Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This is Why there is a Toilet in my Living Room

I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday. The fact that my parents are coming to visit in 3 weeks means I have just a few short work days left to get the house ready-ish before they get here. I don't think they realize that it's an active construction zone. I am pretty sure they are coming in part because my dad is a worrier and he wants to see the house. I hope it doesn't make him worry more. I got some very good advice from a friend (Miss N) who told me that I can't change whether or not my dad is going to worry. All I can do it tell him that I love my house, that it will eventually get done, that I am enjoying the process (most days), and then say, "Let's go see Austin!"

But in those few short work days, I will do what I can. Here's the list of to-dos before they arrive:

Finish painting the baseboards in the hall bath so the toilet, light fixture, and sink can be re-installed. The toilet tank has been sitting in my living room for months. It is not what I want my parents to see as soon as they walk into the house. Besides, I should really have a bathroom for them to use, so they don't have to walk through my bedroom to get to mine.

Finish painting the walls: prime and paint the living room, hallways, spare bedroom, and laundry room. The told me they'd buy me a washer and dryer for Christmas (yeah!) which I hope to pick up when they are here. They can't be installed until I get the laundry room painted. The spare bedroom needs to be done so they have somewhere to sleep. Ideally, I'd like to get all the baseboards done too, if for no other reason than I don't want them tripping over the 12' lengths of shoe molding that are sitting on the floor of the living/dining rooms. But I don't think that's going to happen.

Let's look at the progress on the bathroom so you can see why there is still a toilet in my living room. If you remember, the walls have been painted dove grey but there is still dark purple trim everywhere.

I sanded the baseboards and the lower half of the cabinet. I only did the bottom because the top half can be reached once the sink is in. But I was having a hard time getting the wood smooth, which was the goal--oil paint shows imperfections. The paint was super thick in places but lifting and peeling in others. I figured it would take way too long to get down to the bare wood with a palm sander.

I decided to purchase a non-toxic, biodegradable paint stripper I'd heard good things about on the blogs (soy-gel) and see if I could get down to the wood. I tested it on a short piece of molding next to the door. The stripper worked great, but I discovered that under all the paint, there was not one, but two layers of wood filler. I knew I wasn't going to be able to strip the wood down (in the bathroom) to where I could stain it because of all the imperfections, but who puts wood filler over such beautiful wood before painting?!? Now there is no way I'll ever be able to restore it--at least in the bathroom. I really hope that's not the case in other rooms. Anyhow, I decided it wasn't worth the effort to cover the floors with plastic, so the rest could be stripped. I went back to the palm sander with heavier sand paper. The bathroom is not very large but look at all the dust I made.

I am posting photos of dust. What is wrong with me?

After the baseboards get painted, shoe molding will need to be installed. But along the wall where the sink goes, there is a huge gap between the baseboards and the floor.

 It is so large that it would still be visible after the shoe molding is installed.

So P found a piece of wood that fit the hole and glued it in.

Then I primed everything.

Yesterday I got the first coat of oil paint on. I think I will do a second coat tonight. Then the shoe molding will be attached, and sink, light fixture and toilet can finally be put back. The upper cabinet, mirror and trim around the door and window will still need to be done, but at least there will be somewhere for my parents to pee and wash their hands.

I really do love my house. I think that once all the walls are painted, it won't look as scary to visitors. I'll leave you with the color palette I've chosen.

Blue: master bath, spare bedroom; Yellow: dining; Green: kitchen; Grey: hall bath;
White: living, halls, sewing room, master bedroom.
 All colors are from Benjamin Moore's historical colors collection. The only one here I haven't purchased yet is the mauve. I think I'll do the laundry room that color. It's the only red/pink in the collection. Everything else is too brick or too peach. Does it go with the other colors? What do you think? Maybe an orange/gold instead? Is this better?


  1. Don't stress Audrey! I seem to remember from pictures from past houses that your mom and dad like to help and paint. Maybe this will be the case and you will get some free labor. They have been to Austin plenty of times so this trip is not for site seeing. Take a deep breath, relax and it will all work out!!!

  2. I totally feel you wih the never-ending To-Do list & bathroom fixtures sitting in weird places. We're in the middle of renovating our only bathroom & some days I think I've completely lost my mind. Just keep plugging away (is what I tell myself, too) and we'll get there eventually : )

    P.S. I like the gold!