dots in the shower curtain; the black is too harsh and is making my eye twitch a little.

I no longer live in fear of contracting the ebola virus when I touch the walls.

I have to say, I love it!  Despite all of the work, and the pain, and the five stores I had to go to, in order to find a curtain that matched the paint, it was completely and utterly worth it.

By the pain, I mean I woke up at 3am Sunday morning because my arm was throbbing so much.  See, I'm short, and all of the painting and rollering over my head did quite a number on my arm, and of course my back and shoulders.  And my knees are visibly bruised from the contortions necessary to get that super sharp line at the floor and paint neatly around the wonky toilet.

Wonder Kitten likes to curl up in this sink while I'm doing my hair every morning.

 Now if I could just figure out a way to add counter space in the kitchen .... does anyone have a magic wand I can borrow?