This time we decided to repaint the kitchen. Followed by the master bath, if there was time and if we were still speaking to each other.
The kitchen is this high-ceilinged room with skylights and blonde wood, and it was painted an off-white enhanced by many layers of kitchen grease. Twelve years of looking at it convinced us that we needed something more exciting. More colorful. Something more like those folks on Changing Rooms might put on a complete stranger's wall.
We went to the library and checked out a lot of books from House Beautiful and Modern Living, hoping to find some interesting ideas. Every kitchen in every book--- I mean every kitchen--- was high-ceilinged, with blonde wood and off-white walls. There wasn't even the slightest inkling of a suspicion of a clue that someone might want a kitchen that looked the slightest bit different. So, from the design standpoint, we were on our own.
We have a new Turkish rug of a madder-red color, and the nearby living room has dark red Venetian blinds, so we thought a dark red accent might be just the ticket. We decided to paint the walls above the cabinets a dark red.
So off we went to Home Depot for paint. We looked at all the paint chips and decided that something called "Cranberry Zing" was just the ticket. So with a bucket of Cranberry Zing, and another of eggshell white, we motored home along with a full supply of dropcloths, brushes, and so forth.
I figured the whole project would take a day once we got started. But Day 1 was taken up just with preparation: we had to scrub down the walls and ceiling with trisodium phosphate, and then scrub off the TSP with water, and then mask everything we didn't want painted, and drape plastic and paper dropcloths on all horizontal surfaces, and some of the vertical ones. I also had to climb up a ladder and scrape off old, damaged wallboard tape and joint compound ("mud") where cabinets had separated slightly from their moorings, then slap on more mud and wallboard tape and more mud, after which I artistically dabbled the mud with a sponge so it would look as unnaturally blotchy as the surrounding areas.
So that had to dry for a night.
Day 2 we painted. I figured it was best to start with the ceiling and work our way down, since any splatters could be corrected as we went. The ceiling went well enough, though I don't enjoy ladders much--- but during a cold snap a few days later, the metal casings of the skylights shrank and just shrugged off the new paint, which fell in long strips to the floor below.
Okay, so they're now bare metal. Big deal.
The big problem started with the Cranberry Zing. It was, well, unnaturally bright. It was, in fact, the color of fresh arterial blood. It looked as if vampires had been holding an orgy in the upper levels of our kitchen.
We decided that maybe we didn't want to paint everything above the cabinets in that color. Maybe half would do.
I put on another coat, but it didn't seem to get any less bright. We mulled this over for a night.
On Day 3 I returned to Home Depot, my can of Cranberry Zing in hand. "This is not the color that was on the paint chip," I pointed out.
"Oh, yah, well that's yer problem with reds," said the Paint Guy. "You need at least four coats."
I recalled that my Uncle Monty, who lived in the country, owned a classic red barn. "If you'd told Uncle Monty he had to put four coats on that barn, he'd have told you where to put your paint," I said.
The Paint Guy was unimpressed by my argumentum ad Monteius Advunculus. He declined to sell me any barn paint. Home I went, to put on another couple of coats.
Well, Reader, it worked. The shade of red darkened considerably. While it's still a lot brighter than the color on the paint chip, it no longer looks as if a pressure cooker full of beets exploded on the stove. We can temper the red's exuberance somewhat by putting up plates or hardware or stencils or something in contrasting colors. And fixing this problem meant we could get on with painting everything else.
Which took two more days. Which we didn't mind that much, because the largest blizzard in New Mexico history was howling around our eaves during those two days, and we weren't going anywhere anyhow.
We never got to paint the bathroom. But we are still speaking to each other--- we got along quite harmoniously in fact, possibly aided by the fact that I spent my time being mad at the Paint Guy and the Glidden company.
And our kitchen is now quite pretty, leaving aside the strips of paint that are still being shed from the skylights, and which tend to land in our cookware.
As Home Improvement goes, this was fairly carefree.