Refinishing the floors was the biggest accomplishment of this entire renovation (aside from Dan and I not killing each other). While the floors came out beautiful, it was still hard to picture the entire house coming together, as the bold and ugly paint colors were still on the walls, and three layers of paint were still chipping off of the trim. This was the last cosmetic update that needed to happen in the house, and luckily, Dan’s uncle is a professional painter.
Just for giggles, here’s a snapshot of the “eccentric” colors we were working with.
Priming the walls
First thing’s first. Getting the ugly colors off the walls and getting back to neutral. Uncle Jerry came over for a few days of priming, all suited up and ready to go. The rooms were quickly a white-out, which immediately made them feel twice the size that they were with their dark colors.
Priming the woodwork
Now that we had our blank canvas, it was time for the next step. Which was actually to prime and paint the woodwork. The upstairs woodwork had previously been sanded (see this aaaaand this) and now needed a fresh base coat to work off of. Uncle Jerry and Dan spent countless hours doing this, as our house is graced with layered, very detailed, woodwork – beautiful, but a pain in the butt to paint.
Now comes controversy.
While the second floor trim had layers and layers of paint on it, the first floor trim was still wood-stained.
The constant debate was whether to leave this original and paint just the upstairs white, or paint everything white so that it would be a seamless look throughout the house. You can only guess who was on which side of this debate. But, in the end, we went for the seamless look, all white throughout the house. It pained me to see the original wood painted (and I can hear you yelling “Noooooo!”). But I must admit, once it was completed, it looked great, and I have no regrets.
Painting the woodwork
Now that the woodwork was completely primed, it was time to add two layers of paint. This is where I step back, and let Dan’s eye for detail go to work.
Side story: Amidst all the dust (sanding floors, walls, trim, you know, all that good stuff), we hadn’t quite had the chance to clean out our vents yet. Which meant no heat, despite the change in weather fast approaching. As you can see, we had a few cold days in the house.
Painting the walls
Don’t worry. While I had no part in painting the trim, the walls were another story. But before we get into that, here’s a quick snapshot of the color scheme we were going for in the house.
And the fact that we now have roughly 18 shades of gray paint samples (working our way up to 50).
Rolling, rolling, rolling. Cutting in, rolling again. Each room worked like this:
1. I roll – let it dry
2. Dan cuts in the ceiling and the windows/door frames, I cut in the baseboard trim – let it dry.
3. Dan re-cuts while I simultaneously re-roll – done.
Easy enough right? While not exactly challenging work, it certainly was time consuming. With dry time, the process to complete a room took 2-3 days. With all the rooms we had to paint (i.e. the whole house), we were probably painting on and off for the better part of three weeks (that doesn’t include the three weeks it took to paint the trim).
Its worth noting that in the midst of all this, we had our freshly refinished floors covered in paper to protect them from paint (and drywall, and everything else we had going on). Which means that while the priming and painting was being completed, the overall look of the house was still a mystery (although, I did sneak a peek or two here and there). It wasn’t until painting was completely finished (and other projects were wrapped up) that we were able to pull back the paper and see how everything came together. As each room was uncovered, we quickly began to see our house come to life.
And that’s what we have here. Still a blank canvas, but a beautiful one. One that will be the foundation for our life, and the place that will soon be filled with family and friends. The place we’ll call home.
Before and after