All this fuss over dust

So it’s been almost a week since we started our big main living area painting project…I’ve been too busy/sore to post anything about it. Besides, we’re still in the “it has to get worse before it gets better” phase. We started by emptying everything out of our kitchen and living room. Most of our stuff is crammed into our guest room except a few larger pieces that are out in the garage. Here it is all forlorn and empty…

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Sadly, it looks almost the same as when we moved in: blah and yellow. So, so yellow! I think the only difference are the ugly curtains on the window in the living room. The tan ones migrated here from the kitchen because the previous curtains were even worse!

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After clearing everything out, we took off all the trim which revealed some pretty atrocious colors! Of course, we already knew about these colors (bits of them were on the popcorn ceilings, kitchen cabinets, trim, and peeking out under peeling paint), but seeing so much of them kind of gave me a headache.

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Can you imagine the entire living room in this bright orange?

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Le yikes, am I right? Andrew took trim off and I labeled it as we went. I always get the easy jobs. 🙂 I designated which room and then numbered them (living room and hall are numbered together and kitchen is numbered separately). I also specified where each door frame went on its 3 pieces: laundry closet, front door, guest bath, etc.

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Saturday morning we covered everything with plastic. We decided it was more economical to buy a roll of plastic from Lowe’s instead of buying several drop cloths. It was around $35, and it’s 8′ wide x 100′ long. We covered the opening between the living room and kitchen so that as we were scraping and sanding the living room we could still cook in the kitchen.

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We had to take the cover for our attic fan down so we could scrape around it, but without it cold air comes in (it’s a sealed vent when it’s closed) and it freaks me out just a bit looking straight up into my attic, so we covered that hole in plastic, too. We also took down the light in the hall. It’s one we’ve actually replaced and like, so we don’t want to get paint on it or cover it in dust.

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And since the dust gets everywhere and I don’t want to have to clean everything behind those doors after this project is over, we covered all the doors of places we’re not using in plastic. We’re “living” in the office and of course still using our master bedroom, so those stayed uncovered and we just keep taking off our shoes before going in and sweeping constantly!

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Scraping took us all day Saturday and a good chunk of Sunday, but we finally got all the popcorn down!

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And now it’s just all over the floor.

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Sanding took a few days cause we were only working in the evenings and had to take some breaks cause our necks, backs, and arms were soooo sore!!. We also spent more time sanding this go round because in some of the rooms we’ve already done you can see faint ridges left by the mud lines. You can read more about our scraping and prepping process here.

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This time we sanded enough that you can’t feel a ridge between the mud and bare drywall with your finger. I kind of have an aversion to anything dusty (even paper cause it makes my fingers feel dry), so this part sucks for me! The mud sands off pretty easily with just a sanding block, but it’s a big room so it’s still a time-consuming process! And, of course, incredibly dusty!

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After the first round of sanding, Andrew went back over everything filling edges and corners with mud, sanding, and repeating. Meanwhile, I worked on the walls. We swear these people must have had several dart boards positioned randomly around the living room. There is no way someone could put so many nail holes in a wall and in such weird places (really high on the wall and really low)! Actually, we also realized that whoever painted over the orange did no prep work at all. They didn’t fill any holes and painted over all kinds of things like nails, anchors, paint drips (or else they dripped a ton!), weird too-big bumps in the wall texture, etc.

Here’s one mess they left us after we ripped out the anchors, screws, and curtain hardware, filled holes and sanded. I guess somebody was indecisive about where to put that curtain rod! And also lazy. Very lazy.

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I used this lightweight spackle from Sherwin Williams that my mom and I used on her kitchen cabinets. It’s not a terrible deal at around $6, it goes a long way and once dried and sanded it’s really smooth.

Now that we’re done (ish) with the scraping, sanding and most of the prep work in the living room, we’re moving our plastic to the kitchen and hopefully we’ll start scraping it today!

We also have plans for a few other cosmetic changes and one (very small) “structural” change as a part of this project, but that’s still a little ways off…must focus and keep scraping!

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