Mar 6, 2013

Half-Bath Striped Makeover, Part 1

Our house was built in 1952.  If you know much about older homes you know that they tend to have certain characteristics.  Some of those are great things like detailed woodwork and beautiful fireplaces.  Other thing are not so good, like limited closet space and small bathrooms. Fortunately we lucked out on the closet space. But when it comes to the bathrooms we didn't exactly hit the real estate jackpot.

We have three bathrooms- one connected to the master, one in the hall, and then a half-bath on the other side of the house. I'm saving pictures of the two full baths for another day because it's too much fabulous-ness for one post (please read that sentence in your best sarcastic voice).  Think lots of tile in colors like bright turquise and mustard yellow.  The half-bath however was a blank slate, which lent itself to an easier and cheaper update.  Here are the before pictures (after a little taping to start the project):

You can see that it was basically a 5 x 6 beige box.  Nothing too offensive, but nothing too exciting either.

My inspiration for this makeover was my long-time obsession with stripes.  Clothes, bags, art, you name it, if it's striped, I love it.  With Bobby on board I decided that I would do wide stripes in gray and white.  This was my main inspiration photo:


So over a three day weekend in January we decided to tackle the bathroom once and for all.  I read a lot of stripe tutorials and found this one to be the most helpful: Lessons in Painting Stripes, from Emily A. Clark.

Supplies needed:
Base color paint (Totten's Inlet, Valspar Signature, eggshell- we had it on hand)
Stripe paint (Rocky Slope, in Valspar Signature, eggshell)
Trim paint- Not necessary, but my trim was cream and I wanted it white 
Painting tape
Long level
Short level (I used a level app on my iphone)
Tape measurer
Paint brush (as always, I recommend this one by Wooster)
Paint roller

Here's the schedule of how our project worked out:

Friday evening: First things first- prep the area.  Take everything out the room.  For my room that consisted of two hand towels, a box of tissues, a trashcan, and a soap dispenser.  Back-breaking work, I tell ya.  I wiped down the walls and trim, and puttied (and later sanded) holes and dents in the trim.  I also taped along where the baseboards meet the floor to avoid getting paint on the floor.  Turns out I didn't need to do this since we ended up putting down new flooring, but I didn't know that at the time.  We also went to Lowes and bought our gray paint on Friday evening.  We had all the other supplies on hand. 

Saturday Morning:  Stop hitting snooze.  Have a few cups of coffee.  Get off Pinterest.  Then paint your walls your base color.  Or if they're already the color you want skip this step and consider yourself lucky.  I also painted my trim.  I used a semi-gloss paint/primer in one on the trim in a shade slightly whiter than the walls to make the trim stand out.  I did two coats on each the walls and trim, and it took all of Saturday morning and into the early afternoon.

Saturday Afternoon/ Evening:  Here's where the math comes into play.  Don't worry, it's relatively easy.  The first thing we did was decide how thick we wanted the stripes.  Try to be strategic when planning your stripes.  For example, you want your towel bar and toilet paper holder to be fully inside a stripe to make your life easier.  Otherwise you need to measure and paint around those objects.  I thought I wanted my stripes to be around a foot wide.  We ended up making them 10.5" to best work around those objects and so we could create an even amount of stripes.  Yours will depend on your ceiling height and how wide you want your stripes.  Drawing a diagram helped me.

Now, measuring from the ceiling, use your tape measurer to start marking down 10.5" (for example).  Make a mark in approximately the center of your wall, and then use your tape measurer and do a few more marks from wall to wall.  Connect the marks with your long level.  You should have a level, horizontal line all the way across the wall, 10.5" down from the ceiling at all points.  Now measure another 10.5" from that stripe and repeat the process, until your wall is completed lined.  It's OK if your bottom section isn't exactly 10.5", because people won't be looking at the bottom of your walls as much as they look at the top and middle.

Now do the rest of the walls.  Yes, this is tedious.  But you'll ask nicely and your husband will do it get in a rhythm and it will go relatively quickly.  The most important thing is to keep your lines level.  Because once you do walls one, two, and three you need to do wall four and have it join walls one and three.  If your lines aren't level on walls one through three, wall four is going to be a slanted mess.  So go slow and be accurate.

My room had some little walls that were too small for our level.  That's where the iPhone level app came in handy.  

Once you have your lines drawn with pencil use pieces of tape to mark the spaces that will not get painted. (the white stripes).  Looking at a room of stripes can be dizzying, so this step will help prevent you from painting a white strip gray.  I decide to keep my top stripe white so I didn't have to edge along the ceiling with the gray paint.

Next you want to use painters tape to create your lines.  Just go slow and keep the tape as straight and level as possible.  You will want the actual strip of tape to be inside the stripe that is staying white (or whatever you base color is).  It's sort of hard to explain, but you know what I mean, right? You need to keep your gray stripe completely open and free from tape so it ends up being the correct width.

Here is part of the room after taping:   

So the areas with tape pieces will stay white, and the blank areas will get painted gray.  The stripes staying white look narrower, but once the tape is removed they will be the same width as the stripes getting painted gray.

That was the end of day two!  Tomorrow: painting and - the best part- pulling off the tape to see those stripes!

Update: See part two here.


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