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Prep and Paint (Sort of)

Things we shouldn’t do until our contractor completes the drywall repair –  well, the drywall we’ve ripped out… but also the ceilings we’ve taken down and the floors we’ve ripped up:

  • Nail anything into the walls. Our home will still be shifting (ever-so-slightly) until they complete the support beam installation. This means that any built-in ideas we have are off the books for now.
  • Unpack the fun stuff. We have bags of pillows, boxes of vases and candles and little orange elephants that would love to come out of hiding, but who would want to Swiff all that once the dust settles?
  • Build extra kitchen storage. We picked up the Vittsjo unit from Ikea for some open shelving and much needed storage for the kitchen, but as much as we’d love to unpack that flat box, why would we? Again, refer to the dust reference, above.
  • Work on the entry. Tiling the floor and stair repair would be better suited until after the sledgehammers, ladders and nail guns have been tucked away. Drop a saw on the staircase? Sure! Scrape the ladder across the entryway floor? Why not!
  • Paint the walls. Obviously.
  • Clean. Meaning, a real clean. No, we haven’t given up laundry or toilet scrubbing, but what’s the point in maintaining the baseboards when we don’t even have a ceiling? My Type-A ways have fallen to the wayside, and I kind of like it.

We’ve said this a few times, but not only are we hiring out the ceiling leveling (and therefore, the floor straightening), but our construction crew will also be moving around electrical work – centering lights, adding outlets and adding switches where needed. There’s a big list of to-dos, and although we’re next on the team’s work schedule, we’d rather not waste this in-between time doing nothing. Yes, there’s a lot we can’t do (i.e., above! Again!), but how about what we can do?

Well, let us tell you!

First, Scott and I have spent a big chunk of time cleaning windows, dropping off all our screens for repair (did you know you can do this at Ace Hardware?), scraping old caulk, and laying down spackle to fill in the 120-year-old cracks in the window casing. Phew.

While we were spackling, this got us into wall-repair-mode, so we used drywall patches to take care of any gaping holes. Below, you’ll see where our thermostat used to be (it was moved when we had an extra vents added on the first floor), and we also knocked out the more manageable holes in our  master bedroom – a result of the pipe capping. We also covered any small dents, knicks and cracks throughout the whole house while we were at it.

Now, here’s where things get weird – us included. The entire first floor was, unfortunately, painted with low quality paint and rollers, leaving an unintentional bizarre texture on the walls. In addition, staples and glue were used by the previous owner to adhere anything to the wall, so wanting to make it right, we decided to sand the walls. All the (first floor) walls!

We scraped what we could with a large putty knife, and we followed that up with a coarse sanding block and our mouse sander. We’re still not finished (there’s a lot of wall to cover!), but it’s helping. It’ll be worth it. (Although truth be told, I’m exhausted just thinking back on the task itself.)

And finally, we’ve decided on paint colors to go on our soon-to-be very flat, very untextured walls! This turned into quite the ordeal, as with anything in our home (or so it seems). We know that technically, technically we can’t paint – not yet – but once our team of contractor’s completes their punch list, it’ll be game on, and we’ll be ready. (Sort of like the whole house buying process: Wait, wait, wait… Then, go! Go! Go!)

Our goal? Soft colors. Muted. Understated. Colors that are almost non-colors but will still contrast with bright white trim. For weeks, our home has been lined with swatches of Silver Drop, Pensive Sky, Ancient Stone (that one was no. Just, no.), Dolphin Fin and Pale bud – all by Behr – to name a few:

It’s no surprise that once you get the colors on the wall, they’re no longer the same color you swear you just saw at the hardware store. They’re lighter (or darker) than you’d expect, they have a red (or blue or green) undertone that looks blech, and you start second guessing if the man at the paint counter actually tinted your sample jar at all!

Finally, after wading through a sea of blue-grays, warm-greys and taupe-whites, we landed on Subtle Touch (a silver white) for the entry, Pensive Sky (a blue-gray, green-gray or good-old-gray, depending on the light) for the living room and Pale Bud (pink!) for the studio.

Oddly enough – for us, anyway – we toyed with the idea of going white white, and while we know that it would’ve looked pretty, especially in the studio with all that natural light, it’s just not in our guts. We’re still pro-color people. (Yes, even this soft.) For a while, we’ve pinned and pinned images of white on white, but in the end, we’re thrilled with our final choices. They’re neutral and soft, and the barely-there-hues will be our base for all our other items to layer against. Furniture, art and swappable decor will liven things up and give us the dose of color color we love so much.

And that brings us to the other things we can do until the contractor completes the drywall repair:

  • Start stripping the coat closet door. We’re still going back and forth on color (because would it be too much to have a charcoal front door and closet door? Help!), but if we can get it stripped and ready, the crew can frame out the space properly.
  • De-cable the outside of our house. That’s a whole ‘nother story!
  • Start researching for a new front door. We’d like something with a few glass panes (if possible), and the whole door frame will be reconstructed at the same time.
  • Start researching our tile option for the entryway. Why not?

Our lists are long, our brains are a bit all-over-the-place (can you tell?), so we will see. It’ll get there.

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  • Julia @ cuckoo4design9.9.13 - 6:54 AM

    I hate patching walls LOL!
    Love the colors you picked.ReplyCancel

  • At first I thought “You’re crazy for sanding your walls!” Then I realized that is exactly something we would do and that’s why we’re friends :)

    It’s crazy how much time the prep takes, but it will all be worth it when you can unpaint and unpack some of those boxes! I’m living a bit of that dream!

    Charcoal front door + charcoal coat closet = not too much. In fact, it might be nice to have a little repetition in that area.ReplyCancel

  • K9.9.13 - 8:52 AM

    Omg what a huge undertaking! How are the pets handling all the dust? I have to say, your color palate and all the other soft neutrals I’ve been seeing around have me itching to repaint. We went bold 5 years ago when we bought our house and I think I’m over it. Such a lot of work though! Maybe I’ll live vicariously for now!ReplyCancel

  • Kim9.9.13 - 10:08 AM

    Thanks, Julia!

    Heather, thanks for the input! We’re leaning more and more towards 2 dark doors, so we appreciate it. And yes, we are totally crazy, but at least it’s ONLY the first floor, ha!

    K, are you kidding? They love it! They love rolling in it and discovering all the new nooks we’ve uncovered for them. As for the paint colors, we went bold in our condo when we first moved in, then slowly toned them down, room by room, over the course of 5 years. Styles change, it’s all good – and it’s just paint! You can do it!ReplyCancel

  • Kayla @ Home Coming blog9.9.13 - 10:57 AM

    Some of the walls in our house have a terrible texture too! The previous owners decided to DIY some things when they probably shouldn’t have… There have been a LOT of things we’ve needed to fix.

    Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Cait9.10.13 - 12:28 PM

    Love the colors you picked! And for the record, I don’t think a charcoal front door and closet door would be too much! Maybe you’re channeling your inner Manhattan Nest?

    Front doors. You know I have a lot to say on the subject. ;) I’m pretty much IN LOVE with our door (a Craftsman 6-lite) even though I haven’t blogged about it… It does come standard with the whole frame, which should make that process easier. I think it would look nice with the style of your house, and with the entry way door you picked.ReplyCancel

    • Kim9.10.13 - 3:38 PM

      Thanks, Cait! I AM channeling my inner MN! :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn9.12.13 - 9:07 AM

    Our living room is pensive sky as well, great color that has been really versatile as I move stuff around all the time.ReplyCancel

  • Kim9.12.13 - 9:25 AM

    Hey Kathryn, I just checked out your home tour and looked around your living room. LOVE the color in there, so it makes us that much happier that we landed on Pensive Sky. Funny how much more gray it looks in your room, whereas in our home, it leans more blue. Although, I guess we’ll see once we REALLY get it up!ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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