The House-bound Project

board detailI live in Columbia, South Carolina.  For the last several days we have had some severe flooding due to Hurricane Joachin.  So I have put myself on house arrest.

On the first day of my exile, I caught up on a lot of shows on the DVR and did some laundry.

Day 2:  Swept, dusted, mopped, vacuumed, cleaned.  Done by noon.

I needed a project or I was going to go stir crazy.

When my oldest son left for college, I re-did his room.  Out of respect for him, I used his college colors as the color scheme, but, other than that, it was all mine.  Or “girly,” as my son called it.

My middle son recently left for his sophomore year of college.  I could really use my very own office, and I have had my eye on his space. Honestly, though, the motivation has not been there.  My son is kind of a packrat, and the thought of trying to tidy up in there was completely overwhelming.

But, when you are housebound and bored, “overwhelming” and “time-consuming” are just what you need.

I pulled everything out of the closet and out from under the bed. Filled trash bags.  Filled Goodwill bags.  Re-located a bunch of things back to the places from whence they came.

This is what I was dealing with AFTER most of the stuff was bagged up and removed!

This is what I was dealing with AFTER most of the stuff was bagged up and removed!

At this point I was tired of this project.  Oh, look!  What’s this?

I found this crappy bulletin board under the bed!! How exciting!!

I found this crappy bulletin board under the bed!! How exciting!!

I found a terrible, damaged, candidate for the trash heap in this bulletin board.  But I was looking for a distraction, so I decided to paint it.

I knew immediately that I wanted to paint an ampersand on it.  Why?  Because I really like ampersands.  I think they look fancy, and they give you a feeling that there is more to come. “&…. what???”    Something always comes after the word “and,” right?

So I painted the frame of the board, then freehanded an ampersand onto the cork with a pencil and painted it.

My version of an ampersand, painted directly onto the cork.

My version of an ampersand, painted directly onto the cork.

But I didn’t like it.  I liked the ampersand, but the board still looked awful.

So I attached burlap to it.  With a staple gun.  I only had 2 staples, so I put them both at the top.  The burlap didn’t lay right, so i starched it and ironed it right to the board, which made it lightly adhere.

see that part that doesn't quite stretch to the bottom? I didn't have quite a big enough piece of burlap, so I ended up covering that blank spot with some grosgrain ribbon and some tacks.

See that part that doesn’t quite stretch to the bottom? I didn’t have a big enough piece of burlap, so I ended up covering that blank spot with some grosgrain ribbon and some tacks.

I could see the underlying ampersand through the burlap, so I traced it and painted it.

The whole project took me about an hour.

Day 3 of exile:  I woke up with a new motivation to tackle this project that I had begun.  All of the stuff that was not being thrown away or re-homed went into rubbermaid containers. Those got stacked under the bed.  Easy.

So now there was no way to avoid the most daunting part of the task……

Ugly desk

The desk from hell.  The world’s ugliest desk.

I wanted to get rid of it, but I couldn’t get it down the stairs by myself (did I forget to mention that my husband is out of the country? Of course he is).

I wanted to buy a new desk, but I am too cheap, and we will probably move soon, and maybe we won’t have room in the next house, and why not just make do with this desk for now?

But it was really ugly.  I texted a picture of it to a panel of my friends, and asked them all what I should do to make it better.  And they all said to throw it away.

But I didn’t.  I pulled out some chalk paint.  I wanted to pay homage to son #2’s school by having some orange in the room.  Orange is tricky, though.  Too bright and it looks garish.  Too dark and it seems pumpkin-y.  I wanted to at least try to pull off something in between.

Step 1:  Painted the whole thing orange.  Except for the back wall of the hutch.  I thought that leaving the natural wood there would make it more interesting, plus I wasn’t sure if I had enough paint.

Wow, thats a lot of orange, there. Too much?

Wow, thats a lot of orange, there. Too much?

I did 2 coats of orange chalk paint for full coverage.

Step 2: I Painted it a cream color. 2 coats of that.  Then I let it dry.

After the first coat of the cream colored paint.

After the first coat of the cream colored paint.

Step 3: Sanded all over the place with a sanding block.  I think you are supposed to use fine grit, but I could only find course grit in the garage.  I’m housebound, remember? You should always make sure to sand all around the edges and parts with raised detail–anywhere that natural wear would occur.  Use a cheesecloth or a pair of old underwear (<me.  No cheesecloth here) to wipe all of the dust away.

Step 4:  Wax.  I am not going to explain how to do that because I am pretty sure I did it wrong.  But it still looked good.  Chalk painting is very forgiving.  Finally, I put the new fixtures on that I bought 6 months ago when I was originally planning on doing this.

Fancy drawer pulls. They were black, but I put some cream and orange on them and wiped it off.

Fancy drawer pulls. They were black, but I put some cream and orange on them and wiped it off.

Step 5:  Time to take a step back and look at it.  This is when I decided that I didn’t like it. The unpainted natural wood part on the back of the hutch looked horrible.  So I had to start the painting process over again.  I forgot to take a picture, so you are just going to have to take my word for it.

First coat of orange on the back board and shelves of the hutch.

First coat of orange on the back board and shelves of the hutch. I know, I was messy.  But I went back over the cream part with another coat.

At this point I was very tired of this project.  I was thinking that maybe I should just leave the back orange after a second coat. No cream colored topcoat. I texted a picture to my friends again, hoping that they would tell me to leave it.  And they did!  Friends are so awesome!

I painted a second coat of orange, sanded, applied wax, and called it a day.  Here is what the  room looks like now:

finished room

I could not get the tarp out from under the desk by myself, so pretend you don’t see that!

What do you think?  I kind of like it.  Better than before, for sure.  We are renting this house, so don’t tell me I need to paint the walls.  I know.

The beauty of this picture, though, is that you can’t tell that the room is only halfway done.  I took the picture from the best vantage point, and cropped out what I didn’t want you to see.  There is still a closet that is going to be turned in to a craft/sewing room.  And a nightstand that has graduated to “printer stand.”

And this….

Next project

Which I have these awesome replacement knobs for, but ALSO which I may or may not ever get to.  Now that we have survived the storm with only minor damage (leaky ceiling in son #3’s room), it may be a while before I am ready to dive in to another painting project. I’ll keep you posted!

desk knob

This isn’t really intended to be a detailed tutorial.  You can find much better chalk paint tutorials on the web.  There are tons out there–in the past 2 days I’ve probably watched 50 of them.  I used Valspar Chalk paint from Lowes.
 

1 Comment on The House-bound Project

  1. Bevin
    October 7, 2015 at 3:07 pm (2 years ago)

    With that T against the orange backdrop of the desk…well, GO VOLS. Looks great. I love the idea of the desk, but would never survive the just dump it and buy a new one impulse. I hope there were other tasks you accomplished as well!

    Reply

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