Daily Archives: June 21, 2016

paint blues, then success

I haven’t been able to keep up with my goal of writing every day, but I’m enjoying the gentle nudge to write more frequently than I had been writing in April and May. Sometimes I think that it might be nice to have a physical journal to write in – I often think about things I’d like to write down when I’m nowhere near a computer to do so. Longhand writing is something I rarely do anymore, but I love to go back and read my travel journals still today.

These summer days have been busy but they feel different, which is nice. It’s something I needed after the month of May. It’s felt good to jump into a physical project for a change, to get out of the computer on some evenings, and even to stay up late with a paintbrush in a sleeping house.

Speaking of paint – I thought I’d write a little bit about the paint drama that almost took me down a few weekends ago. Now that we’re on the flip side of that, I can talk about it without triggering feelings of despair and exhaustion.

We’ve planned to paint the wainscoting in the bathroom a deep indigo blue for ages now. Here were my five inspiration photos for color:

melanie acevedo dark bathroom stand alone tub

 Photo Source

melanie acevedo dark blue bedroom

Photo Source


Photo Source


Photo Source


Photo Source

Before we even installed the wainscoting, I sampled some colors on the walls. That was my first hint that deep blues are HARD! I had some really lovely swatches, but once they went on the walls they looked so bright. I broadened my range a bit, and sampled three more colors – too dark, too navy, too teal. Then I bought some spray paint for a different project and really loved the color of the frames I painted. I decided to custom color match the spray paint and I purchased a sample pot of that paint.


When I had the paint matched, they sprayed some of the paint on the end of a wooden stir stick, dried it with a hair dryer, and then color matched it from that. The sample paint looked great on the walls, so I thought we had found the perfect one. We finished the wainscoting, patched, sanded, caulked and caulked and caulked – there is roughly 600 linear feet of caulk in the room – and then primed.

M took the sample pot to the store and ordered a gallon of “real” paint, and he started on the long wall, cutting in and painting for hours.

Two things – the blue was pretty, but really, really dark the longer it dried and the more area we covered. Plus, the paint was also really, really annoying to work with. On a nice blank wall with a roller it would have probably been fine. But painting in a dark color with a slight sheen (matte or eggshell) was nearly impossible – the paint dried so quickly that brush strokes were really obvious everywhere. We decided to do a second coat on that wall to determine if we liked the color, because coverage is important on dark colors.

A few bays into the second coat, M threw in the towel and refused to use that paint anymore. It was just too thick and difficult to work with for brush work.

Round two – he tried a different paint that would brush on better, but they couldn’t use the formula from the first can to match it. So he went back again with one of the frames I had painted. The color looked okay when they dabbed a bit on the lid and dried it with a hairdryer, but I started painting with it on a Friday night, and after seven hours of painting and drying, we admitted it was not a match. But it wasn’t an awful color – maybe it just needed more coverage! We gave it another coat, but no dice. It was dark, and a little bit teal, and just not right. Again, if these had been straightforward walls with rolled on paint, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But cutting in for hours and hours and hours, and painting behind a freestanding tub and installed toilet and pedestal sink is NO FUN. Especially when you finish a coat and step back and it’s just so very wrong.


Not the right paint.

It was wrong at one o’clock in the morning, but it was really wrong the next morning with the sun streaming in. We held up new swatches against the painted walls and realized that it was now so much easier to see the “right” color against the wrong one. M wisely got us all out of the house to the market, then the circus. Refreshed with some Ted Drewes and some perspective, we headed back to the paint store with a new swatch. Screw the custom colors. We went with BM’s Gentleman’s Gray. The following photos are all taken with my phone, and at various hours of the day and night, so the color rendition isn’t so great, but I’ll take some good photos when we’re all done.


Mind you, between every coat we sanded every square inch of wainscoting and then vacuumed the dust and wiped everything down before painting the next coat. Then we both painted on opposite walls – I got the short straw and had to do the areas behind all the fixtures because I have a foot less in height to bend and contort.

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(Side note: this angled brush with flexible short handle is awesome for tight spaces!)


We collectively have untold hours of painting in this room behind us, and the end result is nothing short of gorgeous. We got it right. Finally.


Since then, I’ve painted four coats of paint on the underside of the tub and we’ve removed all the blue painters tape. The upper walls and ceiling are just perfection – crisp white and lovely.


We have new recessed LED lights and they look great in the ceiling. M’s sanding and repainting the ceiling grilles to get them nice and white and refreshed in there. We still have to paint one coat of trim paint on all the remaining white trim – around the door and the window. The window needs a little love as well, and some paint. But then our painting days (in here) will be done for awhile. Which means our project pile in our bedroom is dwindling. Hooray! Hooray!