Paint, Paint, And More Paint

Just when you thought we were all painted out on Monday, I’m back with another painting update. With this bun of ours arriving in five short weeks, it’s lighting a “paint all the things!” fire under my rear. I know that being laid up with a c-section will mean staring at all of the not-done things on the ol’ to-do list, so humming through a few of them before the little man is here will hopefully put my nesting slash home-making mind at ease. So we set our sights on the upstairs hallway.

It connects so many rooms (the nursery, our room, the hall bath, Clara’s room, the guest room, the laundry, etc) that we thought it would be a nice “bang for our buck” spot in the sense that we walk through it ten million times a day, so we’d notice a nice fresh paint job.

 You know, instead of seeing the same over-sprayed edges from painting the trim back in May of last year (has it really been that long?!).

It also connects to the stairwell that we painted back in November, and the foyer that we painted last July. So when we picked that color for the foyer (Edgecomb Gray, which reads more like a soft tan color in our house then an actual gray), we selected it knowing that it would travel up the stairs and eventually grace the hallway up there as well. We like that it’s a simple and light neutral, so it won’t make the stairs or that interior hallway feel dark, and it allows us to use a bunch of other colors in adjoining rooms without worrying that they’ll clash. For example, we have coral, blue, red, and soft pink on the walls (and ceiling) of Clara’s room

… as well as a deep moody blue in our master bedroom.

Meanwhile, the walls of the guest room, laundry nook, and hall bathroom up there have yet to be painted… so we also like that the hall color leaves those wide open.

You can actually see where our stairway paint job ended in this pic. Elegant, eh? Look at that line we just randomly painted on the ceiling. That thing cracked me up and irked me all at the same time.

The hallway is sort of like two or three rooms of its own. It’s 33 feet from the laundry nook to our master bedroom, and there are a whole lotta doorways (eight) and lights (three) to cut in around. I don’t usually mind cutting in too much though. It’s tedious, but it makes me feel accomplished if that makes sense. As I go I’m all “three doorways down, five to go – turtle power!” I also ponder things like why mashed potatoes and milkshakes have so many calories while things like celery and water have virtually none. Or why there’s not one cheat day each year when everyone can magically consume anything they want and not gain any weight. My pregnant mind clearly puts a lot of thought into food.

Clara also got in the action. Not by painting, but by lending positive vibes, singing various Frozen songs, and dancing around with a giant piece of ribbon like a tiny color guard.

All told, it was around five hours of cutting in across two days (it took two coats) and John swooped in to do the rolling, which also took two coats but went quite a bit faster (maybe three hours total across two days?). I thought of a few painting tips to share with you guys as I went, so here they are:

  • Even if you can reach up and roll the high parts without an extension pole, it’s a lot easier on the ol’ back if you break one out.
  • We painted the ceiling the same color as the walls since it’s a light color and we wanted that seamless look instead of accenting the ceiling as a separate plane in this case (we also tend to do that in bathrooms).
  • Try painting with some tunes on to make it go faster (or news radio, or a book on tape, or a tiny dancing preschooler, or some other auditory form of entertainment).
  • A short handled 2″ angled brush is my favorite cutting in weapon. Seriously, read the comments on this old post of yesteryear to see how many people commented that it changed their life. I promise I’m not exaggerating – it’s a huge time saver.
  • We don’t use a dropcloth over hardwoods because seven years of painting have made us pretty neat, and we’ve found that the occasional floor drip is easy enough to wipe up if it’s wet or even pop off with your fingernail if it’s dry.
  • Stop thinking about food. It’s weird.

And here’s our wahoo-it’s-done result:

It’s a pretty dramatic update from what it looked like back when we bought the house.

Here’s the freshly painted result from the other side (with my back to the bedroom). Ugh, I can’t wait to rehang some doors to block our dark little laundry area in the back.

But the view of pretty much everything else is looking a whole lot fresher…

… so we’re really glad we knocked it out pre-Barnacle.

For anyone looking for a tutorial on changing out your outlets, John did a giant infographic about it here. And for here’s a how-I-cut-in-without-taping-most-things-off video, from back when we were painting our guest room:

Before I go I thought I’d share all the paint colors we’ve used in our house to date (along with four that we’re thinking about adding). It’s fun to compare it to our first whole-house-palette post for this house to see how many are the same, how many are close but not exact, and how many have changed since that was just a bunch of guesses about where we thought we were headed last July.

Here’s the key to what’s what:

  1. Our Bedroom (Black Pepper)
  2. Our Kitchen (Nelson Blue)
  3. Foyer/Hall (Edgecomb Gray)
  4. Possible Nursery Accent Color? (Grassy Fields)
  5. Nursery Built-Ins (Senora Gray)
  6. Nursery Walls (Going To The Chapel)
  7. Clara’s Door (Cinco De Mayo)
  8. Clara’s Ceiling (Pink Cadillac)
  9. Clara’s Walls & Half Bathroom (Simply White)
  10. Clara’s Raindrop Color #1 (Tranquil Blue)
  11. Clara’s Raindrop Color #2 (Milano Red)
  12. Clara’s Raindrop Color #3 (Pink Cadillac)
  13. Front Door (Blue Lake)
  14. Master Closet & Sink Nook (Revere Pewter)
  15. Sunroom Ceiling (In Your Eyes)
  16. Possible Dining Room Color? (Knoxville Gray)
  17. Possible Guest Room Color? (Sparrow)
  18. Possible Office Color? (Polar Lights)

* not pictured: possible colors for the hall bathroom, the laundry nook, and the unfinished storage space since we don’t have a clue about those yet

Are any of you guys also on a painting bender? Or just rushing to check other things off before an impending deadline? I gotta say, I slept like a baby after all that edging, and I’m usually an insomniac these days, so it was pretty sweet.


  1. Lauren says

    If it’s ok with you, I am going to show this post to my husband to back up my argument that we simply HAVE to redo our kitchen before we have children. Because otherwise I will be sitting at home and stewing about our nasty kitchen tile instead of focusing on raising a human. That was the point of this post, right? ;)

    • Cristin says

      I’ll back up your argument! We waited to remodel our kitchen, and then had twins. So when they were two, we realized it was now or have to move. We had to move into my father-in-laws for nearly two months while our kitchen and dining room were completely gutted and re-done into one large eat-in kitchen. The results were amazing, but those were the two most stressful months ever, on all of us. My kids didn’t sleep at.all and it was exhausting. So-long story short, do what you can now!!

    • says

      I agree with the “do what you can now” mantra! When I was pregnant with our first we remodeled our kitchen, and with our second we had already learned our lesson, so we remodeled two bathrooms, installed wood flooring and refinished 3 flights of steps. Those types of projects are nearly impossible with a newborn, and even a toddler, so do them now while you still can!

    • Ethanie says

      I have your back too! We just painted and freshened up our kitchen and ajoining den. It was on my priority list even ahead of our nursery, because I knew it was now or never… and our kitchen was a 1950s nightmare (complete with wood paneling)! We used John and Sherry’s suggestions for painting wood paneling and it turned out amazing. Huge improvement for the baby’s sake and everyone else, too!

    • Candy H says

      I will back you up! We just redid ours with 3 kids (6,3, & 7months) – it was awful! Wish we could have moved out during the process. We now have to paint – which is another huge job that I am leaving for over spring break! Good luck – it is fun to get the kitchen you always wanted!

  2. says

    You were good to knock it out “pre-Barnacle” because you’re gonna be busy for a bit! ;-)

    Thank you SO much for including the colors you’ve used so far. We’re looking for the perfect gray for the living room so I’m going to check out a few of yours!

  3. Meredith says

    I like the idea of a calorie-free day each year. I’ve always been a believer that everyone should get at least one “free” food. Like when you turn 18, you get to decide what one food that you eat has no calories. I’ve given this a lot of thought, and, for myself, I’ve settled on milkshakes. (I decided that the general category of “ice cream” was perhaps too generous.) I haven’t found anyone who thinks this is a bad idea….

    • Pia says

      Well. I read somewhere that if you break a cookie into pieces the calories evaporate and if nobody sees you eating it there is no calories consumed. Then you can eat whatever you want every day :)

    • says

      I have heard that calories do not count if its on the weekends… or if you eat off of someone else’s plate – those are their calories, not yours! So let John order dessert… and you can eat off his plate… all the cookie dough you and the barnacle desire!

    • Emily says

      I call chocolate cake.

      Also, as a subset of “standing up”: My MIL, a doctor, solemnly informs me that foods consumed over the kitchen sink have no calories. I’ve decided I should always heed my doctor’s advice…

    • Lynn says

      Sherry if you like cookie dough you’ll love this stuff…
      They are a company that sells cookie dough in a jar (without eggs so no worries about salmonella)that’s meant to be eaten as dough. You can buy it a Fresh Market. A friend of mine sent me a jar to try and it’s bananas good…(I may or may not have licked the spoon repeatedly).

  4. Theresa M says

    Looks so clean, that’s what I love about a fresh coat of paint. Since I’m the painter in the family, I rarely do ceilings as I am unable to control and extension pole and can only paint 3 square feet before having to move the ladder. (Though I will say I never use tape or drop cloths, I do have some skills.) Did you have 2 different finishes of paint or do you put satin on the ceiling? Or flat on the walls?

    • says

      We did eggshell everywhere. Seemed like a good medium, and it was what we did in the foyer/stairway so it didn’t have a sheen change anywhere.


  5. says

    Love it! I’ve also been on a painting binge before our June baby comes (thankfully, I’ve mostly gotten others to paint for me during pregnancy). We moved into our apartment last summer and did half of the painting right away. The baby room and some little hallway areas have been languishing.

    This past week, one of our maintenance guys had time to paint the baby room and hallways, so that’s all done. All we have left are closets. For some reason, a previous occupant painted every single closet awful colors (yellow, lime green, etc). We have two closets left to paint, but they’re our biggest, so we’ll see what we can get done.

    Re: the ceiling, my husband adamantly loves white ceilings, so that’s what we always go with.

    Can’t wat to see what else you get off the list pre-Barnacle! So exciting. Just remember that you don’t have to have the house phase 1 completed before the little guy arrives.

  6. Emily says

    I’m chipping away at two connected hallways with eight doors! It also has eight pantry doors I framed out to match the cabinets and paint sucking beadboard on the lower two thirds…it’s a slow process with three kids and three dogs helping out. The change is totally worth it, from dark green and tan and tan ceilings to white with a dull sort of turquoise on top and white ceilings. It so Bright! Just glad I don’t have a timeline :)

  7. says

    I still can’t believe you don’t use a dropcloth. We didn’t use one when we repainted our bedroom (to orange!), figuring we could easily wipe or scrape away any drips etc (we previously had a sort of mottled color carpet and never worried about it at all, but this was post laminate hardwood install).

    Well, there are tiiiiiiny splatters of orange all around the perimeter of the room now, and because our laminate hardwood has a slight texture, it’s virtually impossible to scrape off (all tools fail, and only my fingernails work…which would take um forever and hurts!). Sadface, and I have no idea how we’ll ever fix it. You don’t get those tiny splatters from rolling walls? It’s also evident on our white trim (which we had not planned on repainting, but now could use a fresh and splatter-free coat).

    • says

      Oh no that stinks! We don’t get any little splatters like that around the floor, but maybe you have textured walls? Ours are flat. John also subscribes to the less-is-more paint on the roller technique (more paint = more drips & it can splatter).


    • Frannie says

      Have you tried a magic eraser? If you use it gently it might pull off the paint without harming the laminate.

    • says

      Magic Eraser is a good idea. What about a soft cloth or sponge with just a bit of paint thinner? Both probably somewhat time consuming, but less time consuming than fingernails!!

    • Robin says

      Maybe you have posted this before – but what type of rollers do you use? Aren’t there different types I’ve heard?! Foam or something…
      (beginner shyly raises hand to ask question with the hopes that “there are no stupid questions”)

    • says

      Of course! No stupid questions! We use small foam rollers for things like furniture and cabinet doors and regular smooth-surface rollers (by Wooster or Purdy at Home Depot) for the walls.


    • says

      Nope, our walls are totally flat and we don’t overload the rollers :/

      Magic eraser didn’t seem to work (and would also be sooooo teeeediousssssss) when I tried it before. I have read that paint thinner may work, but I haven’t tried that bc paint thinner seems so scary! lol. It’s a small, furniture-filled room, so it will be a super pain to fix and I just keep trying to ignore it :/. We also need to repaint the trim again because of the splatters.

      We have painted a ton, but it was previously always over some old, mottled-color beigey berber carpet that we knew we were getting rid of, so we didn’t really sweat the drips/splatter. Totally regret not covering the edges or the floor now, so I def recommend others cover at least the edges if there is any question or if their flooring is textured. Better safe than sorry!

      Do you not even get some paint splatter like back on your hand? I feel like there is always *some* splatter, no matter what!

    • says

      Weirdly enough we don’t really get splatter anywhere except sometimes a tiny drop on John’s face like a freckle or something if he’s painting a ceiling (not a bunch, just one weird one where something might flick off the roller). Of course we get a few floor drips too that we wipe off, but nothing like a fine mist or smattering that leaves a bunch of spots in one place. Hmm, one other thing could be the type of paint. If it’s thinner/cheaper it might spray more and maybe since we have been using thicker stuff for the last few years that helps too?


    • Allison says

      I ALWAYS get the paint mist on my hand, even with high quality sherwin williams paint! So for that reason, I cover the floors. Usually just with a few pieces of newspaper that I slide along the floor so it moves with me (instead of spending time doing the whole floor). It does get on the floor if I don’t. If I ever did a ceiling (we painted ours before flooring was installed), I’d for sure cover the whole thing! Now I’m wondering why John and Sherry don’t get the mist because it sounds like we’re using the same products and same smooth walls.

    • says

      Could it be your roller speed or pressure? If you push harder or roll faster I’d imagine that would alter how the paint flies off/goes on. Anyone else have ideas?


    • says

      I am also mystified (see what I did there??). Please just have John come paint my house so we can compare?? We’ve used lots of different rollers, paint types, etc. It always seems to happen (we just didn’t care with the carpet and figured it would be an easy wipe up fix with the hardwood, and underestimated how MUCH there would be since it wasn’t as obvious with carpet). Happens to both my husband and I, seemingly no matter about speed or pressure (does John go SOOOO SLOOOOW? I wanna see video now!).

      Using a newspaper or old towel and dragging it along with you sounds like a good idea – thanks, Allison!

    • Christy says

      You are not alone. I also can’t wait to watch the video and see how to wall paint without splatters.

    • Mel says

      I don’t see how you can say you don’t get splatters when painting when John is wearing clothing that clearly has paint splatters on it. ???

      Even if you don’t generally have an issue with drips or whatever, it still seems more than a little cavalier to not protect the nice flooring. Anyone can have a fumble, a slip, and drop a roller or whatever.

    • says

      We get the occasional big drips that we can wipe off the floor or pop off with our fingernails as we mentioned in the post, but we don’t get the thin mist/splatters that people are asking about (if we did we’d cover the floors since removing them later is a huge pain). Most of the marks on our painting clothes are from wiping our hands if we stick our thumb in paint or if we’re caulking in them and want to wipe something off, so they’re not those small splatter marks people are chatting about here.


    • mary says

      I think pressure on the roller does matter for splatters and drips. John must be pretty good at it.

    • Sandra T says

      Color me what??? on this one. I can not believe that you painted that much ceiling without a drop cloth on a brand new floor. And didn’t have any droplets anywhere (including on John). My husband, who is a VERY experienced painter (and very talented at it!) even has drops sometimes. (Yes we have flat walls, BM paint, the right rollers, and a very steady hand). I don’t know why you would fib on this one, but I think you are sending the wrong message to people who believe everything you say and emulate what you do. It doesn’t hurt to admit that these thing happen to everyone, not just people outside Petersik-land.

    • says

      We definitely have drops sometimes. Right in this post I said “we’ve found that the occasional floor drip is easy enough to wipe up if it’s wet or even pop off with your fingernail if it’s dry.” If a method is messy/doesn’t work as well as we’d like it to, we’ll tell ya (see Monday’s post about using our paint sprayer), but this has been our method for years. Here’s a time lapse video of us painting our last house’s bedroom and another one of us painting our old kitchen’s walls & beams where you can see there’s no floor protection and there aren’t a bunch of drips on us or the ground. We’ve also said we’ll share a video of John’s rolling technique when we paint the office, which should put any paint conspiracies to rest ;)


    • says

      Can’t wait to see the video :) In the meantime, the offer still stands for John to come paint my house. Anytime. I know he’d love it.

    • Emily says

      I generally don’t tape edges or cover my floor either and have never had a problem with mist. However, a few weeks ago I painted a chalkboard wall in my kitchen and got mist all over my baseboard and floor. Maybe it was my roller or maybe the consistency of the paint was different this time, but I was super bummed. Luckily, I used a fine steel wool pad (just a box of “soap pads” from the Dollar store)and gently wiped the floor (which is a solid sheet of linoleum). All paint speckles came right off. I probably would not recommend this method for hardwoods but maybe it would be ok on laminate? Maybe test it on a spot that can be hidden if it makes any scratches? Unfortunately, this steel wool did not take the splatters off ob my baseboard, so I am going to have to repaint that.

    • Sue says

      As an avid reader of your blog and a professional painter for twenty five years, I just want to chime in and say you would NEVER catch a professional painting without a drop cloth. I use only high quality paint and paint in upscale homes and wouldn’t want you to send the wrong message to your devoted readers. John is the exception, not the rule.

      P.S. great work on the Target collaboration!!

  8. Sara says

    This post is so timely for me! We are getting ready to paint our kitchen in Edgecomb Gray. I’ve thought about painting the ceiling the same color as the walls – our kitchen is cut-off from the rest of the house so the kitchen ceiling does not run into other rooms.

    Does anyone have thoughts about whether I should paint the ceiling Edgecomb Gray too? I’m thinking yes since its a lighter color and a smaller room…..

    • Sara says

      Time to talk my husband into it. I’ll be sure to tell him “Sherry from YHL thinks its a great idea!” :)

    • says

      Husbands love us (she says sarcastically). John usually apologizes to other guys when we meet them out after wives say “your site gave me the idea to do ___!” It’s pretty funny actually. One guy at the state fair told us “you’re the reason I was stenciling for two days.” Haha!


    • says

      I send my husband links from the website AT LEAST once a week, and every time I say “did you get my email about YHL…” he just rolls his eyes (in a good way) lol.

    • Kristin says

      Haha! I am so happy I’m not the only one who uses the site as a catalyst to get my husband to do things. We’re gearing up to buy our first house this spring/summer, and I have a desktop folder called “Things You Will Build and I Will Paint.” :)

    • Sara says

      And please don’t tell me I’m the only one who talks to my husband about John and Sherry like I know them. “John and Sherry just did this to their house” or “Sherry said it’s not too difficult…” :)

    • Hanna Cage says

      Mine usually goes like this:

      Me: “You know that website, YH…”
      Husband: (interrupting) Oh God, what did they do now?

      Happily he is always up for the challenge. I think he has a mental competition going with John. Not that I mentioned how cute you guys are, repeatedly, in a totally non-creepy way. /grin

    • Danielle says

      hahahaha my husband just rolls his eyes too now when I tell him what John and Sherry did today :) He doesn’t hate it as much as he wants me to believe, but I think he sometimes does wish you guys would slow down lol. We are due for our first baby around the time Sherry is due, so my nesting phase is hitting pretty hard. He went to Chicago with me to meet you guys on your book tour and thought you were both super nice :)

    • Ashleigh says

      Have to admit my husband refers to you guys as Old House Hate, because of how much I talk about you guys. :-) Although, last weekend, he admitted to loving my trash can makeover thanks to you guys. Keep up the good work.

    • Kara says

      Yes Sarah!!

      My husband knows exactly who John, Sherry and Clara are when I bring them up in casual conversation. I suppose it helps that we don’t really know any other Johns, Sherrys or Claras

    • says

      Phew! So glad I am not the only one. To accurately imagine the way I start conversations with my husband, call to your memory Alison Hannigan in American Pie saying “So this one time, at band camp…” and replace it with me saying “So hubby, you know YHL, well they…” I may have also quoted Clara on occasion.

    • rachael says

      I always start by saying “Wanna know what my Young Lovers did today?” And he says “No….”

  9. says

    I’m jealous of your painting prowess without taping / dropcloth-ing. I wish my husband and I had reached that skill level and maybe our bedroom would be painted by now.

    I had a question about cutting in – do you worry much about the time between your cutting in a section and John rolling it? As in, do those steps need to be nearly simultaneous for the paint to look seamless?

  10. Rosie S says

    Looks fantastic!!! I too, am painting like a mad woman…not because of impending birth :)…just the promise of spring and the thought of being outside. After THIS winter (Minnesota), I won’t be going back indoors, willingly, after it warms up…ever… I mean it! Today, another bathroom gets a new coat!

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