Our Current House

Pewter Skies… Er Ceilings?

Update: We’d love your help filling a bulletin board with letters, kid drawings, paper snowflakes, and well wishes from all over the world for our holiday project for The Children’s Hospital of Richmond. To play along, you can mail them to: J & S Petersik, PO Box 36665, Richmond VA 23235 (please indicate where you’re writing from in your message/drawing – i.e. “Wishing you peace from NYC”).

We’re doing Children’s Hospital stuff today, but a bunch of you noticed a foyer ceiling update in the background of yesterday’s post, so we owe you those details. We actually knocked it out before the big kitchen paint-fest, but that post cut the line because it was too exciting to save for later and we have the patience of toddlers (not to be confused with having the body of a baby). We usually hate painting ceilings (big rooms = sore backs) but the foyer’s a relatively small swatch of space, so I ended up just rolling the whole thing while Sherry knocked out some simple cutting in around the edges.

Two coats later, we were high-fiving under the stars the star chandelier. It was well overdue. For the last few months it was sort of like our foyer was wearing a fancy outfit (nice painted walls) with dirty matted hair (bad yellowed ceiling). Not a good look.

Sherry got me on board with going one shade darker on the ceiling in there thanks to this image from Traditional Home, and we already had leftover Revere Pewter paint from the walls and ceilings in our sink nook (it’s the slightly darker square on the same paint swatch as Edgecomb Gray, which is what’s on the foyer walls).

We really like how it turned out, although getting accurate photos of it has proven a little rough.

Sometimes it photographs darker or grayer than it looks in real life (like the detail below, or the hallway shot from yesterday’s post). In person it’s definitely noticeably darker than the walls, but thankfully not in an oppressive or gloomy way.

Typically we use a flat finish when we paint ceilings, but the leftover paint that we were using from the bathroom was eggshell. Turns out we really like the extra hint of sheen because it glows a bit more in the window light, helping it still feel kind of airy in a way. You can see what I mean below:

But I’m not sure this experience makes us ready to officially jump off The Flat Finish Ceiling Train permanently, since any added sheen ups the risk that dings, dents, or seams in the ceiling will show up more clearly. We just lucked out that the foyer ceiling was in great shape. But when we’re buying paint specifically for ceiling use (like in Clara’s room) we’ll probably stick with flat just to be safe. Update: just realized we used eggshell on Clara’s ceiling too! The light (or maybe it’s the color?) just reads really differently in there, so it looks more matte compared to our foyer ceiling.

I do think it’s safe to say that we’re fans of a non-white ceiling though (hello blue in the sunroom!). Although I feel like we’ll probably end up going with a white kitchen ceiling since there will be so much going on already with the two-tone cabinets, painted walls, and the paneling.

How about you guys? Any ceiling painting going on? Have you ever tried anything other than flat paint?


Y’all Ready For This?

Yes that was a Jock Jams reference. And yes, I can still get down to that. Not sure about the video though…

Remember when the kitchen looked like this back when we first laid eyes on our house?

Whelp, now it looks like this…

It’s crazy how different certain angles look in person.

It’s like walking into the room and wondering who added five extra lights. It’s just so much brighter.

Yes, we dove headfirst into priming and painting the kitchen baseboards, crown molding, and window trim (52. freaking. panes.) and ended up just going all out and tackling the paneling and the doors to the pantry and the garage while we were at it. We have nothing against dark paneling, we just prefer the painted look for our house, especially after drooling over a few awesomely classic spaces that inspired us (like this one, this one, and this one).

I’m not going to lie – it was not an easy process. But it was SO WORTH IT. The room feels so much brighter and less heavy and we find ourselves actually looking out the windows now (when that trim was dark it stopped your eye, but now that it’s white, suddenly the outside world is the thing that’s emphasized, like a pretty little forest focal point).

One of my favorite new views is from the front door. Here’s a shot we took during inspection (don’t mind the chaos, there were a few old furniture items being moved out by a crew at the same time).

And here’s a shot we took yesterday afternoon. Ignore all the beige… we’re planning for some airy color on the kitchen walls to break things up (more details in this post). And the lower cabinets will end up nice and dark for contrast too. Eventually we also think we’ll end up with big dark (heated) tiles on the floor too, so that should help to balance/ground things. White paneling + softly colored walls + dark floors + a rustic wood table sounds like a nice mix.

All told, it took two coats of primer followed by two coats of paint applied by hand. We decided only to use the sprayer to paint things we could remove and take outside (like cabinet doors/drawers when we get to that stage) since we’ve used it once inside (to paint all of the baseboards/trim/doors upstairs while the carpeting was ripped up) and we noticed a pretty decent amount of overspray.

Based on that experience (and using it outside for things like painting the sunroom ceiling planks) we just think our type of sprayer is better for outdoor use unless we’re working in truly gutted indoor spaces. We’ve seen other folks tape off the entire room and spray every last inch of woodwork, but this room has four different doorways to other spaces that we’d need to fully block off (any paint seepage onto the wood floors in the dining room or living room scared us greatly) and we worried it wouldn’t save much time if it took us 10 hours to tape everything off anyway.

So John and I just chipped away at it over the past five days (Burger refused to lend a paw – that diva). Thankfully we found an awesome stainblocking primer that has no-VOCs but actually works so I could join in on the fun (some others gave us wood-bleed like you wouldn’t believe, but this one was awesome). It’s called Kilz Premium – just make sure you get the one with the label that says “no VOCs” and “stainblocking” since they have a bunch of different types. As for the paint, we’re still using Simply White (in semi-gloss) which has been our choice for all the trim and doors upstairs and in other rooms that we’ve tackled downstairs (like the foyer and the half bathroom).

Gif time, baybay:

Two coats of the Kilz stuff followed by two coats of paint took us about 12 hours. The first coat is always the hardest (for some reason it just takes longer to get into all of those nooks and crannies and around all of those edges the first time, but your brush or roller seems to glide over them more easily as you go). So it was probably around 4 hours for the first coat and then 3 for the second coat and then 2.5 for the following two coats.

As for the application method, a regular old 2″ angled brush was what we both used to tag-team the trim as well as those window frames, and then we used a roller along with a brush on the paneling (a brush got into those crevices and then a roller could be passed over the fronts of each board to smooth them out). Here’s an example of what I did with a brush, and then John rolled the flat parts so it all blended in. Update: If your trim or paneling is super shiny and lacquered we always recommend sanding and using a liquid deglosser before the priming step. In our case it was chalky and dry wood without a thick layer of sealer, so we went right to primer and paint, which held nicely.

Now I’m like Jasmine rolling in there singing A whole neeeeeew world.*

*And then I see the intercom and turn into Ariel belting out You want thingamabobs? I’ve got twenty.

This corner. Huuuge difference.

The door straight ahead leads out to the garage, and the one on the left is the pantry. Someday it would be awesome to have a paneled door that leads to the garage, but it’s wider than the other doors in our house (and needs to be fire-safe) so we might have to order one or miraculously find it at the ReStore or something. For now the white paint is a welcome upgrade.

We didn’t have to paint the pantry door since we had one upstairs in our storage room that we sprayed white back when we sprayed the other doors up there but had never rehung (it was the between our bathroom and sink nook, but it blocked things off so we’re happier without it). As for the garage door, we could have removed it and sprayed it outside, but that would have meant an exterior door being off the hinges for a few days (drafty + not secure) so we just painted that one in place. Still need to replace those brass hinges though…

Oh and a quick tip for anyone tackling wood trim, paneling, or crown: it’s not unusual to see all sorts of dark cracks that need to be caulked after you get some primer and paint going on. Something about dark wood tones hides those cracks and shadows, but then when it’s painted they stand out. So our advice is to look for those after one or two coats of primer (you won’t be able to see them before you apply anything, since they only pop out at you as the wood gets lighter) and then fill ‘em with paintable caulk (we like paintable Dap window & door caulk in white). As long as you get ‘er done before your final coat of paint, it should go over them for a nice seamless finish.

So now our to-do list in here looks a little something like this:

Psst – To read why we’ve chosen these steps for Phase 1 (for example, why we’re painting the cabinets, why we’re not going to attempt to paint the linoleum, and what’s on the agenda for Phase 2) there’s lots of background info in this post for ya.

There are still a lot of uncrossed items, but we’re so excited about how far this room has come already! What were you guys up to this weekend?