MY BIG SPRING PROJECT

Title

There should totally be an “S” on the end of that.  It’s not a project.  It’s projects.  A lot of them that add up to one, huge, pull out the big girl swear words PROJECT.

The “S” at the end of words almost always stands for swearing as I’m sure you know.  Often when you add an “S” to the end of something the result is swearing because it intensifies and compounds whatever gross word is in front of it. Something that you can calmly deal with  in its singular version becomes much worse when there’s more than one of them.  Case(s) in point: Electrical Shocks.  Mosquito bites. Monsters.  Lima Beans.  3 and a Half Mens.  All worse than the singular version.

So I have a lot of projects that once completed will result in one big project with many swear words uttered along the way.

One of the very first posts I wrote when I started this blog was about how I literally sold/gave away/donated almost every piece of furniture that I owned and started from scratch.

I got rid of the red velvet couch, the side tables I found in the garbage, the lamps I found in the garbage, the red walls, the yellow walls, the stripes, the clutter, the weird-ass massive dining room “set”.  Gone.  One month later, I’d painted my whole house white, bought new furniture, and given up garbage furniture forever.  I’m just kidding. That’s ridiculous.  I’ll never give up garbage furniture.  In fact this chair is garbage furniture.

What does this have to do with My Big Spring Project this year?

I’m doing it all over again.

It was almost 10 years ago that I overhauled my house so it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve painted it.  The whole house needs to be freshened up, especially since I have a fireplace that I use every winter.  Plus there are these marks on the foyer ceiling from hauling a too tall Christmas tree into the room.

And then doing it again and again until the tree was in the right place.

 

the-right-place

 

So that’s the #1 project.  Paint the whole house white again.  Including the ceilings.

Once that’s done I can get to part #2, which again, is made up of many different parts and projects.

I have a dining room which I use to dine in about 6 times a year.  Tops.  The other 359 days of the year it’s a room that I walk through to get to the kitchen.  A very fancy hallway basically.  All of that ends this spring.

This spring I’m reconfiguring things to make the dining room a Library/Dining Room combo complete with built in bookcases around the room, a big jigsaw puzzle, gardening research books and whatever else I want on the table.  Ready and waiting for action, not just a breezing through while I go to the kitchen for a paper towel to wipe up centipede guts.  There will be a bench to make sitting down and getting up easier.  Yes.  I am that lazy and that busy.  I do not have the time or energy to sit in an actual chair. I want to be able to slide in and slide out of my seat without using my hands at all.

This will be particularly useful when I want to sit down while juggling oranges, as I often do.

The best part?  If I want to eat in the dining room, I can eat in the dining room. I’ll still have my great, big, harvest table with seating all around it.

The bookcases.  So they’re going to be a bit of a thing.

Since I already had bookcases in my foyer, I dragged them into my dining room to live with them for a few weeks to make sure I was going to like them.

I do.

dining-room-billy-bookcases

It’s amazing how they transform this area into a room.  An actual room that feels like a room.

I still have to figure out how to configure the bookcases.  I have 3 ideas in my head as of now so I’ll have to play around with some online programs to see which one I’m likely to like the most.

Once the bookcases are in there permanently (along with however many more I need to fill the room) I’m going to have to find another purpose for my foyer because I’m stealing the bookcases from in there.

bertelson-bookshelf

Photo by Donna Griffith

 

I loved the bookcases in my foyer, but it never felt like an actual library to me.  With the dining room I have higher ceilings so I can add more height to the bookcases through extenders which means I MIGHT even be able to have a library ladder.

I’ll possibly be dragging the buffet from my dining room into the foyer to put where the bookcases were, but I’d also like some sort of seating.  But I always wanted a marble tulip table instead of the silver table and that would look weird right beside a buffet.  But I’ve always wanted it.  But there won’t be room.  But, but, but.

 

bertelson-dining

photo by Donna Griffith

Clearly I don’t have this all worked out yet.

But (yes another but) sometimes you can’t wait to do something until you have it all figured out because it may never happen.  And sometimes the only way you can figure something out is by just starting.

Then there’s the living room.  I can’t afford to get all new furniture in there, although I’d love to but if I can swing it I’d like to at least get a real chair (God rest the garbage chair).  I’ve been talking about getting either an iconic or non-iconic Midcentury Modern chair for in there but I just haven’t done it.   I also think I’d maybe like a vintage leather club chair.  So again, I don’t have this all worked out yet.

Even though everything is going to look completely different it shouldn’t be too huge of an expense because I’m mainly repurposing stuff I already own.  It’s amazing how easily fooled we are.  I can convince myself I’ve completely redecorated my house just by moving things from here to there.  I do it all the time.

I wish I could say this is all I have to do this spring, but there’s some work on the chicken coop to do, a waterfall that needs to be fixed, a new garden plot to dig up (along with the old one), some eavestroughs to be painted and some gates to be built.  Which were supposed to be built last summer.

Wish me good luck and happy swearing.


110 Comments

  1. Auntiepatch says:

    Oh. My. Glad it’s not me! Good Luck!

  2. Mark says:

    Is your house made with lathe and plaster? Your ceiling looks pretty solid. Most older lathe and plaster ceilings I have seen need repairs at some time or other. Hope all of yours are free from that pain in the butt.

    • Karen says:

      Some of the house is plaster and lathe and some is regular drywall. The foyer (with the christmas tree marks) is plaster, the dining room is drywall. ~ karen!

  3. Michelle says:

    Oh Karen, if you need to talk through all the mental trauma from ceiling painting please feel free to contact me. I know exactly what you are about to embark upon. 2200 sq ft of ceiling painted by me. I will never ever paint another ceiling. Ick yuck cuss. Lots of cussing. Walls are fine ceiling just suck. You get a long term crick in the neck, paint in eyes hair everywhere. Ok I am sure you’ve painted many ceilings but in case you have amnesia? Anyway I love your dining room conversion. It is exactly what caused our drama. We removed a wall and closet in a bedroom to convert it into a dining room. That led to the infestation discovery. Which led to lots of painting. Our dining area also has book cases and a huge antique Spanish door I made into a table. So good luck and I’m here for you! Excited to see the transformation because your house is lovely. Btw I’ve got the MCM Danish chair that needs a home. figure out a way to get it to you and it is yours. Gorgeous but my home is Spanish colonial.

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. Send me a pic. 🙂 karen@theartofdoingstuff.com ~ karen!

    • nancy says:

      You just SCREWED YOURSELF. #1 rule. Never say never. You will paint ceilings again. And that stupid pink paint that turns white is helpful but awful looking after a while.

      • Penny says:

        Yep, the gods (I’m guessing Norse gods, they seemed to have a sick-puppy streak) just luurrve to stick it to people who say ‘never’!
        Michelle will indeed paint ceilings again, forgetting to put on the backwards baseball cap until the first dollop of stupid pink paint lands in her hair.

        • Michelle says:

          You both are correct I just looked up when using my husband’s bathroom and there it is a ceiling I haven’t painted yet. So sad.

          Karen I emailed pics!

    • SusanR says:

      I painted my ceilings rather easily throughout a 2-story townhouse. I first taped cheap plastic dropcloths at the top of the wall along the edge between ceiling and wall. I then put drop cloths on the floor UNDERlapping the ones on the wall. That was all done one day, and the place was empty at the time. Filled up would just take more drop cloths for over the furnishings. I bought a 5-gallon bucket of ceiling paint, stuck one end of a long plastic tube into it and the other end into an electric Wagner paint sprayer, attached a bendable spray attachment to the Wagner, bent it to aim at the ceiling, pressed the on button, and sprayed the entire downstairs, except bathroom and kitchen ceilings, in about 45 minutes. It took longer to tape up the drop cloths, because I had to use a ladder and keep moving it. With the paint sprayer, I just used a long extension cord and kept walking back and forth. That time of spraying included a few rest periods, and stopping to move the paint bucket several times. I also wore old clothes of long sleeves and long pants, rubber gloves, eye protection and covered my hair completely with an old kerchief. The whole place was done in a day, as far as painting, and the most difficult part was carrying the half-full 5-gallon bucket of paint upstairs to do the second floor’s ceilings. Well, my arms were a little tired by the end of the day, also, but the thing about spray painting a ceiling is that you can do it with either hand and not really tell any difference in the results. All together it was about 1500 square feet of ceiling and included 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 4 hallways (2 long, 2 short), living room, dining room, kitchen and laundry room and the ceiling above the stairway to the upstairs. I did the bathrooms and kitchen last, because I used a different paint on those – a semi-gloss for easier cleaning. The tear down of the drop cloths was amazingly fast. I just tore the walls ones down onto the floor ones, and then rolled them up together into a ball from all sides and threw them away. And the paint sprayer cleanup involved filling a bucket of water and running that through the sprayer into the sink until it came out clear.

  4. Brenda says:

    Don’t you wish if you just said it – it would mean it’s done … That old garbage chair and the silver table are still pretty darn swear word amazing (and that wonderfully big tall gold framed lady painting) … Yay more bookcases and a library and a slide on and off stool

  5. Ken, yeah that guy. says:

    Another one. Would you ease up on the projects I should have done a years ago, but really never want to?
    I have procrastinating to do.
    When I get around to it.
    Previous tenants painted.
    Or puked, not really sure even now.
    The smell and colour were close enough to fool my friend the “decorator”.(Even though I can cut in and paint a room as fast as he does.)
    Ideas on paint that costs less than good whiskey per gallon?
    I’ll be possibly, someday, covering curry vomit orange and 3 week old corpse grey.
    Maybe I’ll just live in my tree stand.

    • Karen says:

      You could do that. Or you could just go to Home Depot, get some Behr paint (cheaper than Benjamin Moore and really good) and get it over with. Then you can convert the tree stand into a dining room/library. ~ karen!

    • fairyrocks says:

      I too am putting off the ceiling painting…..UGGG have the paint, must get on it. The color is 3week old corpse grey….Thank you for that made me laugh. And the Christmas tree is still up…Long story, its not the traditional one, but a birch trimming I pulled in. I like it too much to tear it down. Thinking of it as more of an eclectic living room décor item. Great article, lots of fun comments too.

  6. erin hall says:

    do you know what white you are going to use? i am repainting half my house white and the other half charcoal and navys. have all the paint just not the motivation. my kids and husband have made the walls so gross they need a really good scrubbing which i dont feel like doing.

  7. Bobbles says:

    As I have said, I’m new to your blog (4 days old) and love it! I love reading the old pieces and links! What I HATE is when I click a link and it forwards in the same page that I’m reading now. It doesn’t open in a new page. I don’t think it’s my error, other blogs open links on a new page. But it often means that, as I follow links, I end up somewhere in Kansas and can’t find my way home! Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Yup. Some people hate that. Other people love it because to get back to where they were they just have to press the back button. Basically there’s a 50/50 chance one is going to hate the way the link is. ~ karen!

  8. Valerie says:

    Painted ceilings improve any room. A few suggestions:

    use a thick roller on a stick
    take a paper plate with a hole in the centre and thread this onto your stick behind the roller – tape in place; this will prevent many drips from hitting you on the head or the floor
    wear a shower cap
    cover the floor with plastic, completely – take out the furniture if feasible
    select the whitest paint you can find particularly for the ceiling even if you choose a different white for the walls
    Best of British luck

    • Karin Sorensen says:

      paperplate….holy cow, that’s GENIUS !!!!! i’ve never thought of that.

      thank you, dear kind British stranger from the bottom of my German heart.

      Karin

      • Michelle says:

        The paper plate idea is genius. And the shower cap is great too. Those 2 tips around this time last year would have saved some cussing.

  9. Grammy says:

    No matter how many ceilings you’ve painted in your life, there will come a day when you realize you have just painted the last *&%#@$%! ceiling you will ever paint. Because the older you get, the more it hurts and it gets to where you think the pain in your neck and shoulders will never stop and then it gets to where you KNOW it will never stop. You’re still young enough to maybe have one major ceiling painting left in you, so make the most of it and maybe you won’t need to do it again ever. Right. I’m just kidding. You’ll need it done again sometime. But make it last this time so you actually feel justified hiring a ceiling painter next time around (what with you being elderly and all by then).

    Your project(s) are wonderful. Of course you’ll keep us informed about the progress, and then we’ll have to wait awhile to see the finished results till your remodeling appears in a national magazine, but I’m good with that. Carry on.

    • Carswell says:

      I just did my living room ceiling over Christmas – and I’m hiring someone to do the other rooms. My living room is only 8 feet and smallish (12×14) so I thought it wouldn’t be too bad.

      I was wrong. I hurt all over – like you say there comes a point when it just ain’t worth it. It made doing the walls and trim so onerous – because I did the ceiling first.

      At any rate – the ceilings in the kitchen/dining area are well over 9 feet and then there’s the stairwell going up into a skylight. Nope, not gonna do it.

  10. MissChris SA says:

    You are going to be very busy!!

    Enjoy and just think of the end result while you are swearing away!!

  11. Kathleen says:

    Well then, all that is left to do is whish you good luck! And I am exhausted after reading this, and it’s only 06:57 in South Africa!
    PS Idris Elba was here in SA and he performed at a Jazz Festival in Cape Town. Pity I missed it! 🙁

    • Ann Brookens says:

      Did anyone see the animated movie Zootopia? (Maybe it is called Zootropolis in Canada, like it was in England.) Idris Elba voiced the chief of police. I watched it, thinking, “Who was the sexy voice of the Cape Buffalo?” It was Idris.

  12. TucsonPatty says:

    I’ve been a slug-a-bed today, and you helped it feel even sluggier(!). I am always tired after reading your to-do list, and now Ken and Grammy are making me realize just how old I am!! Ha! Such a great plan, and you will love the floor to ceiling shelves!
    I have a 15 ft wall of floor to ceiling bookshelves in my living room, and at one time there were several (many) shelves two deep. I had a major clean out nd th Friends of the Library had a hayday. I’ve tried really hard to not do that again – the public library is your friend. Make it a great wonderful chair to snuggle down into, so you can sit and read and read and read…

  13. Marna says:

    Wow you always have a lot of projects, and you actually do them! Don’t make me think of how I need to finish painting inside my house, been doing it slowly, too old now, have a bad neck and back so I do hate those ceilings. Can’t wait to follow along as you work on your projectS! 🙂

  14. Denise Leavens says:

    You made me so happy by showing your Christmas-tree-marked ceiling! I knew there HAD to me more of us out there! Yippee, we’re not the only ones!

    • Karen says:

      You have the same marks, lol? ~ karen!

    • A guy says:

      The ceiling in my den has the same marks too.

      Karen, are you going to roll the ceilings or are you going to use that fancy Wagner sprayer you made us all buy?

      • Lynn says:

        Yah, the Wagner sprayer, please use it so the rest of us will know if it’s a good or bad idea. I tore out a wall and have yet to finish the trim, caulking and then painting. The ceiling is 10 ft. I’d be willing to tape everything off if the sprayer works upside down….

  15. Margaret K. says:

    Please test sit your new chair before you buy it. Some of those “modern” chairs are horrible to sit in for any length of time. I still love my 43-year-old armchair which has been professionally recovered once so far. My husband asks me every so often if I wouldn’t rather have a new one. And I reply that it’s still the most comfortable that I have ever sat in and I am NOT giving it up.

    I appreciate your readers’ tips on painting ceilings and look forward to yours. We will finally be getting around to giving our rooms a fresh coat of paint later this year.

    • Karen says:

      Well the one chair I’m considering is the “Womb” chair. Which is supposed to be one of the most comfortable chairs ever made. 😉 So I think I”m good with that one. The other is the Papa Bear chair which is also supposed to be very comfortable. I got the chance to sit in an original from the 1950’s and it was pretty cozy. The rest of them though, yes, they definitely need to be tested! Very stiff and usually with wood arms doesn’t always make the most comfortable reading chair. 🙂 ~ karen!

  16. Amy Ping says:

    Happy swearing!! Can’t wait to see how it goes. Pls let me know if you need suggestions on swear words. I happen to know quite a few and my 3 yr old repeats them. I know! I’m so proud of her! Haha

  17. Penny says:

    Wishing you all the luck you’ll need for your projects, Karen. I’ve never read one of your posts before that threw so many ideas out in such a few paragraphs. You must be inspired – either that or you’ve had too much coffee!
    Your ‘dining room as pointless hallway’ comment really gave me pause. My own dining room is used as such only ONCE a year, on Christmas day. The rest of the time it’s just the way out to the garden, through the patio doors, or the space where I set up the clothes airer on wet washing days.
    Dagnabbit, woman, now I’VE got a project! WhatchewgodoDATfor???

  18. Jacquie says:

    The bookshelves look great next to Margaret. Good luck Karen. PS, I’ve always found getting up high on a ladder with a normal roller is easier on the body than trying to use a long pole from the floor. Don’t forget a shower cap and I have an old pair of glasses I use for painting too instead of my daily ones.

    • Grammy says:

      By all means — up on a ladder with a normal roller is far better than trying to paint ceilings from the floor. It will take much longer, but that’s the trade-off.

      I’ve found, however, that the older I get the more often I have to climb down, move the ladder, climb up, rinse, repeat. Aging affected my balance and reach so that stretching out there to get as far as possible each time becomes actually dangerous.

      And, guess what? When you’re old enough, even the ladder painting hurts your neck and shoulders. I still paint walls, trim, baseboards, all manner of things. Not ceilings.

      P.S. I painted the outside of my house with a paint sprayer in 1980, and it was so much more work than if I’d used rollers and brushes. Unclogging the sprayer so often was the worst part, but the paint store didn’t tell me back then to filter the paint first. Eventually I figured that out on my own and then the filtering was even more work. Plus more paint needed. Maybe sprayers have improved since then. This is why Karen is here to help all of you who are not already abject failures to do things right.

  19. Jody says:

    Well that sounds like crazy fun?! I have a paint roller with the reservoir for the paint. Kinda like a big paint syringe. It did make painting go a lot faster. You can borrow it if you want.

  20. Ei Con says:

    Such ambition for such a tiny girl! I know our ceilings have not been painted in the 21 years we’ve been in our house and most probably never been repainted since the house was built in 1986. Popcorn finish plus cathedral heights ensured that. I’ll be officially elderly in a couple years so then I can justify hiring a painter to do it. But oh the expense! It burns! it burns!!

    • Mel Robicheau says:

      I have popcorn ceilings in most of my house and haven’t painted in the 9 years we’ve lived here. They are so yucky. How do you paint them without them crumbling? Or wait… maybe you are the wrong one to ask since you haven’t painted yours.

      • Ann Brookens says:

        Paint sprayer?

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        I think there are big fluffy rollers meant for use on popcorn ceilings. Not that I know for sure since my 33 yr old ones have never been painted and likely never will. I would much rather remove said popcorn but I think that would be a hugely messy and possibly divorce causing event.

      • ally says:

        Yup, there are deep pile rollers meant for popcorn ceilings. They suck up a huge amount of paint though. And it’s always tricky to tell where you’ve painted and where you haven’t. Although the longer they go without paint, the easier it will be to see the contrast between “whites”.

        • Mel Robicheau says:

          Oh good! I’ll look into those. I would love to take the popcorn off but I bet that it looks like crap underneath because it seems nothing on this home was done straight or even.

          • ally says:

            The whole reason for popcorn ceilings is to disguise not-perfectly-finished ceilings. You’d have to scrape it off and then mud the ceiling perfectly evenly. Not an easy job.

  21. Monique says:

    Painting the ceiling..does “suck” however nothing was worse than my wallpapering my ceilings..yes I did that..many many years ago..in a few houses ago:)
    It’s all going to look great karen..everything you do turns out so well.

  22. Amber says:

    Beware the leather club chair. It looks so good in the magazine, then you realize it’s way too big and clunky and dark for any place outside of a small smoky club room. Get some amazing fabric and reupholster, much more classy. If you’re not sure, steal a cow hide from someone, drape it over a chair and see what the cats do to it in a week. You’ll thank me 😉

    • Ann Brookens says:

      Our cats clawed the heck out of our leather office chair while climbing up to sit on the back. Might want to rethink that one, Karen.

  23. Susan says:

    That sideboard would make a great base for one of your bookshelves. Kind of like a secretary. And all the dining room stuff that’s in your sideboard would still be in your dining room.
    You’re lucky to have furniture you can change occasionally. My sideboard lives in the livingroom of this house, which could and probably will be my last. It’s solid mahogany, huge, and always the elephant in the room when I try to decorate. But my great grandparents bought it at an estate sale of one of the big brewing families, can’t remember which at the moment. I’m a senior, so you can imagine how old it is and of course, I can’t part with it and my only son doesn’t want it at the moment. So it sits there and demands that every room be buillt around it.

    • Ann Brookens says:

      How old is that sideboard, Susan? Early to mid-1800’s?

      And Karen using hers as a bookshelf base is brilliant!

      • Susan says:

        Ha, I just tore it apart to find the piece of paper in one of the drawers with the information. It turned into a great purge, thank you very much. My ggrandfather was married in 1848, so I assume they bought it around that time and it was from the estate of the Labbatts family of London Ontario. So early 1800s is probably right.

  24. Ann Brookens says:

    Love, love, LOVE the idea of floor to ceiling bookshelves wall to wall in the dining room. EXCELLENT use of a room so seldom used! And buy the marble tulip table. Figure out how to configure the foyer after you have the piece of furniture that you most want to put in it.
    I, personally, could easily furnish a house in wall to wall bookshelves. It never seems to be a problem filling them up, what with my childhood knick knack collection, interesting rocks/branches/pinecones/sea shells, things my kids give me– like an official Star Trek tribble or Marvin the Martian figure, and the twenty million books I continually add to.

  25. danni says:

    Ohhhhh I love what paint can do, and a clean white ceiling is the best. I use Kilz and call it a day. Seals any stains, leave a perfect matte finish. Two coats of that and it’s good to go.
    I just painted a room for the second time in a month. Color I put up wasn’t quite right, and set my teeth on edge every time I passed through. Had to re-do once I put new paint samples on the walls! Can’t back out of it then!

  26. jainegayer says:

    I can’t wait to see the “after” photos!
    Had our very inexpensive painter (swore I would never paint again) paint the ceilings and walls the same Beni Moore “chantilly lace” creamy white. It’s been over a year and I still love it. And I LOVE your bench! Where did you find wood that wide?

    • Karen says:

      That bench is made out of a beam from an old barn. 🙂 It’s literally just beams cut up and screwed together. ~ karen!

  27. Lucy Loper says:

    I’m so excited you’re going with a library/dining room hybrid. I looked online last year for ideas and ended up copying an IKEA hack that looks like it was built with this 1907 four square. You are going to LOVE it.

    • Karen says:

      I think I will 🙂 I like the open feeling of the dining room but it’s so useless and just feels sad and empty sometimes. Bookshelves always remedy that. ~ karen!

  28. Michelle McKay says:

    I have re-read & had your original “starting from scratch” post open for a bit now, wanting to do the same!!!!
    Can’t wait to see your dining/entry/living room transformation. Happy swearing (I’m sure most of it will be when you’re painting the ceiling) 😉

  29. Linda in Illinois says:

    Karen you are amazing. I love your ambition. I want it. Good luck, can’t wait to see results.

  30. Kristin D. says:

    This was a real roller coaster of a post for me! When I started reading, I thought, “Holy bleep, she’s gonna get rid of all her stuff! I want it!” But then I read on to see you meant you’re painting again, not getting rid of all your stuff again. And then, you mentioned taking the silver table out of the foyer, and I was all excited again, thinking, “Will she sell it? Has anyone else called dibs on it already? Squee!” And then, down again, thinking, “She’s not gonna sell it, and if she does, it won’t be to me, or it’ll be super expensive.”
    On a random side note, how do you pronounce foyer when you say it out loud or in your head? Do you say, “FOY-er” like “lawyer” or “FOY-yay” like some other word with a snooty French accent I can’t think of right now?

  31. Diane R. says:

    Hi Karen,
    Is that big white fluffy throw new? I remember the little one and I’d love to know where you
    purchased the large one? Looking forward to the day we can see your completed projects.
    Snowing here in Mass….UGH!

    • Karen says:

      Snowing here too Diane! Woke up to 15 or so cm. The throw is very old. It’s a Mongolian lamb blanket from Homesense. (that’s Homegoods to you) ~ karen!

  32. Jenny says:

    We’ve been in our house for almost 3 years and only have 1 bedroom (with ceiling) and 1 bathroom (ceiling is done!) left to paint, thank god. My father-in-law has a rule that if you repaint the walls you have to repaint the ceiling, too, and apparently that rule is hereditary because my husband insists it is the one true way of painting. All I know is that that means that I chose our paint colors verrrrrrrry carefully because painting ceilings is literally the worst and there is no way that I am doing that again until I absolutely have to. Because my husband works a lot and so SOMEHOW I always ended up being the one to paint the ceilings. Alone.

    To those talking about removing popcorn ceilings, it is a total mess. I assume that the professionals have an efficient and slightly less messy way to do it, but we had a basement flood on our first day of homeownership and while we were waiting for new carpet to be installed, took the opportunity to scrape off the popcorn ceiling with flat-edged shovels (another father-in-law method ^_^) and then shop-vac it up. I was finding popcorn texture in my hair for DAYS.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      I *had* an opportunity a few years ago when we ripped up all our carpeting ourselves in preparation to put down about a thousand screws to stop the floor from squeaking and bouncing before installing hardwood floors and new carpet. I was just too pooped to handle even more mess. Now that the pain is over, shoulda done it! What did you do with the scraped ceiling?

      • Jenny says:

        Well, the people who built our home were extremely enthusiastic about putting the popcorn texture on our basement ceiling whereas upstairs it’s that orange peel texture. So when we scraped off the extremely excessive popcorn texture (seriously, some parts were like mini stalactites), we basically scraped off enough to be an even, slightly textured ceiling that looks pretty similar to orange peel texture. Then we painted it white. 🙂 We were lucky in that the ceiling was acceptable and didn’t need to be retextured or anything after scraping.

  33. Korrine says:

    I’m loving the bookshelves in the dining room!

  34. Barbara P says:

    Let’s all have a swear word or words at the same time moment. Pick a date, time and how many swear words allowed. Damn..I’m really good at it.

  35. Lesley says:

    I don’t know why – because I’ve never been in your house – but as soon as you started talking about repainting the ceilings I had the instantaneous thought that you should paint the dining room/library ceiling another colour. I dunno, it just popped into my head. Feel free to disregard.

    Otherwise, I look forward to watching all this work going on, preferably from my couch with martini in hand. Oops, I mean martiniS! Almost forgot that “s”.

  36. Mary says:

    Words to live by: “But (yes another but) sometimes you can’t wait to do something until you have it all figured out because it may never happen. And sometimes the only way you can figure something out is by just starting.” We need to take that to heart and start on our living room re-do that we’ve been talking about for 10 years. You can never over-talk-about-things. JK – of COURSE you can!! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration to Just Do It!

  37. I have a new fave white.. and it is d’bomb diggity. I think you may like it. Benjamin Moore… colour of the year… SIMPLY WHITE.

    http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/paint-color/oc-117

    So good. So so so good. It’s a warm white, but still white.

    Did that make sense? I dunno.

    Happy painting (welcome to my world haha)
    Lynne

  38. Stephanie Hobson says:

    This comment is for A guy, who commented “Hold down the “control” key when you click the link and a new tab will open”. He may never see it, but just in case.
    Thank you, I didn’t know that! See, you can teach an old dog (me) a new trick!

  39. I used to love, love, love to paint. I love color (or colour for you non-USA folks!)
    But I once I got some kind of weird allergic reaction to the smell and since then I had my hubs put wood tongue-in-groove on every surface possible and left it unfinished except for our great room ceiling which is a white-wash. I did stain three walls in a cherry, a green and a purple (now that I think of it, I bet hubs did it not me!). The only room that I can paint (ok, hubs not me…) is our bathroom, which is pretty small.
    Since discovering the joy of painting again using Annie Sloan chalk paint, I have painted my camper…inside and out…my upholstered furniture (you can even use cheap acrylic craft paint…I used what I had available and some of it was even old latex paint…(one part paint to three parts water). I am going to completely repaint my camper this summer even though I just finished it two years ago. I love change! And color. Sometimes when I see an all white room, it looks so peaceful and zen like and I thing maybe I should do my bedroom in that but then I see another photo of a bohemian room all full of jewel tones and it make my old hippie heart swoon. I am a new reader to your blog and I just love it. Can’t wait to see more photos of your house!

  40. Lesley says:

    I love that you are planning to multi-purpose your dining-room. I often wonder why we even have them, especially in homes that aren’t particularly large. Mine, like yours, was getting used only a handful of times a year. Two years ago we did a major renovation and even had an addition built to expand our kitchen by about 1/2. I decided to have a great big island instead of a smaller one with an area to set up a kitchen eating area. This, I thought, would force us to use the newly-opened up dining room on more of a daily basis. Now, we eat at the island, and the dining room is still basically only used a few times a year! I honestly believe our homes should just be one huge kitchen, because that’s where everyone gathers anyway.

    • Karen says:

      Totally agree! When I redid my kitchen I looked at taking out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room but it’s a supporting wall that’s about a foot thick, lol. So that wasn’t an option. I think this combo thing might be as close as I get to making it a useable room while still keeping the dining room (which I need because I host Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve every year, plus have people over the odd time) ~ karen!

    • Grammy says:

      Back in the mid-sixties my best friend and her husband lived in the tiniest little house — it was the garage that was left when the house on the property had burned down years earlier. So on what seemed like a large lot, way in the back, sat the “home” that no one but a couple of hippie kids wanted. It was also all they could afford. When the house burned, whoever was there at the time just divided the standard 20 x 20 garage into rooms. The best thing was that they divided it in half first, with the majority being a big kitchen and one little section of that walled off for a toilet, tiny sink, and clawfoot bathtub. The remaining half (10 x 20) had a bedroom walled off with barely enough room for a double bed and a small closet, and the “living room” wrapped around that room in a narrow L-shape.

      Many happy years were spent in that house — by the couple and all of their lucky friends. It was the happiest kitchen in the world. The only thing I ever saw the living room used for was that she installed a fishnet hammock in one part of the L, and that’s where my young son happily (and safely) slept when she babysat him. Otherwise, he was playing in the corner of the kitchen with the dog, the duck, the goose and goslings that all used the dog door to get in from the cold. The kitchen and bathroom were all that were really needed.

  41. Kathi says:

    Karen, make sure the ceiling paint is scrubable, just like your wall paint. You never know what can happen. I had over 10 birds come down the chimney into my woodstove a number of years ago. Luckily it was late spring, so no fire going. Tried to get them in a sheet as I opened the woodstove door, but no luck. They escaped , and it was a while before they found the open door. But not before they had made a huge mess with sooty wings on the walls and ceilings. Walls could be cleaned, but no luck with the ceilings-had to be repainted. And yes, the opening to the chimney was blocked off very soon after that! 😉

  42. Elen G says:

    Painting is my spring project — Hello, 10 years! too. I’m wide awake at night planning it all out in my head. I’ll be swearing on the other side of Toronto. Starts soon, soon, soon. Love how you’re going to use the dining room. You had me at ‘puzzle’. Cheers.

  43. Melissa says:

    Omg! I love the huge oil portrait in the dining room….don’t get rid of that. However, if you do decide to get rid of it I promise I would give it a good home. 🙂
    Melissa

  44. That’s the beauty of good pieces of furniture that you’ve handpicked…even from garbage…it all mixes and matches. Furniture Garanimals. Love your ideas and ambition. 😉

  45. amy watson says:

    I have always wanted a library, and a library ladder YES PLEASE, oh my heart, l can’t wait to see it finished and see Margarets new digs. 😉

  46. LAURA GERBER says:

    I’d love to see a floor plan of your house – we see all the beautiful pictures, but I’d love to see how the rooms flow into each other – there I’ve given you a post idea!

  47. Maryanne says:

    Hi Karen, Good luck on your big spring project(s)! I too am embarking on a house refresh – if I can gather up the courage lol

    Looking forward to watching the journey. I am extremely envious that you are even able to entertain the idea of having a library ladder. Hope it works out for you 🙂

  48. Robyn says:

    Good luck and happy swearing!!!!

  49. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I look forward to watching you work…you do make me tired at times which could possibly lead to an afternoon nap…yawn…lol..Good luck girl..

  50. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Best thing we ever did in our bungalow was to move all the dining room furniture to one side of the double sided fireplace in the great room and change the “formal” DR into a TV room. Now there’s NO tv in the living room and we can enjoy the fireplace on the few occasions that we use the dining table. It also gives more room for all the nieces and neohews who keep having kids!

  51. Shauna says:

    I’ve been nursing a broken ankle since the first week of March. I haven’t been able to walk to the bathroom since then and I will be going to Maui on crutches (but at least I’m going to Maui). I will still be fairly dependent on others through May and the simple act of turning around usually requires a 3 point turn on my broken ankle scooter. This is all to say that while usually your list would make me tired just reading it, it has made me a bit jealous that you have two working legs with which to paint and move furniture and build shit. You go girl!

    • Karen says:

      omg that’s AWFUL. How did you break your ankle? I guess the one good thing is you’ll be over the worst of it by the start of summer. Well, an Ontario summer anyway. ~ karen!

      • Shauna says:

        Basically, I fell in a 2 foot deep hole. We have an intake vent in our floor in our dining room, and we were having work done under our house so my husband had lifted the grate off. I came home from work and not realizing the grate was off (because who looks down at their floor when walking in their own house), half of me fell into it and the other half twisted at a very unnatural angle. I broke my fibula:( poor me. My husband must now be my slave.

  52. Kimberly says:

    We finally scraped our popcorn ceilings two weeks ago after 14 years of being on ‘the list’. Oh what a job that was. Worth every white crumb I’m still cleaning up though!

  53. Chris says:

    Karen – where did you find that great harvest table? Is it an antique or new/made to look old?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris. I had it custom made from antique barn boards. One of the boards is 27″ wide. 27″!! It provides most of the width for the table. ~ karen!

      • Chris says:

        Thanks, Karen – it’s beautiful. Would love to see a picture of the whole table (maybe as part of this year’s big spring project?)

        • Karen says:

          Oh, if you look through some of my older posts or anything under House Tour, Christmas Tour you’ll see it. 🙂 ~ karen!

  54. Linda says:

    Oh good luck with painting the ceilings! Or maybe you have already started (or finished) it?
    Btw, I love that table and bench!

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