One Room Challenge: Week Three -- Fables of the Reconstruction

Hello friends! Welcome back to the One Room Challenge, the crazy internet wide scramble to completely redecorate one room in six weeks. [Catch up on previous posts HERE.] I am struggling to wrap my head around the fact that we're now halfway through and I don't even have a mirror or lighting picked out... I'm feeling a bit like Aesop's hare here. We made super headway super fast, but now I'm super tired. At any moment I might lie down and twiddle some buckwheat whilst taunting tortoises with better project management skills than mine, but first we need to congratulate me on my hotdogging DIY skillz. At least the hare is flashy, right? erin williamson | design crisis

As you may recall I started out with a nuclear orange vanity of indeterminate but undeniably bad design. Well, I upgraded those sleazy doors for some fresh and clean oak shaker numbers from Barker Cabinets. I'll admit that I spent more than a few hours caressing them, getting to know every inch of virgin woodgrain. It was hard to slap on that first coat of stain. But after sanding them smooth with 150 grit paper, I screwed up my nerves and brushed on the Speedball india ink.

Yep. Speedball. India. Ink.

erin williamson | design crisis

Black as night, this stuff is. It makes regular "black" stain look like weak coffee, but if you try this for yourself please learn from my trials and four letter word filled tribulations: do not buy the acrylic ink (on left). The one on the right is what you want (PS, thanks for making the labels look so easy to differentiate, Speedball). It is waterproof and contains shellac, which is a sanding sealer so it doesn't raise the grain like the acrylic stuff. Also it flows ever so much more nicely and doesn't build up in tacky layers.

Can you tell that I spent a zillion hours reading woodworking lumber jock forums before I started this project because I am a giant nerd?

erin williamson | design crisis

Now I'm a dirty nerd in need of a manicure.

After permanently dyeing my skin black in the process of brushing on two coats of ink, I finished with Osmo polyx oil.

erin williamson | design crisis

I kind of refused to hermetically seal my hard earned woodgrain with polyurethane, so I spent another brazillion hours researching finishing options before settling on a hybrid hard wax. This stuff is totally food safe and eco friendly, plus is it easy to apply -- wax on and wax off Ralph Macchio style. Repeat 8 hours later -- crane kick optional but not required. Voila! Delicious juicy woodgrain with a touchable oiled finish.


All that stripping, sanding, and staining, sublimated into one grace note of beauty. I hear angels singing and rainbows weeping with envy.

erin williamson | design crisis

Rather than painting the cabinets black, I used this process as a test for our future kitchen remodel that will probably maybe never happen someday. I don't mind the idea of painted cabinets, but I do worry about chipping and the difficulty of touch ups -- especially with Wrecker and Bruiser around to hasten the demise of any fragile finish. This can be touched up and repaired with relative ease, plus I really like the ebonized look.

erin williamson | design crisis

Now whether this stuff will stand up to dribbled toothpaste and marathon boat parties hosted by our as of yet uninstalled sink, I do not know. This guy wants to remind me not to get too high and mighty on my champion DIY skills.

erin williamson | design crisis

He would also like to know if yogurt from the trash tastes as good as yogurt from the fridge.

erin williamson | design crisis

Because I said no I am not allowed to bask in the glory of my success.

erin williamson | design crisis

Unless I leave to forage for fresh yogurt, in which case I should come back. Now.

It's a wonder that anything gets done around here. But you may have noticed we managed to drop in an overhead light, positioned above the sink.

erin williamson | design crisis

Hilariously/not hilariously it is located exactly where an overhead light used to exist before the previous owners installed that hideous vanity light. We pretty much went back to the future. Or... something. Time travel confuses me.

erin williamson | design crisis

Light is helpful when you have to spackle and sand at pitch dark o'clock, which also happens to be renovation celebration o'clock. I like ice with my whine. Don't judge.

erin williamson | design crisis

To top off my winning streak, counters have been ordered and will be installed shortly. Ike picked them out -- or so he thinks. He also picked out the gargantuan face bandage which is covering precisely nothing. That's gonna hurt when it comes off, kid.

To summarize: I am basically king of the world, a super-ish parent with the very best that trash cans and stone yards have to offer, possibly the most talented DIY'er ever, and definitely a designer in charge of her own destiny.

Except that I had a hyperventilating panic attack and ordered totally DIFFERENT WALLPAPER. Bad hare, baaaad hare. From winning the race to cowering under a rock with my face in the dirt. Self saboteur in the extreme.

Goodbye beadboard, hello new wipeable wallpaper. We will discuss this ad infinitum next week. For now, just know how the mighty have fallen. I am in trouble.

Until then, please do see how my fellow participants are faring in their own race against time. Only three more weeks left to go!

Abby M. Interiors

Because it’s Awesome

Bijou & Boheme

Calling It Home

Chez V

Chinoiserie Chic

Copy Cat Chic

The Decorista

Design Crisis

Design Indulgence

Design Manifest

The English Room

The Glam Pad

Little Black Door

Mimosa Lane

My Notting Hill

The Pink Pagoda

Simple Details

My Sweet Savannah

Verandah House

Grooving On DIY Graphics

In case you haven't noticed, it's high summer and things are moving at a rather leisurely pace here at DC headquarters. I'm too busy with BBQs and pool playdates to do any hard hitting entertainicles right now, but I did manage to scrounge up a few delightful tidbits for you -- our loyal readers. If you saw yesterday's post about Karly's curtain project, then you know that a little DIY graphic goodness can make a gigantinormous difference. Let's check out some other ideas for simple, punchy projects. Behold:

Eye Spy

While I don't really want to think about how much work it actually took to paint that floor, I am seeing some definite, cheap possibilities for radical change. Is this not the best idea ever for crapoflaging those hideous screenprinted tiles that seem to run rampant in otherwise nice homes? I am wondering how durable the finish would be, though. Does anyone have experience painting tile?


Step one: find huge, cheap gold frames. Step two: paint your own shapes or cut up a big piece of fabric and frame. Step three: steal those lamps. heh.

LA Times

Sure it's a little voyeuristic, but at least you'll never be lonely in bed again. As I recall, this fabric was created with digital imaging and then sewn into a coverlet. There are so many digital service bureaus out there now that I'm sure there must be some reasonable options for printing your own fabric masterpieces.

Nicolas Matheus

A couple of graphic touches can make a big impact in a neutral space. It would take three seconds to have those shapes cut out of MDF and paint them up all 80s Memphis like. The settee is a relatively easy upholstery job that could be done on the cheap with Ikea fabric, and y'all know I'm nothing if not hot for the cheap and easy.

Andrea Ferrari

Dudes, I will be knocking this idea off someday. I can't afford Fornasetti's stunning Nuvole wall mural, but I can have my own images printed by Design Your Walls. I actually flipped this image into a mirrored pattern much like the one above and then had it printed as wallpaper, which was really easy to do and relatively inexpensive. Think I might try some different images and see what I can come up with.

You know... after I finish BBQing and swimming.

Thrift Score

Right now my house is an absolute mess.  Totally and completely.  My refrigerator is empty too, which has forced me to live on a scrambled egg white and turkey bacon diet for the last few days.  Remedying both of these problems was at the top of my to-do list this weekend but you know what?  I didn't do any of it.  Instead I spent the entire day Sunday watching movie marathons on tv and catching up on my crafting projects.  Regrets: zero; New pieces of artwork: 2. This is a before and after post, so don't be scared by this first picture:

I found this bandaid colored mess at the thrift store last Friday and was really digging all the pattern magic that was happening.  The flesh tones, not so much.  So I dug out my box of paints and paint brushes and grabbed a sharpie then went to town.  The results?

A brightly colored laser-light-show wonderland that isn't nearly as blurry in real life as it is in this photo.  I know, I know, I've been laser light show crazy lately, but at least I put a new spin on this with the little black triangles scattered throughout.  It was a risk, but I think it paid off.

Here's a closeup of my master work:

The polka dots weren't here before, either.  I also added the red, blue, yellow and green because those were the only decent colors I could find.  Seriously, I don't know where all my good paint ran off to.

I had such a grand ole time sprucing up the print, once I was done I decided to move on to the 3 dimensional project I've had on the docket for quite some time now.  I found this creepy madonna and child sculpture at a thrift store in Ft. Smith, Arkansas over Christmas break.  Having wanted to play laser party on a sculpture for a while now, I figured this was as good as any to start with.  One Tom Hanks movie later and here's what I got:

I have to admit, I actually tried this project right after Christmas with decidedly different results.  I originally taped off all the areas I wanted to keep white then spray painted the exposed portions with black paint.  Despite my meticulous taping, you know that paint bled and it was yuckytown USA.

I repainted her white and started from scratch.  This time, I bought chartpak tape, a thin, high-gloss tape that comes in every color of the rainbow (even metallic gold!).  The lines you see here aren't paint, they're actually tape.  Once the chart-pac tape was applied, I sprayed her with clear-gloss spray paint to keep everything in place.  Here are more views:

And that is that.  Now I have to skeedaddle, these groceries aren't going to buy themselves.