Monday, April 29, 2013

Painting the Nursery

We have been Weekend Warriors for this past month, which is great in the sense that we've gotten all the bedrooms and the upstairs bath painted in the new house (now we're taking a break from painting so the downstairs will get tackled later).  It's also been challenging in the sense that things that we normally do on weekends--laundry, menu planning, grocery store, catching up on the DVR, and various household maintenance--are getting shoved to the side.  However, even as we let our living conditions slide from disarray to squalor, we've managed to make time to have dinner with friends on Saturday night the last two weekends.  Because we prioritize seeing our friends!  And because if we go somewhere else to eat, that's a meal we didn't  have to plan in advance or prepare ourselves.  A total win-win.

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw a sneak peek of our nursery progress.  I had BIG PLANS for the nursery, as I mentioned a few posts ago.  I was very excited about creating something special and fun for Zuzu, and after browsing on Pinterest, I was inspired.

The nursery at the new house is a very small room--roughly 10'x10', so I wanted something that would really make it pop.  It has pretty high ceilings (compared to our current house), so I wanted to take advantage of that as well.  I decided to do stripes on the ceiling, but instead of your "basic" horizontal stripes, I decided to have them start in the center (at the light fixture) and fan out around the room.  And since there's no crown molding in this house, I thought we could add our own trim about a foot from the ceiling (I think it's called a picture rail at that height).  Then the stripes could continue down the wall a bit.

I had a fabric swatch I wanted to use for curtains, so I took that with me to Sherwin Williams and paired it up with paint colors.

This paint combo card matched my fabric (not pictured) perfectly so it became my inspiration
For the main section of the wall, I chose Light French Gray (the second color on the strip).  The stripes are regular old ceiling-paint-white and the top color--a bright coral called Begonia.  I'm not painting anything Friendly Yellow or Watery, but we're going with those as accent colors since they already match the chair and rug we have.

The first thing we did was give the entire ceiling a coat of fresh white paint.  Then we measured down to the top of the door trim, because that's where I wanted the picture rail trim to line up.  We ran painters tape all around the room, exactly where we want the trim to go, then I primed the top section of the wall and David painted it the same white as the ceiling.

Painting over the lavender.  Zuzu is looking for trouble.
Once that was done, we painted the bottom section of the wall gray.

Then we let it sit for a week.  On Saturday afternoon we were finishing up the master bedroom (well, to be honest, we ran out of paint so really we were just done for the day) and we thought about starting on the nursery stripes, but we decided that at 4:30pm we were exhausted and getting hungry and doing something that required mathematical thinking AND cooperation would simply put too great a strain on our marriage.  So we went home and showered and went to Lowes and then out to dinner.  (Yay for the babysitting co-op!).

On Sunday, we were fresh and eager to get started on the nursery.  I'd hired a babysitter to entertain Zuzu for two hours at our house so we could work without interruption, also known as the incessant whining of a teething ten-month-old who only wants to be held by her mama.

Lemme out!
(Oh yes!  One day before her ten month birthday, Zuzu's first tooth popped through!  As a result, she's been so crabby and clingy we've wished that my mom was in town--David has been singing to, "We're bringing Grammy back, 'cause Zuzu don't know how to act" to the tune of "Bringing Sexy Back."  He's a regular JT.  And my mom actually is coming to town next weekend, so it was kind of perfect.).

Excuse me?
The babysitters took Zuzu out for a stroller ride and David and I grabbed a roll of Frog Tape and headed up to the nursery.  (Note: This post is not sponsored by Frog Tape, but it totally should be.)

I knew I wanted four stripes of Begonia on each wall, so we started out measuring each wall to determine the width of the stripes.  This is when we discovered that it's an old house and the walls aren't exactly equal in length.  So the stripes are not perfectly uniform (they are roughly 14 inches), but you'd never notice the difference unless you came in with your yardstick.  Which would be awkward and also rude.

We measured the walls, and divided by 8.  Four white stripes, four coral stripes per wall.  We put the marks on the Frog Tape that was already up to delineate the placement of the picture rail trim.  Then I went around and labeled each stripe "W" for white or "P" for pink (even though it's a really bright coral, it was just easier to call it pink).

It's hard to see, but there's a penciled "W" up there.
That made it easier when it came to placing the vertical stripes, because the tape needed to go on the outside of the P lines and the inside of the W lines.  I was able to do this part by myself, but I needed David for the next part.

We had talked about using a chalk line to make our stripes, or using a string tied to a screw in the light fixture-hole at the center of the room, but in the end it was easiest to just stick the end of the tape on the corresponding stripe already placed on the wall, and then stretch it to the center of the room.

I had printed out a 16-sided shape from the shape function in Microsoft word (a suggestion my brother made) so we used that as our basic guide for lining up our stripes.  I knew they wouldn't be perfect since the walls aren't a perfect square and the ceiling's not perfectly straight, but I wanted to get them as close as possible.  (I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing, but I totally am when it comes to painting stripes).  I stood at the wall and David stood in the center of the room and we stretched the tape taut, then pressed it into place, making sure it would adhere smoothly to the slightly textured ceiling.

It took us almost two hours to slowly make our way around the room.  16 stripes total means 32 pieces of tape meticulously stretched, lined up, stuck, and smoothed into place.  (Note--the stripes look uneven because the tape is inside the white lines so there's more surface area exposed to be painted pink.)

It was exhausting, and doing all that work with our arms over our head was like a cardio workout in itself.  It was a chilly 60 degrees out, but we were so warm we turned off the heat.

In addition to putting up the stripes, I added a sticker of tape in the middle of each stripe that was to stay white, so those are the green dots you see.  The last thing I wanted was to screw up and accidentally paint the wrong stripe pink.

We were left with a little pinwheel of painter's tape, and my arms were already tired!

It was about this time that the babysitters arrived back home with a sleeping baby in the stroller.  Their work was done, so David carried the entire stroller and sleeping babe upstairs so she could snooze in the nursery as I started painting.  Fortunately, Zuzu slept for almost two hours, and I got a lot done.

First, I used a brush to paint the center of the pinwheel, where the pie-wedges got really small, up by the light fixture-hole.  Then I edged all along where the ceiling meets the wall, and in the four corners.  Then I took a smaller roller and started rolling.  I found it less daunting to break the room into smaller chunks, so I rolled all around the walls first, then started on the ceiling and worked my way from the inside out.

Brush strokes in the middle and roller on the wall, done.  Now I just had to make them meet.

I'd gotten about halfway done with the first coat (we've found that the textured plaster walls always require two coats) when Zuzu woke up.  David had just finished up the master bedroom (we'd gotten another gallon of paint so we could do the second coat) so he came in and took over the rolling while I kept the baby entertained.  It took him another hour or so, but we were left with this:

And then we peeled back the tape and saw this:

Ta-DA!  Isn't she beautiful?
I was so nervous about peeling off the tape, but I'm really happy with how it turned out.  Yes, there are a couple spots where the paint bled a little bit under the tape, but I knew that was inevitable because of the texture.  Overall, I was so impressed with the way the Frog Tape made clean lines, even on a fairly uneven surface.

It truly wasn't that hard to do, although it looks impressive (even to me!).  It was definitely time consuming, but it was more tedious than it was challenging.  Totally worth it, though, as far as I'm concerned.

I smile every time I see the room.  I think it looks so bright and cheery and exciting.  David calls it the Big Top Tent, but it is NOT a circus themed nursery, as I do not care for clowns.  Or the mistreatment of circus performing animals.  I do, however, like a nice striped tent.

We still have to add the picture rail, and we've decided to paint the trim in this room white.  We've discovered that the trim is pine stained to look like the oak floors (hidden under the carpet in here), so I'm not as worried about salvaging it, and the trim in this room is not in great condition.  I think a  crisp white trim will look really nice.  Eventually we're going to refinish the hardwood floors, but I'm already on the hunt for a great rug because the carpet is older and while it's not worn out (it was a little-used office space previously), it is faded so you can see where they had placed furniture.  I also plan to sew some curtains (I need to order fabric this week).  We'll stick a small ceiling medallion up there to cover the points of the stripes, and I have a special project in mind for the light fixture.  It might just be above my skill set, but I'm going to tackle it if I can get my Crafty Cousin Amanda to come in town for a weekend and do it for me help me out.

So that's our Major Progress at the new house!

Other Things We've Done:
- painted the bathroom (Light French Gray, to be consistent with the nursery across the hall, and because it goes with the shower curtain we already have)
- painted the front bedroom
- painted the master bedroom and sitting room
- painted the pantry and repapered the shelves

Man, that list seems short considering the amount of time it's taken us to get through it (three weekends working long days).

Things We Still Want to Do
- repaper the bathroom shelves
- pull up carpet upstairs
- have upstairs and downstairs hardwood refinished
- put new carpet runner on the stairs
- make/buy window treatments
- repaint downstairs rooms (eventually)
- purchase a buffet for storage in the dining room
- make light fixture for the nursery
- stencil the half bath downstairs

And that's not even including David's plans for the lawn, garden, and chickens.  I feel like a certain home/lifestyle/DIY blogger after making that list.  Haha.

The big move happens this weekend (!) and the only thing on that list that really has to get done this week is repapering the bathroom shelves.  Oh--and we'll figure out some makeshift window treatments.  Everything else is on hold until we have the time and/or money to make it happen.

In the meantime, I'll just be hanging out in the Big Top Nursery, admiring my handiwork.


  1. I LOVE THE STRIPES! So glad you did frogtape and "not those other guys" as it makes a far more crisp line! :)

    Caro is sure to love it! :)

  2. WOW! It looks awesome. And makes me feel very tired and lazy. :)

  3. SO COOL! I love it. We are not so adventurous, but I wish we were!

  4. I want to move and paint a house now.

    Correction, I want to move and have you and David come paint my house.

    Way to go Ducks.

  5. This is seriously amazing! Having painted most of my own house (alone! lame!) I can say this looks super hard and you did an amazing job.

  6. I love it!

    I am really impressed with what a trooper David is to entertain and even help with your stripes idea. If I suggested such a thing to my husband, it would have been a solo project for sure.

    Also I think you must be a bit crazy to have dreamt that up and decide to go for it.

    Good job! Good luck with your move!

  7. Impressive! I would have given up for sure and painted the ceiling one colour so I admire your tenacity. It looks great!

  8. I'm super impressed!! I would have never had the patience!! Looks awesome!

  9. Great job! Around here, it's a big deal if we even manage to paint a room in a solid color.

    Also, your description of this project made me laugh. I'm happy to see that someone is even more obsessive than I am.

  10. Perfect it is and very unique.. I saw this amazing shower door with a stencil pattern and it looked so good. You have done all that and you have a 10 month old? Wow! You guys are awesome. And yay! For a teething baby.

  11. Love the nursery! So ambitious... we moved in to our house last fall, and haven't painted a single wall. I'm incredibly lazy...

  12. Oh. My. God. That is amazing. I would like this to be in my house right now. So what time should I expect you??

  13. This is off topic from your post, but my cousin had a baby this week and named her "Eliza". I thought of YOUR Eliza and was happy to hear her name.

  14. Holy moly. You are out of control with your awesome paint skills. My plan is to repaint my ceiling in a non depression causing comet dust, but lawd you take it to a whole new level.

  15. I'm tired just reading that! Great job, I can't wait to see the finished room!

  16. That looks so awesome!!! I hope she loves it!

  17. I'm impressed! J could pull this off, but I got a bit lost just reading your post. Well done! I'm ready to move now ...

  18. That is so awesome.

    For the record, my marriage would not have survived us trying to do a project like that together.

    No joke.

  19. what a cute idea. looks like a lot of work