It’s the small things…

That make a seemingly simple project like “painting the living room and kitchen” take forever!! (more after pictures coming soon!) We moved into a house that needs literally every surface worked on during a project. Ceilings need scraped and painted. Trim needs to be taken off, painted, and reinstalled. Even the walls weren’t able to be painted without a lot of help…probably 10 hours or more of help. Not kidding. So it should come as no surprise that there were also lots of other things that needed attention, too.

Take this diffuser, for example. It was gross on so many levels. Also, this is probably the best example of why we HAD to scrape the popcorn instead of just getting over it and living with it. It was nasty!

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But take a look at this after. I love the difference between these two pictures.

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I just can’t get over how much better it is! After going from the horrible popcorn that looks like something straight out of a horror movie to this lovely white ceiling, I couldn’t bear to put those yellowed diffusers back. Obviously they’re not the kind of thing that someone looks at and loves, but before they were an eyesore. Now they’re a neutral. Little by little we’re neutralizing the nastiness.

If we had very many of them, we probably would have tried cleaning and spray painting them instead, but we only had 9 that needed to be replaced, and the new ones have a slightly more modern shape.

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I did opt for spray paint with the doorbell cover, though. It’s a fairly easy shape to spray paint and it’s plastic which cleaned up really well.

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Before it was a lovely yellow, complete with metallic detailing on the raised edges…Again, we had to neutralize the nastiness.

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I used semi-gloss white Krylon spray paint that I already had, applied two coats, and was done within the hour. So now it’s just plain white, and fades into the background along with the carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, and thermostat. Maybe someday I’ll paint it a fun color, but for now I’m happy with white.

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We were also faced with some unique challenges. Like the fact that when they laid tile by the front door, they didn’t put it over hardi backer, so it’s a bit lower than the wood floor. Before, they just installed the trim at an angle…seriously. There was still a gap under it right next to the wood floor, and it was crooked. That was not gonna work for me, so we improvised. We installed the trim level with the wood floor.

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Then we used mud to fill the gap. We’ve used this method of putting mud or mortar in a plastic bag with the end cut off several times, like this time when we had to add more mortar under our already installed bathtub.

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Andrew smoothed it out with his finger, and ta-da! So much better.

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I was planning to go back and paint it the same color as the trim, but you really can’t tell as it is and I’m kinda lazy. So we’ll see if that ever gets done. It’s really only a temporary fix, anyway, until we redo our kitchen. We’re going to install the same tile we use in the kitchen in this area for a more cohesive look, and we’ll install it over hardi backer to try to make it the same level as the wood floor.

Also, that picture above is a great example of how yellowed our trim was. I haven’t painted the back of the front door yet. Here’s another example. The trim along the floor is freshly painted and white, but look at the window sill that we have yet to paint!

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So dingy! Also, we got blinds for that window but they’re really not that exciting. $88 from Lowe’s, I love that I can open them more easily than our stupid ugly curtains, and now all the windows look the same from outside!

This area was probably the worst. It was in rough shape from when we ripped out some of the built-in shelf and wood floors to clean up water. We just never bothered to fix it because we knew that it would have to be redone whenever we painted.

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First step was to repaint the furnace return grill.

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I briefly considered just purchasing a new one as this one is kind of bent, too, but they’re like $40 and up. First I cleaned it with an old dish brush and TSP in the bathtub. Then I spray painted it using a white appliance epoxy spray paint by Rustoleum.

It’s a little more expensive than regular spray paint (like a $1 or 2), but is made for heavier duty applications, is mildew and moisture resistant, and cures to a really hard, shiny finish. If it weren’t for the imperfections on the grate before, you would never know it was spray painted from the finish. I would definitely recommend this for vents or other applications where condensation could occur.

Pay careful attention to recoat times, though. You can recoat within half an hour or after 1 week. I opted for the “within half an hour” option and then left it outside in the garage for a few days to cure before bringing it back inside.

We also had to redo this sill under our furnace door. Andrew sanded it and I repainted it our trim color. That’s typically how it goes. I make him do the not fun stuff and then I do the finishing touches and detailed steps. 🙂

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And then, of course, there’s this corner. Le yikes. But I have an amazing hubby-poo who mudded that sucker into a corner. Literally.

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And now it looks like this!

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We also tried to really hard to get the tops of the door frames in this hallway to look level with one another. That is not an easy task as the walls aren’t square and the ceiling isn’t always level (and the furnace door is actually taller than the others!). Before, the door frames were all kinds of crooked and it was looking a little too much like a haunted fun house, so I’m really happy with the results.

It will be even better once we get all the interior doors painted so they match the trim, and sand and repaint the shelf. And get trim pieces beneath the shelf and the furnace. But hey, we’ve come a long way!

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We have big plans for that shelf, too. We feel like we currently have too many shelfy things, and therefore too many knick-knacky things in our living room. So, to give us a little more storage space and less space that needs to be decorated, we’re going to make cabinet doors to cover the bottom two shelves!! I am SO pumped about this idea. Best idea ever.

But first, we still need to put up trim in the kitchen (I finally did get it painted yesterday!), sand and paint the ledge between our living room and kitchen, sand and paint all the doors, and sand and paint the shelf itself. Blech. So much sanding.

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