Playing garage Tetris (first move)

I am playing garage Tetris. No, I am not playing Tetris in the garage, I am playing Tetris WITH my garage. Or at least with the stuff in it.

The past 2 weeks have involved slowly but surely working my way through the boxes in the rest of the house, shunting furniture around, hanging art, and placing objects; pretty much following the basic plan outlined in my post the domino effect. Living room, Nat’s room, and the kids sitting room.

Most of the rooms are mostly done, but some are more done than others (and I will post photos once they are complete). There have been diversions and distractions, and moments of feeling overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending supply of boxes filled with stuff that needs a place.

Almost all of the boxes that are left, however, belong in the studio. Most of these are in the garage-soon-to-be-studio (or GSTBS), but there are a sprinkling of them in a few of the other rooms in the house. The kids sitting room, for instance, has all my boxes of art books, which I want in my studio for ready reference.

So, to finish the rest of the house, I have to get my studio organized. Which is too exciting, because it means I am closer to getting to work again. At. Long. Last.

Ah studio, how I have missed you.

This is both a massive relief, and somewhat daunting. Because … well let me give you a little tour of what the GSTBS looks like at the moment, then you will understand:

Which brings me to the $64 million dollar question: Where. Do. I. Start? I can barely move in there! Eeeesh.

So I did what every woman has done from time to time: I shut the door on the full-to-bursting garage and went and got my hair done. Sitting in the chair, with my head covered in enough foil to keep even the most paranoid conspiracy theorist happy, I finally figured out how I was going to manage it. Getting my studio set up was going to be like a particularly complex form of 3 dimensional Tetris, as I moved one part and slotted it in, allowing room to move and relocate the next part.

As it happens, setting up my studio actually began in a completely different room. First I had to demolish some dead particle board shelves in the man cave. I did this so I could relocate some metal shelves that were in the GSTBS down there. Once they were gone, I would have room for my materials storage cabinet, and work bench. After the dead man cave shelves were dealt with, I shunted and restacked boxes to make room, then started work on dismantling and moving the metal shelves out.

Here is the GSTBS after I had removed the first set of metal shelves:

Look! You can see a bit of floor!

Next up was to remove the second set of metal shelves, which gave me access to another set of dead particle board shelves. We have so many of these in the garage and man cave, they must have been the ‘house speciality’ of the guy who used to live here.

The big problem with using particle board (or chipboard as we call it in Australia) for shelving is that over time, it sags. As was clear as soon as I removed the second set of metal shelves.

After removal of the metal shelves, and clearly showing particle board shelf curvature.

It sags, and goes furry if wet, so it’s not particularly practical. It’s only virtue is that it is cheap. Sagging furry shelves are not a great deal of use to me, so these had to go, too.

I had fun playing demolition-girl and Nat and I stacked the resulting bits outside ready for the next rubbish pick up. Now I had a bit of wriggle room:

Shelving all gone

It was pretty clear after removing the shelves that I was going to have to paint. Not only were there large unpainted sections (what were they thinking? Why half paint a room?), the parts they had painted were pretty slap dash.

Clearly cutting in was seen as optional

I was going to be spending my days in here, and I wanted it to be a pleasant space to be in, so painting was necessary. And, as taking everything out of the garage so I could paint the whole thing at once was totally impractical (where would I put it all?), it seemed the Tetris rule was going to apply to painting as well. Each part of the GSTBS was going to have to painted as I made space enough to do it. Luckily I am relatively slim.

Having removed the shelves, I was ready for my next job. Paint preparation. I swept the wall, and then the bit of floor that I could reach.

I decided that there would be no spackling. The walls look like they are the walls of a garage in a 60 year old house. Well used, is the phrase that springs to mind. I would be here until Christmas if I started getting all pedantic, and tried to fix them up.

I have been there before, and I did not want to raise the ghost of my obsessive spackling tendencies. Plus this is a STUDIO, it will give me many years of hard service, and there seems little point filling in the holes when I will only be adding more of my own. This is not a room to be precious in.

So the spackle stayed firmly on the shelf, and I set to work washing down the walls with TSP, then cutting in with primer.

Cutting in

So why use primer, I hear you ask, when I avoided using it in the rest of the house? Two reasons: firstly I am going over bare board here, and I decided to use cheap hardware-store paint in an effort to save some money (more on this shortly). Secondly, I have been having some issues with the paint on the kitchen cupboards coming off, which is going to need remediation. This was using paint that apparently Did Not Need Priming (more on this in a future post). Hah! Liar, liar pants on fire: it so did!!

Consequently, I am now all ‘Bah Humbug’ about non-primer-needing paint. This is also why I decided to use cheap hardware store paint, after the kitchen cupboards started flaking, I lost a little of my long-abiding faith in more expensive paints. I had the hump, and seduced by the sticker price, I decided to play fast and loose with another, more economically attractive brand. Silly girl.

Anywhoo, here is the wall after the first coat of primer:

After priming.

Now doesn’t that look better?

Because I knew I was painting in less-than-ideal conditions, where I would paint this wall in sections, spread out over days, I made sure to leave a jagged edge where I stopped painting, which I also feathered (ie went over it lightly with the roller to blend it in):

keeping the edge jagged

This is to hide where the two episodes of painting join. If I left a straight line, there is a risk you would see the edge when the second section was painted.

I waited the required hour for the primer to dry then set to work cutting in with the first top coat. Except it the paint was so thin it didn’t look like I had done anything at all. I couldn’t even tell where I had been, except by feeling if the wall was wet there or not.

Eeesh! Trying to get any coverage at all looked like it was going to be extremely challenging. I could see the next week filled with coat after coat of paint, each one a further vain attempt to get it looking alright.

The reasons I prefer using better paint all came flooding back to me. Cheap paint is thin. It might cost 1/3 less than the pricier brands, but you use 4 times as much. It is poor economy.

Plus you have to use primer with it. Every time. Yes I know I am having issues with the kitchen cupboards, but the rest of the walls are fine. Clearly painting over paint with the good paint, does not need primer. Painting over varnish has some issues.

By the time you add the cost of a tin of primer to your cheap paint, you may as well buy the good stuff. As I said, poor economy.

So I am over my one-night-stand with cheap paint. It will get put on the shelf and used for something at some point I am sure. Or maybe it wont. I swallowed my pride and did what I had to do. Slunk down to the paint store and bought a tin of …

What color?

I know you are all dying to know what color I am going to paint the studio. Well this may shock you, given the strong colors in the rest of the house, my hatred of beige and scorn for safe colors generally, but I am painting the studio white. White.

Benjamin Moore Dove White to be exact. Why? Because I want my studio to be neutral. My studio is for working in. What I make in there is the important thing, and I don’t want the space to compete with it. In the rest of the house, I am celebrating the spaces, and injecting them with their own personality, so I use color there in response to each space. In my studio, the space takes a back seat to the work.

Plus, color plays off other colors. I want my studio white, because I want to know what colors I am dealing with in there. Not have the colors I use in my work influenced and altered by the color on the walls.

And Dove White because it is a softer white. It has a little tiny touch of warmth in it. No it is not beige, but pure unadulterated white would be too much in there. Believe it or not, behind all the boxes and stuff, there is a window in that garage, and it faces south-west. So for a lot of the day I will have sun streaming in. I am painting a softened white, so the walls don’t hurt my eyes.

Here is the wall after it’s first coat:

After the first coat

Now I have to wait overnight for the 1st coat to dry, then I can apply the second. Then my first garage Tetris move is complete.

And to begin the second: I move some furniture around, unpack a few boxes, then shunt some others about so I can start work on the next part. Can’t wait!

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12 responses to “Playing garage Tetris (first move)

  1. Wow, Clare, thanks for the paint info. I will always use better quality paint now. Best wishes on the Tetras! 🙂

  2. This is hands down my favourite blog!!!

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  4. I agree with Karen it is a great blog and as it makes me feel that you are living just down the street like old times – keep up the posts!

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