The Breakfast Nook: One Room Challenge Week 5

I have dreaded this week a little lot. When I was considering whether or not to participate in the One Room Challenge this round, week five loomed with complications. Ever optimistic, I thought, I’ve got this. I’ll figure it out when I get there. 

Along with a patronizing head pat, Week 5 answered,

You keep telling yourself that. Your delusions are cute.

In addition to the One Room Challenge, this week we celebrated our son’s fifteenth birthday, Halloween, I started teaching Origami classes again, and tomorrow, I leave for four days because I am running the NYC Marathon on Sunday. My stress level is high. While all of these events are good stressors, they are stressors, nonetheless. I have been trying to live in the moment, breathe deeply, and focus, but I won’t lie. My brain has been spinning, and I have not been sleeping very well.

What’s Left?

Before the Breakfast Nook is ready for reveal week, there are two main projects in the works:

  • The Floor
  • Bar-style table

While both of those tasks seem huge, I have been rehearsing the construction of both on paper and in my head for weeks. For these reasons, I feel confident that I will be able to execute both before the big day. Also, my friend, who loaned the compressor and finish nailer to me, has given me an indefinite extension for borrowing his tools. Once I get back from NYC, my schedule is clear, and I can focus on and finish the ORC.

As a reader, it might be frustrating to watch me change deadlines and rearrange tasks. However, I have to be flexible. If you have followed me or this blog for some time, you know that I will get all of this done. Hang in there with me.

It’s true that there are only two significant projects left in the Breakfast Nook, but there are plenty of smaller behind-the-scenes tasks too. These types of projects do not always contribute to the wow factor of a big reveal, but they are essential. Since I only had small chunks of time this week, I knocked out some of these minor details.

The Door

A couple of weeks ago on IG stories, I talked about the door that leads from the Breakfast Nook to the laundry room. During the first pass, I slathered on a layer of citrus stripper, and the latex paint over the oil paint fell off the door in strips. (This photo is an argument in favor of using a proper primer. Based on the way the yellow paint is coming away from the door, it is clear that the previous painter did not use primer at all.)

While I hoped that stripping the paint off the door would be an easy task, I ended up with a worst-case scenario: a base layer of sticky, dark green oil-paint embedded into the wood.

Armed with a heat gun, I have been working on the door in fifteen-minute increments as often as possible.

One of our readers saw me working on this door during an IG story, and she asked some excellent questions about it on another blog post. I answered on that post, but since this information is relevant to more readers, I am repeating the information.

Here are her questions and my answers (Note: Our reader owns a very old home.) :

1. Are heat guns effective on lead paint? Heat guns are perfect for removing lead paint, especially dark colors that seem embedded in the wood. That said, a heat gun is not hot enough for a long enough period to truly obliterate the lead in the paint. Proper lead precautions are still necessary.

I would agree with you that a home from 1780 will have lead paint in it somewhere. You can buy lead test swabs (affiliate link) via Amazon or at your Lowe’s or Home Depot. Keep in mind, that wood might have many layers of safe paint over lead paint, and the swab directions address how to get accurate results.

Although a heat gun does not remove the lead, it does make it easier to gather the paint residue. The heat liquifies the paint, and the scraper collects it into a lump. The lumps harden quickly with less flaking and fine particles.

2. Do you wear a respirator? I always wear a respirator when I am working with projects that likely have lead paint.


Since I am not a pre-taper, I use a single-edged blade scraper to erase my mistakes around the window edges. I enjoy removing stray paint on the windows. It is one of my favorite mindless DIY jobs. In my experience, it is faster to use a scraper than it is to prep with painter’s tape. This may not be true for everyone.

In other window news, Andy painted the storm window, and I popped it back into place.

I still plan to add a layer of window film to hide my messy laundry room, but look at that restored hardware. The latches and shutter hinges are so perfectly imperfect.

One last thing for today: If you follow us on Instagram, I will post marathon updates, and all of the excitement in my IG story. I promise to post some beautiful old buildings and other relevant content too. Once I return, I will begin real-time updates of all of the hard work leading up to One Room Challenge reveal day. That day is just two weeks away.

Please head on over to Calling It Home to see all the progress from the Featured Designers and the Guest Participants too. Every season, I am so impressed. I admire the creativity and flexibility that the One Room Challenge brings out in everyone. It provides such a unique learning opportunity.

Start from the beginning:
Week 1 – The Breakfast Nook
Week 2 – The Breakfast Nook
Week 3 – The Breakfast Nook
Week 4 – The Breakfast Nook

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