This Old Erie House
By Linda Martin Community Blogger
Owners of old houses have so much in common that house talk comes easy between us. Please join in the conversation as we try to fix, restore and update our old Erie houses.  Read more about this blog.
Posts tagged ‘kitchen’
Posted: September 6th, 2010

I stripped the wallpaper off our plaster walls in the living room and dining room a few years ago and fixed the ceilings in both rooms.  What was left was a nice light surface but had some darker areas.  I primed them before painting just to be sure it covered the dark areas and because I was afraid I didn’t get all the glue off from the wallpaper.  I had no problems painting those rooms.

Fast forward to last week.

This kitchen is like the devil.  It’s evil.  It’s HOT! It is very small and has 4 doors with a bunch of decorative crowns on top, a full wall of hoosier-like cupboards with the crowns on them and 2 large windows with crowns. I decided against taping the woodwork because it would take days (exaggeration) going around all that molding. Old plaster ceilings don’t have perfectly straight edges and previous taping was a waste of time and it always bled under or stuck and took the finish off the woodwork. And even when it didn’t, the lines didn’t look straight. Now I know why the old houses have crown moldings, to hide the uneven seams between plaster ceilings and walls. Our kitchen doesn’t have them. Crowns on everything else in the kitchen, though. And I can’t even reach the ceiling where the counters are because the ladder doesn’t get my short arms close enough. Good thing for husbands with long arms.

We are on day, what is it now? Day 5 ? and we still aren’t done. Our tiny little kitchen doesn’t have room to walk with the refrigerator and stove  moved out so a ladder could fit near the wall.  We are so tired of scooting sideways to get by anything.  We can’t find anything.  We put plastic down on the floor and I trip on it, we drip paint and I step in it.  There is no room to work.  Elbow to elbow, “excuse me”, “excuse me!”  There is no air conditioning downstairs and the temperature near the ceiling has to be close to 90 or higher.  It’s easy to get cranky when it’s so hot and you can’t move.   I’ve been working on the dining room floor and the kitchen stairs during the day and when my husband comes home we work painting until we can’t do it anymore. The other rooms were a pleasure, this certainly is not.

Yellow must be a color that doesn’t cover other colors very well.  We paint and paint and the green still shows through.  The paint can says one-coat coverage.  LIAR!!  We bought extra to give it 2 coats just in case.  Two coats still doesn’t completely cover the green underneath.  I always thought the kitchen’s old green was a very light shade but against the light yellow it looks like a darker dull olive.

I went to the store today to get some kind of edger (and another gallon of paint)  because we were having such a time up against the woodwork. I was looking for miracles.  I saw one that looked like it really would work, I was sure of it.  I bought two so if it worked, we could both be cutting in at the same time. We tried one of the edgers to see how it worked before we opened the other one, that way we could return the unused one if it was junk.  It was junk.  My husband told me before he doesn’t like “gimmicks” and it certainly turned out to be just another gimmick and just made a mess and dripped paint on everything. So besides paint, I had egg on my face because I wasted $15 but I can return the other one. He did not rub it in and he could have.  I also bought a rather expensive cut-in brush as a back up.  I figured I could return it  if the edgers worked good, if they didn’t I would use the brush.  I ended up using the brush and it worked much better than anything else. I guess you can’t beat the old standards.

Soooo…what we should have done in hindsight is buy and apply tinted primer and then paint.  It would not have helped the temperature and sweating and it would not have helped doing miles of cutting in around the wood work but it probably would have made a more even color which we’ll get, eventually.  At least we got the one wall done (woohoo!!) and were able to put the appliances back against the wall tonight.  Now there will be room for two ladders.

I must have used a full  tank of hot water each night washing out all the trays and rollers and brushes.  It also take about 1/2 hour to clean everything.  No more. Tomorrow I’m lining the roller pan with one of my recycle bags.  When we are done, we’ll pour the extra back in the can and just throw the plastic away instead of washing the pan and having  paint going down the sink into the water supply.  I’m throwing the roller away, too.  I’ll scrape off the excess paint, let it dry and stick it in a plastic grocery bag.  They should be dried by garbage night. Good riddance. They aren’t that expensive.

It blows my mind that this one room is so hard.