The saga of my living room redo has gone on much longer than planned. What was originally meant to be a project that spanned 2-3 Saturdays, dragged on through September. I blame the hot summer (this girl can't paint when it is 90 degrees fahrenheit inside the house) and some challenging things going on in my personal life. Thanks for sticking with me. And now, enough of the excuses. It's time to put up or shut up.
Here's a reminder of what I was working with. I snapped this photo during the home inspection. The walls were ivory and the ceiling your basic white. If you looked closely, you could see some spots where the new paint hadn't quite covered the old.
The folks at Hirshfield's helped sponsor this project by comping me a gallon of the paint I used for my ceiling. It was a nice help to my budget, but free paint or not, I would have shopped there anyway. They didn't ask me to write this part, but I try to shop locally when I can and have purchased all of the paint for my home from their stores. They carry great product lines and have been really helpful with my newbie painting questions about which rollers and brushes to buy. Their blog and twitter are also entertaining resources for d-i-y tips and decorating ideas.
The paint I chose for my redo was Benjamin Moore Aura Abalone for the walls and Lacey Pearl for the ceiling. In a preview post, I showed how the new colors I chose looked mocked up on the walls. Abalone was a color I fell in love with from one of House Beautiful's paint round-ups. The Lacey Pearl was a last minute change as the project got started. It's the lightest shade on the same paint chip as the Abalone.
I started the project by spackling and caulking like crazy. My walls are in fairly decent shape, but they are old and have the expected cracks and divots from settling and just years of use. I also took down the heavy drapes and related hardware. It was a relief when I finally got to the paint.
The ceiling has an orange peel texture. Painting it was probably one of the least favorite things I've done with the house so far. It was tricky because, when wet, the lacey pearl didn't contrast all that much with the original white. I ended up having to go over it again and again where I found spots the roller hadn't been able to reach. The nice thing about Aura is that it dries fast! I would just wait an hour and go back and hit the spots I didn't get the first time.
The walls were next. As instructed, I cut in and let the paint dry before I started rolling on the paint. It took FOREVER because I have a coved ceiling with a lip. I decided to take the wall paint all the way up to that lip, which meant dealing with more of that oh so fun orange peel/stucco/hellish texture. It was a real pain. At this point in the project I declared that I would never paint this room again and forgave the former owner for all of the spots they had missed when they last painted.
The walls went a lot better once the cutting in was done. I had already used this same paint in my hallway and was used to it and how to deal with my wall's peculiarities. My process was to roll on a coat and let it dry. Then I went back and hit the spots that the roller (or my clumsy technique) missed. After that coat dried I went back for a final roller coat. It's a generously sized room by 1950s standards so this took quite a lot of time. Not including the prep, I spent about three full Saturdays on the ceiling and living room painting. I'm sure some of that was because I'm a perfectionist freak. I eventually had to say it was good enough because there's no way to get perfection when you're dealing with an older home.
Here's a shot of the empty room and freshly painted walls and ceiling.
And a few more with furniture loaded back in. You might also spy the beautiful blue pillow I ordered a couple of weeks ago.
Benjamin Moore Abalone is the perfect color for my living room. It is crisp and fresh, but thanks to its warm base, never feels cold. It's definitely not a muddy depressing grey. I like how the color shifts depending on the lighting and how even in a matte finish it seems almost luminous. The Lacey Pearl on the ceiling complements it nicely. I couldn't be happier with my color choices and the Aura paint was great to work with. It didn't have an overpowering paint smell and the fast drying time was a big help. I plan to use this paint in other rooms in my house.
There's obviously some decorating left to do in this room. You may have noticed that I ditched the blue chair and screen. Those will end up in my office/studio. The chair was out of scale with my other furniture and the room feels much better with less stuff in it. I hope to eventually replace it with a chair more in scale with the room. A rug and some more lighting will be a big help, and I still need to hang the curtains and art. After that, I'll just let it naturally become more and more me.