Monday, February 7, 2011
Under the Eaves Redo
I have a one and a half story house - a Cape Cod from the 1950's - you know the house style. Most who pass by have no idea there is a second story and the rooms ARE pretty small. But they are also cozy, quiet and private - up a small, narrow, paneled staircase painted white and gray.
There is an open studio on the west side as you come up the stairs and then up two steps to the right gets you into the small, low-ceiling bedroom with storage built in along the eaves/walls. Up under the eaves, one can hear the squirrels on the roof, the rain and unfortunately feel the summertime heat and winter cold too.
I had to shut off the electric heater breakers because the heaters wouldn't turn off. Now I keep a space heater up there and a fan in the summer (I think I'll get a $100 air conditioner from Sears this summer so my old iMac doesn't get too hot).
I recently found a renter for the east side room - a young gal at my weekend job whom I really like. She is very happy to be moving into the room so she can be near school and work. I will appreciate the added income by renting out an otherwise unused room.
But the room was dark - with dark wide plank pine paneling. Even in summer's light days, one needed a flashlight to see into the drawers or around the room! And I do not like dark rooms so it was a no-brainer for me - the room needed to be transformed into a light, airy haven. But in a room with such temp extremes and paneling with old varnish, it would prove time consuming and labor intensive if I sanded it all.
The studio side was painted before I bought Elinor Cottage and it shows what will happen when done wrong! The paint is peeling and cracking and will need some touch up soon. The other side, if I was spending the time and money to do it would be done right and the secret is: TSP in powder form. Add to water, wear gloves, and wash the surfaces to be painted with a big sponge. Clean as many times as needed, until the water comes out clean. Then rinse with cool, clean water and a sponge. An instant clean surface with a little tooth.
Once dry, apply a coat of KILZ stainblocker primer. It won't be an opaque coverage but it WILL stop stains from the old wood seeping through when you cover the walls with white paint. My signature white is Waverly's "Cottage Linen White". It takes 3 coats. I did half the room 2 years ago when I was still occupying it and it hasn't crackled yet so I know I did it right!
Now I am scrambling to get the rest of the room done - just did the north side of drawers this past weekend. A trip to ROSS scored me 2 sets of twin cotton sheets, Laura Ashley brand for $12.99 each so I had instant, budget-conscious curtains and sheets for the bed.
The rest of the ceiling and the south side of drawers need to be painted next as well as the new ceiling light installed. Its a round, ceiling-hugging white sculpture of leaves and clear crystal flowers. It was under $75 from www.greatchandeliers.com.
The interior of the desk will be lined with my leftover bedroom wallpaper. Each drawer and closed closet space will also be lined in various blue & white wallpapers and then the new Shabby Chic room will be all ready for my new room mate!