8.31.2011

A Textured Ceiling Makeover

It has been several months since we began this particular project, but we just brought it to pretty-much completion within the past couple days. Here is our new bedroom ceiling, complete with this then-on-sale chandelier from Home Depot:


Yes, in fact, the appearance of that chandelier did inspire me to sing "Phantom of the Opera" at the top of my lungs not only while Rick hung it but also well into the next week! How did you know?!


But let's rewind. You see, this was not a simple "let's paint the ceiling and hang a chandelier and sing an aria" job. Here's what the ceiling started out looking like:



Personally, I'm not a fan of this particular brand of textured ceiling, even though I know it has Super Crack-Hiding Abilities. (Unlike my female students in their low-rise jeans, whose crack-hiding abilities rank right up there with my ability to, say, recite "The Road Less Taken" in Polish.) So, we googled around for some help without any real success, then asked a couple different workers at Lowe's if there was anything we could do about it. They both said NO and laughed at our sheer ignorance and naivety.

(But did you see that first picture way up there?)

I am here to tell you that these workers were obviously INCORRECT and should not have snickered quite so pompously and should maybe consider quitting their day job and instead taking up Polish.

Left to our own devices, I remembered reading Kelly's tips about getting rid of a popcorn ceiling by spraying it with water, so we went ahead and soaked a corner of our drippy plaster ceiling, figuring that the plaster itself was water-based and would resort to its liquefied state. It did! A happy dance ensued. Said happy dance quickly came to a screeching halt when we realized how not-fun it is to mess around with a ceiling. Is it totally all worth it now, now that our arms no longer ache and our bodies are no longer coated in dust? Heck yes. Are we skipping off to go get started started on another ceiling? Heck no.

With our plaster thoroughly saturated, we began scraping off the plaster drips with metal scrapers. After that, the ceiling looked like this:


Better, but not flat. So the next step involved applying a new layer of joint compound to smooth out the still rough texture. I would recommend getting a scraper the size of your head and using fresh joint compound. You'll finish the ceiling in no time less than a day.


(Rick says I should mention that we had to choose between applying a new layer of plaster with joint compound, or sand all of the remaining plaster until it was smooth. We tried skipping the new layer and going straight to sanding, but we likened it to painting the room with a mascara brush: completely slow, painful and inefficient.) So we slapped on a new layer of wet joint compound. If any of the steps were easy, this was it. Even I could do it with a fair amount of success and minimal to no whining. Here's a fantastically thrilling picture of what it looked like as it was drying:


After the new layer of plaster was dry, the delightful job of sanding could commence. I'm not gonna lie: this step is, to date, the worst thing I have participated in during my brief career as a homeowner. Rick (aka The One With the Muscles) ended up doing most of it because he loves my biceps and my cheery disposition, both of which were seriously compromised when I began sanding the ceiling.


After wiping down the entire ceiling and room with a wet cloth, we primed with Kilz stainblocker (the ceiling soaked up a lot of it--we used the entire gallon of primer and only half a gallon of actual paint) and then painted. I chose this lovely contrasting shade of pale blue (Valspar's Sweet Slumber):


What? You mean you don't see any real color or contrast, only grayish white spots left by the sad coverage of our now never-to-be-used-again Olympic paint? This explains why I zoomed off to the nearest hardware store and bought a gallon of Benjamin Moore paint and primer in one, shade Glacier Blue. After all, we didn't spend all that time and energy scraping and sanding the ceiling for it to be more lame and less exciting than the sequels to Aladdin.


He claims to not want a photo shoot. Divas these days. Really, why else would he be wearing those super swell safety goggles? ;)

Next time, I, personally, will wear a rain bonnet when I cut in around the edge of the ceiling, seeing as how this time I ended up looking like one of those kids that sprays school colors in their hair on homecoming, only less cool.


(Try to pretend you're surprised that I have a t-shirt with cats on it.)

I'm really happy with how the ceiling looks with the walls (Valspar's Seashell Gray), and I think the shade of blue is bright enough to be noticeably pretty but not overpowering to the point where you feel like someone colored the entire ceiling with a blue highlighter.


Hanging the Phantom of the Opera bling chandelier was the final touch. We had to use a swag hook to suspend it in the center of the room since the electric hook-up that used to be centered in the room is now not centered because we knocked out the imposing closet as part of our mission to make the upstairs floor plan feel not quite so 1897.


That thing sparkles. Me likey.


And now, for a brief history of our birdroom bedroom. I have to add that while it didn't make me sad to paint over the multitude of birdhouses, I am impressed by the time and hard work that someone spent on them. All that stenciling isn't my thing, but every single element was really so detailed and intricate, and a lot of love went into making it that way. I can appreciate that, you know?


Hooray for progress. :)

We still have to install new trim/baseboards and refinish the floor before we can move into our bedroom, but we congratulated ourselves on the completion of the ceiling by snuggling up with some hot chocolate (is summer over already?) and watching...The Phantom of the Opera. Rick thought that maybe it would put an end to my insistence on pretending to be an operatic soprano.

It did not.

It merely encouraged it.  


So: other tips for conquering textured ceilings? Practical venues for reciting Frost in languages other than English? Vocal exercises to flawlessly reach high Bs? Let's hear your thoughts. :)

This post was brought to you by a dork who loves musical theater, bling, and masked men in boats.

16 comments :

  1. Noooooo WAY!

    I am SUPER impressed. I've never heard of anyone taking down that texture, and I KNOW that must have killed your necks and backs. Wow. But it looks AH-MAZING.

    I love the blue ceiling! All it needs now is a painting of a bird or bird house, right?

    (I can't get over the difference in the before & after!)

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  2. You two deserve homelover (owner seems too cold) of the year award for the massive amounts you poured into that ceiling. Wowza. Oh how my back/arms/whole friggin' body ache for you, but I C.A.N.N.O.T. believe how great it looks! Bravo. The blue is a perfect touch...and the bling...well, there really are no words are there? gorgeous. Now hurry up and finish your room so I can stalk and drool all over your freshly refinished wood floors. :)

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  3. Hooray! You guys are brave! Love the thought bubble. :)

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  4. What a difference - all that hard work definitely was worth it. I love it when people paint their ceilings a fun color and your blue goes perfectly with the chandelier. I can understand why you kept on singing!

    What about the rest of your house? Do they all have ceilings like this? I hope not, for yall sake!

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  5. Man, your posts crack me up :)
    I've never had the pleasure of removing a textured ceiling, nor do I ever want it. That does not look fun.
    However, it was totally worth your effort, as yours now looks amazing. I love the color you painted it.

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  6. Looks great! All your hard work on the ceilings really paid off. I love those hardwood floors, they will look amazing when you are done :)
    And I always end up painting my hair also, lol!
    Thanks for checking out my blog and I am looking forward to reading more of your posts!
    ~Kelly @ Corner of Main

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  7. Ouch. At least Rick can appropriately dose your ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Ouch.

    I'm jealous of your cat shirt.

    And your bedroom is looking B-E-A-Utiful!! Can you talk my husband into a pretty chandelier? Just don't mention musicals because he'll totally stop listening.

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  8. WOOOOWWWWWEEEEE that is awesome!!!! I love the blue paint!

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  9. OH! and gerard butler. HOT.

    love,
    your fellow dork who loves musical theater, bling, and masked men in boats

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  10. It looks so good guys! I love the blue ceiling, it reminds me of the southern blue porch ceilings! The amount of work you all have put into that just makes me dizzy!

    Also, can I borrow that T shirt? ;)

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  11. You guys are doing some serious work and it looks amazing!

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  12. HA! I was managing to hold it together until I saw your last pic! Awesome, Christine! (loves me some Andrew Lloyd Weber, too...) That Glacier Blue + chandelier = perfection.

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  13. Man you are brave for tackling that ceiling! I spent almost 6 hours straight up a very high ladder painting a strip of wood we have that goes from the front of the house to the back of the living area. That was painful. We also have lovely popcorn ceiling in that room but I didn't think there was any way to remove it other than putting up a new ceiling. I still don't think I'm up for it! I'm loving the look of your room though. I totally need to watch The Phantom of the Opera again too.
    True story, when my sister and I were young we listened to the original Phantom and the Opera on casette so much that my parents literaly took the tape and threw it out to stop us!

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  14. I'm glad I'm not the only one to randomly break out in song. My husband doesn't appreciate it. ;)

    Oh, and I agree - sanding compound is the worst job of all. The dust goes everywhere, and I always have to go back to do touch-ups (since I use a light to highlight any bad areas).

    Anyway, your room is looking awesome. :)

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  15. Thanks ladies! I'm thinking Phantom of the Opera Party/Let's Drool Over Hot Guys Who can Sing Party. ASAP. ;)

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  16. Loved this post! Too funny. You all have made some fantastic progress! We have popcorn ceiling in the living room, family room, and dining room. We are too lazy to get rid of it. So I pretend it is not there. It doesn't really work. :s Thanks for the visit today!

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