Friday, 23 November 2012

5 Tips for Surviving The NeverEnding Story that is Painting

As Philip helped me out in writing yesterday's post, I thought I'd catch up on my four posts a week by filling in today.

In some ways this prepping and painting saga has reminded me of the movie The NeverEnding Story. It not only seemed to drag on forever and I was never sure if we'd finish, but it kind of terrified me. 

I feel like this is a memory from my childhood that has scarred me for life - as has this painting experience. The name of this character, Falkor the Love Dragon
doesn't really seem to be fitting in my mind.
I spent days and days prepping the ceiling and walls for painting, attempting to make the plaster walls as straight as drywall to no avail. It still doesn't look perfect, but we're okay with it for now. Once the light fixture is replaced (and we don't just have bare lightbulbs shining right on it creating terrible shadows) we're hoping things improve. You can read more about our experience with patching the ceiling in yesterday's post.

But things are looking up, people! Instead of just undoing what's already in place, we are now moving forward: we have colour on the walls, things are feeling a lot fresher, and after three months of living here it is beginning to feel a little more like home. And so we offer some tips for painting that you may or may not find helpful.

Tip #1: Practice, practice, practice your edging (or have a mom who's great at it already!)
Yesterday began at 8 am when my mom showed up to help me with painting. She's amazing at edging and doesn't need tape which is a huge time-saver. Katie Bower loves her some Frog Tape, and we've never tried it ourselves, but our experiences with taping haven't exactly been known for their speed or their ultimate quality. Edging is an art, and maybe one day we'll put together a how-to post where we pick my mom's brain; for now, know that if you can get good at cutting-in without tape, you're a big step ahead in the painting department.

Tip #2: Don't let good paint go to waste.
We went ahead with the plan to reuse leftover paint from the condo to both save us some money and prevent it from going to waste. Because we didn't have enough paint to do a full room in any of the colours we had on hand, we tried to choose complimentary colours and thus both rooms ended up with a two-tone look (spoiler alert).  At some point if we don't fall in love with the combinations of colours there might be some repainting going on, but for now it certainly looks okay. 

When my mom got here, we started out by sanding the air conditioning circles one more time and priming them. Since we had to wait for those to dry, we went ahead and started painting in the office. I had painted that ceiling on Wednesday with the help of a friend, and so we were ready to get going with the walls. Philip chose to use Benjamin Moore's West Coast (previously in our condo living room as a feature wall) as well as their Blue Stream (previously in our condo guest bathroom). It's interesting seeing this pair of very familiar colours in a totally new room, and right next to each other where before they were separated.

I took a few progress photos but there isn't much to see so I'm going to go ahead and skip right to the completed paint job. There are a couple of angles shown here, and next week as we put the furniture in and get the trim up over the weekend there will be a lot more completed photos to be seen!

This is the view you see when you walk into the room. Blue Stream covers the window wall and closet wall.

To the left of the Blue Stream window wall, the colour transitions to the darker West Coast.

This is the view of the closet corner, showing the transition from Blue Stream to the West Coast that covers the hallway door wall.

Next, we started work on the master bedroom. First up was the ceiling, which leads us to...

Tip #3: When painting ceilings, use a broom handle as a roller extension, but use a solid wooden broom handle.
My mom suggested attaching a broom handle to the roller so that I wouldn't have to stand on a stool and move it all the time, seemed like a great idea! I started with a plastic blue broom handle. It seemed a little bit flexible but worked pretty well... for one row across the ceiling, upon which it promptly broke, allowing the paint-soaked roller to fall from the heavens leaving my beautiful Mike Cameron Seattle Mariners t-shirt with a painted shoulder (might need to buy a new one!). 

So I tried again, this time with a metal broom handle. I got almost the whole ceiling done but then --SNAP-- it happened again! Oh boy. More paint on my head. More paint on the floor. More time spent cleaning up. So I'll go ahead and recommend you try with a wooden broom handle, or else just suck it up and do it with a step stool, as I did for the second coat. Or just tarp the floor like crazy, have backup t-shirts on hand and get the Herbal Essences variation that's good at getting latex paints out of hair ("More volume! Beautiful shine! Less house paint!").

After the ceiling was dry we painted the rest of the room, using Benjamin Moore again, in Smoke and Silver Streak. On this one, we were pretty uncertain how to proceed, so let's head straight into...

Tip #4: Decide on paint colours and don't second-guess yourself.
Based on the inspiration picture we posted two-and-a-half weeks ago, we were definitely going for a light, textured, layered, airy room with plenty of visual interest. Silver Streak is a darker shade (a "bold, saturated" colour "that brings spaces to life for those looking to illuminate their world with pure, extraordinary colour," according to Benny M!). Not exactly light and airy. So I phoned Philip at work to get his opinion. I'll let him describe what happened next, but know that this is his interpretation and it wasn't exactly like this:
Cass called me at work. She was agonizing over using Silver Streak in the bedroom. She wanted to know my opinion. I said I thought it would look okay. She said she didn't think so, could we get another can of the Smoke? I said, sure, if that will make you happy. She said no, we can't do that. We're going with the Silver Streak. I said no, go ahead, get the extra can and paint the room Smoke. But somehow--in a phone call that started with her complaining about the Silver Streak and asking if we could get more Smoke--she'd convinced herself that the Silver Streak was the way to go. Women.
Okay, he didn't add that last word, but he might as well have. And in my defense, saying that I could go get more Smoke if it made me happy wasn't exactly the same as saying "I like Smoke better than Silver Streak, please paint it that!"

Long story short, we're almost done, the first coat of Silver Streak is on the walls, but we have to do a second coat over the weekend before we put up the trim.

Silver Streak covers the Master Bedroom walls by the hallway door and the closet.

Smoke was the choice for the Master Bedroom's window wall and the wall to its left.

I cannot wait to see the white trim go up, and start putting some furniture into these rooms that have been storage rooms up until now! Which reminds me...

Tip #5: Don't tell Philip "I can't wait until the rooms are furnished."
...because he will start laughing, thinking you meant to say "finished" and had just let slip with a very weird accent. Then he will start trying that accent out himself: "Err carrn't wairt urntil the rooms arrre firnirshed..." And you will be laughing because he's really just making fun of himself... maybe you had to be there.

But yeah, the most exciting thing will be sleeping on a mattress that is not on the floor for the first time in months! It will also signify the third room we've slept in in this house in three months. Ay caramba.

You may have also noticed that we've extended the poll for over the weekend, we will write about the results on Monday after those Americans come back from their festivities and we're done a bit more around this place. 

Anyone else had a week they could barely get through? All I know is I'm lying in bed right now writing this (it's actually Thursday - woah this is a Back to the Future moment) with feet so sore I can barely walk. I am so ready to move into our new bedroom and put this project behind us. Anyone done any painting lately? Have terrible childhood memories of The NeverEnding Story? Maybe that's just me. (Philip had never seen it. He's also a little older so he's not quite as informed into what was cool when I was a kiddo.)


  1. First of all The Neverending Story is pure epicness of the best and most awesomest proportions (Don't you love my not real words?) and painting encompasses all that is terrible and horrible and bad in life.

    I had to paint my entire house in the last couple of weeks before my wedding... that was just horrible and terrible and awful and bad. Hate paint. lol

    In case you haven't noticed, I feel your pain. Except when it comes to The Neverending Story.

    1. So glad I am not alone in the viewing of this film, maybe it was a Dutch thing since Philip missed out on it? Dutch rite of passage for sure.

      I always like the idea of painting so much, painting parties with pizza and pals (the alliteration says it all!), but then 10 minutes in I'm a whiney baby just so tired already.