Here’s a question for you classic TV buffs out there: Remember the Dick Van Dyke Show episode when Rob and Laura hired a very enthusiastic Italian painter named Vito Giotto? When Vito was trying to convince them to hire him to paint their living room, he ended his plea with, “Please, give me your waaaaaalls.” Well, Greg and I would have gladly let Vito have these walls we are getting ready to talk about:
The dilemma we are about to share may seem really trivial and like we had a total “newbie moment”. But that’s just what it was — a honest to goodness “newbie moment”. What good would a blog about being first time homeowners be if we hid all of our mistakes and didn’t share the blunders too? After all, we are all about keeping it real here at 7HL.
In the foyer and down the 20-foot long hallway, the previous owners used a textured paint. This particular paint had large bits of sand mixed in to give the walls what the manufacturer calls a “river rock” effect. Our initial thought was to use a sander to remove the texture prior to painting the walls. However, aside from being a massive mess, we were worried there was a chance we would end up damaging the walls. The last thing we wanted to do was sheetrock this massively long hallway. Therefore, we opted to simply paint over the existing texture. Since the hallway wasn’t directly connected to any other room, we didn’t mind if there was a slight hint of texture on the wall. Plus, the new paint would cover that up for the most part. Or so we thought.
Well, we were wrong. To start out, there was the matter of the newly installed sheetrock were we took out the small linen closet to make more room in the hall bathroom (click here to check out that project). To preserve the consistency of the final finish in the hallway, we decided to paint the new wall with the old textured paint. (The previous owners were nice enough to leave us 1 gallon of the stuff.) As much as it pained us to add texture to our newly sheetrocked walls, it was the only option. One coat of primer, three coats of paint and 36 hours later, we were more than ready to begin painting the hallway our color and finish of choice.
We chose to go with Martha Stewart’s Cobblestone in a satin finish (yep, same as Greg’s office) – same as the living room/dining area. We chose to go with a satin finish after reading that it is better for high-traffic areas because it’s so easy to clean. We thought, “A hallway has a lot of traffic, so it’s got to be satin!” Riiiight…
The rough texture on the walls soaked up a lot more paint than we anticipated. After not one, not two, but THREE gallons of paint, the walls were finally covered. When the paint dried, let’s just say it didn’t look like we thought it would. The old paint was two-toned, which meant it was very forgiving when it came to inconsistencies. By covering it with a solid color in a satin finish, you could see every single grain of sand and brush stroke. To make matters worse, the “satin finish” turned out to be much shinier than the almost-flat, velvety finish we were going for.
At this point, we were worried that we had made a major mistake and that the walls would never be the same. Trying to figure out what to do, it dawned on us: flat paint. Flat paint has the ability to hide imperfections, which is clearly what we needed. So off to Home Depot to pick up yet another gallon of paint. Fortunately, after only one coat, the hallway looked a thousand times better. It’s not exactly a flat finish, but it’s just what we were looking for.
Needless to say this was a valuable lesson for us “renovation newbies” and we didn’t need Vito after all