Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Paint Can Transform a Room

Before I get to the fun stuff, a short story:

Before we found that lovely little house we now call our own, we took a gander at the community about a mile down the street that was only in it's first phase of construction. It was a Ryan Homes community, and we knew several couples who had purchased and built their homes there. We loved it. We stopped by the sales office in November 2012, toured the model home, did some number crunching with the sales rep, and left because - hey - we hadn't sold our first house yet. The thought of two mortgages left us feeling a little queasy inside.

We came back in January after we actually sold the house and were living with Denny's parents. The sales rep was happy to see us and we picked up where we left off, looking at a Sienna model with a basement. There were only a handful of lots left in the first phase of construction, and we even put a deposit down on the last corner lot available. After going home and sleeping on it, we woke up the next morning with a slight amount of anxiety. THAT much money for a house? THAT much money down?

I get it, I get it, I get it. Houses are expensive, especially brand new houses. 20% downpayments are ideal. We had quite a bit of money saved up, but something didn't feel right. We didn't want to live for our house. Plus, due to the length of time it took to process permits in our municipality after Superstorm Sandy, we wouldn't have our house built until September. So we went back, got our check back, and resigned ourselves to look at resales.

And then we found our house. A month and a half later.

BAM! MLS photo in all it's glory

Surprise! Our house is the EXACT same floor plan as the house we were ready to build, only five years old, without a basement but with a morning room. We were going to opt out of the morning room with the builder because it would have been an additional $10,000 tacked onto the final cost of our freshly built house, but the basement would have been free under the builder's mortgage company's finance company incentive program.

You win some, you lose some.

But here is the kicker: the cost of our same-floor-plan-but-five-years-older-house was almost $40,000 cheaper than buying brand new. Plus, it had more property.

I feel like this is a no brainer. Obviously you know which way we went.

And now this is the story of the morning room we wanted, weren't going to get, and then got anyway.

We moved in at the end of April and I got to revel in our morning room-ownership. It's such a great room; it (coincidentally) gets the most amazing morning light, has high ceilings, two big windows, and a sliding glass door leading out to our patio. I pictured us sipping our morning coffees and reading the paper there on Saturday mornings, and turning it into a formal dining room where I could (finally!!!) host holiday dinners.

Except it looked like this:

Another MLS photo for your enjoyment

A personal photo of mine, taken at night.
This room was a HOT MESS.
Welcome to my magic school bus.

Holy yellow, batman!
Holy paper blinds, batman!
Holy vertical blinds on the sliding glass door, batman!

Literally, this room GLOWED in the morning. It was so primary yellow it cast a yellow hue throughout our entire first floor. It was the most unwelcome wake-up call every morning as we came downstairs. Our pretty little room in all it's yellow glory.


It also had paper blinds. Yes, our five-year-old morning room was sporting some dusty, brittle paper blinds. It appears that the house, once built, automatically had these blinds put in for the first owners in every window, but the owners only added REAL blinds to the windows on the front of the house. Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.  Every window that faces our backyard has paper blinds.

No bueno.

We are going to slowly swap out those over time, but the morning room was the first to get some new blinds action. A day after closing, we called a gentleman who owns a small business specializing in custom blinds, who we used in our previous home. He came out, measured, we chose the style we wanted (white wood to match the rest of the already installed blinds), and he said he'd be back in two weeks.

In the meantime, we had already decided we liked yellow because it really is a cheerful color and it would play off the gray paint on the rest of the walls on the first floor--just not THAT yellow. Before we even moved in, we knew it had to go.

My mind was blown...how can they be so similar yet SO different?

All I can say is that we picked...one of these. Which one, I don't rememeber (I'm terrible, I know). I can, however, tell you it was Behr Paint, picked up from Home Depot. It was a nice creamy, buttery yellow. And it was paint and primer in one, holla! I asked the kind gentleman at the 'Pot (my nickname for Home Depot...pronounced "po" if you're wondering) if we should prime separately anyway just in case since the existing yellow was YELLOW. And the kind gentleman said no, but we'd probably need two coats and that just a gallon should be enough.

Maybe next time I'll go with my gut and prime the damn room anyway because that ONE room took that WHOLE gallon of paint. I like to have SOME paint left at the end of a job, but there was a DROP left in that gallon.

It's now time to give mad props to my Father-in-Law, who finished cutting in for me and painting the whole room during Mother's Day weekend while I was out. Thanks, Father-in-Law, shout out to you!!!

I should also mention that the vertical blinds came down, HUZZAH. Replaced with sheer panels and an antiqued white rod and holdbacks from Christmas Tree Shoppe. I know these panels aren't the best quality, but I couldn't stand looking at the verticals anymore, and whenever we tried to use the sliding glass door the blinds would pop off individually and I'd be left whining about how much I hated verticals. Plus, my house was built in 2008 and not 1991, seriously. Sayonara, verticals! Sorry not sorry I had to ditch you.

So this is what the paint job looked like once we painted:

At least the table is cleared off?

BUT WAIT! You might be saying. What are those UGLY, yellowing paper blinds doing there? I thought you said you ordered new wooden ones?

You would be right, dear reader, except for the guy we ordered them from FORGOT ABOUT US. And never placed our order. So we didn't actually get new blinds installed until last week. A month and a half after we placed our order.

And here they are, better late than never, I guess:

So much better.

The final look is much airier and bright and less retina-burn-inducing-bright than it was before. Overall, I am a happy girl and am known to actually sit in here from time to time to do things (including reading the newspaper because I no longer feel like my eyes are bleeding).

A couple things left I'd like to do in here (bullet points are a girl's best friend):

  • Window treatments for the windows
  • Find an awesome dining room table that will seat at least 8. Given that this room isn't exactly humongous, I'm looking forward to this challenge. I'm thinking a 60" round table or building our own farmhouse table, but we'll see.
  • Eventually replace sheer panels at the sliding glass door with something I sewed myself
  • Add trim to windows and around the doorway into the kitchen area
  • Replace ceiling fan with a snazzy (DIYed?) chandelier
  • Add some art and wall decor
  • Find better-looking wall registers that sit so high up on that one wall. Kind of like so:


And really, the view out of those windows could use some fixing up, too, because I'm still looking at a giant dirt patch every day.

I'm glad we have so much to do around here, but I'm annoyed that there is so little time to do it. I'm impatient like that. I like things done yesterday, if you catch my drift.

"Weekend warrior" is an apt title, but I'd much prefer "Full-time House Ninja."

We still have a long way to go, but paint make SUCH a difference in the way a room feels. Have you ever JUST painted a room and felt so much better about it?

PS: You might be curious about what is going on with the shop. I do have the best intentions of actually creating new pieces again, but when my craft room/office is in dismal shape/only partially unpacked/a mess, it's hard to find some inspiration. My goal is to get that room together this weekend, so hopefully soon, friends!

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