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Dear Painting, You Suck

Paint Colors

Dear Painting,

I love you and respect you, but I’m also starting to hate you. As the easiest, most inexpensive and effective way to transform a room – so I’ve heard every designer and interior decorator say – we thought we’d incorporate you just about everywhere in our house.

We’ve been in this house almost four months and have painted four rooms and we’re not done yet. We are worn out and so sick of painting! But we can’t deny how fabulous a good coat with primer in a beautiful vibrant color really changes a space and makes this house more and more “ours.”

Two weeks after moving in, I painted the dining room entirely by myself. I wanted moody grays, but as the room is not large and doesn’t get a lot of sunlight for very long, I couldn’t go as dark as I wanted. Instead, I chose an accent wall in Distant Thunder by Behr, and then a warmer, lighter gray, Silver Fox by Benjamin Moore. Many hours, sore arms and fingers later, this room was done.

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The next room on the transformation list was the living room. Everything, including the brick fireplace, was some version of white. Daniel wanted the fireplace to pop from the rest of the room, so we chose a very happy yellow, Citrus Splash by Behr. It took three coats over the course of a week to cover up the nooks and crannies in the brick. We also wanted to brighten up the white paint, so we chose Powdered Snow by Behr for the rest of the room. Two coats and several hours one Saturday,and this room was done.

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The next rooms to paint were upstairs and we needed to wait for the renovation to be done before starting there. This was great because it gave us a few months break. But it also made us realize how much we hate painting.

The first room we painted after the renovation was the master bedroom. I chose Glacier Lake by Behr, which was inspired by a bedroom design I had seen last year on Domino. We both love the ocean, swimming, and the sense of relaxation and serenity the beach life provides, so I wanted to create that feeling in the bedroom.

And here is where I must interject a note about taping. It sucks so much. At first I thought, this isn’t bad, and, anyway, it’s very necessary. But it’s labor intensive to get on perfectly, which just feels like it’s eating up the time you could be spending painting. And then it’s even more annoying when, after spending all that time trying to get it right, one or both of two things happen: 1. It sticks to the wall thanks to the paint and is such a pain to peel off, 2. If you’ve got any textured surfaces, it’s impossible to create a perfect seal with the tape and you end up fudging what was supposed to be a clean line between two different paint colors. UGH.

As we were taping the master bedroom to prepare for painting, I pushed away the sense of dread that was creeping up my entire body. We had friends come help us with the room, which was really nice of them. The tunes of the day were provided by Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, and others of that ilk. Both friends and music were fun. But still, with the first strokes of the paintbrush swiping the deep yet bright blue on the wall, I thought to myself, “No, I don’t want to do this. I hate you paint, I hate you so much.” This was the biggest room, took the longest and, unfortunately for Daniel, he had to paint the second coat by himself since I had to leave for a family party.

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And now a note about satin vs. matte finishes. Thanks to a helpful article on Apartment Therapy, I knew what types of finishes to use in our house. Matte works best on walls that aren’t perfectly smooth since it hides the imperfections better than a glossier finish. Matte is perfect for a house built in 1903 since most of the walls are more than 100 years old and most certainly are imperfect. But I went with a satin finish in the Glacier Lake and…oops! Let’s just say, the color looks particularly vibrant and maybe bumpy in a few places. But there is no denying the impact of the color in this room.

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Two weeks later, with much mental coaxing for the both of us, we painted the office. Daniel had his eye on a green. I asked my husband to explain why he wanted a green room and to elaborate on what he was looking for and his response was, “I like green.” So, there’s that. I have heard him say he wanted a verdant green, one that feels alive, and it’s what he always pictured for his office. So there’s that too. He found a color he liked online – Amazon Moss by Benjamin Moore – and it was the only color he tested on the walls. So now the office is Amazon Moss, a deep, kind of dark green that also has a brightness to it that helps keeps the color from feeling oppressive.

That was last week. Here we are again having to do more painting: touching up the trim in the master bedroom and office, and painting the hallway where the renovation had taken place, all in that bright white Powdered Snow.

And now a note on painting with your significant other. DON’T DO IT. Especially if neither one of you enjoys it. In the four months we have lived in this house, I think all of our arguments have been about painting, a little bit about color and process but mostly about how long it takes, especially since it eats up our weekends. Studies and anecdotal evidence have shown that couples end up fighting a whole lot during and after trips to Ikea, Home Depot and similar stores (see this Last Week Tonight with John Oliver sketch featuring Nick Offerman). Well, painting should be added to that list. You can save a lot of money on projects when you do the labor yourself and painting is one of those projects that most people easily can do. But if you have the budget, it might be wise to consider hiring a painter simply to save yourself and your significant other from hours of the silent treatment.

Which leads me to today. What was supposed to be a really easy and short paint job came with the past four months of paint weariness. But now we’re done for hopefully a few months. We’re sitting on the couch, drinking beer, listening to our puppy snore and we think the upstairs looks great.

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