Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Return of Renovation

Hey, checkout how cute this is:
AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.
Okay, enough crafty Christmas and cute puppy posts.  It's time to get back on track.

We've been trying to get the kitchen "packed up" so we can relocate the basic essentials (bowls, utensils, cereal, microwave, etc) to the living room for use while the kitchen is out of order for the next few months.  We've been trying to come up with ways to store stuff in the living room.  One thing that's been driving me crazy is the fact that we never painted the living room closet when we did the living room.  At the time it wasn't a priority, but now it's space that could be super useful while our living room serves as a living space/kitchen/Rooney lair.  Apparently 'tis the season to be handy, because I decided that Sunday was the day to finish the living room closet.  And the upstairs hallway.  And the basement door.  Fa la la la la la la la la.

The living room closet was formerly one of the dankest, scuzziest corners of our nest.  The minty army green paint was original to the house, and definitely showed sixty years of dings, scratches, and stains.  Not to mention it smelled of moldy cardboard boxes.  Needless to say, I wasn't about to fill that closet with my Cheerios or Rooney's Kibbles 'n Bits any time soon (or even coats for that matter).  At least not in that condition.
Lucky for you, you can't smell this.

Pretty busted.
Luckily, I saved myself some time a couple of months back when I painted the trim of the living room -- I had also painted the trim on the inside and outside of the closet, so all I needed to do now was paint the inside walls.  We also already had all of the paint we needed on hand, so there was no need for a Home Depot trip.  When we painted the downstairs hallway, we determined that we'd use the same color in the living room closet as well as the upstairs hallway since it was a nice neutral color.  Using the same color is also a money saver since one gallon did covered all three spaces.  Wouldn't it have been silly to buy different colors for each space?  The color of choice: Behr Ultra Premium Plus in Antique White (eggshell of course).  It's sort of nice sandy color so it really serves as a smooth neutral transition between the other spectacular colors we've selected for the rest of the house.

As much as I wanted to lounge with Rooney all day on the couch while watching Christmas movies and the Ravens game, I knew I had to get back to work on our pretty little nest.  So I put on my paint clothes (which I did not miss, as they're ugly and not flattering) and scrounged up some paint brushes and rollers.  Once I got a whiff of paint and started covering up that icky 50s green, the thrill of renovations began to hit me again.  I was immediately excited with how beautiful the closet started to look.  There was no turning back now.

Once I painted the closet, I moved on to the upstairs hallway.  I didn't want to waste paint or rollers, so I figured since we were going to paint the hallway the same color, I might as well get crackin' while the brush was wet and the roller was saturated.
The upstairs hallway literally consists of this patch-ridden wall.
While the closet and hallway were drying, I worked on cleaning the door hardware for the closet and basement doors.  As weird as it sounds, I was more excited about cleaning the hardware than painting the closet. You see, the door hardware consists of the original 1950s crystal doorknobs, as well as a cute little brass dead bolt (which is the tiniest and most adorable little dead bolt I've ever laid eyes on).  I'm a HUGE supporter of keeping original features in houses when possible.  Have you ever been captivated by old-timey features while exploring an old house or building?  You get to enjoy those awesome features because someone took the time and care to preserve them instead of replacing them with modern upgrades.  I like to think of myself as one of those preservationists...restoring and preserving history one crystal doorknob at a time.  Clearly, this is something i romanticize over all the time.  I know, history D-O-R-K.
That's history right there.
Beautiful, beautiful gunky history.
As expected, the door knobs had a good sixty years of gunk on them.  While I was painting the hallway and closet, I had the hardware soaking in a mixture of vinegar and warm water to help loosen some of the grime.  I used a scrubber pad and a little bit of dish soap to scrub the hardware clean, rinsed them thoroughly, then set them aside to dry. 
Taking a little soak.
While the hardware was drying off, I applied a second coat of paint to the closet and hallway.  Feeling spectacularly awesome, I decided to take a well deserved break and watch the Ravens win (YEAH BABY).  The win definitely helped encouraged my productivity and positivity, so it was time to paint the closet and basement doors.  FINALLY -- these dang doors have been knob-less and coated in primer for months.  I couldn't wait to do our hard work in the living room and downstairs hallway justice by finally finishing those doors.
Here's a pic from a few months back -- notice the primed, knob-less basement door (right).
Another oldie, but check out that dark & creepy closet on the stair landing (left).
The basement and downstairs closet doors are original doors that we decided to keep (for now at least).  We replaced the doors to the bathroom, our room, and the downstairs guest room (and have yet to paint them) partly for aesthetic reasons, but mostly because we wanted locking door knobs for the comfort of sweet privacy.  But one plus of keeping the old doors: keeping the crystal door knobs.  The crystal door knobs won't fit on modern doors very well since the equipment that's now used for measuring and drilling door holes does not accommodate for their small size.  I'm sure it's possible to fit the old knobs on a new door, but probably not without lots of meticulous measurements and subsequent frustration.  They also don't lock.  But due to my obsessive history preservationist nature, we plan on re-purposing the crystal knobs we removed -- more on that later.

The original doors were gross, shellacked wood with lots of wear and tear, so we figured the paint would at least spruce them up for the time being.  For the doors I used Behr Ultra Pure White in Satin finish. As I've explained before, I really only like Semi-Gloss on trim; I think it looks tacky otherwise.  I also find that the Satin finish is still super easy to wipe clean, which is important since doors can become dirty with regular traffic over time.  Since I find the cleanability and luster of a satin-finish door to be quite an appealing combo, satin is definitely my door finish of choice. 

While the first coat of door paint was drying, I taped off the crystal doorknobs and took all of the door hardware down to the basement to be painted.  If you know me, you know I'm an oil-rubbed bronze nut and prefer all of my door hardware to be such.  Back when I painted the hardware for the front door, I had to match an oil-rubbed bronze-esque spray paint to our new oil rubbed bronze doorknobs.  I actually found that regular Valspar spray paint in a deep chocolate brown was a much better match than the more expensive and "official" oil rubbed bronze spray paints by Rustoleum.  Since then, I've been using my dark brown Valspar spray paint on just about anything I want to be oil-rubbed bronze, including the door hardware that I painted on Sunday

After a second coat of door paint, it was time to call it a night!  I was pretty exhausted and wanted to give the door hardware plenty of time to dry completely.  The next day I found a couple spots I missed on the hardware, so I hit it again with the spray paint and decided to let it dry another day.  Finally after a couple days of drying and touch-ups, the hardware was ready to be reinstalled back on the doors!  After some fiddling (they're old and kind of awkward to fit properly), Chris had the knobs back on the doors and working just like they have for the past 60 years (minus the 4 or so months we had them removed).


I think the closet, hallway, and doors all look stunning.  Finally got some much needed projects COMPLETE.  What's next?  Oh yeah...kitchen.
Sooooo much more attractive now.

The basement door and it's cute lil dead bolt.

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