Painting

Workin’ Nine To…Um, Nine

Feel free to sing the title to the tune of the famous Dolly Parton song. Or our new favorite version by SNL. Anyway, painting our living room yesterday sure was quite the task of endurance, especially given various breaks for Clara-tending and blog-tending. In fact, it took us exactly 12 hours, from 9am to 9pm to fully complete the project. Good news – the living room is officially Moonshine’d. Better news – so is the hallway (what can we say, we were on a roll).

But the day got off to a slow start. Between Sherry squatting the first blog post of the day to answer a bunch of questions, Clara needing some breakfast, and me clearing / taping the room, it was nearly two hours ’til we even cracked the first paint can open at around 11. Here’s the post all about how we deemed Moonshine to be the perfect gray for our house, and it bears mentioning that we chose to get it color matched to Olympic No-VOC paint in a satin finish (which we have found to look extremely close to flat paint with a lot of added durability & kid-friendly wipeability – really it doesn’t look wet or glossy at all, much to our surprise).

Thankfully things got rolling (literally) once Clara napped like a champion (from 11 to almost 1- which she never does!) and we gave ourselves permission to focus on applying color to the walls instead of approving & answering blog comments (no offense to you guys of course). Sherry wasn’t even slowed down by the splinter our floor kindly drove into her left cheek. And I’m not talking about the one on her face. Ouch. She’s a total trooper. And she learned a valuable painting lesson in the new house: not to scoot around on her rear while cutting in baseboard. I realize this sounds like she was painting nude, but she was fully clothed. It just went right through her yoga pants. No lie.

Sherry has always been the cutter-inner (edger) of our relationship and I’m the roller. But she also does extra credit stuff too. In this case she took the time to fill a bunch of gnarly holes in our extra-craggy brick wall – like these right near the trim – with paintable DAP caulk for a much more finished looking result. Love that girl. Even if she is a little obsessive.

Once Clara awoke from The Nap Of Her Life (capitalized as it was truly an event to be remembered), we had to switch off when it came to baby-duty (and drop in on the blog every once in a while too for comments). So our productivity dropped a bit, but it was nice to take staggered bean breaks. As the day wore on, the diminishing sunlight made differentiating the white walls from the wet paint a bit challenging, but we charged on (taking breaks for things like a second blog post, diaper changes, lunch, dinner, and putting Clara down for a less-than-champion worthy afternoon nap). By around 5:30pm we had applied two coats to the living room (all it needed) and started on the two hallway vestibules. And by the time Clara was in bed for the night at 8pm we’d cracked open our second gallon of paint to finish off a second coat in those two hallways. By 9pm we were cleaning up and ready to collapse on the couch that was still clustered next to the TV in the middle of the room and zone out. Btw, it was funny to watch some tube at the distance that we were used to from our last house again.

Being too dark for a photoshoot last night, we waited to take these “after” shots this morning for ya:

We’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to see much of a difference in the pics. But in person we were both shocked at how much warmer the room looks. We assumed gray would look cooler, but the previous white walls were so stark that the soft silvery gray is nice and cozy by comparison. Kind of like you’re inside a cloud that’s glowing thanks to some sun shining through. In short, we’re both in LOVE with Moonshine. And for those wondering why we didn’t go crazy bright or dramatic with the wall color, we want to bring in some bold textiles (like big dramatic curtains on those sliders) along with some colorful art and maybe even some painted furniture – so we don’t want the walls to compete with that. We even have plans for a large charcoal sectional, so we’re definitely getting away from the white-slipcovered-sofas-and-breezy-white-curtained look of our first house. A lot of the rooms that have inspired us lately (see a few of them here) don’t have super dark or bright walls, but still definitely read as “colorful” and “bold.” But we do have a few spaces (like the hall bathroom & guest bedroom) that we plan to paint an extremely rich and saturated color, just like we did on the backs of our built-ins. So there will be some o’ that too.

We also thought when one of the walls was brick, a bold color (like deep teal or emerald or plum) might look a bit odd, since it’s more common to see brick painted in lighter tones like white, cream, gray, etc. And we wanted that wall to feel the most unified and un-odd so the whole room felt connected as opposed to disjointed. Oh and we did consider leaving just the fireplace bump-out white while painting the rest of the walls gray, but in the end it looked too unbalanced so we painted it and like the cohesive effect a lot more. We figure we can always add color back into it down the line (like a rich charcoal paint) if we’re feeling crazy. We’ll just have to see how the room shapes up.

Oh yeah but we can’t forget the hallway. The results in there boosted our confidence even more that Moonshine was the way to go and the change will be much more dramatic in the living room once it gets the white-trim treatment. See how soft yet defined it looks with crisp white accents?

This close up is probably the best demonstration of the silvery gray color we ended up with (and how it plays off that glossy trim):

So the next thing on our to-do list is to paint the trim & baseboard in the living room (which is why the furniture is staying in a nice little island formation in the middle of the room until that’s done). Oh and we’ve decided to leave the ceiling beams unpainted for now. We’re definitely gonna see what the rest of the room looks like before making any decisions about what to do with those. Sherry has this crazy new idea about staining or painting them a rich charcoal color. Could be cool. And we’ll probably photoshop it before taking the plunge and share the madness with you. But before we get to that we’ll hopefully have the finished trim pictures to share next week. Fingers crossed for record-breakingly-fast painting luck and another one of those Naps To End All Naps from Clara.

Psst- The repair guys came out to fix our new washer amid the painting chaos and eradicated the annoying whistle issue. Happy happy joy joy.

Psssst- We announced this week’s giveaway winners, so click here to see if you’re one of them.

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Choosing The Right Gray Paint Color…

We usually feel pretty confident in our ability to pick a paint color. But something about choosing the perfect gray color for two major living areas in our house made me extra nervous (we’re going to use the same color in the future dining room, main hallway, and living room for some nice continuity). Sherry had a field day ribbing me about my paint paralysis. I was literally second-guessing every swatch we looked at. “Sure, I like it… no I don’t, I hate it.” Yeah, that was me.

I blame my neurosis on having selected a hideous gray tone to paint my middle school bedroom (I picked it because I liked the name – Cannonball or Cannon Smoke or something else that sounded like blowing stuff up). In retrospect it was too dark, cold, and prison-like. Fortunately I warmed it up with a bright red Looney Tunes rug and Tasmanian Devil throw pillows (don’t be jealous). But somehow I don’t think that’s an acceptable solution this time around.

So I convinced Sherry (who was a lot less gun-shy than I was, she kept saying “let’s just pick one and DO IT!”) that we should buy paint testers and try out a few colors before committing. She recommends this option all the time to nervous-about-painting readers, so it wasn’t too hard to convince her that we should give it a whirl at least once. So we narrowed it down to our top three similar-but-different-enough-to-help-us-make-a-decision contenders:

They are, from left to right: Collingwood, Grey Owl, and Moonshine (all Benjamin Moore colors mixed in Olympic Premium No-VOC samplers from Lowe’s – which are about $2.50 a pop). Of course, in an effort to prove her paint-psychic abilities, Sherry called her favorite before even breaking out the paintbrush. Can you guess which one it is? Hint: it rhymes with “spoon mine.”

Here they are in the future dining room, painted in that same order (with Collingwood on top and Moonshine on the bottom):

We just did one coat with a paintbrush (it had great coverage) doing our best to keep the edges feathered so when we eventually paint over everything we aren’t left with slightly raised squares where we tested (which is why we didn’t use painters tape to make perfect squares that also might be visible after we paint over them).

And ever the overachiever (or just someone who loves to paint), Sherry finally embraced the test square method and went ahead and painted big swatches in the family room too. One set near the TV…

…and another set next to the big window (since it gets a different amount of daylight).

After all, one of the great things about these testers is that you get to see what certain colors look like throughout the day and in varying amounts of daylight and artificial light. We do this with the small paint swatches too, but it certainly was nice to judge a color from across the room for once.

Speaking of different lights, here are all of the colors again at night when things are much yellower from the artificial light (they’re all painted in the same order as listed above, by the way):

So after a couple of days I finally admitted that (say it with me) Sherry was right all along. Moonshine, the one on the bottom, is by far our favorite of the bunch. Collingwood (the top one) almost won us over, but it’s so warm/tan that it reminded us a lot of Glidden’s Sand White, which was in our first house’s living room and office. We love that color, but it’s not gray enough for what we want this time, so in the spirit of doing something fresh and new we crossed it off the list. And Grey Owl (the middle one) read as too green/blue in our house’s light, so we worried it too might not immediately read “gray” and instead might be “muddy blue-gray” which is what we had in our last house’s bedroom and kitchen.

Moonshine is probably the “purist” of the grays we tested, and it almost has a soft shimmery quality to it – like there’s some silver mixed in. We’re excited about it because it’s definitely dark enough to make the moldings pop (especially once we paint the ones in the living room white) but it’s not too bright or saturated to compete with bolder curtains, art, and accessories that we plan to introduce. Now we just have to cross our fingers that we can find the energy to paint the two largest rooms in our house… and the hallway that connects them. We actually started the job today- but with baby & blog duty going on at the same time, it might take us a few days to get ‘er done. We’ll share pics as soon as we’ve got ‘em though!

Have any of you used the paint tester method to choose a color? Did it confirm your feelings or send you in a totally new direction? And dare we ask how long the test squares stayed up before the room finally got painted completely? Ours were up nearly a week, but we could totally see how that could turn into a month (or a year) if you still weren’t 100% sure which way to go…

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