Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Family room reno and explorations in white-washing

When we first got into our house, we knew we'd be renovating multiple rooms simultaneously, but we wanted to go for the "easy wins" first. This, for us, included knocking out our family room quickly. Structurally, I loved the space. It had these awesome wood beams, and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, and brand-new carpet. Unfortunately, the brick, beams and wall color made the room look straight out of the 70's (which the house is, so no surprise there).

The before picture with the prev owner's stuff still in it

Finding a neutral wall color and white trim color we both agreed on was easy. We used Sherman Williams ProClassic enamel paint for the trim (also used for our kitchen cabinets) and Cashmere paint for the walls. 

Major rule of thumb for painting: don't cheap out on quality brushes and paint. 

We used crappy brushes at first (we didn't skimp on the paint, thank goodness) and I almost lost my religion. White paint + crappy brushes with black fibers = frustration. So we bought some Purdy brushes (available here), and since they're so nice you can continue to wash and re-use them, they end up being about as economical as the crappy $5 brushes we originally bought. Same goes for the tape. Don't buy the cheap house brand (frog tape is best, but if that's too expensive, any scotch blue painter's tape will work). If you do, you'll just be pissed later when you have you re-touch 5 million spots because your paint leaked through.

For the beams and fireplace, I knew we needed a change, but I was stumped. Then, I found this blog post over white washing brick, and after mulling it over, we asked the painters who would be removing the popcorn ceilings if they could just add this on as an extra project (my hubs wanted us to do it ourselves but I was convinced I'd get the whitewash on the carpet). They quoted us at a couple hundred bucks on top of what we were already paying. Done. I wasn't sure aesthetically how it would turn out, but it had to be better than it was currently, right?  So one week later, we walked in, and saw the end result.

With some our furniture. Still need some decorations, but those won't be hard to find :)

Overall, I personally love the way it turned out. It's brighter, lighter, and definitely more our style. We still kept the personality of the room, but we updated it to fit our taste. The money we paid for the fireplace and beams to be done by professionals was definitely worth it, although the technique they used wasn't far off from the blog I had originally found, so this could definitely be a DIY project. It was a major relief to get one room checked off our list so we could start the real work on the other rooms. More to come on those later!