• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

03 May 2010

making our two-season room tolerable: the walls

I call the room I'm about to show you the sunroom, the entry-way, or the two-season room. (Why not three? Please. It's over 100 degrees in there in the summer, and below zero in the winter. Fall and Spring are the seasons of this room!) It's one of those rooms that we rarely spend much time in, though we pass through it nearly every day. It's also the first room guests see when they enter our home.

Anyway, I have had some concerns about it for several months and now that the weather has warmed up enough to spend time in there, I have started to address them. For one thing, the room is (was!) very very green. Not just lime green: Nickelodeon slime green. Shrek would blend right in to this room. And we can see it from the dining room due to some windows between the two rooms. It does not match at ALL. God, is it ever green.

Also, the floor is kind of a mess. Someone painted it, but didn't sweep or vacuum or mop first. (So there is all sorts of hair and dirt and fuzz painted to the floor.) And who in their right mind paints a floor Easter yellow? REALLY? That was the color you thought would be best for the floor? *Rolls eyes*

And finally, like every other room in this house, they did an awful job painting it. Painted over switch plates and debris, dripped paint all over the trim, splashed it on to the ceiling, etc. So tasteless. Need proof?

Here it is, all greeny greeny green. Not too bad from far away, right?

another 'before' picture


Look closer.

The paint was over the moulding and onto the ceiling tiles

Painted moulding? Check.
Paint on the ceiling? Check.
Paint over partially-torn wallpaper border? Check.

I rest my case.

Anyway, it was time for a change. A couple of weekends ago, I decided to paint the room "August Fog". (It's the same grey-blue color I used for the previously Velveeta-yellow extra bedroom - which by the way I still haven't finished decorating, but that's a story for another day.) I chose this color for this room simply because I had an extra gallon of it, leftover from the bedroom job.

Well, shall we jump right in?

Look at this awful outlet.

Stuck to the wall

Normally these just come off by loosening one screw, but not in our house! In our house, people apparently could not stand the thought of having to loosen that one screw, so they just painted over the outlet cover. Pink Hubby had to pop this thing off using quite a bit of leverage. The slopped-on paint was acting like glue, holding the outlet to its cover. Very nice. The cover was hard to pry off the wall too, for the same reason. Laziness to the extreme.

I thought the painting would be a really easy, one day project. It ended up taking a full two days, and the only reason I actually finished in that time was because Pink Hubby is a much faster painter than I am. He did most of the rolling while I was still toiling over the trim.

Aside from having to cover the sloppiness of the previous job, the biggest issue was the texture of the walls. The room has floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, first of all. I had no intention of seeing what is under that paneling -- this is a face-lift, not a renovation. But over the wood paneling, someone had wallpapered. And then, someone else had attempted to remove the wallpaper, but only succeeded in some places. And THEN, several other 'someones' had painted over the half-wood-paneling half-wallpaper mess. So there were panel seams and wood in some places, and smooth, papered walls in others, plus fraying torn-paper texture in others. (I don't know why I never noticed this before.) There were also the usual suspects: glopped on paint dried in long, lumpy drips, along with hair and dirt painted onto the wall.

Gotta love discovering history
Evidence of a yellow and blue gingham country wallpaper border AND red, white and blue sponge-painting under a plant-hook. We actually found the curtains that match that wallpaper in the basement. Elsewhere, I found bright primary blue splatters, and a reason to believe that under the wood paneling, the walls are pink.

Lucky for me, I got a sander for my birthday! I used a flat head screwdriver to carve through the old wallpaper and re-create the seams between the wood panels for consistency, then I went to town sanding the walls with a medium-grit sandpaper.

Here it is all sanded up.

Sanded down a lot of the badness

Sanded down a lot of the badness

After I sanded it, I went over the walls with a damp cloth to remove the excess dust. Day 1 was the day of sanding, cleaning, and 're-whitening'. I don't have photos of that process, but I essentially just went around with the can of white paint, painting over all the green-slopovers. The ceiling trim took the most work. (As shown in the photos above, the previous painters even got paint on the ceiling tiles!)

Then, the next day, I taped up the trim I had painted white. Here it is taped and ready to paint.

Frog tape is pretty great stuff.

I used Frog Tape instead of blue painters' tape. I had never tried Frog Tape before, but I'd heard a lot of good things. It worked too! Not only did it prevent paint from seeping under the tape and onto the trim, but it also stuck really well without pulling paint off when I took it down. Good stuff. I recommend it, even though it's a few dollars more than the blue stuff. Totally worth it.

Here's a peek at the trim work in progress.

Trimming it

And, drumroll...

Here's how it now looks from our living room.

How it looks from the living room

Pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

After painting

Now there is still the matter of the floor. Without the yellow tones from the lime green, it looks worse than ever! Aahhh!

I don't actually know what's under that *lovely* band-aid-colored paint. Hard wood? Subflooring? More WALLPAPER? Something more horrible than I can even imagine? But I'm going to find out.

Pssst. Actually, I found out yesterday. *You're* going to find out soon. :-)