Happy Second Anniversary!

We celebrate two years in our beautiful house this weekend.  Like so many things, the days can sometimes feel long, yet time has flown by.  I’m proud of all we’ve gotten done to date and excited about  (and daunted by!!) all that lies ahead.  So … just another weekend, really 🙂

Much like how we celebrated our first anniversary with a work-related nod to the past, we are also celebrating this anniversary with a little bit of living like we just moved in:

Living with our mattress on the floor, as we are FINALLY tackling the bedroom!  We had so many things that had to take priority, then we were deciding about stripping the trim, then we were paralyzed by our decision to strip the trim, then we were terrified of  how long it would take to strip the trim …. Then, we just started stripping the trim.  The wood is too beautiful to leave it painted, and we figure if we’re tearing it up, we might as well just tear it all up, right?!?  So here we are.  Sawdust up our noses and bed on the floor, but progress is being made.  And so YEAR THREE begins ….


Vacation Project #2 (ongoing…)

and going and going and going.  You may recall my nemesis, which has been staring me down for a while now.  I am spending some time here and there scraping paint off.  It’s coming along!  But I have discovered I need to use the pneumatic scaler — which works great but is SO loud you can only use it for short bursts.  Tuesday night I hit it with some Zip Strip and in true I-will-never-learn-my-lesson fashion, ended up with a nasty nosebleed yesterday.  Zip Strip makes me ill– that stuff is TOXIC.  So no more Zip Strip.  And I will keep working on this beauty till it shines!


Getting by with a little (more) help from (more of) our friends!

Our dear friend Janis came up this past weekend — it was her first visit to the house and we put her to work stripping baseboards.  She did an amazing job and is still talking to me!  A win-win.

If you were hoping to come over and just hang out in our upstairs bathroom, I’m sorry to say you’re out of luck.  It’s been pretty much gutted and awaits a re-do.  Photos soon ….


NOW what have I done?


I am a baseboard!

That’s a baseboard in the dining room.  The baseboards are all about 7 inches tall, in nearly every room of the house, and all (of course) covered in old paint.  Some of the quarter-round was exposed in places, and it is not very good wood– seems like a late addition and not great quality.  We weren’t really sure about the baseboards, so out of curiosity, and because the radiator was ON last night, which made it hard to scrape, (In case you are wondering, the advice to “wait for summer” to do that kind of work is probably pretty solid…) I hit a piece with the heat gun and found…. gorgeous wood underneath.  Damn!  Do we have to strip all the baseboards now?  Will I be able to look at the paint-covered ones knowing what loveliness lies beneath?  Le sigh.  Luckily, I don’t have a lot of social plans for the next few months.

Today we are trying out a new method — Smart Strip!

We (and by “we” I mean “Chris”) put some on the baseboard in question this morning before we left for work.  It should be doing its magic, eating through layers of paint, and we will scrape tonight when we get home.  We are figuring it will take a few times/ coats/ days.  If it works, though, it will be a real time-and-wrist-saver.  It’s also way less toxic than Zip Strip and doesn’t seem to create fumes like the heat gun.

Meet my current nemesis


How could something be so beautiful and so horrible at the same time, you ask?  BEIGE PAINT, I answer!!!

Now, I LOVE this radiator.  It stopped me in my tracks the first time I saw the house– I’d never seen anything like it.  It sits on the wall in the little stairway that comes out of the kitchen and goes into the main room/ or upstairs to the second floor.  The heat it throw is heavenly and the design is stunning, if you ask me.  However, it has been covered (like most of the interior of the house) in many layers of paint, the top layer of which is (as Chris calls it) wet-cardboard brown.  I decided a couple weeks ago that the green in the entryway will extend through this little hallway — right now it’s a dim and dirty pass-through into the kitchen and I want it to be a bright, fun, pretty space.  Besides figuring out the lighting, painting the walls and fixing the step, this monstrosity is desperate for a stripping.

Um, of course, I decided to just jump in and start at the top.  When will I learn to “test a small spot in a discrete area” of whatever I’m doing?!  Never, apparently.  Nope.  Just jump right in and make a mess in the most noticeable part of whatever you’re working on!  Great!

So I don’t have a photo of the radiator before I started, but this one is pretty close.  I’m sure this project will take me all of January, at least.  Under the beige is white, then yellow, then green paint.  (Yes, in another weird instance of this house telling us what it wants, the front room and hallway were apparently green at one point)  Under all that is gorgeous metal with nice details.  I may or may not be able to get all the paint off– we will see.  I may or may not repaint it– we will see.  It depends on if it looks industrial-cool or just sloppy when it’s all stripped.  Which, as I said, will probably take until the end of forever.  But don’t worry– I’ll keep you posted!

What does one use to tackle such a project, you ask?  Why, that’s easy — EVERYTHING!

IMG_0023A mask for the fumes and lead paint protection, Zip Strip in a cup with a paint brush, 3 different scrapers, a wire brush, sandpaper, a headlamp, a rag and pink work gloves (‘natch!).  And last night, while trying to fall asleep and thinking of my radiator, I suddenly thought… BUTTER KNIFE!  So I’m going to take an old butter knife and see if I can get into some of those round thingees (technical term) and continue the project known as BANISH THE BEIGE ….

If anyone has any experience with this kind of paint stripping, please….. any advice is welcome!