I just had the interior of my house professionally painted. So what was my rationale?
- I have a bit of experience painting cupboards, walls and rooms. I can do a passable job, but I don’t enjoy it. I find it difficult to keep a clean and drip-less work space, I go through paint at a rapid clip, and it takes me forever to clean brushes and rollers. Yet I can’t bring myself to use disposable products.
- I faced challenges such as covering a dark charcoal-grey wall with a much lighter colour.
- I didn’t feel confident knowing which surfaces required sealant, primer, or a glossier finish, nor how many coats would be needed.
- I barely know how to repair walls and do prep work. The amount needed was considerable.
- I work a share of evenings and weekends, so it was hard to pin down a time to do the work. I liked the idea of getting it all done at once, instead of over months of weekends.
- I thought if I could get the house ready before the painters’ arrival, they could breeze through the job efficiently.
- I trusted the professionals to prepare surfaces, to buy the right amount and kinds of products, and to clean up and dispose of everything properly.
Or maybe, as the DIYers would say, I have more money than sense 🙂
We piled up everything we owned to free up the walls:
The process started off well. I called a company from my own neighbourhood first, to offer them the work. They came over right away to provide a quote and it was a great price, so I accepted. However, they were working on other jobs and wouldn’t be able to schedule us for 3 weeks. Great – that gave us 3 weeks to pack up the house – taking everything off the walls (including about 3000 books on 10 book cases and a robot collection) and moving all the furniture to the centre of each room. We also had to empty all the closets. Needless to say there was no room for this, so everything was piled on top of the furniture, rendering it unusable. We left about 3 feet around the edge of each room for the painters to work. So far so good, but our ensuing twice-weekly phone calls to the painters had them saying, “At the end of the week,” “The beginning of next week,” and “A couple more days.” We ended up waiting another 3 weeks, almost camping in our own house. And yes, we could have painted it ourselves, but didn’t have the vacation time to do the job in proper daylight. I felt that another contractor would have put us through the same ordeal so we just waited it out.
The company sent 3 painters and they worked for 3 solid days, a total of 72 staff hours. Day 1, prep, ceilings and window/door trim; Day 2, primer and first coat, and all closets; Day 3 top coats, baseboards and stair rails. Every time I popped in they were working consistently. They were an unusually quiet and polite bunch. To my amusement, they even listened to CBC Radio comedy shows – only in Canada, eh? 🙂
I cleaned the house before the painters arrived so the surfaces wouldn’t be too dusty (wiped down baseboards and bookshelves, etc.) but the dust remaining after the job has been a real chore to clean up; not just from the paint and drop cloths and workers’ boots, but from moving everything we owned. By the time the house is put back together, it will be cleaner than move-in day!
I am thrilled with the work. It feels like a new house. It had the original builders’ paint (one coat of drab off white) and there was tons of wear-n’-tear.
So: colour! I had my heart set on a cream colour with a hint of yellow. I didn’t want an off-white with a beige or grey cast. But I didn’t want duckling yellow either! I am very happy with the colour I found, Benjamin Moore Bavarian Cream. It is paler than butter/buttercream but still definitely not white. When I bought a sample and tried it, the colour looked muted, but in real life, it is very bright and cheery. Here are some examples of how a cream colour looks in a house – NOT MY HOUSE! The shade I picked is most like the first and last photos.
The crew finished up a week ago and we have just about got the place back together, except for wall decor. The house has never had a decorated look, and still won’t, but I love the cleaned-up look. Of course, the bright walls make everything in the house look old and rumpled now! I am trying to be good and not spend big bucks, but I have already bought all kinds of utilitarian things like new switch plates, smoke detectors, basic lighting fixtures and so on for a quick refresh (the old ones were discoloured). A co-worker suggested new throw cushions; who knows, maybe all I need to freshen up the place is a new bath mat or something 😉
The weather is gloomy this week so I’m not able to take pictures with good light and colour, but I’ll try when the sun comes out.
So that’s what I’ve been doing/watching for the past 7 weeks. It’s the most strenuous house reno I’ve been involved with since all the flooring in the whole house was replaced in 2009, because of the necessity of moving everything. I’ve noticed lots of other bloggers are painting now, too: check out Lili, Gill and Juhli‘s posts, and Fiona may be next!