Painting Tips

I’m baaack! Hi all, sorry we’ve been MIA. Last week kicked off the first leg of some traveling we’ll be doing (we’re headed out again in about 10 days) so things may be a little sporadic around the blog for a bit. Anyway, I had started this post a few weeks ago while we were elbows deep in painting the living room and thought it was about time I share.

Here are a few tips that have made our lives easier when it comes to painting.

Paint the ceiling first.

If for no other reason than this is the most back-breaking part, so get it over with. We lay down drop cloths to cover the room and protect any furniture. Paint will inevitably splatter down at you so don’t skip this step. We’re pretty careful people but you can never be careful enough. Also, word to the wise, if you wear glasses like me, try to wear an older pair when painting or suck it up and use protective goggles because you WILL get paint on your glasses.

Now you can move on to painting the walls.

Painting the walls as step two works nicely. Don’t bother taping off trim. Honestly, just focus on having a relatively steady hand, especially up near the ceiling, when cutting in. And if you have trim like crown molding and  base boards you’ll probably be painting that anyway so any deviant paint will get covered when you go to do that anyway. I like to cut in using a 2 1/2″ angled brush. We like the XL line by Purdy. Also, get yourself a quality roller with a nice nap as well. We also like Purdy rollers with a 3/8 to 1/2 inch nap. We like to cut in and paint smaller sections to keep the “wet edge” for a seamless finish. For example, we cut in approximately 4′x4′ then roll it out, then move on to another section.

Paint your trim as the final step.

So, for those of you that are able to paint trim without taping off with painters tape, hat’s off to you. You are my hero and I both admire and hate you at the same time. Seriously people, what’s the secret here. I tried it this way and let’s just say, epic fail. I was better at staying in the lines in second grade. So for those of you like me, get some good painters tape and tape off your trim.

The trick here is to continue to paint the trim as if you were trying to paint without the tape. As in, don’t glob paint over the tape. Also, REMOVE THE TAPE AS SOON AS YOU ARE DONE. We’ve learned the hard way ripping tape off after paint has dried and let’s just say, it peels chunks of paint away as well. Boo.

What brush to use? We have two favorites. Both are 2″ short-handled angled brushes. The first one is called the Premium XL Tight Spots 2″ Angle Short Handle Brush.

The second (and probably my favorite) is the Purdy XL Cub 2″ Angle Brush.

I found both of these brushes at my local Sherwin Williams paint store.

At the end of the day, I’m not much into all the painting gadgetry available. However, there are a few additional little gems that have made our lives easier. Here are our discoveries.

Wire Brush

Perfect for cleaning your brushes. More on that in a future post.

ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape with Edge Lock

Gave me nice clean and crisp lines for trim painting. Virtually no seepage around the edge of the tape.

Handy Paint Pail

Easy to hold and seriously prevents hand fatigue, especially when you need to hold a smaller amount of paint for cutting in purposes. Also comes with handy disposable liners and a magnetic brush holder.

SHUR-LINE Paint Can Lid

I LOVE THIS THING. Made pouring paint into the tray So. Much. Easier. Seriously. It made that step much easier to manage and clean-up was very easy.

Again, stay tuned for a future post on how we clean our brushes. We’ll compile some of the tips and tricks that have worked best for us so we protect our investment because a good brush isn’t exactly cheap!

(PS: In case you were curious, I feel it necessary to mention that we were not in any way paid or otherwise compensated for mentioning the products in this post. We just love them and wanted to share.)

Going Gray

Ugh…that’s exactly what’s happening…the quest for gray paint is giving me gray hairs…I’m sure of it!

Are you sick of hearing about us agonize over gray paint yet? I thought I could talk about it forever but I may be reaching my limit. Based on our last post…I was pretty sure we’d called out “final answer!” on Heavy Goose…but then some super stylish friends on Facebook had to go and rave about some gray paint from Sherwin Williams that they’d used and loved.

So, here I am, stepping back and taking a breath. As I’ve said before, I don’t want to rush this and I want the color to be perfect…primarily because, once again, it’s a big room and I only want to do this once. It would be torture to get halfway through and decide the color just isn’t right. Andrew would kill me…well, more like I envision saying I’ve changed my mind and him dumping the can of paint over my head. Overall, I want to be sure we’ve chosen a really true gray but with a cool undertone. While I think Heavy Goose pretty much meets that criteria, I’m having cold feet and thinking it just might be too blue and/or too dark.

Ok, I can pretty much hear you asking me to stop yapping on about our indecision and asking me what the heck the plan is…so here you go:

We are going to head to Sherwin Williams and take a look at their gray offerings. I’m mainly on the lookout for these two recommended shades (both are classified as ‘cool neutrals’ on the Sherwin Williams website):

1. Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray

2. Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

At this point, we’ve primed over the existing samples and once we get these two samples, we’ll put them up along with Heavy Goose to compare and hopefully reach our final answer…because I’m pretty sure we’re out of lifelines…we’ve phoned a friend…used 50/50…asked the audience…

In the meantime, while you are waiting for that gratifying moment…I’ll leave you with some links to education on choosing gray paint if you’re feeling inspired.

1. Decorating with Gray – Real Simple Magazine

2. Ideas for Decorating in Gray – Better Homes and Gardens

Ultimately, I want to point out not to get bogged down in the rules…and even though I continue on the quest for the perfect gray at the moment…I’m trying to take my own advice. I started reading articles and decorating tips on picking and using gray paint and I started to feel a little overwhelmed and began second guessing myself more. While I still want to try out the above samples because they were recommended…trust your instincts. Narrow down your choices, as we’ve outlined in previous posts, and get the testers and USE THEM. THEN WAIT! Kick back, observe, try one more round of samples if necessary, then get painting. The end is in sight…I can feel it…can’t wait to see how this turns out. Stay tuned for one more post where you can see our new samples on the wall. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these pretty inspiration pics:

Image from DecorPad

Image from Country Living

Image from RestylingHomebyKellyBlog

Image from Rooms and Things

(Pssst…the sofa and armless chair in the picture above is what we purchased for the living room! More about that soon)

Peter Piper Picked A Peck of Pickled … Paint Chips

Peter Piper has been MUCH more efficient than us apparently…because, saying we’ve “picked” paint is an over statement. Rather, we have a few samples up on the wall and have been letting them marinade for a few days…we wanted to observe them in different lighting conditions, with some furniture in the vicinity, etc. Honestly, if I tell co-workers one more time that “I’ll be painting” when asked what my weekend plans will entail you can consider me a big, fat, liar. Our goal this weekend is to decide on the paint color, which we’ll get into below, and begin the priming process. Oh, and I also said I was addressing patching the wall texture…well, I’ve been all talk and no texture…so we have that on the old  to-do list as well. On to paint:

As narrowed down in our “Shades of Gray” post, we have most assuredly decided on a paint hue from the gray color family. The big dilemma is that there is a gigantic array of gray paint with a variety of undertones…some appear lavender, others blue-ish, green-ish, tan-ish. I was pretty sure I was drawn to shades with a cool undertone but we wanted to be sure we got a good look at several of our favorites which definitely varied in their tone. So, last weekend Andy primed a wall and we put up some samples. Duncan supervised:

The following photographs were taken in both morning and afternoon daylight (sorry, I can’t remember exactly which pic depicts which lighting scenario):

As you can see in the picture above, these samples represent our top three choices based on paint chips alone. While we really liked them all, we were definitely able to read the “undertones” more once the samples were up in larger format on the wall. Here’s our initial take:

1. Gray Owl – too dark and looked too green in certain lighting conditions.

2. Moonshine – love this color but it is reading too tan for what we were going for.

3. Heavy Goose – dare I say it was juuuuust right…but we were still undecided…also afraid it may be too dark.

So, we decided the responsible course of action would be to return to our pencil-case o’paint chips and pick a lighter color to get up on the wall to compare. The 4th front-runner, for good measure, became a lovely little shade called Gray Morning by Laura Ashley for the Valspar brand of paint available from Lowe’s.

And a slightly alternative view:

Here are the samples as seen during the evening with incandescent light:

Good golly, now we have two favorites. After putting Gray Morning up, it became really clear that the first two options are pretty much off the table…well, wall really. Numbers 3 and 4, Heavy Goose and Gray Morning respectively, have emerged as the favorites. I’m concerned that Gray Morning (4) may be too light. I still want this color to make a statement and offer some contrast. In my head, I really envision some lovely white trim really popping against a slightly more saturated gray. PS, in case you were wondering what that smudge of paint above the door is…that was another sample not worth mentioning. Thought it looked totally gray on the paint chip but it ended up looking almost ivory. Case in point, test your paint.

I also thought it would be a good idea to put some furniture that we will be using in the living room in the vicinity of the paint samples to make sure that jived as well. Here’s a look at that:

So, who’s the lucky paint chip???

Drumroll please…after a week of staring at the walls, the winner is…Heavy Goose. Wacky name, lovely color. It really is the color I envisioned before I even started looking at actual paint chips or samples. I allowed myself the time to observe the sample in different lighting, and arranged some furniture nearby to get a feel for how the fabric would stand out against the hue. I’m really excited to get this up on the walls. Now, just to finish the prep work…wall texture and priming.

Shades of Gray

I’m obsessed with gray. I am not trained in design by any means but in my humble opinion, it is the perfect neutral. And I’m using it everywhere. In fact, I tend to go on favorite color kicks and can become so obsessed that I end up wearing and living amongst shades of one color if I’m not careful. Lately, I’ve been so drawn to not only gray interiors but gray clothing, accessories, shoes…the list goes on.

I more or less discovered my obsession with gray when I was planning the wedding. It was apparently the hot new “shade” and I LOVED it (case in point my smokey gray bridesmaids dresses). I’m totally smitten with gray/yellow, gray/aubergine, gray/ANYTHING…It is sorta the perfect compromise for my love of foundational neutrals for my home decor. The tans/beige thing is just too warm looking, and the white/off-white thing is just too, well…white. To my eye, gray has become a great cool neutral that all at once says classic and modern. In researching why gray is just so cool I came across this introduction to gray from the website Sensational Color. It says this:

Gray is the color of intellect, knowledge, and wisdom. It is perceived as long-lasting, classic, and often as sleek or refined. It is a color that is dignified, conservative, and carries authority. Gray is controlled and inconspicuous and is considered a color of compromise, perhaps because it sits between the extremes of black and white. Gray is a perfect neutral, which is why designers often use it as a background color.

That being said, we’ve decided to proceed with choosing a shade of gray to paint the living/dining room and kitchen/den area. At this point, we do have it narrowed down to three shades and we have the samples locked and loaded for application to the wall to make our final choice (hopefully). However, despite our best intentions, we dragged our feet a little the past few days…I’m still addressing that wall texture issue for starters. Anyhow, lemme walk you through how we got to the point of actually narrowing it down.

1. Went to Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Benjamin Moore and chose literally every paint chip that was a shade of gray. (PS…I’m really loving the Martha Stewart paint line. She had a great selection of colors in the shades I’m looking for and there is a coordinated symbol system so you can easily choose coordinating paint shades for your room. This was helpful because we would like to try and choose a complementary shade to paint our kitchen island to help define the space. More on that with pictures another time).

2. At home, we spread them all over the floor and counter and gradually did a quick visual edit dumping all the ones that looked funny. (Be sure to observe the chips at different times of day first. That’s including daylight throughout the day and with different lighting on in the room at night because as we all know that lovely shade can look downright muddy and green in fluorescent kitchen lighting).

3. Finally, narrow your chips down to a manageable handful and start propping them up along surfaces that get an even wash of light. Continue to observe in different lighting situations and ditch as you go.

Benjamin Moore – Moonshine

Benjamin Moore -Gray Owl

Martha Stewart – Heavy Goose

So, at this point, we’d gotten it down to a few that we really liked and left them up for a few days so we could observe them and get used to them. Finally, we decided that we were pretty much sold on 3 colors and got them made into paint samples. As you may have noted above, I’m loving:

1. Martha Stewart – Heavy Goose (afraid this may be too blue though).

2. Benjamin Moore – Moonshine

3. Benjamin Moore – Gray Owl

For Trim:

1. Martha Stewart – Popcorn

2. Martha Stewart – Picket Fence

So we shall see! The next step is to finally repair that wall texture in a few spots and prime a section of wall to apply the testers. Then, we’ll sit with them for a few days and determine if we are all systems go with one of them or if we are back to square one. It’s alotta wall with 10 foot ceilings so I’m only doing this once! Gotta make sure the color is juuuust right so we’re not rushing it.