Staff News

An Adventure in “DIY”

November 17, 2015 in Staff News, Structural Engineering

Tami Worker BWTami Worker, Investigative Project Engineer-
 As my husband and I prepare for the arrival of our second child, I’ve been thinking about the preparation differences for our first child compared to our second child.  The preparation for baby number one included multiple trips to Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us and hours spent researching everything from cloth diapers to car seats to bottle warmers.  There are so many products on the market today that figuring out what you actually need versus what would be a nice convenience presents a real challenge.

With baby number two on the way, this time around we already have all the junk (er necessities) and just need to dig them out of our storage room.  So what is left to do?  Well, we should probably figure out where the new baby is going to sleep.

Our nursery is your basic green and yellow with safari animals, so no need to redecorate there.  We decided to move our son, who is almost 18 months old now, to the room next to the nursery which the previous owners had painted with a hideous shade of blue.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like blue, but not when it covers all four walls in two rooms of the house plus an accent wall in the living room.  There must have been a special sale on five gallon paint buckets.

The goal in designing our son’s room was to create something fun, yet versatile and somewhat classic so that it could last for several years.  This meant no murals of farm animals, spaceships, or superheroes (not that we are artistic enough to paint that anyway).  We decided on a chair rail half-height with a light grey on top and dark blue and white chevron stripes on the bottom.  I have to give credit to my husband on this one, since he basically took on the project while I wrangled the kid and the dog.  I was successful at keeping them out of the paint about 90% of the time.

First he installed the chair rail and painted the grey portion.  Then came the fun part: measuring and taping the bottom half of the wall.  Keep in mind my husband is an engineer, so the measuring component was pretty much a cake walk, but also had to be done with the highest level of precision.  He first measured the distance from the chair rail to the baseboard and divided that by four, knowing we wanted four wide stripes.  He dropped vertical lines offset from each other, measured the distance, and ran a horizontal string line to set the vertices, creating 45-degree edge lines.  Once the measuring was complete, he began taping and painting (a single wall to start with).  Everything was running smoothly until the tape was removed, at which point our biggest fear came true: the paint had bled through the tape.  At this point we had put so much time into the project that the thought of starting over was very overwhelming.  But, we charged on.  After some time spent on Google, we discovered a method that was supposed to prevent bleeding which involved taping, then running over the tape with the white first on the side where the blue would later be painted.  The white paint would fill in the voids on the textured wall so that the blue would stop right at the tape line.  So, we re-painted the wall white, re-taped, painted the white then the blue and crossed our fingers.  Much to our happiness, it worked!  With all of the hours spent on this project, all we can do at this point is hope and pray that our son doesn’t tell us in a year or two that he hates chevron stripes. . .