Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Painting begins!

Our house needs painting.

First, because the woman was dirty. The walls just felt dirty, even after cleaning. So. Every wall. Every door. Every trim. Will eventually be painted, until it feels and smells clean again.

Second, crazy woman was lazy. She haphazardly slapped paint up on the walls without taping, without removing nails, without even taking off light/electrical plate covers. She missed several spots painting, so that you could actually see white coming through. Or, on places that had already been painted a different color, she used just one coat and you can see straight through it. Awful.

Third, she must have been blind because the colors were horrible. The kitchen is a nasty, dirty looking brownish yellow. Think mustard that has been sitting out for days. She seemed to think that faux sponge paint look made things look more sophisticated or something, because she used it everywhere. And our master bathroom? The color of  Latin cantina on fire. Lovely.

And so, we paint.

We started in the master bedroom, so we could finally feel like the room is finished and settled.

I've discovered it's hard to photograph walls in a way that reflects what the color really looks like. These will have to do.

We didn't do a drastic change in the master. Before it was very orange and in your face. We just wanted to mute it a little, so we went with a cooler shade in a tan color.

A while back, we painted some walls in a condo Hans used to own. We were going from blue to green so we went to Home Depot and picked up some primer and a couple gallons of Behr paint. We put on the primer, waited, one coat, wait, two coasts, wait, third coat ... ah, yes. There we go. And that was only two accent walls.

This time, I did some research. Everything I read recommended that we go with Benjamin Moore paint. We decided to give it a try.

Now, BM paint is almost twice as much per gallon as Behr. But after using it, I'm never going back. First, you don't need primer. Nope, not even when going from a pretty dark to a light color. Second, it looks good after even the first coat. We didn't think it needed a second coat, but put one on just to really lock in the color and finish. Third, BM paint has a wonderful consistency and texture. It goes on so smoothly and coats so evenly. And it dries super fast! The second coat was difficult because we couldn't tell where we'd already painted and where we hadn't. Because it rolls so evenly and dries so quickly, we were able to tape and paint and be done with the room in just one evening. Lovely.

So even though it costs twice as much per gallon, you only need to buy half as much. You save on primer, you don't need as many coats, and most importantly you save on time and labor. Excceeellllent.

* We used Benjamin Moore's Regal Matte finish in "Yellow Squash." It took maybe a gallon and a half.
* BM paint dries darker than it goes on. So if you put it on and it looks too light, just wait. The second coat also helps to darken it.
* The paint on the walls looks much darker than the paint on the chip. So if you're looking at the chips, consider going one lighter than the one you're eyeing.
* BM sells pre-mixed two ounce samples of their most popular colors for $3.99. They're quick and easy to pick up and test out. While I've heard that you should test next to each other, I didn't like this. I put two up right next to each other and thought one had a more purple hue and one had a more blue hue to it. The contrast made the bluer one seem more blue, and the purple one seem more purple. I put another swatch on a different wall and it didn't look nearly as blue anymore.
* If interested in BM paint, go to Hill Country paints on S. Congress and Stassney. The people there are incredibly helpful and nice. It was so different than our previous Home Depot experiences. They weren't trying to sell us on stuff ("Do we need primer?" "psshh, nah. This paint's good enough you don't.") They helped us pick out colors and finishes. And they recorded everything in our "file" so we can come back and pick up more without having to remember what we got in the first place. We even had a little incident that proved how great these folks are.

When I went in to get samples, I asked for Woodland Snow and Kahlua and Cream. I got the samples, went home, put them on the wall, and determined I liked the lighter one better. I then went back and asked for two gallons of Woodlands Snow.

We taped, put down tarps, got all the stuff set up, poured the paint into the tray. After one roller on the wall, we knew something was wrong. It was so, so, so much whiter than the swatch we had up there. What happened???

It turns out, they gave us samples of Yellow Squash instead of Woodland Snow, and Acorn Yellow instead of Kahlua and Cream. So the one we liked, we thought was Woodland Snow but was actually Yellow Squash. Their fault for giving us the wrong samples, our fault for not looking at what they had written on the bottom of the sample and checking to make sure it was what we wanted. We went back in and explained what had happened, fearful they'd just tell us it was too darn bad. Instead, they were incredibly nice and accommodating. She added more pigment to the Woodland Snow to darken it to the yellow squash shade. Then, since we had already pour out a fair amount from one of the gallons, she mixed the open and the untouched gallons together so there would be no shade variation. It was a huge relief that we hadn't just spent a ton of money on the wrong color.

When I went back for other rooms later, the guy working there remembered my name, Hans' name, and that we'd painted our bedroom in regal matte. I was impressed. I highly recommend you speak with Sanders at Hill Country Paint if you are considering painting any time soon.


  1. Huh, my experience with Behr was very different - no primer, two coats, and beautiful. The two coats were definitely necessary.

    Still, you've definitely made me more interested in Benjamin Moore paints. That and the Pottery Barn does a wonderful job showing off their paints. If only I had thousands of dollars to make-over a room with uber-expensive house wears.

    The colors you've selected for your home look fantastic!

  2. Ya know, it has been several years (four maybe?) and if I remember correctly from my research Behr re-tooled their paint fairly recently. I think most Behr paint has a primer in it now, but I could be wrong. maybe that's why your experience was different? But maybe I'll give it another go for the remaining rooms!

    And I wish I could afford everything at Pottery Barn, too. Le sigh.

  3. I don't see any reason to replace something that is working so beautifully!