Tuesday, December 25, 2012

From "EEEK!" To Chic - The Floors!

I've taken a few days off - been wearing myself a little thin - and now I'm on vacation in Cali. But on Saturday I got a bunch done, thanks in large part to my mom. She introduced me to the angle brush to do all my cutting in around the trim...til now, I've been using just a small painters brush, like for canvas painting. Hopefully it will go a lot faster now.

Another thing I learned - Behr Primer & Paint in 1 is totally not worth the extra $10 per gallon. The paint people at Home Depot said it would just take one coat, even on yellow walls. FALSE. It didn't even put an even coat on the white walls in the kitchen. I was pretty annoyed with that, my mother could testify. I spent a lot of Saturday afternoon complaining about it.

The best part of Saturday is that we started painting the floors. Another helpful hint: paint swatch colors can be lightened or darkened at the paint counter. I brought an espresso brown swatch to the counter, but the guy told me that the special Behr Porch and Floor paint couldn't be tinted that color. He showed me a walnut, but I told him it was too light. He said he could darken it by adding more black tint. The color came out way better than I could have imagined.

Another tip- if you're painting a wood floor, I highly suggest Behr Floor and Porch paint. My mom painted most of the floors with just a brush while I finished painting some walls, and she was surprised how well it was taking to the floors. It really only needed one coat -- if I was going for perfection, maybe two coats, but I think it looks 100% better just with the one coat.

So here are some pictures of Saturday's progress. I didn't get a chance to go back Monday, on account of a bad cold that started Sunday and had me in bed until Monday morning. And now I'm on a little vacation until New Year's. Definitely have a bunch more to do, but energized to get it all done.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Talk to you in a week!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

From "EEEK!" To Chic - More painting...

Last night was a little frustrating, I'm not going to lie. I had planned on tackling the ceilings, and ended up doing so quite literally. There seem to be some air pockets between the ceiling boards and the plaster appliqué, and I could hear it crackling as the paint roller went over them. I tried to be extra careful, but inevitably some of it splintered and fell to the floor. ::sigh::

I didn't take any pics of it, because I was pretty irritated, but I'll grab a few shots and update later. After that I really loaded the roller so I wouldn't have to press so hard, which I think wasted more paint, but I was able to avoid breaking off any more pieces. I did grab a before-and-after shot of the part of the ceiling that was repaired in a different colored plaster:

And my apologies now...I'm using the Blogger app, and I can't format this post as I normally so. When I get to a real computer I will fix this up.

After the ceiling was done, I was determined to finish touching up paint in at least one room. I chose the bedroom, because it's bigger, and boy did it take me a while. This project is a good test of patience. But I think it definitely pays off in the end. Here are some pictures of the bedroom with the walls finished:

So today is another big day. Going to look at rugs in a bit, then it's back to the apartment for more painting. Tonight I'm finally getting to the floors!! Very exciting...stay tuned!

Friday, December 21, 2012

From "EEEK!" to Chic - Floorplan

I realize that describing these rooms in terms of room numbers doesn't really paint a full picture of what I'm working with here.  I created this really really rough floor plan - not totally to scale, but as close as I could make it without a design program.

So there you go.  I really wanted to make Room 1 into the dining room, Room 2 into the living room, and Room 3 into an office...but I don't know if my couch is going to fit into Room 2.  The more time I spend in it, the more I realize Room 2 isn't really set up to watch TV in.  Some people think Room 1 should be the living room and Room 2 should be the dining room, but I prefer to have the dining room next to the kitchen.

Decisions, decisions.

I'll have plenty of time to think about it because I'm not moving any stuff in until after the new year.  I'm taking all suggestions...

From "EEEK!" to Chic - Painting

So it's Friday morning, and I'm planning on spending the whole weekend working on the apartment.  I already spent all of last weekend on the apartment and some of this week doing mostly painting.  I've painted before, but I don't remember it taking this long.

It's taking forever.

I've been paying painstaking attention to detail thus far.  I want to make sure I do it right and that it looks super nice, so I've been taping walls, washing baseboards, painting even coats.  I've been playing around to see what works, and here's what I learned.

Tip #1 -Taping is not always necessary
I'm painting walls and trim that already have several coats of paint already on them.  The borders between the trim and the walls is sort of blurred and filled in with old paint.  I spent a couple hours meticulously taping the trim, only to find out that the paint bled underneath and I have to go back and touch-up all the perimeters anyway.  I read on some DIY site that you could apply painters' caulk over the tape, before painting, and that it will help you keep those clean lines.  But really, who has time for that?  Not me.  Instead I painted the walls with a roller right up to the edges.  I went back with a small brush and cut into the edges slowly to make sure I had perfect lines.  Cutting in takes quite a while, to make sure it's done perfectly, but it also totally replaces the time you'd spend taping the room.

Tip #2 - Cut in edges with your darker color over your lighter color
I read somewhere that you should paint your trimn first, and then your walls.  This didn't seem right to me, so I painted my walls first.  When I went back and painted the trim, I found it was sort of difficult to cut in the white trim next to the "Bleached Denim" walls -- I was making a mess.  So the next room I did, I painted all the trim first and then painted the walls.  I found it was SO MUCH easier to cut in with the darker color up against the white trim - it made for much cleaner lines.

Tip #3 - Definitely wash your trim
I'm actually not sure how necessary this step really is, but I found my baseboards to be caked with dust.  Same with the window sills.  I don't know if more dust settles in those places more than anywhere else, or if they just aren't washed as often.  But I'm doing a high gloss on all my trim and I want it to look really nice, so I took a rag and washed those suckers down and let them dry before painting them.

So, some more pictures.  I haven't quite settled on what each room will be - except for the bedroom - so I've taken to numbering the rooms instead.  Starting with the room you walk into, that's Room 1.  You work your way to the left until you get to Room 4, which will be the bedroom.  To the right of Room 1 is the kitchen and bathroom...you still with me?  Below are some pics of Room 4:

And here are some pics of Room 1:

You see now, I've definitely got to repaint those floors.  They're a mess.  That's a high priority for the weekend - I'm going to keep them the same dark espresso brown color.  The walls, I decided, were going to be blue and gray.  It took a long time to figure out the color scheme, but I decided on "Bleached Denim" and "Manhattan Mist" from Behr.  I didn't want all the walls to be white, but I also didn't want a kaleidescope effect.  But I had a vision of looking down the hallway and seeing the last room in a bold color.  So I decided to paint Rooms 1 & 4 the blue, and Rooms 2 & 3 the gray.  You can see at the top of this post how it started out after I painted the blue rooms first.  And below you can see the effect with the gray rooms painted:

You can also see how messy I got with the trim paint after I had already painted the walls.  On top of the light on dark thing, it was hard to get paint into all those grooves.  I definitely, highly recommend painting trim first, especially if you are doing it in a lighter color than the walls.  You can see below in Room 3 how much better it came out when I ditched the tape, and cut in with the wall color instead:

I still have a some touch ups to make, but I feel pretty satisfied with this one room.  One down, three to go...and then the kitchen and bathroom.  Oy.  I also decided last night that I have to paint the ceilings...I was trying to avoid it, but it is unavoidable.  I really had wanted to tackle painting the floors tonight, but that will have to wait until tomorrow night instead.

Ready for a busy, busy weekend!!  Stay tuned!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

From "EEEK!" to Chic...The Introduction

Poor Man is getting a new cupboard!!!
(Spoiler alert: It will still be bare)

About a year and a half ago, I had to leave New Jersey's (unofficial) promised land: Hoboken.  But I am happy to announce that I am making a(n unofficial) triumphant return!!!

"Triumphant" is a little subjective.  I found a great apartment, great location...it's just a "smidge" run-down (I'm putting it nicely).  I should have known when I first saw pictures of the place from the broker:

These pictures actually do it more justice than it deserves.  And friends and family have pointed out that, as a young professional, I deserve to live in a nice place (my boyfriend tells me I live like a divorced bachelor, and my mom tells me that I have too high a threshold for blight).
If you know anything about me, then you know that I can't help but root for the underdog.  You also know that I can't help myself but take the long way around.  So even though there's a seemingly endless list of things that need to get done, I see this place as the "apartment that could."  I'm on a mission to prove to everyone that I do deserve to live in a nice place, and that with some time and some elbow grease that I can make this apartment shine.
So follow me as I get to work and restore 721 Willow Ave.  I'll be jotting down tips, mistakes, and other things I learn along the way.