10 Minute Read – The first step in building my dream apartment was accepting I may ruin it.
First and foremost, I should apologize for my lack of posting. A few weeks ago I attempted to give up caffeine, a shameful swing and a miss that left me curled into an unproductive ball with no interests other than ordering cheap delivery food and ordering MORE cheaper delivery food. However, I’m happy to announce the pep has been reintroduced to my step and now have a Keurig safely connected intravenously into my jugular right where it should be – let’s move on.
I semi-recently moved into a studio apartment. It has one full kitchen, one full bathroom, and two big windows that all sum up to about 600 square feet of living alone for the first time. This last point is the most important and has lead to two main occurrences:
- I mute the TV a lot and yell, “Hello?! Someone there?” even though I can see all exits and entrances from any spot in the apartment.
- Since Rosie (my dog) is pretty much on board with any idea I have, there’s no one around to put the kibosh on design ideas no matter how certain they are to eviscerate my security deposit.
One of the top things I’ve always wanted in my home is exposed brick. When you grow up in an era of television that saw every sitcom set in New York, you expected to be living in a warehouse-sized loft by your twenty-second birthday with a bank account deep enough to afford the heating bill. Well…this is the seventh place I’ve inhabited in my adulthood and the closest I’ve come is the 12 feet of brick wall I have behind my sofa.
And that’s not meant to sound like a complaint. Every other wall is painted in a faint light blue semi-gloss typically reserved for prison cafeterias, so I’m thankful there’s something to break up the monotony, but the red brick combined with dark wood floors and a tan-leather sofa was beginning to make my apartment look less like an inviting home for a young bachelor and his K-9 sidekick and more like a set from The Martian (a lot of red tones).
So I decided to take the plunge and paint the sucker. I’m a vet when it comes to painting rented spaces without permission but I’ve always had the comfort of knowing I could paint them back to the original color before my landlord got wind of my feeble attempts at accent walls.
Brick is a different story. Home Depot doesn’t sell a shade of 50-year-old red brick. Well, they actually might but I assure you it’s not fooling a trained eye. Also, there was no guarantee I would even like the end result. In fact, I could hate and be worse off than I was at the start.
Having trouble accepting a seemingly irreversible decision, I painted only the top corner as a test to find out if a safety net for this whole thing could be as simple as some sandpaper and a lot of persistence. And I’ll be damned, but it worked…sort of.
But I figured if ever in a pinch I could get the minimum amount off to have it resemble its original self enough so people just think it looks aged or something I don’t know.
*I used Glidden Semi-Gloss white for this project. A gallon was only $18. You can easily find it at your local hardware store. It also goes by the name “cheapest paint they have in stock”.
Either way, I began the process. A process which, I kid you not, I thought would take a MAXIMUM of 45 minutes to complete. Fast forward to 15 minutes in and all I had to show for it was 10% of painted brick and a cramped wrist.
Painting stone is like painting a burnt English Muffin – there’s thousands of nooks and crannies that force you to push, stamp, twist and bend the brush in the same spot over and over again until it’s all finally covered.
The entire project took me about four hours, not including breaks for lunch and naps. And when it was all said and done, to be honest, I didn’t really like it. The sun had set by that time and without natural light, the white exposed spooky shadows that I had never been able to notice with the texture and color of the original red.
However, the following morning I woke up in what felt like a brand new apartment. The light bounces off the wall and makes the entire space feel lighter. So if you’re giving thought to permanently ruining the brick wall in your home I’d rate it 10 out of 10 – would recommend.