Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Paint Job Funnies


If you ever hired someone to paint the interior of your home, you’ll understand every bit of this. I know someone who suffered through something worse [a kitchen renovation] and reported washing dishes in the bathtub. That’s pathetic.

Getting ready for a major paint job is like packing up the whole house to move out,
only you don’t move out. You just unpack it all again in a few days. In the meantime, you uncover several pounds of dust and dirt. You constantly wonder where all the dust came from.

It was a week of unloading, reloading and crashing into bed before 10pm.



Before I get all snarky, I will say it’s worth the hassle. The faux finish in the dining room knocks my socks off every time I walk by. We worked feverishly to keep the pace this week. Should I ask husband to lower that lighthouse print above the hutch? I think not now. I’ll wait a week.


The main areas are a non-descript shade of warmth. The openness of the floor plan dictates the color to flow from room to room.

So I came home from work every day and enjoyed the surprises awaiting me. The off-white boring walls were disappearing fast and boy did I smile and tell the painters how terrific it looked while tripping over drop cloths on the way to greet Chloe and Bella who were locked in a bedroom all day.

Someone left a McDonald’s Apple Pie on the floor and two large coffees gone cold. How nice. A treat for the dogs?

I found pieces of furniture tucked away in the strangest places. Like a large couch in the hallway I had to climb over and crawl on in order to visit the dogs in a bedroom beyond. How was I to cook dinner with two step ladders in the middle of the kitchen floor? And every five minutes I heard masking tape snap on the sole of my shoe, like Chinese water torture.

Chloe and Bella were kept in a bedroom for good reasons. One of the painters was so laid back he didn’t grasp the meaning of the words, “Please keep that door closed to the outside. My dogs might run away from home.” Is that clear? Obviously not, to good old Sherman. His slow-motion brush strokes and sleepy southern attitude killed me because I don’t know how he managed to accomplish so much in one day, considering the fact he spent way too much time in the powder room. Seriously. He even left the fan running in there in preparation of his next visit. I surmised he had some intestinal flare-ups from overindulging in a large bag of UTZ Jalapena Pepper potato chips almost every day. Dang I hated bringing out the Lysol every night. It’s bad enough to clean your own toilets… Just lay off the chips, Sherm!

Sherman reminded me of a more severe case back in 2002 - moving day at our brand new home in Delaware. Lil, Bill, Will, and Marcus moved us in. Lil was the elder short black man who was as wide as he was tall and able to strap a piano on his back (an exaggeration but I’ve never seen a man carry such stuff). A real bull. I pumped OJ into those men to keep them moving on a 98 degree day but Lil was sufferin’ for a few hours in a brand new, sparkling bathroom. He Christened that room before anyone else could… I was concerned he might have died in there until I heard him call for more toilet tissue.


One evening I learned everything in the master bath and bedroom would need to be moved out by morning. Main question: To where?

The odd shade of brown goes so well with that ratty, red, expensive Egyptian cotton blanket that the dogs ruined, of which I talked about in a recent post. Ugh.

Again, we can’t have anything nice.


Bordeaux. Four coats of Bordeaux. Risky shade I love! It is now necessary to shop for all new accessories for the master bathroom. I can handle that with no problem. The ceiling is about 20 feet tall, perfect for a chandelier, as suggested by a friend, but I’m thinking of exotic birds. Painted. ;-)

The bathroom was a two-day job. Husband easily stored his non-beauty bathroom products under his sink. I, on the other hand, had to pack a brown grocery bag full of my health and beauty products every morning and carry them to another room down the hall.

By mid-week, the fumes from the white oil-based trim paint got thick and heavy. My delicate nostrils were inflamed and raw by that time and when I turned the oven on for dinner, the “hit you like a brick wall” odor made me believe there was a gas leak. The emergency technician from the gas company arrived within 30 minutes and assured me there was no gas leak. The oven heat intensified the fumes, is all…


The last room painted is where I’m sitting now. This “den”, facing the hot western sun, has a golf theme so we chose a relaxing olive green. Actually, Michael insisted on a dark green for this room so I agreed quickly before he became infatuated with infant-poop yellow again. Yes, he painted a sunroom in Maryland with that color and we still talk about it as much as we talk about my Pepto-Bismol pink living room.

On Friday afternoon, I waved good-bye to the painter who had my fat check in his hot hand. He also had one of our garage door openers in his glove box as he pulled away and headed for the interstate. Sh-t.

Here's a short series of Tufted Titmouse. Long series are impossible.




My camera collected dust all week so I’m dangerously low on photos.


It snowed on Monday and didn’t melt until Thursday.


Now, it’s near 80. That’s March in the Carolinas for ya.

Tip: Neosporin w/Pain Relief is great for raw nostrils.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

I just read the parts about Sherm and Lil out loud to Art- we both laughed like crazy! Art said I'm going to need an extra carry-on for the Depends I'm going to need for all the laughing in West Virginia!!!

The paint looks GREAT!!

word verification- sactrapp!!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Whooeee!! I'm first!!
(and now I'm second too!)

Kim said...

LOL Mary!! I am choking on my Coca Cola here!!! You always make me laugh!

Love the titmoutse photos. So crisp and lovely.

Heidi said...!

first... love love love the paint job! how in the heck did you manage to make the paint decisions so quick?

next... i am just in awe over you. you make a decision and go full bore (boar?) with it. i simply cannot get over that you painted the entire house at once. i couldn't even contemplate that. one room at a time for me. the most we did was 3 rooms at once and that's only because there was hardly any furniture because we just don't have that much.

last... ROFL @ your experiences with movers and painters. i would be so ticked too if i wasn't the one to christen the bathroom... and to top it off, STINKY! we have always assumed contractors won't be keeping the outside doors closed, so trapped cats it is before we leave for work.

Rose said...

Mary, There is so much I want to say here, but I've forgotten half of it:) First of all, your house looks beautiful! I laughed at the Pepto-Bismal living room--perhaps with Sherm there, that would have been a more appropriate color for the bathroom.

I know it was a lot of hassle, but the results are certainly worth it. I am going to have to wait to do any re-decorating, especially carpeting. If you have a free minute over the next few days, check out my last post, and you'll understand why--you can just look at the first photo:)

NCmountainwoman said...

I love your colors! I want desperately to add some color in our house, but my husband is fearful that it will reduce the airy and light feeling of the outdoors. Perhaps I'll start with my study and he'll be so surprised he will give another thought to adding color.

I also survived a major remodel...addition of a family room. Believe me, I've had the entire house painted before, but adding a room is twenty times worse.

Kathie Brown said...

Ah, the buds are buddin' everywhere I see! Love the titmouse and the house paint job. Did you get your garage door opener back? I hope so!

Dog_geek said...

Love the new colors, and the stories about Sherm and Lil. I'm glad that you all survived the process!

Carol Michel said...

All I can think of is those poor Licker Sisters stuck in that bedroom all day, wondering about the sounds and smells coming from beyond the door.

Your house looks great. Whadda ya mean you can't keep anything nice?

Carol, May Dreams GArdens

KGMom said...

Where to begin.
First, I do love your house--looks like you have loads of space (something we are short on!)
We went through the paint thing a couple of years back. When I stopped working full time, I thought--I can paint this house--save money etc. I got the hallway done, with four door frames as well, and threw in the towel.
Hired ONE man--who did it all. He even heaved furniture into the middle of the room. At times, I felt so sorry for him, bending this way and that around our stuff.
And, on color--we stayed creamy white (almost pale yellow) except for our family room where we went a lovely shade of gray/blue. Guess what--my husband, who had avoided color all these years, LOVES IT.
Work men using the bathroom? That's a new one on me. We have had people here, and I keep offering them--no, no--they're fine. How can they be?

NatureWoman said...

Wow! Your home is beautiful, Mary!! I love all of the colors you've chosen. What a lot of work for you to have to move everything.

Corey said...

Great storytelling Mary . . Sherm's a painter's painter, isn't he? Your house is beautiful.

jason said...

First: I absolutely LOVE the colors, Mary! They're fantastic. How warm and inviting.

Second: Your house is definitely a home. I want to visit post haste!

Third: Definitely move the lighthouse photo down.

Fourth: Your titmouse is beautiful! I love those birds. Such attitude and beauty rolled into one tiny feathered body. You captured that without question.

Tina said...

What an adventure you had with this home decorating experience!! I'm still are such a great story teller..just the name Sherm catches one's attention!!
I like the colors you chose..your master bath is gorgeous and that faux finish in your dining room is very nice.

Glad you found your camera..and spent some time outside..with the birdees!!

Dawn Fine said...

LOL...great story Mary..
Those spicy chip loving painters did a great job! Nice colors.
I am happy that all is done and you dont have to crawl over things, paper bag your cosmetics and find food on the floor.

Julie Zickefoose said...

I salute your color selections, Mare! They're unequivocal, bold and absolutely gorgeous. I think my favorite is the faux finish in the LR. Bee-yu-tiful. What a great house.

Our awesome builder brought a portolet with him, definitely solves the cleaning-up-unknown snarge issue. This post finds you in rare form! All that and titmice too??

Vickie said...

You are too funny! Those colors are gorgeous. Romantic, luscious, gorgeous!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Great color choices, Mary!

Mary said...

Hi All,

Thanks for your nice compliments. But, my homes are always works-in-process.

And, we did not have to move large furniture! Our painters did the heavy work and were excellent to work with. Very professional. But they did not bring a port-a-pot.


J.G. said...

Bold! Gorgeous! Love it!

Yes, I'd say the picture needs lowering. (But not til you've recovered.)

Word verification: faudinti

Unknown said...

Wow! You have a beautiful home Mary! As for the painters, aren't they artists after all. What's the saying: judge the art, not the artist. (Plus, they need their calories!)

Angie said...

GORGEOUS!!! Those rooms are seriously GORGEOUS!!! Well worth the icky bathroom cleanups and sore nostrils with neosporin. I laughed so hard at your descriptions of poor Sherm that I had tears running down my face.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I love those colors, Mary--so strong and bold and rich. The green is one of my favorites--just like that in my kitchen, the room I spend most of my time sitting in.

I'm sure as time goes on, you'll wish you'd had the white removed long ago!

Anonymous said...

I love the colors!! The rooms look fantastic!

Unknown said...

The paint job looks awesome and I guess it was worth the effort.

BTW you have a beautifully laid out home.

A New England Life said...

Yes, oil paint combined with heat will certainly deliver an awful smell. It's enough to make you sick.

You're fortunate to live in such a beautiful home Mary, and it appears the men did a very nice job painting. The colors you chose are gorgeous! Even the faux looks good. Glad you are pleased. I love working for a homeowner who can make a solid decision and isn't afraid of using color. The most recent bathroom I painted at the beach was the lightest color on the chart and she still thought it was dark. lol!

It really is a pain to have your whole house disrupted and I can certainly relate to a kitchen redo as we've done them in the past. It's especially chaotic and difficult for families with little kids.

Thanks for inviting us in! Now where are the cookies and coffee? ; )

I want it to be near 80 here too, but instead it's snowing again. Oh well, whatcha gonna do.

Peg Silloway said...

You've done it again, Mary! In one post you have me laughing, nodding in recognition, and wondering at your delightful way with words and photos. Great paint colors you chose - I would never have such courage. And those bird photos - wasn't that long ago you were bemoaning the tufted tits who refused to pose for you. Ha! You got 'em, and beautifully.

dguzman said...

Oh man, the paint looks awesome! But didn't you know that ALL professional painters are slow? I think it's the fumes--years and years of sniffing paint. (Seriously!)

And in a weird twist of home renovation, my word verif is "begroutd."

A New England Life said...

Maybe that's my problem, too many fumes . . . lol!


Those walls are gorgeous, Mary.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I bet you come home and gasp!
Each color is lovely. Lots of work but so worth it. Your home looks beautiful!
Bless those darling girls for putting up with all the bother.
Painters are one of a kind sort of are tree trimmers.
I heard the Baltimore Orioles were in my area...I put oranges out.
Hummers will be along before we know it. Tufted is so cute....
How are the Blue Birds?

Cheryl said... are so funny....I love your writing.....and that Sherm, oh my goodness, what can I say, I can't stop laughing.....

Your house looks beautiful....colours are warm and inviting......enjoy...

The bird shots are great....

JeanMac said...

Mary, I love, love your colors.What a nice "do" for spring. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

So beautiful! Your home is a great example to all those folks suffering (without realizing it) in whitey-white-white rooms. If I were president, my motto would be: "A chicken in every yard and color on every wall."

Wendy said...

You make me laugh! Bad enough to clean your own toilets......
Hope you got your garage door opener back. LOL!

Colours are great! They did a real professional job. Your home looks beautiful.

Cute little birdies too. Can we have some 80 degree weather too? Please??

RuthieJ said...

That's what I love about you Mare--you can tell a story that makes the most horrible situation absolutely hilarious! I'm glad your painters have finally left. Your house looks fabulous and now you can get back to normal.

Jayne said...

I love, love, love the colors Mary!! It looks just gorgeous. :c) Congrats on getting it all done.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Mary, I giggled all through your post today. It is difficult to have people in your house but the finished product is well worth it. Your house looks like a home now, all warm and inviting. Yes, definitely lower the picture in the dining room. And in that bathroom, have them paint the birds on the ceiling AND get a chandelier.

beckie said...

Mary, yes I did need a good laugh. Thanks! What a hoot-your story is one that often happens when men come in to do work. But we put up with it for the great results. Your colors are gorgeous and with those ceilings painted white-AWESOME.

The birds are so pretty-great eye candy on a gloomy day. Give the girls extra treats for being such good sports while the painters were there.

Donna said...

You have a beautiful home, Mary! LOVE the paint colors!