Tuesday, November 13, 2012

DIY: Painting a walk in closet

How was everyone's weekend?  It appears that winter has come to Phoenix, maybe!  That's right, I was just writing about how we were out of the 100's and fall was coming, but this weekend we had unusually cool weather, and even had a severe weather alert about it.  I'm serious.  My weather app had that ominous red exclamation point, warning me that temperatures would be in...the sixties!  But wait!  It actually dipped into the thirties overnight.  This is saying something because six weeks ago it was staying in the nineties overnight, which means that it NEVER COOLED OFF.  So now, the entire city is freezing and wearing coats.  I'm just glad that I get to wear long pants, and we finally FINALLY got to leave the AC off for an entire day.  So, we survived the winter freeze of the desert and should be back in the seventies, or possibly eighties this week.  And it's a good thing, because my parents are coming to visit next week, and they are expecting some sun after hearing me bitch about how hot is it here for six months.

Oh yes, did I forget to mention that I am the crazy person who is moving into our house this weekend and hosting Thanksgiving dinner there next week?  I like to keep things interesting like that.  Last year I hosted a ginormous Thanksgiving dinner while working, taking A&P and being immersed in an epic romance, so I'm pretty sure I am up to the challenge this year while all I have to do is move a household beforehand (oh, still in the epic romance, but this year only introducing him to one family member instead of, like, seven).

So, K and I have been scrambling to get ready for our move, because apparently we were in shock for the first two weeks after closing on our house and didn't do anything.  When we did our final walk through of the house, I noticed that the walk in closet that took my breath away was in desperate need of being painted.  Why paint a closet, you ask?  Why not, I ask you.  But actually, the thing clearly had not been painted ever, it was still that stark builder white, and on top of that it had tons of ugly scuff marks and smudges all over the walls.  And rather than paint it white, or tan, or some other neutral, why not paint it a fun color?  I love to decorate with lots of color, but there is something intimidating about painting an entire room a bold color.  It is really a commitment, and then it dictates everything else that you put in the room.  I have always thought that it makes sense to paint smaller rooms, like bathrooms, those fun colors because smaller room = smaller commitment.   Plus, you aren't really putting much furniture in there.  Thus, the turquoise walk in closet was born.
Walk in closet - you can't tell, but the walls are gross

Before purchasing house:  Oooh, walk in closet!  After purchasing house:  Ewww, what's that on the wall?

I think K might have thought I was crazy when I first suggested turquoise, but he indulged me. And so when we were in Home Depot picking out blinds this weekend, we stopped by the paint department and loaded up on supplies.
I chose the lightest color because it is a small space

One Gallon of BEHR PREMIUM PLUS ULTRA® Satin Enamel in Gem Turquoise
One starter kit of paint supplies - contained one roller, a mini roller, an angled brush, and a paint tray
One Handy Cup ( a life saver)
Blue painter's tape
A plastic sheet for a drop cloth
a flat head screw driver (we forgot this)
paint stirrer 
One step ladder
One super awesome boyfriend  

A few notes.  

A. The paint was a paint and primer in one, which was awesome.  We ended up only needing to do one coat, and the color is rich and beautiful.  

B.  The brush kit we bought was the "best" quality (Home Depot labels some things good, better, best).  I think this was a really good choice  because I have read horror stories of cheap brushes and rollers that leave fibers behind and ruin your paint job.  We did not have this problem, and our brush and rollers worked like a charm.

C.  Taping off and laying down the plastic was the worst part, but very necessary.  Do not attempt to do this without protecting your floor.  Taping helped protect the baseboards and shelving but also did not provide quite the clean edge that we wanted.  It was our first time painting a room, so there is a learning curve.

D.  Starting off in a closet is a great way to learn.  It doesn't have to be (and isn't) perfect, but that's OK!

E.  Make sure you have a step ladder and don't try to use a plastic folding chair like we did.  Also, have a screw driver handy (like we didn't).  You need it to remove light switch plates and to open the paint can.

F.  Our paint was not completely mixed, so I was glad that K had picked up a wooden paint stirrer that we could use to make sure it was totally uniform.
So pretty!  But needs mixing!
After taping off all the edges, I started painting the edges with the brush while K took the roller and covered the big areas.  Before starting, we watched this tutorial.  We also looked at one from This Old House, but it was way more detailed than we were willing to get for a closet.  No sanding here!

All taped off and ready to go!

This project took a total of about three and a half to four hours, including prep time.  Towards the end my hand was cramping up and K and I had to take quick turns finishing off the edges.  We weren't sure if we should leave the tape up overnight, but after a tip from a friend and a quick google search, we realized that you should remove the tape before the paint has completely dried.  We were not entirely pleased with how the edges turned out - there are some areas where the paint seeped behind the tape and where the edges are uneven.  I think this is more obvious since this is a bold color and is highly contrasted against the white.   Like I said, this was a good learning experience for us, and since it is a closet I am not going to get nit-picky.  

I am in LOVE with my new closet, and I think it looks about a hundred times better than before.  I am also really happy that K and I completed our first home improvement project together!  It is amazing the sense of accomplishment and empowerment that you can get from finishing a fairy simple project.  Now that we have finished this, we are thinking about other projects we might take on around the house.  Mosaic tile backsplash?
Finished product!

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Colleen said...

It's gorgeous, great color choice, I love it! I bet you'r clothes look amazing against that backdrop :)

NW Girl said...

Thank you! The color makes me so happy. I might need to buy some more clothes to fill this closet actually, it is by far the biggest closet I have ever had! :)

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