I’m very happy and thankful for our house and I’m slowly chipping away at making it “ours” in every way possible. I’ve always dreamed of owning an English-storybook-meets-Victorian-style house with a peaked roof, brick chimney and climbing roses over a gated arbor. But for less than a million bucks inside the city? I think not…
I guess you could say we settled for a typical Montreal abode, a basic rectangular brick number, attached on both sides. Needless to say, I felt the urge to inject some personality into an otherwise drab facade and had been flirting with the thought of painting the front door a bright red for several months. Over a recent long weekend, I finally took the plunge and here’s how I did it:
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The backyard of our new house was under the “pro” column when we decided to buy it, but by the first winter, we realized we didn’t enjoy it like we thought we would and made a plan to completely transform it. And being the super gung-ho impatient crazy lady that I am, I insisted we tackle it as soon as the snow melted, so we could enjoy it all summer. Here’s the whole long growing a new lawn from seed story, the only kind of story I know how to tell!
One of the first things we did when we moved into our lovely home was tackle our not-so-lovely second floor walls. For some reason (we seem to say that a lot about the people we bought the house from…) the sellers of the house wanted textured walls in the entire second floor. I’m talking heavily veiny, pimple walls. Yikes.
Needless to say, I hopped onto Google even before we moved in and did a ton of research on what we could do about this. The traditional way to get rid of textured walls is probably just sand it down to a smooth finish and paint over it. However, there is almost definitely lead in at least some of our paint since the house was built in 1944. Sanding the paint off would release particles into the air and sure, it might not be so bad, we could have gotten the paint tested to be sure, or we could have gotten professionals who know how to properly work with this type of situation, but we didn’t want the extra hassle or cost, and even thought it might be fun to tackle this project ourselves.
I’m warning you right now… It was fun for about a week. Then I got over it real fast and even suffered some shoulder injuries. Skim coating is no joke. It took us about two months to do three rooms, a hallway and the staircase, working almost every weekend, all day, and weekday evenings.
In our defense, this is the first kind of heavy-duty DIY/renovating we’ve ever done and there was a lot of trial and error in the beginning as we tried to feel everything out to get the best result. Also, we didn’t do it how a professional probably would have. I found a more “foolproof” way, which no doubt ended up taking longer, but I think worked better for a couple of amateurs.
So here’s how we got rid of our textured walls by skim coating:
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One of the things I knew I really wanted to do in our new house was swap out the dated, builder-grade light fixtures with ones with more personality and flare. In my opinion, light fixtures and window treatments are the easiest way to completely transform a room. I really wanted a statement piece in our entryway and became obsessed with the sunburst style light fixture.
It’s such an interesting shape and design without imposing itself too much into the space, an essential feature for me considering our entryway is so small and the stairs would interfere with anything hanging too low. What I didn’t love was the price tag… The cheapest I could find was $800 and there were many well over that amount. There had to be a cheaper DIY version, I thought, and a quick Google search revealed several creative ways others have solved this sunburst problem. Here’s how I ended up turning our boring entry light into a flashy statement:
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