3rd Floor Update - White Painted Floors!

6:11 PM

After 6 months of painstaking floor stripping and nasty clean-up, we have reached the fun part! The part where we really get to see results and change! 

It's floor painting time.

I should also say, the major impetus for pushing this project through, other than just having our 3rd floor usable, was that my best friend Emily was coming to stay with me from Aug 2-5. I really wanted her to have a guest room, so we had a big deadline to get this floor ready!

So back to the process...
We know we want white. Ah, but what white? There are so many to choose from!
As white as you can get, is my answer.

Which leads me to the internet and lots of blog searching and googling "White painted floors" and every other imaginable combination of that query to see what other people have done and how it looks. Which is not as easy as you might think. I ended up finding lots of white floors, but very few people offered up the details of their process or colors. Some did, though, and I'm so very grateful.

I narrowed it down to two colors at first:

Benjamin Moore Simply White and Benjamin Moore Decorator's White. (left to right above).
I realize there is no easy way to assess those photographs and conclude anything other than they are white.  It's hard to get good light up on that floor and I don't have professional lighting! 
So I'll tell you what happened.

We painted the samples on unprimed floor and because the wood was not treated (other than having been stripped) the tannins in the wood started turning the white brown.  But even before that happened, as soon as the paint hit the floor, I could tell enough to know that I really wanted even brighter white than those two colors. I wanted a white with pretty much no other pigment in it. Which led me to Benjamin Moore Super White. Or, the color matched Sherwin Williams version of that. So you take the basic Sherwin Williams white (with no pigment added at all) and drop in less than 2 teensy drops of yellow(?) to make Super White. And that's what I went with. And because I'm crazy, I didn't even do a sample, I just bought 2 gallons of SW Porch and Floor Enamel and said this is what it's gonna be.

The next big question was....do we need to prime first?
According to the Sherwin Williams guys, the answer was "No." Supposedly, the Porch and Floor Enamel is fine on untreated wood. Weeeellllll....just seeing how the wood had bled through the sample whites, I was not about to risk painting the whole floor only to see that happen.

Several sites I reviewed, including Bob Vila recommended priming with 2 coats of Zinsser's BIN primer, a white pigmented shellac primer.-sealer.  We picked up 2 gallons of that from Lowe's and started on the floors. Note: NOT the water-based primer. It needed to be shellac. 

To do this, we poured the primer into a tray and used a roller extension to roll it on the floors. The primer is really thin and rolled on easily. I was kinda surprised at how thin it was. Not like paint.  We did use a brush to cut in the edges because the roller just wasn't getting to the wood up around and under the baseboards. Since we will end up painting the baseboards, we didn't bother to be nice and neat about it. We just got the primer up under there.

The pictures above show the first coat of primer laid down. Already, even just with primer, it was exciting to see the floors turn white! 
Since Kyle had spent so much time doing all the stripping, I tried to do my part on this and painted as much as I could. I did need his help, but I am happy to say I did the majority of the painting! Sometimes, even while he was at work! 

Even though we'd swept and vacuumed, I painstakingly did it all again, trying to get every particle of dirt off the floor before putting any primer down. Then, I had to be strategical working my way backwards out of the rooms, backwards down the hallways, into and out of the rooms and ending up on the stairwell without leaving anything behind. 

During this process, I listened to hours and hours of John MacArthur sermons on his Grace to You podcast. Since my windows were open, my neighbors no doubt got an earful. 

It only needed about 24 hours before the second coat of primer could go on.

(Little Red Room)



Biggest bedroom

I love the gaps in the wood and the grain of the wood that shows through!

Then the paint went on! 
We ended up buying an extra gallon, so we used about 2.25 gallons to get a good 2 coats on the floor. We actually did 3 coats in a few spots. 

I would have loved a high gloss sheen, but the SW Porch and Floor Enamel only comes in Satin because they say it's safer....not slippery. Poo. 

It does have a sheen, so that's good. And it cleans up easily. 

I particularly love this room with its walls. 

Hallway between playroom, bathroom and main hallway.

Once the floors were painted, the horrifically dirty state of the baseboards became painfully obvious. There is no telling how many years it's been since they'd been thoroughly cleaned. I'd guess double digits. So, one Saturday, I grabbed a squirt bottle, a roll of paper towels and some rags and Pandora and spent about 5 hours inching my way across the floors, cleaning every square inch of the baseboards and trim. Then the doors.  It was a dramatic improvement. 

I equate such a venture to wiping your kids' bums. There's something pretty gross and intimate about scrubbing baseboards. You're all up in the nitty gritty of your house. You kinda can't help but love it when you put that kind of love and attention in it.

It was a mess.

But the house, even the 3rd floor servant's quarters, has some pretty great baseboard detailing!
And it's darn shiny now! 
Here you can see what I've done, on the right. And what I haven't done, on the left. 
Oh! And as the layers of dirt came off, I discovered that whoever painted the baseboards did NOT try very hard. It is an extremely thin, see-through coat of white paint. Shabby work, people.

Just for a nice contrast....here's a corner by a radiator where you can clearly see what's clean and what isn't. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

And now, aaaah! So pretty and clean!
And...colorful. Wow. I had no idea there was pink and red going on back there.

Ok, so the next big step is actually getting furnishings into the rooms.  There are three bedrooms up here: the big room facing north, the east facing "red room" and the south facing, long, narrow room which we had used as a playroom. 

My original plan was to find an iron headboard for a full/double bed up into this main bedroom. But I hadn't actually purchased an iron headboard. What I DO have is the Ikea Malm bed that used to be mine and Kyle's bed before Melissa and Chad gave us their queen mattresses.  I also have two antique wood double beds, one my Grandma Barbara gave me, and another I purchased years ago.

Truthfully, I wasn't sure how well the Ikea bed would reassemble! I seriously struggled with this decision -which bed??? Part of me wanted the contrast of the dark bed in this room which I intend to be really light. The other part of me wanted the iron bed I don't currently have. 

I still had the "red room" which could hold a double bed where I could use the wooden bed from my Grandma and the iron daybed/trundle I'd purchased from Craigslist in the playroom. That was my plan. 

The Ikea bed let me reassemble it. It was pretty easy, actually, even with my two W "helpers." 
I toyed with putting the bed against the windows, and it's still an option at some point, but I knew there was going to be a window A/C unit going over there, and it seemed like that would be weird visually...a bed frame and an a/c unit. For now, I just used the main wall and put the bed there.

I brought up the Ikea rocking chair and put it by the window along with a wooden stool/table I found at TJ Maxx. I was now ready to put my Grandma's bed in the "red room". Which is when we hit our first snag. The box spring would not make it up the narrow, right angle of the stairwell leading up to the 3rd floor. No amount of wiggling or calculating made it happen. So. Hm. That's out for now.

We actually were originally going to use the box spring with the Ikea bed, because it was a low box spring, but it wouldn't work for that either since it wasn't making it up those stairs. Instead, we put the mattress right on the wooden slats we had for the Malm bed and it's perfectly fine. So I thought, well....I'll have to find some way to buy some mattress supports from Ikea which can be put together up in the "red room." Which leads me to the next snag.

Phase 2 was the assembly of the iron daybed. I LOVE this daybed. I love love love it. 
I got it for a steal. It sells for like $1,500 and I paid nowhere close to that. It also has these super cool kitty cat finials which replace the ones on there. And it's solid iron. 
So I had to have August assist me with putting it together in the playroom. Which he loves to do. He is a fabulous helper. 

Then came the snag.  Once we set it up in THE PERFECT SPOT, against my awesome "Italian villa wall", I realized there was no way the trundle bed would fit when rolled out because there will be a low bookshelf against the opposite wall and it just would not fit. There's also NO other place the bookshelf can go at this point.  I wanted to cry. Until I took a look in the "red room" and realized that room had a PERFECT nook just for the daybed. 

See????? It's amazing!
So, before I could say a word, August had taken apart the frame, lugged it (carefully) into the "red room" and helped me get it all set up again. Getting the spring/base screwed together took some doing, but do it we did. And then we lugged the mattress on it. 

What this now means is that my Grandma's wooden bed will not currently be needed up here. There will be a double bed in the big room and a twin/trundle bed in this room. I have an idea about making my iron bed work as a twin in the playroom....but that's a plan for another day.

I had purchased sheets from Serena & Lily for this daybed months ago, long before the floor was ready, so on those went. And I moved up my little bedside table from Land of Nod to use in this room. I played around endlessly with pillow arrangements, including a long bolster pillow I found at TJ Maxx. 

Let me insert here that I don't normally go to TJ Maxx all that often, but there happens to be one nearish my house which is pretty much two stores in one. It's ginormous. And I just zeroed in on sheet sets and hit the jackpot. I found twin sets, double sets and a queen set. I needed sheets in a bad way. I have yet to set up the trundle part of the bed, but when I do, I have sheets ready. (P.S - I have nothing against TJ Maxx...it just doesn't occur to me to go there very much).

I also found a cute little pillow for the big bedroom which looks great in there! I also moved up a tall red lamp (Land of Nod) which used to reside in the living room. Kyle installed the window unit a/c, so our guests won't die in the heat. Although our weather this summer has rarely required using a/c units at all! Thank you, Lord! 

I switched sheet sets on the bed a few times before settling on a tan duvet cover and a sweet, soft set of sheets with tiny blue fern prints on them. And they don't show up in the picture at all. Sorry about that. The pillows are too big, but oh well. They're cozy. The bed is cozy. The sheets are soft. I love this room, in spite of the wall cracks and paint. 

I need a few rugs to soften the overall effect, but I am working on those. 

All in all, it's ready for Emily. 

Of course, the minute this room looked cozy, my kids were SO excited, all claiming they wanted it to be their room. Even Wyeth. Prior to this, they'd all insisted they would never want to sleep on the 3rd floor, because it would be too scary.  We've made progress. There's still a WAYS to go, but I'm measuring our progress, folks.

Not to leave out the playroom - we lugged back up all the toys and bins, culled a lot and may cull more, but at the very least, we organized the heck out of it all. And stayed up very very late to do so.
It was quite fun, actually.  

I'm not sure what my plan is long-term for that cork wall. It's not in good shape. I'm wondering if my best bet is to remove it and replaster it at some point. Who knows. That's a much distant project.

For now, Brooklyn's Barbie house is at the end opposite a play kitchen. What I'm thinking is that at some point, a twin bed might work in that nook. Despite what it looks like, there's room for a twin to fit in there (not side to side, but with the headboard up against the windows). Or possibly a twin against the wall where the daybed was going to fit. There are options. 

I'm gonna be honest, it feels very un-Ashley to have a room that's just toys. I'm not a toy person. I struggle with their primary colors, plastic materials, pointy edges that find their ways underfoot...I just don't like them. I know. Shame on me. But at least I'm whittling them down a bit, trying to zero in on what they really play with. 

Totally jumping tracks, I'm also looking for a rug for this area. What I don't want is my lovely white floors getting totally dinged up with toys banging on it.  I can testify that the floors clean up with a squirt bottle and paper towel, but they do show dirt. 

We are a "shoes-off upon entering house" house, in case you ever visit....and definitely no shoes up here. :) There's just too much nasty dirt that gets tracked in houses, and with a crawling baby....well, I get a little grossed out. So! That's all my mean momma ranting and a whole lot of 3rd floor changes!

In summary, we're not finished, by any means, but closer than we've ever been.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the before and afters!

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