The Ceiling Debacle

I'm still working on the drawers for the dresser. My mistake last week was putting the varnish on outside, in the humidity. Four days later it still hadn't really dried. We brought them in Thursday night and miraculously, they were ready for another coat of varnish by Friday night. This morning I got up and put on a third coat, and they should be ready to put back in the dresser tomorrow. This has also allowed the chalk paint to have plenty of time to cure. A small bonus. 

I decided to tackle the ceiling this weekend. Mainly because there isn't a lot I can get done in the room until the ceiling is repainted. 

Here is the almost blank slate I'm working with:

This is the view of the room from his door. The closet is to your right. It currently has the dresser, his desk, and his bin-o-stuff in it so I can paint. From this angle, the carpet doesn't look too bad. Sadly, that's far from the truth. Also, the walls were refreshed with paint three years ago, but this boy is apparently very hard on his room, and it looks dingy and gross. You can also see the water damage up above the window. Here's a close up:

This morning, after we cleared everything out of the room, I was really confident I would just put on a coat of primer, let it dry, and then paint the ceiling. What cold be simpler?

6 hours later and three coats of primer later, here is what I'm still dealing with:
It's....better. But it's not fixed.  And it certainly doesn't look like I've painted on three coats of primer! I'm going to put on yet ANOTHER coat here in a few minutes and hope that does the trick. Seriously, it was just a leaky tube that allowed water to drip onto the ceiling. Why the Zinser primer isn't covering these spots completely is the burning question right now. So back upstairs I go to paint on primer. Again...


We start out with...a photo of me.

September in Houston is still pretty humid. Since I'm staining drawers today, being inside was not an option. I contemplated putting it off another week, but really, the humidity isn't likely to be any better. And the longer I take to finish, the less likely I will get it done before Christmas.

So the photo. Somehow you can't really see it, but I was a hot mess after sanding down the drawers this morning. I almost never sweat, even in the humidity. So my youngest was shocked to see it dripping down my forehead. He felt a picture was warranted. You know, with nothing but moisturizer and lip balm on, sweaty hair pulled back in a ponytail, feeling super gross. But I took it to humor him. And then he said to make sure I posted it with all my other photos I was taking. Clearly, he has a twisted sense of humor.

So let's to what we really came here for. Drawers.

This is what I started with. Five drawers that had seen better days. About three years ago, he stuck some stickers all over the front of the drawers. I really tried scraping them off, but to no avail. Yesterday The Builder came to the rescue and took off most of the residue with the isopropyl alcohol he uses for cleaning metal at work. Thank goodness, as I have no idea where my goo gone has gone! (yes, I said that intentionally)

When I went to Home Depot to pick up my standard orange varnish remover, it wasn't there. There wasn't even a spot where it was sold out. I admit I wasn't patient enough to flag someone down and see if they had it in the back, or if it was in a different spot. I did a quick review of my product options and went with this:

First off. This stuff worked GREAT. I was able to get off all the varnish the first go around (except for one, that I forgot to strip, and had to re-apply this morning...oops). But. This stuff is seriously toxic. The directions tell you to wear safety goggles and gloves. Ahem. I didn't do that. Not only did I ignore that, I was wearing shorts and was barefooted (#humidityisakiller) When I use this the next time, and I have a ton left over, I will not make that mistake again. I was very careful while applying it, but I got a few tiny little splashes on my fingers and toes.  And it BURNS. I quickly rinsed in cold water, and there are no marks, but I understand why they tell you to wear protective gear. 

So after a quick scrape with a plastic scraper, here is what my drawers initially looked like:

I will admit. I was sort of freaking out. The stain I bought was a little darker because I know I have scratches and gouges that will not sand out. It's not super dark, but it is more forgiving. But picturing putting a medium toned stain over this very orange looking pine did not make me excited. I knew that I still needed to sand everything down and was hoping that that would do the trick. 

Sometimes you really do get lucky!

About 95% of the old stain sanded out perfectly! There are some spots around the edge that even with a wool brush, I just couldn't scrape out. But I wasn't looking for perfection for this project. This chest of drawers has survived three boys over a 10+ year time period. If I really wanted perfect, I'd have to buy something new. Which means we'd just build it. At this point in time, that's completely unnecessary as these are still in excellent condition. 

Here's a quick shot of some of the sanded drawers: 

Night and day difference. 

Again, while this happened to have been an inexpensive pine chest of drawers when I bought it, it is all real wood. It was worth the time to refinish. That being said, I think my hand was ready to fall off by the time I was done sanding! I forgot we bought an orbital sander a year or so ago and I bought sandpaper for our ancient old electric sander. It certainly got the job done easy enough, but it was murder on my hand.

I used a Minwax stain. I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of Minwax. I greatly prefer Rustoleum stains. However, it has become increasingly difficult to find it except on Amazon, where it's double the cost of what I used to pick up for at Lowes. I need to try my local Ace Hardware and see if they carry it.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already saw this photo. But I'm super pleased at how these came out. I initially brushed on a heavy coat of stain (I wanted to make sure I was getting into all the cracks and crevices that did not sand out) and then wiped it off with a towel. All they need now is a coat of satin varnish. I'm hoping to get that done today, but it will depend on how quickly the stain dries. I may bring them in the house for a bit to speed up the drying time since I don't think the fumes will be as bad now. 

I'm ordering these cup pulls for D Lawless Hardware:

When he picked out the paint for the dresser, we took a look to see what hardware was available. He really liked this style and they're easy to get. At $5 a piece, they're not terribly expensive. However, at D Lawless, they're under $2 a piece. I've ordered from them before and have always been very pleased with the quality. Since I still plan to have a built in desk in his closet, I'm going to order enough for that as well for a more cohesive look. I will need to drill new holes to install these, but that's a minor fix. 

Once the dresser is done, I'm The Builder going to tackle painting the ceiling, then we can get to the walls. The ceiling stains from the leaking a/c tubing are driving me crazy and paint is an easy fix. We will probably install the new floors after we paint the ceiling, but before we do the walls. 

More to come!

Summer Hiatus

I've been absent since June with my daughter's graduation. I can't even say that I did a single project over the summer. Because I didn't. The Builder was completely burnt out on projects by the time our friends and family were done visiting. Plus his work really picked up due to the backlog from the rain. In a perfect world, I would have enjoyed the time off...but my work picked up as well and I was behind on some school work. So it ended up being a busy summer.


I need to get back to things that still need to be done around my house. And so with the beginning of September and fall around the corner (not that that will make one difference here in Houston!) I'm jumping back in. I have a few projects planned:
  • Updating my youngest sons' bedroom
  • Adding media storage in our master bedroom
  • building an upholstered headboard for our bed
Updating my sons' room is more of a chore than it may seem. Last year we had a tube from the a/c leak and cause water spots on his ceiling. He managed to break the cheap faux blinds in his room. He managed to peel the texture off on a spot on his wall. His closet doors fell off the track and broke. His carpet is in desperate need of replacing. I didn't realize it was that bad until my family came out to visit. Suddenly no matter how much we shampooed the carpet, I couldn't get the pet smell out. It was NOT good. There was also nothing I could do once I realized it. So I've spent my summer buying flooring, one box at a time. I thought we would get it done this weekend, but my dogs decided it would be fun to tear down the fence that separates our yard from our neighbors. So The Builder and our boys spent the day tearing down the rotted out fence and installing a new one. 

Since I couldn't do the floors myself, I decided to tackle a project I could do. His dresser.  Years ago, when he was around three, he and his brothers took a sharpie marker to the side of the dresser and drew on it. I kept that side tucked in the corner of the room for a long time, but when we moved to this house, that wasn't an option. So I've been living with it that way for almost 5 years.  Take a look:

Yeah. I wasn't happy. And I know no amount of sanding is really going to get all of that black sharpie out. Or if it does, it will be uneven. But the dresser is solid wood, no cheap particle board. And he hates to hang up his things. He likes everything folded and uses all his drawers. I would eventually love to build him a new one (and have plans saved to my Pinterest board!) but I have other building projects that I want to get done first. This is a solid dresser. It just needed some updating. I finally decided that I wanted to use chalk paint on the body of the dresser, which would cover up ALL those sharpie marks, but I am going to strip and re-stain the drawer fronts. 

Now my youngest is the MOST particular out of my four children. There was no way I was going to choose a paint color without his input because if I got one he didn't like, I would never live it down. Blue is his favorite color, but I didn't want anything that was a bright or pastel blue. I was thinking a navy blue would be a nice color. We headed to Home Depot today to get paint, and while he was all for the blue (actually, he liked his dresser just the way it was and had no interest in painting or updating it!) he ultimately chose a color called Inked, which had a touch of gray to it. I can totally work with that, and it will also be the color we paint the interior of his closet. But that's another post. 

I have to say, the chalk paint was SUPER easy. My wonderful friend, The Magnificent M, shared her chalk paint recipe with me, and it was a dream to use. I've read that most people only need one coat, but I felt that was a bit streaky, and used two. No issues there, it was still super simple and I used less than 2 cups of paint to do the entire dresser. I have plenty left over for the closet. 

And here is body of the dresser all painted:

Forgive the poor lighting. It was late afternoon and I can't open his blinds more than half way. This lighting is the result of an overhead ceiling fan light and even then, I still needed the flash on my phone. 

We both anticipated the color to be a little darker, but in the end, we are both really happy with it. Even better, he told me it looks MUCH better now that it's painted and he's glad I "made" him let me paint it. Maybe there is hope for this boy yet. 

This is as far as I got today. The drawers have stickers all over the front of them. I tried scraping them off, but apparently, sticker glue turns into super glue once it's on wood. I have goo gone... somewhere. And I know it will take it off with no issues. But I need to find it.  Then I have to put the stripper on to take the light coat of varnish off that it currently has, lightly sand, and re-stain the drawers. Oh, and I need to buy new drawer pulls. Apparently, he has only one left. And no clue what happened to the other four. Seriously, looking at his room, you would never guess it had fresh paint, new draperies, and was updated just four years ago. But I digress...

Here's a quick peak at the drawers I pulled out so I could paint today:

That's what's left of the stickers I could not get off. In addition, there is still sticker residue. So the goo gone is a must. 

I'm pretty sure I'm going to paint his room the same perfect greige the rest of the house is painted. I have it on hand so it's and easy update. His desk is going to go into his closet (which he doesn't currently use) and will look something like this:

I found directions for this on The Happy Housie and I love the overall look. My youngest saw it and immediately vetoed the stenciling, the nautical decor, and anything "school" related. I assured him it will accurately reflect his tastes and personality. His closet is much larger, so he's requesting a bookcase in it as well, so I need to figure out how to incorporate that. I may do two Rast drawers, one for each side, for added storage as well. I really like that I can stain them to match the dresser for a coordinated look. This photo is just my jumping off point, his actual design will be 100% tailored to him.

I'm contemplating a new quilt (his preference) and used the SnapIt tool to pull the colors from it:

The Charcoal Blue in the chip color is very similar to the Inked color by Behr. The other colors are great accents for his room and really reflect him. 

Budget wise, this is still low cost. The built in closet desk I'm estimating at about $100 (two Rast dressers, the desktop, hardware, and task lighting). The flooring  is about $150 for the whole room (which we've been buying a little at a time). New blinds will run another $50 or so. We're debating bi-fold doors to replace the sliding closet doors. Well. I wanted barn doors. Which he quickly vetoed. He's not a "farm" type of guy. I found some neat engineered prints I can have done for his room, so about another $40 for artwork. If I buy the quilt in the photo, I'm looking at about $450 for the room altogether. I'd also like to replace the drapes that my cats love to be trapeze artists on with a cornice board valance. I don't have a cost estimate on this, and since the blinds are an immediate necessity, the cornice is something we can do later. 

Cross your fingers I can get the drawers done tomorrow and have a whole project done in one weekend!