Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kitchen Reno Report #3: Painting is Hard Work

I recently visited a former art teacher in her home and had one of those 'ahha' moments gazing at her walls. She's a brilliant visual artist and the walls in her home have become a canvas. On one she's drawn a fine black line that's eerily akin to the silhouette of a mountain range at dusk. Another looks like rough hewn cob, its drywall textured with a range of desert- inspired colours. Small details- like a group of unstable rocks set to 'drop' from above- add whimsy and delight.
I used a roller, and one swipe over the stencil did the job.
Her walls smashed my expectations that "two coats of the same colour paint shall be applied in equal thickness to all the drywall in one's home." (Can you tell I don't have cable TV? No doubt I'd find lots of out-of-the-box painting on the home channel- to striking and terrible effect!) All this to say that when it came to painting our kitchen again, I wanted to include some surprises too.

House painting is something I often discount as an 'easy' project. Unlike wiring 220 V, anyone can do it, right? Maybe, but its a helluva lot of work,  starting with the right paint colours. 

Because I hadn't kept record of the paint we used last time, I picked out similar-looking paint samples. Turned out, each tint I chose was just a little off from the original reno project. The cream cabinets were more brown than yellow, which looked nasty against the yellow walls and dirty against the red inset cabinets. I sprayed the the backsplash 14 times to get the colour right.  And though we originally planned to only paint the cabinets and backsplash- we turned out painting everything, sometimes twice and (in one case) three times. 

This wall is by our back door. I painted it with magnet paint (very cool), and then painted a 'white board' paint over top. Apparently white board markers are supposed to wipe off. Our first renderings of cats and weird alien creatures never did clean off- and so I painted over it all with white latex. $30 of white board paint = big waste of money and time.

Four year old Madi paints with her trusting, brave Daddy. It went better than I thought.

The kitchen was an early addition (the house was built in 1917, the kitchen probably was added in the 20s or 30s), we think the clapboard wall was once a covered porch... When we moved in, this wall was covered by cabinets. We ripped them out and found this bowed buffet and hutch at the Strathcona Antique Mall to replace the cabinet storage.

Stencils are tricky things- they are super personal. When we moved in, the front entrance way had stencilled grape vines scalloping the edges. It was the first thing we painted over. And now, I have become a little stencil crazy- liberally stencilling Ed Roth's bird designs all over my home.

So, from your perspective, is this sequence a picture of a bird rising or falling? 

I used both colours of spray paint from the backsplash, to colour these hummingbirds. The copper was the main colour then I lightly spot sprayed the silver on the feathers' edges.
This swallow is actually part of a larger series of them, coming up the basement stairs (from which I'm taking this picture). Someday I'll post pictures of the bird filled stairwell- but this guy escaped the stairs into our kitchen... and is about to dive bomb this Alphonse Mucha calendar print.

See the other posts on this kitchen's progress here


granolacruncher said...

the bird is rising? after a tricky start?

Mrs. Nepper said...

Definitely rising. I am IN LOVE with that hutch. And the paneled walls, delish. My April project is painting my kitchen, so I'm hoping I have less paint drama, but as I vaguely remember, its never is as "easy" as you think it will be, but most definitely worth it.

An Avenue Homesteader said...

Yeah, Mat thinks its rising. Its just that the bottom bird looks like its spinning out of control... which leaves me wondering...

I was really pleased to find that hutch-- it had sat at the store for 2 years and finally they dropped the price by $500. I happened upon it ten minutes later. There's luck for you!