The Paint Plan

One of the big items on my to-do list for this year is to finish painting the exterior of our house. I wasn’t actively posting on the blog when we started this, but let me tell you, we’ve been working on it for about three years now. Yes, three years. And yes, it is painful for me to admit that.

We decided we would paint the house ourselves because money was tight and hiring a house painter (especially for a house this old that is very likely to have lead paint) is pretty pricey. So we were like “Sure, we can totally do this!”


So i spent weeks on Pinterest & the internet, looking at possible paint colors. I took photos of our house and Photoshopped the possible paint colors so I could see what it would look like. I spent several days going back and forth between shades of gray. It was probably way more than 50 shades.

Finally, I settled on this paint scheme, and Kyla (wisely) agreed:

Paperclips & Play Pens - Bungalow Exterior Paint Color Plan

Here are the colors:

The gray is a nice, cool, greenish gray, and I love the visual weight it has. Our house is currently a really pale blue, and I have to admit that even after living here for over five years, I still miss the house sometime and have to go around the block to get back home. The creamy off-white for the trim is light enough to still look crisp and fresh, but not too bright that it will look dirty quickly. The red for the accent is a deep, rich mahogany red, which is about the only red I could ever handle since I’m just not a bright red door kinda gal.

After choosing the paint colors, I decided I better get some info on dealing with lead paint, since we were fairly sure we would have to deal with, being that the house was built in 1922. So I went to a workshop on painting older homes that was held for free by our city. It was really informative, and the notes I took from that workshop are pretty hilarious to read. When I take notes, I generally just write as much as I can of what someone says, and then go back later to read it and actually process what they were saying. One part of my notes reads “Question: what do you need to do it yourself? Good caulk [followed by more info on the good caulk], good paint [followed by more info on the good paint], and either lots of alcohol or lots of prayer, whichever works best for you.”

Over the course of a couple of months, I watched the paint sales and went to purchase my paint. I got some ridiculous amount of paint…and my back patio was covered in sealed five-gallon buckets for the next year. We still haven’t opened any of those top coat paint buckets, and I don’t even know if they’re still good.

We did start on the house though, even though we still haven’t gotten to the final paint colors. We scraped and scraped and scraped for months. My Mama, Daddy & Crazy Aunt came down and helped one day. My Daddy scraped half of one entire wall pretty much on his own. We nailed down boards that were loose, puttied big holes and scratches, and caulked the heck out of every gap. As we were going through this, we realized why the living room was always so cold. We knew there was no insulation in the walls, and we could see some small cracks in the beadboard on the interior wall. But when I saw that there were gaps as large as half and inch between some of the siding boards, I realized it was amazing that our electric & gas bills weren’t $500+ every month.

The next year, I got brave, borrowed a tall ladder from a neighbor, and set to work scraping the front gable of the house above the porch. I would do this while the girls were in preschool, and various pedestrians would comment as they walked by. I would always wear whatever random old clothes I could find, my hair was always speckled with paint where I wiped it away from my face before remembering my hand was covered in paint, and since I’m terrified of heights, I either had a look of intense concentration or pure dread on my face. So, when these pedestrians would greet me or ask questions, I held on to the ladder for dear life and turned as much as I dared to answer them. I was convinced they thought I was nuts.

Sometime we got tired of scraping, and decided we’d go ahead and put primer on the parts we had already scraped. Since it was taking so long, and we didn’t want the hundred year old siding to be totally exposed for too long, this seemed like a good idea. We got most of the wall by the driveway primed (except the top 6 feet or so, since we didn’t have a ladder that could reach that high), the walls on the front of the house under the porch, and parts of the porch itself. Now, we didn’t use a white primer, since we’d be painting a medium gray for the top coat…we use a primer tinted with 50% gray. This 50% gray primer has a bit of a bluish tint to it, and it turns out that most people who have visited the house think that’s the final paint color. I find it funny that everyone looks at it and thinks we’re about halfway done!

This year, it will happen, I swear. By Christmas 2014, the house will be totally painted, either by my hands or someone I’ve hired, because this has just gotten ridiculous.