Monday, September 27, 2010

the paint saint

Charlie has really honed his painting skills over the past few years.


What with painting every room in our San Diego house, at least twice, plus a few hundred linear feet of baseboards and fences and patios and garages and doors and...


We're slowly working our way through the house, scraping wallpaper and sanding baseboards, crown moulding and window panes. As we're painting one room, we're contemplating colors for the next. We're also contemplating how in the world we're going to paint the stairwell that leads to our lower level.


Did anyone happen to catch the anonymous comment on my post last week about the green dots that showed up in the picture with Charlie in the dining room?

Someone left me a comment that they knew Mr. S. But not only did they know him, they know this house so well that they conveyed a story about the light in the stairwell. Apparently, it was very rarely turned on because to change out this light bulb would be a harrowing task and not something one would want to approach without scaffolding and a fully executed will.

Because it was used so infrequently, that single light bulb lasted the four plus decades that Mr. S lived in this house. Which is certainly a long time for a light bulb, but not nearly as long as the longevity of Livermore's Centennial light bulb.

On the day that Mr. S passed away, someone turned on the light in the stairwell and it immediately blew out. That story gave me the chills, much like the chills that appeared when I went and noticed - for the very first time - the light in the stairwell and wondered, "HOW IN THE WORLD are we going to get up there and paint that wall?"


Then, I freaked out a bit wondering who left me that comment?!


Charlie, as it turns out, has been chatting it up with all the people at the bus stop every morning and he has gone and told several of our neighbors that I have a blog. I don't know WHY he would do that, but when he told me, I felt like crawling under a rock. For what it's worth, my husband doesn't even read this blog - yet he is telling our brand new neighbors about it?


Oh honey. No, No, NO.

We've just moved in
and I'm working through some issues, here! It would be less embarrassing for me to parade down the middle of the street in my bikini from high school (that I still happen to have? WHY?) than to have our new neighbors reading this blog.

Anyway, when I read Charlie the anonymous comment, he thought for sure it was one of the women at the bus stop who have lived in this neighborhood for 30+ years and knew Mr. S and this house. But when he asked each one of them the very next day, they all denied leaving the comment.

So. Huh.

The internet is a very small place, isn't it?

This past weekend, we painted our dining room. And then, before the paint was even dry, I was debating whether or not I liked the red. Actually, I love the red - it's rich and vibrant and a beautiful color, indeed. But I think that Oregano Spice might go better with our furnishings, art and draperies. At the moment, we're not quite sure what we're going to do.


We might leave it red - or we might repaint it. Or, we might put bags over our heads and hit ourselves repeatedly with paint stirrers because that'll clear our minds and be less painful than painting a room only to paint it again. Especially when we have ten more rooms to paint and more than 200 window panes to scrape and sand and tape and prime.

Isn't the normal course of action to select a color and then paint it and then live with it? Or perhaps, you paint a single wall and then realize oops! it's not quite right! Who out there paints an entire room with TWO coats and THEN decides, "Nope. This isn't it!"

Ah, the good times of home improvement.




  1. Wow, you guys are flying! Once I had a red that we loved, it was Ralph Lauren. Possibly the dressage red. The deepness of it just soaked us in :)

  2. Oh, good LORD, no he did not TELL THE NEW NEIGHBORS. Good grief. I've lived in my house for FOURTEEN years and Jerry and Bob don't know I blog. I would lose half my material.


    We'll forgive you if you re-paint the dining room and change the lightbulb.

  3. Love the red - it looks gorgeous. You have to leave it until you finish the rest of the house at least (but I wouldn't change it).

    Love that you let your kids paint.

    As for the light and the painting up high. Someone put wallpaper on it and it's a hard area to get to.

    I'd either make a horizontal very strong picture rail that a platform can be bolted to. Or I'd invest in a very clever ladder and a long reach paint brush.

    Good luck

  4. Amanda in MS9/28/10, 12:43 AM

    I told you the house was gonna be spooky! That story gave me goosebumps as well. But, from the looks of the picture, it appears as though you could successfully change out the light bulb by standing on Charlie's head. LOL @ him telling the neighbors about your blog... I'd kick him in the jewels~ jk of course! Looks like the kids are having fun with the painting and living in their new home. It makes it all worthwhile. I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason.

  5. Funny Stuff !~! Don't stop now....

    Color creates mood and that makes color important. I tend toward medium seafoam green and light lilac. Spouse-he's a Flame blue and burgundy lover. Use your imagination in our 542 sq ft home.

  6. I think that red will grow on you. Make yourself a deal, if you still want it changed after going through the rest of the house, then repaint it... I think you will love it! and as the seasons change that red will warm up... it will look fantastic with windows frosted over! and the green or gold drapes in there will also change the color... Its coming along!

  7. I vote for repainting the red. I like red but think it would be very over-powering. If you like the red then use it, as in candles, vases, lampshades, etc. I would butter up that paint saint of yours and sweet talk him into repainting it now.
    As for how to paint your wall...if you figure it out be sure to let me know. We have an area (going down to our basement) that is every bit as high and my husband informed me that we are going to paint it. That stairwell is the only wall in our house that hasn't been painted (some many times)since we have built this house. Wonder why?
    Love the pics of your children cute.
    I would not worry about your new neighbors reading your blog, they will fall in love with you, your sense of humor, your honesty and your generousity. Now neighbors if you are out there...anounce yourself and quit wigging Jen out :)

  8. There is a tool you can put a ladder on for stairs like that. We have stairs like that too, and when the painter pulled that tool out I was like "duh, how easy is that". His was black plastic with tread, which I cannot find by google search now, but it went along this idea:

  9. I vote for Oregano Spice.

  10. Oh Jen...I went through the exact same thing with the exact same colors. I feel your pain. You can try sitting with it for a few days to see if it grows on you. If not, Oregano Spice is a nice color. Very Hunter Green looking which I like. The other thought is buy Charlie a nice bottle of vino and have him repaint it quickly so you can at least say one room is finished. We used Benjamin Moore Homestead green on top of Behr Oat Straw and we love it- but the green is a very blue green and as such will not marry well with your curtains.

    One last thought- maybe your issue isn't so much the red but the color you are pairing it with. For grins, I might try a sample of a warm cocoa color on bottom- definitely darker than what you have now. Like coconut Shell or Antique Leather- both Behr Colors.

    Good luck to you guys! I am so enjoying the transformation!


  11. Many years ago my husband started with a 9 or 12 foot ladder and made wooden things to attach to the ladder steps on one end and the stairs on the other end. It worked great! Depending on the type of bulb you can buy extension poles to change bulbs. However if the bulb is covered you may be in deep sh@t

  12. Oh I have that same kind of high stairwell, and also no idea how to paint it, thus the reason we are here four plus years and have not painted it! I am going to have to pay someone I fear. Freaky story about the light!

  13. I believe someone is messing with you with that anonymous post. I certainly hope so... Oy, Charlie! What have you done?

    I like the red. I'm not as bold and I apploaud you for going this bold with the dining room color. Leave it for a couple more weeks and see it grows on you. GL!

  14. I think you should wear green a lot in that red room. It really contrasts well with the walls.

    I'm serious.

  15. You guys have been very buys - impressive! Good luck with your paint decisions. At least it is only paint - much easier to change than wallpaper. The house looks great!

  16. My advice would be to live with the red (looks nice!), paint everything else and then go back and repaint if you really want to. My sister would advise the opposite and say to change it immediately if you don't like it. But then again, everyone jokes that she is insulating her house with paint because she changes her mind and repaints so often! ;)

    (ps: you need one of these for changing the lightbulb:

  17. iFor what it's worth, I like the red.

  18. As a Michigander I am happy to see that Charlie is sporting a great Michigan shirt while enjoying his wine. This is something we do a lot in our house...wear Michigan shirts and enjoy wine.

    For what it's worth, I LOVE the red. I think it looks very rich and regal. I say leave it for now. Get all your stuff in the room and see how you feel about it after it lives with your things for a little while. It must be so overwhelming to get done painting and realize that you might want to change it. Give it some time and see how you feel about it once you get the other rooms done. You can always paint it a few months or a year from now after you give it some time to sink in. For what it's worth, when we moved into a home with a red wall, I though for sure I would paint it. Five years later it's still there and I wouldn't even be thinking about painting it except for all the dings and scratches from the baby gates.

    Good luck on figuring it out and keep us updated!

  19. First of all, congratulations of the move and making it to VA! I can tell this house was meant for your family!

    Secondly - don't repaint! Get one of those faux finish kits to go over the red and tone it down if you think it's too bright. Home Depot has supplies for it and it literally takes an afternoon to apply!

    Looking forward to more posts about the house - you are making your mark on it already.

  20. I have at least 3 close friends from VA whose dining room is red. Its as common as the red doors you'll see everywhere. I would leave it for now. You'll meet someone who also has a red dining room and if you like their color better than yours...just ask them their paint color.

  21. I am so glad that the kids are getting into the painting also. I think for that hall, Charlie will have to put up a staging. I know the word but do not know how to do it.

  22. what is the name of the brown paint that the girls are using!! It's beautiful!! Also, what's the tan in your dining room??

  23. Anon: The tan in the dining room is the same exact tan that is in the living room ... it's called "Basketry" by Behr.

    I was afraid it would be too dark, but I love the color - especially now that we're painting the baseboards and mantle bright white. The contrast is beautiful!

  24. You guys sure don't waste time. You're making incredible progress.

    There are extension poles for paint rollers by the way. With that and the ladder, you can do it. How you'll NOT hit the roof with the roller, though, is another issue entirely. I don't think there's a tape roll extender that will help you get up there to cover the roof edges.

    Maybe just a taller ladder?

    Or you stand on Charlie's shoulders.

    Be sure to give the kids the camera before you do that, though. Set it on video. I want to see that action as it happens. And you could will a million bucks on America's Funniest Videos. Not that you'd enjoy it much from your hospital room....

  25. Great guys continue to amazing me. Exhausted is the word that comes to mind.

  26. I think before you repaint the red you should try painting the lower half red as well. I think you would be amazed at the result. I saw a commercial that had a room painted red like yours w/ white-maybe cream- chair rail and crown molding and it looked wonderful.

  27. Why don't you live with it for a while. After you get your wall treatment done, pics, etc. curtains up and the blue tape removed, I think you will find that it is smashing! The white woodwork will be a great contrast. I can hardly wait to see it put together. I love that room!!

    Before I moved into my current house, I painted the living room a dusky rose. Then the light beige carpet went in and it looked like a lady's bedroom. Everyone told me to wait until I got the furniture and pictures hung....and it made such a huge difference. It toned everything down, and I constantly get compliments on the living room.

    I can't believe the energy you two have!! You are going to turn that home into a showplace!! ...and you are so obviously having fun doing it.


  28. #1
    Men cannot be trusted at the bus stop

    You can buy a pole to attach to your roller, but some things are best left to the pros. My BIL (who I mentioned in another post) puts one ladder on top of another (not for the faint of heart).

    #3 Your colors look great. Stick with them and treat yourself to some new accesories. Save the old ones, because you never know when you're going to want to use them again (I busted out my old valances from my den to put in the boys' room!)

    You guys are cranking - good job!

  29. Let me know the next time you visit your mom and I will bring you some wine!

  30. Maybe stepladder like this might be useful. I think upper right will be the best.

    It is not in English, but you can see pictures, and Google can translate, if you would like to read.

    I am sure you could find something like this.

  31. Check out the QVC Special Value today for help painting that stairwell:!.tpl.tsv.cm_scid.TSV?cm_re=PROMOTIONS-_-1-_-TSV,LED&cm_sp=TSV-_-HP-_-IMAGE

  32. I LOVE the red. It reminds me of the Amityville Horror movie. :)