Category Archives: Painting

RV remodel series

It serves as “home away from home”, so hopefully, its still considered a “home improvement”.   We are excited to have purchased our first RV for a steal, a 1995 Class A motorhome.  Its 33′ and completely outdated.  It didn’t help that my daughter has already said it looks like Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine upon first sighting. Sure shiny brass, teal and purple may be heaven for some, but not this home improvement nerd.  I’m considering a total redo and converting to a sandy tan, chocolate brown and maybe a cranberry color scheme.  It’s all about presentation, right??

Here’s the new blank slate, what my daughter has now dubbed “Road Kill”:

Day 1: Demo of carpet, prep walls for paint

It took about 2 hours to demo the existing carpet and linoleum flooring.  Doing so, I can see how much dirt lives under carpets even with the cleanest of Mr. and Mrs. Clean’s.  Yuck!  Another bonus to doing this is that we can now see just how good of shape the sub floors are.

The interior walls have a wallpaper covering throughout.  In case you haven’t read it before, you can save yourself a lot of time and sanity by leaving a wallpaper in place and painting directly over it.

Here’s my secret:  Using 2 1/2 cans of spray texture set to “fine”, I sprayed the texture directly over the wallpaper.

Day 2:    Painting, painting, painting

Allowing the texture to completely dry overnight, I began painting.  I use Behr’s Paint and Primer in one over wallpapers.    The painted walls instantly tone down the teal.  I’m rethinking my color scheme strategy already.  Maybe it also helps that after I have been gathering estimates for reupholstering or a replacement of furniture inside, it would run over $2,000.  Yes, the teal isn’t looking so bad after all.


Quick and inexpensive makeover for your stairs

A friend of mine decided to give her stairs an update and loved the look of iron balusters, but didn’t want the big investment that goes along with it to change those out.  Her old stairs were painted in a traditional look with a stained oak railing on white baluster.  To imitate the look and feel of iron, she decided to paint them black.    See for yourself the dramatic and elegant change accomplished with some patience, a light sanding of the old finish, a can of flat black paint and a good paintbrush:

And now:

Look at how her neutral beige paint instantly warms up against the new finish!  In this example, the rails will have a glaze finish coat that will add  a slight sheen and layer of protective finish.   What a difference for a project that can be accomplished in a weekend!

Quick and easy makeover for your front entryway for under $100

First impressions are lasting impressions.    At first glance, it may not seem like there is anything wrong with this entrance.  Upon closer inspection however, I found a rusting hollow metal door, chipped paint, brick covered with vines, mismatched door hardware and a tired light fixture.

Still have a little painting to do, but this should give you an idea of the changes you can achieve with a few simple items and a free weekend:

1)  Remove the vines-Cost $0  (time to complete: 2 days)

The vines are no doubt very attractive and give a formal look, but they are also very damaging to your mortar and are  haven for bugs. Once removed, I pressure washed the brick so the brick’s rich colors would shine through the dust and grime that had accumulated over the years.

2)  Fresh paint- Cost $15  (time to complete 1 1/2 hours)

In this instance, I decided on a color change.  I went from a forest green to a deep red rose color in a quart of Behr’s paint and primer in one.  I added some colorful plants in the pots that flank the entrance that compliment the new red.

3)  New door hardware, door knocker and kickplate-Cost $55  (time to complete: 1 hour)

Because I am trying to maintain a historical feel for this property, I decided on the oil rubbed bronze.  The kick plate concealed the rusting blemish at the bottom of the door while also adding a sense of sophistication to the entrance.

4)  New entry light-Cost $25 (time to complete: 30 minutes)

Same as the door hardware, I found a carriage style light fixture on oil rubbed bronze to place above the front door.

Welcome in!

How to give new life to old home decor for as little as $1

Wall decor found in brown but repainted in black to match new decor

Redoing a room in a new color scheme and suddenly find yourself faced with the dilemma of spending more money on decor pieces to match?  Even crazier, have you found yourself trying to find that perfect light fixture or decor piece but its the wrong color?  Don’t let a little color issue get in the way.  Worry no more, because with a can of the latest spray paints available and a little crafty work, you can give new life to that decor and re-use it.  The best part is, no one will know you just spent pennies on what will look like all new decor…what a great little secret!

Depending on what type of use the piece will get, you can find a can of spray paint for as little as $1 at most big box home improvement stores or discount stores.  Use a better quality paint for heavier use items such as exterior pieces, light fixtures, mirrors, etc.  Decor pieces that sit on a shelf or on a wall do just fine with the inexpensive paint.

Krylon’s line of spray paints come in a variety of finishes and can be applied to a variety of surfaces such as metals, plastics, wood, etc. so all is pretty much fair game! Just follow their application instructions to ensure a quality finish:

Here’s some things recently repainted with a $1 can of spray paint for my tween/teen room project, but should give you an idea of the variety of finishes that can be painted:

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Ralph Lauren paint is a thing of the past at Home Depot

Ralph Lauren paint love

Are all paints created equal?

Having spent years completing a wide variety of painting projects, I have had my share of trials and errors when it comes to paints.  Call me nostalgic, but my first real painting leap was taken with Ralph Lauren more than 15 years ago. Their very rich colors and designer label were alluring to women everywhere I recall.

Ralph Lauren was also great because it had a vast selection of colors organized in a user friendly fashion and the price was competitive.   I was usually able to achieve one coat coverage (a real time saver and confidence booster!) and the best part was that years later, I could use it to touch up spots and it would still blend perfectly!!  I’ve seen other “pro brand” paints not even able to do this without leaving what looks like spots that belong on a cheetah which meant repainting an entire wall.

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Paint Color Dilemma? You can commit!

Got the itch to repaint a room but overwhelmed by the choices?  Here are a few simple pointers about how to get over the hump and COMMIT to the color!

1. It’s your home
Home is where the heart is as they say, its your sanctuary and you are  proud to call it your own.   Its great to have a friend or someone “guide” you in the process, but ultimately, paint color is your decision.  You are the one that has to live with it every day.  If you hire a professional, communicate in advance all of your likes and dislikes and wish list items so that you can be assured that your space will reflect “you” when it’s complete.

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No, you don’t have to remove that old wallpaper! Part 2

Your little girl has outgrown the pink pony wallpaper border in her room.  Or, maybe you have decided that the country mauve and blue roses in your bath has to go!  Great news!  Even better news?  You may not have to go through the agony of removing the old stuff by completing just a few simple steps.

If you decided that Venetian Plaster (my part 1 of this series) isn’t for you, then I have another idea to cover your existing wallpaper .  I love time savers and the first time I removed a room of old paper, was also my last after I discovered this process.

There are two important requirements to ensure success:

1)  Check the quality of seams.  If there are areas that are loose, you will need to glue them down or as I prefer, cut them with a sharp utility knife to get a nice edge.  If there are bubbles, cut an x in the bubble and either glue it down or remove around the bubble.

2) If your unwanted paper has a heavy texture or pattern to it, it may show through your paint which means bad news, you may have to either remove the paper or plaster over.  If the pattern is slight, you should be perfectly okay by doing the next steps.

Prepping the wallpaper for painting:

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No, you don’t have to remove that old wallpaper! (Part 1)

I can’t think of a task that would make me run faster from home improvement more than trying to remove old wallpaper.  Yes, there are ways to do it, but with at least two alternatives that can save your sanity and tons of time, I ask why?  I’m going to divide the two methods into two parts.   Part 1 will be “Venetian Plaster”.

Venetian Plaster directly over wallpaper-Before and After

Venetian Plaster can be purchased in a variety of pre-mixed colors from Lowe’s; the tools they also sell for the product are useful.  It is a wonderful product that gives you a warm custom look faux finish once it is done. The beauty of this product is that it is easier than you might think, it covers old wallpaper like a champ and the layers and depth of the finish is entirely within your control. Although slightly pricier than a gallon of paint (around $32) and coverage is half of what a typical gallon would cover, think of it as “time saved” for the investment. I used about 1 and 3/4 gallons for a dining room that is approximately 140  square feet.

Here are the basic steps before covering any wallpaper:

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Giving new life to a wooden fireplace mantle

Before and After Side by Side comparison

Because of my current love affair with Espresso brown (A Home Depot Behr color) , I decided to see what happened if I painted our all white fireplace mantle with the warm color.

Materials Needed:  Two 2″ paintbrushes, quart of semi-gloss paint in brown tone desired, quart of semi-gloss black paint, painters tape and small paint tray

Step 1) Tape off edges that meet wall and floor covering

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