Over the last month I have been BUSY, I haven’t been able to update my blog on all the fun things I’ve been working on because I swear my days are too short (or maybe I should try waking up before 11am). Either way, the most exciting project by far was repainting and repairing the inside of an apartment in Westmount for Phil’s parents to move into. It was a really great opportunity to try out renovation on a small scale and to see if it’s something we enjoy doing together. I’ve also been so obsessed with following renovations and home updates from my favorite designers (Shout out to @Arrowsandbow and @FlippinWendy) so it was fun to pretend that I had any clue what I was doing and see who was interested in following along with the journey!
A little back story about the apartment is that a 95 year old man has been living in it for the last 20+ years, and recently moved out. Phil’s parents, who live in the same building, wanted to move in and in order to keep the rent at the same price, they offered to take care of the basic renovations to bring it up to a more livable standard for them to move into. That’s where we come in! We have been stoked to have had the opportunity to do this kind of physical and creative work and had a great time doing it. Throughout the post I will share side by side comparisons of how the place looked before, during, and after the work. Many of my pictures aren’t great or well-lit, but it’s still quite satisfying to see how much the place has changed.
Walking through the apartment the first time looking at the condition it was in, particularly the bathroom and kitchen, I thought it was going to be way too big of a job for us to take on by ourselves and in only a months time. We dedicated at least 2 & 1/2 weeks to cleaning, patching, taking down blinds and nails and scrubbing the baseboards, windows, and moldings. This was probably the most important part of the process in my opinion because I didn’t want to just ‘put lipstick on a pig’ you know?! Also taking time on these details set us up for the painting to go smoothly and quickly. Spraying and scrubbing the baseboards with a de-molding and bleach spray did wonders for their appearance, making it look like we had painted them almost. Once we got around to that step, we painted over all the loose cords to hide them as well.
While the walls were probably considered white when they were painted twenty years ago, they all had settled into a very off-grey tone when we arrived. The worst offender was the living room pictured below, it took about three full coats to cover.
The paint we used on all the walls was Behr Premium Plus Ultra in an eggshell finish. This paint isn’t quite flat and it isn’t quite shiny, it has a velvety, soft appearance and I especially liked how it looked when painted on the walls and the floorboards. Phil’s mother chose the colors and I had my doubts about the Heavy Cream color at first (because I generally prefer a bright white) but once we started painting I really liked how smooth and elegant the cream color looked on the walls and the detailed moldings that this special apartment has. It just goes to show that each space demands something slightly different from a designer depending on the light, their possessions, and taste. Most of the rooms took two coats of paint, and it was so satisfying to see how much the spaces brightened up after just one coat.
Philip worked mostly on the bathroom, making more major renovations when he uncovered a huge amount of mold in the window-sill that was being covered up by a huge piece of white tape??? (idk – pictured below) and a severely degraded wall (in the top right corner – pictured below). He cut out a portion of molded wall and patched it with a piece of drywall. He also re-painted with a waterproof bathroom sealing paint in a bright white color that brightened up the space a ton. The sink was replaced from another apartment in the building for free, and of course the bathroom got a good scrub-down. Totally livable now!
Some of the best suggestions I got about the bathroom from friends on Instagram were to change the shower head (absolutely!) and to cut a shower curtain into a smaller curtain to cover the wood window so that water runs past the sill while showering, so smart!
Finally, the living rooms! The most unique and elegant elements in the home! They are so luxurious and unique in a way that is non-existent in newly built apartments with the detailed moldings and the dark wood accents. Turns out it also takes a ton of time to paint rooms with this kind of detail because it requires lots of different brushes, rollers, and attention to detail (which I am all about).
Above is an in-progress picture from the living room which really highlights how dark the walls were pre-paint and how bright the Heavy Cream looks on these walls. The windows were painted with a slightly lower quality paint in a Satin finish (so more shiny than the eggshell), the color is Antique White. If we were directing the project based on our own tastes/desires and had more time, I would’ve liked to paint the ceiling to match the walls and painted the windows in the Heavy Cream as well, rather than the Antique White. Sorry, Behr, not my favorite color.
But how elegant are these moldings? I’m in love.
And finally- the kitchen. The kitchen is still a work in progress. The rest of the house has been moved into but the kitchen needs a bit more work that we are going to do over the next month. About a week before we finished, Phil ripped up the damaged vinyl flooring only to discover very molded and extremely smelly subfloor so he dedicated a few days to scrubbing and eliminating the mold, and sealing the floors. We also took the doors off the cabinets for open shelving that will eventually be painted a lovely Flour White color along with the walls and ceiling. The fixture in the kitchen has been changed, the knobs will soon be changed on the remaining doors, and the appliances as well. Stay tuned for the finished kitchen in a post next month.
Above: Heavy Cream, Antique White, and Flour White – the colors we used!
Overall, I’m so excited for the day when we can update a place of our own and include all the special design details that I’ve been dreaming up in my head throughout this process. And of course, I’ve learned a ton from taking on this project:
-The details are IMPORTANT and if you don’t tend to them first and foremost, the finished product will look sloppy!
-Note to self: take well-lit and great photos before, during, and after (and during the same time of day) to see how much things have changed
-Tape EVERYTHING you don’t want painted and always wear a mask
-Beers and burgers after a long day of painting are a lifesaver
-Teamwork makes the dream work 🙂
If you’d like to see more videos and pictures from our month-long journey check out the highlights on my Instagram “FLIPPIN” and I’d love to answer any questions about the project or our process!