Friday, July 22

That didn't go as well as we hoped....

Paneling. Oh, paneling. The pride of the 60s and the bane of all who inherit it. Our case is no exception. Behold our master suite, in all its paneled glory:

(yes, in excellent Dr. Suess form, it's a Pink Sink!)

This is different than most paneling because it's planks of real wood with lots of texture and crevices. But it is like most paneling in that it feels very dark & heavy. We don't get much natural light up there and have only one small ceiling light so it feels pretty cave-like most of the time. We thought about it for a good 9 months (since the day we moved in) and finally decided that we definitely wanted to paint all that paneling to try to lighten up the space. (I apologize if you are the kind of person who cringes at painting wood, but I promise it was very dark and not very pretty!)

All the tutorials I looked at on painting paneling suggested starting with an oil-based primer to prevent bleed through, but we weren't about to bring all that stink around Baby B! I'd also heard that several low VOC primers didn't do the job very well but the Kilz brand seemed to work a little better. So we bought Kilz Odorless primer to give it a try. Some of my family was in town for the weekend so while a couple free baby sitters played with Baby B, my dad and I got to work priming the walls. And here is what we quickly learned about Kilz: it is SO runny. It's like trying to put water on the walls. We couldn't even use rollers because it splattered paint everywhere so we had to work only with brushes. With in a few minutes my dad was saying "snot balls" and I was growling like a bear. That's how you know we are frustrated. Our original plan was to leave the baseboard and window & door trim brown and paint everything else, but about 1 1/2 hours in we scrapped that idea and started painting everything because we couldn't control the primer! I'd been toying with the idea of white trim anyway. :) So we worked that way a while longer.

Then we realized we had been painting for 3 1/2 hours and had done about 10% of the room. I was ready to paint the floor because I was tired of wiping up primer. We decided that it was time for a new game plan, because this was never going to be worth the trouble! So we decided to go scrap the priming step and go straight to paint. I had picked out a pale yellow called "Vanilla Bean" by Valspar and had it color matched to Olympic's no VOC paint (which they then told me they are not allowed to do anymore. weird.). We got started with the paint and I was able to use a roller - hallelujah! - while my dad started brushing the cracks. In just a couple hours we had gone through both gallons and had a coat on almost the whole room! It will definitely need a second coat, and probably a third, but even if it does it will be SO much faster than priming that I think it will be worth it. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Here is our progress so far. This is the corner that we primed. You can tell on the ceiling where we stopped priming and the brown is showing through more.

You can see in this picture the difference between primed and un-primed. The left side is primed, the right side is not. The primed side is looking really good already, so I guess I can see why people would go that route. But I'm hoping the right side will look just as good after another coat or two!

And here are some progress pics of the whole space. We haven't done all the cracks & trim, and we haven't even started the stairway because we ran out of paint! I picked up 2 more gallons last night (we'll probably need at least one more after that) so I can tackle it again this weekend. After a nice long break. Until then you can find us all camping out in the nursery.

This is the most accurate shot I got of the yellow. It's a little more yellow-tastic than I expected, but I like it. And I like it with the white trim, too!

And it's already looking so much lighter and brighter up there!


  1. That is going to look bright and cheery when you are done :) I am eager to see how it turns out since I will be painting paneling in a few weeks ;)

  2. Yeah, I followed the advice I gave you and it obviously didn't work out so well. Sorry about that! Hopefully I'll have something more helpful soon. :)

  3. It's already evident you're going to have an amazing transformation! All your hard work will be SO worth it. Dark paneling (below the chair rail) came with the parsonage kitchen where our girl and her fam are living. They got permission, painted it off white, and it looks great.