A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

The Weekend Projects

I’ve been working on the weekend assignment(s) for Apartment Therapy’s January Cure: Flowers, Kitchen Cleaning & Make Yourself a Meal.

I skipped over Thursday’s assignment, to Get Your Get-Together Together. At most I’ll just make a nice dinner for Pete at the end of all this.

I still have one more section to clean in the kitchen, but I’ve tidied up and cleaned the cabinets (another chore completed from my original project listyes!), washed the shelves, spice bottles, etc. I think it’s looking pretty good and it’s so nice to walk into a neat and clean kitchen.


2013011306Earlier in the week I bought flowers, which are still doing well. I decided on these hydrangeas since we planted 6 or 7 hydrangea bushes last summer. I’m hoping they will send some good vibes to the yard, as a number of them really suffered in the drought and/or our soil along the house and I don’t know if they’ll reappear in the spring.

(Somebody is very nosy but at least he is isn’t eating them!)

On my “breaks” from cleaning the kitchen I’ve been working on the TV room closet project. First I cleared out the closet and put everything in the guest bedroom.


2013011301Next I laid down plastic to protect the floor and taped newspaper on top so I could let the paint scraps fall and easily clean it up. (That’s just an extra drop cloth on top.)

The first coat of paint stripper only took off the top layer of paint. I suspect the top layer was latex and subsequent layers are enamel paint. The second layer is an ugly pinkish beige. There are at least 3 more paint layers under that, the first of which is a deep slate blue.

It’s a nice color, but I will never understand why anyone would want to paint the woodwork in the first place! I know many people like white trim, and it may have its place but it just breaks my heart to see someone paint over nice wood, especially in an older home. I had to stop reading one houseblog when they decided to paint over original woodwork. I swear I will haunt a future owner of this house if they ever paint over this woodwork after all the time and money we spent refinishing ours!

But I digress.

It’s not difficult to do and doesn’t take a lot of time, really, but it’s a little messy. I painted on the stripper (I’m using Back to Nature Ready Strip) as thickly as possible, which goes on green and turns white once it has done its job. It does a decent job but I find I have to go over it at least a couple times to get most of the paint off.


The worst part is trying to get the paint out of the grooves in the upper trim along with the top and bottom edges. And I still need to get the closet rod brackets off but they’re being difficult.


Once that’s done I’ll wash it down and do a light sanding before varnishing. Hopefully that will be it because I really don’t want to spend too much time on it — it is just a closet after all.



  1. Sharon on January 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Good job on the paint stripping. I’m still at it (figuratively, not literally, as we’re taking a bit of a break before we finish the last bedroom). I’m totally with you on haunting folks who paint wood. I’ve unfollowed a number of blogs because they started painting wood and/or masonry.

  2. Sharon on January 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    On another note, have you tried a heat gun? We found they do a good job at getting most of the paint off with the first pass. Then you can use less chemical to clean up the details.

    • denise on January 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks for the tip! I haven’t tried a heat gun. I think that would work great for the top latex coat, but the other layers are rather gunky and sticky when I scrape it with the paint remover. I wonder if it would be like that with the heat gun? I’m not even sure we have one, but it might be worth a try to borrow one for the other 2 closets.

      • Sharon on January 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm

        Our bedrooms started out painted in 1912 and we managed to get off most of the 100 years of paint with the first pass with the heat gun. You might try it, if you get the chance. Then we used the chemical to clean the paint out of the grain and nooks and crannies. It’s still tedious work, but I think it’s faster.

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