Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today we are going to ignore pretty much everything, and talk about my deep and abiding love for paint.

When I moved into my NYC apartment, one of the things that captivated me (besides the absence of roommates hiding the garlic press and soaking every flat surface of the bathroom) was the fact that the previous tenant had painted the foyer. True, it was a gross green color that reminds me of my current and deteriorating carpet, but it was not white and the landlord had left it that way. I later repainted it a dark purple, and I'm really shocked that I got my deposit back. That had to have been a nightmare to paint over.

By contrast, the previous occupant of this house was clearly afraid of paint. Nearly every wall, ceiling, and bit of trim is the same semi-gloss off-white. If you don't know much about paint, let me explain that semi-gloss is for bathrooms. It shows flaws (and these walls have many) and is easy to clean, but painting lore says that not everything is supposed to be the same color or the same gloss.

Oh, sure, there was some wallpaper around, but I quickly took care of that.

Too bad you can't feel the fine flocked texture of that wallpaper!

There was some work to be done in the bathroom as well.

Mighty fine! I will say this...when she decorated, she made sure everything matched. And she really paid attention to the details.

But it had to go. If I had disposable income and another place to live while it happened, that tile would have been erradicated. But I don't, and I only have the one bathroom, so I had to find a color that I liked that didn't look too horrible with what I will be kind and call army green.

Step one: remove wallpaper.

Nasty! That's some old school wallpaper paste. I used a product called "Piranha" and a scraper thing to remove it. Think of the nastiest, most viscous dragon snot you can imagine. Then mix it with peanut butter. It took a 3-day weekend, but the wallpaper was gone and the dragon snot was dissolved and disposed of.

I called a contractor to fix a hole in the bedroom wall (just under the torn-off wallpaper) and figured, well, if I'm going to paint, I may as well tear out the industrial metal medicine cabinet and replace it. There was no way I was going to find one the same shape and there was no way I was going to lift and install it myself. A good DIYer knows her limits.

I went for a slightly steampunk look. And you have to have a light fixture, right? You can't just not have light and electricity in the bathroom

Finally, finally, it was time to paint. A friend of mine said, "I bet the inside of your house looks like a kaleidoscope" and...well, I'd already done this, so it was more like he was clairvoyant than prophetic.

I will admit that there are probably too many cats in this bathroom, but otherwise, it turned out pretty close to what I envisioned in my original mock-up. One of these days I am going to order some of the fabulous pressed-tin or mock-pressed-tin ceiling tiles and slap them over the ceiling, but there's my steampunkish bathroom...complete with steampunkish collages I made over on Polyvore and a totally awesome print from Alternate Histories.

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