Friday, May 30, 2014

Graham's Room Redo, Phase 1: or How I learned to stop worrying and love faux brick

Hello Blog Readers:

This year has been crazy busy I tell you.  Our new little house in California is a work in progress.  Between working and running after our little ones, we've been revamping the rooms one by one.

One day Graham's speech pathologist calls me and starts asking me the most unusual questions about my house. 

"Did you used to have a wood burning stove in your living room?" 

"Yes..."  I replied, puzzled.  Not going to lie, little creeped out too.

"Did you have a yellow brick wall in your kitchen?"

"Yes.  God, yes."  (We went full Elton John on that wall and said Goodbye.)

 Finally I got round to the heart of it and asked, "Why are you asking all these weird questions about my house?!"

She laughed, "Your house was on House Hunters Renovations last night!"

We had to wait for a re-run, but we finally saw the episode.  If you're not fans of the show, HHR is one of the newer iterations of House Hunters.  They give a shorter time span to the "ringer" houses as I call them, the couple picks the house they're going to buy, and then showcases the renovations they do to their new house.

So the episode was filmed while we were in escrow and was one of the houses the couple did not select.  The list price of the home was also falsified.  HGTV does this a lot, sorry to ruin the illusion. 

The couple was pretty merciless to our house, it was interesting to see what random TV people thought about the place we now call home.  We agreed with a lot of it.  There was one room in particular that wasn't even photographed on the multiple listing sheet. 

Perhaps you can see why the realtor decided to skip the photos on this room.  In addition to that incredible brick veneer/faux wood paneling combo, there was this bizarre CC TV camera in the opposite corner and upper kitchen cabinets mounted on the side walls (light oak, the 90s are still alive and well!).  I don't even know.  I walked in that room and shook my head a lot.

As you can surmise from the crib, this was our older son Graham's room.

Now Graham loves cars.  Love is putting it mildly.  He loves the Cars franchise, but he also just loves cars in general.  How they work, driving them around, taking them apart and then fixing them.  He's a mechanic on the make. 

So we decided to redo his room as auto garage.  Kid style.

I had never worked with chalk paint, so I decided now was as good a time as any and that the brick wall would be my guinea pig.  I had so much fun!

 So the color scheme of this brick and mortar had to go.  I don't think black mortar was ever in style.

I did base coat of taupe (left over from painting our living room) on the bricks and the mortar just to even the whole wall out. 

I actually did 2 coats of taupe because black paint is pretty tenacious.  Painting over deep colors like navy blue (more on that later) and red can be taxing.

Don't you just love how I taped off the wall so there wouldn't be paint drips?  I used to be meticulous about stuff like that.  Then I had kids.  I can tell you that painting this base coat took two naps and 3 cups of coffee, for what that's worth!

I really dug the chalk paint.  I just used one of the DIY recipes you can find with friend Google, but I would totally buy a branded chalk paint in the future.  It just takes all the guess work out of the equation. 

Onto the color.  I wanted to do the actual bricks red. 

I painted each brick individually because that's how I roll.

I used a 3" flat chip brush for the face of the bricks and a really lame kids paint brush for the sides of the bricks.  I should not have cheaped out here, but it was all I had on hand at the time.

For color I used a Behr interior flat color called January Garnet. 

The red went on pretty great even with one coat. 

This gives you an idea of what the chip brush covered and what the small flat brush had to fill in.  It was a bit of work, but it was worth it to get appropriate coverage.  Otherwise I would have gotten a lot of red paint in the mortar. 

Here is two coats of red paint.  Great coverage.  I also applied Minwax Paste Wax over top.  Just one coat.  It has a really awesome REAL BRICK feel now. 

The distractingly ugly curtains are Graham's black-out curtains.  Don't worry, they are not long for this world.  You may be wondering how I was going to go about cleaning the paint drips I got on everything.  My solution was simply to cover everything up.  So the white walls had to go next.

I would like to tell you that I decided on this amazing slate grey color myself.  But that would be a lie.  Laura came over and dumped 3 paints together and said, "This is the color you seek."  One coat in and we were already totally in love with it.  For optimum coverage, this needed 2 coats.  I ended up having to go to Home Depot and having them color match Laura's concoction.  I've had horrible results with color match before, but this time it was bang on.  So that was nice.

Some of the trim in the room was oil based navy blue and some was not.  So that had to be unified.  In other words, no more navy.  And the mirrored closet doors were not my friends either.  More on that later.

Next step, eliminate wood paneling.  Another of Graham's fondest playthings are magnets.  He has all kinds of developmental magnets designed for teaching letter and shape recognition.  We had a small magnet board for him in our old house in Oregon, but we decided to go for the gusto here.  We decided to do a magnet wall.

Nate got sheet aluminum (it's in the roofing department) from Home Depot and used a grinder wheel to cut it to be flush with the window frame.

This stuff is pretty sharp, so we wanted to make each sheet sit exactly flush next to the other.  That way no little fingers would get pinched.  The sheets are 4 foot square from what I recall.  I think we used four of them.

The aluminum sheets are all different.  Some have imperfections.  I actually like that, it gives more of a garage feel.  I cleaned the aluminum sheets with Steel Meister because they have kind of a weird oily residue at first. 

So that's it for Phase 1.  Whew.  Doesn't seem like much in pictures but it was a barrel of work! 

Stay tuned for Phase 2, where we ditch those curtains, use some stencils (You knew that was coming, right?), put up some molding, and someone gets a big boy bed!

Thanks for reading.  If I can help one random person on the internet learn to love their faux brick wall, this was time well spent.