Thursday, July 06, 2006

Home Improvement Project Circus Tent

This post is brought to you by my art degree. I don't "use" it, it doesn't make me any money, and now my bathroom looks like shit.

My condo was pretty much move-in ready. There are beautiful hardwood floors that gleam as the sunlight hits them. (But I'm sure those will deteriorate in due time.) I have one year-old stainless steel appliances that have more buttons than my remote control. When will I ever use the warmer on the stove? The walk-in closet has a great closet organizer already in place.

Yet I thought that the first thing I would change - just because I can - would be the kitchen counters. They are white counters. I imagined some faux granite or limestone but now I like those white counters - so they are not going anywhere. I don't want too many modern touches. So I have settled that they are "vintage" which is pretty much what I call anything that isn't shaped like a spaceship, doesn't come in a stainless steel, and is so-last-year. We had a beer coosie at the beachhouse that was from one of the bars two years ago in a color - yellow - they don't make anymore. Under my terms, this coosie was vintage.

So now I like my vintage counter tops.

Now the paint colors the previous owner chose are beautiful - for the most part. The kitchen is a real dark olive greenish-brown. This is also a reason to keep the white counter tops. Good design in a room - in my opinion - has light, medium, and dark tones. That is why I don't have matching furniture. So the kitchen is pretty with the very dark colors on the wall, the light of the counters and cabinets and the medium tone with the stainless.

(I'm accepting donations to the camera fund.)

The foyer-living area is a really light neutral color and I just put the color in the furnishings. The bedroom is a sage green and I have always wanted a pink and green room. The sunroom is brick. So I was safe on all the colors in the house. that is, with the exception of the bathroom. It is a pale gray and every two inches is a white 2-inch stripe and then in each stripe is a thin yellow stripe, navy blue stripe, or hunter green stripe.

Y'all - pretty much - it's ugly. My mom hit it on the head too when she said, "It looks like a circus tent."

So I knew that this had to be my first project. First, I was gong to paint it all over in an apricot - the inspriation being the bottle of Coco Mademoiselle on my vanity. And they are saying that orange is the new black. But upon closer inspection, I have discovered that the stripes are tape of some sort. And it won't peel off with my bare hand. So I got the bright idea to work with the existing stripes because I thought that gray with the white and thin black stripes would make for a nice neutral background and I could accessorize in whatever color.

So Monday after I put my mom on sucky Amtrak against my better judgment and sure enough she sat next to a serial killer. And before Mav and I drank a 30-pack of Miller Lites, grilled up some hot links and corn on the cob and crashed the party two rowhouses down and entered into a few rounds of Flip Cup with the kids there, we went to Home Depot. She just moved into Logan Circle so she has been busy with her own home improvements too. So our weekends have been spent at the Home Depot and we have only been down to the beach once this summer so far. (Woe is me.)

Anyway, I picked up a little can of black paint and on Tuesday while America was barbecueing burgers and dogs and waving star-spangled banners and getting caught in torrential down pours if you were in DC (rain, rain go away), I was taping up each and every stripe in that bathroom. Then I painted away. It took a couple coats to cover up the colored stripes with a solid black line. Well this morning when I peeled away the tape - the black had bled underneath some and now I have runny lines of black down my walls. Obvious in some places and not in others. (I wonder: what is painter's tape for??) And only about half of the stripes were tackled so I have have circus tent, half runny black lines.

Y'all its a bigger mess than before. And frankly, this kind of "mess" upsets me and will stress me out until it is fixed. I can't live with the bathroom!

So either I try to paint over the white now and potentially make more of a mess or I try to find a way to peel the tape off which is what I am leaning towards now. If only it could be that easy. Because then I would have a neutral palette to work with, pick out a funky paint color, call Mav's painter, pay him, and call it a day. Or I might get some white paint.

So I am off to the Home Depot for the hundredth time. I figure I should get something out of all my time spent there. Because in my dreams, Home Depot was going to be filled with lots of Hot DIY Guys and as I was mulling over the aerators, flappers, and scorers I'd fall in love with a DIYer and he would do all kinds of "projects" for me. I would be design and he would be installer. And maybe we would have an inside joke about the nail gun. I don't know. Instead, the Home Depot is dusty, smelly, and filled with annoying couples - pushing me to the ground as they are reaching for the Eggshell paint card. He wants ecru, she wants eggshell.

Because, of course, they don't make a color called "circus tent."

To be continued....


James said...

My hat's off to you for trying to paint yourself. When we moved into our house we tackled the living room ourselves. It came out decent but was such a pain to do my wife summed it up best, "Well you can call painters to do the rest or we can just sell the house and move back to an apartment."


amyd said...

Try using a primer or have primer added to paint. It will make a difference. We found out the hard way w/red paint looking like crap.

Virginia Belle said...


if it helps, i am totally retarded at home decorating, not to mention home improvement. i would have messed it up even more.

i guess when you get a house, you live and you learn. first the toilet, now this, right?

my mom tried to remove this hideous wallpaper from the house we had in IN. (they are crazy for some wallpaper up there!) it didn't come off because it was so old. so it was all papery and ripped looking. and the glue was stuck to the wall, and so that made it all bumpy. seriously, it looked like crap. so she just painted it the color she wanted (a light, almost khaki tan) and sponged over it with white. somehow the sponging managed to disguise the bumpiness. kinda. but it was still better than that wallpaper!

Mav said...

Painting is NOT for the faint of heart...and Home Depot sucks.