Posts Tagged ‘paint’

My Pink Bathroom Update

In the spirit of preserving the past with a contemporary twist, here is the completed update on the Pink Bathroom project. As a quick recap, this idea started with a visit to the Save My Pink Bathroom blog. As it turns out, there is an entire community of enthusiasts fighting to “save” their mid-century pink bathrooms. As Pam describes her mission:

“This little website grew out of mid-century home lovers’ concern that pink bathrooms were being ripped out of post-war American homes way too hastily. How sad it is, to catch a TV makeover show that rips out a perfectly beautiful vintage bathroom… Seems like a bunch of the rest of the world — well behind our curve — actually dislikes mid-century pink bathrooms.  They will regret what they have done.”

Often here in Flatbush with our turn of the century homes it was a mid-century decision to “modernize” the bathroom in the newly popular pink color. The tradition of the pink bathroom emerged from the former first lady Mamie Eisenhower, in office 1953 –1961.

Looking at them now, they are totally dated, but with the wrong date stamp for our late victorian houses. Fiscal prudence often dictates embracing the pink bathroom and working with what you have, and I have grown quite fond of mine.  It must be the fourth pink bathroom I have had since I started householding. For a low-cost, low-environmental impact project, here are my tips on saving your pink bathroom – or redecorating any bathroom for that matter.

I was missing a few pink bullnose tiles that had fallen out and broken years ago, and pulling the medicine cabinet out of the wallOlive Design Bathroom damaged a few more.  As per my previous blog on this, I sent one of the samples to Chippy Scaparelli at World of Tile. She sent back 4 tiles that were a perfect match.  Thanks to Pam for featuring that tip on her site.  My contractor, John Duval, replaced the missing tiles and you can’t tell now which ones they were, it is seamless.  I opted to have the contractor regrout the entire bathroom.  What a huge improvement, it looked brand new, sharp crisp and clean. Worth every penny, and my contractor was amazing in keeping the mess contained- he wiped down the stairs as he was leaving so it wasn’t tracked all over- I was very impressed.

 

I discovered that “clear” in powder coating is 1. More expensive and 2. Not clear at all but a weird taupey/gray.  It looked awful.  The folks at Evernu Metal were kind enough to offer to recoat it in white. It wasn’t what I was going for originally, but it looks fresh and pretty against the bright white new grouting.  The inside I painted turquoise, just for fun.

I knew what color I had in mind for the walls, and in the spirit of both thrift and environmentalism, I went down to my shop in the basement and mixed up just the color I needed using various leftover paint samples.  Mixing left over paint is a great alternative if you don’t want to discard it or wait for the yearly collection of hazardous waste materials that the city sponsors. If you don’t have any leftover paint from previous projects, go to Build-It-Green NYC, arguably the best source of paint for a low-cost project. They have gallons upon gallons of paint in their Astoria warehouse.. many for $5 a can. They get their supplies donated from surplus construction and renovation projects, so if you can’t re-use your own paint, re-use theirs! (P.S. they also have another location in Gowanus, Brooklyn). Another place with the same ethos is Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for those of you located in Westchester, Long Island, and beyond.

The shower curtain and window fabric that I used was made from yardage I had hand screened printed while an apprentice at the Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia after college. The colors worked well with both tile and wall color, and I liked the funky pattern in here- and bonus point, I already had the fabric, and was glad to see it used.

My pink chandelier was up-cycled from a table lamp part that I converted into a hanging fixture, and painted to match the bathroom.  The ceiling in the bathroom is dropped and made of some sort of acoustical tile that had seen better days.  I had routinely painted it gloss white in the past to freshen it, but I took the opposite tack here and made another “mary mix” paint from the samples stash, and came up with a nice charcoal gray.  It looks dramatic, and helps hide the flaws in the ceiling.  The dark color seems to make the ceiling float up and away

As with most projects, this one took about twice as much time as initially anticipated. Overall, I am pleased with the outcome and loving my pink bathroom!

 

Would love to hear your comments on my Facebook page on how you’ve updated your own bathroom with a budget and environmentally conscious approach.

 

In Praise of Checkerboards

I had occasion to visit  an American Legion post this weekend, for a memorial for my father.  When I went down to the service kitchen I was impressed by just how cool it was- all because of the incredibly fabulous checkerboard floor.

Checkerboard Kitchen Floor

I took a shot of the floor with Maureen, one of the lovely Auxillary ladies who was helping with the food for the service.  I love the way a checkerboard floor, made from even the most mundane material (linoleum or paint), can transform a space  into something fun and dynamic.

The laundry room floor photo was taken while I was visiting a friend.

Checkerboard FloorI was impressed by the great color scheme (it matched my scarf perfectly), how the time was taken to make these inexpensive tiles in a utility room return more than their money’s worth in great design.

 

Designs on Wood

No Comments » Written on January 17th, 2012 by
Categories: Decorating Ideas, Olive Design, Olive Green
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After a film crew unceremoniously sanded off my teal blue kitchen floor, with its aqua checkerboard, I was left with a somewhat unlovely- but natural-looking wood floor.   I didn’t miss the fabulous teal color I had painted as much as I did the pattern on top.  So I designed a checkerboard ”rug” to drop on top of the polyurethaned wood.  It gives me the pattern fun, but is easy to maintain.  When  the next film crew that used my kitchen (see it in the pilot show of “a Gifted Man”) damaged the floor- it was easy to paint back in a few tiles without re-doing the whole thing!

As the floor was an awkward shape, I designed an area with the size squares that I had in mind and positioned it on the floor with a same-color border all around.  It makes it way easier than dealing with the awkward edges of the room that do not lend themselves to extending a checkerboard across the whole thing.

I took the opportunity, when the floor was redone, to switch to a water based finish.  With today’s new technology the finish is just as sturdy as the oil based variety, dries faster and is way less toxic than its alkyd brethren.

I have used natural floors as the backdrop for other floor patterns, it makes a great textured ground and hides blemishes and mess better than a plain two-colored pattern.

 

 

The Amazing Instant Chalkboard Door

No Comments » Written on January 11th, 2012 by
Categories: Decorating Ideas
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Keep your revolution in communication and personal digital devices, I’ll take The Amazing Instant Chalkboard Door any day!

Some elbow grease, primer, and blackboard paint have transformed my drab pantry portal into iDoor! Okay, maybe it’s not that amazing, but it is handy, handsome and heaps of fun to have an old-school chalkboard in the kitchen!

Those pesky grocery lists that slip off the fridge are a thing of the past. Now after a disappointing trip to the pantry, I write down the missing items right on the door. Obviously I can’t bring the door to Fairway, but when I copy the list down before I go, I take the time to organize it, so that items in the same aisle are listed near each other. I don’t want to see parsley on the list when I have already cleared meats and dairy!

Doors are great places for Instant Chalkboards. I painted one in a girl’s room that is used for messages, schedules and doodles. In another application I spec’d a chalkboard area in a co-op building’s playroom. It was a low cost, quick solution. Size can be easily adapted to the site. If you have a kids play area and an accessible wall, you can make the chalkboard size to suit the space. To give it more oomph you can even add some trim molding to form a frame around your chalkboard.

Any very smooth paintable surface will do. I recommend a quick sand with an orbital sander, but you sand by hand if you prefer; more muscle, less dust.
Once you sand, apply a primer. My current favorite, as recommended by my excellent painter, Christine Hughes, is a product called Stix. It has great adhesion, and receives the paint beautifully. I have heard several contractors and my paint supplier rave about this stuff.

When the primer is dry (follow instructions on the can for drying times) apply the blackboard paint. According the experts, “be careful not to over-coat and don’t go back and “work” an area, just touch up uneven sections with the second coat.” I‘m not sure what happens when the chalkboard paint is “overworked”, but it can’t be good. Apply the second coat the next day. Once it’s painted, give it a few days to cure. I like to leave it for a whole weekend.

I keep my chalk in a cup by the door, but you can buy a drawer pull and turn it upside down to hold a few pieces right on the door. It’s fun, inexpensive and unexpected, and the pop of black paint can be really interesting…although you might have to explain how to use this device to your kids!