Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Missing a Garage

It's a well known phenomena about garages turning into graveyards for good intentions of home improvement projects and evicting the previous car tenants.  The phenomena occurred in North Carolina because the garage was ours and we could easily make it stinky with paint fumes while also having space to park two cars in the driveway yet. 

In San Francisco, we pay a pretty penny to park our lone car in the garage.  Lots of other people park their cars there too.  They don't appreciate people stinking up the garage because they're paying a pretty penny too.  And there's no do overs if you spill a can of stain on the common garage floor.  You just part with more pretty pennies to have it power washed.  So . . . we had to be creative and come up with an alternative space for the mini home improvement projects we tackled.  We needed to widen the legs on our dining room table, paint a small beat up bookshelf to use as a bar and paint a dining bench to match the dining room table.

After buying the bare necessities for the transformations (having to hump them back to the apartment and having zero storage space), I rummaged through the recycling bin.  I'm not a full blown dumpster diver, but we've scored some pretty great items from the bin (most recently a desk chair and plastic shelving).  I was after a moving or appliance box to serve as a work floor and came back victorious.  I rearranged the deck, put down my protective flooring and dusted off my ole home improvement skills.
The caution tape, courtesy of our apartment management company, is apropos here no?
While I took over the balcony for a painting project, Mr. Palindrome was reminded of his DeWalt love inside.  He subbed the canister vac for the shop vac and got to work slightly expanding our new table from Pier 1 to accommodate the new bench we got from Amazon.  All of the adjustments were designed to make a transformer version of a dining room that seamlessly turned into a console table as the need arose.
Meanwhile out on the deck, I started with the bookshelf and got reacquainted with sanding, priming, sanding, painting etc.  Hello old friends.  I've missed you.  Not.
Painting and sanding are the worst home improvement chores. Ever.  But I always read Centsational Girl, Young House Love and Life in the Fun Lane.  They get me thinking evil thoughts.  Thoughts like, "If I just painted this ..."  That kind of thinking never leads anywhere good.  It's so true, you follow the actions of the blog company you keep.  In just a few short months of me starting all over on the west coast and vowing never to pick up a paint brush again, here I am with big dreams of how it'll all turn out differently this time.
Of course, it starts to drizzle.  Sideways.  Into the balcony.
Of course, I forget to sand in between a coat or two.
Of course, it looks streaky and uneven three coats later.
Of course, the curious kitten jumped onto the wet surface then tried to escape via the white carpeted living room.
Of course, I went with the green stripper for the bench.  It smelled like coconut.  That should have been my first clue that it  wasn't a serious stripper.
Of course, the kitten is drinking the emergency eye wash water out of the big gulp.
And yet, I pressed on.  Believing this time would be different.  I'd be happy with a piece I painted.  It would look professional this time.  Please, I prayed, for the love of everything that is good and right in the world, please turn out this time.
I appealed to Sherry and John for a word of encouragement via desperate tweets.  They told me exactly what I wanted to hear - just rough it up a bit then prime.  After two weeks of practicing on the bookshelf and messing with the stripper, I took the dive.
And I nearly took another dive off the balcony after the primer went on.
Primer is super scary.  You get the streaks and the uneven and the neon colors.  You think to yourself, "Oh Lord, what have I done?"  Keep the faith my daughter He replies.  And I do.  And this time it may have worked out.  "After" pictures forthcoming for you to judge yourself.

Does painting furniture work out for you?  Did you acquire the skill or were you born a furniture painter?


  1. Primer is always terrifying! Can't wait to see the finished product!

  2. Our apartment doesn't have any outdoor space, so I always have to paint outside on our small "shared by all of the 30 neighbors" yard. It's a little awkward, but when you must paint, you must paint! I love the red!

  3. Excited to see how it turned out!! I have a couple of pieces that I want to paint and am a little nervous on how they will turn out.

  4. I wish we had a garage! We just have a little balcony like you. And snow & cold temperatures between October & May, so we can't even use that in the winter!