As I’ve written about before, painting the Black Wall in the living room was the first priority after buying my house, followed closely by painting the rest of the living room/kitchen so that it wasn’t so dark in that big airy room. The next top priority became one I didn’t expect, which was painting my hobby room.
I had originally just expected to move down the house gradually while painting, starting in the hallway (also dark), going into my bedroom and bathroom, and then moving around to the guest bath, spare bedroom, and then the hobby room, finishing up with the basement (which will take a team of 6 and buckets of Kilz, I expect). Instead, as I’ve slowly set up the house to the way I’ve wanted it, the hobby room quickly moved to the head of the list. Discounting sleep and bathroom time, the hobby room is the second most used room in the house. As soon as I got the desk/table and bed in there, it’s become a comfortable haven for myself and the dog(s) alike. I can spend hours in there crafting while Ky snoozes contentedly on the bed or, if it’s sunny, chases shinies around the room. However it was painted a dark green color – the former color of much of the house – and in a small room like that, it felt oppressive.
Even on a bright sunny day, like it was when I took this photo, the room was still dark. You get a better idea of the original wall color here.
I don’t want anything in my home to be able to be described with the words “dark” or “depressing”, certainly not a room that I wanted to be a place of comfort and cheer.
The quest began to pick a paint color that would work with the room I wanted it to become. White would have been too bright; the room gets afternoon sun, and the reflected glare would have been bright but overpowering in the summer. I didn’t want anything similar to the pink/grey of the living room and I didn’t want blue, as I’m guessing that one of the other bedrooms is going to be a shade of blue, both bathrooms are currently blue, and the bed set that I bought for the room was blue plaid. Not to mention the hideous neon blue that is the current color of the cellar.
I brought home a bunch of paint tiles and discarded them one by one; too bright, too dark, too orange, too red. Then one day after Christmas Kyra and I did a wander of Home Depot. Our neighborhood Home Depot allows well-behaved dogs in with their owners, and it’s a wonderful place to both train and socialize a dog. I’ve lost count of the number of orange-aproned employees who see Kyra and dig in their pockets for dog treats that they carry with them. Kyra always beelines for the service desk, and points out the treat boxes to the employees behind it with a not-so-subtle hint. If the weather is nasty and you have to get out of the house with your vibrating-with-excess-energy dog, HD is the place to be (provided that your local HD is as awesome as mine; pet permission varies by store manager).
We were doing our usual wander up and down the aisles – Kyra, per protocol, was introducing herself to every person she saw – and I paused at the paint chip display, always on the lookout for a good color. The seasonal stuff was still out, and I saw a chip with four accenting colors on it. One was pink (no), a very dark brown (no), a warm gold (not bad), and a color called Harvest Pumpkin.
Now, don’t make snap judgements on this orange. The color in person is MUCH different than the color on the chip. Much lighter with pinker tones. And as anyone who has attempted to choose a paint color knows, the color looks vastly different on the wall than it does on the chip (or the floor, or your shirt, or the dog). I don’t like orange as a color in general and particularly not as a paint color. But this one really hit the right warm/cool mix for me. And at the risk of making you think I’m particularly weird – if you don’t think I am already – I’ve had very good luck with paint colors named for food. I still remember my favorite paint project on my first house, which was the three season porch, that I painted Butter Yellow with Milky Way accent color. Food paint colors just work better! I had a good feeling about Harvest Pumpkin, and was even tempted to buy some Pink Sea Salt.
I went ahead and bought a gallon of the Harvest Pumpkin premium paint/primer with great trepidation. The Marquis stuff is nearly $40/gallon and not returnable, so if I didn’t like this orange color, I was going to be out quite a bit. But if I just bought a sample size, I knew damn well I was never going to just commit and get the damn room painted. Apparently $40 is all it takes to get me to commit! Good to know for the future.
And so I started painting. The only bit I primed first was the blackboard painted spot, as I’ve never painted over blackboard paint before and wasn’t sure of the possibility of bleed through. I actually ended up painting three of the four walls over the 30th and 31st of December, mostly so I wouldn’t have time to dwell on New Year’s thoughts of my ex and Where It All Went Wrong while I was alone with my canine on New Year’s Eve.
The blackboard paint turned out not to be as big a concern as the original paint on the walls. The Behr Marquis, despite claiming to be one-coat coverage, was not. I would imagine it’s one coat coverage if you applied it super thick and used 3 gallons to paint a small room, but I have neither the tools, time, or money to do so. I rolled it on with a thin, cheap roller and edger and ended up having to redo all three walls over again at least once and in some cases multiple times.
There had been a thought in my head that I’d leave one wall the original green as an accent wall, which is why I concentrated on three of the four walls in the room. Unfortunately as I worked my way around, I found holes or damage to every wall that had to be fixed and painted over, including the wall that I had planned to leave as an accent wall. Since I didn’t have the original paint color to do the fixes, I just went ahead and painted everything.
Now, when I say “went ahead”, I mean it in the context of “used up all the paint I had, procrastinated on buying more paint, bought more paint, and then procrastinated for weeks on finishing the final wall.” It’s the 26th of January and I finally finished the fourth – and might I add smallest – wall. The last time I worked on the room was Jan 1st.
The problem with painting is that no matter how small of a project you’re painting, it’s still this huge undertaking. Even if you have all of the materials and supplies there and waiting for you literally in the room, it’s still going to take hours. Finding your painting clothes, opening cans, mixing the paint, pouring it, moving furniture around, taking down and putting back up curtains and fixtures, wiping up spills (a constant inevitability when I’m painting), rotating through the roller, edger, brush, and sponge without spilling or dropping anything, washing and putting away all of your equipment, folding up the ladder and hauling it around, washing yourself and making sure you’re not tracking or smudging paint around the rest of the house…any painting project requires these things, and that’s not counting the time taken by the actual painting process. Much like teaching, I like the actual act of painting, but I hate all of the crap that goes along with it. I need a Painting Butler who will hand me things upon request and clean up after me.
That being said, I absolutely love the final product. The room is cheerful and bright without being overwhelming. The color is not orange but closer to a peachy pink and goes well with pretty much everything from the green desk (that may not stay green forever) to the blue bed set. It’s warm and comforting and just what I’m looking for. I’ve actually managed to come out of this project with 3/4 of a gallon of Harvest Pumpkin left over, and I think next on the list is the same color in the master bath! I like it that much!