Sunday, October 25, 2009

An "Easy" Weekend Project...

...explodes in our faces.

Painting the master bathroom. A simple, bite-sized thing I could do on my own in a few weekends. And with my parents in town, I hoped they'd help give me a jump-start on the most unpleasant part - stripping the wallpaper. I've re-decorated plenty of rooms before, including bathrooms. And all of them had wallpaper to start out with. In the case of my first kitchen in England, there was more than one layer! Our bathroom here looked like it only had one layer of wallpaper, and for as big as it is, the actual wall-space that needed to be stripped was only about 60-70%.

So this past Saturday the folks came over. Dad and I bought some glue-eating spray and a scorer, since the paper has a plastic layer you have to cut so the glue-destroyer can get through. Between Dad, Mom, and I, we had the hardware off the walls and the paper scored pretty quickly.

But it wasn't too long after we started getting the paper off that the trouble appeared. Termites. Paper-and-wood-eating bugs living in our walls. Ugh. We peeled off some of the wallpaper and found the paper layer of the sheetrock eaten away, with little trails etched into the plaster and lots of powdery stuff. There are at least three basketball-sized areas of sheetrock with significant damage, and some other small areas, most of it confined to the walls around the toilet and shower area, which adjoins the older half of the house.

Part of our house was built in 1952. It used to be two bedrooms and one bath, with a living room, dining room, kitchen, and a small basement. In the early 70’s whoever owned it added on a large family room, master bedroom and bathroom. And (of all things) a wet bar, with wall-to-wall long shag carpet in burnt orange and black that goes all the way up one wall to the ceiling, with a double band of ‘antiqued’ glass tiles going across at about head height. Oooh baby. :\ They also remodeled the kitchen with dark wood, dark yellow formica counters, and blue indoor-outdoor carpet (yeah, I know). I can’t complain about the quality of the materials, but I could argue about their color choices.

Anyway, we’ve called an exterminator and they’ll come do an inspection tomorrow.

At least we were able to get the wallpaper off. My next job is to remove all the little bits of paper still stuck to the walls and scrub them down so they’re ready to paint. It might be a while til I actually get to paint, but I might as well do what I can. The counter and shower enclosure are covered in one-inch tile in various shades of terracotta orange, and the tub has a wide band of the one-inch tile above it. The floor is six-inch terracotta tiles. So I have those limitations to work with, color-wise.

I brought home some three-color paint chips and I’ve been looking at various combinations for a few weeks, at different times of day in different lights. There’s a chair-rail strip in the toilet area that I can paint in a highlight color. So I figured I’d paint that terracotta to tie in with the tiles. For the walls I’m thinking a light olive green. I want a touch of warmth to it. I think. Anyway, I have a little time to think yet.

Aside from the re-decorating project, Mom “helped” me clean the refrigerator. She did most of it while I worked on dinner. It looks wonderful now. Then she showed Ken how to process the grapes for grapejuice, and can the juice. It worked great and all five jars sealed. So he did it again last night on his own and got four more quart jars done. It tastes good too. It's nice to have helpful, active parents who know how to do these things.

Sunday I worked outside, getting things ready for winter. Cut down old dead stems on some of the perennials, and weeded one of the front beds. Transplanted an aster out of its pot and into that bed, then spread compost. It looks nice now, tidy and cared-for, ready for the bulbs to come up in Spring. I’ll have to do the other bed next weekend. These are the beds I can see out the kitchen window, so I like to have them looking good for the winter.

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