Archive for June, 2011

Painted Wood Paneling – Woot. It’s Done!

About a week ago (after we painted our brick fireplace) our kitchen looked like this:

Then we removed the desk and upper cabinet (that will be in the way of our big future doorway to the dining room) and after one coat of not-covering-at-all primer it looked like this:

Then we finally got the primer thing right after dealing with maddening bleed-through issues thanks to two days of applying coat after coat and three different types of primer (more on that here):

And now it looks like this, although it reads a bit more yellow in these photos than in person (it’s a smidge greener in real life).

It’s definitely a warm golden green tone (aka: grellow). Sort of like the color of an artichoke heart.

There’s definitely a lot more to do in there, but we’re so glad to have the whole prime-and-paint-the-paneling thing checked off. Here’s a fun little video that encapsulates the entire process in three short minutes. Which is more than a little ironic because it took us just a wee bit longer in real life (you know, just a smidge). Just convert those minutes to days. See it below on YouTube or here on Vimeo.

As for the paint color, after a decent amount of debate (and some pretty thorough consideration of the adjoining rooms that will be seen along with the kitchen) we opted for our new favorite color, which turned out to be Sesame 381 by Benjamin Moore (color matched to Olympic No-VOC paint in semi-gloss).

We were inspired by this kitchen (found here via Pinterest) since our cabinets will eventually go white, possibly along with our backsplash:

We chose this warm yellow-green color because we want the kitchen to be bright and happy (there aren’t any windows to the outside world – just one that looks into our sunroom) and it was suuuuuuper dark before we painted that paneling. We also knew the room could take a decent amount of color because:

When it came to our swatch-selecting technique we just hung up a ton of them and looked at them at all times of day to see which one we preferred. As for why we chose this swatch specifically, we decided:

Here’s how it looked with the first coat going up around the fireplace (thanks to all that primer prep- we had really awesome coverage). Again, it’s looking more yellow and less green than it does in person in these photos, but you can really see how the white pops and how it turned a dark and brown-everywhere space into a sunny and bright room in the middle of the house.

We also decided that it was high time we switched out all of the “bisque” colored vents, outlets, and light switches.

So we grabbed a bunch of crisp white ones from Lowe’s, turned off the power, removed the old ones, connected the new wires the same way they were connected to the previous switches, added the outer switchplates, and turned the power back on. The whole switch swap took about twenty minutes. So much better:

Some people opt to paint their vent covers so they blend in more, but for now we’re happy to leave ours crisp and new since we’re so used to old drippy painted-over covers (clean paint-free ones kind of feel like a luxury). Who knows if we’ll decide to add a few thin and not-drippy coats of paint to blend those vents in later though. We’ll keep you posted.

Oh and it’s really fun to go back and look at our fireplace, which originally looked like this:

Then we removed the old unused wood stove and painted the brick, and it looked like this:

It’s amazing how much painted paneling can freshen things up even more:

And we love how things like the white frames and the round mirror above the fireplace layer right in with the glossy white trim and beams:

Burger likey (he knows how to work that runway):

Oh yeah and see those pink hydrangeas? I wish I could say that we grew those, but they’re from the store. We figured to celebrate all that priming and painting we could spring for something soft and sweet, so these little pink snowball-looking-guys had me at hello (that’s an old vase from Target btw):

As for the opening to the dining room, here’s where it’ll be (it will line up exactly with the dining room window on the other side for balance):

We learned that we’ll need a permit to knock out so much of that load bearing wall, so it sadly won’t be anything we can do very quickly (and we’ll definitely be leaning on some pros for help). But we can’t wait to tackle it as soon as we can get through all the permit business and hunt down the right expert for the job.

Now for some before & after bid-ness. Just because that’s my favorite part. Here’s the kitchen as it looked on moving day about six months ago:

And here it is now (still can’t wait to add that island, paint those cabinets, and upgrade the floor & appliances someday though):

Moving day again (yes, one of those lights was out):

And now:

The crazy thing is that these photos were taken around the same time of day so it definitely demonstrates how much lighter and more cheerful the space feels now that the dark paneling is a thing of the past. Oh and here’s the budget breakdown:

So there you have it. The kitchen madness has officially begun. As we mentioned here, we’re definitely going to do this in phases (gotta save our pennies and just take things on as we can afford them). But it should be a whole lot of fun. As in, more fun than a barrel of monkeys. And definitely more fun than priming that paneling five hundred times. Do any of you guys have long term kitchen plans like painting the cabinets or adding an island or upgrading the flooring or making some overhead lighting switches (we’re definitely in need of some of that too)? Oh the possibilities…

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner. Click here to see if it’s you.



Priming Our Wood Paneling (The Bane Of Our Existence)

And now, for the dang paneling update. Hold on to your hats ladies and gents. This post = wild ride.

As you probably know, we’re no strangers to priming and painting paneling. Sure we could remove the paneling, but it would mean removing and rehanging all the cabinets since they’re hung in front of it – and revealing goodness knows how many scary issues behind it (they’re old plaster walls so that just felt like a big ol’ can o’ worms). And we could attempt to drywall over it (but it would mean drywalling around the existing cabinets and a lot more expense/trouble than just painting it). So we decided early on that we’d once again say yes to painted paneling – just like we did in our former den (which ended up being our favorite room in the house) when it (slowly over the course of 4.5 years) went from this…

… to this:

We never regretted the whole painted paneling choice – I guess it’s just like painted brick to us (we don’t mind the grooves that remain after it’s painted since they just add charming and subtle texture). But folks have caulked or puttied those grooves to hide ‘em, so you can always do that (or rip it the heck out) if it’s not your thing.

But this time there was a slight variation to the painted paneling process since the last time we tackled it. That variation: the time that it took to get ‘er done. Last time it took us an afternoon (more on that here). So we went into this whole priming and painting thing with high hopes that it would be a quick little project. Yessiree, an afternoon spent completing the paneling would have been awesome (as would seeing a unicorn on our front lawn or finding out that Burger laid golden eggs). Spoiler alert: that didn’t happen.

The time difference was all because we decided to attempt to prime and paint our paneling the no slash low VOC way this time. Just because we like the idea of avoiding as many harmful fumes as we can since we work so regularly with paint and caulk and primer (especially now that we have a baby around). We knew this choice wasn’t a short cut. Heck, it would crack our margin for error right open (since oil-based stainblocking primer is the only professionally recommended way to guard against nasty yellow-orange wood-bleed, which can ooze through as you prime and paint). But we thought it was a risk worth taking in the name of family health. And it was in the end… it just took a while to get there. So here’s how it all went down.

First, here’s what our kitchen looked like before we embarked on our little priming adventure:

And here’s an old shot of the kitchen from the other direction just for reference (it was actually taken a while back, before we removed the wood stove and painted the fireplace):

Step 1: We wiped down the paneling, beams, and trim with a moist cloth. Some people use TSP for their wipe-down, but we didn’t (didn’t use it last time we painted the den paneling either – but it’s not a bad idea, especially if your paneling feels especially greasy). We also didn’t sand at all (didn’t last time either) but you can if your paneling is especially tough, splintery, or super glossy & shellacked.

Step 2: We removed the vent covers and outlet covers since we decided that we’d be replacing them all (they were bisque and we wanted fresh white).

Step 3: We spent about three hours applying a coat of primer to the trim, beams, and paneled walls with Olympic No-VOC primer.

After our first coat it looked like this (about fifteen minutes in we knew we were in trouble):

Primer never needs to be super consistent and perfect looking (it often looks uneven and rough but still totally does the job) but we experienced almost immediate bleed-through in a number of spots (when the orangey-brown stain of the wood seeps through the primer and threatens to ruin your paint job). Not good.

Step 4: We waited for that to dry a bit and tried a second coat of the same primer in certain obviously-bleeding spots, hoping it would block more nasty orange seepage. Nope. It did not.

Step 5: We noticed that we had a can of Behr Primer + Paint (in white semi-gloss) in the basement from a previous project (which is low-VOC and nice and thick) so everything got a coat of that (yup, the trim, beams, and paneling got another full coat).

We still had bleed through. Not much, but in certain places it was definitely still there. And it was maddening.

Step 6: We went to Home Depot and found Kilz Clean Start No-VOC primer. It said “stainblocker” right on the label so we gave it a shot on everything (yup, another full coat of a third type of primer went up on the trim, beams, and walls).

It worked. Angels sang and two white-haired Petersiks rejoiced in the privacy of their freshly primed (finally) kitchen.

Step 7: We painted just the trim and beams with our Behr Primer + Paint (in white semi-gloss) since leaving things primed but not painted for the long term can lead to a nasty and grungy hard-to-wipe-down mess (it’s a dust and dirt magnet since primer is intentionally sticky for paint adhesion). Happily the Behr stuff had great coverage over that last coat of Kilz and looked glossy and amazing. A sight for sore eyes (and arms).

Step 8: We removed all the painter’s tape while the last coat of paint was still fresh for the cleanest lines possible (waiting for everything to dry can cause the paint to peel when you remove the tape). In cases when it was stuck to the primer/paint, we used an exacto knife to carefully slice it along the line of the tape so the primer/paint wouldn’t get pulled off with it.

We’re usually happy to avoid painters tape when we can (I rely a lot on this little miracle short handled brush instead) but since I’m short and I’m the resident cutter-inner/edger, I don’t have as much control up on a stool. So taping around the ceiling trim (and in this case tossing down a quick frame of tape around the baseboards) helped me go faster while I was happy to freehand around the door frames and fireplace.

About 48 hours after the beginning of our priming adventure, it finally looked like this. The trim looks whiter because it’s topped with that semi-gloss Behr paint and not just a flat finish white primer (which was more creamy and less snow-white-ish in color). Now we just have to paint those walls.

We’re not sure if the Kilz No-VOC primer worked because it was the best choice for the job or because it was layered with the other methods beneath it (perhaps on its own you’d need two or even three coats of it to get full bleed-blockage) but we definitely would recommend 2-3 coats of Kilz Clean Start No-VOC primer followed by two thin and even coats of latex paint if you’re planning to paint your paneling without messing with fumey VOCs. Fingers crossed that’ll work for ya. Otherwise one coat of oil-based stainblocking primer followed by two thin and even coats of latex paint should do the trick (find more step by step instructions on that method here).

It probably won’t take you an afternoon if you go low/no VOC (it took us two days with some babysitting help from John’s parents just to complete the priming stage). And we’re not gonna lie. It was not fun. But it was worth it as soon as we got through to the other side. You know, when we finally crossed that rainbow bridge from bleed-ville to clean-white-walls… hallelujah. It should be mentioned that in very rare cases bleed can come through weeks or even months later (which would make us want to stick paintbrushes in our eyes). Thankfully we painted the wood trim in the living room using the same no-VOC method (four coats of Olympic Premium Paint instead of with an oil-based stainblocking primer) five months ago and nothing has since seeped through. And because the baseboard and trim in the kitchen is the same exact wood, all signs point to: this should work. Of course we’ll tell you if something supremely annoying happens though.

So if somebody would be so kind as to do a nap-time dance for Clara, we’d really appreciate it. So far swinging her stuffed giraffe back and forth and saying “you are getting sleeeepy” isn’t quite doing the trick. Well it’s making us sleepy, but we’re not the target. Has anyone else tried to paint paneling without VOCs? Or been forced to apply four coats of paint or primer for any reason at all? Sucks right? Let’s commiserate.

Psst- Read more about the whole Phase 1 kitchen plan here.