Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Green Room

Re-decorating the bathroom took far longer than either of us anticipated. I’ve not been physically involved with this sort of thing before retirement and so was surprised at how complicated it all was. All those old-styled features I love about my house, like high ceilings and wide woodwork became nuisances.

Ceiling – Tape around the bottom to protect the coving from the green paint. Then put on two coats of green paint, standing on the top rung of the ladders, against safety recommendations, with the brush taped to a long stick.

Coving – Then decide that the coving should be green after all. Also discover benefits of painting ceiling with mouth closed, as blob of bright green paint hits my lips.

Walls – Removing wallpaper is rather fun in a destructive sort of way. Bill put up plain white paper to sort of cover the flaws in the plaster.

Radiator – Empty to get to the wall behind. When about to put it back up, Bill finds a hole in the wall (where there should be bricks, this a bit worrying). So, another trip to B&Q for cement mix to fill the hole before papering, painting and replacing the radiator. Later learn there is a gadget called a radiator paintbrush for getting behind the thing. Perhaps the shortcut might have done?

Dado rail – Bill amused at seeing I got carried away taping off the tile around the bath and taped all around the wall. He gets much exercise the day he replaces the bits of rail around the window, murdered when shower done back in May. Repeated mis-cuttings of corners means lots of trips on stairs between garage and bathroom.

Baseboard – I tape around the edges to protect the old wood floor. With the carpet gone, a gap between wall and floor needs filling with some half-round. Discover new and interesting ways to relate with the toilet when accessing the corner behind it. Must dust under there more often.

Shower – Bill’s beloved object of much labour to be protected with great care from green paint. New wood trim around it very rough, drinks paint instead of wearing it, opposite to Bill and food.

Bathtub – Wood panels surrounding tub to be painted green, except for woodwork at bottom which is white. Any meeting of two stark colours is challenging – which to tape and which to paint last? I chicken out and Bill manages it without tape at all.

Curtains – Taken down, washed and ironed. Gosh, they don’t look that wide when they are hanging. Top window sill nearly inaccessible as Bill had removed the tall ladder and buried behind 16 heavy objects in the garage. Did a rather hit and miss paint job up there on the basis that I don’t know anyone 11 feet tall. Mainly have company in the evenings when curtains are closed anyway.

Mirror – Take down for wall treatment, put up to measure where dado rail pieces go, take down to finish wall treatment, put up again. Begin to wonder if we really need a mirror in the bathroom.

Toilet paper holder and cup holder – The latter simple to paint, just tape the tile behind it; former has never been the same since Ellen used as support railing; removing and replacing hardware hasn’t improved functionality. However, suspect that new holder will have to await next renovation.

Ceiling rose – Very simple, only pristine white, never painted and certainly never painted green.

Light pull cord – Just discovered it got a swipe of green paint near the top of the cord the last time we painted the ceiling green. Not sure my taping job was up to scratch. Not sure I care at this point.

Cupboards – Bought inexpensively at B&Q a few years ago, finished in a weird antiqued shade of yellow-y green, the only green available. To be painted white to blend in with white wall. Emptying contents into many shopping bags which for weeks lined both sides of upstairs hall. Bill remarks that if we actually need all those cosmetic and medicinal products, we should be very worried indeed.

Taken out to garage to be painted with 2 coats of grey base paint and 2 coats of white gloss. I am not familiar with use of grey base and Bill explains it would also go on chest and tub panels, in short, anything to be painted green. These last five words stick in brain. Painted the cupboards with 2 coats of grey and then a coat or two of green, oil-based gloss, over several days to let them dry. Just after finished applying green oil-based paint to last cupboard, I take a break and realize they were supposed to have been white. Damn!

Weather turns quite cold and paint isn’t drying, even a week or more later. Move painting work indoors where temperature above 10 C. (50 F) at least during the day. Involves creeping past possible wet paint surfaces to use bathroom. Spend days in cold garage scraping and sanding off gooey green paint, re-painting with base, then flat white, then gloss white. Learn to stand on a board to keep feet off of ice cold concrete. Also scrape and pick green paint off of hinges and screws after taking doors off cupboards; fingernails will never be the same, but at least they are no longer green. Lesson from cabinets: when doing physical work like a long run, turning off the brain is useful; when painting, need to keep brain engaged.

Chest – Move into bedroom to make space in bathroom. Discover it is well made as have to unscrew hardware to release drawers. Take drawers back into bathroom to paint; outer shell is one of the last things to be painted. Drawers don’t like their new slots very much. Add to ‘someday list’ to change them around. Sure, that’s going to happen in my lifetime.

Floor – Very much like the dark brown colour, even though might just be accumulation of 90 years of dirt rather than actual colour of the wood. Errant drops and smudges of paint distress me no end, but Bill says it’s easily remedied, it looked like a painter’s drop cloth when he first took up carpet. A bit of scraping followed by polish does the trick. I’ve read something about rubbing walnuts on the pale bits; seems a waste of good food. I’m thinking brown crayon, myself. Blame my Grandmother for addiction to dark coloured wood.

We did finish bathroom just in time for the Thanksgiving party. I was amazed at how few

people needed to use the bathroom all evening. As an American I get away with a lot socially, but

I stopped short of sending each of our guests to the toilet to view fruits of our labour. Guess we'll

just have to be content with enjoying it ourselves. I'm certainly enjoying the work being finished.


TKW said...

I am wicked impressed not only by your labors, but by the fact that your marriage survived a do-it-yourself project.

Shelley said...

To be honest, I'm wicked impressed by our labours as well. We are not married, but the relationship seems to be holding up well in spite of DIY trials. I think we were careful to be patient with one another as well as with the process. However, no more DIY projects until next year!

Anonymous said...

The two of you did a great job. It looks so refreshed. I am looking for a steam mob to clean my floors. It is supposed to deep clean them and get down under the top layer to the cracks and crevices.

Struggler said...

Oh, congratulations on finishing. I am slowly coming to terms that all projects are more complicated than they first appear, and having lived in the UK, I know the perils that lurk behind radiators and around high ceilings!
I would absolutely have insisted that all guests visit the bathroom :)

Shelley said...

Guessing you meant mop but at this point mob sounds the better option to me. Next priority will be the kitchen. After that, the hall and landing ceilings, ie all that extra tall space around the stairs -- definitely going to outsource that work. No more balancing acts with boards and multiple ladders for us!