Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Interior House Painting

Can painting be considered a hobby? I do not mean the type of painting where one creates beautiful pictures on a leaning easel, palette in hand, while donning a bright red beret. I mean the type of painting where one paints the walls and trim of a home. When we bought our first home eight years ago, we were so thrilled to be finally owning our own home, that we did not think much about the look of the rooms, other than the fact that they were clean, bright, the right size, and not ugly. Although another family with two children had lived in the home for about fourteen years after it was built, the walls and trim were exactly the same color that they had been when the house was built. We acquired the house with all white walls and dark brown trim, doors, and window frames. At first, this did not bother me in the least. I was more concerned with getting settled into the house, putting all our things away and gearing up for the upcoming winter. Yet as winter set in, I realized that the long dark days required a bit more color and brightness in our home than we were currently getting.

The next spring, I decided to paint our downstairs bathroom. I was a bit nervous about painting walls in our own home. What if I messed it up? What if we all hated the color? I figured a bathroom was a safe place to begin. Plus, I was determined to get rid of the dark brown trim, doors, and cabinetry in that bathroom. I started with the trim. I did extensive research on how the wood should be prepped and treated before painting, and I found that a special bonding primer was all it really needed. With three small children in the house, as well as homeschooling responsibilities, it took a few weeks for me to finish the job of the trim, doors, and cabinets; but the change was drastic and shocking. Although the walls were still a drab white, the formerly dark trim was not a bright, creamy white and the entire bathroom was significantly brighter. I decided to live on the edge and chose a denim blue paint with a tinge of purple for the walls of the bathroom. I knew that if I could pull this off, the rest of the house would follow suit with bright colors and beautiful white trim. It turned out to be absolutely lovely. It was a bold color and I was slightly afraid, but we got many compliments on it, and still do, years later.

After that, the painting became a hobby, and somewhat of a joke, in our home. Each successive year after that initial bathroom experiment has found me covering the old, dark trim with white paint, and painting the walls in one of the rooms a pretty, brighter color. I do not always go with bold colors as I did with the purple-blue in that bathroom. For instance, I painted our living room a creamy, peachy beige color, and it follows right into the kitchen, where a chair railing separates it from a light brown underneath. Thankfully, by some stroke of luck, our kitchen cabinets were already painted white. My next project was my youngest daughter's bedroom, which is on a north side. We changed it from dark and drab to a pretty, bright yellow. My other daughter has the north room downstairs, and while she insisted on painting her room dark blue (much to my chagrin), the white trim, doors, closet, and windows, as well as the white furniture, made it incredibly beautiful. Oddly, it actually seems brighter now. This past spring, I painted the upstairs bathroom a light, stucco brown, and I attacked the master bedroom, again with white trim and sea foam green walls. It is amazing the difference a coat of fresh paint can make in a room.

I am not finished with the house, yet. I still have to paint my son's room, the stairwell, and the trim in the kitchen. At some point, I will paint the walls in the basement stairwell, and I might even paint the basement stairs. I suppose when I finish everything, I will simply start over and begin changing the colors. That must be the best part of painting one's own house as a hobby!

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