Monday, April 27, 2009

The Deck of Doom

Boy and my condo has an absolutely killer private rooftop deck. When Boy first bought the condo years ago, the deck was a total mess. I haven't seen photos, but I've heard all about it. It was essentially a screen door opening out to a pile of rubble. Boy hired workers to come in and finish off the flooring surfaces in order to make the deck useable, but stopped there.

In the process of my buying into the condo we had three (THREE!) appraisals done and in each one, the deck was the shining star. It's rare to have extensive outdoor space in an LA area condo. Most have small balconies, if anything. The range of views we have is unusual as well, as we're nestled right between the valley and the canyons. We have city AND mountain views. Watching our appraisers react to the space really drove home to Boy and I that if we were going to fix up anything in our condo, we should fix up the deck!

The existing stucco and railings looked like 1983 threw up all over them. The walls were pink and the railings were sea foam green. Boy had, at one point, tried to clean up the railings; so the trim and one set of bars were beige. So, yeah. Beige, pink, sea foam. Pretty much.

We picked out a warm pale grey for the walls, sold as "Stucco Paint" and purchased with "Stucco Rollers". The stucco rollers were fluffy and lambswool, purportedly to 'get into the crevices'. But think, for a moment, about what a fluffy wad of lambswool would do if you saturated it in paint. It would DEFLATE, plastering its fibers to themselves and CEASING TO BE FLUFFY. So, then imagine trying to paint a textured surface with a roller in that condition and you pretty much have my weekend. We tried brushes thinking the fibers would get into the texture but no. The only thing that really worked was a) using about 4x the quantity of paint we expected to use and b) me on my hands and knees or up on our ladder pressing paint into the walls WITH A SPONGE.

This procedure took about 9 hours.

Then we went on to the railings which I was excited to paint because I knew there was no way they'd be harder to get covered than the walls were. Plus, they were smaller! I was also excited about the color we'd chosen for them . . . it's sort of a cherry chocolate. I can call it burgundy and Boy can call it brown and we're both happy.

The railings, however, being metal, show every little teensy brush stroke and therefore had to be painted with a little foam edging roller. A little TWO INCH foam edging roller. Of which we had one. So basically, one of us would go over with a brush just to apply the paint, while the other followed behind going back over everything with the roller. For 4 hours.

The moral of this story is that next time some guy asks me outside Home Depot if I "Need help with the painting, Senora?" I AM GOING TO SAY YES.

I'm slowly getting over the pain and suffering of the weekend; and my sunburn. And I am a little excited about the next step, which will involve buying lots of fun furniture! And I'll admit to being really excited about the last step: Deck Party!

Have you had any REALLY HARD home improvement projects? Which have been the worst? Please share so I'll know to avoid them!


Camels & Chocolate said...

So that's where we'll be having drinks when I come to sweep you off to Disneyland, right? RIGHT?

Jane said...

I feel your pain! I painted for Habitat a few weeks ago and a simple railing isn't so simple! I had to paint window trim with one of those "hot dog" sized rollers while crouching under a bush. It's the crouching for hours that is the killer! The deck sounds glorious! I am ever more convinced we live pretty close. I am near Runyon Canyon Park.

HollyLynne said...

Kristin: Uh, BEST IDEA EVER! When shall I expect you? ;)

Jane . . . I think the roller you used on that trim was the same one we used on our railings. I'm so glad I didn't have to do much crouching! I think we do live really close to each other . . .I'm in Sherman Oaks.

Nutsy Coco said...

Ugh, I feel your pain too. I think my bathroom remodel with the LAYERS of green paint was my worst project ever, but like my bathroom, I'm sure your deck will turn out fabulous!

Swistle said...

This pales in comparison to your stucco/railings situation, but I painted over a wall covered in wood, '70s style. It was REAL wood, not the plastic laminate crap---but what that meant, as it turned out, was that after SIX coats of Kilz, the wood stain was STILL leaking through. AAAAAGH. I think I painted that same wall more than a dozen times including all the Kilz and then all the paint.

("Why didn't you just REMOVE the wood?," you may be asking. It was GLUED DOWN. GLUED! I ask you!)

Domesticrazy said...

OK, I want a daylight picture. That sounds gorgeous, plus, you deserve to show off all your hard work. Which sounded like the suckfest of '09.

I have never had a home improvement project as bad as that. Perhaps it is because I am not as ambitious?

Have a drink or two for me, you earned it!

merrymishaps said...

I'm very jealous of your view. What an amazing deck!

Laura said...

Ditto on the daylight picture. Cherry/ chocolate just sounds pretty!

As I was reading this, I found myself feeling your agony with painting and knowing the disappointment when a seemingly ordinary task proves to be a pain in the ass. <-- Pardon that.

Our house is over a hundred years old and we bought it as a "fixer upper" because it had so much potential and space and features that are uncommon in newer homes. We ended up gutting and completely remodeling all of the upstairs and found one pitfall of a repair after another. Our project took nearly 2 YEARS! to complete since my husband did much of the work himself and hired out professionals for electical/plumbing/drywall. I still don't know how we ever lived through it and stayed married, but the results were well worth the time/money/hassle.

I can't wait to see your finished project and SQUEE! for new patio furniture!!


Domesticrazy said...

Nice blog facelift!

organicstills said...

Ah yes, deck party!! I think I told Paul he needed one of those the very first time I saw the deck...probably 4 years ago? Toga, toga, toga!

HollyLynne said...

Ok, noted: Do not mess with green bathrooms or fake wood paneling. This is helpful! Thanks guys! :)
Dcrazy: Thanks about the layout!!! I'm excited about how it turned out . . . I was ready for a change.
Natalie: If you want to wear a Toga you might not get invited :P