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Fun with paint

It was a busy weekend.  We emptied out half the basement (to the detriment of the other half), Bob fixed our leaking pipe, we moved some more rocks to behind the garage (with some help from our friends), and I painted a wall and the mantel in the living room.

That wall has been the subject of much debate for a while.  It's a "feature wall," which is to say it is finished with tongue and groove boards that were left rough - or "fuzzy," as I've been calling it.  Here - it's easier to show you:

Please excuse the clutter.  I see I need to dust the television.

There are a few reasons that I have never painted that wall or the mantel.  Painting that wall had no exit stragegy.  If you paint a wall and don't like the outcome, you can put it back.  Once that wood was painted, there was NO going back, so I had to be sure.  In the case of the mantel, we want to replace it eventually, and I knew it was going to be a pain in the butt to paint all those bits of moulding.  I just didn't want to put the effort into something I was going to yank out eventually.  So we left it.  Over the years it went from "the wood is kind of cool," to "the wood is kind of cool, but it's awfully dark," to "the wood is sucking all the light out of this room."  So I decided to paint it.

The first thing I had to do was vacuum all the dust out of the grooves, which was another argument for paint - you shouldn't have to vacuum your *walls.*  The next step was the primer from hell - Zinsser B-I-N.  It's shellac based, and will hopefully stop all those knots you can see in the picture from bleeding through.  I've had good luck with it in the past, but the fumes are wicked bad.  Those fumes are the reason I decided to do this project last weekend - the weather was predicted to be warm and dry, which meant I could open all the window and run fans to clear out the paint smell.

The primer went on fairly well, although I had a fair bit of cleanup.  I had to use one of those deep pile rollers to get into all the nooks and crannies, and those fling a lot of paint around.  I also discovered that I couldn't get into the grooves worth a damn.  It would have taken an artist's brush, and I was NOT interested in that.  When I got everything primed, I stepped back to take a look, and was very happy with how light it was, but it became apparent immediately that the dark grooves were going to drive me INSANE.

See what I mean?

I got a coat of color on the wall and the mantel, and called it a night.  Then while sitting on the couch talking to Camma, it hit me - caulk.  I could fill all those grooves with a paintable caulk, and then not only would it look better, I would never have to vacuum the wall again.  Of course, by the time I thought of that it was too late to go get any.  But I had a plan.

Sunday morning I headed out to Home Depot, and got myself four tubes of all-purpose caulk, two fluorescent bulbs for the fixture Bob was hanging over the workbench in the basement (now that we could get to it,) and a tub of Peel-Away.  See, there was a bit of an incident with the paint tray that you can just see in the last picture.  When I picked it up (after taking said picture) I discovered that the primer had slopped all over the unsealed brick hearth - and it wasn't coming off.  The internet told me that something called Peel-Away would do the trick, and the store had it.

After spending the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon alternately loading stuff back into the basement or throwing it away, I got back to *my* project.  That wall took two full tubes of caulk to fill the gaps, and I'd forgotten what a number a caulking gun does on my hands.  After waiting the requisite two hours for the caulk to dry, I gave the wall and the mantel their second coat, cleaned up, and sat back to admire my handiwork.  It was worth all the effort.  Monday after work I moved the furnture back, and last night I put the assorted bits back on the mantel.  I'm rearranging the art a bit.

*I* think it looks much better.  The whole room is lighter, and I like my rooms to be bright.  The living room is on the north side of the house, and the trees come right up, so it doesn't get a lot of natural light to begin with.

I'm very pleased.  Now I just need to finish the patch in the stairwell so that I can put all the painting stuff away and get it out of the middle of my kitchen.

I should dig out the ultimate "before" picture of the living room.  Just for giggles.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
Coulda been worse
You could've painted the leaking pipe, moved the mantle to behind the garage, fixed Bob, and emptied out half the rocks.

No, I'm not on any new meds starting today. Why do you ask?
Oct. 13th, 2011 12:02 am (UTC)
Re: Coulda been worse
Oct. 12th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
What a great idea to caulk the grooves! Brilliant! And it looks very nice.

Oct. 13th, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
Why thank you! I have to admit that I'm feeling very pleased with myself. It's brighter, and the room looks bigger.

The caulk worked like a charm - and because it's flexible, things can shift with the temperature/humidity changes and still be okay.
Oct. 13th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
You smart woman!

How much help was Herself?
Oct. 13th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
Enough to make her happy, but not enough to drive me crazy.

"You painting mommy?"

Given that she's growing up in a perpetual project zone and amongst our friends, I have no worries that she's going to want to just sit and wait for her prince to come. Likely, she'll drag him home with an ear tag...
Oct. 12th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
FWIW that "colonial" look with rough unfinished wood is absolutely not what any respectable colonial person would want in their home. They finished their walls to the maximum extent that they could afford, whitewashed (at least) or painted them, and based on the extant door in the Job Lane house, used paint-sponging techniques that look very 1970s to add bright splashes of color, like brilliant yellow. So screw that dark fuzzy wood thing...
Oct. 13th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
Yea. That dark fuzzy wood thing is for peasants, along with the boring brown homespun itchy scratchy ill-fitting clothing. :D
Oct. 13th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
Of course they did. And when the ceiling got to look like ours did when we closed, with the faux finish to make it look like old, dirty plaster, it was time for a new coat of whitewash.

But I'm grateful for the woodstove and the crane in the dining room fireplace.

I'm going to skip the brilliant yellow sponge painting, though...
Oct. 16th, 2011 11:05 pm (UTC)
Apparently even those who couldn't really afford to paint their home at least painted the side(s) facing the road.

(Sidetrack alert! This is my mantra whenever I notice the neighbor's garage gets to me...with three sides stained brown but the side facing me primed gray. Yes, primed. Former owner started at the back, did 1/3 the side, didn't finish, and then got a job out of state and put the house on the market. For some darned reason he gave ME the mostly full can of gray primer. So as soon as he moved out I finished the one side. Better than halfsies.)
Oct. 12th, 2011 11:32 pm (UTC)
Looks great! I am so impressed by your industry!
Oct. 13th, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
Well, I need to either be industrious or win the lottery. I suppose I could live with the ugly, but I'd rather not. :-)
Oct. 16th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
That's absolutely lovely!

Can I hire you out to help plan my house? ;)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )