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Remember back in March when Dad and I spent a weekend putting up drywall in his dining room?
Maybe not, but trust me – it totally happened. And Mom was pretty excited when she got home from her birthday weekend and found that the makeover she’s been waiting nearly twenty years for was finally happening. Get ready for a lot of pictures (seriously- you’re going to suddenly see why I do all of those partway, unfinished reveal posts by the end of this!).
You see, normally, Dad comes over to my house to help me make a big mess and improve things around the UDH. But this time, Dad was asking for my help in making over a room in his house. Where he borrowed my tools. It was kinda cool, actually. In the first weekend, we placed thin sheets of drywall over the existing wood paneling, which wound up being a pretty dramatic change by itself.
But we also knew that there would be many, many more steps until we got to the finished result. In the weekends that followed, there was also taping, mudding, sanding, more mudding, more sanding, molding installation, caulking, cursing, more sanding, more molding installation, scraping the popcorn ceiling, griping (that the project was, of course, taking a long time to finish), and more.
I may or may not have spent part of my Easter Sunday caulking in a new white dress. As a DIYer does, apparently.
But as time went on, things came together. And finally, the big finish was around the corner: the weekend where all of our hard work is painted over, and the “after” is realized!
As it so happened, I was also finishing up a recent trip to New York to take a tour with Olympic paint and Good Housekeeping. After the tour, they asked if there were any room projects coming up where I thought I might be able to try out their Olympic One Interior Paint (since after all, testing in a lab environment differs ever so slightly from a group of DIYers who have tried their fair share of paint). So, naturally, I thought about it for all of three seconds and suggested we use their paint to make Mom’s twenty-year wait a reality. Nothing like putting on the pressure to see how a paint really performs, right?
They accepted, and I soon found myself at Lowe’s to pick up the paints we would need to get the room finished off:
- a flat white ceiling paint (since Dad had been scraping off all of the popcorn texture to match the kitchen remodel, he wanted to have the whole room and not just the walls completely done)
- a semi-gloss white paint (just straight off the shelf, no tint added) for the Shaker-style wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls, and
- a sage gray-green in an eggshell finish for the upper walls (Olympic’s Misty Lake)
The plan was to apply each of these paints in exactly this order. The ceiling paint would go up first, then the trim paint (which would let us get a little sloppy with the edges where the green paint would later cover over, such as at the bottom of the crown and top of the wainscoting). Then the green paint would go on to clean everything up and finish off the job.
I came over to my parents’ house last Saturday afternoon to get started, but realized that before we could begin painting, we would need to first cover the drywall with some sealing primer designed for newly drywalled surfaces.
You may be wondering why we took this step when Olympic One Interior Paint is already a paint + primer combo, and here’s your answer: as great as paint and primer combos can be for their time-saving benefits, new drywall is simply not the kind of job that these combo paints are designed to cover. Or, rather, they aren’t designed to seal the joint compound that exists every few feet between panels of new drywall. I’ve tried to skip the priming step with other brands before, but joint compound is simply not a paint-friendly type of material. When you add water to a dry layer of joint compound, it doesn’t stay dry (such as with a water-based latex paint). The top layer gets soft again (which can be a good thing, such as when using a sponge to smooth out a wall surface instead of sandpaper). Or, the paint dries in a nice, smooth layer on top, but any disruption in the surface causes it to peel right back off the wall again (which I’ve experienced before both during a paint job that wasn’t fully dry yet, and a fully cured wall months after it was painted). Which makes it not really the paint’s problem; it’s what’s underneath. So, to ensure a stick-friendly surface, the joint compound has to be sealed with a primer. I prefer and recommend an oil-based primer for this (and in fact, I didn’t even note the name of the primer we grabbed out of the garage), but just keep in mind that oil paints require extra dry time before moving onto the next step.
While I was adding primer to the walls, Dad hopped up on the ladder to touch up some of the ceiling paint (he’d already done a coat before I arrived, and it appeared to get the job done enough to not need a full second coat, so it was just a spot job at that point).
The bottom half of the walls had pre-primed molding, so they were ready as well for a few coats of the white semi-gloss paint. Mom stepped in on this part and helped me get the first coat done before finally calling it a night on Saturday evening. The next morning, I finished up a second coat. Two coats seems almost enough for the wainscoting, so a third was required for the bottom (the crown only needed two).
And then came the best part: adding color!
Mom is a fan of green (nearly every other room in the house has some variant of it), but chose to go a little more muted in the dining room by picking out a color with lots of gray in it. Depending on how the light hit the room (or if the yellow-hued bulbs in the light fixture were turned on), the room’s color varied from very sagey-green to almost completely gray.
I did all of the cutting in, but since I’m no good at taking pictures of my own hands while painting, I had Mom stand in as my hand model while I got a few shots in place ;)
Dad also began rolling, but it took about fifteen minutes after this photograph for me to kick everyone out of the room. I am Sarah, and I am a perfectionist on little sleep. Please GTHO. But bring coffee.
The work was coming along, and Mom and Dad got to head off to lunch while my grandmother (who also lives with my parents) and I spent some time chatting in the dining room. We both found the event pretty soothing to just sit around and let the sage color sink into our psyches. Gran’s health has been a bit of a roller coaster recently, which has been really hard on both of my parents, so I was pretty pleased to be able to give them all an afternoon where things felt more like they were starting to come back together again.
I took a break mid-afternoon on Sunday to let the first coat finish drying and snapped a few shots to show you how the coverage was looking. It’s typical to need a second coat at the wall’s edge, but since the consistency of the paint was somewhat thick (which is not all that common for a budget paint brand), there were virtually no drips, no extra-thick globs of areas needing to be smoothed out, and very few areas on the rest of the walls with white splotches peeking through. Some of that can be attributed to painting ability (I don’t call myself an expert on much, but I’ve painted a lot of friggin’ walls), but the paint was also keeping up with the expectations I have for the more expensive brands I typically use. I knew I would be doing a full second coat on the walls regardless (again, perfectionist), but I’m betting that on walls where the color change isn’t very drastic, a single coat would probably be all I’d need.
Ok, so this post has rambled on long enough, and I’ve been waiting several days worth of post-editing to show you what things look like now (I have absolutely zero patience when a room is actually finished!). Imagine for me quickly, movie-montage-style: one more coat, some additional dry time, and moving things back into place. Passage of time… me buzzing around the room time-lapse style… and climbing up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps. And scene.
It’s time for the big reveal! For your viewing pleasure, here’s the before… complete with me around age 16, bad jeans, bleached hair, and ugly wood paneling in the dining room:
The paneling was painted over a few times in the last couple of years, which is how it became yellow:
And then Dad and I covered everything in 1/4″ drywall earlier this year:
And after some elbow grease and a few coats of paint, it now looks like this!
Mom and Dad’s soothing new dining room is now a reality, but there is still more to do. Mom has plans to add some new window treatments to the patio door and a huge genealogy-based gallery wall to the longest part of the room (kind of like this), but I’m sure that will take a little bit of time for her to get all of those together.
And then, of course, there’s the everyday wear and tear to see if this paint really is #UpToTheTest (Mom has waited long enough, so part of this little review is going to include some follow-up to see if the paint meets my expectations for endurance). Until then, we’ll all just relax and have our family cookout on the 4th in the room as it was meant to be!
There are some other bloggers testing out Olympic’s products, so feel free to check out these guys as well to catch a glimpse at how they plan to put Olympic paints and stains to the DIY test (and you can catch sneak peeks with the hashtag #UpToTheTest on Instagram & Twitter).
Making a House a Home
Have a happy 4th of July, everyone!
Huge thanks to Olympic paint for sponsoring this post, providing the materials to get the room finished, and for letting me use their product as the vehicle for giving my parents the means to get this job finally taken care of. While this may have been done in partnership with Olympic and Good Housekeeping, all opinions expressed here are, as always, 100% my own.