Finally getting a start.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Our list of projects for this house is soooo long, it's....well, soooo long.  I even made a binder with pages for each room, CAD* drawings of every room with measurements, along with the list of all the changes needed.  (That's a helpful thing, making lists and putting them in a binder.  Mike continues to make fun of me for it but ya know what, I've got everything I need in one place, I can take it to the store with me and all the info is there.)

Some of the things this flipper did were just mind-boggling.  Take for instance our living room.

staged living room

Here it is in its staged-to-sell glory.  Yeesch.  It's the worst staging job I had ever seen.  Not to mention the two awful colors on the walls separated by a chair rail.  But worst of all, and the very first thing I wanted to get rid of, were those awful diamond shaped things of moulding under the chair rail.  Painted with yet a third color within.  Who does that?  I will say, that floor lamp in the corner was nice and one or two of the fuzzy pillows were cool, but clearly I am digressing.  It can be hard for people to see past this ruckus and visualize how just some paint can fix a mess like this.

What a project it was getting all the moulding off the walls.  Well, actually, not really.  The real project was patching and sanding.  Since I was working so much at the time, I could only pull off bits and pieces here and there which was frustrating because the moulding and paint colors were making me nuts.

Thankfully, because they did things so cheaply, the moulding wasn't glued onto the walls too badly.  For some reason they overkilled and used 2.5" brads to secure it all.  But they did take the time to caulk around the edges.  Here's where a good retractable knife came in handy.  I cut around the caulk and with a flat head screw driver, I pried it all off.  There were a lot of holes and torn drywall paper areas to patch for sure.


There's Hailey, sitting in the corner where that lamp had been, showing off her mom's former-diamond patching job.  It took a lot of sanding, which I was originally doing by hand to keep the dust to a minimum.  I picked up a few of those sandpaper blocks which worked pretty well until my arm got too tired.  It took a couple rounds of patching and sanding to get the walls smooth.

joint compound sanding cloud

That's when I gave up and went for the palm sander.  Yeah, I made a ridiculous mess that day despite poking the holes in the sandpaper and putting a plastic collection bag on the sander but hey, the sanding portion was done!

Next was trying to pick a color or two for the walls.  After living with the existing colors and patched walls for months, that was a toughie.  I can pick colors for other people easy breezy, it barely takes a moment to find the right color for someone else.  But for us, it took me a long time of taping the little cards on the wall, taking them down, putting them up, checking them in different types of light....I finally settled on two on a whim at the store since I was obviously overthinking it:  Sonata and Summer Shower.  I got the paint with primer for the Sonata and really should have done that with the Summer Shower.  I don't think I'll buy paint without primer in it ever again actually.  It makes a huge difference.

panorama living room

It's not a great photo for sure; I'll post a better one another day.  Just ignore that unpainted unfinished wall by the door there, ahem.  The stairwell will get a different color, that's why.  Sonata went on the main walls to the left while Summer Shower went on the closet wall and others on the right.  It helps break up the room and reduces color eye fatigue if you've got two different colors in one room.  It doesn't work for every situation, so plan and experiment.  Those little containers of paint samples are really helpful if you need to see a larger portion of color on the wall.  It's better to spend $10 and realize it's a mistake than $60-70 plus all the time and effort.

When Mike came home from work that night, he stopped and stood there, staring at the room, jaw a bit dropped.  First he couldn't believe what a difference painting a room could make.  Second he couldn't believe those awful colors were gone.  And third, he loved the colors, even after doubting my two color idea.  He was generally speechless the rest of the night, staring at the walls.  It was like a whole different house.  Getting this done goosed the fire to get a lot more painting done.

It is true though, the old, often over-harped sentiment:  paint is the one thing you can do that's generally pretty inexpensive that really changes a room.  For about $60, three gallons of paint, it was a stunning change for the better.  There are other, less expensive, less messy things you can do to instantly refresh a room or change its feeling, but that'll be later.

*The AutoCAD link is an AutoDesk affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Oh this is fun. I'm so glad you are going to blog your flip of the flip. I'm eager to read about the transformation ...even more excited to see it when you are done.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the kind words of encouragement after being teased by others! Thanks for reading it.


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