ORC Week 2: Dressing Room Remodel – Flooring, Walls, And Door

Do you have your best ideas when you first wake up?  I’d been grappling with my plans for the furniture layout in this quirky little dressing room.  Something wasn’t quite right.

And then this morning I woke up with the solution.

Maybe all the inspiration I’m seeing in the One Room Challenge®  is rubbing off.  It’s week two of the challenge, and it’s been fun checking out the room transformations happening here.

And it’s excellent motivation as Chris and I continue working on the remodel of my dressing room.  If you missed my Week I post, pop over to see the before photos and our plan of attack.

But essentially, here is the layout of the space we’re working with, all 70-ish square feet of it.

What the sketch doesn’t show is that the ceiling on the east wall slopes down with the roofline to meet the wall.  So, the east wall isn’t even six feet high.

Week Two Progress

We have been very busy, and I’m happy with our progress so far.  Here is what we’ve been up to.

A Decision On The Floor

Almost every finished room in our circa 1927 house has the original fir flooring exposed and refinished.  Except for this little room.  It was carpeted, and that’s because, under the carpet, there was mid-century linoleum covering the original fir floor.

We found evidence that someone, at some point, had tried to remove the linoleum but had given up.

Chris tried several methods of removing it himself, including heat.  But this flooring was holding on tight, and the tiny bit of progress he made was painfully slow and unpleasant.  It would take countless hours to remove it, and many more to salvage the fir floor beneath it – if that floor was even salvageable.

After all, there was a good-sized mystery patch in the middle.

And some weirdness in a corner.

But the larger issue was that, by disturbing this older flooring and adhesive, we were running the risk of releasing and breathing asbestos.  For this to be done right, we needed to hire someone who was licensed to perform asbestos abatement.

So at this point I was more than happy to move on to our Plan B.

Chris would just cover the whole mess with quarter-inch plywood.  And then I would paint it.  That’s right – a painted plywood floor!

But before Chris installed this beautiful new plywood, I painted the walls, moldings, and entry door.  Since we were going to cover that old flooring anyway, I wouldn’t even need a drop cloth.

Wall and Trim Paint

The room is very small.  It has a ceiling that follows the sloping roofline of our second floor.  The sloped ceiling had been painted a different color (ceiling white) than the walls (a light blue), and I always felt like that weighed the room down somehow.

So, my thought was that painting the entire room – ceilings, walls, moldings and doors – all in one neutral color would lighten the room and make it appear larger.

Since the room only has one small pocket window, I wanted a very light paint.  So, I went with good old Benjamin Moore “Simply White.”  Despite the name, the color is actually a soft and neutral off-white that is said to play nicely with other colors  – even other whites.

Perfect, I thought, for a that classic and uncluttered look I wanted.

I used a matte finish for the walls and ceiling.  I used their satin cabinet paint (which will come in handy later too – you’ll see!) for the moldings and doors.  Although both paints are Simply White, just the variation in the paint finishes provides enough contrast to bring a little definition to the moldings.

The Plywood Floor Begins!

Once I finished painting, Chris installed the plywood floor.

and patched the seams and screw holes.

I was surprised how quickly he did all this, and as usual he did a beautiful job.

I vacuumed the floor thoroughly and applied two coats of Zinsser Bulls Eye primer.  To apply the primer,  I used a short-nap roller cover made for smooth finishes. And I used my trusty Shur-Line edger  (which I often use in place of a paint brush) for the perimeter.  I vacuumed both the roller cover and the edger pad before using them to make darn sure I’d have a lint-free application.

So now the floor is a beautiful blank canvas, and I’m a bit nervous.  I’d been experimenting with various paint applications, including a takeoff on rag-rolling that I’d hoped would look like a treated cement floor – but wound up looking more like a dirty floor.  Someday I might play around more with that technique.

But for this little room, Chris and I kept coming back to the idea of a stencil.  With the all-white everything, it would be a nice contrast to have the floor carry a pattern.

I found an 8-inch stencil I liked, and I’ve been practicing and experimenting with colors.

The Door Rebuild

While I was deliberating over the floor, Chris was rebuilding the sad little door on the east wall that leads to an attic space.

This short hollow-core door (only 64 inches tall) is not original to our circa 1927 house.  And neither was the cheap 2-inch molding around it.

So Chris rebuilt the door to make it look like one of our original single-panel doors from the 1920s.

This turned out to be a very cool project, but it was more planning and more work than it looks like.  So I’m going to write a post in the future dedicated solely to this door rehab.

But for now I’ll explain it in broad strokes.

He started by installing molding around the door that had actually been removed from another room in our house!  (Chris tends to hang on to things, and sometimes this comes in very handy.)


Now the molding around the door would match the other moldings in the house.

Then he installed molding around the perimeter of the door itself to give it the appearance of a  single-panel door.

Once all that was done, I primed the door and moldings and painted them with the Simply White cabinet paint.

Then it was finally time to upgrade from the cheap, 1970’s-era brass-tone knob that had been on the door – the knob that has bugged me since we moved in.

We’ve collected a pretty good stash of old house parts over the years and, rummaging through it, we found this beauty.

We chose it because of its petite size (in scale with the door) and because all of our original doors have glass knobs.

We also replaced the flimsy hinges on the door with these vintage hinges – which, besides being very well-made, are identical to the hinges on our original doors.

I want to be careful not to give away too much before the big Week 6 reveal but, since I didn’t put a mood board together, I want to show you this door as an example of what we have planned for the entire room:  1920s elegance, feminine but classic, glass knobs, soft white.

Pre-rebuild, the door had a beveled dressing mirror attached to it, and we just reused it.  There is a small chip on the lower right had corner, but I can live with that.  Character.

Coming Next Week

The stencil begins!  I know this will be a ton of work – and probably pretty frustrating.  I’m really hoping to have decent results. 

But if I don’t, it’s just paint.  I can always paint over it and try something else.

I hope it doesn’t come to that.

For more on this project, see my posts below.


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