I'm Living In A Construction Zone

See the contrast between the tan and the white? We got a whole new look!

See the contrast between the tan and the white? We got a whole new look!

We’re in the middle of a construction zone over here. Let me clarify. We’re not building anything. We’re painting, but it feels like a total construction zone because we decided to paint the entire interior of our home.

This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. You see, we have this gorgeous woodwork. It’s a rich brown color and, as beautiful (and popular) as white woodwork is, I hated to paint it.

First of all because painting woodwork is a labor-intensive process and this wood is EVERYWHERE. And second, because I feared that as soon as I chose to paint all the woodwork white, natural wood trim would come back into style making me regret my decision. So, for the past six years since we moved into our home, we did nothing.

But, the trim just kind of blended into the room. Our walls were painted a tan color and combined with the brown woodwork, it all looked blah. Kind of dark and definitely forgettable.

And when we moved in, the house had just been freshly painted to sell. But they painted it in a builder-grade flat paint that I was never really crazy about. It showed every finger print and scuff and would rub off as soon as you tried to scrub it clean. Which was a problem, because the painters didn’t leave any of the remaining paint so whenever we had a ding or scrape or some sort of dry wall damage (that only happens ever 3.5 weeks with children), we had no way to repair or touch up the paint.

And after six years of this situation, our walls more than needed it.

In researching what color to paint to highlight our woodwork, I would see photos of homes with white walls and be drawn in. The natural light would reflect off the walls making everything look clean, bright and cheery. But, could I paint our entire house white?

I set off to the paint store to find out. Turns out, there are about ELEVENTY THOUSAND different colors of white paint. You have your gray-whites, pink-whites, yellow-whites, and blue-whites. For the love! And they all have unique names like Polar Bear, Marshmallow, and Chalk.

So, I brought home a ton of little sample cards and taped them on my walls to figure out which ones might work in our space. Quickly, I ruled out many of them for being too brown/pink/yellow/gray.

And then it came down to subtle differences. I would compare them in different lighting, in different spaces at different times of day. I would hold two cards up to Michael and say, “Which of these looks more ‘white’ to you?” Brilliant, right?

He usually just looked at me blankly.

Finally we chose a color and a painter (shout out to Tony Ekman Painting!) who just happens to be a new Straight From The Heart(land) listener! We talked podcasts a lot since he has nine hours of listening time daily to fill and is also a fan of true crime. His crew was great to work with which is huge because these folks are in your space from 8 am to 5 pm each day for a couple of weeks, which would be totally annoying if they got on your nerves or if you didn’t feel comfortable with them around for whatever reason.

Tony and his crew started the project with gusto, but as you can imagine with most major home projects, there are always snags that come along.

Snag #1

Turns out that Ultra Bright White (the paint color we chose) has nearly ZERO actually color in the paint. And if you don’t have much color, you don’t have much coverage. The first day they applied a couple of coats only to realize they could probably apply six coats (or more) of a paint and still not have great covering on the walls.

Back to square one: What if we added a little more color to the paint and started with a couple of coats of primer? Bingo! Two coats of primer + two coats of paint was the perfect combination.

But, that also meant four applications in every room of the house. Great.

Snag #2

Turn out when you paint your walls bright white, your once white ceilings don’t look so bright white anymore. In fact, they take on more of a latte look. And painting ceilings isn’t cheap we found out. We debated what to do. Leave them how they were only to potentially regret the decision mere weeks after the crew left? Or bite the bullet now while we had the crew, equipment and materials in place.

We bit the bullet.

Snag #3

Who knew we were going to have a polar vortex? And when you have a polar vortex, your kids don’t have school. In fact, in the seven days of the project so far, our kids have been here for two of those days. This means furniture is all moved to the center of the room, devices are unavailable and walls are wet with paint, none of this child-friendly…..nor work-friendly for the crew trying to do their jobs.

Snag #4

This was no fault of Tony’s crew, but when you pull the washer and dryer out from the wall over and over again (for the four coats), the fragile, metal dryer vent is gonna tear. And it did.

They’d been working in our laundry room off and on for a couple of days, so my laundry was piling up. (That happens with a family of five.) I was planning on catching up over the weekend when Tony said, “Oh by the way, your dryer vent tore and I’m going to grab one over the weekend to install on Monday.”

Uh oh.

That meant a mountain of laundry and no dryer. Thank goodness for my dear friend, Tiffany, who came to the rescue. I would wash a load of laundry and then run it over to her house to stick it in the dryer. I would wash another load at home and then return to her house to make the dryer switch-a-roo. (She even left me a “You’re awesome!” note. That’s friendship. Everyone can use some laundry encouragement in their life.)

It was a minor inconvenience, but all part of doing a major home project.

But, was it worth it? Yeah, it’s worth it. We still have a couple of painting days to go, but we already LOVE how the white paint looks on our walls. Everything is bright and clean. The woodwork pops right off the wall giving it a while new life. I’m already envisioning our décor back on the walls with a whole new look because of the crisp background behind it.

Have any of you taken on a major home project recently….and lived to tell about it? I’d love to hear. You can share your tales in the comments below.

Happy Weekend!