Thursday, December 27, 2012

I Love Paint Part I

December 27, 2012

By Sheila

Red.  Really red.  Time for a Change
My hands down favorite decorating option is paint.  It has huge impact.  It is relatively cheap.  It isn't really difficult to do, although practice does improve technique.  And the way I see it, if you get tired of it, change it.  That's what brings me to my most recent dining room makeover.  I am going to bring you this transformation in two parts; today and tomorrow.

Bye Bye Red
First, a little history.  When we bought our home (about six years ago), our dining room was an outdoor atrium.  It was pretty cool, but we already had enough outdoor space, and no dining room, so we converted it.  Of course this included adding a roof, skylights, raising the floor, and so on.  These are the activities that I find entertaining, and I come by it honestly.  My parents have built three homes, and I don't mean with a contractor.  I mean with their hands.  Beautiful, large homes.  They have passed this genetic disease on to their offspring, and there you have it.  The good news is, they are the first people I call when the going gets tough.  And they are the first to lend a hand even when I send out an SOS.  Or even a not-so-innocent, "what are you up to tomorrow?".  Thanks Mom & Dad!
Mom (Janet) hard at work

Back to the dining room.  This room was first painted what I call "default beige".  This is the color I painted the whole interior of the house after we moved in and refinished the wall texture.  The hallways and living room have remained this color, but everything else has changed over time (some walls more than once).  The dining room then became red.  A deep intense red.  I love this color, but grew tired of it in my dining room over time.  I am tired of dark colors.  I want lighter colors throughout my house.  I love the new greys, and this is what I settled on.  My inspiration came from my granite counter top in my kitchen.  It has grey/silver, golds, and creams in it.  Overall it is light, and I love it.  My floors are a warm travertine (mocha), so I needed a warm grey  50+ paint swatches and three paint samples later, I made my choice. 

For your information, I tracked my expenses and my time.

Step 1:  Clear the room.  This included lots of glassware, switch plate covers, some wine and spirits, and the removal of one cabinet on the wall.  (1.5 hours)

Where was all this stuff?
Step 2:  Primer.  I used Lowe's Valspar High Hiding Primer for drastic color change.  Worked great! (6 hours)

Love that scaffolding - my dining room table!
 Step 3:  Color Selection.  Normally I would have done this first, but I had to cover the red to decide on a new color. (2 hours, but I already had collected lots of swatches!)   I brought the swatches home and looked at the colors in the room.  The light in each room really affects the color.  The color you love in the paint store may look completely different when you get it home in your space. Look at the swatches at different times of the day and select your best options. Back to the store to buy actual paint samples, and paint them on the wall.  I know this seems like going to extremes for a slight shade variation, but when I have not done this, I have often regretted it.  I would rather spend the $3 on several paint samples and get the color that looks best than $25+ for a gallon of paint and a day of labor, only to be disappointed in the end result. 
My quest for the perfect warm shade of grey

#2 was the hands-down winner.  Lowe's Valspar "Filtered Shade"

That was it for day one. My Mom volunteered to return the next day to help me finish the project, since we ran out of steam and daylight at about the same time.  This room has odd architectural features (an arch in the middle), which casts shadows that make it difficult to paint at night.  Lucky for us - we needed a break anyway. 

Here is a sneak preview of the finished product.  Check in tomorrow for the finishing details.


  1. Wow, that looks amazing!! So much work but it looks so lovely.

  2. I can't believe you got up on that ladder on that table... You are ready for Cirque de Soliel. Your efforts are worth it I think the dining room looks beautiful. You are lucky your mom is young enough to still be able to help you. This was a really great post.

  3. What a beautiful room. I love the color and I am in love with the ceilings.

  4. Your parents, or should I say your family, is very inspiring! Without the help of a contractor, your mom and dad were able to build beautiful large homes. Though it’s very admirable, when it comes to roofing, I think it is much better to just let professionals do it for you. Anyway, just be careful when doing any house renovations.

  5. Renovating your home with your family members feels good. However, some DIY tips can't finish a repair task, like installing windows, doors, and roofs. It's best to keep in touch with your contractor and let them work on the installation for satisfactory results. :)

    Beach Windows and Siding