Friday, January 31, 2014

Lessons learned

So I've learned some lessons along the way (other than the obvious "double any timeline you envision for a project" that we've learned so far). Allow me to share them with you, so you can learn from my mistakes!

I learned some lessons the hard way in the course of the updating I showed in the last post. First lesson: priming.

I suppose I would have learned this lesson when I painted my mom's childhood bedroom set, and learned about the importance of primer when I had to strip off the paint, prime and re-paint. But that was a few years ago, and how quickly one forgets! So when it came to painting the various types of paneling we had going on, I didn't really do my research, but thought I was doing good by buying some "bonding primer". You know, so it'll bond to everything, and the paint will bond to it. Makes sense, right? So I began...

One coat in, I realized that the knots in the wood paneling were seeping through the primer. So I re-coated 2 more times in a test spot (photo below), and the knots were STILL seeping through. Bummer.

So my cost saving measures were all for naught, and off to Lowe's I went to pick up the $40 gallon of BIN primer. Well this did the trick, but being the most expensive gallon of anything I have ever purchased I didn't want to use it to coat all the walls, so I reserved it for my trouble areas, and still used the whole gallon when all was said and done! Check out this beauty below, you could tell where there were things that had been hanging on the walls and the tobacco smoke didn't discolor the walls behind them. Even after a few months we still had yellow goo seeping out of the door trim in the bathroom after hot showers. Gross.

After 2-3 coats of primer the rooms were looking so bright & fresh!

Oh, and have I ever shown you our popcorn ceiling, complete with sparkle finish?? As fun as that was, she had to get primed & painted as well. Sorry, sparkles!

These took 2-3 coats of primer also, which became difficult when you're painting white over white, I was never sure what I had covered and what I hadn't. The glitter was also not so well "adhered" to the ceiling, so after hours of rolling paint overhead I was covered in glitter and paint-covered-glitter for quite some time.

For the ceilings, I went with the Valspar interior flat ceiling paint that goes on purple and dries white. I thought this would make it easier to see where I had already painted, which it did. But it also dried fairly quickly, so if I wasn't mindful of where I had painted already I still got lost. I think I did at least 2 coats of this in all rooms (2 upstairs rooms & the bathroom).

At the top of the stairs where I removed the shelves, we had some gaps leftover at the base and corners. So I added some base from scraps we had removed elsewhere in the house, and you can see in the center all the gaps that remained. So I added some some corner trim to cover the gap between the wallpapered paneling and the side walls, and caulked the nail holes and trim gaps. I also had to do this in all the rooms I painted (amazing how painting some walls white makes gaps all that much more noticeable).

I think I went through at least a dozen tubes of caulking in the process. And having never caulked anything before, I wasted a lot as well. And may have gotten some on my pants...

However, once all that priming and caulking was done, I got to do the fun part and finally put some color on the walls! Surprise, surprise, I made some mistakes in this process as well!

I had already selected the paint colors for the small bedroom and the bathroom, but I still needed a color for the cabinets in the bathroom as well as the walls in the "living room". I had used Sherwin Williams Taupe Tone in my last house (and loved it) but I thought I should try something new this time around. So I chose two different taupy colors, and bought a gallon of each (I'm still learning how much paint is required for various projects, in retrospect I could have bought less paint for some of these projects. Live and learn, right?). I got one coat of each on their respective surfaces, and they looked... off. I kept detecting green undertones in both, which were really evident in the bathroom against the pale aqua walls. I immediately assume this is an error on the part of the Lowe's employee who mixed my paint, but I go grab my paint chips to compare anyway. Lo and behold, perfect match!

What went wrong? Well, being that I don't always have an abundance of light in which to work and choose paint samples, I had laid out my paint chips in the light from the window downstairs when making my selections. So any green undertones were washed out by the sunlight.

Not sure if the slight green tones are apparent on the two right paint colors, but they were very apparent on my walls. I felt SO stupid. I went to school for this! For seven years! I should know better than to make such a rookie mistake. Out the paint chips came again, and this time I decided to just stick with my tried and true Taupe Tone, and use the same for the living room walls as well as the bathroom cabinets.

You can see here how much green was in the original paint, as opposed to the Taupe Tone which I was applying over top. Muuuuuch better.

In case anyone is wondering how we go about picking a paint color, allow me to elaborate. Typically I get an idea in my head of what general color I'm leaning toward. Once that happens I pull out my paint chips. That's right, all of them.

I then proceed to pull out EVERY chip in the color I'm interested in, like so:

In this particular instance I was picking exterior door colors. With all similar colors laid out together it's easy to quickly weed though to a few strong contenders, because it becomes apparent which ones are too green, too blue, too yellow, too pale, etc.  Then you just pick your favorite from the leftovers. However, I'm still learning that finess for picking the right color the first time (thankfully John and Sherry from YHL have some helpful suggestions that I plan to heed in the future).

For instance, the color they painted their front door is Benjamin Moore' Blue Lake, an ever-so-slightly-grayer shade of the color I chose, Valspar's Sea Exposure. Granted, I have never seen their door in person, but it looks so lovely and peaceful on their blog, and while I love my colorful doors, I do occasionally wish they were just a wee bit less bold.

Forgive the iPhone photo, but see the difference? So subtle...

I'm certainly not going to go out and buy a whole new gallon of paint and re-paint all my doors, so our doors just have a little more punch to them. (again, forgive the iPhone photo)

Come spring I plan to paint the garage door and shutters black to spruce up the curb appeal even more. We keep getting compliments on how nice the house looks from people who drive by, but we really haven't touched the exterior at all. Once I do some updates I'll at least feel deserving of the compliments!

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