Paint: Main Floor

With the upper floor painting complete (or nearly, we still have doors and base & case to paint), we move on to the main floor.

Paint Prep

If you recall from Base & Case Main Floor, we removed the chair rail from the former-dining-room-now-playroom.  One, because the chair rail was installed poorly which made the whole house look bad.  Two, as a playroom, chair rail was a little formal.

When J tackled this room, the chair rail took with it a good portion of paint and drywall.  It was suggested that we bite the bullet and simply re-install chair rail rather than deal with all the patching which most likely would end up showing through the fresh paint anyway.  We looked at a few pics on Pinterest and decided a chair rail the same color as the wall would be one way to dress-down a chair rail.  However, in the end, J wanted to at least attempt a repair.  So here we are:


I took a putty knife to the peeling areas and scrapped off all that was willing to go.  Some areas ended up looking a lot worse but mostly it was just the edges that grew a bit.  A thorough sanding to get off any stubborn remains and then cover in spackle.  After drying there was more sanding, more spackling, and a final sanding.  Currently, it feels quite smooth.  I don’t think, upon feeling, that you could tell there was chair rail or a giant patch.  We’ll have to see if visually it shows through the paint.  However, I am hopeful.  So far I have been quite pleased — and surprised — by how well Behr paint covers.

Moving right along.  The front rooms had this dramatic texture.  It was clearly some sort of spray on texture that was globby and a bit overdone in my opinion.  I’m all for an interesting/textured wall but this was a bit much.  S had the idea to take a power sander to it and that turned out quite successful.  She was able to bust out about 30% one morning and J finished the rest during the week.

And ta da!  A wonderfully spotted wall.


And a glorious close up.  It is smooth to the touch but neither J and I would be disappointed if some texture shows through the final paint.  A little interest on a plain, flat wall is welcome.


The last room to prep on the main floor was the half bath.  Return in your mind to the days of the green wallpaper and the monstrosity that remained after I attempted to remove it: Bye Bye, Wallpaper.

Again, it was suggested to us that we consider installing beadboard on all the walls to hide the torn drywall rather than attempt to cover.  S was going to take a stab at repairing it but thought the effort wouldn’t be worth the payout (time consuming and would still show through paint).  Similar to the chair rail, J and I took to Pinterest to get some inspiration for beadboard bathrooms.  We decided a dark beadboard up to the window paired with a white upper wall would look nice.  But again, like the chair rail, J and I wanted to at least attempt the patches.

So here we are, after the first round of scrapping-sanding-spackling:


We did run into one problem.  We originally used joint repair instead of spackle and it was too moist, causing the paper in the dry wall to get damp and bubble.  So we ended that and switched to spackle which seems to work just as well as it did on the chair rail.  Again, we will see how well Behr paint covers.  I still like the idea of half-wall beadboard to add interest to the small room and to tie it in with the kitchen which will have a beadboard peninsula.  So we will see where the half-bath journey takes us …


Last but not least, we painted the ceilings!  The final ceilings to be painted (for Phase I, the basement ceiling definitely needs help).  Nothing much to say here.  Two coats of Ultra Pure White flat ceiling paint and ta da!  Ten times better than where we started.


The end.  Stay tuned for the rest of the progress made this week and weekend.

Paint Transformation, part 2

This weekend was about more painting.  And lots of family help again:  me, J, J’s mom S, my parents M and J, and of course Miss L’s adorable “help”.  And this means the upstairs is done – well, mostly done; the bath vanity doors still need some finishing touches.  Like painting the backs and touching up the fronts.  Without further ado, here are the before and after pics that everyone loves (or maybe it’s just me that loves them).

Kids’ Bath


Dark blue walls were switched out for light blue.  Brown, scratched-up vanity was repainted a nice berry gloss.  It might seem strange, but trust me, the color combo is going to look great for a kids’ bath.

Here’s a shot of the wonderfully blue walls.  And the paint covered in only two coats.  No joke.  Best ever considering how dark the original blue was. (P.S. Zoom in on those corners, I’ll wait, go ahead and check out that excellent cutting in.)

Beach Foam (Behr)

Here’s a close-up of a vanity door.

Sugar Beet (Behr)

Overall, I am much happier with the colors as they turned out than they appeared on the paint chips.  I hesitated that the blue was too blue not white enough and that the berry was too red not purple enough.  But I think they really turned out just as I had envisioned.

Oh, also (I’m getting bad at keeping up with all the weekday work – so sorry!) the floors were removed.  Yay!  But some water damage was found.  Not yay.  Hopefully, it’s easy to replace.  At first I didn’t want to replace the kids’ bath flooring since it wasn’t in terrible shape but I’m glad we tore it up or else we wouldn’t have seen the condition of the subfloor.



Master Bath

The master was already partially painted.  Since the vanity/closet area is open to the bedroom we continued that Heather Sachet color into that area and decided to go with a white-ish for the water closet.  White because 1) it’s a smaller room and 2) the free tile from the garage is tinted blue and we couldn’t think of a light, airy color that would go well with the dark grey-purple walls in the vanity and the blue-tinted tiles.  So blue-tinted white it was.

It is really hard to see in the picture but if you look closely you can see the line where the blue-white wall ends and the pure white ceiling begins.

Maui Mist (Behr)

Since the vanity/closet area is a bit narrow and again the darkness of the grey-purple, we went with a pure white vanity.  Doesn’t look half-bad does it? (Not really the best before & after, sorry about that!)

Ultra Pure White (Behr)


The last area to be painted upstairs was the hallway.  I wanted a bright white entryway, a fresh and open area to greet people.  Since the entryway flows right into the upper hallway it’s easiest if they are the same color.  We didn’t want pure white walls so J picked a blue-tinted white.  Blue is my favorite color but I’m starting to think J favors it as well (his idea for grey-blue kitchen cabinets with blue walls, blue-tint in the master bath, blue-tint hallway …).  The picture doesn’t do it justice, it’s really a nice bright white in direct light and then a soothing, subtle blue in shadows.

Frost (Behr)

Don’t worry about the crown (I know you were worried about it).  It will get a fresh paint of Ultra Pure White gloss.  Unsure if we’ll do semi-gloss or high-gloss … Add your suggestion in the comments!

The final project of the weekend was to begin prep on the main floor.  Patch nail holes, smooth the wall where there once was chair rail, and address that torn-to-bits half-bath.  If everything stays on schedule, we’ll be able to paint the main floor this coming weekend and with that, only the kitchen cabinets and trim will remain to be painted.

Sanding … again

Just when we thought all the sanding was done.  Nope.  It will never be done.  We still had the bath vanities to prep for new paint.  J, knowing how much I hate sanding, took this project on himself.  Luckily the brown paint on the vanities was not nearly as goopy and glopy and terrible as the black kitchen cabinets.  So there was no stripping involved and a relatively quick power sand of the doors, drawer fronts, and boxes.  We’re planning on painting the kids’ bath a berry red which will pop and add a playful element to the room.  The master bath will be white to lighten the small area and off-set the dark walls.  So all in all, an improvement over brown.  And now for our favorite:  before & after pics (before & during?).

Lovely brown vanity
No-longer-brown vanity fronts

Unfortunately, the sanding is not quite done.  We still have to go over everything with 320 to make it really smooth and ready for paint.  But that should be quick and mostly painless.  After that, all the interior power sanding will be done.  Still need to prep the walls and ceilings for paint.  As for exterior: some of the trim needs sanding as prep to painting/staining to keep the wood from rotting.  Ugh.  As I said above, the sanding never ends.

Paint Transformation

This weekend was all about the paint.


Saturday began with a morning run to Home Depot for 5 gallons of ceiling paint (Ultra Pure White flat), 7 gallons of bedroom paints, and painting supplies.  My sister and I got a head start, completing one coat on the ceiling and in the closet of miss L’s room.  Break for lunch which J and his mom brought over at just the right time.  Then we busted it out in teams of two: J and his mom, me and my sister.  Little L had a great time hanging out in the master bedroom watching everyone paint.  She was much happier roaming free rather than in her playpen.

The difference that a little white paint can do!  Fresh, white closets look amazing.  The closets were probably the biggest pain to paint – all those corners and crawling up to get the top shelf.  But totally worth it.  Seriously, I recommend it to all of you: paint your closets.

I think the biggest transformation on Saturday was the kids’ bath ceiling.  Here’s a “during” picture.  You can really see the grey, half-painted ceiling as compared to the fresh, bright white ceiling.

Kids’ Bath Ceiling

All in all, we painted little L’s ceiling and closet, the second bedroom ceiling and closet, the kids’ bath ceiling and linen closet, the master bedroom ceiling and closet, the master bath ceiling, and the hallway ceiling.  And there was only one extra run to Home Depot for another 5 gallons of ceiling paint.  It was a very long day and no one died from the paint fumes so that’s good.


Sunday morning everyone slept-in.  For J and I that meant 7:30am because miss L doesn’t really sleep-in.  J’s mom met us at the house a couple hours later and we started in on painting the walls.  Judgement day.  Hopefully we chose (paint colors) wisely.  Cutting in brings out the perfectionist in me.  But at some point you have to admit it’s “good enough” because the walls and ceiling are not perfectly straight.  As long as it looks good from the floor, it doesn’t need to look good up on a ladder 3 inches from the wall.

J, his mom, and I were able to get a first coat on L’s room and the second bedroom before lunch.  Another run to Home Depot for more rollers as we decided to have dedicated rollers for each room/paint color so we didn’t have to wash rollers between each room.  Just slid them into gallon-sized ziplock bags to keep them from drying out and move on to the next room/color.  During lunch my sister arrived to help.  The Dream Team was reunited for another day!

Again teams of two and we busted out the master bed first and second coats, the second coats on L’s room and the second bedroom.  Miss L wasn’t allowed to roam completely free today since she was tempted to touch the freshly-painted walls.  So when she was awake someone was on duty to watch her.  I have to admit, I failed when it was my turn.  L and I were watching the neighbor’s guests come and go from the master window when J pointed out that L had leaned against the wall to press her face against the window.  Oops!  I leaned forward at that moment too and left a little hand print but poor L pushed her whole toddler tummy against the wall.  So she now has an official paint shirt like us adults.  L’s first paint shirt!

The verdict.  I absolutely LOVE the master bedroom paint color.  It turned out perfect:  warm, colorful, darker, and not too feminine.  Little L’s room may be too much color.  I’m thinking with all the finishes, furniture, and decor it won’t seem so in-your-face-BAM-purple.  The second bedroom is my second favorite after the master. It’s brightened up the room and it a great mix of color pop but not too intense.

The Grand Reveal

L’s Room, in-your-face-BAM-purple aka Evening Slipper (Behr)
Before & After


Second Bedroom, Wintergreen Dream (Behr)
Before & After
The two bright Bedrooms as seen from the Hallway
Master, Heather Sachet (Behr)
Before & After

Overall, it was a very productive weekend.  And it’s true what they say:  fresh paint does wonders!  It’s starting to feel like our home now, with the colors and touches that we want.

All that remains for the upper floor:  paint bathrooms, tile bathroom floors, base & case, carpet.  The List is getting smaller, step-by-step.

Paint Prep, cont.

With paint colors selected, we’ve begun prepping the upstairs for paint. J has been hard at work sanding and patching all the walls and ceilings. The textured celings look much improved with just a slight sanding. They look less dirty – J says the “dirt” was really shadows from extra texture and with it all softened the shadows aren’t so dark. Little L’s room had quite a few pinholes to spackle – I’m assuming a love of posters might be at play here.

After a long day, a dust-covered J finished up the bedrooms and now we are set to paint. Bath vanities still need power sanding so we’ll probably hold of on actually painting until afterward so our freshly painted walls don’t get covered in vanity dust.

Paint Samples

Saturday was an errand day. We did get a little work done on the house (yard work and wired the sprinkler control box) but mostly we looked at paint and tile.

We spent a fair amount of time at Sherwin Williams looking at colors and types of paint. Even with 40% off it was still more expensive than we’ve seen elsewhere. It’s probably true that you get what you pay for but right now we’re trying to do this reno on a budget so we’ll go with bargain paint and update later as needed.

Here’s the color scheme we picked for the main floor.

Entryways, kitchen cabinets, kitchen walls, dining room, living room & playroom with accent wall in playroom.

I think they all look good together and are the light, slightly neutral colors we had envisioned. I’m concerned it might be too much green but J thinks it’ll be good so I’ll trust him. He did pick the house when I was hesitant, the entryway tile when I was hesitant, taking down the walls when I was hesitant. So he has a good track record. 🙂

We also pondered colors for the kids bath and selected this. Very light blue walls with a bright, playful vanity since it is for the kids. I’m not sold on this shade of berry red but this is generally the vision.

I’m excited to see everything start to come back together!

Revamped Storage

I know storage rooms are not very exciting or “blog-worthy” but that’s what we are talking about today.  The house has an over-sized storage room in the basement.  It’s about the size of a small bedroom but without a window it can’t technically (or safely) be a bedroom.  The previous owners had it set-up to be a storage room and we’re planning on keeping it as such as well.  For now.

Originally the whole house was getting a repaint.  Then we actually set the budget and listed out everything and decided the basement was in good enough condition that it could wait until later.  The storage at least needed some new shelves, though.  The existing wood shelves were only about 6″ deep, which isn’t really that great for storage.  Do you have storage boxes or totes that are only 6″ deep?  Doubtful.  The walls are also dirty and gross with I’m-not-sure-what so I definitely want it cleaned.

Saturday morning was spent taking down all the shelves and brackets.  It was tedious work made more tedious by the number of different screws used.  And spider-y.  Unfortunately, once all the shelves were gone I couldn’t get the walls cleaned.  Looks like we’ll be painting a storage room.  Seems kinda like a waste but it also seems worth it to start fresh before all the spiders move back in.  I’m thinking we just pick up a couple cans of returned/rejected paint in a white or off-white color.  Anyone know of a good place to get discounted, reject paint?

Sans Shelves:



Paints (plus a bonus entryway update)

With little L spending the day with auntie, J and I got to tackle a variety of jobs around the house.  We also spend a fair amount of time in Home Depot, which is unsurprisingly easier without a restless toddler around.

Floors, Paint Prep

As first time DIYers we are bound to forget some things.  First item on that list: we forgot to protect the floors we are not replacing.  After noticing a few scratches and a nice little chip, I made a point of protecting the flooring before any further work.  It’s fairly affordable — $10 for tape and $20 for paper — and really easy.  I was a bit sloppy with it but it still gets the job done.  Bonus:  we’ll need to cover the floors anyway to paint.



While we’re not quite ready to begin painting, I petitioned J to pick out bedroom paints today.  1) It’s a nice change of pace to improve the place instead of destroy stuff and 2) one less thing off my mind.  Since you never quite know what paint will actually look like on the walls, we bought a couple samples for each room.  J and I have our favorites, but please, comment with your favorite!

Oddly enough, the original colors of the kids rooms are what I had in mind anyway just a bit brighter and bolder.

Miss L’s Room

Left:  Evening Slipper     Right: Cyber Grape

2nd Bedroom

Left: Undine     Right: Wintergreen Dream

Master Bed

Heather Sachet

Shutter Makeover

From the beginning, I was not a fan of the black shutters against the white/cream siding.  It seemed harsh and ugly.  We removed the shutters last week to see if we should get rid of them altogether or just switch up the colors.  Without the shutters, the house looked a bit blah so we’ve decided to keep but update the color.  J and I are both a fan of the new blue siding trend for exteriors.  We are not going to replace the siding, so we thought we’d try blue shutters.  I painted a couple today and it’s going to look great!  The blue adds a good amount of color and it really pops with the orange-brown rock (which I actually do like; odd, I know, since most people are moving away from that lovely ’70s rock).


Obviously the shutter is not staying there, but I still have a little paint to touch-up and the other four to go.  But I’m excited to get them on the house to see the transformation!

Bonus Update: Opening the Entryway

J and I couldn’t agree on just how far to open-up the entryway.  After taking each wall back one stud I suggested we sleep on it before making a decision/trying to compromise.  After talking it over with family, we thought it worth it to remove the drywall to the furthest extreme we would go and just take a look.  Turns out, it looks pretty damn good!  So here’s a couple “during pictures”.  Check out the original entryway post to see the “before” entryway — closet and all.  It feels wide open and so much bigger.  The whole house has kind of opened up.


That’s all for Saturday.  Adieu until Sunday 🙂


Kitchen and Vents: Saturday Edition

Saturday was a productive day for this little family.  During the home inspection, we discovered a roof turtle vent that was cracked and duct taped back together.  We thought it best to replace the vent entirely.  Well, during the week, J was up on the roof removing some old Christmas lights and discovered the turtle vent had sustained a great deal more damage.  Essentially, rain and various animals had direct access to the attic.  So that was project #1 for Saturday: replace the turtle vent.

We went back and forth all week debating what project to tackle for the weekend (prep bedrooms for paint, rip out carpet, take out the entryway closet, etc.) and decided to attack the kitchen.  The cabinets are a glossy black which does not work for that kitchen.  It’s a smaller space so it could really benefit from lighter colored cabinets.  The black gloss looks really thick and goopy so we decided to strip the cabinets before sanding and repainting.  That was project #2: remove cabinet doors and drawer fronts, get started on stripping.

Turtle Vent

Before: the broken turtle vent


You’re doing a great job, turtle vent! *sarcasm*  Luckily, it’s quite simple to replace a turtle vent – and rather cheap too.  We spent about $13 on the vent itself and found some tape left in the garage (thanks, Sellers!).

After: new turtle vent


Brand, spanking new!  And the fresh tape has a nice sparkle to it. 🙂  No more rain or critters in the attic (let’s just hope no one moved in before we noticed it was destroyed …)

Kitchen Rehab, part 1

We completely recognize that resurfacing the cabinets will be a big task.  And we were in no way looking forward to doing that work but decided we might as well just jump in. (I had intentionally started with removing baseboards upstairs as a way to get our feet wet. Me especially since I’ve no experience in home improvements.)  Neither of us have experience stripping paint so we weren’t really sure what to buy.  Ended up getting some mid-grade gel stripper at Home Depot.  $20 for one gallon. Klean-Strip Strip-X

Here’s one final look at the black kitchen. So long black cabinets!


Removing the hardware was easy-peasy.  We numbered all the fronts, the cabinets, and the baggies of hardware.  Note: sharpie pens are in no way the same as sharpies.  We ended up switching to a ball-point pen as the sharpie pen and painters tape didn’t play well (e.g. numbers were smudging).  We could tell that some of the hardware was removed before the fronts were painted black, others were not.  I guess whomever did the painting got sick of removing the hinges?  Also, as we moved from top doors to bottoms the edges were no longer painted.  Again, seems whomever did the painting got tired of painting areas no one would see. J insists on “doing it right” so we removed all hardware and will be painting all edges and surfaces.

We’re also going to paint the pantry doors to match.  Currently, they are the original light wood but we want to tie them into the kitchen even though they’re over by the half-bath and soon-to-be mudroom.

We made quick work of it.  Getting little L to take a nap in her new bedroom and listened to some Radio West podcasts.  Also took the time to remove old baby-locks and replaced some broken and missing shelf brackets.

Bye-bye cabinet doors!


The actual work of stripping the paint was no bueno.  Since neither of us had experience, we put the first layer on a little light.  And by we, it was really just me.  We had only one paint brush so J watched L while I got to work.  The fumes weren’t really that strong and it was easy enough to paint on.


We found some old boards and PVC pipes left in the garage and used those to prop up the fronts so they weren’t resting right on the garage floor.  (P.S. It’s so nice to have a garage to do these projects!)

We removed the shutters while we waited for the stripper to work it’s magic.  With the shutters gone the house is a little boring so we’ve decided to paint them and put back up.  Sorry, no pictures of the house sans shutters at this time.  But I’m sure they’ll be a full before & after post once we re-install them.

The first layer of stripper worked but not as well as either of us expected.  Probably due to how thin I applied it.  We scraped and scraped.  The paint and varnish came off in gloopy glops that looked like tar.  I began applying stripper at 2pm and we ended scraping at 4pm.  Ugh!  We were both covered in black paint and had some burning sensations from the stripper.  No time to dwell though, a second application was definitely needed.  J started the second application right at 4pm while L and I enjoyed a snack (again, only the 1 paint brush).

The second application went on much thicker and you could see it getting to work.  We waited only 25 minutes to start scraping off and it went so much better!  Now we know:  apply generously.

A new neighbor stopped by to introduce himself while we worked!  That’s two we’ve met now.  Seems like a great neighborhood. 🙂

The second time round not only worked better but went faster.  Here is the finished product at 5pm.


Look at the gorgeous wood!  And you can really see the details of the fronts now.  They’ll need a little sanding and some touching up but soon they’ll be ready to prim and paint a lighter color. (We’ve decided against keeping as wood because that would take even more work and we like the look of painted cabinets anyway.)

Unfortunately, this round was only the front side of the upper cabinets.  We still have to flip them over to strip the backs.  Then front and back of the lower cabinets.  Then the actual cabinets themselves in the kitchen.  Bleh.  It’s a long list but we’ll get there!  And we know what we’re doing now so hopefully it goes quicker 🙂