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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dulux Chalk USA Maybe

I recently painted the entryway walls Taubman's Crumb Cookie, but it was looking a bit too brown, and even a bit green in dull light.  Not at all the look I wanted. 

So I ventured to the hardware (again!) and picked up every brochure and colour swatch I could. And while I was there I couldn't leave empty handed, so I grabbed a sample pot of Dulux Chalk USA, which I had read is a popular warm white colour.

Contrary, it is actually a very warm lovely shade of cream. 

 And it might just be the colour I have been looking for. :)

We had so much wet dreary weather this week but it still appeared to be a warm and cosy colour on the wall which made me very happy.

And then when the sun peaked through this morning I grabbed a few photos for my blog post and saw how lovely it looks in sunlight as well.

I might just have a winner. I'll keep you updated. :)
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More Painting and Deciding on the Right Paint Colour

So last week I continued painting the trims and doors to the toilet and bathroom in British Paints H2O Enamel Semi Gloss White. There was a lot of sanding off old paint.  Yes, it was blizzarding in our house last week. But the results were worth it. 

I also repainted the linen cupboard door and trim.  And I replaced the linen cupboard door handle with a vintage backplate and handle I got a while back. I love old door handles. 

This week I have been redoing the board and batten in the entryway. I've sanded and spackled all the nail holes and caulked all the boards (something I neglected in my rush the first time round). Then I sanded again and applied 2 coats of British Paints H2O Enamel Semi Gloss White to match the trim I have been doing throughout the hall. 

And I must say it looks perfect! So much better than my original attempt. I'm taking my time, sanding all the little bumps, and rollering with precision so I don't get patching areas.

I've also been testing out a few new wall colours. I had my heart set on Dulux Raw Cotton Quarter for a while now, but after buying a sample pot and applying it to the wall, it was warmer than the Hogs Bristle Quarter, but still too dark on the wall. I really wanted a lighter creamier shade.

This morning I've picked up a sample pot of Taubmans Crumb Cookie, which is a lot lighter. It is hard to tell from the photo, but on the left wall is the Crumb Cookie colour, in the middle hall is the Hogs Bristle Quarter, and on the right wall is what I thought was Hogs Bristle Quarter but it is a totally different colour to the rest of the walls.

You really have to see the walls during the day on a sunny day, and a dreary day, and at night, and in the morning, and at every angle to determine if you like the colour. But I am liking the Crumb Cookie so far. Decisions, decisions. :)

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Monday, March 17, 2014

A Pink Hydrangea

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what sort of flowers I love the most and decided they are the ones I want to try to grow. It's bulb season and I've never grown anything from a bulb before, but this year I'm hoping to try two of my favourite flowers - freesias and tulips. Another one of my favourite flowers are Hydrangeas. I've never owned one, before today.

I saw some potted Hydrangeas at our grocery store a while back but they sold out before I could grab one.  After comparing prices at our local nursery, I could see why.  They were like a third of the price. I often see plants a lot cheaper at the grocery store so I always keep an eye out now.

So today when I passed the man putting out a fresh batch of Hydrangeas, I grabbed me one. :) 

I wasn't sure about pink or purple and could have stood there all day trying to pick so I decided to be spontaneous and grab the pink. It sure does stand out against all my neutrals. Maybe I'll go back for a purple one too. ;) 
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Old Painting Habits Die Hard

I can't believe it. Just when I thought I was executing my painting like a pro, in my last post, Fixing Our Walls, Trim and Board and Batten, I said I did 1 top coat on my doors and trim.  What was I thinking??  Oh yeah, that was the old me. The new me is doing 2 top coats.  Given the patchy single coat walls we have, at least 2 top coats is the only way to go with every paint job for me from now on.

I have literally today gone back and done my second coats. No scrimping ever again! I promise. :)

But then I got to thinking that I probably only really needed one coat of the Primer Sealer as well. It's not like they were raw timber or a very dark colour. Arguh! Still learning. 

It is such a miserable rainy day here in Sydney that the kids have mindlessly chilled out in front of the TV to watch Turbo and I have got stuck into more of the doors and trim in the hallway.

I've sanded all the trim and doors (except for the bathroom ones as they are going to be a pain and will need scraping.  Then I taped everything, applied one base coat of Zinsser 123 Primer Sealer and 2, count them 2, coats of British Paints H20 Enamel in Semi Gloss in White, sanding lightly in between coats. And, spot checking for drips to fix before they dried. 

When you knuckle down and do it, it really doesn't take that long to do. Our trim and doors are in pretty good condition so the only prep was to sand them with a 150 grit sanding block, dust and them vacuum everything, tape, and I was all set to paint.

I'm getting there. :)
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fixing Our Walls, Trim, and Board and Batten

When I first started decorating our house, I was always trying to find the most thrifty, time effective and cost effective methods of redecorating. Some things worked like furniture and decor, but the things I'm regretting not spending more time and money on are the walls, doors and trim.

Now I look back and see that a lot of my projects were poorly researched, rushed, and poorly executed with cheap or inappropriate materials.  

As an amateur DIY decorator, I thought what I was doing looked wonderful.  But now I can see that some of the projects have not stood the test of time or just look plain dreadful on closer inspection.

So what went wrong?


We all know a fresh coat of paint can work magic, and seeing that magic can be addictive.  You want to paint everything in sight, and fast.  So that was my first mistake.

I didn't do the proper prep work. Often I didn't sand and sometimes I didn't prime either.

And it wasn't very smart when I painted straight over gloss paintwork with practically zero adhesion on doors and trim. 

Result - A big flaky disaster.

I had started scraping when I took this photo. But you get the idea.


- I used cheap paint. I didn't do enough coats. The ones I did were uneven and patchy as I was stretching my cheap sample pots. 

Patchy poor quality finish walls.
- I kept impulsively changing my wall colours. I'd paint one colour, then the next week it would be another. Consequently, my finishes became lazy.  My cutting looks like waves on an ocean. 

Messy edges.
- I didn't know what type of finishes I should be using so I guessed and used a lot of different gloss, semi gloss, and matt in various shades of white so nothing really matched.

Result - Rushed, poor quality, mismatched finishes.


- My board and batten walls were rushed.  My MDF was roughly cut, not properly sanded, not properly caulked, painted with the wrong finishes, and covered in ugly brush marks.

Result - Cheap looking messy walls. 

Disastrous Board and Batten Walls.

So this is where I am currently at.  I have opened my eyes and seen my shabby work, and I'm really regretting it. Maybe it is a little bit of learn from my mistakes and learn from other's successes, which has lead me to want to fix a lot of things in our house. 


1. Flaking Doors and Wood Trims.  

This week I tackled the worse flaking in the house which were the kids bedroom doors and doorway trims. They were flaking. Alot. I had tried to ignore the problem and brush off any noticeable flakes, but they just kept flaking. 

So I decided it was time to do my research and fix the flaking. Or should I say snowing. That is exactly what the floor (and me) looked like after I used a scrapper on the doors and their door trims. The paint easily lifted off, as expected. It wasn't too time consuming (although I could think of a million other things I would rather have been doing), it was just super messy.  I had to keep stopping and using the dust pan to collect my snow, and then vacuuming about 20 times to get all the little bits. 

My snow flakes.

Then it was time to do it right. :) Firstly, I used a 180 grit sanding block to take off all the little hang-er-on-ers and take the sheen off the original semi gloss paint. Then I wiped everything over to remove any dust.  I was careful to make sure the floor was clear of all dust to ensure nothing got snagged up in my new paint. See, I'm learning. :)

Next, I used my 3M blue painters tape and taped off all my edges to ensure a crisp clean straight finish, just like a professional. ;)

Next I applied 2 coats of my Zinsser 123 Undercoat Primer Sealer, lightly sanding any little grainy bits in between.  I used a fresh clean roller on the doors and a new paint brush on the trim. Then I went over the trim with a small roller so I would not have any brush marks. Learning more all the time. :)

Next, I decided to use 2 top coats of British Paints H20 Enamel Semi Gloss in white. I haven't used this paint before, but it promised to do what I needed and it was cheaper than the usual Dulux that I run to every time.  And to be honest, I haven't seen anything really special about Dulux paints anyway. 

The finished doors and doorways are a crisp smooth bright white that hopefully won't be peeling off any time soon. Fingers crossed. 

Door and trim painted the correct way.

Not all the doors are this bad, but I'd like to work through the entire house repainting (and properly prepping) all the trims and doors so they are all done with the same paint. Another lesson in learning to make everything uniform. :)

I really can't remember what finishes or brands or tints of white I used in every room so now I am going to record the paint information somewhere safe for future reference.  Another handy tip. ;)

2. Walls

Next on the list, I'd like to repaint the walls as well.  They are currently a mishmash of Hogs Bristle Half and Hogs Bristle Quarter on a Mid Base using sample pots of paint mostly.  Again, I thought this would be a cheap option, but really it has produced poor quality finishes throughout the house. 

I'd really like to go with a warmer shade like Raw Cotton Quarter which is similar to Hogs Bristle, but creamier and warmer. White has also crossed my mind, but we previously had Antique White throughout the entire house and I found it looked cold and dirty.  So white might be a bit daunting to do again. I know this time I'll be giving it a lot more consideration instead of charging ahead and regretting it. 

Raw Cotton vs Hogs Bristle.

3. Board and Batten Walls

I want to fix all the board and batten feature walls so they are uniform throughout the house in colour and texture.  I'm going to research the best way to do this, but I can imagine there will be a lot of sanding and caulking and priming and repainting.  Any help with the type of paint would be much appreciated. Would satin be an option?  I don't want the walls to be as shiny as the gloss has made them.

So lots of work to do to keep me busy.  I'll try to update you on my progress as I go, but for now just think of me sanding and priming and painting doors and trim for the next 5 years. ;)  
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