Why didn’t anyone warn me?

Our original plan was to start painting in mid-March, but that was when our furniture was scheduled for a late March delivery. Last week, I received a surprise phone call from Pottery Barn — our furniture was coming early! I really wanted the living room painted before the furniture arrived, but Tony had a stack of essays from three classes to grade, so it wasn’t a good weekend for him to devote to painting. “How hard can it be?” I said. I decided to go for it and get started, even if it meant I’d be doing a lot of it by myself. Big mistake.

We chose a pale blue for the living room and hallway, so I figured it would make sense to do both at the same time. Since I knew painting was going to be harder with a toddler running all over the place, I thought I’d take it “easy” and take a whole weekend to do each room. Most of our work was done after Judah was in bed and late into the night. Tony painted large walls with the roller while I worked on detailing and trim. During the day, Tony graded papers while watching Judah, and I taped, primed, and painted the hallway by myself.

After taping everything and applying the first coat (primer tinted to 25% the shade of the final coat), I didn’t get to bed until 3:30 on Saturday morning. I love our huge living room, but GAH. Painting it took FOR.EV.ER.

I was surprised at how well the primer covered the dark orange color on the walls. We bought a fancy “high-hiding” primer, because I was hoping to avoid a second coat of paint, which was more expensive than even the fancier primer. Despite everyone and their brother warning me that I shouldn’t even bother trying to paint with anything but Sherwin Williams paint, we went with Valspar primer and paint from Lowe’s. I was happy with its coverage, and I really don’t believe that fancypants Sherwin Williams could have done much better on the dark orange, only we would have paid a lot more.

We used this contraption at the recommendation of my parents. We loved it for the first coat. After disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling it, though, it was more hassle than help. Maybe I broke something when I took it apart, but the stupid thing was falling apart as I tried to paint with it and splattering paint EVERYWHERE. We’ll probably try an ordinary roller and tray when we paint the rest of the house.

A hard lesson learned: even if you have laminate floors, invest in drop cloths. I’m going to be scraping tiny splatters off my floors for weeks. Ugh.

Another piece of advice: don’t forget to factor in prep time and the expense for supplies. We went through almost three rolls of painter’s tape to prepare the room, and it took over 2 hours. I didn’t add up the cost of just the supplies, but after buying the roller, a nice trim brush, tape, replacement rollers, and plaster patch, it added to our total substantially.

Tony and I pride ourselves on our ability to work through stressful situations as a team without taking out stress on one another. All of that went out the door this weekend. During my ugliest moments, I’m pretty sure I would have dunked his head in a bucket of paint if I thought it would fit. It wasn’t his fault, but I was just done, and all I could think about was the fact that we still had another coat, and three rooms to paint after that.

In the end, I’m happy with the color. It probably needs another coat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it this weekend. I may try to go over a few visible streaks with a brush instead of taking out the roller again. Or I may go back over it in a few weeks if it continues to bother me. Tony swears he doesn’t think it needs another coat. I think he’s just afraid I’m going to make him paint it again. I’ll share some after pictures after our furniture arrives on Wednesday.

Painting is hard, grueling, stressful work. Much harder than I thought it would be. I was feeling guilty for derailing my diet by eating pizza for dinner Friday night, and then I Google searched the number of calories burned while painting — over 300 an hour. I spent every waking hour painting this weekend, so I’m sure I burned off the extra calories at LEAST.

One room and hall done — three more rooms to go. I good news is, the remaining rooms are MUCH smaller with less surface to cover and more detailing, which isn’t as exhausting or messy as rolling. I still don’t know how I’ll survive it.

8 thoughts on “Why didn’t anyone warn me?

  1. Jen

    OMG KAREN. I am cracking up about you dunking his head in a bucket of paint!! I don’t know if the Sherwin Williams paint would have made THAT much of a difference. I’ve used it and honestly preferred Behr paint to it. I will say, if it is bothering you, you probably should do another coat… don’t hate me. I guess knowing how I am it would bother me until I knew there were two coats and it looked how I wanted it to look.

    If Tony can watch both kids, I’ll come over and help paint ;)

  2. Heidi

    Isn’t it fun? We just finished a big wallpaper removal/plaster/prime and paint job. And by we, I mean my husband. We simply can’t work together and continue to be married. It works out for us if my job ends at choosing and purchasing the paint.

    Feels good once its done though, doesnt it?

    1. Karen

      I’m so jealous. There is no way my husband would let me get away with that. If he’s suffering, I’m suffering. Heh.

  3. Mary

    Ughh I hate to paint. We’ve lived in our house for over 6 years now and finally, finally just finished painting the very last room. And now it looks like we might be moving. Go figure.

    We’ve never used fancy paint, just one of the low VOC brands at Lowe’s. We always do a quick coat of regular primer, then 2 coats of color. Covers perfectly. If you think you need another coat, just do it. You’ll be happier once it’s done!

    Can’t wait to see the pics of all your hard work and the new furniture!

  4. Katie

    Like the above poster, I prefer Behr paint, which is reasonably priced.

    The best painting tip I ever received was “cut twice, roll once”. Prime, cut in (translation: do the edges with a brush), roll, then cut in again. It will look perfect and is much less work than two full coats. A friend who’s a pro taught me that and now I can always tell if someone only cut in once – it’s a dead giveaway of a non-pro job.

    Also, save cleanup time by wrapping your rollers, brushes, etc in plastic (saran wrap or a grocery bag) when you take a break. Hold the actual clean-up until the project is done.

  5. Sarah

    I know it’s weird, but I kinda love painting. I HATE the taping. The rolling is my favorite part because so much is covered so fast I feel so accomplished. And changing a room color makes SUCH a difference. I almost always do at least 2 coats of color just so I know I won’t find any odd places, sometimes 3. We tend to go with Valspar as well and haven’t had any issues. If you want some help with another coat let me know and I’ll come over with my own bucket of supplies :)

  6. Dancing through NC

    Ditto on the taping. I HATE taping. That’s when I realize I’m not really a detail-oriented person because I get so sick of it. Even a tiny room takes FOREVER to tape. Much sympathy to you.

  7. Jennifer

    My husband always swears it doesn’t need another coat, just so he doesn’t have to paint it one more time. I seriously doubt a primer and 1 coat of paint will cover those orange walls. It will likely look much better with a second coat. I always regret when I don’t do a second coat of paint and having covered up horrible dark colors in the past you really do need it. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

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