April 24, 2013

Our bar....and how I painted the tiles.

This is the final instalment in the series of posts about our Rumpus Room.  
The other two can be found here and here.

Our home was built around 1990 and although that doesn't seem that long ago to me, it kind of is when it comes to home decor! 
Our apricot bathroom is proof of that ;)

One area that really isn't even that fashionable to have in a home any more is a bar.  I've seen them rip them out on television shows that help people update their homes in the hope of selling them.  

This is our bar area, in a corner of our rumpus room...
The sign is ours and I quite like it :)  I had already taken down the gold coloured pine shelves to paint them when I took this photo.  I'd also removed a very ugly mirror that we wondered why was even in a bar.  We found out why...it was hiding a big patch of mortar. 
Oh dear.
As 'unfashionable' as having a bar in your home apparently is these days, we are quite fond of it, for a few reasons:

- Our rumpus room makes an excellent party room, and as our kitchen and main living area is on a different level in our home, it is very practical having a mini 'kitchen' downstairs (don't let my husband hear me call his bar a kitchen, lol!)  

- Our guest bedroom is adjacent to this area so I like to have a jug and tea/coffee supplies set up here so our guests can help themselves to a hot drink in the morning then hop back into bed if they wish 
(a small bar fridge is on our wish list!)

- this level of our home, with a couple of minor adjustments, would work very well as a short term holiday let, and given that we live in a beach side village in a popular tourist/holiday area, this is an option that we may be keen to explore further in the future.  The bar would become the kitchen with the addition of a fridge (as mentioned, on the wish list!), a microwave and a small hotplate and benchtop stove.

- my husband has some prints, photos and memorabilia that is special to him, and the only place I think they work in our home, is in a bar, as in...'that's going straight to the pool room'...lol, love that movie...probably only Kiwis and Aussies with excellent taste in movies will get this ;)

After we did the planked walls, I turned my attention to the bar, and how I was going to make it 'fit' into the newer lighter room, without spending really any money (which is pretty much the sum total of renovation budget we have left for this room right now).  
Paint was the answer...I always have that on hand!  
I decided the answer was to paint the tiled bar top, which to be honest I was a little worried about but I figured I really couldn't make it any worse...and if it didn't work out, I'd just have to chip off all the old tiles and re-tile it in a better colour than brown (a bigger job, but something I could do, having managed to do some tiling jobs before).  

Here's how I did it:

I started off by cleaning the tiles thoroughly, which meant several hours of scrubbing the grout which had, I think, 20 odd years of parties on it...yuck!  It turns out brown grout is a good colour for hiding muck that I didn't even realise was there till I started scrubbing.  Once I got all the muck off (I used a fine scrubbing brush, hot water and Jif cleanser) I rinsed it well with a clean wet cloth to ensure it was totally clean with nothing left to interfere with the adhesion of the paint.  (This is always really important whether painting tiles or furniture...many residues can interfere with adhesion, even the natural oils on your hands).

Once clean (and dry), I used another clean cloth to wipe the entire surface with methylated spirits to make doubly sure it was clean, then I primed with Zinsser Cover Stain.  I could have also used BIN but Cover Stain is what I had on hand.  (I find the two products fairly interchangeable although for covering tannin bleed I get far better results with Cover Stain than BIN).  Cover stain is quite sticky to work with when brushing it on, so you have to work fast and not go over and over your strokes or you'll end up picking up patches of paint that have already started to cure (yes I learnt this the hard way!)  What I found worked well was quickly brushing over a small section of the grout lines, then using a foam roller to go over the tiles which also blended in any brush lines.

I didn't take any photos of the primed stage, but it would be fair to say it looked shocking and I did wonder what on earth I had got myself into for a short while! I reminded myself that paint jobs often (usually!) look worse before they looked better, and kept going.

I did two coats of primer then once it was dry, sanded very lightly, and wiped down with a clean wet cloth.

For the top coat I used water based enamel in semi gloss (Dulux Antique White USA).  I used the same brush/foam roller technique and it went on really nicely.  I did four coats then left it for several days to harden, then applied three coats of Porters Clearcote (water based sealer).  This last step possibly wasn't necessary since I had used a semi gloss paint but as these tiles are a work surface, I wanted to ensure the finish was as durable as possible.

Here it is now...

(The white door leads to the guest bedroom, it is the first door in the house I've painted...I have lots more to do, but what an improvement it makes).
These are the previously gold coloured pine shelves that I painted.  In hindsight I should have also painted the shelf brackets, but oh well, another job for another day!

Remember the big ugly stripe of mortar I mentioned at the beginning?  I found the perfect way of hiding it, with this print of old number plates in the shape of the Eiffel Tower.
(I've been a fan of old number plates as home decor for about ever...some of my favourite possessions are four rusty old number plates my Dad 'borrowed' off decommissioned buses in South America in 1999...wherever I hang them makes our home feel like home to me).  
I actually saw this print while looking for something else, before I knew I 'needed' it.  I fell in love with it instantly but thought I had nowhere to put it, so even though it was only $10, I left it there.  Then the brainwave hit me in the middle of the night a few nights later (does that happen to you, too? Please tell me I am not the only one!)  I rang the shop (Lincraft) just before closing on a Saturday and asked if they still had it...luckily they did...I didn't actually ask for measurements, I just willed it to fit, and it did ;)
The bar is certainly a busy little corner of the room, but my decorating style is not, and will never be, minimalist ;)  
I'm pleased to say we have most certainly given the durability of the paint work a good testing with plenty of drinks raised and lowered, and it is holding up perfectly.

So, there you go...a cost-effective alternative for making ugly tiles disappear.  
This may not be our forever solution, ideally I'd still love to replace the bar top with something much more modern, but it looks a whole lot better than it did before, and it works for now.  
That's good enough for me :)

April 18, 2013

How to make planked walls

Hello, here I am back as promised with some details on how we did the planked walls in our downstairs living area.  I guess if I was in America, this would be our 'basement', as our main living areas are on the floor above.  We tend to refer to it as our rumpus room which I think is a weird term...however I just googled it and got this definition:

'rumpus room n. US, Canadian, and NZ a room used for noisy activities, such as parties and children's games' (Collins English Dictionary)

Noisy activities and parties sums it up about right.  Rumpus room it is, then!
Right from when we moved in 14 months ago, I had plans to lighten up this room and cover up the awful chipboard walls.

To plank the walls, I first painted the chipboard white.  The reason for this was that I wanted small gaps in between the 'planks' and didn't want to see the dark wall through these little gaps.  It proved to be a wise move, as up close you can see the wall in behind.

To make the planks we bought 6 sheets of 2400 x 1200 x 6mm MDF from Bunnings.  We had them slice it up into 150mm wide planks.  This was our first mistake as we thought this would give us 8 evenly sized planks per sheet...but we forgot to account for the saw blade which makes around 2-3mm of board disappear from each cut.  This meant that our 8th plank was much narrower than the rest, so we had a bit of wastage...at only $20 for each sheet it thankfully wasn't a hugely expensive mistake.
Here are the first few boards up.  We used our air furniture staple gun to put the boards up, after squirting the back of each board with construction adhesive.  We made sure each board was level as we went.  We only needed one join in each row so we staggered these evenly into kind of a zipper pattern down the wall which we thought looked good.

We were left with a smaller gap than 150mm at the bottom of the wall so we just got a narrower board cut.  I used gap filler over the staple holes, and in the gaps between the top board and ceiling, and between the bottom board and skirting.  I sanded the wall all over before priming and painting (we also sanded the edges of each board before putting it on the wall).
We also planked down a small hallway as shown on the right of this photo above.  It wasn't too difficult, just a matter measuring before cutting, and fixing any gappy bits around the door, etc, with gap filler (wonderful stuff that it is!)

I painted it in a favourite white of mine, Resene Karen Walker Milk White. The trim and door is half Milk White (one door down, lots more to go!)

One last tip: next time I do this, I'd paint the edges of each board before putting it on the wall...painting between the little gaps was not much fun!

I am so happy with how this turned out, I think it suits this room really well, and says 'beach house' so much more to me than brown chipboard ever will! 

Do you want to plank a wall in your home? I'd love to hear about it!

April 16, 2013

House updates

Hello, yes it has been a while since I've popped in here.  Just busy with you know, life.  

If you follow along with my Facebook page you'll know I am still alive, and have an idea of what I've been up to ;)  It is so much easier and time-efficient for me to update a facebook status than write a blog post.

Furniture is taking a little bit of a back seat for a while as I focus my time and energy into freshening up our home. We've lived in it for about 14 months now so it is about time we made our mark on it.

Our major transformation has been the downstairs living area, which we took from this
to this...
(Yes I painted the tiles on our bar. I will do a separate post about how I did this soon).

to this...

to this...

The 'before' photos are all from the real estate agent from when we bought the house and show the previous owners' style.  Lucky I saw through it ;)

The ceiling, as you can probably see, is still a work in progress.  After sealing it twice with the best stain blocker, something in the timber is still bleeding through, so we are going to reline it.

The major transformation in this room is the planked wall. It has lightened the area up no end and I absolutely love the cute rustic effect.  

I am writing a separate post on how we did this, it will be up later in the week.

I've also been slowly working on repainting some of the rooms, which were all this very dated 90's yellowy-cream. This is the guest bedroom...
With green carpet, no less!  That carpet came up the day before we moved in...no way was I leaving it there!
Here it is with the previous owners' furniture in it...
And here it is now...

I still have the paint the trim around the wardrobe doors white.  I did find it quite hard to get good photos of this room**, and I'm not sure the paint colour is reading true (it might look a bit purple, which it is definitely not).  The colour is Taubmans Zurich White, a lovely beachy driftwood grey with the slightest hint of taupe in it.  It is just the colour I was imagining and I am so glad I found it.
**(Edit...I've had another go at the photos at a different time of day...they are a little better I think!)
The way I did find it wasn't my usual paint-colour picking method...a couple of weeks ago on Selling Houses Australia they updated a very dark home with lots of brick internal walls by re-lining the walls and painting them in Taubmans Taupe Grey.  I thought the colour looked lovely so off I went to Bunnings to check it out.  While I was looking for the colour chip I also came across the Zurich White and just knew it was what I had been looking for. I bought 6 litres on the spot and since then have splashed it on our guest room, the kids bathroom, and the toilet.
The upstairs hallway is next on my hit list ;)

Here is a close up of the blind.  I got it on clearance at Spotlight for around $40.  The grey pattern is lovely and ties in nicely with the wall colour and the mortar in the brick.

I love the internal brick walls in our home, they may not be the 'in' thing right now but I love the character they add and I have chosen to work with them rather than get rid of them.

On my 'still to do' list for the guest room:
- new lampshade/light fixture
- paint the trim around wardrobe
- new duvet cover (maybe grey stripes?)
- change artwork?

So that's what's been keeping me out of trouble lately.

Back on the furniture subject, I am taking a break from the markets for now, and am selling my smaller furniture items at Paradiso in Hastings River Drive, Port Macquarie.  Still open for commissions if you are wanting something of yours updated :)