One Room Challenge Week 4: A Seattle Porch Makeover

Blue skies came my way, baby. Quite literally. We had the BEST weather in Seattle this week, so it was a week of accomplishments, of getting things done, of hitting the fast forward button on this here One Week, I mean, One Room Challenge. Furniture was painted..some of it…pavers were laid…half of them….and a faux tile treatment has begun…truly!

In last week's post I introduced you to Joe's magical paint station. This week I got to see the product of a plastic-enclosed dust-safe painting environment, and friends, my mind was blown. Now, I have personally painted entire showrooms worth of furniture. You know the drill - buy something ugly from some sucker who doesn't know what they have, sand it down a bit, clean it, paint it, and call it good. Except it turns out that after years of doing this, I was never really doing it right. The last furniture I painted was a high boy and two night stands. I did not get them from a sucker, I inherited them from Joe's bachelor pad. I mean, maybe he's a sucker for being with me? But if you think that, you're mean and should go away. I'll wait. So guys (those of you remaining who aren't mean), that furniture was totally sticky afterwards. And it still is. You know what that means? I used the wrong paint. I think? I don't know. What I do know is that I am NEVER ever going to paint old furniture again. You know why? You guessed it, because Joe is. Not me. Joe. I'm not giving up my furniture revitalization schemes, no way. I'm just outsourcing them to the best there is (under my roof, anyway). So yeah, his paint station / paint sprayer combo along with properly chosen paint…in this case Sherwin William's Emerald Trim Enamel. I'm in love with the feel and the coverage! This is where I'd insert a photo of those pieces, but I...don't have one. Oops. 

I realize I haven't shared this before, but my color palette for this project is cream, grey and blush with some other pops of color as I see fit in styling. The seating area by the porch swing is all being painted cream, which is color matched to our trim color, which is just the most delicious shade of cream. It was actually the original trim color from when we bought the house, and I had Joe take a chip of it into the paint store to match when we repainted the trim, so now I'm painting all the things this color. Including, controversially, the porch floor itself. Yesterday in between all the meetings I laid down two coats of cream Porch & Floor Enamel (also by Sherwin Williams who is not sponsoring this at all, but I'm shouting them out anyway, so you know who I the designer choose to use in my own home in case you care about things like that).

Other handy things to know - when painting a floor - first clean it REALLY well - in our case we power washed it twice, sigh, and then I had to wash it yet AGAIN because for some reason a bird kept coming onto our covered porch and leaving a nice pile of bird emissions. Put a cork in it, bird!! If you leave poop bombs on my freshly painted all the things, I will find your nest and move it to a different branch, so help me god!

After your porch is clean and you have appropriately threatened all nearby avian species, make sure you have all the right equipment. I mean, you could do that first, but whatevs. Okay, so I used Joe's extendable pole, which attaches to a normal paint roller holder, upon which I put a 3/4" nap roller, because Joe told me to. He also gave me a reason, which is that our highly texturized porch needs more nap so that the paint gets into all the crevices, so when you're painting your own surface, you can use whatever nap works for your level of texture. Is anyone else yawning and ready for a snooze? Moving on from naps…So I got up early yesterday morning, painted on a coat. It's easy with a porch, you start at one direction and go to the other side. If you are in an enclosed space, just ensure you don't paint yourself into a corner, because that would be dumb. After a shower and a meeting and a couple errands, I went home, supermanned into my painting clothes and did a second coat before changing back and going off to the design center and another couple of meetings. I share this because I felt like I was WINNING at ORCing while businessing. I really did.

First coat! Trying not to think I'm crazy for going so light, but knowing me, I'll probably paint over it next year? Who knows!

First coat! Trying not to think I'm crazy for going so light, but knowing me, I'll probably paint over it next year? Who knows!

Meanwhile the past week has also been filled with paver-related drama. You may remember last week that we hadn't even purchased the pavers yet. We had jackhammered away our path and had literally NOTHING to fill it with. So come Saturday morning, we arose wayyyyy too early and drove to four stoneyards, where I fell in love with zero things. I directed Joe to Lowe's, where we never shop because he's a diehard Home Depot man, which I didn't know existed before him. I think it's like the whole Coke Pepsi thing? To Lowe's we went, and there were the pavers. The Providence Square Antique Victorian Blend was made for me.

I created a mini mockup of the pathway I desired before declaring it a WINNER!

I created a mini mockup of the pathway I desired before declaring it a WINNER!

We bought a palette of them, and they loaded them into the truck with a fork lift. Do you know what I do not own at my house? A fork lift. Guess who became the fork lift? Me. Audrey (my 16-year-old, if you forgot) helped a bit, but mostly? I moved 264 pavers and 50 bricks from a truck and up 10 steps to the staging area. You know what I recommend you hire people for? This whole entire project. Kidding! Not really. There are a million other things that I could have done besides lugging those rocks around, but guess what, I have spilled my own sweat in the making of this thing, and that feels pretty damn good.

Action-packed photo featuring freshly painted furniture, unpainted porch, the pile of pavers that I carried, and the bricks lining the edge. Joe put a string there to help keep things PERFECTLY straight because he's a perfectionist and it needs to be perfect or we die. 

Action-packed photo featuring freshly painted furniture, unpainted porch, the pile of pavers that I carried, and the bricks lining the edge. Joe put a string there to help keep things PERFECTLY straight because he's a perfectionist and it needs to be perfect or we die. 

So Joe informed me that I was responsible for putting down the base layers for the path, and it needed to be PERFECTLY level OR ELSE THE WORLD WILL END. Do you know what I did? I friggin put those base layers down like a boss!! I lugged forty 50-pound bags of gravel and twenty 50 pound bags of sand up those stairs and then I laid that gravel and tamped it with a tamper that Joe checked out at the tool library, which is a really cool thing we have here in the Seattle area! I'm now a pathway base layer making pro, so if you have questions, shoot them my way. It's a layer of gravel, and a layer of sand and there is more to it, but I don't feel like writing about that, so…email me if you wanna know!

First I put down a weed guard fabric, then a layer of gravel. There's that tamper standing in the grass next to the rake I used to spread the gravel. Oh, also, see those signs? Apparently they mean NOTHING to poop-bearing birds. 

First I put down a weed guard fabric, then a layer of gravel. There's that tamper standing in the grass next to the rake I used to spread the gravel. Oh, also, see those signs? Apparently they mean NOTHING to poop-bearing birds. 

Photo courtesty of Joe, who kindly informed me that my "level" base layers were a FULL bubble off. Insert shrug emoji here. But rest assured that base layer became zero bubble off. so no one expired. 

Photo courtesty of Joe, who kindly informed me that my "level" base layers were a FULL bubble off. Insert shrug emoji here. But rest assured that base layer became zero bubble off. so no one expired. 

On Monday, we made a wild evening attempt to lay the pavers. EXCEPT you know what does not work? Trying to cut pavers to a specific shape using a hammer and chisel. So, Joe and I did what any self-respecting people would do, we quit. Today, Thursday, however was the DAY!! I helped Joe carry out the gigantic and very heavy wet saw, and he started cutting and fitting the pavers. You guys, it is EVERYTHING. First of all, Joe did it! It was very clear that the idea of me using a wet saw was not attractive to anyone living under our roof, so he ran with it. As of this writing, HALF of the pavers have been laid. I have half a path. Maybe it's worth noting that I realize that this path isn't on the porch that I'm making over for this project, but as I believe I have said before, I've hated this path forever, so this is exciting to me. And someone said, hey, maybe you should be Rebecca Rowland Exteriors, to which I just say maybe? Perhaps Interiors is the wrong word for my business. Maybe it should have just have been spaces, because I aspire to create beauty in the spaces where people spend their time, and my family spends their summers in this front yard (until I do this in the backyard), so beauty is in the works, and I'm excited and proud!

It's only halfway done, and it's still everything I dreamt it could be, i.e., better than the original narrow concrete path of doom. 

It's only halfway done, and it's still everything I dreamt it could be, i.e., better than the original narrow concrete path of doom. 

Ideally that would have been the closing sentence to this post, but there is one more part to cover in this ORC update. Last year I had it in my head that I really, really wanted to tile the front porch, and in my search for a tile reaffirmed that I have VERY expensive taste. The cost for the tile plus installation was more than the roof we installed when we bought the house, and there was no way Joe was going to go for that when we haven't even reno'd our kitchen yet. So, I went back to the drawing board, never letting go of the tile dreams. On Instagram or Pinterest, I saw an advert for Dizzy Duck Designs, a UK-based stencil Co., and found a beautiful tile option and BAZINGA, my scheme to paint and faux tile the porch was conceived. I gravitated toward Valencia Tile Stencil for the fleur de lis, which of course is a little reminder of my Francophilia. After looking at a couple of gray paints paired with the cream, I went with Sherwin Williams Silverplate, purchased a foam dobber from Target, and today went about stenciling. It's definitely not that easy on a textured surface, my friends. 

Important things about this picture: I am wearing gloves and STILL managed to get paint all over my fingers that is still there even as I type, that Dos Equis Amber was JUST what the doctor ordered, and I have to say I am loving, LOVING, LUH HUH UHVING the result so far. 

Important things about this picture: I am wearing gloves and STILL managed to get paint all over my fingers that is still there even as I type, that Dos Equis Amber was JUST what the doctor ordered, and I have to say I am loving, LOVING, LUH HUH UHVING the result so far. 

I think I'll go into more details on the process of stenciling a floor in next week's post, because today I only got through about 30 of my squares. For reference, there will be 175. Also, I realized a little belatedly that one of my rows was going askew, so I quit earlier than planned, both in annoyance and remembrance, for it wasn't until then that I realized that today is blog post day!!!!

So that's all for this week! Goals for next week, include painting ALL the furniture, the rest of the porch, finishing the path, and maybe, just maybe, convincing Joe to tackle the front door project. That's like 15-minutes worth of work, right?