A Peaceful Bedroom

grey and lavenderMy daughter chose a color palette of powder grey, lavender and sky blue for her bedroom’s last makeover. As I mentioned earlier, this would be the fourth makeover since she was five. She’s nearly 18 now and wanted to make her surroundings peaceful and serene. The challenge in redoing this room was that the third makeover had made the walls extremely difficult to paint.

the writing on the wallThis was what I had to cover up. I had at least been smart in that only water-based products had been used on the walls. I had even found water-based Sharpie paint markers so that the writing wouldn’t bleed through the next layer. The biggest problem was covering up the paper images. Apparently, I really glued those things down. So rather than try to remove them, I decided to plaster over them. I have several gallons of various plaster products in my Stash and this was a great opportunity to use them. I’m not going to tell you what I used because they can’t be bought by the general public, and I didn’t use them the way they were supposed to be used and I really don’t want to give you people any ideas.

plaster over sheet musicThis is what I call “artistic experimentation.” I troweled on different products until I found one that gave me the look that I wanted. I ended up giving the walls a skip-troweled finish which I love. It took me a week to get the walls plastered and even. Once it was sanded and level we finally got to paint.

Whomping Willow muralMy daughter is still not ready to let go of the Whomping Willow mural I painted two makeovers ago. It originally looked like this:

Hogwarts mural

Then I transformed it to this:

Harry Potter posterThe idea was to make the mural look like an advertising poster for the Harry Potter exhibit opening at Universal Studios in 2010. One mistake I made was stamping those designs in the corners. I didn’t think about what the ink was made of and when I tried to plaster and paint over them, the ink kept bleeding through. It took about 5 coats, no kidding.

trompe l'oeil muralI didn’t like the raw plaster edges around the mural so I ended up cutting wood trim and attaching it to the edges. The bottom piece of trim actually has a small lip like a ledge. I faux finished the trim to match the mural, added some trompe l’oeil details to the top corners and lightened up the color of the frame so that it complements the wall color better. I’m really happy with how it came out.

thrift store fabric curtainsWe really lucked out on the day we went shopping for curtain fabric. We went to our local DAV thrift store and these sheets were just sitting there, along with a lavender sheet that I used as a dust ruffle.The curtains were cut from one twin size sheet and one queen size. I lined them with two plain white sheets to block out more light. I think I spent less than $20 on all the fabric. The rods and rings are from Target. I made the tie backs from lace, ribbon and fabric snaps out of my sewing stash. I absolutely love how these look on the windows.

wood birdhouseMy daughter got rid of a lot of stuff so that the walls would be sparsely decorated and less busy. This is the first room in the entire house that I haven’t added pattern to the walls in one form or another. It’s a new experience, but I think I love it.

Inventory used: 1 gallon faux stone

 

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The Evolution of a Girl and her Room

My daughter and I just finished making over her room for the fourth and final time (whew!). Her room has had more ideas splashed on its walls than any other room in the house. I swear her room has decreased in square footage from all the plaster and paint we’ve added over the last 12 years. Each makeover reflected her growth and her latest and greatest dreams. I’ve loved trying to bring her ideas to life and it’s been worth every bruise and back spasm to give her a space that’s all hers.

first day homeOur house was a model home, so when we moved in, her room had already been given a theme – butterflies (the caterpillar came with the room as well). I can’t even believe how little she was when we first got there.

butterfly roomThe paint job had been poorly done so we repainted it with a slightly different palette and expanded on the butterfly theme to include all sorts of insects (those butterflies came with the room as well). Dianna was a tomboy and wanted more bugs than beauty so we added ants and spiders to keep it from being too precious. The fun part was having my paint friends come help. We figured out how to do raised stenciling and then we added little jewels to the wings for a little sparkle. So totally fun!

I searched forever for pictures of the raised stenciling and all I’ve figured out is that they’re gone and this computer is refusing to do anything with the pile of negatives I have in a shoe box. I’ve tried cramming them in the disc drive, but my husband says that’s not good for the computer. Negatives! Can you even remember those?

Gryffindor room In 2003 I was fully entrenched in my faux finishing business and had been introduced to a product that created a stone-like finish in two easy steps. That sparked the idea for a Harry Potter themed room. We’re both huge fans (friends will tell you that huge does not describe our obsession accurately) of the books and the movies, and had traveled to Oxford, England just to visit some of the spots where the movies were filmed. I incorporated some of the architectural elements into the room including a carved window looking out toward the Whomping Willow (she has kept this mural through all the other makeovers).

Hogwarts muralThe room reflected Dianna’s love of dragons and magic without going to that girly side where glitter and unicorns usually spring up. Most of her friends were boys at this age so a feminine room would have been less than inviting. Thankfully all the work we put in to this room was rewarded by her loving it for six years……an eternity in kid-time.

graffiti on2009 was the year she decided to move on. She was loving rockers like Hayley Williams, Avril Lavigne and Green Day and the Potter room just wasn’t working any more. She really didn’t know what she was looking for, but she knew she wanted it to be dark. We dove in to that makeover with a gallon of nearly black paint. It was awesome.

metallic foil guitarWe experimented with spray painting through stencils and a lot of metallic foil. The foil guitar image was one of Dianna’s own designs and gave the room a focus wall.

the writing on the wallAfter wallpapering photos, maps and posters everywhere, we decided to let her and her friends fill in the blank spaces. So one afternoon I taught 5 junior high boys how to stencil, gave them paint and brushes and then let them all go. They created a graffiti masterpiece. I think the boys’ mothers thought I was crazy, but that really was one of the funnest things we’ve ever done and I know Dianna will never forget it.

All through high school Dianna’s friends added to the walls whenever they were inspired. It was like living inside a yearbook with all your friends’ comments and inside jokes. I kept the base colors in little cans so she could subtract things like old boyfriends or bad memories….you can paint over almost anything.

This summer Dianna decided she needed a change. Heading in to her senior year was moving a little too quickly. With friends leaving and her trying to figure out what to do after graduation, she was feeling the need for a small refuge from all the changes going on outside. The graffiti and the darkness of her room seemed to be dragging her down and she was searching for calm and light.

The graffiti room had a lot of stuff that had to be removed, patch and plastered. It was definitely a suck job and I’ll tell you all about it some other day, but for now, just know that Dianna finally has some peace, and a quiet place  to slow down in.

peaceful room

Creative Wood Repair

Okay, so I haven’t posted anything for two weeks. It’s not because I’ve been lying on the couch, watching General Hospital. Is that even on anymore? Anyway, I’ve been working on a decorative painting job, which is something I don’t do anymore, unless you’re my favorite client, and unless I feel artistically obligated, and I happen to really need some extra cash.

Mystical forces converged and caused a slab leak in my favorite clients home, which caused the kitchen to need removal, which caused damage to all the paintwork I had applied to his walls over 10 years ago, which caused him to ask me to come back and repair the damage to my work. So that’s where I’ve been.

wood replaced with gray stuffThe first job at hand had nothing to do with flood damage. My client is a contractor and he came upon this large, beautiful wood carving in his client’s dumpster. He said it was in many, many pieces as it had been broken by the movers. His client didn’t think it was worth saving. My guy picked up all the pieces and put it back together but there were three pieces missing. I asked him to try to fill the holes as best he could and I would take it from there.

damaged tail carvingSo the grey parts in these pictures were made with a product that’s supposed to work like metal solder. Please forgive the grainy photos, it’s a dark house. His assistant tried to form the missing pieces out of this clay-like substance and then stuck it on. It was pretty rough but I guess the stuff hardens in five minutes so you don’t have much time to perfect it.

after carvingI started by carving and sanding the pieces. Please understand that I had told my client I could faux finish the pieces, not carve them. But when I saw them, they needed a little help. Too bad all I had was an exacto knife and sandpaper. I decided to make lemonade.

Ta Da!Here it is all finished. Can you find the pieces I fixed?

repaired tail tipSo here’s the tip of the tail. The carving was difficult and I definitely could have used other tools. But I think most people won’t be able to pick out the non-wood dragon tail.

repaired carvingThese two repairs were easier and are a little hard to find. I think it turned out pretty well. He’s really happy with it.

I didn’t take pictures of the wall repairs because they’re not interesting. What is interesting is this house and this client. He’s the first person that ever hired me and doing his house was a total blast.

stenciled parrotThere’s only two rooms in the whole house that I didn’t paint and they’re just bathrooms. He gave me free reign so I put birds, lizards and bamboo everywhere. It pretty much looks like Margaritaville, but he loves it.

underwater stair railingWhen he ran out of walls he added a stair railing he had a guy make out of random pieces of metal and then had me paint it.metal fishHow cool is that?! I’m pretty sure this isn’t up to code, and that small children would definitely kill themselves here, but they don’t have any kids so it’s just fun.

stenciled muralI was pleased to see that my work had held up so well, and to be completely honest, surprised that he hadn’t painted all of this out. I’m not saying it’s not good, I’m just saying I can’t believe he isn’t bored with it. I’ve painted my house three times since I did this.

faux finished mahoganyThe other thing I worked on all week was turning this tan painted door into a mahogany door. I’m not great at wood graining, but I’m pretty happy with how this came out. 

So anyway, I’m glad to be getting back to my new, normal life and off the job site. I miss my studio and my dog. How could I not?

belly rub time

 

New Organization Tools

September is one of those months that I get really motivated. September and January I end up doing Spring Cleaning, which I know doesn’t make any sense, but there it is. I recently made a few new message centers that I’m particularly proud of. They go along with my seasonal organization disorder.

perpetual-calendarThis dark one has what I call a Forever calendar at the top. I’ve also heard them called perpetual calendar. The idea is, you write in the dates for each month with a dry erase marker. I left room around the edges so you have room to write other notes as well. I stenciled a calendar grid on canvas and hand painted the corners in grey and dark mustard colors. I installed it under glass in an old frame I picked up at an estate sale.

message centerThis organizer is pretty basic. It’s a calendar with IN and OUT file holders below. All the salvaged wood moldings are stained the same in a dark walnut finish.

mail holder out-boxThe vintage books I used are big enough to hold standard size file folders. The color palette is different but I think it works.

magnet boardThe other two boards I built are being sold as a set. The thing is, I had a bunch of pieces that I wanted together and I thought it would be too wide, so I split the board up. This gives the owner the flexibility to either hang them side by side or vertically, or in two completely different places.

This first one has a large book that can hold file folders. Beneath it is a magnet board covered in a vintage fabric and sports two magnets made out of antique looking bottle caps. On either side of this are two clothespins attached to the board to hold invitations and reminders.

message centerThis message board has a dry erase board with vintage tablecloth fabric under the glass. There’s a tin for holding pens and pencils right where you need them. Under that is a small mail holder and a hanging frame.

Both boards are painted in high gloss white which is different for me, but I really like how it looks. All of these can be viewed in more detail at my Etsy Shop. Have a great holiday weekend.

Inventory used: latex paint, Stain & Seal

The Bathroom Remodel is complete

finished remodelThe remodel of my daughter’s bathroom is finally complete. The studio and the downstairs half of my house is clean and I’m finally at peace. Let’s visit the Before shots for a moment shall we……….

BEFOREI shudder just looking at this. This was the starting point of our unplanned bathroom remodel. In our defense, it was this way when we bought it. But at the same time…..it was this way when we bought it……12 years ago.

ugly bathroom BEFOREThat nasty piece of terry cloth has been hanging there for 12 freaking years! Some model home designer stuck it there in a stroke of brilliance and I chose to ignore it for over a decade. Amazing what one can deny exists in our own homes. Now back to the pretty pictures:

beauty centralFirst thing to go was the wallpaper, which sucked to remove because the walls hadn’t be primed and they installed it right on the drywall. The glue really wanted to stay on forever but we washed it over and over and over and then primed. Dianna went with a great shade of blue on the walls and bright white on the cabinets. We raised the height of the vanity and added some new hardware on the drawers and doors which I love.

wood countertopWe removed the old counter top and tile backsplash and replaced it with a solid wood top and a backsplash made from “clear wood” which I think is code for “plastic with a faux wood veneer.” It’s light weight and cheap but I bought it because I thought it would be a good choice considering the risk of water damage.

Both the top and splash were stained with a Faux Effects product called Stain & Seal and three coats of C-500, a urethane product also from Faux Effects.

Lace flowersI know it looks like I put stickers on the backsplash, but this is a painted detail I swear. I used a Martha Stewart silkscreen design to create this border. This is my first time using a silkscreen. What I liked about it was that I could use much thicker paint than with a stencil, creating a more dimensional design, which is why it looks like a sticker. My daughter loves lace and she chose the design. She also has a connection to my mother through daisies, so she loves having these around.

union jack organizerThis jewelry organizer, complete with Union Jack design is one of our favorite additions. I can not take credit for the design. My friend Melanie created this design on an old IKEA door for a photo shoot, but then didn’t need it afterward so I got to take it home. Being huge fans of all things British, we had to incorporate it somehow. Thanks Melanie!

the new Assmaster 2000The new Assmaster 2000 has been installed and is no longer being crowded by 12 year old terry cloth (so nasty). My daughter decided that a door to the shower area was stupid since she’s an only child and no one walks in on her. She opted for a curtain in the doorway instead. Kind of like a dressing room.

The photo above also shows off the new floor. It’s vinyl planks which are really easy to install and extremely cheap. They look really nice and give the look of wood without having to take out a loan.

cool teen bathroomWe removed the giant sheet of mirror and replaced it with two new mirrors. We paid $15 for each of them but they came with ugly dark brown frames. We made them over with high gloss white spray paint. I filled the gap between them with two shelves I made from the scrap piece of MDF left over from the new footer on the cabinet. We also made over the clock and the light fixture with the high gloss white and they look brand new.

remodel on the cheapSo that’s our little project. We did get rid of some paint and stain from The Stash which is always good. Dianna loves her grown up bathroom and I love having my life back.

Inventory Used: latex paint and Stain and Seal

The New Assmaster 2000 is Here!

The Assmaster 2000Today we welcomed a new addition to our family……a brand new Assmaster 2000. This will be our second Assmaster. We’re still happy with our first one that’s in the guest bath, that is, except for it’s tendency to rip the skin off your thighs if you stand too close when you’re flushing it. It’s better than liposuction.

The unplanned bathroom renovation is moving along at a fairly steady pace, regardless of my wishing I was doing something else. The paint is done on the walls and the cabinets. The new floor is down and I’m happy with it……..happy that I’m done with it! The baseboards are painted and I’ll put those in tomorrow. The counter top turned out beautifully and we’ve figured out the backsplash today so that will get done tomorrow…or the next day. I sanded and refinished the light fixture and it looks cool and modern rather than rusted and cheap. So, it’s moving along, but there’s still a lot on the list if we’re going to complete it before my daughter starts back to school……..in 6 days. No pressure!

awesome wood paletteBONUS: The Assmaster was delivered on a wood palette and the delivery guy said I could keep it. Awesome! He actually said, “I’m sure you don’t want the palette so I’ll take that away………….(long pause)…….or maybe you DO want it.” I say, “you mean, I can keep it?” Needless to say, I’m the proud owner of a trashed palette with touches of old blue paint. So exciting! I’m sure the boards will find it’s way into something cool like this:

message centerI use salvaged boards in all my message centers and craft organizers, so you’ll see this palette artfully rearranged soon. Don’t forget…….everything in both my Etsy shops (Salvaged Sanity and Destashio) is on sale through the end of the month. Use the coupon code: XMAS20 to receive a 20% discount on all your purchases. Only a few days left till the prices get put back to normal, so buy your favorites NOW!

Intermission: brought to you by The Universe

I apologize for no photos accompanying this post, but I didn’t want any physical reminders of this day, that is, except for this post.

You ever have one of those days when the world tries to stop you from doing something productive over and over again, but you just keep trying to push forward? That’s the kind of day I had today. But before that…..let me fill you in on yesterday.

Yesterday my daughter and I removed the remaining wallpaper in her bathroom. Huge mess, but at least it was off. We spent the rest of the day scrubbing the walls to get all the leftover glue off the walls. Totally sucked. Dianna had no idea what she had gotten herself into, she scrubbed her fingers raw, but let’s just say she’ll probably never apply wallpaper anywhere unless she knows she will love it forever, like a tattoo. It’s so painful to remove it. Honestly…..I’d rather have a tattoo removed off my inner thigh than pull off wallpaper. Wallpaper sucks.

So back to today.

This is how it was supposed to go: paint one coat, take a shower, eat lunch, walk the dog, paint the second coat. Totally achievable.

This is how it actually went: I spent all morning pulling off baseboards, patching holes, and sanding rough spots but I wanted to start painting so badly that I started even though I was famished. So I’m shaky, but painting, on this stupid two-step ladder. (I’m working on a two-step ladder because I can’t find my three-step ladder. I say, “I can’t find,” but what I really think is “someone stole my three-step ladder.” My husband can’t fathom why someone would steal a ladder out of our garage. He swears I’ve misplaced it. How can you misplace a ladder in your home and not be able to find it? It’s not a set of keys, it’s a freakin’ ladder!) This is all beside the point…….the point is, the two-step ladder is one step short and my neck is killing me. Like I can’t open my mouth because me neck is so tight.

We started painting, only to see that glue on drywall is invisible, that is, until you apply paint………then you can really see it. Apparently, even though we scrubbed those walls for four hours, there’s still glue on them. So we tried to wipe it off as we painted. Totally sucked. If that wasn’t enough, we were running out of paint. Since I bought the primer/paint before I knew that I’d be dealing with drywall mud and not a primed surface, I hadn’t bought enough to account for the product soaking in to the mud. Slow going to say the least. I still hadn’t even taken a shower……….nasty!

…..We broke for McDonald’s.

When I checked the paint after lunch it had miraculously become beautiful…….finally a good sign. So I ran to the store to get more since it had all become one with the joint compound. I get to the counter and a sign on the counter says, “We are sorry to inconvenience you, but both our paint machines are broken.” Are you fu*#king kidding me?

So…..I quit. It’s the Universe’s fault.