Small measures

While the work on the kitchen continues, my own DIY projects have chugged along in small increments. At this point, my approach is fairly scattershot and nothing is really complete, although the bedroom is close.

Recently, I’ve been working on the “pink room”, a second bedroom on the second floor. When we first moved in, we put almost all the boxes and unhung artwork in that room while we cleaned and sorted the rest of the house, as evidenced in this quickly-snapped phone pic.


We emptied the room, and I painted the walls a lighter shade of ballet pink, Sherwin William’s Intimate White.  Because of the nature of the second floor layout—there’s a door to the main hall outside our bedroom and a door to the laundry room that leads to our main bathroom and the back stairs—we use this room as a pass through even more than the hall. I don’t have distinct plans to decorate right away, though. I plan to wait to find the right pieces to fill the room, but I wanted to clean up the bones while it’s empty.

This room also gets the best light from three large windows with deep windowsills. All three had water damage from old leaks and likely badly installed air conditioners. I’ve had a lot of luck refreshing paint with smaller cracks and flakes just using a high quality paint, but this went beyond that.



This is the worst of the windowsills after some paint bubbles had been scraped away. I used filler to fill the cracks and level the unevenness between old coats of paint. I had two different products on hand that I tried. Initially I liked the quick fill that dried and could be painted in a matter of minutes, but the finish was much better with the more traditional filler that needed to dry for 24 hours and sanded after. It’s basically the reoccurring life lesson I’m always reluctant to learn.

In this picture, the window sill is complete and the baseboard had been filled, but still needed to be sanded and painted.



After sanding, I thoroughly vacuumed and washed away the dust, then applied two coats of white latex paint. I’m curious to see how it holds up in the long term, and I’m so hoping there are no residual leaks that will undo the work, but right now, I’m in love with these clean, white surfaces.

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The other quick update I did was to replace the doorknobs. The beautiful Victorian hardware is long gone, though I can see the patched evidence on the original doors. At some point, they had all been replaced with the cheapest of the cheap shiny gold doorknobs that now hang loosely by the skin of their screws

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In my dream of dreams, I’d love to put in period appropriate hardware, or something solid brass, but both are out of budget at the moment. Instead, I picked out a reasonably priced, handsome Kwikset knob set. It’s an oil rubbed bronze finish, but looks more like a matte black in person.

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Replacing a doorknob of the same size is dead easy and just takes a Phillips screwdriver. The set comes in four pieces: the latch, two knobs, and the kickplate. The latch slips in the side, and then the knobs screw in on either side. A ten year old with an affinity for Legos could do it.

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I replaced three sets in one evening, and it took approximately 45 minutes, even considering the learning curve. I also found matching switch plates to complete the look.

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Looking at the picture above, I realize that I definitely forgot to paint the small section of baseboard between the hall and closet door, so there’s that, and replacing the hinges would go a long way. But like I said, scattershot.

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7 comments

  1. Those doors are so beautiful. So much character. It’s crazy how much of a difference paint can make. The progress looks great!

    1. I love the big old doors! I actually think that the hall door is not original, since the oldest ones all have the keyhole-shaped molding, but I’d venture to bet that they’re at least pre-1920s. And agree, paint goes a long, long way.

  2. Lorna's Laces · · Reply

    I LOVE the painting of the woman with the corsage and glasses!

    1. Me, too! I just can’t resist portraits of sassy ladies.

  3. Those small changes made such an improvement!

    1. It really is amazing how much a coat of paint can revive a room. I’m not a huge fan of the process, but the outcome makes it worth it.

  4. Rachel Loischild · · Reply

    So happy to see progress:) and thank you for the first floor layout diagram last time. Also if the hinges seem original don’t toss them you can remove the layers of bad paint using a crockpot and them spray paint them with black paint and they will look awesome. The more we see of your house the more awesome it gets! I love old houses.

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