Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

May 30, 2014

DIY Painted Particle Board Floor (Mmmm, Teal)

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have caught a peek of a project that's been keeping me busy.  A local computer shop is moving from their current retail and tech space to a smaller spot in need of some TLC.  It's downtown, with excellent parking (a rare combination!), so things like missing baseboards and particle board floors were overlooked.


At first I was a little intimidated by the amount of work to do, especially because the budget is miniscule and I'm being paid in tacos (that's not a euphemism for cash).  But I'm always up for a DIY challenge!  The first step was to fill in the hundreds of wall holes with putty, and then sand and prime them in preparation for painting the walls a warm grey (PPG's Aria).  I wanted as light a colour as possible to make the space feel bright and clean, but I knew white would quickly become covered in grubby fingerprints.  Just painting the walls one neutral colour (and not painting around the furniture like the last tenants) improved the space. 


The former tenants had put down what looks like some kind of oriented strand board (or engineered wood particle board), which had become badly stained from water damage and general foot traffic.



Putting something cheap over the particle board, like a peel and stick tile or even click laminate, wasn't an option because it's not 100% level (it's an older building, which exacerbates the wonky installation).  I decided paint would be an easy and inexpensive fix.  A local paint shop suggested a simple primer + floor enamel combo because professional-grade epoxy finishes would crack given the uneven floor.  Plus, without a top coat, a floor enamel can easily be re-touched, and it's not very slippery during wet or snowy months.

I started by giving the floor a good clean: multiple sweepings and then a deep clean with a shop vac.  Next came the primer coat.  I used Kilz Max primer, which is now my favorite primer.


A large brush was used to apply primer along edge of the room (I didn't want to touch the freshly painted walls with my roller), and then the primer was rolled on.  A handle extender was very handy.  I started at one end and painted my way out of the room, making sure everything I needed (car keys!) was accessible at my exit point.  It was dry to the touch in 1/2 and hour and ready for re-coating in one hour, but I let it dry overnight.


The primer was fabulous: it covered nicely and, as promised, dried very quickly.  Not all primers are created equal - and not all are suitable for floors - but this one did an excellent job of concealing water damage and stains and provided a very good base for the floor enamel.  I had the primer tinted as dark a green as they could manage, which helped get the floor to a deep teal.  This process is very similar to what we did for our painted laundry room floor, except we skipped primer then. 



The next morning, I applied the paint in the same fashion: starting with the edges and then using a roller and working my way out of the room.  Like with painting walls, I painted "W"'s to ensure I got paint into the uneven surface.  I took my time and often checked to make sure there were no bare spots.  I worked slowly, with a very saturated roller to ensure full coverage.  The manufacturer's instructions indicated that the floor could be walked on in 24 hours but I let it dry for 48 hours.  The gentleman who helped me at the paint store informed me that paint doesn't actually cure until about the one month mark, but that a couple of days should be fine.

This photo is the most accurate representation of the colour

This is the porch and floor enamel I used:


The enamel had great coverage, but I think the primer did the heavy lifting.  So little of this paint soaked into the floor thanks to the excellent primer.  I needed about a quart or two less of paint than primer.  

The floor turned out lovely.  After I was done I quickly snapped some photos with my phone from outside, and the door wasn't open but a minute before a passerby complimented the colour choice.  With freshly painted walls and floor, the space looks much more attractive.


You can still see the seams a bit, but they are more pronounced in these photos than in real life, thanks to the texture of the particle board and the slight sheen of the paint.   Given the muted teal colour and texture, the floor has a vintage feel, like 1950s laminate counters. 


All of the photos above were taken with my camera phone, which captured the colour somewhat true to life - but a bit more vibrant and green.  My regular camera, on the other hand, refuses to capture teal or turquoise - no matter what I do - and so it photographed the floor more blue.  The truth lies somewhere in the middle.  Ultimately, the colour (PPG's "Time for Teal") is a pretty, silvery, muted teal - much like the colour of blue spruce.  I had a few criteria for choosing the colour: I wanted something cheery because there will be little colour elsewhere, but I also wanted something that would hide dirt.  I also needed to be a colour that wouldn't disguise rogue screws, and that would pair well with the espresso brown furniture that will be moving in.  Plus I like teal; teal is always the answer.



Unfortunately, when I went to help deliver some furniture yesterday (after the floor had been given two days to dry), we found it was still tacky in some places.  I think that 24 hours is quite an optimistic time frame, especially if the conditions aren't ideal (like too much humidity), so in the future I would wait longer - maybe even wait a week.  After the furniture is all in, I will give the space a good sweep and touch up the floors.  Luckily, this system lends itself to easy re-coating.

The shop owner is thrilled so far and, as the makeover continues, we are getting compliments from folks passing by and peering in the windows.  I'll keep posting updates on instagram (like this sneak peek of some of the furniture) as we inch toward a finished space.
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May 26, 2014

My Sliding Door: Prepare to Pine

Get ready to salivate over today's tour.  It's so good, I'm even game for a trade - something not even the million dollar one had me dreaming about.

The point of this series is to take a look at "what could have been," if Hubby and I hadn't dove, head first, into the lakehouse purchase, but had instead dug in our heels and waited until the timing was right for us.  This series peeks inside homes on Lake Superior that are for sale now, which is when we had thought we'd be selling the townhouse and moving lakeside.  So far, it looks like we made the right decision.  Even though today's home is certainly gorgeous, it's nearly double the price of our home.  Here's the tour, along with the commentary I blurted out the first time I laid my eyes on these stunning rooms.


Whoa, this place is huge.  That deck and dock are incredible.  Look how solid they are!!  Why is our dock so janky?


I could definitely park my butt on this beach all summer.  


I think the hardwood floor with slate tile runner is a little odd, but genius.  What a brilliant way to preserve the flooring by the entrance, without having to give up hardwood flooring completely.  But why, oh why, did they swag that light?!?


This is my dream living room!!!  This is literally the living room I have designed in my head!!!  Look, it's got TWO sitting areas: one planted in front of the tube (for catching up on Game of Thrones), and another beside the window, for lake-watching and s'mores-making in front of a roaring fire.  I hate that to watch our television, we had to position our sofa with it's back to the view.  Arg, I love this, it's perfect.  And that fireplace is beautiful as-is, no laborious brick painting required.


AND it has a dream kitchen?!?  This is just not fair.  Look at this kitchen: it's modern, but quietly elegant and sure to remain timeless.  The giant windows and stainless appliances are just icing.  Who in this city even has taste this modern?!?  I'd like to be their friend.  Never mind, I'd be too jealous of their kitchen.  I can't think of a single thing wrong with it.  I'd swap out the light fixture (why swag it?) and add some colour, but everything is just so lovely here.


In what looks like a custom home, why the need to swag so much?

They lost me with the ceiling fan.
What the heck, is this just a bonus sitting area with another crazy-good lake view?!?  I love this kind of view because it makes me feel like I'm actually in the water.  They really need a sleek white built-in bookcase and a comfy reading chair (or two).  It's wasted as it is right now.


Are those slate floors?  I covet slate floors.  The vanity lacks storage, but it isn't made of 80s oak, so it's a win!  What's with the fake flowers and bird cage?


I'm drooling over the slate-tiled walk-in shower.  The beadboard is also pretty, and the hooks on an old barn board are a cute, rustic touch that I don't even mind.  I'll ditch all of my mid-century mod and totally embrace modern rustic to live here.


Why does the second bathroom have such a different style?  This might be a vintage dresser turned into a vanity and, if so, that's a fun idea.  But I wish the other bathroom had a similar vanity because otherwise it makes it look like things came from the clearance section.  But hey, not oak.


Hold up. 

Is that a freaking plastic tub surround?  In a house this modern and chic?  Someone in this city is making a killing selling these. 

Hey, genius idea friends: shall we turn this into a drinking game?  Every time we see a plastic tub surround in a lakehouse tour we add a shot of Bailey's to our morning coffee.



Awesome bedroom with awesome view.


Second bedroom:


Third bedroom, with the tidiest baby in the world:


I'm not really a basement-dweller, so basements aren't how I get my jollies.  This one seems a little meh (drop ceilings?), but I have a crawl space that's five feet tall (we move around on wheelie chairs down there), so I really can't throw stones.  The drape behind the wood stove feels like a bad idea, but everything else seems just fine.  You can stand upright in it, so yay.



All of the commentary above was accompanied by enthusiastic shoulder-punching of the poor soul who first viewed these photos with me.  I got really worked up about this place - it's just SO good, and so unlike any other home I've seen for sale in the area, lakeside or not.

Do you love it? 

It just SOLD!  2200 square feet, .75 acres, three bedrooms, two full baths and one powder room, central audio system (!!!), and only twenty minutes from the city.  Sigh.  Our guess is that this home belonged to one of the many NHL hockey players Thunder Bay has produced, but we're only basing this guess on the homemade lake ice rink for the wee ones.


Hopefully next time I can show you something in our price range.  But the way things are looking, it might be an airstream trailer parked on a ravine.  I just read an article about the Canadian housing market and, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the housing market will continue to slow and the average home price in Canada will rise just 3.5% in 2014, and 1.6% in 2015.  Some of the sharpest declines will be seen in large urban areas like Toronto.  But in Thunder Bay, this weird little anomaly of a two-horse town, a 6.5% increase in housing prices is expected for 2014, and 4.9 is expected in 2015.  We'll continue to experience a listing shortage here for the foreseeable future.
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May 23, 2014

With a Little Help From My Friends

I've been remiss in sharing some of the lovely features of my projects and home on other blogs and websites.  I used to share each one but then I worried that was a snooze for readers, so I began quietly filing them away on the press page, but then I realized that I'd rather share!  I want to be able to publicly thank these bloggers for the blog love, because it motivates me to keep on keeping on:

Cassie, of Primitive and Proper (a longtime read for me), asked me to partake in her "it's eclectic" home tour series.  I've been updating the lakehouse tour here pretty regularly, but it's neat to see the "before" and "after" photos of the lakehouse all together.  Click over to the feature to see!


Linsey, of Better After, was sweet enough to feature my velvet chair makeover, as was Apartment TherapyA lot of AT readers preferred the before (bugs and all), which I understand because the pattern was bitchin', but nothing beats teal velvet in my books.  A lot of folks jumped to my defense (thanks!), but one thing sort of irked me: some comments reveal an interesting assumption of readers who think anyone who submits a projects should expect "judgement".  I would argue that the purpose of blogs is not for people to get their nasty on, and say the kinds of things they wish they had the guts to say offline, but to showcase nifty ideas and makeovers.  I love seeing what other people do because it helps me see things in a new light (even if I'm just figuring out what not to do, because a particular makeover isn't my jam).  It would bring me no joy to tell someone I don't like their project (unless I felt I could add something constructive, like how some folks recommended a different kind of Danish oil than what I used), so maybe I'm just weird.  

But I was a chubby kid with glasses and braces, so no amount of snarking on my projects will do more than elicit a giggle.  It's a chair, people, calm down.


Speaking of Apartment Therapy, they also featured my cheap-cheap-cheap bathroom spruce, which - suprisingly - got RAVE reviews from readers.  Funny, right?  To me the bathroom is ho-hum and just good enough for now.  The chair is the real gem in my eyes.


Poppytalk did a round-up of summery Ikea hacks and included my upgraded Expedit hack.  This is another blog I've read for so long, so it was a real thrill to be featured!


This was awhile ago, but I'm still so tickled that HGTV.ca featured my framed agate art!  They are still packed up, and I'm deciding where I should hang them...

The style-savvy folks running EQ3's blog, Inhabit, chose me as May's blogger of the month, which is how I scored the sweet Eames Hang-It-All for the laundry room.  Pinch me!


This Saturday will be the first yard-saling day of the year for me, so I'm really looking forward to the weekend!
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