Monday, November 27, 2006

Color, and Current Perspective

Wow, much time has passed since my last post. I have been finishing up my painting projects. I had planned to paint the entire interior this summer, but everything takes much longer than I think it will. I had to patch, sand and prime every wall. The previous owner was a smoker, and I wasn't able to get rid of the smell by cleaning. The guy at Booma's paint store said I should use an oil-based primer to lock in the odor. What a mess that makes, both going on the walls and coming off the brush.

I learned that I am attracted to bright, cool colors, so I have to look at the range of colors on the swatches in order to pick a tone that doesn't make my house look freakish. Some people think some of the colors are too bright. It's basically a very personal choice, isn't it? While I love the look of the current trend of neutral walls in the brown family, it's not for me. So . . . my colors are:

Parlor - Rustic Life in Watermelon (Waverley wallpaper)
Office - Antique Lilac (Devoe)
Master Bedroom - Aquatic Mist (American Tradition)
Kitchen - Canton Jade (Behr)
Living Room - Cucumber (Sherwin Williams)
Dining Room - Pale Daffodil (Behr)
Hallway - Neighborly Peach (Sherwin Williams)
Guest Bedroom - Airy (Behr)
Bathroom - a to-be-determined shade of pink

I will post pictures soon.

Picking the green for the living room was a major endeavor. I went through six samples, which were too minty, too yellow, too bright, too dark, too blue and too lime-y. All I wanted was a pale, soft green but it was so hard to get the right shade! Finally a young lady at Sherwin Williams helped me with that and with the peach for the hallway. I haven't painted the bathroom, guest bedroom or hallway yet, but everything else is done.

I finally finished the closet in the living room, which was torture because I could barely fit my body inside it. I also had to paint around some shelves and the shelf brackets, which also slowed me down. The plaster was in fairly bad shape, with holes and separated corners. I wonder if wallpaper was used a lot in the 1800's to hide the condition of the walls. The wallpaper was fairly easy to remove except for the sections that had been painted over.

I hired a wallpaper guy to do the parlor. He did an excellent job. He told me that in one corner my walls were off by two and one-half inches! No wonder I had trouble when I attempted the wallpapering. I figured the wallpaper cost too much to waste a lot, so I hired him. It cost 490 dollars for about eight hours of work, but he worked very hard and was very precise and careful.

Perfectionist that I am, it's been depressing to see small hairline cracks in the walls I've already primed and/or painted.

Next on the schedule is refinishing my floors, which are mostly devoid of any finish. I was told by a refinishing company that I should probably do that before I paint the baseboards.

I will work on the horrendous task of paint removal for cornice moldings, trimwork, doors and windows when I finish painting the remaining rooms.

Next summer I will concentrate once again on the yard, which seems so unwieldly to me at times. It's not large but I only have so much energy to spare on weekends to complete various lawn maintenance tasks. More on that later.

Monday, September 11, 2006


I had a bat in the house last night. I heard you're supposed to open windows and close doors to get it to fly out. Unfortunately, my windows are those long Victorian ones, and with my high ceilings, I think it's harder for them to find their way out. I say "them" because I had another bat last December during the first cold snap. I was hoping that was a freak occurrence, but apparently not. I've been reading on-line and called a few people, so tonight I'll do a bat inspection. Both times the bats were in the kitchen. I've looked in the attic above it and didn't see anything indicating bats. I'm going to look all around the house for stains that would indicate bat entry. I really hope it's not going to be a big, expensive problem to take care of because who wants to spend money on that? I'd much rather spend it on my kitchen or bathroom improvements.

I must say I'm a little disappointed in my cats. Not one of the three even noticed there was a bat flying around. I'm especially surprised about Rudy, the stray tomcat I adopted last fall. He's a good hunter. A couple of weeks ago I noticed some black-looking things on my neighbor's sidewalk and suspected it was a present left by one of their cats. I went over to see (I'm not sure why) and found it was two dead bats. Very disgusting creatures. I know they're beneficial and I don't want to kill them. I just don't want to live with them.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Wildlife, and Bathroom Dilemmas

Wow! I can't believe what I saw Wednesday morning. I was getting ready for work, standing at the sink in the bathroom, when I heard a noise in the backyard garden area. It was a large doe munching on some leaves off some vines! It's so weird seeing something like that; the brain cannot comprehend something so out-of-place. Plus, it's like looking at a statue when a deer gets scared and stands frozen in space. I can't figure out how she got there. The lots in this area are very small and hilly, with many stone walls terraced into the hills. I have a picket fence on one side and terraced steps on the other side, plus I believe my two neighbors to the north have fences around their backyards. The deer must have gone around the fences and up through the back of their yards. I have a 20-foot cliff in the back of my woods so it couldn't have come from the street in back, at least not up to my yard. I'm very close to the center of this village so it was totally cool to see that, and I keep looking to see if she's come back.

I've been waylaid in my efforts to finish painting due to a problem with my bathroom. My bathroom is miniscule and designed poorly, but I don't want to bother with it because eventually I'll have a bathroom built upstairs and use that for showering. Anyway, the soap dish that's built into this hideous vinyl shower enclosure cracked (it looked like it had previously been glued). Being a neophyte I'm not sure how big a problem this is. It seems like a bad idea to get the sheetrock, which looks like what is underneath, wet. I'm afraid this enclosure is glued on and will take the sheetrock with it if I pull it out. So my idea was to tile around the tub. I really don't want a new vinyl enclosure. Ideally I'd get a clawfoot tub, but that's certainly way down on the priority list. I guess the compromise would be that if, in the future, I get a new tub, I can tile down to the floor rather than to where my present tub is. I guess the excitement/frustration about homeownership is that anything can go wrong at any time, and constant adjustments and decisions need to be made.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I bought my house on June 7, 2005 and vowed not to make any changes until I'd been there a year so I could live in it and figure out what was needed to make it comfortable and workable. Unbelievably, a year has passed. I've started painting the interior. The house has 17 windows and gets a lot of light, so it has become apparent that I need to use stronger colors than the pastels I had initially chosen. Since my time is limited I've only gotten my bedroom, office and office closet finished. The parlor has been primed, but my attempt at wallpapering was stymied either by my limited experience or the walls being very out of plumb. The plaster walls are in pretty good shape (except for the closets) and just needed some sanding and spackling. Right now I'm working on removing very old wallpaper (the house was built around 1875) from a portion of the living room which was made into a closet. Then I'll have my first real attempt at a skim coat for the bumpy plaster.