coloring inside the lines.

As I shared earlier this summer, the small structure in our backyard has seen a number of different ‘uses’ in the 34 years that we’ve lived here.  For a brief while it was even a smoking lounge.  That was back when my brother lived here and we wouldn’t let him smoke in the house, even in January (he has since moved out to Nevada, where he still smokes outside but the weather is a lot more accommodating).

After he moved away, it became a potting shed, and look, I found some old photos of it in my scrapbook.

Yikes!  If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is.  That was before I painted the ceiling and floor (and developed a more refined aesthetic apparently).  Gosh!  Sometimes I have to look back at these photos to remember how far I’ve come.

Next up, I turned it into a ‘summer house’.

The walls were painted pink, the ceiling got painted white, but the floor was still unpainted.

Obviously I was heavily into my shabby chic period at that time.

That cane back sofa was not terribly comfortable, and I bet I could count on one hand the number of times I actually went out there and sat on it.  Although … forgive me if I digress for a moment … but I did take a nap on that sofa once.  This was shortly after my dad died and while napping there I dreamt that he came into the cottage, sat next to me on the sofa and gently stroked my hair.  I think he was saying goodbye, he always was a man of few words.

Anyway, ultimately I restyled that sofa like this …

and I sold it at one of my occasional sales.

In its latest incarnation, the shed became the photo cottage.

Back in 2014 I completely repainted the interior with a plan for using this space to stage furniture makeover photos.  I went with white walls this time thinking it would create the perfect bright lighting for photos.

I painted a checkerboard pattern on the floor, but I purposely kept it a little more on the subtle side with very pale gray and white squares so it wouldn’t compete with the furniture in photos.

Although I sort of made it work for a little while, ultimately it just didn’t.  I could never get the white balance right.  Red light reflected in from the carriage house turning the walls pink.  The floor would end up looking lavender if I corrected for the walls.

There really was only one very specific time frame in the mornings when the lighting was right to get good photos in there, so in the end I gave up trying to make it work.

For the last several years we have just used the space as a dumping ground.  But we don’t actually ‘need’ it to provide storage space, we have the entire upstairs of the carriage house for that after all.  So I decided to once again turn it back into a potting shed.

It’s unlikely that I’ll actually pot things up inside, but it will make a convenient space for keeping all of my gardening tools and supplies together and easy to find.  Right now they share space with my workshop, so this will also free up some space in there.

Plus, let’s face it, it will just be a fun space to decorate!  I’m thinking I may even decorate it for Christmas this year.  Why not?  I’ve got the time (well, we’ll see about that, I already have three trips planned for this fall/early winter and I may try to squeeze in one more).

The first step was to empty all of the junk back out.  Once I’d done that it became apparent that I’d have to scrape the chipping paint off the walls and re-paint.

I had really hoped to get by without that step, after all, I love chippy paint, right?  Well, maybe not so much on walls.  That’s when things stalled for a bit because I really don’t enjoy scraping paint.  Ugh.

But luckily my friend Annie offered to come over and help with this project and that motivated me to keep going.  Between the two of us we got all of the walls scraped and ready for paint, while also getting caught up on each other’s lives.

As they say, a job worth doing is a job worth doing right.

Once the walls were scraped, I also sanded them with my orbital sander.  Then I primed them with a stain blocking primer and finally painted them with some paint left over from previous projects inside the house.

Fortunately I did not need to repaint the ceiling, it was still in pretty good shape.

And that leads me to the floor.  At this point I realized that this was the perfect time to replace a board in the floor that was weak.  Every time I walked on that board I envisioned falling through the floor and breaking an ankle or something.  It made sense to take care of it.  So I asked my handyman/neighbor Ken to take a look, and he was able to replace the board fairly easily.

I then asked Mr. Q to pretty please sand the floor for me, which he did.  And really, once the floor was sanded it looked pretty good.  It had a nice aged, worn appearance that I liked.  Except of course there was now the problem of that one unpainted board.

It may have been OK if I had the same paint I used originally and could have painted just that board, but of course I couldn’t find this paint anywhere in my stash.  Also, as I thought about it, although I really wanted to retain the checkerboard, I never did like that shade of pale gray I used the first time around.

I’m a huge fan of checkerboard floors.  As you know, I have black and white on my front porch …

And I also have a stained wood version in my kitchen.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound right?  I may as well do it up right.  As my friend Annie mentioned while helping me scrape, I always was good at coloring inside the lines.  So repainting the checkerboard floor in the shed should be a no-brainer.

This time around I decided to use Dixie Belle chalk style paint.  I knew it would adhere well over the latex having painted over latex many times on furniture.  Rather than start over entirely from scratch with a base coat of white, followed by measuring and outlining all of those squares again, instead I carefully painted over all of the white squares in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth using a good angled brush.

Today’s q tip:  when trying to paint a straight line by hand, without using tape, it’s really important to use a good, angled brush and go slowly.  I purchased a Zibra 2″ angled sash brush at Home Depot and it worked beautifully.

One coat of Drop Cloth was all it took to refresh all of the white squares.  Once they were dry I moved on to picking a color for the grey squares.  After using Dixie Belle’s Dried Sage recently, I totally loved the color.  Rather than looking like a green (which I assumed it would based on the name), it’s really more of a gray with a green undertone.  But just to be sure I would like it, I painted one corner of a square with Dried Sage and one with DB’s French Linen which is more of taupe gray according the the Dixie Belle website.

Ultimately I felt like the Dried Sage was a little dark full strength, so I lightened it up by adding some Drop Cloth and then it was perfect.

To be honest, it kind of surprised me how easy it was to repaint this floor.  Now that I know how simple it was to ‘color inside’ those lines, I’m much more motivated to touch up that black and white porch floor too.

After letting the paint dry for 72 hours, I protected it with several coats of Varathane clear matte water-based poly letting each coat dry for 24 hours in between.  Some of you may remember that we had our upstairs floors refinished a few years ago.  We used a matte finish on them and I still absolutely love them, so I wasn’t afraid to go matte on this floor.  I did a little quick research online and found this article which explains that basically matte poly provides the same durability and protection as shinier versions.  In addition, the higher the sheen, the more scuffs, scratches, and footprints will show.  So hopefully this matte finish will hide a multitude of sins in the potting shed.

Now that I have the painting finished, this week we’ll be moving the furniture back in and getting the potting shed styled.  I’m a little bit nervous to see how my potting bench is going to look with that floor.

Fingers crossed that they work well together.  Be sure to stay tuned for a final reveal post later this week!

17 thoughts on “coloring inside the lines.

  1. First of all SO glad you’re going to use the space again, I’ve always loved it! Second of all, so impressed with you scraping the walls first that sounds like a miserable job! Third of all you have amazing friends! Fourth of all I cannot wait to see the potting shed redone!!!


  2. I love that you have this special space, and that it can change and grow with you 💛. Enjoy decorating, can’t wait to see it.


  3. Thank you, Linda, for allowing me to enjoy this She Shed through you. I ❤️ love ❤️ the updated version! Please keep sending pics!
    We sold our home a year ago, which meant giving up my much-loved and much-used darling She Shed. 😢


    1. Oh, bummer. I know there will come a day when Mr. Q and I want to move somewhere that requires less maintenance, and also possibly that has less sub-zero weather, but hopefully that’s still a way off for me.


  4. Linda, I have loved that shed since I first saw it! I have checkerboard floors in my bedroom. I absolutely love them! I’m so impressed that you can free hand paint the floors. It turned out fabulous! Looking forward to the staging!
    Smiles, alice


    1. Well, it’s easier than it looks I think. Also, my paint job isn’t perfect up close, but you really can’t tell unless you’re scrutinizing the floor and most people aren’t going to do that. I bet you could do it too!


  5. I really like how your repainted floor turned out. Great color! I bet your floral potting bench is going to look awesome in there. Can’t wait to see pictures of the finished project!


    1. This will be your best makeover to date. Looking at the original styling is like looking back on your original scrapbooking style and how evolved it became. You’ve come a long way, baby! (aging myself here…lol)


  6. You for sure did a lot of work Miss Quandie! It’s so gratifying to work on a project that you know you’ll enjoy and be proud of 😁 I’ve been wandering in the vale of sloth and non-motivation for forever now! When you’re going to be demo-ing your house before too long, it just doesn’t make sense to make the effort…….but I have done a lot of good stuff to this house over the years! I’m even letting nature reclaim the yard and that’s actually pretty fun to watch! The weak versus the strong, the happy thrivers versus the plants that had needed a lot of pampering!


    1. I can sort of imagine watching nature reclaim the yard, I used to sort of head in that direction every August when I got tired of weeding for the season. Now that I have some more time on my hands though, I’m keeping them in check a bit longer.


  7. Oh I so love the refresh. Floor looks amazing. I have a shed of my own that I potter about in and it’s so wonderful. So glad you will have that same experience! I paint small things, read, and do a few crafts but mostly listen to the radio and drink wine and ignore the rest of the world for a few hours! Can’t wait to see the finished product.


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