Wall is fixed! (plus lots o’ handy painting tips)

I’m a worrier… I really am.   But mostly about the unknown.   The Unknown.  AKA: the most pointless thing to worry about.   All my life I’ve tried to instill the ole “Don’t stress until there’s a reason to stress” thing, and it works in some instances.  Honestly, there’s no rhyme or reason to it… Big things, I have no problem with.   Minor things… Stress city.  And for whatever reason, when it comes to our home and possible expenses, I fail EVERY TIME in my efforts to not think about it.   If I’m aware of a problem but don’t know the extent of it, my imagination runs wild and I inevitably envision the most dire scenario.   I DREAM about it.   Drive my saint of a husband mad about it.   But the funny thing is that once I know the issue, even if it’s really bad, it’s like flipping a switch and I’m totally fine.   It’s like once I know, I’m golden.   Once a plan is in place I’m alright.  I. Just. Have. To. Know.

And that’s how our wood rot issue was for me.  Remember when I discussed that our exterior back wall was rotting here in this post?  Well, once we discovered it, I was literally dreaming about the wall crashing down.  Dramatic?  Yes.  Unfounded? Quite.  But I couldn’t help it.  We immediately started calling contractors to see about getting estimates.  We called four who were recommended by friends.  Unfortunately, with all of the recent rain everybody had a lot going on…

One never called back.

One said he would come take a look but never did.

One told us that the rot was BAD and it was way beyond his skill set, thus, he wouldn’t fix it.

One told us the complete opposite… That it was minor rot and he wouldn’t go through the effort of fixing it (even though he never took a close look at the extent of it).  We suspect that he was just really busy and didn’t want to do the job.

After that guy, we removed more trim and discovered that the main supports of the wall were resting on that rotted plate board.  So, yes.  It needed to be fixed.  And we were really frustrated that nobody seemed to wanna help us.  At this point it had been about 3 weeks of trying to get somebody out to assess the problem to no avail.

Then, one morning, my dad’s friend called me and said that he knew a framer who was really good.   We called him and within an hour he was at our house to give us an estimate.    On a SATURDAY.  Not only was his estimate lower than expected, he didn’t seem concerned about our picture window (ie: my main worry and the whole reason we weren’t DIYing this to begin with).   In fact, he doubted he’d have to remove it to fix the issue.   He told us that he’d come with his crew the following week to remove our siding to give us a more exact quote and to fully assess the damage.  Then, he could either fix it right then and there or if it was too expensive, he’d just reattach the siding and leave.

We were in.

A week later, he and his crew arrived.   They removed the bottom of the siding and discovered that the damage was only the bottom plate board and the very bottom of two studs…

He finalized the quote at that point and it ended up being $500 LESS than the original quote. So basically, equivalent to our deductible had we chosen to go through insurance (which we didn’t).  And it included fixing the wall with treated wood and installing Hardee siding and trim on all siding areas along the back of our house.  Plus, he ensured us that it would look exactly the same to maintain the character of the house.    Obviously, we gave the okay.

Once they got going, things got a little nerve-wracking when we discovered that our window was actually not a legit window.  It was a huge piece of dual paned tempered glass that had been framed in.   And once they removed the trim we saw that hardly anything was holding it In place.   Our framer suspected that it was a DIY job based on what he saw.

He braced it in with a few pieces of scrap lumber and set about fixing the wall in sections.  I didn’t take a ton of pics during the process, because, well… I felt weird taking pictures of random men working.   I did manage get one, though, to give you a bit of a before/after gist of the inner workings of our wall…

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Check out that gorgeous, firm plate board.  Oh, yeeeeah.  Once they were done, it looked like this…


 Pretty much the same, right?? Just with way better materials that won’t soak up moisture.

The entire job took them about 7 hours from start to finish.   They were punctual, courteous, and hard-working.   All-in-all, we’re pretty satisfied.

So, once the hard labor was complete, it was up to me to finish sealing and painting.   I began by caulking every single seam and nail hole.   I knew I’d be priming since there were many color undertones in the materials on the wall and I didn’t want them peeking through my paint, so I just used whatever colored caulking I had on hand.   I just made sure of two very important things…

1. That my caulk had silicone in it to keep the caulk from shrinking and cracking.

2. That it was paintable.

Once the wall was caulked, it looked like this…

It’s amazing how something as simple as caulk goes such a long way to making a project looked finished.  I was sure to use clear caulking around the window to make it less obvious and this was the only area that I used this foolproof caulking method to ensure clean, crisp lines.   It works every time.

The next day, I set about priming.   And I’m not gonna lie… The process was a beating.   Now, I need you to understand that this is a GIANT statement coming from a paint-loving gal like myself (who regularly offers to paint my friends houses FOR FUN).  Ya see, I decided to prime immediately after I’d returned from a long jog.  And it was hot out.   And I’ll tell ya, fatigue and dehydration do not make good decisions.  And my decision in question:  material choice.   I know this.  I totally know this, yet in my mission to collect materials from my stash, I simply chose the first roller cover I saw rather than evaluating the best option.  And once I started priming, I immediately realized that I needed a much fluffier roller to get into all the seams and crannies.  This was taken after I’d primed to the best of my ability with significant pressure on the roller…

But then, my nemesis Fatigue and his weazily little toadie, Laziness, reared their ugly heads and said “Meh.  This roller’s already dirty anyways and how much extra time will it really take to just deal with it as is??”.   So, rather than switch rollers, I pressed on.  I ended up having to brush along every single seam and then roll in between numerous times with decent pressure to get thorough coverage.  How long did it take, you ask? Well…

It took me TWO HOURS to get this far…


And I’m a fast painter.  Seriously, ya’ll.  It’s ALL in the materials you choose.  So, channel Indiana Jones and choose wisely.

Speaking of materials, one item that I strongly recommend you splurge on is your paintbrush.  I edge freehand using a 2 1/2″ angled brush by Wooster.  It’s my absolute favorite and totally worth the $14 (Not sponsored, just spreading the love).   I love how it holds the paint and leaves a crisp line…

This brush is also the best for edging the textured walls that are so prevalent here in the south.  I wrote a post with 11 tips for painting textured walls a while back, so check that out for more tips about that.  Anyways, I’ve found that edging well is all about…

1. Using a good brush,  and…

2.  Knowing how to load your brush.  This is something that you get the hang of with experience, but basically you want to load your brush with  enough paint to prevent individual bristles from separating (which leaves a “brushstrokey” edge), but not so much that it drips.   Keep in mind the plane that you’re working on and how gravity is pulling the paint.  I always load the brush more heavily when edging ceiling lines because it allows a crisper line up top and you don’t have to worry about drips marring your line as gravity takes over.  For baseboard lines, it’s the opposite.   I load it less because that’s where drips can affect your finished product.   And for horizontal lines like in the picture above, its somewhere in between.

Another tip that I love and bears repeating is this little gem that I picked up on Pinterest.

Line your tray with a plastic shopping bag to save on clean up.  I wrap the handles around the legs of the tray to keep it from slipping…

It works like a charm every time.

Anyways, back to priming.  I used Kilz Premium primer, mainly because I already had it on hand.   It’s mildew resistant and stain-blocking as well, so it was a good choice for this project.   Once I was done priming, the wall looked like this…

Priming not only evened out the playing field as far as undertones went, it also made areas that I’d missed when caulking obvious.   Like, this seam….

And nail holes….

So, I went back with white caulk and filled all those in.

The following day, I set about painting.   Luckily, our painter had left us a bunch of paint from when we had the exterior of the house painted.  It was Sherwin Williams Resilience in Loggia mixed at 25%.   Having learned my lesson with the roller cover the day before, I chose the puffiest roller I had which was meant for rough surfaces.  I rolled on a small section…

Perfect coverage with minimal effort.

This is when I beat my head against a metaphorical wall for an hour.  All the time I could’ve saved the day prior.  All the upper body strength sacrificed.   All because I opted to press on rather than take two minutes to change my roller cover.  Oy.  Lesson learned.

The same (if not more) amount of painting that I showed you in the priming picture..

…which had taken me two hours the day before, took me only 40 minutes this time around.  Seriously, I timed it.  The fluffier roller saved me from having to brush all the seams and repeatedly roll over the same area to get decent coverage like I had to with the smoother roller.    I know that the primer may have also helped time-wise, since it likely helped with the coverage of the paint, but still.   I ended up doing two coats of paint in pretty much the same amount of time it had taken me to prime one coat thanks to a change in materials.

So, anyways, when all was said and done, it looked like this…
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Crisp and clean and so wonderfully water resistant.  It’s like a breath of fresh air.   And now we can start focusing on fun things (hopefully… fingers crossed), like our breakfast nook chairs or starting our kitchen reno.   Woo hoo!  J

TDC Before and After

Alphabetically speaking…

Howdy, all!!    It’s been a while since I’ve posted about our front room.  Last we left off, it looked like this…


Now, don’t get me wrong, the room looked fine… But, it’s located right off of our foyer.   And as our foyer makeover commenced and the space became increasingly lighter and brighter (the most recent pic is in this post), the front room seemed so much darker and more drab in comparison.   Honestly, I blamed Art.   He’s the artwork above our Friheten sofa (…whose name, coincidentally, is Fri… I know. My talent for naming things is not to be matched.). Anyhoo, Art felt a little heavy to me. A little dark and traditional for my taste. I picked him up for $40 at Ross about 5 years ago because he was the right scale and colors for the hallway in our last house, but honestly, I was never totally over the moon for him.

After we moved into our current home, and our front room went from single to bi- to tri-functional, I stuck Art over the couch.  The space needed something and I already owned him (ie: he was free), so I figured it was a good “for now” solution.  I’ve always had it in mind, though, that I wanted to change Art in some way.  I’ve tossed around a few ideas over the years, but was never really sold on anything in particular.   Then, one fateful day several weeks ago, I found this picture on Pinterest…


I think these are actually wood letters mounted to the wall, but I loved the typography.  The angular letters that all fit together.  The asymmetrical arrangement of it.  THIS is what I wanted to do with Art.

Now, I’ll just start by saying that a MUCH simpler way of transferring the image would be copy it onto a transparency and use a projector to transfer the print.  I, however, am impatient.  And didn’t feel like taking the time to track that stuff down, so I just freehanded it with my iPad by my side as reference.   I used a ruler and a piece of chalk for the straight lines…

IMG_5962 …and this bowl… IMG_5961

…for the outside of the round letters.   I freehanded the inside of the round letters and any other roundish letter that wasn’t a perfect “O”.  Like the B, P, S, etc.

About halfway through, I realized that I wasn’t going to have room for the “Y” and “Z”, but after a preliminary quick sketch of the rest of the letters, I decided that I liked it that way.  It was almost as if the letters were melting off the page.


When my chalk outline was complete (totally picturing an old-movie crime scene right now), I moved on to painting.  I used some Clark & Kensington paint + primer in ultra white that I had in the garage and followed my chalk lines with a small brush and a tiny ruler that just happened to fit inside my letters perfectly…


…then I used a slightly larger brush to fill between the letters…


I decided to carry the letters off the side of the canvas to further add to the “melting” illusion…


This is after one coat of paint….


At this point, I grabbed a damp paper towel and wiped off all the chalk just to be sure that there weren’t any other areas requiring paint touch-up…


Cleaning off the chalk made such a difference!  The letters looked crisper and more defined than I realized they would.   And thus began the unrequited crush I now have on my new/old friend Art. Once, I collected myself, I CAREFULLY applied a second coat of white paint.  And here’s the final (totally-exciting-to-me) result….





 This next shot is kind of a dark, crummy photo, but I wanted to show you guys the differences in sheen.   The flat white paint really allows the metallic sheen of the letters pop…


Art really brightens up the space now and adds such nice crisp, modern feel.  I love the graphic nature of the painting, plus the mottled colors within each letter now pop and highlight the colorful accents throughout the room. I’ve got some other ideas for brightening the space as well… but *clue*…  I’ll have to see how my mid-century tables turn out before I have a concrete plan.  I worked on the coffee table some this weekend, so hopefully I’ll have an update for ya’ll soon.

But back to Art, this entire project was free for me since I already owned the canvas, paint, chalk, etc. I’m so happy that I decided to devote the time to completing this.  I would say that this project probably took me about 5-6 cumulative hours total. And it was totally worth every second (and every ridonculous knot in my shoulders after the hours spent craning over my sprawling letters). So tell me, do you guys have any random art laying around that you’ve considered altering?

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Linked up at:I Heart Organizing, Home Stories A to Z, DIY Show Off, Home ComingCity of Creative Dreams, Tatertots & Jello, Elizabeth Joan Designs, Lines Across, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Tip Junkie, Upcycled Treasures

The DIY Dreamer
Put A Bird On It
TDC Before and After