Power of Paint

“You gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away…” Sometimes you just have to call it, and bring in the professionals. (BTW you’re welcome for the song stuck in your head.)

Two weeks after my husband and I moved into our first home, we had our first child. Needless to say between diapers and daycare, money was tight, but we still desired to make our new place our home. I grew up in a family of doers, so naturally we wanted to take on projects ourselves. We started small. First swapping out the kitchen cabinet handles, then the floor air vent covers. Weekends were spent walking the aisles of Home Depot and Lowe’s trying to get inspiration. See, this was a time before Pinterest. Shocking I know!  I can hear myself now “When I was your age, I didn’t have anyone telling me how to do something, I had to figure that out on my own. You kids and your Pinterest…” With each little project, we gained confidence and so, we decided it was time to really learn how to paint.

And boy did we learn.

We were slow, a little sloppy, but once we were done, we were so proud. Paint is probably one of the most inexpensive ways to transform a space. The best part, if you don’t like it, you can always do it again. It can brighten a space, darken it, make a dramatic statement. I had acquired a color fan deck from Sherwin Williams, you know the kind you see super important interior designers have, and I felt like I could color the world! Not really, but it was amazing.

We stepped up our paint game in our last house when I painted the honey oak cabinets in our kitchen and bathrooms. No longer did I feel the need to gut our kitchen. Essentially paint saved us thousands of dollars!

When we bought our current home, the interior paint color choices left a lot to be desired. At least to our coastal vibe. With electric golden rod, pureed peas, and pumpkin pie like colors that cascaded the walls of our new abode, painting was the first item on our agenda. Armed with my list of 7 different paint colors, I wrote down the codes, the sheen, and the amount in list form and handed them to the lady behind the paint counter.  Because of what I was painting, it actually added up to 10 individual gallons of paint. (YIKES) I made sure to pick a mid morning on a Tuesday because I didn’t want to hold up the line. The next time I went in for paint, she had the look of “should I run”, but was relieved when I only wanted one gallon of paint. I smiled and said “you must remember me I take it” to which she replied, “yes, yes I do.” Oops.

Anyway, I digress. I have painted 8 areas of our house and countless other projects; basically I felt unstoppable. Side note, our house was a rental for quite a few years. And as with most rentals, the care that’s given is basically to keep it habitable. Nothing fancy, nothing extra. The people we purchased the house from were the first actual live in owners for some time, but they were very busy workers and didn’t have the time to give attention to the house either. Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us in regards to the outside of the house as well. Landscaping will be a post for another time, but for now I’m referring to the house exterior walls.

The cottage close-ish to the sea.
The cottage close-ish to the sea.

Our previous house had vinyl siding. Living in the south with the copious amounts of pollen, power washing was the only thing we needed to do to keep the house looking fresh. The new house has hardie plank siding, which is basically a composite concrete material that gives the look of wood but is impenetrable to weather. Unlike wood, it doesn’t rot and is resistant to pests. However, it does need to be painted from time to time and I’m confident that this house hadn’t been painted since it was built, over 16 years ago. We don’t have a huge house and since I was comfortable with my painting and caulking skills, I figured I could do the job ourselves and save a ton of money. That is until I got up on the tallest ladder we owned and I got a teensy bit nervous. Ok, a lot. Especially since the tallest ladder we owned didn’t go up even half of the side of our house.

We talked about buying a taller ladder, renting a lift (yes I seriously threw that out there), anything that could keep us from needing to hire someone. Since we live in a development, we had to submit our request to paint the house to our HOA. (Ain’t nobody got time to pay fines.) While we waited to hear back, I started losing my desire to paint. Being a worrier, I just didn’t know how I could handle climbing up a “Jack in the beanstalk-esk” ladder AND holding paint. I trip on flat ground. I envisioned broken bones. Lots of broken bones. So I called uncle and I felt like I let my DIY self down… big time.  With one small compromise, I told my husband I planned on painting the ceiling of the porch, the porch floor and all the steps.

The first day the painters arrived, I felt like a toddler in time out. I wanted to paint and it wasn’t fair. However, what they accomplished in one day would have taken me at least a week to do. By the end of the second day, I finally started to feel like it was the best decision. Clearly this is something they do all the time, with years of experience, and they are way faster. Yes, I get more out of doing projects and knowing “WE” did that, but there are definitely times when it’s just better to call in the professionals, in my opinion. Of course I asked lots of questions and have observed just in case I get the courage to do it the next time.

Aside from the house and trim, the porch, front door, and outside lights got a new coat of paint.
Aside from the house and trim, the porch, front door, and outside lights got a new coat of paint.

I love the color that we chose and it will be very versatile.  I now view hiring the professionals as an investment in keeping our house in it’s best shape and not so much of a failure of my abilities. There will be other projects, lots of projects. Like the grass. And the flower beds. Oh the joys of home ownership. While it hurt to write that check, I feel much better knowing it’s done and we all came out unscathed.

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