Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Front Room and the Dining Room ... and This House Hates Paint

As promised, some pictures.

(Hello. Hello there, you. Doing well? Hope so.)

I won't show you the "before" of the Front Room yet. Maybe ever. I don't know. There's something about the picture that troubles me in a way I can't put my finger on. Most of the time, the glory of home renovation is showing the pathetic "before" and dramatically unveiling the "after". I think, instead, I will show you a Then and a Now. How's that for a beginning?

So here we are. The Then. This is standing in the Dining Room and looking into the Front Room. Notice, if you will, the original oak parquet floors. The built in hutch in the corner of the Dining Room. The massive, multi-paned windows that leak in sunlight and, at night, a hazy glow from the old gas-turned-electric street lamp out front. Notice, too, the definitive 10 foot, 5 inch ceilings and the tall baseboards with bottom trim removed. And I suppose you can't help but notice the GE Artistry stove still in its box awaiting its turn to be part of the kitchen renovation.

Much more on that later.

Now, here we are in the Front Room, looking north toward the old fireplace and the 6-foot tall, thick-as-winter-lake-ice mirror:

The whole place has had to be coated with a thick glossing of Kilz. As in, we're 12 gallons in so far. The previous owners smoked. By smoked, I don't mean they lit one after dinner and walked the house, trailing ash. I mean, they didn't have jobs and did nothing but sit inside and light up, pack after pack. (This is via the neighbor, Miss Nelle. I have to introduce you to her soon.) The first week, all I did was wash: walls, floors, windows, bathrooms. I mixed vinegar and Dawn and watched the nicotine come down in heavy brown streaks. The gunk coated every knob, every floor board, every ceiling fan pull, every window. We haven't moved in hardly any furniture yet, and what we have moved in is mostly boxed or shrouded in plastic. 

But anyway. The Front Room. Here's a closer-up of the the woodwork, the built-ins with the two shelves that refused to budge, and the mirror, all taped up and ready to paint:

And let's talk a moment about paint. Oh yes. Let's.

You know how one usually picks paint? You see a color you like (maybe on Pinterest or in a magazine or on a movie or a friend's house), you find a paint swatch or the paint's name, and you go to the store and have it mixed and come home and paint your walls and enjoy it for years.

Ha. Yes. No.

This house HATES paint. It tries to turn everything putty gray. Or purple. Must be the light?

Here are the paint colors I tried:

Revere Pewter (too dark)
Eider White (too pink?)
Glacier White (too stark)
Big Chill (too chilly)
Accessible Beige (really? too blah)

and finally, Incredible White, which I bought 5 gallons of, left with the guys who were painting, and went to the landfill to single-handedly unload a truck load full of disgusting-ness left in the home when we got the key, only to return 3 hours later to find the walls painted VIOLET.

Incredible White? Incredible lavender, more like it. I ran back to Sherwin Williams and grabbed Neutral Ground and ran it back to the painters and swore that even if it came out electric pink, it was staying on the walls because I coudn't spend a single dollar more on paint for the house to reject.
So. The trim and woodwork are painted Westhighland White, and the walls are painted Neutral Ground by Sherwin Williams. So far I love the way the paint looks in the Dining Room when the newly-wired lights are on. During the day with only natural light, it still looks a little pinkish/gray putty to me. But it's staying up. Once furniture, rugs, books, pictures, flowers, and dogs are in the room, it's going to look just right. It will. It just will. Here it is (sort of), as it stands now. Except now I've Kilz'd that awful mosaic thing in front of the fireplace opening on the floor until we can get around to tiling it. Looking forward to that!

Next on the list is the floors. We're going to refinish them in the front three rooms this weekend. They are coated with a film of nicotine, and they were heavily scratched when the folks moved out. More on floor refinishing this week!

So there's a quick run around the front two spaces. Please forgive my mood. I just opened a can of Tea Chest paint to paint the study, and guess what? The house HATES it.

As soon as I put on my shoes, I'm headed back to Sherwin Williams. They seriously know me there now.

Comments? Suggestions? I'm all ears! -Brin


LindaSonia said...

Just thinking that the previous owners certainly had the right to smoke however much they wanted - it was, after all, their home and no, I don't smoke... just sayin'

Michelle said...

It's going to be just beautiful when you get finished! I love the tall ceilings and thick baseboards! I have no idea what to tell you about the paint. Could it be reacting to the Kiltz? I don't know. Maybe tell the house you promise to take such good care of it, if it'll just let you clean it up a bit. Ha! Good luck!

Unknown said...

I'm so happy for you! Those built-ins are wonderful and the floors will be gorgeous when you're finished. New homes just don't have that character. You have a gem there. Even though its no fun to clean up someone else mess at least when it's done...it's done. You won't have to do it again. I can't help thinking your house is breathing a sigh of relief and smiling back at you. :) So glad you are sharing your progress with us. :)

Oh, and regarding advice about paint. I thought you might enjoy this post from KariAnne Wood at Thistlewood Farms. http://www.thistlewoodfarms.com/5-hints-for-choosing-a-paint-color

lynne said...

A gem in the rough for sure! They don't make houses like yours anymore. I hope you are successful with dealing with the smoke issue. KILZ should hopefully work.

How about those gorgeous built-ins? Wow. So much potential! Do you suppose the the amount of light (which looks to be not a lot) could be the paint problem? Paint can change so much according to the light in the room.

Loving this "old" lady house of yours!

Debi said...

When we were ready to paint our bedroom I went to the paint store and found four colors that I thought I would like. I painted a swatch of each on a wall and quickly discarded one, wasn't sure about the other three so went and found two more. I wanted to see how they looked as the light changed in the room. Three years later (THREE!!) the swatches were still on the wall and I still couldn't make up my mind. Hubby said, "Choose one or I will!" Eeeeek!! So, I did and I love the color, I even painted the master bath the same color. Some things take time... probably not three years, but time. Good luck!

Betty said...

Thank you for sharing Brin! Oh my, I don't know what to say..only that I am tired just thinking of all the 'work' you did before the work even began!! Whew..I hope it gets better and before you know it, you will be residing in your new home with everything done and in it's place. I know you are looking forward to that day! In the meantime carry on girl:) I'll be cheering you on and waiting for the great reveal!!

Patsy from illinois said...

You might have to use a primer over the kilz. would be worth a try. Are you using a semi gloss? Don't know what else to try. Love the built ins

Unknown said...

I love all the built ins, and I will never understand why homes stopped being built without them! I'm a non smoker and can smell smoke and damage a mile away, so sorry this poor house has been laces with that nasty stuff, can you imagine the previous owners lungs, gag! I'm a reformed painter now, love chalk paint, it sticks to EVERYTHING with no cleanup or priming plus I made my own using a recipe from Pinterest, this may be a option to test out? Or at least buy paint with a primer already in it, and go satan so you can wash the walls and they won't be shiny like gloss! I can see why your heart tugged you in this house, it's worth all the trouble!

Terri Steffes said...

Loving the built ins. Love the mirror. Love the floors. So beautiful. You are right, the house will look wonderful.

Susan said...

Gorgeous home, can't wait to see more. Sad about the smoking addictive owners - it is an addiction I've heard a more gripping addiction than heroin. This really does seem the perfect house for you Brin, you and your dear family.

Gail said...

As others have said, the built are a great feature of the room. I love seeing the pictures, thanks for sharing.

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

well, that room looks lovely now! That piano sitting there is strikingly beautiful with the new paint.
I say yuck to the smoke, nicotine...but if it wasn't smoke or nicotine, it would be grease and grime, soap scum, sticky carpet(blech!) or moth balls. The thing is, it's yours now and you and Josh are going to revive this old house (girl?) Does your house have a feel too it? Like it's a male or female? Sorry... just curious.
Anyway...hmmm, suggestions.
Maybe the windows need cleaning? Maybe the light will change with clean windows?
I can't wait to see more! ;)

Jillie said...

Love your house - especially the built-ins & cabinet in the dining room! Can't wait to see more pics. I can see now why you wanted her. Watching you breathe new life into this home is like curling up with a good book - I can't wait to turn the page!

Chanda said...

What a cute house you have. Can't wait to see it filled to the brim with life and love. It will all come together. An empty room freshly painted can me mighty intimidating. I've given myself several scares and been waiting in the parking when they opened. haha!! You found a gem.

Running with a sharp pencil said...

Check out Sherwin Williams Sea Salt --the loveliest color ever - Perfect for a bathroom or kitchen.