One Room Challenge, Week Six – Spring 2020

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If you’re following my progress as a guest participant in the One Room Challenge, welcome back! If you’re just joining me, you picked a great time to start reading because things are starting to look a lot different over here!

As you may have noticed, we’ve skipped week five. Last week the One Room Challenge took a pause to make room for the important conversations that were happening — and are still happening — as we listen to the voices that need to be heard and collectively work to fight racism in our country.

If you recall from my last post, the next major step in the project was to have the cabinets painted. It’s a significant undertaking, and we chose to use a conversion varnish finish, which can only be applied by a professional.

Why conversion varnish?

A catalyzed conversion varnish is different from the latex and enameled finishes that are available from most paint companies – even those labeled for use on cabinetry. With a conversion varnish, a catalyst is added to the finish just before it is sprayed on, and when prepped, mixed, and applied correctly it creates a very quick-drying, durable finish that doesn’t chip or peel. Particularly since our project includes a desktop, we wanted something that would last and not require refinishing down the road.

Our painter refinished our cabinets at our last house years ago, and we were thrilled that he was able to take on this project as well. He is a paint maestro! He is also super gracious and invited me into the work zone to take progress pictures when he was between tasks.

The first step was to remove all the doors, hinges, drawer fronts, and some of the drawer guides. Then on to taping, taping, and more taping. He basically turned the room into a spray booth.

Cabinets are taped off and ready for sanding

Next he got to work sanding off the old finish, filling any bits that needed attention, then sanding some more.

Office cabinets taped off and work has begun to sand off the old finish

Another view of the cabinets taped off and sanded

Then, on just about the hottest day on record, he did the primer coat, followed by the accent color. A brush-on or roll-on paint job would have been a disaster in the heat, but the primer did just fine.

We kept the house open overnight to help with the fumes. When I say fumes, I mean a scent so strong your eyes feel like they are burning in their sockets. Best to keep the little ones out of the house while you air it out! I took our kiddo on back to back day trips while the spraying was going on, and we’ve kept the house open for the next several days.

Desk cabinets after primer has been applied

Built-ins after primer application

Our painter was also kind enough to remove the paper on the electronics cabinet and restore our wifi connection at the end of each work day. He thinks of everything!

Built in wall after the accent color was applied

Accent color on the desk cabinet wall

Next, there was more sanding, more taping, and finally, the main color was applied. It dried quickly as he did cleanup, and then he was able to pull off all the tape and paper. The doors and drawer fronts have been taken back to the shop so they can be sprayed in the booth, which gives more control over air quality and temperature. Since the cabinet fronts are the most highly visible part of the cabinet, those are best done at the shop.

Main color on the desk cabinets

What a transformation already! The paint was dry to the touch very quickly, but will take about 10 days to cure. At that point he will be back with the doors and drawer fronts and put everything back together.

The tape and paper removed to reveal the painted desk cabinets

The tape and paper are removed to reveal the painted built in cabinets

Also, notice the back wall is not peach. It is the same color I lamented about back in week three. I mentioned it to our painter when we were prepping the room, and he noted that the red stain from the desk as well as the natural wood cabinets were receiving — and reflecting — a lot of natural light back onto that wall and that after the cabinets got painted the color would read the way it should. Which it does! Though I will likely be warming it up a bit with a creamier shade to better fit the rug… that remains to be confirmed.

In other news, the ceiling fan has been delayed twice and is still not here, so electrical work has yet to be scheduled. We are two weeks from the big reveal, and here are the remaining items:

  • Area rug project (wish me luck. please)
  • Baseboard and trim paint
  • Accent and main wall paint
  • Ceiling paint touch up
  • Electrical at glass cabinet and ceiling
  • Art installation
  • Window treatment
  • Electronics cabinet modifications
  • Glass shelving & glass door inserts
  • Mesh inserts for the electronics cabinet
  • Hardware installation
  • Decorative staging
  • Photography

So… you know where I’ll be for the next two weeks. Ha!

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  1. You have definitely got a gem of a painter, Crystal. What an impressive amount of taping and work he went through to get this just right for you. It looks like it will be so beautiful!

    And I want to say: MAKE SURE NOONE INADVERTENTLY LIGHTS A CANDLE OR CIGARETTE or anything with a flame .. in any part of your home: for a while! This stuff is highly combustible.. even with all windows open. Ask me how I know this, privately.

    It sounds like your painter is always extremely aware of this. but many times work crews (or friends) will light a cigarette, even just outside, and not realize that fumes can -> spontaneously -< combust. BE CAREFUL.

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