Painted Ceiling

Last Thursday and Friday, to prep for priming and painting the pool house ceiling, I carefully masked off the two beams and the six skylights my short T-Rex arms could reach.  I took my time on the beams, first getting masking tape tightly along the edge, then following up with a plastic wrapping.


The thought/possibility of getting paint on the beams had me biting my nails with concern, because it would mean sanding and trying to feather in the stain.  Or even completely resanding and staining.  As a side note, we realized not all plastic masking films are created equal.  Unlike cheaper film, paint doesn’t flake off of this one, even after a few coats, making clean up a breeze.


With the beams and skylights covered, we threw drop cloths over tools and stapled more plastic sheeting over the windows to protect from overspray.  Saturday after lunch, we started spray priming the ceiling.  Watching is like instant gratification because the process goes so quickly.  Like an hour to prime everything quickly.


This isn’t our first time painting fresh wood, so we’ve learned a good primer is a crucial element.  Though it is far stinkier, we used a good oil based primer from Sherwin Williams.  Having used it in the past, we know it blocks stains and the tannins in the wood, preventing the annoying bleed through.


We got lucky with a gorgeous 70 degree day, so we opened windows and doors to speed up the drying process and help air out.


After cleaning up the sprayer, Ben looked at the 15 gallons of paint.  That’s when he noticed a slight problem.  He had ordered satin, but was given gloss.  Generally speaking, I’m just not a fan of gloss paints, especially in this instance.  A call to the store, followed by a trip in with the big buckets, and the helpful folks exchanged the paint for the correct sheen.  Which allowed us to get painting Sunday.


Ben sprayed while I followed behind, touching up and drips or thick spots.  Unfortunately, it rained off and on, so the drying process took a lot longer.  After finishing touch ups, Ben carefully peeled off the plastic wrapping the beams.


Whew, not a single drop, splash, or drip on them.


And the ceiling looks amazing.  It’s exactly as I pictured in my head and really lightens up the entire room.


Going from an unfinished Photoshopped image:


To reality:


Ben still has some lights to install, but then we should be able to remove the scaffolding.  Eek, it will be so great/strange to see the entire ceiling from below.



If you split the space into four parts, the ceiling, floor, walls, and pool, we’re a quarter of the way finished.  Next up, removing the tile, which should be great fun.

My Six Pack

No, I’m not talking about those pesky ab muscles that I severely lack, though I’m working on building those.  Instead, here’s a much more fun six-pack build that takes just a few hours.


This little build came about thanks to an upcoming school fundraiser.  Each teacher comes up with a basket theme, then parents are asked to donate things that fit this category.  Movie night is the theme we’re working with, so I wanted to add something that is a little outside the box, while still fitting in.  Thus, the six-pack caddy filled with old style sodas, candy, and popcorn seasoning.

Of course, this can be used in many different ways, so let’s go over the building process.  First, here’s the material/cut list:


We used 5/8 inch thick plywood for the bottom and side pieces and 1/4 inch thick wood strips for the side rails/dividers.  After cutting all the pieces, we did a quick dry fit to make sure it worked.


*I forgot to add the notch spacing to the above drawing.  If you’re using 5/8 thick sides and 1/4 inch thick divider material, the bottle spacing is 2 3/4 inches each.

To assemble, apply a thin bead of glue on one side of the bottom piece and set the side on top, lining the edges up.  Nail in place to secure while working and repeat on the other side.  As long as the dividing grooves are tight, the six part section won’t need glue, just set it in place and carefully nail through the side into the 1/4 inch strip.


Now, attach the side rails, line on up on the bottom, making the divider and rail flush at the top.  We used a scrap strip to determine the spacing and nailed the top rail in place.

Sand everything smooth, paying extra attention to the plywood edges, slightly rounding to soften the sharp corners.  If you want, go ahead and stain and seal the entire piece now, I’ll wait.


Place the galvanized pipe, home improvement stores usually cut and thread when you buy the pipe, through the two drilled holes and secure the ends with pipe caps.


Add a bottle opener to the side, this one is only two dollars from Hobby Lobby, and fill with favorite drinks.


I think these might be my new go to for parties/fundraisers/gifts.  Even without the drinks, how cute would this look with old bottles filled with flowers?!  Or even a cutlery/condiment caddy for outdoor get-together.  Heck, leave it out on the counter as a dual purpose utensil holder; the possibilities are endless.

Beam-ing with Joy

When we last left off with the pool  house ceiling install, it looked like this:


Since then, we’ve installed the rest of the tongue and groove on the ceiling, with three skylights left to trim out.  It’s thrilling to be at this stage, because it means we’re that much closer to taking the scaffolding down.  After discussing the merits of painting versus staining, we’ve decided to paint the ceiling white, while staining the beams.

New-House-Pool-Room April 13 2012

Those two beams are an architectural element that we love and want to emphasize, and the stain will stand out best against the white backdrop.  With the decision to paint solidified, we knew we could go darker and more dramatic on the beam color without weighing down the entire room.


When possible, we like to use the same or similar elements throughout our home for a cohesive look and feel.  Along the entire pool house front is our recently rebuilt large covered deck:


Like the pool house, we used tongue and groove boards to add subtle texture to the ceiling.


Painting that ceiling white was such an easy choice, because it visually heightens the ceiling, preventing the space from feeling claustrophobic.


Similar to the pool house, the front of the deck also features a stained beam.  Ben and I both love the look of the dark beam against the white ceiling, so we’ve decided to carry that same look inside.


Using the same deck colors will allow a seamless flow from inside to out, but it also made my stain selection painless.  As an added bonus, we had leftover stain so this weekend we knocked out the process in about three hours.


Finally, those beams have gotten the attention they’ve always deserved.


Once the ceiling goes white, the majority of the room will be light and bright, punctuated by contrasting pieces.


Another benefit of painting the ceiling is that the recessed lights will further recede, rather than the white ring standing out against a stained ceiling.


Unfortunately, we’re still looking at the ceiling through scaffolding bits, so it’s not a complete picture just yet.


A New Rug or Two

This little update has literally been years in the making, so I’m stupidly excited about it.  As such, many pictures are included in this post, be warned.

Now this is the story all about how our living room got flipped-turned upside down*:  this week, our house benefitted by the addition of not one, but two new rugs.  I know that seems stupid and insignificant, but rugs are something Ben and I often disagree about.  He wants sink in softness, I care more about size and design/color.

The only reason it took me so freaking long to order this was because I had pined for the Marquis rug from West Elm.  For whatever stupid reason, West Elm doesn’t have a product review feature on their site.  Ugh, when ordering site unseen, those reviews are really crucial in the decision-making process!  I tried to see it in person, strike one.  Order a sample?  Strike two.  I finally decided to ask the people who had featured the rug on Instagram for their opinion-the reviews were not great.  Strike three, the Marquis was out.

So, I went with my fall back option, a 9 by 12 Moroccan Trellis rug that I, and apparently everyone else, recently snagged for under 300 bucks.


The boys helped me place it, rolling across it to ‘steam roll’ the curved edges.  They even ‘helped’ me move the furniture back in place.


Yes, this rug is popular, but for good reason(s).  First, the neutral design.  The reason the Marquis was appealing was the neutral color scheme with subtle geometric pattern.  This rug has both features, but was less than half the price!


Secondly, that price!  Like seriously, how do you pass up a giant rug for $300, plus free shipping?!

Third, the five-star rating with nearly 400 reviews.


The only negatives I read were about the color, which wasn’t as white as some wanted.


A true white rug wouldn’t work in our house with our kids, but the slightly oatmeal tone pairs beautifully with our leather and linen sofas.


Do I feel the same as other reviewers?  Absolutely, so far, I have zero regrets ordering this rug.  Considering the rug was under $300, it’s far more plush/thick than I anticipated, though still not crazy thick.  I added a felt rug pad below to give that sink in cush Ben really wants.


Unlike the Marquis rug, this is polypropylene instead of wool, but it’s still incredibly soft underfoot.


Finally, we have a rug that all legs of the furniture can rest on.


AND, it looks great.


Despite being a trendy design, I think the neutral base will work well and look great for years to come.


Go on down those stairs and you’ll see the Trellised Garden runner for our garage entrance/mud nook.


When setting out my search, I wanted an easy to vacuum/not thin, subtly patterned, dark, but still colored rug.  With all the neutrals in this area, I thought a navy or deep green rug would liven things up.


Again, this rug is polypropylene, so it can stand up to heavy traffic and isn’t too precious to use in this area.


Unlike so many new made-to-look-old/worn/faded rugs, this has a smaller ‘wear’ patterns.


Not only is this pattern forgiving, but it also looks more realistically aged than others I’ve seen.  All in all, I give these rugs two very enthusiastic thumbs up.  And I’m kicking myself for taking so dang long to make up my mind.

*One million bonus points to you if you recognized and sang the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song.

To Stain or Not to Stain…

As we near the end of the tongue and groove pool house ceiling install, I’m trying to pin down the exact finish.  When new and protected, pine looks bright, but over time, with exposure to sunlight, it darkens and yellows.


That’s never been a wood tone I like, so stain is necessary to over ride those natural undertones.  As is the case with all of our material selections for this space, we want an interior look but need exterior grade finishes due to the splashing and possibility of humidity.

I started searching for an exterior oil based color that had a bit of both brown and gray, but wasn’t too dark.  Something along the lines of this:

Architecture and Interior Design

Sherwin Williams applied two store samples to a board as a starting point.  On the left is Weathered Gray, the center is Banyan Brown.


Weathered Gray was entirely too gray and read very cold, with blue undertones.  Banyan Brown was darker and still too yellow.  Neither were what I wanted, so I checked out Lowe’s and Home Depot.  Lowe’s had an Olympic color, Madrone, that kind of fit the bill.  Compared to the other two samples, shown on the right above, it was more of a blend.  To get a more accurate idea of the color, I selected a variety of scrap pieces to stain, creating a large sample.


Yes, it was better, but still looked a bit too yellow.  I wasn’t sold and neither was Ben, even when I held the pieces up against the ceiling and he viewed from below.

All along, my fall back option was to paint the planks white, while staining the beams.  It’s a simple and classic look, something especially crucial in this situation as this ceiling is completely inaccessible without scaffolding.  We also have painted tongue and groove throughout our home, so we know we like it.  Images like the following have only reaffirmed my belief.

Chappaquiddick Island
Carramore Lane
1800s Farmhouse Remodel

Photo by Bartelt

Most elements planned for this room will be simple and neutral, carrying the slate floors from the kitchen around the pool deck.  A shot of wood tone via the beams will add a tremendous amount of warmth and interest, without the feeling of a lower ceiling.  Add the flood of natural light through the windows, doors, and skylights and I’m picturing a private year-round oasis.