On Tuesday we decided to paint the living room. Patching the wall from which we removed the wood paneling was a long, annoying, and arduous process, exacerbated by the fact that nether Adam nor I are particularly patient with the prep work part of any process. I want to get right to painting – to hell with drop cloths, tape, washing walls or any of that other junk. Cut to the after! But a million tiny holes in the wall couldn’t be ignored, so we patched and sanded and patched and sanded and patched and sanded and…you get the idea.
I neglected to take in-between photos, but in these two from the de-paneling post you can kind of see the millions of nail holes, dings, and an un-painted bit above the window where the wood valance used to be. That was our project.
Most people would do it until it seemed perfect and then move on, Adam and I just sort of arrived at a point where neither of us could fathom any more sanding and so we said “Meh, whatever. Let’s paint it and see what happens.”
I headed to the hardware store with the intention of getting a low VOC paint to match to Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl, which I had picked after hours of Pinterest research.
The store told me they couldn’t match a paint colour without a sample or a paint chip. What? Seriously? Isn’t there some sort of database somewhere with all of the colour codes? (No, the employee informed me in an exaggeratedly bored tone, there is not. I said “Okay, thank you” in my outside voice, and in my inside voiced I ranted LIKE AN ADULT “Oooh ever so sorry to interrupt your work day with my trivial suburban problems, but look, one day you too will be consumed with meaningless decisions like which is the perfect neutral grey paint! We are not so different, you and I! I was once like you!)
Then I dithered and grabbed a few samples and headed home again, and then decided, no. Just no. Today is MY day! (What does that mean? Irrelevant.) I would show that surly employee that I could make snap decisions! I made a uTurn, went back and just picked one.
I just PICKED one from the wall of colours. Like I said, the prep work is not my style. None of this painting a million samples and taking colour chips home to test them in the room you’ll be painting, nonsense. We needed to get it DONE. For… reasons.
The colour I ended up ever-so carefully selecting (and by this I mean quickly googling pictures of) was Behr’s Cotton Gray.
Here’s the two side by side.
On one hand they are wildly different colours. Gray owl is lighter and has a strong cool silver tone while Cotton Grey has more of a brown feel (so much so that I was concerned it would read as tan on the wall).
On the other hand it’s grey paint. Seriously. Grey is the new beige, it’s basically a non-colour. Exactly 0% of people who know me are shocked that I chose grey paint.
Also, I am a fairly confident decorator and while I’m not afraid of colour I knew that it would be pretty hard to end up with a light grey paint that I hated. So. The fun began!
If you are wondering what in the hell I am wearing then its time to feel like a real jerk, because you just insulted my family heirloom painting overalls.
My dear mother wore these for every single painting job she ever did, and she is just as obsessed with paint as I am so there is some coverage on those things. I was honoured to receive them from her when she visited a few weeks ago, even though I can barely bend my legs when I wear them because they are so stiff with paint. These babies are going to get a good workout in this house! I made sure to dab some Cotton Grey on for posterity.
I did the bulk of the painting while Adam entertained Olive, and took over when I got too sore. In the interim we moved as much furniture out as we could and our office and hallway looked like this:
He was also quite useful for the tall bits. George and Betty, the original owners, had painted part of the ceiling too and I wasn’t sure if we should follow suit or take it back to white, but we decided to go with it and if it looked strange we could repaint. I think I like it.
It’s a safe colour, a non-colour, and basically a non-event really – nonetheless it is fabulous to see the room looking more finished. Baseboards still have to be nailed down and touched up with paint, and that big blank wall at the end of the room is where all of my twenty-thousand books will go, but we’re just figuring out whether we are going to use bookshelves, or do some sort of built-in shelving…it’s percolating. In the meantime, how about a good old-fashioned before and after shot? Everyone loves those, right?
It still looks quite bare, but I am really happy with how it is coming together.
This concludes my RIVETING account of how I painted another wall, with accompanying low-quality pictures.
Stay tuned for when I dabble in NAVY! And if this lady on Kijiji every gets back to me I may have a kitchen table makeover to write about, to0! Also! This tip that a lady at the hardware store shared about how to make your own chalk paint!
I KNOW. Chalk paint!
Hang on to your hats, it’s about to get crazy.