Project 5: the Garage

Coming back to the  bloc  blog party after a brief hiatus. Our house is now even more homely with the addition of our gorgeous little boy, AB. He’s kept us very busy, but we’ve just put him down at the delightfully early time of 6:30, and I feel awake enough to update this old draft post before heading to bed to read a few pages of my book (what luxury!).

Couldn't resist one proud parent photo. AB on day 2.

Couldn’t resist one proud parent photo. AB on day 2.

This project is now a few months old, but I’ll post it anyway. It was a nice easy one for us to knock over in the warmer months and the simple process of painting everything WHITE made a nice update.

We decided to start small, simple and with a room that wouldn’t matter too much if we stuffed it up. Our garage is a garage – it’s a 4m by 3m room with a cement floor and raw brick walls. We have a manual garage door (with a shiny new lock). This room will generally be our “Pool Room” (see: The Castle). It will house our prized possessions which have no real value (think overflow of books, boxes of old photos, foozball table, left over wedding decorations, flat soccer balls, spare beers, tools, dartboard, etc.).

Garages are not designed to be lived in. However, as we plan to do a bit of living in here, and as The Can gets frrrreezing in winter, first things first was to make it feel a little livable. The garage already had a heap of shelves at one end – wopee! To brighten the space we (LS and bro-law JS) painted the walls white. Two coats. This made the world of difference. We also had some left-over blue-grey paint I’d been inspired to buy for a feature wall – that went on the back wall behind the shelving. Fancy!

 

Yup - wearing thermals and a beanie - it's cold!

Yup – wearing thermals and a beanie – it’s cold!

Obligatory photo needed for going back to Bunnings since I didn't get enough.

Obligatory photo needed for going back to Bunnings since I didn’t get enough.

We added some off-cuts of old carpet donated from Team S (the in-laws) which helps keep the room a bit warmer. We have yet to mount the dartboard, but I think on warm summer nights, this room might get a bit of a workout and become “the Bar”.

 (finished photos to follow when I get in there during the day sans baby)

Total Cost: about $80 for two tins of plain all-purpose white paint, $15 for paint roller. Already had grey paint and extra paint brushes. Carpet donated.

Next Project: Back out to the garden.

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Project 2: Garden cosmetic facelift

There’s a lot you can learn about yourself, working in the garden. I’m more of an ideas person, it turns out, read: I think of great ideas, then get bored when implementing. My latest greatest idea is to paint our fence. A nice dark colour will help it recede, making our garden look bigger. A dark colour will also contrast nicely with our future pleached olive trees we’ll put in for screening (and yummy olives in 7-10 years).

I’d been looking forward to painting the fence for two weeks! The first week we had a family issue come up. And then it rained for a week. It was looking good for a sunny weekend in week 3. And sunny it was – it was gorgeous! Here in Canberra, after winter, we get excited about 18°C days. I got sunburnt.

Upon opening the paint tin, my first thought was, ‘oh, I guess it dries darker’. It has been said that on occasion, I may overreact. Well, on this occasion, when the paint went on, I may have had a bit of a tanty. The fence was supposed to be dark. Almost-black dark. Instead it looked slightly-overcast grey. I was not impressed. I was drafting strongly worded letters in my mind as I finished off the first coat. I’d had the garden ‘vision’ planned all out – the dark dusty grey/blue fence contrasting behind dappled olive tree leaves. Instead it was the colour of olive tree leaves. Well, for your future reference, here are a few lessons I’ve learned about painting:

  1. Do a test patch…and let it dry! Sounds obvious, but hey, who has the time. The colour looked 100 times better by the afternoon. And perfect by the next evening after the second coat. I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I’d just been patient.
  2. You will never have ‘just the right amount’ of paint. The amount of paint you need will depend on several factors, including the surface. Half of our fence was in great condition – the paint went straight on and we could do it with a roller. The other half was a different story – splintered, crooked, weathered – and required a heap more paint and time to fill in all the cracks. There are online calculators and tools you can use to estimate how much paint you will need, but if the surface is not perfect, you’ll probably need more.
  3. Break the job up. You’ll need to have a bit of time in-between coats anyway, but overall, painting a fence, Karate Kid style, can get really boring. Many folk asked if I found it meditative. My answer is no.
  4. There is very strong correlation between how boring the painting exercise has become, with how much you start slopping on the paint (see chart below).
Paint sloppage v boredom level

Paint sloppage v boredom level

 

Some happy snaps of the great wall:

First coat. A bit pale and patchy.

First coat. A bit pale and patchy.

 

Paint everywhere. Pumice is good for removing dried on paint. Blue paint on stockings also dries to look like epic bruising.

Paint everywhere. Pumice is good for removing dried on paint. Blue paint on stockings also dries to look like epic bruising.

 

Getting a bit of extra help from our friends. LW managed the entire retaining wall by herself. Hungover.

Getting a bit of extra help from our friends. LW managed the entire retaining wall by herself. Hungover.

The great wall. Looking good.

The great wall. Looking good.

Project Cost: $100 for two tins of paint. Had paint roller and paintbrush.

Next Steps: Get some plants in before it get’s baking hot.