Light Purple and Medium Purple | The Nerd Nest

Fixing up our spare room has become the project that never ends, and I’m going to share a bit of the progress we made in 2014.

Spare Room Before | The Nerd Nest 3

Spare Room Before | The Nerd Nest 1

Spare Room Before | The Nerd Nest 2

This room has been home to a few family members and friends since we’ve moved in, and when we found ourselves without an extra housemate last summer, Jake and I thought we’d dive in and test out fixing up this room so we could better decide how to carry on with the others.

The layers and layers of paint on the trim was chipping in places and the carpet was ugly, corse, and office-like, so we decided that we’d remove the paint from the trim and rip out the carpet.

Pulling up the carpet | The Nerd Nest 4

Carpet Padding | The Nerd Nest

Pulling Up Staples

Pulling up tack strips | The Nerd Nest

Getting rid of the carpet was the easy part. We just had to tear it up, roll it in a big burrito, tie it with string, and carry it away. Same goes with the padding. After that the only steps left in carpet removal were plucking out staples and pulling up the tack strips.

Paint on wood floor | The Nerd Nest

Then we were left with a gorgeous wood floor hidden under a ton of paint. This is where the cursing at the previous owner comes in: the trim had been spray painted and the ceiling painted without any care for the protection of the floor below.

Citistrip bubbling up paint | The Nerd Nest

Citistrip to remove paint | The Nerd Nest

Paint scraped off with Citistrip | The Nerd Nest

We put a pin in that for the moment and I started in on the trim. We used Citristrip paint remover, because it isn’t caustic and can be used indoors. It isn’t as effective as some other paint strippers, but it looked like the best choice for balancing safety and effectiveness after a little research.

Even though the gel isn’t caustic, I still had to be careful to wear a respirator, gloves, and eye protection.

Though the spray is shown in the photo above, I quickly figured out that “painting” on the gel was a better way to go–the gel was easier to use and less costly than going with the spray.

There are also lots of other methods of paint removal, but this was the safest bet for us because of the danger of lead paint in our hundred year old home. (But if you want to talk about lead paint, you’ll have to go to a professional. I’m not going there.)

Scrubbing off paint | The Nerd Nest

Paint Stripping in Progress | The Nerd Nest

The paint removal was crazy hard work. The top layers came off easily with the gel, but trying to scrub off some of the bottom layer spots clinging on to the wood was nearly impossible. Getting into all of the nooks and crannies of the trim sucked, and I could tell that doing this to the windows would make me hate my life. Also, I could only remove paint in small chunks because it hurt my back and made my hand all crampy. People who do this for a living are my heroes.

Another thing that happened: the quarter round trim was damaged in a lot of places and I couldn’t get the gunk from behind it, so I ripped it out and my very very nice grandpa cut and replaced it with new quarter round for us (don’t worry: we weren’t messing with anything original to the house).

Newly Painted Trim | The Nerd Nest

And then, when I had gotten pretty much all of the paint off of the trim, paint off of the trim, our time table got scrunched and we had to paint it back because we didn’t have time to get the tiny bits of paint from the underneath of the ridges, sand the trim, and stain it, much less be able to start in on the trim around the doors and windows too.

So we painted the base trim and the rest of the trim in the room my favorite white, Behr Powdered Snow.

This might seem like a waste, but the trim around the bottom of the room is now not chipping paint and the experiment has a result: we’re going with another layer of paint on the rest of the white trim in the house and are not going to mess with paint removal again. (Though I’d be happy to remove paint on, say, a piece of furniture. Never again on trim.)

Jake painting | The Nerd Nest

Light Purple and Medium Purple | The Nerd Nest

Purple Walls | The Nerd Nest

I wanted to paint the walls white too, but Jake vetoed me because he thought it would be basically blinding. I want most of our rooms white, but I can compromise on a few. We decided on three walls a very light color and one dramatic and landed on purple. The Behr website is awesome and has color matching suggestions, so I found the perfect purples for our white.

Clean up the floor with tea | The Nerd Nest

All that’s left now is to get that blasted paint off of the floor. We’re making good progress, but the method on that is a post for another day.

This is definitely not the sexiest project I’ve ever done, but it was very time consuming and difficult for me. And this, dear friends, is why I’m not a home improvement blogger.


In 2014 it was my goal to complete 52 projects. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is projects 28 through a bazillion of 52! I’m clicking reset to see if I can get closer to 52 in 2015. Check out the other projects: 1 : Script Art / 2: Striped Scarf / 3: Pillow Covers / 4: Eliza’s Doctor Who Valentines / 5: DIY Periodic Table Mirrors / 6: Band Pin Display / 7: French Monuments with Eliza’s Class / 8: Crystal Nail String Art / 9: Adventures in Dye / 10: Spring Poems / 11: Getting the Garden Going / 12: Le Petite Prince Painting / 13: DIY Cleaning Supplies / 14: Picking Up the Violin Again / 15: Shaving Cream Marbling / 16: Water Marbling / 17: Watercolor Crayon Resisting / 18: Doctor Who Guess Who / 19: Spray Painting My Way to a Fancier Porch / 20: Project Life Stop Motion / 21: The Great Lego Reorganization / 22: Pikachu Costume / 23: Blossom Costume / 24: Rorschach Test-esque Paintings / 25: Hand Turkeys / 26: Glittered Pinecones / 27: Family Calendars.