decorating · home repairs · house · rennovation · rennovations

Sewing room update

Painting trim (if you wish to do it correctly!) takes quite a long time.  If taking trim from bare wood, I use 2 full coats of primer (I like Zisser Coverstain) and 2 full coats of paint (I like Behr ultra premium in semi-gloss).  I sand between each coat, and fill all nicks and holes with a good filler (not the cheap DAP stuff) between coats of primer, and caulk between coats of paint.  In the past week I’ve done all that, and now the room is ready for real paint this weekend.  It went from this:

Windows before

to this:


the trim in this room was in pretty awful shape – I replaced half of it because whole pieces were missing (the people before us had dogs, and they shredded the trim.)  The windows need to be replaced, but that’s not in the budget right now.  The trim on this floor was originally painted when the house was built, but in the 80s (when everyone wanted natural trim) someone stripped it, and never bothered to finish the wood.  Wood is never the same after paint is stripped anyway, and after 30 years of weather exposure, it was especially bad (not to mention it wasn’t stain grade to start with!)

Anyway, I’m very happy – and now I’m picking paint!  I want a pale blue green, sort of a tiffany blue:

This color is scuba green by Benjamin Moore with just a little more white added.  It looks a little strange on the wall, since the purple reflects on it, but it looks great when painted on a swatch or poster board in the room, so I think it’s good!  I may end up just getting the next lighter shade on the card.

It’s important for me to choose a lighter color because I sew at night a lot.  With dark walls, there isn’t enough light in the room.

Speaking of light, I’m replacing this awful ceiling fan:

Old ceiling fan

I hate this thing.  It only takes one light bulb (max 60 watts) so it isn’t useful, and I think the design on the blades looks like evil sheepdogs.

I ordered this replacement from


I figure, if you can’t have a chandelier in you sewing room, then where can you?  It takes 4 bulbs, which should be an upgrade.  I have ott lights for ironing and cutting anyway.

I’m still considering my project table options.  I like the idea of using the expedit cubes, but I’m thinking building my own might be better – then I can have the size and height that I want!  For now, I will probably bring my foldable table down and use it while I try to decide on my options.

So, I haven’t done any sewing, but I’ve made great progress on my new space – I am so excited!



decorating · home repairs · rennovations

Joy and drama

Our condo is in an old building in a historic district.  I’ve lived in historic buildings my entire life, and I can’t imagine things being any other way.  I love the sense of history and the old neighborhoods.  Our building was built as a private home for an architect in the 1890s, and the two side wings (where we live) were added in 1920.  It’s in remarkably good shape, despite some shady remodeling by some previous owners.  So before I start complaining, let me show you some things that I love about our home.

The windows in the hallway

These and the cute little arched front door are pretty much what sold me on the place.  Well, that and the fireplace and balcony.


But… I mentioned the questionable taste of some of the previous owners, right?  Well, they rennovated the kitchen.  I almost wish they hadn’t, because what they left behind is pretty bad.

You see what’s going on here, right?  White laminate countertop, which is coming apart, combined with off white laminate cabinets (also peeling.) Plus a white sink.  Dear god I hate that white sink.  It never looks clean to me.  Plus the cabinet doors are hung all wonky, as you can see, and are contributing to the peeling of the drawer fronts.  And then there’s the window…

Apparently what happened is that there used to be an airconditioner in this window (don’t ask me why,) and it leaked all down the wall over a very long period of time.  The plaster will come off in your hand if you touch it, so I try not to.  You can also still see some of the heinous blue paint that used to be covering everything in here – yeah, I know, bad paint job here, but my goal was just to cover up the damage and hope it holds as long as we live here.

In spite of all this, including the ancient appliances, I do love the kitchen (check out my happy green walls!)  I keep planning to refinish the cabinet fronts, but the thought of all that sanding terrifies me, so I decided to just replace the knobs for now.  The old knobs looked like this

And now, through the magic of 10 minutes with a screwdriver, they look like this:

Check out the ring of grime I need to scrub at some more.  And my favorite part – here you can see that they didn’t install white counters with off white cabinets – the cabinets used to be white!  Mystery solved!

*sigh* I seriously don’t know what to do here.  I just don’t have the space to do the cabinets, but I’m really tired of them the way they are.  I guess I should get used to doing work – we’ve been here 6 months, so we won’t be selling for a couple years, but when we do we will buy a house that’s much more of a fixer-upper than this one was.  We need more space, but I adore this area too much to move somewhere cheaper.

I’m not complaining though – I really do *heart* this place, and I’m so glad that we live here.  All of its flaws give it character, and give me a challenge.  So the ceiling fan in the guest room shocks you if you try to change the bulbs.  So there isn’t any closet space.  So the bathtub has peeling paint and needs refinishing – so what?  I would hate to live in a new home – I’ve always had work to do, and I kind of enjoy it.  Don’t tell anyone… but it’s possible that I’m kind of handy.