The closet also goes green

We’ve been focusing on the bedroom portion of the captain’s suite, but the bathroom turned closet is also getting some love during this makeover. Here’s a reminder of where we started: gray walls and ceiling, weird pink window trim, plaster damage.

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Oh and a “sweet” light fixture…. NOT!


After Aaron fixed the plaster, the painted portion of the room got the green treatment. The walls, window and door trim, and ceiling all got a few coats of Pantone’s June Bug to match the bedroom.


Everything is looking so much more rich.


The green goes really well with all of the existing stone, which we have no plans to remove.

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Ok, everything is looking great except the overhead light fixture, but that’s getting replaced.


We grabbed some pieces from Ikea to make this into a multi-functional space: closet, vanity and back bar. It sounds weird, but I promise it will make sense. As soon as I wrangle the 100+ Ikea parts into working cabinets, I’ll show you what I mean.

In which we look at WAY too many rugs and a few duvet covers

Because we chose such a saturated color for the walls in the captain’s bedroom, we knew that some of the accessories would need to be a bit more neutral. When it came to choosing a rug and a duvet cover, which we did simultaneously, it meant that one could have some green (and maybe other colors) and one would need to stay in the white/gray/black range.

With that in mind, I started my search looking for a rug that had some pop. But, guys, rugs are hard! Or maybe we’re picky? It seems like very few rugs walk the line between “boring one color” and “OMG PATTERN AHHH!” We wanted something in between. Something with some interest. My green rug searches were not delivering that balance so I asked Rugs Direct to show me black/gray options. It responded with more than 3,500 options, and I was like “game on.” Wait, first I was like “I need to get some wine and get comfortable, then game on!” Here were some of the top contenders that I pinned to remember.


Surya – Gemini from Rugs Direct

When this beauty popped on the screen angels sang. Those tones! That organic texture! It’s BEAutiful! Then I noted the price: $2,500 for an 8′ x 11′ WHAT?! Sure, it’s a gorgeous rug and I’m willing to pay for things of beauty, but for a space like a guestroom that was already blowing the miniscule budget we set, this just wouldn’t fly.


Safavieh – Retro from Rugs Direct

This one caught my eye for the same reason. Nice tones, a distinct pattern that was interesting, but not too loud. I also liked the organic nature of the design. An 8 x 10 was available for $447, which fit in our imaginary “$500 for a rug” budget for this space.


Surya – Contempo from Rugs Direct

Another nice, subtle pattern that had more of a dark edge to it.


Shaggy 3D Gray Area Rug from Wayfair

Much darker, but a thick rug that would surely make guests feel at home.

At some point, Aaron joined in the search. He has accounts for several flash sale sites and he perused the options while I turned my attention to the duvet cover. I don’t remember why, but my first stop was Society 6. Again, I searched through pages of options, pinning a few standouts. I liked both of these neutral options:


D24 by Georgiana Paraschiv from Society 6


Water at Night by Marcelo Romero from Society 6

They’re both very directional and could compete with the rug. But more importantly, I wanted green somewhere in this vignette. There were fewer viable options, but I did pin this guy, which would add some nice dimension to the space.


dryma mynt by Spires from Society 6

At this point, I decided to turn to Etsy and quickly stumbled on the pretty patterns at NikaLim. None of the green options struck a cord, but I showed Aaron a pink/purple option that faded to black and said “Wouldn’t this be cool if it was green?” Well, duh, this is Etsy, land of customization, so I wrote to ask if they would do a custom design. The shop owner, Veronika, was happy to oblige and quickly sent a design that perfectly matches our Pantone June Bug walls.


I love it and I love that it’s one of a kind. Plus it shipped quick!

But, let’s rewind. When we started this search (on the couch, wine in hand… just setting the scene) Aaron was drawn in and looking for rug options. We knew the duvet cover would have green (either the one from Society 6 of the one from Etsy… because we had not ordered yet) so we felt confident purchasing a gray rug. His search didn’t yield any additional contenders, but he did find the Safavieh – Retro rug at One Kings Lane and it was several dollars cheaper than Rugs Direct.


In fact, the price difference was so great that we could afford the 9′ x 14′ option for around $500. Sold.

Geez, this is a long post. Who is ready for some room shots?!

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We’re both very happy with our choices. Actually, all three of us are happy because Mojo has decided that the rug is the perfect spot for capturing some morning sun.

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The rug totally softens up the room and makes me want one for our master bedroom.


The duvet cover matches the walls perfectly! I still need to grab some black pillow cases for the second set of pillows to finish it off.


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These are pretty tight because we’re still finalizing other parts of the space. We moved all of the furniture that was living in this room back in and said “Well, that looks dumb.” Most of it leftover pieces, one from as far back as our house in Kansas City.

So this project spiraled even further. We found some sweet mid century furniture at one of our favorite local shops (more details on that as we clean up the pieces and put them to use).

And a trip to Ikea gave us some of the parts we need for the captain’s bathroom turned closet. So, much more to come!

Captain’s bedroom ceiling: Two wins and a fail

Adding the lighting and HVAC to the list for the captain’s suite renovation was an easy decision. The ceiling in this space was just messed up. True to form, the previous owner decided to “accent” the HVAC with orange paint. That was bad enough, but the vents were also the wrong style, limiting their effectiveness to keep this room hot or cold.


The lighting was actually a bigger problem. We inherited two fans that held MR16 bulbs… only three of which worked. You can imagine that three bulbs that produced maybe 50 watts of light each weren’t enough for a nearly enough for a 338-square-feet room. Well, hopefully you can imagine it because I was remiss in taking pictures that demonstrated that. The corner by the pole closet was basically a black hole.

Let’s dive right into some before/after shots.



SOOOO much better!

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We needed a lot of light in this space, especially with the dark walls, and we had a lot of space to cover. We decided to create another DIY light fixture. This one is reminiscent of the fixture Aaron built for me in the kitchen when we moved in: black cord twisted around pipe and free hanging bulbs. It also ties in nicely with the living room lights. Our dimmer of choice, Lutron’s Maestro IR (which really deserves it’s own post) would allow for 10  40-watt bulbs.

Aaron created this diagram to figure out the the best layout. We were aiming for even light throughout the space and we didn’t want to change the placement of the HVAC (denoted by the thick black lines.) The bed is the rectangle this is just off center. The pole closet is in the upper left. We’re hoping to find a chair to put next to it, so we ran a piece of pipe out there to add some extra light to that corner.


For the installation, first he painted all of the pipe components and the electrical boxes black. He removed the fans and installed electrical boxes in their place.


Then he screwed floor flanges into the ceiling and started assembling the grid by screwing the pipe pieces together.

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He used the same process as in the living room to wire the sockets.


For the HVAC, we painted about 12 inches of the existing tube in the green wall color, which gave Aaron some space to cut it off. He removed the offending orange pipes and installed plain silver ones with new (and proper) vents.



The only thing that didn’t go to plan in this space is this random metal panel. Eventually we want to remove one to see what the heck is up there. We assume it’s some sort of old roof vent. If would be awesome if it could be turned into a skylight. But for now we just wanted it to disappear. For some reason, they chose not to cover it with the texture that was applied to the rest of the ceiling. Except they didn’t mask it off, so it had some obvious over spray.


Aaron grabbed a can of “ceiling texture” that looked like it would match at Home Depot. Before applying, we spread out some kraft paper, which was good because this stuff made a HUGE mess. It claims to clean up with water, but this seemed easier.


Apparently he should have grabbed two or three cans because the nozzle was clogged and basically unusable with minutes. He tried to clear it several times and it worked with less success each time. We gave up when the can was spraying more texture onto Aaron than the ceiling. We decided it didn’t look any worse… even though it doesn’t actually look better. Two out of three successful projects isn’t bad.


The panel tends to fade anyways thanks to the other upgrades.


At this point we were both ready to get all the furniture back into this room (and out of our living room.) But we let the project spiral a bit further with the purchase of a new rug and new duvet cover. More details on that search in the next post.

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.

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)