Welcome To Our Little Big House On The Prairie

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Diva's Room: Part 1

Not a quick fix, but an easy one.  Not.

We started on the diva's room at the beginning of June.  It's the 3rd bedroom, which originally was the boys' room.  When we had the surprise of bouncing baby boy #4, I decided that they were going to need the bigger of the two kids' rooms and I switched their bedrooms.  Plus, if you remember in my post here, Bedroom #2 had the lovely blue and yellow flower theme going on.  There was no way my athletic boys were going anywhere near that room.

Here's the BEFORE pic when it was the boys' room:

Little did I know that when I got the grand idea of giving the diva an extreme room makeover while she was visiting my momma in North Carolina, that it was going to turn into a full-blown room remodel.  Nothing is ever as easy as you think its going to be when you're doing stuff to an older home.

My friend, Natalie and I made plans for her to come over and we were going to prime the walls while our kiddos played.  After I had cleared everything out of the room, I noticed there were some places where the paint seemed to be peeling off the walls - all the way down to the plaster.  The hubs told me just to flake off what I could and then to sand and feather the edges, so it wouldn't be as noticeable when we applied the paint.  Yeah.  Right.  As I started to remove the flaking paint, it came off in huge SHEETS!  All the way down to the plaster.  Before we knew it, we had an entire wall that had no paint on it whatsoever.  Lord, help!

After doing a lot of internet searches and reading, reading, and reading some more, I've determined that when the idiots previous owners (I'll be calling them idiots a lot on here because they did some ridiculous stuff.) painted the room, they didn't properly prep the walls AND they used cheap paint.  In their defense though, I'm sure that the last couple of years of heat and humidity didn't help things either.

Now, I'm a big one for saying, "If you're going to do something, do it right or not at all."  So, I ended up removing the paint on all four walls using these:

What fun!  No, not really.  It took 8 solid hours of scraping, by myself, to finish the 3 remaining walls.  And of course it all couldn't come off as easily as the first wall did.  Figures, right?  But wow!  What a sense of accomplishment when it was all said and done.

Here's the AFTER scraping pic:

After finishing scraping, I dove once again back into the internet to figure out just what to do with the walls.  Of course, as time passes, plaster gets chunks taken out of it or the house settles and you have fine cracks or even really big cracks.  So, those had to be fixed, and done correctly.

I luh-ove the internet?  Don't you?  All that lovely information right at your fingertips!  One of the biggest things that has concerned me was how to fix these ugly plaster walls.  When we re-did the kitchen (still in progress 2 years later - you will NOT be getting a picture of that yet!  LOL), we ripped everything out to the studs - all the plaster and lath.  That was a nightmare.  We had plaster dust everywhere!  I really did not want to repeat that experience, so I was resigned to having walls that were bumpy and lumpy in places. It really disappointed me because I'm a color person.  Our house in North Carolina had a different color in every room, all complementing and moving seamlessly from room to room.  Here, I have white.  I have light blue.  But no color because color shows every last fault in the walls.  :(  We found that out when I tried to do a mustard color (BAD color choice - it looked like infant poop) in the stairwell.  I have been resigned to having light/pastel (yuck!) colors on the walls.

But the internet saves the day!!

Here's how you fix unsightly plaster walls.  There are tons of sites and differing opinions on how to skim coat plaster walls.  The common thread amongst them all is using a setting type joint compound, instead of the ready-mixed.  Don't get the ready-mixed!

I'm not a big one to post how-to, so I'm not going to go into lengthy detail about how we skim-coated the walls.  There's already a wealth of information available out there on how to do just that.  Besides, I'm no expert.

Here's a few pictures though, that I took of the process:

Mixing the setting-type joint compound.

Applying it.

Look how pretty and smooth that wall is!

The hubs does such great work!
(You didn't actually think I did it myself, did you?  LOL!)

The finished first coat.

The whole process took a few days - okay, a week.  We still had a business to run, hay to bale, kids to run places...  So, it took us about a week to apply the first and second coats of the skim-coat.  But let me tell you, it looks FABULOUS! 

I don't think that the walls will be completely smooth, because we're the average do-it-yourselfers.  But it will be a heck of a lot better than it was.  We're currently on week 6 of waiting for the skim coat to cure.  I'm REALLY getting tired of waiting, but I'm petrified of rushing things and having all that lovely paint I bought peeling off like the other did.  It generally takes 7-14 days for the skim-coat to set, but since we didn't have the air conditioning installed until 2 weeks ago, we've been fighting heat and humidity.  Not the optimal conditions for curing.  So, until its ready to be sanded, painted, and primed, we're patiently (not really) waiting.

Have you ever attempted skim-coating?  If you have, I'd love to hear how it turned out!  Right now, I'm just living on the hope that we did it right and it all turns out exactly like I'm imagining it will.


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