My Painted Hands

By | August 5, 2010

For the last month if anyone asked us what was new we’d respond with: painting or working on the house. A journey that started on July 1 has carried on five weeks later with gallons of paint, endless rolls of green tape and Polyfill. We were happy with how the house looked but wanted to make improvements to a few wall colors. Unfortunately, once you start painting you can’t stop. You start looking at walls with a judging eye, you look at how the previous owners did their edging and wonder what color combinations would work.

I think because our first painting job was so easy (minimal wall imperfections, one coat and accomplished in a day) we thought we could take on the bigger task of painting the basement with ease. Five weeks later we are still doing work but the end is in sight. One day I went to Rona when it opened at 7:00AM and was there minutes before it closed at 6:00PM. We know our way around the paint department, became intimate with edging tools and mourned their loss when they started to shed and I always have one color of paint on my nails (today it is Sico’s “Black Pepper”).

We wanted to paint the basement a color to match our new couch, but the basement is more than just a single wall and after a prime and two coats of paint you realize how large a space is. The stairwell leading to the basement was still painted in a similar tone to the original basement color so that had to be updated, but in way that would match the downstairs color and work with the upstairs. The hallway that led out of the entertainment area needed to be painted since the color can’t stop. A simple project turned into a lot more, but we are in the home stretch and can start to enjoy our work.

I never took a proper ‘before’ photo of the work, so photos of how it looked before include decoration from the previous owners, but that makes the transformation that much more dramatic.

Living Room
There was a small discolored section that wasn’t noticeable with furniture in the room but when it was empty it stood out. The idea to paint the living came about the night before when I was asked what I wanted to do on Canada Day. When I didn’t have a response it was determined that we would paint!

The original wall color was similar to what we wanted so it didn’t require a prime or a second coat, which made the job a lot easier to accomplish.

This blue sponge work was all through the stairwell on the side door entrance. It carried up to the kitchen and down to the basement. The blue was a common theme in the previous color scheme and the shelves on the entertainment unit were painted in a similar blue sponge effect.

This dated paint schemed required a prime and two coats of paint to cover it up.

A chair rail divided the room which made for a logical way to separate the color. Beneath the rail was a blue with a tint of gray and above it was left white. We thought it was laziness to not paint above the rail, but as we worked our way around the basement we thought it was a pretty smart idea to skip this as it took an entire gallon of paint to complete.

The dry bar was originally blue but with the brown color scheme it stood out terribly so it was painted to match.

The entertainment unit was left until the end (and still requires a little bit of work on the shelves with the consoles and along the floor). The dry bar and entertainment unit received new hardware on the cabinet doors from wood to metal which was a worthwhile update. Once the blue was removed from the unit it immediately looked better, and by updating the brown color behind the TV it felt like it belonged.

Electrical Panel
There were no “before” photos of it, but it was awkward and stood out like a sore thumb. Access to it was complicated, and in a 40 year old house you visit the electrical panel often to check on a circuit trip. Originally there was a venetian blind covering the wooden door that you opened to access the panel. Beneath the wooden door was a shelf that went the width of the recessed wood. The shelf wasn’t sturdy enough to put a lot of weight on, not that you would because anything on the shelf would get in the way when you opened the wooden door.

We originally painted the wooden door a light brown but thought it stood out enough that we should make a statement with it, and since we hadn’t tortured ourselves enough with painting we purchased wallpaper for the project. After an all-around terrible experience at ICI Paints we had what we needed and applied the paper that night. I drilled a hole in the wooden door to make it close properly and installed a new knob to allow for easier opening and now the panel stands out but looks good while doing it.

For the last month the basement has been in various stages of messy. There is more we want to do downstairs, like renovating the laundry room, improving the bathroom or making something of the weird-bedroom-turned-storage-room but that won’t be for a while. For now we’re hoping to take a break from painting and concentrate our efforts elsewhere on the house so we can still say working on the house when someone asks what we’ve been up to.

2 thoughts on “My Painted Hands

  1. Dustin

    Wow man. I feel your pain. I despise painting. We moved into our place two years ago and I am still not done everything I want done. I did however get rid of the awful pink color that was in here. Stay strong man.

  2. Sean Post author

    It’s important to know when to draw the line, otherwise you could be painting over at the beginning once you finish. There is a nice feeling of being somewhere we painted and knowing that we accomplished something, but the pain and mess to get there is a lot to take.

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