The long road of prepping for paint

In which I turn weeks of work into one giant download on the interwebs. We’ve already shared a bit of the prep work, like filling some major holes. And there were plenty of super minor projects, like building a frame around the door to the basement and sealing the furnace duct seams.

To give you the full run down we’re going way back, back to February and the first weeks of firehouse ownership. Because that, my friends, is how long Aaron has been working to get the studio ready for paint.

It started by removing the giant peepholes into our living space. We’re all about separation of work and life. So these over-sized picture windows just weren’t doing it for us.




Gone-zo. (Google can’t find this word, so I think I just made it up. Gone-zo (TM) Heather Hawes. Although urban dictionary has some different spellings of that word with some rather graphic descriptions… Mom, don’t look it up.)

(You can tell how old these images are because the new windows aren’t in yet. Actually, these images do a great job of showing how cave-like this space was before natural light was re-introduced.)

This is just the start of the drywall work.


Aaron worked each seam and hole 3 times with drywall mud, sanding in between. (Not pictured because that image is MIA.) When it was done, I landed the fun task of wiping down the entire wall to remove the drywall dust. Try not to be jealous of how I spend my free time.

The hole patching continued on the ceiling, where the former resident clearly thought, “Why create a moderate sized hole when a crater looks so good?”



Aaron used thin sheets of semi-rigid plastic to cover the holes. They are held in place with construction adhesive and staples. Pipe escutcheon rings to finish it off.



There were plenty of other (hard to document) minor holes in the plaster ceiling. For those, Aaron used a plaster mesh to cover the holes and then went over each one with mud. He basically spent an entire week with his arms above his head… which may under water boarding on the International Torture Scale.

The utility room will serve as storage, but we certainly don’t need a window here either.




When we were getting close, it was time to clean the walls. The original plan was to cover the windows with plastic and spray everything down with the power washer. Have you ever used a power washer? It’s amazing. It cleans anything and everything. John at YHL just discovered how great power washers are.

So you can image our surprise (and shock and outrage) when it didn’t remove the decades old grime.


Cue the sad music and cut to Aaron wiping down ALL OF THE WALLS. That’s 1,700 sq feet of space with 14′ ceilings worth of walls. This was not a good firehouse day…

Finally, finally, the walls were clean and the floor was covered in plastic.


We were headed straight for some much needed “OMG this is amazing progress! We’re so happy we bought this place! It’s finally coming together!” time… or so we thought…


  1. Ok, I won’t look that up but then again I probably will

    1. Lol!

  2. I’m super excited to see the painted results! It’s also awesome that you linked over to YHL, as their blog and your blog are my two favorites. Clearly I need to buy an old abode of some sort and start fixing it up.

    1. Eee! Anyone who ranks us with YHL instantly jumps to the top of the Favorite Readers list. Welcome to the top 😉

  3. Wow, go Aaron! I am exhausted just looking at the pictures…!

    1. I know, right.

  4. Oh no! Cliffhanger!

    “Why create a moderate sized hole when a crater looks so good?” Best thing I read all day. 🙂

    1. Ha! Thanks 🙂

  5. Wiping down walls is the worst. I think there is still sawdust on our walls from when we had our floors refinished. Every now and again I get orange dust on my hands and I think, ‘did I forget to vacuum/wash down the walls, or is it just that hard to do it?’ Maybe a bit of both. Kudos on the progress, looking good up in that piece.

    1. Ha! Thanks!

  6. […] Remove the windows between the home and work space […]

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