Redecorating on a Budget

Redecorating on a Budget

Grace Shu
Mar 25, 2009

Rearranged the furniture? Check. Refinished the credenza? Check. And what about that eyesore in the corner of the know, that big, huge ugly radiator? Part III of redecorating Kelley's studio is about tackling those not-so-fun projects that can really make a difference. Such as, painting the radiator from its dingy brown to an off-white that blends a bit better with the wall. Check out the process and end result after the jump...

When we first started talking about the radiator, Kelley and I thought about building a really nice radiator cover: the kind made of wood with the caning screens. But after much deliberation, we came to the conclusion that it was a solution that would cost too much and take too much time, especially since Kelley rents her apartment. Since we were back to square one, it was time to bring in the big guns: the other AT editors.

When I first sent around photos of Kelley's apartment to the other editors to get ideas, Abby advised, "I believe in the philosophy of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Instead of covering it up, integrate it in the space." Beth took it a step further and suggested, "Why don't you paint it? And add a shelf?" So, when we drove over to the Home Depot in Emeryville, we ended up buying two cans of Rustoleum high heat white spray paint and masks.

Positioning the floating Ikea Lack shelf was a bit of a challenge. We were a bit wary of putting it too close to the radiator as Kelley warned us, "It gets really, REALLY, abnormally hot..." So we moved it up a bit, and Fiona fit it into the corner nook next to the bay window, creating a built-in look. Side note: Uh, make sure you use anchors. Otherwise, you might end up with your belongings on the floor, and the shelf hanging down.

Here's what the corner of her studio looked like during the middle of painting:

Kelley tackled this job solo in the morning: After securely covering everything with a drop cloth and throwing open all the windows that hadn't been painted shut, she went to work coating the radiator. By the time I showed up, she was already finished and complaining about having carpal tunnel from holding down the spray nozzle. We escaped the toxic fumes in the apartment to grab some coffee, do a little window shopping, and pick up a few more odds and ends at Cliff's Variety store. When we returned a half-hour later, the apartment was aired out, and we set to work wiping down any errant paint sprays.

After picking up the drop cloths and cleaning up even more, we discovered just how messy spray paint really can be: there was a fine, thin mist of white on the hardwood floors even after mopping. Kelley's dad suggested using a piece of super fine steel wool would take off the haze of paint without damaging the finish on the floor. And while spending an evening hand-polishing the wood floor may not be the most wild of Sunday nights, the result is amazing...her floors look even better than when we started this whole project!

Here's the final view of Kelley's corner (but before the floors got treated and polished):

Join us for Part IV of the Kelley Studio Makeover Series where we discuss cozying up her studio that is appealing to both her and potential swap candidates...

Missed out on what's happened so far? Check out the first two posts here:

Redecorating on a Budget Part I: Rearranging the Space
Redecorating on a Budget Part II: The Credenza DIY Project

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