About a million years ago (by which I mean almost exactly two months ago), I shared a post about our guest room and my grand plans for making it over. The motivation for the project is that Sam’s younger sister is thinking about coming to live with us for a bit starting at the end of the summer, and I didn’t think the current state of the guest room was doing us any favors in enticing her:
I mean, it’s not so bad. And it has a lot of potential. But it also has a lot of pink flowery contact paper. When we have guests staying for just a night or two it’s okay — though I never feel like I’m putting our house’s best foot forward — but for a longer term stay I think some change is really in order.
So I proposed to you, our beloved readers, the idea of painting all the walls white, and then asked for your opinion while knowing full well that I would probably get yelled at for proposing to paint all the wood.
Well, it turns out our readers share our sensibility that it’s sometimes okay to paint wood, especially when it’s orange, because there was resounding consensus. As one commenter wrote: “PAINT THE WOOD!”
So that’s what we did. Over the three-day Fourth of July weekend, we avoided all social engagements, put on our best painting clothes, set the window air conditioning unit to “high” (ironic, because of all the paint fumes…), and got painting. And painting. And painting and painting and painting. YOU GUYS I THOUGHT THE PAINTING WOULD NEVER END. It was like a reprise of the stairwell makeover, except this time at least I had Sam’s help plus the help of a poor unsuspecting friend who foolishly offered to come over to assist. Thank you Zoe!!!
The reason it took so long is that all the walls are either textured wood or board-and-batten which means that even rolling was very tedious and much of it had to be done with a regular old paintbrush. Plus we painted the ceiling and both doors (the bedroom door and the closet door). Plus painting white over wood requires a million coats (one million = one coat of primer and two+ coats of paint). Also we didn’t want to move the furniture out because that would require moving it down the stairs, so we were constantly just pushing the bed back and forth depending on where we needed to be, and the sloped ceiling meant we were perpetually crouching.
Oh but before we had the privilege of painting, we had to prep. This involved two steps. The first was removing the flowery contact paper. This was actually pretty quick because I started by peeling off the visibly loose pieces:
And then saying “to hell with this, we’re painting right over the rest of it!” If you are looking for pro painting tips, you should leave this blog now.
The second piece of prep was caulking. We used three tubes of caulk because as with the rest of the house, our seller apparently had never heard of caulk and there were weird seams everywhere, including along every single piece of that board-and-batten. But caulking really does make such a difference. Here’s a grainy iphone picture side-by-side of before and after caulking just a few of the seams:
Priming was also a bit of an adventure, since I made a trip to Home Depot to procure all our supplies and then when I got home realized that the full can of primer I had at home that I’d been planning to use was tinted. I bought the tinted primer back when we were preparing to paint the master bedroom because I thought it would help us do fewer coats of the dark paint we were using, but then the primer wasn’t as dark as I’d wanted so we skipped straight to painting and only needed to do one coat anyway and were very pleased. And then we put the tinted primer in the basement to confuse our future selves.
Anyway I decided that even though the primer was light gray, it was still lighter than the wood paneling and blue walls, and more importantly it was in our home already as opposed to being on the shelves of Home Depot. So we plunged ahead painting the room gray. I didn’t take many photos though because I was embarrassed, and also because I was covered in paint and didn’t want to touch my phone. But I think you know what priming looks like.
After that came the white paint. We used Benjamin Moore’s “Chantilly Lace” in eggshell finish, which is what Naomi has in her home and also what we used in our basement gym. It took us two full coats plus a lot of additional touchups, which translated to about 30 total person hours for the whole project including prep work. Whew.
And now that I’ve appropriately impressed/bored you with our painting process, time for the reveal. So far we haven’t changed anything but the paint, but I have lots of additional plans including some furniture changes and colorful accessories. As a reminder, here’s where we started:
Everything but the floors got painted (and even the floor got some accidental paint, but we were able to clean it off with soap and water).
The windows and trim:
The wood paneling:
And the board-and-batten:
We also painted the doors, but used semi-gloss rather than eggshell for them since that’s what we’ve done in the rest of the house. I’m not sure this was necessary, but it wasn’t any harder for me since I made my friend do that part — I just gave her a separate can of paint and told her to get to work.
There are plenty of imperfections in the walls, but we decided to embrace a “casual” and “imperfect” vibe for the space, which I think works for an attic bedroom. I mean, this inspiration image that I shared in my first post about the guest room has giant seams in the walls, and I think it’s fabulous:
As for the additional projects I’m planning, I have in mind curtains, artwork, a lighting plan, back of door mirror, painting the dresser, recovering the rocker, and colorful accessories. But for now, I’m thrilled with how the white paint has lightened this space up and created an airy foundation for some colorful touches and whatever Maddie brings to the space.
At the end of the day, it was totally worth all the work, and that’s not just the paint fumes talking.
(UPDATE: Be sure to check out Part II of this transformation!)