Monday, December 8, 2014

When Cat Away, Mouse Paints

DIY Interior Painting | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
DIY painting saves money!
Hopefully enough to hire a
professional for the next room.
When we bought our house, every wall was painted the drab sandy neutral color for which I am convinced real estate agents get a kickback. If the walls are neutral, they all say, prospective buyers can visualize themselves living there.

Well, I guess it worked. We envisioned lots for our new home. Only, before moving in, we only had time to paint two rooms. The kitchen was painted terra cotta, because that is the color that inspires my ability to cook. My office was painted golden wheat on top of, and cabernet sauvignon below, the chair rail. We moved in and the painting stopped.

The office is now the man-cave/bare. I currently work out of a smaller room with four drab sandy neutral walls.

My youngest son painted his bedroom. Then he moved into a different bedroom when his brother left for college. He painted that one too. He had leftover paint, so he painted the hallway between the main house and Grams' mother-in-law suite. We discovered he had a knack for painting, so one summer, I paid him to paint our dining room. Then the painting stopped again. 

Until about eight months ago, that is, when I got it into my head that our master bedroom was in grave need of a makeover. Our budget was skimpy, so we began searching for a color that would match our curtains and bedspread, thereby bringing the room together in a cozy, warm manner. After several swatches were taped to the walls for a week or so, we moved to purchasing paint samples. Three samples in, I finally found something I thought would work, so I slapped three patches of the sample paint on various walls. I wanted to see how natural and artificial light would affect the color from various perspectives. 

Hubby and I fell in love with the patches of paint around our room. A month later, we bought one gallon of that color and some painting supplies. A month after that, I painted around the door of our bedroom and replaced the light switch. Progress. It was wonderful. Then the painting stopped, yet again.

Life got in the way. When we--and by we, I mean Hubby--finally did get another section of the room taped and ready to paint, the blue strips of tape remained in place for two months. Then Hubby left on a four-day trip to visit his brother. That's when I lost my mind and decided to get it all done once and for all. A few hours after he left, I began painting. I wanted to surprise him. When he returned, the room would be done. 

Left to my own devices, I learned a lot about painting a room. I learned that I hate corners, especially if they are near the ceiling. Hell is most likely a giant room of ceiling corners that have to be painted over and over without getting a smudge on the ceiling. Here are a few more takeaways:
Ceiling Corners | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Hell hath no fury like painting the
corner near the ceiling.

1. Use a damp cloth to clean drips off the white trim work; NOT a damp paper towel, which will just smear the drips and make a bigger mess, even if it is a name brand that quickly pickers-up spills.

2. Big jobs, such as painting a room or installing storm doors, are best done when one's spouse is out of town for the weekend. This eliminates arguments centered around how it "should be done" as well as makes the process go more smoothly and efficiently. Plus, if the absent spouse is unawares, the surprise factor is an exciting bonus.

3. Do NOT step in globs of dripped paint. And even if you go out of your way to avoid them, CHECK YOUR SHOES before leaving the drop-cloth-protected area.

4. A damp cloth (again, NOT a paper towel) with just a touch of mineral spirits will clean up paint tracks across the kitchen tile, if the mess is cleaned up immediately upon noticing it.

5. Heavy duty black garbage bags work well as drop cloths. 

6. Remove the blue painter's tape a few hours after applying the paint. Otherwise, you risk pulling off some of the new paint with the tape.

7. Find somewhere else to sleep if you are painting your bedroom. The fumes can cause a bugger of a headache, especially when your mom wakes you up upon returning from a night out with her friends at 1 a.m. to remind you to do something you forgot to do because you were painting all day.

8. Clean the paintbrushes really well every day; then even more thoroughly after the job is done. It took a 24-hour mineral spirit soak to clean out the last brush my son used when he painted our dining room. 
Redecorated Room | Navigating Hectivity by Micki Bare
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
I especially like the beautiful
Cori Cagle original over the bed.

9. Once you are done with the room that you insisted on painting yourself to save money, be proud of your accomplishment. Then, save up to hire a professional for the rest of the house.

Micki Bare, mother of three, wife, daughter & writer is the author of Thurston T. Turtle children's books. 
Email: mickibare (at)
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Copyright 2014 Michele Bare 

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