DIY Projects

I wish we were millionaires. Except for the whole increase in taxes thing, not to mention that if you have that much money it's easy to stash it in an IRA or a LLC to avoid having to actually pay taxes. But aside from that, if I were an actual millionaire I wouldn't be such a DIY fan, no ma'am. I'd hire people to do DIY for me. And then I would be queen of DIFM. But in the mean time, I'm  a DIY dilettante in between chasing Juno around the house and cleaning up the debris in her wake. Last week I painted our bathroom. I like to paint, and so not only was I productive with my 11 days off of work, I enjoyed my alone time with NPR and the fiscal cliff debacle. Lance hates to paint. The only thing he hates more than painting is discussing paint  and complimentary linen colors. If I want alone time, all I need to do is plan a painting project.

This particular project can't go without a shout-out to Christa Pirl ( who has been guiding us, bit by bit, through a home transformation that is a quite bit slower than I like it due to the whole lack of millionaire status. She said, "Paint that bathroom a rich blue-grey." It took me a year and about 10 paint samples to get around to it. But wow! what a way to start the new year. Lovin' it!  

Lance chose the final shade, very quickly I might add: a Behr color called "Hidden Peak." I think he just wanted to get out of having a discussion about color and paint finishes and bath towels and accessories and light fixtures and rugs.

My DIY tips for painting your own space are:

  1. Get a premium primer & paint in one. It's worth $40/gallon for good coverage and minimal spatter. Especially if you're doing dark over light, or light over dark.
  2. Get the best quality brush you can find for trim & cutting in. I tried Zebra brushes this time for $10, over my faithful Purdy brushes at about $8. WOW! The better your brush (and the  more judicious you are with paint on the brush), the less you need to tape off between walls and trim. I only taped between the trim/tile and walls/mirror to catch drips. But I didn't tape between the wall and the trim. If you take the few extra minutes to be careful, tape isn't necessary -- moreover, I find tape makes things worse, not better. See that nice straight line above the trim? No tape! Just a good brush.
  3. If you use tape, skip the blue painter's version and get the green Frog Tape. It's SO much better and, if you're not using a power hose to put on your paint, you won't get that bleed under the tape edge. The tape responds to moisture by creating a stronger barrier between the paint and the surface you're trying to protect.
  4. Prep the room the day before. Clean it, scrub it, sanitize it. Remove dust, hair, dogs, cats, and so forth. Remove switch plates, doors, hinges, towel rods, light fixtures, everything. Then put up any tape you think you will need. After all that work, get a good night's rest so you're fresh and not tempted to cut corners with the actual painting the next day.
  5. If you're painting your trim, take an 30 extra minutes to sand it lightly and wipe off the dust with a damp rag. I think it took me 10 minutes to lightly sand the tim in this room.
  6. Paint your trim and doors first. Let the finished job dry overnight and do the walls the next day.
  7. To make sure your semi-gloss trim paint doesn't get gloppy and you don't get those weird paint "burn" patterns, spend the few dollars for Floetral. It's a paint additive that eliminates brush marks and helps semi gloss paint go on like butter. I got Glidden's "Duo" paint for about $28 and added the Floetral, as opposed to getting' Bher's "Utlra" paint for $35. The last time I did trim, I used the Behr without the additive and it drove me to curse.
  8. If you do use tape, be sure to take it off immediately after you've finished putting on the paint. If you let the paint dry over tape for several days, pulling up the tape is a PITA.

The trim is a Martha Stewart color called "Tailor's Chalk." It's about as close to builder's white as you can get without going bright white. I realize that a warmer white would be better with the wall color and slate tile, but there's method in my madness. Unless you're going to paint the trim in the adjacent room, it's better to stick with the same color so that you don't have a color break mid-threshold. That, and it's easier on my eyes and sanity to refresh trim as needed, as I get to each room. If I were a millionaire and could do all the trim at once, or if didn't have a day job and could do the whole house on my own in a few weeks, I'd choose a warmer white. Oh, and this white matches the porcelain, so there's another excuse.

Tips on choosing grey paint from a Real Simple article I found last year.

  1. Use an eggshell finish, or satin in bathrooms/kitchens. Don't use semi gloss or your grey will look like a shiny locker room. Unless you like locker room chic.
  2. If your architectural details are warm, choose a cool grey, and vice versa to make the most of the color and the materials. In our case, the warm cherry wood and the warm brown granite looks fantastic with the cool blue grey, as opposed to a warmer taupe-tone grey. If we had white counters and black cabinets, a warmer grey would have been the way to go.
  3. If you do nothing else, put a swatch on the wall and look at in all kinds of natural and artificial light before you commit.