About a month ago, my studio and I moved into a 1926 rowhouse in the H St corridor in NE DC. This rowhouse has so much character– it has all the original oak floors, woodwork, doors, bathtub, subway tile, metal kitchen cabinets, and a beautiful porcelain farmhouse sink. That said, it needs a lot of work to make it into a lovely home and studio.

I’ll post updates on the latest projects I’m tackling here(and my insanity for taking them on!). I’m hoping it will show case my penchant for taking something old and ordinary and transforming it into something to treasure.

Project 1: Goodbye Knotty Pine

Here is one of the first projects I took on–ripping up ratty old carpeting and taking down the wood paneling from the stairs. Underneath I discovered glowing green plaster and beautiful oak stairs (score!). It really lightened it up but the green had to go.

So rather than painting, I decided to go for it and just expose the brick. I have done this before so I knew what a mess and large job this would be. Luckily, I had the help of my crew members from Something Vintage. After 3 days, 71 contractor’s garbage bags full of plaster, and soooo much plaster dust (like .25 inches on everything in my house), we exposed some pretty awesome brick! I definitely need a manicure after all of that–my hands are a disaster!!

Here are the stairs before I got my hands on them. Pine paneling floor to ceiling and some well-worn carpeting.


After I ripped the paneling down, with the help of my assistant Hanna, we found these glowing green walls….not exactly a “homey” feeling


So I decided to take matters into my own hands and start taking off the plaster. Oh that brown stuff on the walls is the glue from the paneling. Very appealing, yes.


So after tons and tons of work and plaster dust, all of the plaster was finally off.  The next tedious step was cleaning each individual brick.  I debated whether I should leave it that white color with the plaster, but by the time I sucked all the dust off, it was very pretty anymore.  So I got to work….and got to buy a fun angle grinder for this with a wire wheel attachment!


Hello, pretty angle grinder!


You can see what it looks like before I cleaned it (top) and after (below).



So, after all the plaster was removed and clean, I got a pretty awesome exposed brick wall on my staircase.  I think there is too much brown so I’m going to paint the stair risers…maybe white (or aqua!)  To be continued…