Trim (and how the smallest update can make such a bit impact)

Ripping out the laminate floor saved us the hassle and expense of installing baseboards throughout the room, but one area still needed a bit of trim. The original construction of the second floor included a plaster coating over the brick walls. That remains in many of the rooms, but in the bedrooms a previous owner decided to expose the brick. We love the look, but in true “WHY didn’t they finish anything?!” form, they, well… didn’t finish the job. The dark green strip at the bottom of brick wall is actually a lip that the plaster sat on. It’s not very offensive from here, but let’s get a closeup.



We like the industrial look, but this is just unfinished yuck. The lip was filled with debris and exciting things like a pen cap and 11 cents.

So we decided to cap it off. First Aaron used construction adhesive to apply 1 x 2″ strips of wood to the base of the trim. This gave him something to attached the finished pieces to. Then he built two-sided trim to box it in.

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He nailed it to the strips and caulked the edges for a seamless look.

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He finished it off with a few coats of the floor paint.

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This has made a huge difference in the room, but it’s more from a standpoint of NOT noticing something. Instead of focusing on the gross, dusty strip against the wall, your brain has more space to appreciate the emerald walls (which I might love more with each passing day) and the awesome brick.

Real life

I’m working on some posts for the captain’s bedroom, but what I’m thinking about is life and our project list. Over breakfast this morning, we recapped all of the projects we’re into at the moment. Spoiler alert: it’s WAY too many. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day, especially with weeks like last one that included a work trip for me. So in the interest of keeping it real, here are all of the semi-finished (or semi-started) projects in flight right now.


Trailer – Ugh the trailer. Seriously, who can I pay (yeah, right we’re way too cheap for that) to just finish this thing. It’s dragging on, mostly because we’ve lost all the joy. (Like I said, keeping it real.) We really wanted to use it before our wedding season kicks up this spring, but that is looking highly unlikely.


Captain’s suite – We’ve already talked about how this project has spiraled a bit out of control. In truth, it’s gone much further. We bought a new rug and duvet cover. We also snagged a few vintage pieces for the space. They’re not perfect so instead of finalizing the room we tacked on “refinish furniture” to the list. We can’t start on that until we have some space in the living room and that won’t happen until the trailer is done.


Workshop – It’s been partially framed for over a year. It HAS to get done to let us work on the living/dining room.


Living/Dining room – We are so excited to start on this project. So excited that we are already lining up contractors for a few of the pieces we can’t do ourselves. THIS is what we want to work on. I have to remember that we didn’t plan to tackle this until the summer so anything we do is actually ahead of schedule.


Exterior – There are a handful of smaller projects that need attention in once the weather gets warmer. We’ve been trying to seal our concrete for years, other things (like the garage) get in the way. The electrical in the garage isn’t 100% finished. And there are a few yearly maintenance needs, like seeding the yard and planting some herbs.

That’s our crazy list. I’m sure we’re not the only ones? We’ll take any show of sympathy, like stories about the time you also took on the renovation of an entire firehouse… or wine…

Painting the floor in the captain’s bedroom

Let’s talk about the floors. Thankfully there was nothing but good news hiding under the ugly laminate. In fact, we liked the color and texture so much we briefly considered just applying a clear coat. But we knew paint would really help your eye focus on some other bits of the room.


Unlike the wall color, choosing the color for the floor was simple. Pantone Charcoal Gray (18-0601) all the way! It’s the most perfect gray paint swatch we’ve ever seen. (It’s in the center in the picture below.)

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The only problem was that Lowe’s couldn’t match that swatch for the floor paint we needed (Valspar Latex Porch & Floor Paint in satin). Aaron did a quick scan of the possibilities and landed on Valspar’s High-Speed Steel, which is a shade darker than the Pantone swatch.

Painting floors may be my new favorite thing. We questioned the thin consistency of the paint when we opened it, but it covered like a dream! It was by far the easiest thing I’ve ever painted.

Here’s a side by side of the bare concrete and wet paint.


The paint really smooths things outs. Here’s a close up of the dried paint.


And some before and after shots that make me immensely happy: 004captainsroomfloorpaint 005captainsroomfloorpaint

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I think it took just over an hour for Aaron to edge and for me to roll. We applied two coats with 24 hours in between.

So far we are pretty impressed! Aaron caused a small blemish when a piece of the duct work slipped from his grasp and hit the floor when he was working in the room the next day. It’s a small mark that will be easy to touch up. Later in the day, he dropped something else and it didn’t leave a mark. So we’re pretty confident that this paint job will last.

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Here’s a great comparison: Before, after painting the walls, and after painting it all.014captainsroomfloorpaint

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We’re chugging right along with this makeover!

  • Remove laminate floor
  • Demo closet
  • Scrape loose paint from windows and caulk
  • Paint window casings white
  • Paint captain’s room and bathroom
  • Scrape the paint off the conduit
  • Texture the random metal panel in the ceiling to help it blend in
  • Paint the bedroom floor
  • Replace the duct work
  • Install trim along the brick wall
  • Design and install new lighting
  • Replace all electrical receptacles and switches (we do this in every room we work on)

Pantone June Bug 19-5414

For this bedroom we agreed it would be fun to step away from ALL WHITE and actually put color on the wall. We didn’t really discuss what color, but whilst standing in front of the wall of swatches we were clearly drawn to blue, deep blue… and “ooh gray”… “what about emerald green?” You might remember that I had a mild obsession with the idea of a deep green couch, which went unfulfilled when we couldn’t find the right fabric and switched to blue.


We came home with the swatches and I unceremoniously tossed them on the bed in the guestroom. We decided that blue might be a little expected and gray was probably too safe. And also look at those greens! Eddie Bauer’s Juniper was Aaron top choice (the swatch on top of the Pantone one in the bottom right) and I was really digging Pantone’s June Bug. I held both of them up to the brick to get them out of the bright sunlight and we were still torn. I really loved the decidedly jewel tone in the Pantone swatch, and Aaron worried that it would be too dark.

We ended the conversation with me saying, “I trust your opinion because you’re much better at color than I am. So go with the one you like.”

At least I thought that’s how we ended it. In an extremely rare miscommunication, Aaron thought I was being insistent on my choice (which I had up to that point) and decided to let me have it. Apparently he didn’t hear my closing statement, and he came home with three gallons of Pantone June Bug. One coat of primer and THREE coats of paint later, this room is looking a LOT better.

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Next up: Painting the floors!

Demo in the captain’s suite

With our expanded list of projects set for the captain’s suite, we got to work on a few items that needed to be checked off before we could paint. First up: Taking out the (really ugly) laminate floors.


Because the floor was floating, it was as easy as gently pulling the boards apart and then tossing them out the window. What? Is that not what you do at your (fire)house?


We’ve found this to be the fastest (and most fun) way to rid the second floor of construction debris. Of course, I head down later to collect everything and escort it to the dumpster. It still saves me from walking the stairs multiple times and helps contain the mess.

The concrete floor was just as we had hoped. It’s fairly textured from the former tiles and there are a few cracks, but nothing that would stop us from painting. Yay!


Meanwhile, Aaron patched some cracks in the plaster in the former bathroom. These are the before shots.

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Then we got into the serious demo. Originally we thought I could take out the closet solo, like I did with the stage in the workout room (notes and embarrassing revelations at the end of this post if you missed it), but someone WAY over engineered this thing. So we resorted to messy TV-style destruction. Rare action shot!!

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Aaron removed about 100 screws and we finally got all of the metal studs out.


We also wanted to spruce up the windows. The wood casings are original to the building, and they haven’t had the best life. I scraped the loose paint off and Aaron added new caulk before coating them in exterior paint, which will provide better moisture protection down the line.

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Bye, bye blue.


As I mentioned, little bits of this room received “accent” paint, including some of the conduit running along the brick wall… insert annoyed emoji.



Replacing these pieces and the wiring would have been a huge hassle. So we decided to try stripping it. A wire brush and some elbow grease were all we needed.


Ok… a lot of elbow grease. This was a pretty good arm workout.


I did a little papering and taping in the former bathroom and then we were ready to paint!