Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Half Bath, Half Done

Last summer, when we had the terrible Dr. Eddy come replace a couple windows in our house, our half bathroom at the top of the stairs was left looking like this.

The bright yellow paint was the choice of the previous owners and never looked all that great. But after the dirtiest handyman in the world got through with them, the walls were downright disgusting. Even after I scrubbed everything down, it was still pretty bad.

I decided it was finally time to repaint the last room in the house. (That's right, I've painted every other wall and ceiling in the Capers!) I thought since there wasn't a lot of walls to deal with and there was already a lot of white in the room, I could get away with a deep blue color on the walls and ceiling. Boy was I wrong.

I tried out a couple samples of colors I liked but it just wasn't working in that tiny space. Turns out it's true what they say about dark colors making a room feel smaller.

With my plan out the window, I gathered more paint chips and thought long and hard about what color would make that room pop.

And then I thought a little longer. A little longer. Longer. And then it was January, almost half a year later and we still had to look at this multi-colored eyesore every day. Eek!

I can't say this is the only time I've ever procrastinated ... I've been meaning to put up a post on this blog for the last week and a half ... soooooooo ...

But besides color choice and what to put on my "statement wall" (the one you see as you're walking up the stairs) I had another snag in the bathroom makeover. See that piece of wood in the picture above? Up until just recently, there's been a 2x4 on two of the bathroom's walls. Serving no purpose, just nailed into the wall. And I have to admit, I was a little nervous about removing them. I was worried about what kind of mess I'd make pulling them down, and I even had a ridiculous fear that there would be a gaping hole across both walls that the boards were hiding. Like, that I'd be able to see outside. Stupid, I know.

Yet for months I waited, hoping I would wake up one day and magically find that the boards were gone and I had plain normal walls to work with for once. No wallpaper, no paneling, no ceiling tiles, no plaster. Just plain drywall.

When that obviously didn't happen (yay for this crazy old house!) I finally sucked it up and grabbed a flat head screwdriver and a hammer and got to work.

It took some time slowly rocking the board away from the wall. I started with the screwdriver and just tapped it in a bit, then pulled it back out and moved down the board. (Don't rock the screwdriver! You'll leave indents in the wall.) I did this until there was a gap all the way across. Then I used the claws on my hammer to pull the board some more, alternating between the top and bottom sides of the board. But eventually, that baby came off!

I was on a DIY high and feeling pretty handy after that first board came down, so I picked up the pace a little and got started on the longer board.

And then I got a little overzealous.

That mark, my friends, is what happens when you use the hammer as a lever, instead of just pulling straight toward you. Oops!

After some blushing and looking over my shoulder to make sure Chris and the kitties hadn't noticed that, I pressed on, determined to get rid of that second board. The window frame made things difficult on one end, as you can see below.

But with only a few other incidents, I succeeded and I was left with a horrible looking wall. But at least it was finally just a wall. Drywall and nothing more! Hurrah!

I sanded down the excess paint buildup around where the boards used to be and spackled over anything that looked not quite level ... including the hammer-sized hole I left in the wall.

So for a day or two I kept the room closed off while the dust settled, waiting for a day off from work to start painting. Well, as luck would have it, I actually got busy at work again and didn't have any time off for a week. I eventually did sneak in the half bath after work to wipe everything down and clean up the mess from sanding and spackling, so at least we could use the bathroom again. But now our little room was looking worse than ever.

At this point, I was too ashamed to post my progress, so I had to hold off on blogging until I could offer up a slightly happier sight than our funhouse bathroom pictures.
When I got today off from work, I knew what I had to do. I pulled up "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" on my cell phone, put some painting clothes on and went in for the kill. I still hadn't decided on a color or what would make the far wall a "statement wall." All I knew was that I couldn't look at that mess any more.
Enter Valspar's Brilliant White.

It's clean. It's calm. It's white.
This is the first time I've ever painted a room white. It felt a little strange at first. Sort of like the opposite of progress. Usually I try hard to banish the white walls.
But it's obviously way better than crazytown color wall. And actually ... I kind of like it.
There's something very soothing about being surrounded by white. Even with the room still in disarray, I felt calm standing there with the white paint on the walls.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm looking forward to seeing how this room comes together. I may end up stenciling a design on the statement wall. Or maybe hanging a large framed poster. Maybe sticking a bunch of postcards to the wall? Probably not that since it is a bathroom and I guess I want to be able to wipe things down. But something good is going to go there. Just not sure what yet. 
In the meantime, there are a few things I know need fixing. The lighting/electrical outlet situation, for one. Both the lighting and the electrical outlet are pictured below.
That's bonkers, right? Only one outlet and it's on a crazy base of some weird utility light. And the bathroom only has this little candelabra bulb. Yeah, gonna need to fix that.
Also, I love that this room has glass doorknobs like the rest of the house, but someone before me got a little paint happy and painted parts of the door knob and screws. But I've already got something in mind for that ...
I also need to install a ring for a hand towel so we don't have to drape it over the mirror any more. And clean up this mess outside the bathroom.
And I may have to deal with this mess too.
If you don't pet this cat every day, you may not see the mess right away. Let's zoom in, shall we?
If you still don't see it, I'll give you a hint. Zoro has a black tail and a black butt. Yeah, my kitty got a little curious. And as I was writing this, Shadow ran by me and I saw that he too has a new white spot on his behind. Anyone have any tips for getting paint out of cat fur?