One Room at a Time, One Day at a Time

When you move into a house, everyone tells you “you have 30 years to figure xyz out!”

Apparently they weren’t kidding!

I have gained a whole ton of respect for shows that make this process appear to be quick and painless, especially with folks who do the bulk of the work themselves.

We revamped our dining room and, if I do say so myself, did a good job in there! We cleaned out all the junk that had been left behind in that space (unfortunate drapes + too dark blinds + all the junk we dug up from the basement) and then we made our own touches. For one, we painted the walls to match the color in the living room and the upstairs. Originally, I’d intended to be more selective about colors but, honestly, when you like a color and don’t have time to pick something else, you just go with it.

And I think that’s a big part of this process of renovating and decorating — just going with something that appears to work. Because we did a good job in the dining room, I perhaps got overconfident and decided to have us take on a bigger project.

That bigger project was the bathroom door. The paint on it started to peel pretty profusely one day and — perhaps in a state of hormonal weirdness as I thought of our future children eating lead paint chips — I decided it would be a good idea to strip the door and start over with paint. Normally, this is probably a good idea so you have a good base to adhere to but, in practice, it was crazy difficult.

For starters, we had to remove all the paint that didn’t just flake off with some chemical striper called Citristrip. The stuff is orange goo that smells like chemicals dipped in orange zest. Unfortunately, the chemical stripper went beyond just taking off layers of paint and also removed stain and varnish on the wood grain revealing pure wood beneath. It’s a messy process to get there though. You really have to tarp everything (i.e. imagine garbage bags everywhere) and use gear that the chemicals will not eat through.

Revealing nice wood is not a bad thing. However, I’m not sure if it was the Citristrip not being fully off (despite dousing the door in mineral spirits to stop the chemicals) or the wood stain still being in there but the repainted door has a decidedly orange cast to it even though we explicitly went with a color that was pretty white (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace – which we also used in our living room). Also, because the door frames are less than perfect and the doors have a tendency to stick, some of the paint on the side is ALREADY CHIPPING. This is like messing up your nails after you carefully do them but on a whole ‘nother level!

Suffice to say, husband wasn’t pleased and neither am I. This was the last DIY project that we decided we’d take on. Chemical strippers and paint are not cheap and at the end of the day, we’ll probably end up having a pro re-do this work (hopefully as part of a larger upstairs bathroom remodel).

If you are not like me and would like to go the chemical stripping route, whatever you do, do NOT buy Citristrip in a spray can! I recommend getting the goopy stuff in a gallon because at least you’ll have a little more control over where it goes (and doesn’t go). I can’t tell you how much errant spray painted chemicals I had to clean in the bathroom.

And, of course, I highly recommend you don’t jump into any project when you are most likely hangry and hormonal!