Monday, April 21, 2008

Bathroom in a Weekend - Part 2: Walls

Although the first floor bathroom had been remodeled before we moved in (indeed, it was redone between the first time Jen saw the house and the first time I saw it), during the three-year mayhem of construction at Humphrey House, it had sorely deteriorated.

Once we uncovered the cool original bungalow floors and decided to go with them, we knew it was time to tackle the walls. I had previously repainted the ceiling and while I had the setup ready for the kitchen ceiling, but the walls had seen many patched holes that I later spot primed, and needed a fresh coat throughout. Well, they got four.

On Saturday, I began with a thorough coat of moisture resistant primer (this is a bathroom with no ventilation fan after all). After letting it set overnight, it was time to tackle the finishing coat. Scott, being the sport he is, offered to help paint before he had some other things to do.

Since the first floor bathroom is such a small room, we planned to reuse some of the myriad gallons of previously used paint that still had some left inside (about 15 cans or so). Jen thought a nice cool white would work well on the walls, so we went with Swiss Mocha leftover from the upstairs painting. So Scott and I cracked open an extra gallon and went to town. It went pretty fast as I cut in and Scott followed me with the roller. Without a toilet or vanity in the room, there was actually a fair amount of space for us both to work in, and things went along smoothly.

Until Jen exclaimed, "Wait, that's too yellow!" Turns out we did not have Swiss Mocha (the mix label on top was too faded), but some kind of creamy yellow. Suddenly the cool bath became draped in muted yellow, that when seen against the pastel blue bathtub, left you feeling that all we need was a dash of pastel pink and we'd have a perfect room for a baby shower. Needless to say, the yellow was out. I didn't have the heart to do this while Scott was still over, so I waited until after he left to redo the paint in a whiter shade.

About two thirds of the way into the new paint color, I heard a voice from behind, "That's still not it." I incredulously turned around to see Jen frowning at the walls I had just painted.
"It's practically white! What are you talking about?"
"No, it's still too warm. I want this room to be cool."And she started to go into some design philosophy as I wondered what i would be like to not be married to a graphic designer.
"Okay, well what color do you like best?" I asked.
"The white that was in here this morning was nice," Jen replied.
"You mean the primer?"
"Yeah, whatever. That was cool. Get it, cool? Let's use that."

I got it all right. So, I went around the room yet again for the fourth time with the same color (primer) that I had used the first time that weekend. Fortunately this primer has a bit of a gloss to it so it will actually relatively easy to maintain. but going through the process certainly wasn't easy!


Anonymous said...

so you painted it FOUR times to get back to the primer??? yikes!

jay said...

Yes, there were some very sore muscles at the end of the day!

Anonymous said...

can you leave a primer coat on the walls as your main coat? is it durable enough? could i get away with painting my apartment (which is painted in different colors in each room) with a top-coat of a good primer and call it done, before i list it for sale and show it to prospective buyers?

jay said...

It's held up well so far, but we used a good primer meant to cover up anything (stains etc) called Zinsser. It leaves a wierd kind of satin / semi gloss finish which makes it pretty durable. I don't know but Kilz might work well too. I think for selling your house you could get away with it because it saves the next buyer a step or two in the painting process, but you might have to put on several coats of primer if you covering up a colored wall. Good luck!

Jan said...

This is Jan again. I used a zinser primer and a kilz primer before i painted because smokers lived here previously, and i wanted to be sure i had the best wall surfaces i could have. i think i went into overdrive on my walls, but they did turn out very nice. i washed them with TSP (I know--not green!) and rinsed with vinegar water and plain water, and let them dry before i put on the primer coat, then I chose fairly light colors from Behr and SW. later i ripped out the wooden shelves in the closets, patched the walls, did the same prep treatment on them, and painted them with "leftover" colors from the adjacent rooms and hallways so that the closets are as colorful as the rooms. i installed the Elfa System from Container Store in each closet. it provides much more storage since you can adjust the shelves to fit what you need to store. I may leave the walls and closets as they are when I leave, and let the next owner have the same pleasures that I had in preparing the walls their way.