Paint for days…

This year we have no major vacations planned, so with several days of Paid Time Off left I decided to take a week off for a little staycation. On my to do this: Paint our knotty pine office.

This will most definitely require a week off from work because we’re talking a lot of wood and a ton of paint.

Day 1: Prepping

  1. Sam and I piled all the furniture in our small living room and temporarily relocated the office computer.
  2. We removed the door and hardware, as well as the wall plates and light switch covers.
  3. Once the room was cleaned out, we applied water and Trisodium phosphate (TSP) with a sponge to clean the wood. The finish starts to drip and makes a huge mess when you apply this mixture, so as I wipe the wall with the sponge I have to wipe the drips with a towel. Kind of like you are waxing a car: wax on, wax off. I did this step twice, the second time with a clean bucket of water and TSP.
  4. Then we spackled as many nail holes and imperfections as we could find.
  5. Finally, I’m a messy painter, and I despise drop cloths that are always bunching, so I decided to tape off the floor and roll out rosin paper.
  6. I also gathered all my tools (brushes, rollers, paint, paper towels, paint stirrer and can opener…). Everything was ready to go in the morning.

Day 2: Priming
We are using Kiltz Premuim Primer that has stain blocking built in, which is important to help cover the the knotty pine completely. Using a brush, I started with the the wood grooves between each panel, and also the base boards and trim. This took me ALL DAY. Well not all day, but about 5 hours. The wood finish is still seeping through the primer, so I’m gueesing we will need at least another coat of primer before we add our actual paint color, Swiss Coffee by Behr.  The room is a lot brighter already, but we have a way to go. I see no end in sight….
Continue reading

Rocks and Fire

Summer nights are for bonfires at our house.  That’s what you do when you live in the country. We inherited a fire pit when we moved in, but it was small (maybe 2 feet wide) and built into a slope. The spot was right off our deck, so that was convenient. If there were more than four people it was crowded and if you had too many beers there was the issue of falling into the fire because your chair is tipped at a right angle.

As usual I do not have a before picture of our fire pit, except for this awesome shot when we were power washing the deck. Forewarning, our house was a dump when we bought it and the pit was burried by three years of weeds.

Behold the fire pit pre-fire days. You don’t see it? It’s under that big pile of weeds (see it behind the deck steps). You can see the rocks peaking out from the burr bushes.

Continue reading

Old Deck Furniture

We have been in our house three years now. That’s THREE summers with no furniture on our deck. Other than our grill and a few plants, the deck was naked. My grandparents had given us a large round metal table with 5 chairs, but it was too big. So they found a home on the grassy knoll next to the deck, which sits under the canopy of 100+ year old beach tree. The spit is picture perfect, if I do say so myself.

This summer my mormor (mother’s-mother in Swedish) had more outdoor furniture she wanted to trash. It was a small metal bistro set that had seen better days. The plastic seating had started to disintegrate, so that needed to be replaced and there was some rusting. When I was transporting them to my house, I stupidly left one in my car all day. In case your wondering, rotting plastic on a hot, humid summer afternoon releases a toxic smell that is pretty horrific.

The first step was to remove the old plastic weave, which was rotting so bad it basically crumbled in your hands and did I mention it smelled? It took me a good hour or more to strip both chairs and the table.


Continue reading

Flash Back to Spring: Knotty Pine Hallway

You might remember this post: Knott-the-Pine. Well this past Spring we tackled the hallway, which was covered floor to ceiling with knotty pine. I took a few days off, and my plan was to do both the hallway and the office. Three days later, a bucket of water and Trisodium phosphate (TSP), a gallon of paint, and the hallway was the only space gleaming with delight.

It took some convincing from my husband to help me with the project because for some crazy reason he actually LIKES the knotty-pine. Luckily the rest of the world agrees with me and this trend is never coming back in style, so I showed him a few pictures of how clean and bright our spaces could be if we painted. The transformation was exactly was I was hoping for.

First we cleaned and stripped the walls with water and Trisodium phosphate (TSP). Sam’s dad is a cabinet maker and recommended this stuff to us. It’s basically a cleaning agent and it removed the varnish from the pine. We wiped the walls down once, and you could see the varnish start to drip down, so one of us washed and the other followed behind to wipe up the mess.  Then we started to paint the walls with a two in one-primer. We were going for a weathered look so I rolled on the paint while Sam used a big brush to create a wood-grain look with the each stroke. I had to compromise with Sam because I honestly would have done a second coat. With this technique you could still kind of see the dark pine underneath, but as I said, Sam likes the wood. I do love that you can see the knots and cracks from the wood. I think it adds character and our house is 135+ years old so nothing is perfect around here.
Continue reading

Five buck lamp shade

I kinda have an infatuation with using natural, rustic things as decor in our house …wood, stones, rock, glass…and right now burlap.

A few weeks ago Sam and I splurged and bought a Pottery Barn burlap lamp shade for – I don’t know – over fifty bucks (I had a coupon and we bought a rug) – and I can’t bare to look up what we actually paid because I made an almost identical one for five bucks.

We had a plain white lamp shade on a cool floor lamp that was a bit shabby, so I went to the craft store and bought some burlap for $5 (and I even have enough fabric left over to cover at least one more shade). I traced a pattern on some newspaper, cut, and used a hot glue gun to secure it on the shade!

What do you think?
Continue reading

No Delivery

Sometimes living in the country has its setbacks. My favorite thing about living in downtown Albany was walking to fabulous restaurants and bars; and being able to order delivery. We can’t do much of that now that we live in the middle of nowhere.

Like last night when we were sitting on the couch – our muscles sore from working hard in the yard all weekend and with dinner time quickly approaching – a pizza commercial came on the TV. It looked so appetizing and simple. No cooking needed. Delivery – a perfect idea. Unfortunately, since we moved out here we found only one place that delivers to our house – and the pizza – not so good. You know you’re in trouble when you can’t even get a good slice of pie! I looked online and found a few places to call – they all had the same response – no delivery to our house.
Continue reading


My parents are laying down 2,200 sq. ft of new hard wood floors in their house, which is more than half their house. That’s a big project! So this weekend Sam and I helped them rip up the carpet and old wide plank pine floors currently in their home. My parents built the house in 1989 and twenty plus years later they are still making upgrades and design changes! It reminds me to be patient with all the future project ideas we have for our house.

Sam and I will be benefitting from their current project because we plan to refinish and reuse the pine floors from their remodel. The first floor of our house has two bedrooms, and we plan to demo the dividing wall and create a large master bedroom with an on suite bathroom. Before you say it, yes I know it’s pine and it’s a soft wood, but we’re thinking the bedroom is a low traffic area. Lots of area rugs and they will be perfect. We’re planning to use a darker stain and old-fashion cut nails to hold them down. Blog post to follow in the spring when we start knocking down walls and ripping up our floors!

Continue reading