Tag Archives: wardrobe

Master bedroom makeover: Wall prep

We are in the middle of a week of plastering and sanding, and I’m too scared to open the door to the bedroom for fear of a dust explosion happening through the rest of the house. I put up with a mess of dust through the living room once, and I don’t want to do it again!

Last time we talked about this room reno we had demolished the wardrobe and were starting on removing the wallpaper. But it wasn’t going well remember?

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And then we remembered there was this great invention called a wallpaper steamer! For less than $25 for a days hire I convinced Andre we should at least try it.

I’m not sure what was going through his head but he was all for carrying on with our spray and chip method for the next three months.

Buuuuuttt… look who took over. Power tool – it’s only natural. And a few hours later I had to forcibly remove the steamer head from his hand because it was way past bedtime.0605_1167 0605_1168

Once again, I was on clean up duties. But I was content to lean on my broom and watch that wallpaper coming off in strips, not chips!

And the next day we were done with a couple of hours still to spare before we had to return the steamer soooo… the bathroom got dealt with too. This wallpaper is of the nineties trying to be twenties era. It had to go.0605_1173

This was possibly/probably a paper especially for use in a bathroom as it seemed to have quite a “plasticky” top layer, which I ended up pulling off before Andre used the steamer to remove the backing. It all came off really easily, and of course it helped that we only had the top half of a small room to do.0605_1178 0605_1181 0605_1182

But apart from cleaning up that mess, the bathroom has had no more attention for now.

So back to the bedroom. I mentioned last time there was icky stuff to be found under the paper in certain areas. This is the dampest and darkest of all the rooms in the house, and with drafty timber windows and no insulation until recently I wasn’t surprised, but I was still well and truly disgusted.

So after a bit of research and pulling on some latex gloves with a satisfying snap I held my breath and got rid of it as best I could. I started by spraying it with a water/vinegar/tea tree oil solution. I did this two or three times over a couple of days. Apparently that’s all you usually need to do to treat it (slash kill it, although how do you tell when it’s dead?!) and wiping it is maybe not good because it can cause the spores to spread. But of course we need to paint these walls and I’m not painting over dead mould, no matter how dead it is.

So I compromised and did my best to kill it before I then cleaned it up with rags doused in the same solution. Those rags got binned immediately – nasty things.

For luck I went back for a third step and sprayed again to ensure any leftovers were well dead.
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In the meantime we spent an evening doing some wardrobe visualising with the doors and shelves of the old wardrobe. We are trying to decide whether to use woodgrain on the sides of the wardrobe, or on the doors. Or not at all.0605_1204

All other spare time in the last couple of weeks has been put into sugar soaping. I started out with this job thinking sugar soap was some miracle cleaner that would disappear all gluey mess as soon as I touched my cloth to the wall. Not so my friends, not so.

I scrubbed, and scrubbed, and scrubbed until my arms ached and my fingers were raw.

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You can see below the difference it makes though – the left side is sugar soaped, the right is still waiting…0605_1207But I’m done, and now it’s Andre’s job to plaster and patch up and then finally sand smooth these four dodgy walls!
0605_1269And I don’t envy him one bit. I’ll take sugar soaping every time!

 

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Master bedroom makeover: The ugly beginnings

Almost a year ago, I showed you our master bedroom in it’s best looking state – rather embarrassing to say the least. But now the demo is done and I’m excited for the ideas floating in my head and can’t wait to show you an after that will erase all memory of how it has looked for almost 4 years. Yep, we do things slowly!

First to happen was removing the old sliding door that we never bothered to slide across because it was such a cranky old thing. Now we have a glossy white hinged door and despite it missing a door handle it’s still pretty awesome! A door on your bedroom after four years is a big deal.

Note: These next few photos most accurately show the current colour of our bedroom, and believe it or not… it was once worse. Just wait…!

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(A saw hanging in your front entrance… totally normal)0508_0013So with that done, I was itching to get stuck into the wallpaper. I just had to know how easy it was going to come off.
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Short answer: not that easy. So I ignored it for a few more weeks.

But then we finally moved out into the “green bedroom” and the excuses weren’t cutting it anymore!

So, here’s what we “started” with this time last week. An empty room with beige painted bubbling wallpaper, ugly light fittings and a behemoth of a useless wardrobe. (Plus a spare bed that has nowhere else to be, and a writing bureau that is awaiting its fate on Trade Me.)
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It’s a good feeling to use a hammer and a crowbar on a room you have no attachment to, despite sleeping in it for years! And despite Andre’s nervousness about me wielding such tools, he showed no reservation when he came home last Thursday and saw I’d got started. He was into it and there was nothing left for me to do…0508_0970 0508_0975 0508_0997

…but sweep up the mess. Don’t let this next photo fool you. Neither of these two did any sweeping (I just caught them having a very short-lived sweeping lesson), although to be fair, the little one did a great job of helping me cart all the pieces of timber and gib out to the trailer.

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But that’s where all the fun ended. Because now we have the mammoth task of getting all that nasty twice painted wallpaper off.

But first – something else a little scary ugly.

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Not only is our room now a hideous apricot-beige, but prior to that it was purple… complete with glow stars. I can only hope it was once a young girls room. Before that it appears it was green, and originally it was wallpapered with storks (thankfully stripped by some poor previous owner, but we found a remnant stuck under the sliding door pelmet).

But we are moving on!

This room is in the least sunny corner of the house, and is therefore a bit damp and icky. So without going into too much revolting detail, in the extra icky parts like the back of the wardrobe and by the south side window the wallpaper came off super easy. No spraying, scraping or picking required. But fortunately/unfortunately (I can’t decide which because the first means less mould, the second means endless hours of work) in the rest of the room the paper appears to be well stuck and it’s a tedious process of removal. Which is why we’ve buried our heads in the sand not made much progress.

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The problem with painted wallpaper is it’s completely sealed and no amount of spraying any kind of solution is going to work until it’s given a way to seep into the backing of the paper. So the theory goes.

This strange looking tool is called a Paper Tiger and it’s specific purpose is to score the wallpaper so whatever you spray on will penetrate beneath the paint.

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At this point I can say it is definitely doing it’s job. The spray is getting under the paper. So far we’ve tried a detergent/cold water spray (just because I always have a spray bottle of that sitting around for everything from ants to cockroaches) and a vinegar/hot water. But either the spray or our technique or some other force is working against us and the wallpaper is coming away in the smallest peelings. I have not yet had the satisfaction of grabbing one loose edge and hauling from top to bottom. It’s a sad state of wallpaper stripping.

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So either we try something else or we keep chipping away for years to come. Either way, I’ll let you know!

But here’s at least some progress for you. I present to you… all four walls, as of this morning:0508_1126 0508_1128 0508_1129 0508_1130
Guess what we’ll be doing this weekend?!

DIY Retro Style

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I’ve had an amusing and enlightening half hour this afternoon listening to Miss E chatter in her cot instead of sleeping… browsing through a decades old Reader’s Digest Do-it-yourself Manual!

This wardrobe is what I was looking at before I got distracted by all the other “projects”.

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Andre pointed it out to me the other night (he regularly flicks through this manual…!) and I was keen to have another look, to see if it might be an option for our master bedroom wardrobe.

I’m not a huge fan of lots and lots of bare timber so my pick would be the white doors, with timber trim (bottom left).

But that’s a whole post for another day, so here’s some more midcentury project inspiration:

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Adore the tiled (tiled-look at least) splashback and the hardware free cabinetry. Fresh baked bread – that too!

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These stacking beds are good for a smile! And they’re actually a bit ingenious don’t you think?

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This plant table has potential… I think I’d make a succulent version for outdoors.

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Speaking of outdoors… if you have a large tree in your backyard how fun would this little hideaway be?! I love the striped canvas “roof” rather than a more permanently built one.

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This telephone hall table brings back memories of a childhood friend who had one in her big wide villa hallway… envy! Home phones might be somewhat obsolete in the near future but it wouldn’t be wrong to perch on one of these for a chat on your smartphone would it? It would put a stop to pacing up and down or trying to fold the washing while holding a meaningful conversation – that’s got to be a good thing!

The previous generation (or two) were smart cookies, with style. And they even left us manuals to prove it. Hooray for them!

 

 

To the polls

Here’s the thing: We have a disagreement in our house. It’s to do with the master bedroom wardrobe (or closet). We are trying to decide whether to work with the current built-in version, or replace it with something freestanding. I will do my best to present each side of the case in an unbiased way, to allow you to make your own choice. We’re going to the polls! Are you ready?!

Great.

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Exhibit A (on the left): One pale apricot painted built in closet
Pros:
– Likely the cheaper option to work with it
– A built in wardrobe can help to sell a house
Cons:
– Lacking in style
– Prevents (future) curtain hanging freely as it butts right up to the window
– Restricted depth (due to window) means hanging clothes are pretty tight inside

Exhibit B (example, on the right): One beaten up freestanding wardrobe or closet – either one large to share or one each side by side*
Pros:
– Can style it up with mismatched but complementary his and hers wardrobes
– Allows curtain to hang properly, with breathing space between closet and window
Cons:
– Potentially more expensive
– Even narrower storage than current built-in
– May be detrimental to house sale price (when the time comes) even if wardrobe(s) are included in the chattels

*Not so pretty picture of a freestanding option so as to keep this a fair fight

Either way, some vision is required for this task – as awesome as can be built in? Or as awesome as can be freestanding? What do you think? I’d love some help with solving our disagreement!

The polls are open:

Thank you. Please feel free to comment also, if you have anything further to contibute to this argument!

Pin of the day: Wardrobe envy

I did a little online shopping recently… and I have nowhere to hang it. My wardrobe is overflowing.

If only this problem was outweighed by an abundance of clothes to choose from. Sadly, all it means is my wardrobe is tiny and totally lacking in form and function.

I’d like this freestanding one:

Pinned ImageAnd I’ll take one for Andre too while I’m at it. His can be trimmed in navy or grey and I’ll have mine with yellow or pink or duck egg blue…

 

Glamming up the man…

…robe. Further to the sanding, I got stuck into glamming up my manrobe again. Can you tell this is my current pet project?! I’ve been wanting one of these for so long now, I’m just pleased to be getting into it!

My beloved manrobe has one of these quaint slide out rails (so your clothes hang in a row front to back instead of side to side) but it was a bit stuck so needed some greasy attention.

 

Lubed up, he was up next for a new coat of shining armour.

The first coat happened outside:

Then a couple more coats inside (dodgy weather) got it nice and glossy:

We used Cabot’s Cabothane, which we believe is the same stuff we used on our kitchen shelves (but with a change of name?). Chosen because it’s water-based and less fumey than oil-based products. It’s super easy to apply and cleans up easily. With 3 coats I think it will hold up just fine to the wear and tear of a childs bedroom.

Mr Manrobe is now awaiting me to fix up his handles and maybe give his insides a bit of smartening up, then I’ll be sorting Master W’s haphazardly arranged wardrobe of clothes into fresh new order. Aahhhhh!

 

 

Stripping the man…

…robe.

Saturday saw us picking up a manrobe (among other adventures) which we purchased for a bargain price of $67 on Trade Me. I was convinced it would go for over $150 and left Andre to bid up to that amount (it closed at 11pm – I was well in bed by then!) so I was delighted when he told me (at around 4am after feeding session number lost count) we won it, and for so much less than I thought it would get to.

While the littlies were sleeping and he had to keep away from the power tools Andre went to pick it up.

I was glad to see that all it needed was a going-over with the sander and then a spit and polish to have it looking lovely but still character-worn. Having had a saved search going on Trade Me for one of these things for the kids room for months now, I was super keen to get stuck into it.

So I did. I handed over the baby monitor to Andre, got my dust mask and safety glasses on and got to work.

First up I dismantled the handles, which proved to be a little more time-consuming than I would have thought, and the first three all came off in varying combinations of handle pieces. I decided I’d better grab a bag to collect all the bits in.

There wasn’t a close up of the handles on the Trade Me listing, so I wasn’t entirely sure what they were like, but thought I could easily replace them if I didn’t like them so it was hardly a deal-breaker. But Andre really likes them and I quite like them, so I think they’ll stay. They’re also quite nice to “handle” which is one of those little details that make such a difference when you’re battling to get a toddler dressed!

As mentioned, they all came apart in different ways. This was the one that stayed together, but most others had the handle part in a few more pieces than the one you see here!

Note: I need to spruce up the handles and their hardware a bit (they’re a little tarnished and rusted) so any advice on a simple way to do so would be appreciated!

Once all the hardware was secured in its bag I got onto the real job of sanding Mr Manrobe. (Power tools were allowed for me at this point because I was working in the back yard, not right outside the little ones windows where Andre was halfway through installing an irrigation system in our new garden.)

No progress shots on this as I was hard at work and too filthy to pick up the camera. Besides, I was having fun! Here though you can see where I got to with the orbital sander, and the top level has been cleaned off, and the bottom level still covered in sanding dust. Once I cleaned up the rest of it I got to work with some sandpaper and got the edges (see below how there are still dark bits, with varnish on them) and all the fiddly corners done too.

By this time it was cooling off (you can feel it in the blue-ness of the photo above!) and the little ones were both up and “helping” (Master W) or watching (Miss E) so I was glad to be finishing up and heading inside.

I was so pleased with myself though for getting stuck in and completing the sanding job within hours of Andre picking it up! Not many things happen quite like that around here, as you’ll well know if you’ve been reading my vague and unfulfilled promises of “I’ll have some finished photos for you real soon!” for a while.

I’d hate to disappoint you though so you can count on it being at least 3 more months until I get back to this project and varnish it and get those handles back on (even handles take months around here)!

Anyway, here’s the stripped manrobe in all it’s glory (sitting on our concrete back lawn in all its glory):

Anyone else get to stripping (furniture only please…) last weekend? Or have plans for it this weekend? I haven’t put ideas in your head now have I?!