If we’ve made one thing clear about our new house, it’s that we’re not crazy about the trim colors…
Somewhere between the Williamsburg Blue and the Muddy Mauve, our painting hands began to quiver with excitement. Or was that dread? Not sure.
We reasoned that while all of the carpet was up and before the new hardwoods went down, we should take advantage of the can-get-painted subfloor and go ahead and tackle the upstairs trim. Correction: trim and doors. Sixteen doors to be exact… which we removed and de-hardwared first for easy painting.
Attempting to quickly paint four bedrooms and closets worth of trim along with a long hallway plus nine windows (with tons o’ mullions) and the aforementioned sixteen doors seemed like a job that warranted a paint sprayer. So we decided it was finally time to get one. And thanks to a suggestion from the Bowers, we picked up this Graco TrueCoat II which was on sale for $180 at Lowe’s. We opted to buy one instead of renting it because there’s still plenty of stuff to paint in this house beyond just these things – so we’d like to have one that we can use a bunch of times as we move from room to room (did we mention there’s still a ton of blue trim downstairs?).
The sprayer is a lot simpler than I expected. It’s pretty much just a plastic cup attached to the gun, which just plugs in. So there wasn’t much in the means of set-up (although we definitely read the directions twice just to make sure we didn’t screw it up). Then we dove into our primer coat.
We’ve heard that the biggest pain of owning a paint sprayer is clean up, so we opted to use a provided bag in the paint cup to keep it clean and hopefully eliminate one step afterwards.
We don’t have a ton of pictures of the process because one of us was downstairs with Clara while the other sprayed. And also, the process was pretty darn fast. We could zip along the baseboards of one room in about 10 to 15 minutes, and the majority of that time was usually spent refilling the paint cup.
So I definitely agree with what everyone had told me about spraying: it’s MUCH faster, but you use a lot more paint. I could only get through about two door sides before having to refill my paint cup. But boy was it satisfying to watch that blue paint disappear with each swipe. And it’s not that you’re wasting paint, it’s just that you’re getting more coverage (spraying the front of a door once might take twice as much paint, but it’s akin to two coats applied with a brush).
Once we feel a bit more seasoned with the sprayer we’ll do a deeper post about using it, but for now I feel like we’re still getting the hang of it. Our biggest challenge is fighting the urge to go back and “touch up” a spot we missed because we found it’s very easy to apply too much paint and create drips.
But if you go slowly and resist the urge to double spray, the smooth factory-like finish is amazing.
We made the call to paint the windows by hand rather than attempt to get every nook and cranny of it sprayed (we pictured a ton of rogue drips and a bunch of overspray covering all of the glass panes). After the fact, we’re not so sure it was the right call since our hand technique will still require some glass scraping with a razor and all of the blue/mauve windows took one coat of primer plus 3 coats of paint each since we were doing them by hand. Woof.
So yeah, this has pretty much been keeping us busy for the last few days. Spraying only occupied two mornings (priming one, painting the next) but we’ve made several trips to hand paint the windows and other areas that we couldn’t spray easily. I’ve lost track of which trip these photos were taken, but you can see what a difference it’s making.
We didn’t bother to tape off the walls or floors or anything around the sprayed areas (except for some too-close-for-comfort outlets and vents). So it means the walls are in desperate need of painting now too, but that’s a project for another day.
Some rooms, like the guest room and our master, only had cream trim/doors so they didn’t require any primer. Which meant this whole paint job only took 2 gallons of primer. Not bad for four rooms, four closets, nine windows, sixteen doors, and a giant hallway (about 30% of those had cream paint).
But we needed 4.5 gallons of white paint. Had we been able to predict that we’d have bought one of those five gallon buckets at the start, rather than making the multiple trips to the store we’ve been making. Live and learn, right?
The paint we’re using is Benjamin Moore’s Ultra Spec in Simply White (in a semi-gloss finish) based on a few recommendations for that type of paint from you guys. It’s No-VOC contractor-grade paint that’s more affordable than BM’s Natura paint that we usually use and so far we’re really happy with it. Instead of being over $50 per gallon, it’s just $36 through our local paint store (I’m sure it varies by location, but it should be in that range), which has certainly made buying five gallons of it a little less painful.
Oh and as for choosing the color, we brought home about ten swatches of white and just picked the one that looked the best when we taped it up next to all of the others (some were too yellow, some were too blue, but Simply White looked clear and crisp without feeling too warm or too cool). Of course it’ll look a whole lot better after we paint those yellowed walls and ceilings…
Our total budget for four rooms and four closets worth of trim/baseboards plus nine windows, sixteen doors, and a giant hallway has been:
- Paint sprayer: $180
- Primer, 2 gallons: $36 (on sale)
- Paint, 5 gallons: $180 (we still have half a gallon leftover for a future project)
- TOTAL: $396
It’s certainly more than we envisioned spending, but because we’re on a time crunch to get the new floors in before we move, we’re counting our lucky stars that painting so many things went as quickly as it did. And now that we own the paint sprayer it’ll probably will work out to around ten cents per use by the time we’re done painting this house (so. much. blue. trim.).
Next step is to rehang all of the doors (after we replace some of the old pitted brass hardware) and then we can get to laying those hardwoods. We contemplated getting some other painting done while the subfloor is still exposed – walls, ceilings, closet interiors – but we’re starting to feel that move date creep up on us (T minus 2 weeks!). We figure we can move in with unpainted walls and ceilings more easily than moving in without completed floors – and thankfully we’re no strangers to painting walls and ceilings with hardwoods that are already in place.
So that’s what we’ve been up to. How about you?
So sorry this is late guys! Internet problemz.
Remember back when we debated painting the siding on the front porch way back here in fall 2011? Hence the creepy Halloween wreath on the door.
We had picked a color and everything (Flagstone by Martha Stewart – the one on the right in the photo above) but before we got around to doing it, the temperatures dropped too much to paint. Then the test swatches – which lived on our porch for several months (sorry neighbors) got painted over when it was time to shoot book photos out there. The project literally became out of sight, and out of mind.
Then we redid the columns. And when we did a few of you guys were all “wait, weren’t you going to paint the siding out there? what happened?” and we were all “oops, yeah, that never happened.” And then we added the pergola and a few window boxes and our paint-that-siding hankering returned. Initially we worried that painting just the porch siding would be weird without doing all the other siding on the side/back, but after rethinking it we decided it would be fine since the cream color of the other siding is still in the porch trim, so it all ties in.
So although you could literally describe us as being on the fence about this project since 2011, in the end we just didn’t want to leave without going for it. Especially because we thought the trim, columns, and that happy yellow door would pop a lot more from the street. And let’s face it, we’re going to be doing a lot of drive bys just to wave at her once she’s not ours anymore. #totallynormal
So out came the paintbrush and roller. We had already bought the paint way back when we settled on the color in 2011 (Flagstone by Martha Stewart) so we didn’t need to spend any more loot to make this happen. Update: this is hardboard siding, which is like a wood composite material, so this method might not work on aluminum or vinyl siding.
And believe it or not, we whipped out the entire job (two coats!) during a Clara nap on the same day that we hung the window boxes (we were like little front yard tornadoes running around).
And since the color ties in so well with the mortar in the brick (it’s nearly the same color up close) it’s a nice seamless addition. It helps the door and the trim and the columns feel a bit less flat from the curb, yet it doesn’t make the other cream siding stand out like a sore thumb since that relates to the rest of the trim.
The biggest difference that we notice in person is that the house feels less choppy since that big cream rectangle was a lot more broken up looking than the not-as-light new color. See how the before picture below looks like a house made of a brick box next to a white box next to another brick box and the after picture looks a lot more like one facade instead of three blocks sitting next to each other?
Best of all the yellow door is one heckova happy guy now that he’s next to a slightly deeper tone than that former sea of cream.
Almost makes us forget that the house looked like this during our first walk through back in 2010…
Anyone else painting siding? How did you tackle it? We just used a small foam roller and a brush (John used the roller to get along each length of siding and I used the brush to get into the groves and cut in around the edges). We were both shocked how quickly we got those two coats knocked out.
Surprise! We painted the guest bathroom this weekend! The walls, the trim, and even the ceiling. And double surprise: we went with a fresh clean coat of white (Decorator’s White by Benjamin Moore). Bet you didn’t see that coming…
Why’d we go white? Well the old paint was dingy (see the difference in the pic above?), but we’ve decided to embrace the yellow tile instead of yanking it all out gut-job style or painting or reglazing it. It’s completely original 60′s tile that’s in great shape – and the color is happy and cute so we’ve decided it’s charming. Especially with our fresh white (albeit bare for now) walls – which will allow us to bring in some personality and color in other ways without overwhelming the small space.
Our hall bathroom sports original tile as well, but we were able to crisp it up and bring in some fun accessories so it flows with the rest of our house…
… so we decided to give that the ol’ college try in here before bringing in the demolition hammer, a la this…
Oh and we raised the shower rod to ceiling height and added an extra long 95″ waffle weave curtain (from target.com) about six months ago that hides inside the shower now (this is the view from inside the shower, so the rod is 100% invisible from the main part of the bathroom). It was weird to see the lower bar hanging down around 4″ below the doorway that leads to the shower.
I wish I could have shot a better picture of the other side of the shower doorway so you could get a better idea, but the room’s just too tiny. I’d have to be out the window to get the right angle…
Speaking of the window, we finally frosted it (using leftover frosting film and this method) which is nice because it lets in all the light, but doesn’t let anyone standing on the deck creepily spy on you.
Between the freshly painted walls and the glowing frosted windows, it’s definitely feeling crisper and less murky in here already.
After my little frost-job I dug out this fabric remnant from over a year ago (originally from U-Fab here in Richmond and made by Iman) to make a sweet little no-sew shade. After nixing a faux roman shade like this one I made for the kitchen (not enough fabric) and considering a simpler version like this one from the hall bath, I decided to go with something closer to the latter, but with a twist. So I dragged out my materials (a tape measure, some iron-on hem tape, a scrap piece of wood, and my staple gun) and got to work…
I measured the window width (23″), cut my scrap wood about a 1/4″ shy of that size, and cut my fabric to 25″ wide and as long as I could make it (which ended up being 30″) so I could hem it on both sides and at the bottom to end up with a 23″ x 29″ shade. See how the wood is a smidge thinner than the hemmed fabric? That’s so you don’t see it poking out on the sides.
Then I stapled the top of the fabric to the scrap piece of wood (centering the wood so the fabric was slightly longer on both sides) and screwed through it from below three times to hold it into the window.
I opted for a cute little rolled look at the bottom thanks to a smaller piece of scrap wood (old shoe molding) that I cut to be a teeny bit wider than 23″ – that way I could roll the fabric around the molding and shove it into place so it held itself between the sides of the window, sort of like a tension rod.
Here’s the view from out in the guest room. I love how the fabric works with the polka dot curtains in there. Not too matchy, but compatible and layered. It’s also nice to see the dark teal color from the bedroom walls carried into the bathroom, so it feels less like a random yellow box without any relation to the adjoining room.
It feels good to cross a few things off the list in there, but there’s still more on the agenda.
We think three more simple upgrades will make all the difference, so here’s the plan.
paint the walls frost the window for privacy make a window treatment with a bold fabric remnant
- paint the frame of the mirror so it stands out against the white wall
- hang some art over the toilet
- go accessory happy (if Lesley made her pink tiled bathroom cute with the right stuff, there’s hope for this old room yet)
Is anyone else embracing something old? Any painting going on? Shade-making? Did anyone else watch the Atlanta Housewives reunion and laugh at how many times they said “throwing shade”? I gotta start working that in.
Psst- See how we upgraded the light fixture almost two years ago here.