Is There Really Life After Childbirth?

Redecorating 101

Posted on: October 8, 2008

After much deliberation (it has just been sitting here for days!), I was thinking that I might begin with a couple of projects that I have recently completed. There’s no learning experience quite like undergoing a major home project. I’ve always said that couples should do a couple of particularly anxiety ridden tasks together before they get married. Nothing brings out someones true colors like lost luggage, trying to pack two houses worth of stuff into one trailer, or a big home repair fiasco.
With our barrage of pets (check out the Crazy Critters category) it is next to impossible to keep carpet clean, so we decided to pull up the ancient carpet from our living room and replace it with a concrete overlay. Moving all the furniture out of the way went pretty smoothly. Ripping up the carpet wasn’t too bad either. Things went downhill from there pretty fast.
We had a guy come out to give us an estimate and to make sure that he would be able to do the stem wall that came up the side of 2 walls of the sunken living room before we ever started. He assured us that it would be no problem. (Learning experience #1 – get every little detail in writing!)
They did a fantastic job of patching a couple of cracks in the floor and were pretty quick with the underlying color, taping of grout marks, and making sure that the color was what we were expecting.

However, it was sometime during this period that we were informed that they would not be able to do the stem wall. They took some money off of the bill (they added money for patching the cracks…that wasn’t included in the estimate) and suggested that we use tile to finish the project. This sounded reasonable until we tried to find someone who would do the actual work. Not only was it going to cost as much as the entire floor had cost, it wasn’t going to look too great since there was a slight dip in the floor that would be accentuated by any linear design.
The next problem was with the epoxy gloss that we chose to put on top to help protect the floor. We were told that it would make the floor slightly darker. (Learning experience #2 – ask for specific examples of how much darker!)

Luckily, we could live with the darker floor. After the initial disappointment, we decided that it was not so bad and things proceeded. Finally, after 2 more days of drying time (a total of five days in exile), we were able to emerge from the 12 x 17 room where we had been living with 2 cats and 2 dogs. We moved the furniture back into place and began the adventure of finding someone to put 6″ of tile around the two walls, including 3 areas that step up into another room and would require a transition piece to finish it off.

After weeks of research, head scratching, and intense discussion (OK..arguing), our only option was to do the job ourselves. I found a place in Oklahoma City that sold a product (FossilCrete ) that sounded like it would work for us. Since the space was limited we weren’t going to be able to use a stamp, like they suggested, so I just tried to form shapes like the rocks in our fireplace.
The next step was coming up with a way to paint the shapes so that the colors not only matched the fireplace, but looked somewhat natural and not like painted concrete. We bought a base paint in a tan color and used a dark gray for the grout. I then used four different colors of translucent glaze in varying blends to come up with the different colors shown.
All in all, I’m pretty pleased with the results.


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