Posts Tagged ‘home projects’

Mess striped painted walls

"Messy" stripes from Living Etc.

You guys know I really like painted or wallpaper striped walls. It’s a reoccurring them here on the Tudorks blog. I like stripes. They’re visually striking. I came across this gray and white room on Living Etc. I love the gray and white stripes, this is a nice neutral color combo. This office or studio is a bit masculine they way that it is decorated here, but you could pair this with a robin’s egg blue or pink to make it more feminine.

Yeah, gray and white = nice color combo. But, that isn’t what I really love about this little room. It’s the stripes. Love the messy, freehand stripes. This would be so easy to do. I can tell that the white was added over the battleship gray. Stripes don’t have to be perfect. And if you are a DIYer like us, then you probably won’t get perfect even if you tried. So this is “intentional” messiness. All you need to do is to get your spacing right, don’t worry about a crisp edge. I also like it in this Living Etc. room because it seems to be an office or a studio. We see art supplies and these stripes are creative, resembling an artist’s brush strokes.

So, what do you think? Do you think this would look silly and like a 5-year-old did it, if you saw it in person? Or do you think this adds a cute quirkiness to a room? I think it is a nice take on stripes. I won’t be doing it because stripes in general don’t fit with our home.

Today I’m fine cleaning the bathroom. My nostril hairs are singed from bleach. I’m hoping to finish this bathroom someday! And then we have a powder room to complete…I’ve also had a stupid day filled with spiders and smashing my thumb in a 1930’s solid wood door, the same door that broke my toes this time last  year.



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Frink the frug

No, we’re not Frink. I don’t think we’ll be ever be done. Frink, you may never know a home without projects. You’re a renovation pup. There was a time you enjoyed rolling in torn up carpet foam and tracking through wet paint. Even those exotic textures and smells  bore you now? Sorry, Frink, how do you think I feel?

Tudorks 1 year update: Well, we aren’t divorced yet. That’s good. Everyone says that when you take on a project this huge that a divorce is certain. No, I completely disagree. If anything, it has made our marriage stronger. We have accomplished so much, still working on 1 year before and after pics. We’ve defuzzed, defurred, decarpeted, defunked 2500 square feet of living space. We’ve painted every single room. We’ve waxed every single floor. We’ve put down a new kitchen floor. We’ve electrical and plumbing down. And much, much more. I’ve blanked out half of the nasty projects from my memory. So, what’s left? Here’s the short list as to not bore you, Frink.

  1. Finish upstairs bathroom. Please don’t laugh at us. Wasn’t this supposed to be done months ago? Need to touch up paint, clean up floor, maybe get tub glazed. This should be finished in a weekend.
  2. Finish downstairs powder room. Put up ceiling tiles, rip up old floor and put down new. Maybe get “new” fixtures, meaning something more authentic to the era of the home. Oh, and get them working. A month of weekends?
  3. Random paint touch-ups. We painted every room and then messed it all up in the renovating process. A room could be done nightly.
  4. Repair front porch. Concrete is cracking, chipping. It’s a big mess and we are so intimidated by concrete projects. Pay somebody.
  5. Finish cleaning door hardware and hang up remaining doors. Maybe a weekend?
  6. Fireplace mantel. I will be so happy when that is done. I’m so picky that this may never get finished.
  7. Oh, and all the new things that have to be done: replace windows, roof, make us completely and totally broke. Ughh, do I have to think about this? Welcome to the wonderful world of home ownership. Frink, can’t you get a job posing on a greeting card or something so we can replace a few windows or something? All you do is lay around, complaining, staying in your kennel all day.

So, yeah, these are the main things left. It’s doable considering how much we got done in 1 year on our own, but frankly I’m sick of renovating. I know this feeling is very normal when talking to other people and visiting home forums.  All of you home builders, home restorers, home renovators- how long did your project take? Are you finished? Am I sweating the small stuff? I expect repairs throughout ownership, but how long did it take you finish your “must do now” list? How did you live through it? 🙂


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I found this DIY project on Sunset’s website. It seems easy enough. It just takes paint, a design, and time. And I’m sure patience. I’ve painted on canvas with acrylics many, many times so I’m sure this would be a piece of cake and I have all of the supplies. I’m just wondering if anyone has done this. How durable could this possibly be? How would one clean canvas covered in paint used as a rug?

I found online that there is a Fredrix Floorcloth. It’s pretty much a pre-primed canvas pre-cut in popular rug shapes/sizes. I’m unsure of the retail price because the Fredrix website isn’t helpful for that. I did find 6 yards for about $120 online. If I remember correctly, I thought one could get about 6 yards of “regular” pre-primed canvas for about $50. It has been sometime since I’ve stretched my own canvas. I think the Fredrix stuff is thicker and made for being stomped on. I would love to do a simple zebra print rug or even a nice gothic silhouette. I’m sure this a floor canvas isn’t very durable, many of the rugs in my budget aren’t. I don’t really see a rug as an “investment”. I see it as something to keep my feet warm, something to protect my aging hardwood floors, and something for Frink to try to tinkle on when my back is turned. I would like to give this a try when I have less renovating to do and more information on floor canvas care.

*I’ve been thinking of purchasing a round floor canvas to put in the dining nook. Remember our groovy wallpaper from the kitchen of all of the mod faces? I’m thinking of putting that print on the rug. It’s a nice reminder of how far we’ve come along.


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Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and ask someone about where to find floor waxing supplies, or worse yet, for advice, I dare you.  Waxing floors is “old-people” knowledge.  To figure out how to do it, ask somebody old how their mother did her wood floors.  It was lost as a common practice decades ago, supplanted by cheap polyurethanes and the desire for a tough, resilient finish.

Restoration of houses is so often plagued by lack of knowledge of historical methods.  Rather than do the real thing, lot’s of renovators would rather use a contemporary method and try to fake the antique look.  Plaster work is another fine example of this.  You’ll never match the real thing.  Ask a remodeling contractor how to do plaster repairs, and the answer is: “tear out the wall and dry wall it, then spray it with texture.”  Which, by the way, typically looks nasty compared to actual lathe and plaster with texture.  As if the builders had a job-site compressor with a hopper full of goop in 1935.  I still haven’t been able to figure out how they actually did it, but I’m guessing they sponged it and did the entire house by hand.  Labor was cheap in the 1930s, and materials were expensive.

When we bought our house, we pulled up the nasty light blue shag carpet to find mostly perfect old growth white oak floors.  According to contractors, hardware stores, neighbors, and the internet, the only option was to sand it all the way down to get all the wax out, and then apply a polyurethane or aluminum oxide coating.  Then the  bids on that came in at nearly $6,000!

But we didn’t even want “perfect floors,” we wanted “antique” floors.  Floors that showed the age of the house, and that had the same beautiful warm glow that these originals had.  I spent hours trying to figure out how to do this myself.  I could rent a sander and try to get the floors refinished myself- not that much of a stretch for me, because I’ve done a little bit of furniture finishing.  I estimated the cost of that process at over $1000- if I ignored all the time and energy that would be spent on cleaning up the unbelievable mess created by sanding 1500+ sq. ft. of wood down an 1/8 of an inch.  I’m not one of those people who thinks that I’m Donald Trump and that I can’t be hassled with doing work or spending time- but getting that much sawdust out of all these textured walls and trim would be an absolute nightmare.

So I took a risk and I pursued waxing the floors.

It's a finesse game, so I never got it.

It’s kind of inherent in my personality to distrust most of what people tell me not to do- especially when they don’t appear to have a good reason.  I’m happy to say that we almost have our entire house done with wax now, and I anticipate cost will easily be under $200.

Here’s what I learned:

1.  Wax: to wax a wood floor, you need a paste wax.  SC Johnson makes a good one for about $5 a can, and a can will do about 400 sq. ft.

2.  Restoration and Cleanup: I used Howard’s Restore-a-Finish and Howard’s Feed and Wax. They’re the highest cost items I bought, but a little goes a long, long way.  Both of these products were absolutely magic on the “golden oak” color of our floors.  Rub your stains and paint splatters out with steel wool and soapy water.  Let it dry.  If the stain lightened the wood, apply the restore a finish- in small amounts.  If it didn’t, then apply the feed and wax.  Always rub with the grain of the wood, and try to stick to one board at a time.  If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of the steel wool catching on a splinter and fraying.  Not a huge risk to the floor, but when you’ve got a lot of floor to do, don’t waste your time trying to pick #0000 steel wool out of splinters.

3. Applying Product to the floor: Apply Feed and Wax to the entire floor with a wide lambskin “stain applicator” on a long pole.  Use the pole to quickly smooth out any uneven application of wax.  Do this enough, and you might achieve a nice shine- but it’s not really important at this state.  Leave the floor alone as much as you can for a few days.  Then, using a rag, apply the SC Johnson Paste Wax with the grain and let it sit for a while.

4. Buffing:  we paid about $30 for 24 hrs. of renting a commercial buffer and buying the wheel.  This thing is like wrangling a roid raging rodeo bull.  Start the buffer in the middle of the room the first time- because it will pretty much tear your arms off.  Go slow, and cover every area you can with it.  Use the lambskin application on the corners.

In general, you should remember that the house you’re renovation may have really “thirsty” floors because it’s been poorly (or in our case: not) maintained.  So don’t rush into just paste wax and buff.  Clean the floor thoroughly and apply a feed and wax and wait. Give it two weeks if you have to.  You’ll probably find that your feed and wax sinks right in and looks like it was never applied.  Apply it again, and repeat a couple times before you apply wax and buffing.  Our first round with the buffer was disappointing because all the wax soaked in after we buffed it.  It looked awesome for a month.

The end result of all this is a finish that I absolutely love- and one that you can repair, not just replace.  Any time the floor gets damaged, I apply steel wool and feed and wax.  Once or twice a year, we’ll have to reapply wax and rent the buffer again.  That’s a lot of work.  But at 10% the cost of the alternatives, and when it looks this good, it’s hard to want a poly finish now.

Just look at how “worn” these floors feel.  It feels like every single board is a slightly different shade of gold.  I didn’t buy an old house to try and make a new house out of it- and if that’s your goal, you’ll find yourself frustrated at every turn in a home renovation.

This project was just another confirmation of our philosphy for the renovation: work with the house, not against it.


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woodfloorsOK, so we have to move into our “mess sweet mess” next week. We’ve been working really hard to make it “acceptable”, but what really matters is that the plumbers and electricians can finish so that the place will be “working” and “usable”. Initially our plan was to rid the home of its ugliness. This means removing wallpaper, prime, paint, remove carpet, tile a few floors, and refinish the floors. Last Friday we came to our senses. This was going to be too much work. We realized that we only had a week of prep time and refinishing the floors would take all of our time. Plus, the “team” hasn’t finished and rumor has it they want to cut up some floors, walls, umm, destroy. After feeling overwhelmed and researching wood floor refinishing online and at every home improvement store in the area (no help at all), we talked to a few neighbors. Many have the same “batch” of floor as we have. A few have refinished and this was time consuming and expensive. Others have done nothing and just live with it, rugs do so much. And another waxes their floors for that hand-rubbed shine. We realized that we can live in a floor that is less than perfect for the time being. We have to prioritize expenses and our time. David sanded down a closet and put a poly coat over it. This looks awful! I really dislike the look of poly and the sanding took the lovely patina out of the floor. We were not going to do this throughout the house.  I bought a can of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax because I always liked the sheen it left on my parent’s Shaker furniture reproductions. I practiced in a closet and it looks “revived”, yet still very rustic. (Hey, I’m working with what I have here). So, our plan is to do this before we move in: wax the floors. We plan on renting a buffer and going to town with this task. We have almost finished all of our painting upstairs and half of downstairs! The place already looks soo different. (I’m working on creating an album). I think clean floors will make a difference, haha. The floors aren’t in the best condition. There are scratches, looks like somebody has been shooting off fireworks in one room, and horrible kitty stains (the worst!). But, we are looking at empty rooms and to be honest most of our furniture will cover this up, rugs, etc. And really, as you can see from the pic, the floors aren’t horrible. I think sometimes we strive for too much perfection. We’ve decided to live with it and eventually have a pro do it in the future. Refinishing floors that are over 70 years old and have had zero maintenance is too much for us right now. We are stressed and have decided to not take on such a big job on top of our other big jobs, well, at least for now. I better go and finish painting over black trim…


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Robert Smith in a library looking living room.

I have decided to do the living room a little bit “stuffy” and the rest like a library. I still need for this to be a functional room. The built-ins will hold all of our books, surprisingly we have shed ourselves of many during this move. On the back wall I hope to put our 2 large Ikea Expedit bookshelves on the back wall to house records. This will be our “library”. Our place to relax in front of the fireplace, listening to exotica records and reading Pacific Northwest mushroom guides. I want it to be a cozy/functional but still very formal and put together space. I have found 2 sage green rooms that seem to pull this off. The first room is mainly a picture of Robert Smith. You could put anything in this room and it would look good (even Robert Smith) with all of that woodwork and trim. I do like the green color and it works nicely with the warm wood floors. I suck at arranging furniture in a room. This is my weakness mainly because I haven’t lived in a place long enough to acquire all the furniture needed for a room. The needs have been so different for each space we’ve rented. I kind of like the chair in front of the books like this. You just reach over and grab one and look through it. It is a cozy reading nook.

What is there not to love about this formal green living room/library. I’ve learned many valuable lessons on my path to first time home ownership. Many things have been stupid mistakes like “this mortgage broker is a d-bag and can’t do his job” or “maybe you shouldn’t purchase a home that is packed to the brim with some guy’s crap”. I have also learned much about design as a sort through pages and pages of decorating blogs. I have learned that rooms with 15 foot ceilings look awesome no matter what. greenlibrarySuch as this room. If could have anything in it and look awesome with all of those amazing structural details. I just really like this room. This green looks very nice with the dark accents and high contrast zebra rug. It’s a formal room but it is still really, really functional. There is a computer in there, a desk. They even have clutter out with a coffee mug and it still looks polished and elegant. It’s just a matter of having everything where you need it. Oh, and having a totally awesome house with tall ceilings and awesome trim. The house we are getting has simple, wide trim. It’s typically of the 30’s and I’m excited about it even if it isn’t as embellished as these rooms. I can make it that way. Millwork is not dead. You just don’t see it too much in modern hastily made cookie cutter homes. I know the addition of millwork isn’t a priority with a rehab home but I hope that one day we’ll at least finish one room with fancy trim like this.


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Martha Stewart's all pink cottage.

As you can tell if you look at the First Impressions entry, this home has not had a woman’s touch in well, at least 40 years for sure. No lady would put up with the custom van look for their home. Since I am married, I’ve always tried to keep the  decor gender neutral to respect David’s presence in the home. This hasn’t been difficult since David always has an opinion and is actively involved with this kind of stuff. I think I may be rebelling against the disorganized masculine mess that we will be calling home, I’m going pink. Yep, pink. Yep, we don’t have a little girl with a princess complex and we aren’t planning a nursery. I want pink. I’ve been “attracted” to these pretty pink rooms for sometime, keeping them in little inspiration folders, but never thinking I would do it. I’m getting a teeny tiny room to turn into my “boudoir”, my little nook of all things that I enjoy smelling, touching, and looking at. This will be the new home for the fragrance collection, Gig prints, and soft lush fabrics. This room will be pink. It took me a long time to determine the color, haha, actually it was a choice that would otherwise be too painful due to my indecisive nature, I let the mistint gods make the decision for me. It matched my ballet pink top at the moment and it made sense. It is a color that goes very nicely with my complexion. This is my “big” girl’s room and I might as well go over the top XX with it. David has no complaints since this “room” is what many would consider a walk-in closet, tiny and out of the way. (Oh, the door is getting painted raspberry, courtesy of the mistint gods).

I suggested that if we had any paint leftover then we should paint the downstairs powder room the same color, pretty pale pink. (It matches the kitchen counter, which I will be keeping, too darn cute and retro).  And to my surprise David agrees. I would of never have guessed this in a million years, I was prepared for a moan. David isn’t Mr. Macho, but he is a guy. I think he agrees because A. it is cheap and every penny saved is a Sputnik lamp earned and B. I think he sees what happens to a house when there is no presence of a lady (yep, I’m going to excluding Miss Larger-than-Life mural babe, even though she is a female presence in the house, she doesn’t count). We already decided this is where the signed H.G. Lewis poster will go. Exploitation media should make any home less feminine…

The room above is the living room from Martha Stewart’s pretty much monochrome pink cottage, this resembles my mistint the most. And from what I understand, this mistint may be because of Martha, she is mum about the color used in her cottage. It’s top secret, her Bush’s baked beans family secret. I think she can’t make a buck from it so she doesn’t care.


Southern room.

The second room is from a southern home magazine (Southern Accents?). This pink is much bolder than what I plan on using but I love it. Maybe some day. I would pair my with much more stuffy and formal and “traditional” furniture with eye scalding shades of acid with black or espresso accents. Seriously, the more I look at this pic, the more I want to do the living room this color. I have found a million other pink room on the world wide web. I do love them, especially when they are mixed with lots of nice antiques and all the lovely vintage things I collect. I have a good feeling about the pink rooms that we will have. I really do and if we hate them then there is a nice mistint somewhere waiting to go on top of it.


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