My husband and I recently embarked on an adventurous journey together that did not involve leaving our house. Jointly, we decided to tackle a big (by our standards) spring project that meant completing an interior painting endeavor with no professional help. The project called for the taping, furniture moving, and re-painting of four bedrooms, a finished basement, and one master bathroom. It also involved a good re-touching of our living room area. We started on the first full weekend of Spring and are now down to rearranging some basement furniture and doing the touch up paint job for the main level.
There were some good, bad, and ugly moments when it came to this project. But we survived and have been giving each other high-fives via text messages, Snapchat, and in person for the last five days because we are so pumped over our accomplishments. It may seem minor to some, but this was a pretty epic undertaking for us. Especially when we had a houseful of kids, a geriatric dog, spring fever, plus cold and flu epidemics to contend with during this five week project.
How did we do it? The short version would be through patience, prayer, and a few choice swear words muttered under our breaths and in our heads. For the long version, keep reading and discover the valuable lessons we learned along the way.
Know Your Limits
We seriously considered hiring someone to paint the interior of our house, but we already have an exterior paint job planned with professionals for the end of spring and therefore felt that we could handle an inside project on our own. I knew we could do a good job painting, and when I say “we” I mainly mean my husband. He is a guru with the paint brush. Planning, taping, removing window treatments, getting rooms ready, etc. are more my game. We did a lot of painting at our previous homes, so we understood the sweat (and potential tears) that would go into this type of task.
Painting this time was a bit different because I was craving color and wanted to try some actual design elements when it came to picking out the best shades and hues for our bedrooms and basement. Basically I wanted a trendy, cute, interior look. However, I know my limits and I am no HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines. (I mean I am really not them, I just had to google popular HGTV designers because I wanted to mention someone other than Martha Stewart in this post!) My husband is also no help in the design department, so I got us some much needed outside assistance.
I have a good friend that is amazing at this sort of thing. She watches HGTV, has the most beautiful home, and actually enjoys the process of picking out and comparing paint samples. Viola, instant interior designer who only requires a thank you and maybe a bottle of wine or free lunch at Chik-fil-A for her free services. My friend helped me narrow down to two colors for each space. I then got some samples, tested the paint on the walls, showed them to my husband, and ultimately over-ruled him for the majority of final decisions.
By accepting help from my friend, two of our bedrooms have an accent wall and we now know what it is like to have dark colored paint on the walls, en lieu of our typical taupe or construction original white.
Painting and Then Some…
After clearing the hurdles of picking our colors and purchasing the paint, which honestly caused the most stress and disgruntlement between my husband and me, we were ready to start working. A main reason we decided to do this project ourselves was because as we moved furniture for painting, I also wanted to deep clean and declutter.
My spouse and I moved around a lot during our first decade of marriage, and with each relocation a lot of unnecessary house clutter got left behind, discarded, or donated. We are more settled now, in what could be our forever home, and have therefore accumulated a lot of kids and a lot of junk. By doing the interior painting ourselves, we were able to get rid of so many unwanted items that had been boxed away into bedroom closets or forgotten in old dressers. We have almost reached double digits for trips to the donation center, but it feels wonderful to purge our home on a room by room basis.
Know Your Strengths
My husband is a good painter. He pays meticulous attention to trim lines and goes out of his way to avoid drips and spills. Handing him a brush to work his magic was an easy decision, as long as he could listen to an audio book and blare the radio at the same time. My manual labor contribution for this project had more to do with the before and after of the painting process. I did the majority of taping and dusting to get rooms ready. I also became a decluttering ninja while watching the paint dry. Seriously, A&E should hire me for their television show Hoarders. Unused toys were discreetly tossed, old bed sheets were whisked away, and I threw away more paper products than a small office building.
My other strength was in keeping my kiddos occupied on the weekends, while my husband painted. They wanted to “help” him in the worst way, so I therefore had to whisk all three off-site in order for the paint project to get completed. We visited great grandparents, went to the museum, spent a lot of time outdoors, and played with neighbors. All of this activity, left them tired in the evenings with minimal protests at bedtimes. Win-win for us all.
The Home Stretch
The final lap of this spring project is here and involves some touch-ups and a bit more furniture re-arranging. It is easy to be happy with the outcome–and forget the frustrating moments–now that we are finished. I do not plan to do this again anytime soon, but the feeling of accomplishment (and money saved with a big DIY) is amazing. All of the fist pumping and shared grins between my husband and me are also pretty great. So do not fear the spring project mentality, embrace it and relish the joy it can bring upon completion!