The Painting to End All Painting


(except, not really, because we still have our bedroom, but we’re putting that off until the next 3-day weekend.)

So. We painted the living room.

For those of you not in the know, our living room is a big, open room, up to to the third floor (the LR itself is on the 2nd floor). There are staircases on the north side, one going down to the entry/1st floor, and one going up to the 3rd. The loftice and two bedrooms take up the back half of the third floor, the rest is open to the living room. The living room walls extend up to the loftice and down to the hallway outside the studio and laundry room on the 1st floor. Essentially, a three-floor room. The “short” walls are 18′ tall, and the biggest walls we estimate around 25′ (hard to get the tape measure up there without it falling over). So, now you are familiar with the epicness.

You may be familiar with our Wall of Indecision:

Seen here with added Christmas cheer.
We spent months buying random Oops! samples at Home Depot and trying out squares, shrugging and then going I HAVE NO IDEA THIS ROOM IS TOO BIG. From the original 13 (some are hiding behind the bookshelf) we narrowed it down to three. And it sat there for a while.

On Wednesday morning, I googled and did some measuring to figure out how much paint we would need in the LR. The estimator estimated ~5 gallons for the living room proper, not including the loftice or stairs or downstairs. Somehow, magically, we just decided to go for the lightest of the three big squares. Just, like, bam. Decided. I painted over the Wall of Indecision with the sample can, and off we went to Home Depot to buy 5 gallons of paint. Yikes. By the way, 5 gallons is REALLY heavy. Other tools at our disposal, a new roller with small extension handle, and a couple of edgers.

Now, I knew this was going to be an epic project. I wanted to start in the loftice, because the ceilings are low and reachable and I knew I could pound it out pretty fast. Which I did. I finished it and started moving down the stairs towards the living room while Mike painted everything he could reach with our 6′ ladder. We had not, at this point, figured out a) how to get a ladder big enough home (no truck) and b) how we were going to reach the tallest wall over the staircase.

Wednesday night:
The great paintining has begun. Wish us luck and a really big ladder.
The living room
The Loftice, with its reasonable ceilings, was the first area to finish.
The loftice
Mike is painting stairs. It is tedious.
Working our way down the upstairs stairs

We spent most of the morning touching up what we had painted the previous day. Daylight always makes the spots show up more. During this morning, I fell down the stairs, hit my head on the dining table, and then rammed a (broken when I was 14) toe into a chair.
So far today I've fallen down the stairs, hit my head on a table, and reinjured a previously broken toe. Talent!
Fortunately, it does not appear to be broken again. I left it taped a couple days and it seems fine now.

We continued around the room and headed down the downstairs. Blah blah blah, boring.
Progress, still need ladder

We posed our laddering questions on twitter, and Eric suggested a 19′ ladder (collapsible) that he bought at Costco. Off we went, but the ladder at our Costco was only 15′. But! At Home Depot they had a 22′ one. We also added a 12′ extension pole to our arsenal, which Mike doubted, but I felt certain would be handy. Surprisingly, the 22′ ladder fit in my Prius.
There is a 22' ladder in my Prius right now. Yes, it fits.

However, it is really tall, and we were both freaked out being up there.

I really did not think it would take us more than a couple days to paint this room. I was wrong.

In the early morning, before Mike was awake, I finished the stair treads and the laundry-hall (short ceilings!).
But hey, the stairs look good.

We started off with my climbing the ladder up to the top over and over and trying to paint from up high while Mike passed me paint-filled implements by way of the extension pole. There was no way I was climbing up and down that ladder each time. It was freaking terrifying. We got around the “short” walls and edged. And then I had to come down and stay down.

It was somewhere around this time, I suggested we should just repaint the kitchen the same color. Mike was displeased. My logic was that everything was in disarray already, might as well just push through. Mike did not like this.

I progressed to folding the extension ladder on the stairs to get some of the lower stair-walls.
Painting on a tall ladder on top of a staircase is freaking terrifying. Taking a break.
Surprisingly, I was FAR more terrified of the ladder on the staircase than in the living room, even though I was lower and more stable.

Somewhere in there, we went back to Home Depot for three more gallons of paint. And another gallon of semi-gloss for the kitchen. I proclaimed I would repaint it myself, no guilt involved.

Eventually, the “short” walls were done, but, far from good. Most of this was done with the extension pole, as we were both kind of terrified of the ladder.
Very slow progress. Gotta go back over with the ladder of doom. It's scary.

We had essentially covered 85% of the walls in some sort of paint, except the corner over the downstairs stairs (tallest). Here is a sequence of Mike creatively trying to paint it from various angles.

Hoping Mike does not kill himself.

We thought we could extend the ladder and lean it from the staircase to the window above the door. But that sounded like the most terrifying thing ever, so we tried to just work around it. It…sort of got covered. Kind of. And then we went to a NYE party and I fell asleep.

Mike woke up with a bit of a cold, so I let him sleep while I started painting the kitchen. The kitchen previously had a dark-bright green, so I bought the ULTRA Behr paint with primer in it, since the new color was a lot lighter. Fortunately, the number of walls in the kitchen is pretty small. I did the whole thing (two coatsish) in about two hours. Then we painted the hall next to the kitchen and that was done by about 1:30p. During the hall, Mike started going back over and adding a second coat to previously patchy work. More ingenious work and we finally finished around 4 or 5. For reals. We reassembled the room.

And then we died.

Not that you can tell, but now without patches!

This is the difficult section, and not perfect, but GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE LOVE OF PETE I AM SO TIRED OF PAINTING.

Looking up to the Loftice
Living spaces done and reassembled. Took 4 days, 7 gallons of paint, 22' ladder, 2 extension poles, and a lot of patience.
As always, iPhone color sucks.

In sum: 4 days, 7 gallons flat paint, 1 gallon semi-gloss, 22′ ladder, 6′ ladder, one 12′ extension pole, one 6′ extension pole, a roll of paper towels, four edging pads, one corner painter (for the high corners), three drop cloths, three injuries, a lot of patience, and a lot of sore SORE SORE muscles.


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