Thankfully, our house was in pretty good condition when we bought it. Though it was built over 45 years ago, it was not really a so-called “fixer upper.” And the inspector sang its praises after he did a lengthy walk-through. Strangely, however, the walls were in far from perfect shape. Of course they had lots of holes from all the gorgeous art hung by the previous owners (all original), and the usual dings, but the walls were also kind of streaky. See the strange vertical streaks in the corner?
Additionally, the wooden slats of the ceiling in the living room were stained and splotchy. They almost looked greasy. Besides, every nail had a dark halo around it. Not sure if you can see this in this photo?
We learned that this is probably because, when the ceiling was painted from its natural wood color, it might not have been primed, and the nails might not have been galvanized.
None of this was that a big of a deal, but since the rest of the place was so tight, these imperfections stood out. We’ve been looking at these grungy walls for two years, trying to ignore them, and finally decided to get it done: the living room, the kitchen, and the front hall.
Sure, we probably could have tackled this ourselves, especially the walls, and we had the DIY vs. Hire-it-out debate just about every day for those two years, but in the end we were intimidated by the ceiling. Though I have painted a few walls in my day, I’ve never painted a ceiling. I’ve heard that they’re a pain, literally. I imagined getting whiplash, dislocated shoulders, and permanent hand cramps. Besides, I presume these graduated wooden slats are not a job for a roller, but a good old fashioned brush.
So we decided to hire some local professionals, Europe Painting, out of New City, NY. These are the same painters who painted the exterior of our house when we first moved in and we were happy with their work. (Unlike this project, which is white-to-white, that was a major color change. A post on that transformation to come…)
Though they were going to put tarps over our big furniture, we moved all of our knick knacks, art, and miscellany into Rob’s studio. With the dining room chairs in there, doesn’t it look like some kind of weird waiting room or group therapy set-up?
We hoped the plants wouldn’t be too traumatized by the temporary relocation. Though we knew they’d get lots of light in there, and they assured us they’d be okay, their tone did sound distinctly put-out, as in, no, no we’ll be fine, sigh:
And just to prove
that we’re that Rob’s not afraid of a little paint, he re-painted the walls of this whole studio himself last year. This converted garage has an 18 foot ceiling, so the ladder he had to use put me in a perpetual panic. Fortunately, he was able to use a roller for this job, he didn’t fall off the ladder too many times, and the final result was beautiful.
We actually planned for the paint job of our main living space to be done while we were out of town two weeks ago, in Cape Cod with Rob’s parents. (Thanks for the great trip!) This was to avoid the hassle and the fumes, even though we had it done with low VOC paint. My mother served as our eyes and ears. Her reports from headquarters were very positive, so we were dying to see it when we got back.
And we. are. thrilled. They did an extremely professional job and much better than we could have done. The place looks COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: very crisp and bright. Okay okay… though we think the transformation is remarkable, it’s quite possible that no one in our lives would probably even notice. Hopefully the change is somewhat discernible in these after-shots?
Look, Ma, no streaks!:
No more blotchy stains or nail halos…just smoooooth:
Look how nicely they sealed up the spaces between the white brick of our fireplace and the wooden slats. (For more on our white brick extreme makeover, visit this recent post.) I don’t think we could have done this, wow:
And this wall, with what we call our “secret door” (no knob, no handle, you just push it in a bit to open it), used to be all kinds of scuffed up with big smudges all over it. Now it does justice to the Robert Walden pen on paper drawing we got last year. (To see more of his work, visit his website here.):
Voila: white to white. This reconfirms what I already suspected: that a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Any guilt we had about not DIYing this project has pretty much dissolved. [Well, it did dissolve, then flared up again during this week’s Plumbingate 2012]. We still have a bathroom, guest bedroom, and office to DIY, which I think we will tackle within the next few months. We might even get crazy and break away from white in the laundry room: I’m thinking Kermit green…just thinking about it makes my heart race.
Happy Home Improvement Month – have you hugged your house today?
What projects are you DIYing or hiring out this summer?