Who knew stripping was so hard

The bathroom – part 1 (don’t judge me)

I made a mess of my bathroom (paint) and I’m upset with myself. I make no secret of the fact that I am NOT good at DIY – or making good choices OR being patient for that matter

Pink and brown...mmmmm

Pink and brown…mmmmm

The Problem: First off- this is what I had to work with…. typical pink (or nude) and brown (or skid mark) tiles and matching unit that was popular when it was built and decorated in the 70s (and kept that way ever since) It has lovely green carpet too(in pics below)… Luckily for us it’s just laid over original tile and easily lifted -or it will be when the time comes, it’s just a shame the tiles aren’t more appealing.

 The plan: I wanted colours which could tie in with the tile -meaning less work in the long run- but I also wanted something warm and inviting. For the main wall I chose a warm caramel it has “warm” in the name so the choice wasn’t that difficult, the tiles will be eventually cream and the accent colours for example the nice pink unit will eventually be a chocolate brown…. Easy enough right?

*my dad calls this colour “baby poo”, it looks very different on camera than real life and the reflection from the remaining pink tile isn’t helping either but trust me it WILL look nice in the end*

"Baby Poo Brown' with primed tile

“Baby Poo Brown’ with primed tile

The lessons I learned the hard way: 

  • Work from the top down: I decided to prime the pink tile as that’s that main thing that irks me (aside from the carpet) but after priming one wall I realised I should probably start at the top and work my way down. A little time wasted but no biggie
  • If the advice at Walmart is “Maybe your should go to Lowes” … Go to Lowes
  • Buying paint at Walmart purely because it’s closer and I’m lazy I happened to be there when the urge to impulse-buy paint struck wasn’t the best idea.
  • Don’t trust the “paint-finish-key”: I’m used to buying paints marked “bathroom” etc but Walmart just has flat, satin, glossy and semi-gloss The key told me semi-gloss was the way to go… It wasn’t

 What I learned about semi-gloss (this deserves its own section:

  • Unless you’re going for a very light colour or painting a large room with natural light… Stay away from semi-gloss
  • It’s going to end up darker than the picture on the tin
  • You’ll feel like you’re in a wet, dark, cave
  • Gloss paint shows up every imperfection in the wall! So either sand the wall or go for satin. Otherwise shelling out for paint “pads” which are “smoother than a roller and quicker than a brush” is completely pointless.
  • If you hate the look of the first wall… Painting the others will not make it look any better.
The sander is NOT my friend

The sander is NOT my friend

The outcome: I backed away and went to bed- when you lose sleep over something you know it’s got to change. This morning I woke up determined to repaint it with a satin finish and googled whether that was a possibility or not….it is.  A friend suggested sanding it first to remove the obvious brush strokes showing through from the previous owners so I bought a hand power-sander to help speed things up. *yes I can see you cringing*

Lessons about sanding: 

  • Using the wrong type of paper when sanding over gloss paint can remove 3 layers of paint in patches all over the place leaving the option of attempting to paint over the patches OR removing all paint from that wall with a tiny paint trowel I found in my craft drawer….

3 days (and some wine) later the wall was stripped, patched, primed and ready for round 2

I’m so much happier now it’s not as shiny, I painted over the other walls (without sanding) and it acted like a second coat, filling in any patches and calming down the cave-feel. I’ve since started on the tile – with the RIGHT kind of paint (thanks Lowes) so I’ll update you once I’ve come down from the fumes 🙂


Categories: Desperate Housewife | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Who knew stripping was so hard

  1. You hit on my least favourite subject- decorating. I hate all DIY with a vengeance, but decorating the most. It is so mind-numbingly dull, I would sooner sell all my possessions to pay someone else to do it.

    Some advice from someone who has consistently ballsed-up large in the past. Paint Pad systems are great for cutting in, as they have a ‘natural edge.’ Get a child’s paintbrush for doing the line where the wall meets the (usually white) ceilings. Don’t use a power sander on flat walls, as it will always be too powerful. Avoid gloss paint in any and all situations. It reflects the brush marks, needs cleaning off with white spirit, and it’s just too bloody hard to do well, unless you’re a professional.
    Never buy ‘own brand’ paint. I made that mistake with Homebase, and it was rubbish. Dulux, or one of the leading brands, is always worth the extra money. Always.
    Painting ceramic tiles is generally not great, as it is hard to hide any brush or roller marks. Better to save up, and replace the tiles completely, (or use a man who can) with the colour you want. Paint colours on charts and tins, and even those made up from mixes are almost always darker than you expect, often by a full shade.

    Phew, bet you never expected to hear all that guff from yours truly!
    Well done with what you have done anyway. You know I think you’re great…

    As ever, Pete. XX

    • Thanks Pete- if only I’d asked you before starting I would have saved myself a lot of time and energy (I’m serious) BUT you live and learn I suppose 🙂 It seems I’m better with theory than practice ha ha xx

  2. Oh girl! My goodness, you jumped in with both feet. Good for you! I’ve created many horror stories like this myself. I’m terrible about just “doing it” without all the research first. But it is going to be fantastic. 🙂 The color is going to be great. Can’t wait to see the final product. I’ve never painted tile before either….so I’m interested in all those tips definitely.

  3. Pingback: Cloudy with a chance of spray paint  | British Chick Across The Pond

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