Dwell: In the Navy

When Brian and I first saw our house, way before we'd made an offer, we noticed that the majority of the rooms were painted super neutral colors, which was a plus for us.  We didn't want to have to paint right away if it wasn't necessary, and after seeing so many homes with wallpapered walls and primary-colored kitchens, we were ready to just move-in and relax.  We really lucked out with how little we've had to do since moving in, and now that we've been settled for a few months we're excited to take on home improvement projects here and there.  

Our first task was painting our master bedroom, which went so incredibly smoothly.  The walls had been a taupe-y grey color, which was okay, but it just made the room feel a little dark with the hardwoods.  I had my heart set on BM "Revere Pewter" and went out in the icy snow one day to buy a gallon of the paint.  We started painting around 11am the next day and by 7pm that evening, the entire bedroom was finished, and we seriously felt like pros.  

"Who the heck needs to hire painters?  That paint went on like butter, we covered the room seamlessly and have a ton of paint leftover-- high five!"

We would walk by the room and pat ourselves on the back because of how good it looked.  And I truly was impressed by the quality of the paint-- it was primer/paint in one, and took one coat to cover our large, rectangular room.  And I'll definitely show pictures of the before/after once we get the furniture and everything put together and arranged-- it's looking a little "broke college student" at the moment, with no headboard and a mismatched dresser and chest of drawers.  

So, after a few days of gloating, Brian made the bold statement one evening that we should just knock out our next painting project the following weekend.  We knew that we wanted to get our home office set-up, so decided that would be the room.  Now, remember the neutral colors that I mentioned?  Every room in the house was great (for now) except for the two rooms that were the previous owners kids bedrooms.  One was lilac purple, and one sky blue.  The office was the lilac: 

Picture from the house listing

I was originally thinking that I would paint the office a warm gray color, add lots of white and pink... basically pretty... basic.  Well, after wandering around on Pinterest for a few days, it struck me-- we needed a navy room.  As you can see in the picture above, we're lucky enough to have beautiful hardwoods that are in great condition all through the house, and white crown molding throughout the bedrooms and the living room.  The more pictures that I found of navy walls contrasted with white crown molding and hardwoods, the more easily I was convinced that this was meant to be.  Surprisingly, Brian was entirely on board and we settled on deciding between two paints-- BM "Hale Navy" and SW "Naval."  

Now, as I said, we LOVED the BM paint that we used in the master.  It sounds silly, but it just went on so smoothly and covered so well, so I was determined that there was no reason to change brands.  Brian insisted that SW had an equally good reputation, so I agreed to bend a little and try it because I really had no other argument except "But Benjamin Moore went on like butter!", and the colors were admittedly pretty similar.  We headed to our local SW, chose the paint (again, with primer included), had it mixed and went home to get set-up.  I don't have the patience to paint and "cut in" around the trim and windows, so Brian started that (annoying, God-awful) project as I rolled my roller in the gorgeous, blue paint and made my first swipe on the wall.

"Um, Brian?  This paint is kind of... gloopy?"
"What does that even mean?"
"Well, look at it.  It's really thick and it's not covering the purple all that well.  And look-- the more I roll over it to cover, the more paint comes up."
"I bet you're just pressing to hard."
*This would be the part where he takes the roller and gets the exact same result that I just did.* 
"I don't get it.  What's wrong with it?"

And the debate started. We are both perfectionists but see perfection differently.  After painting a quarter of the wall, I realized that if I went back and painted over the first area, after it had time to dry a bit, then the area would be fully covered and it looked fantastic.  If I tried to paint over an area that was still too wet, the paint would all just come up and you could see straight through to the purple again.  Brian wanted to just keep rolling over the same area, and use a ton of paint, which wasn't going on smoothly because there was so much.  I told him to just keep working on the trim and that I would figure it out, which was a good solution for around 2 minutes, and then he came back to try and figure it out again.  We finally realized that it would make sense to just do a base layer on the entire room, let it semi-dry, and do a second coat.  This would also mean we would need more paint.

At this point we had been painting for three hours and only had 1 1/4 walls finished.  We were quickly running out of paint, and morale was low.

I informed Brian that he needed to leave right then, immediately, to get food and another gallon of paint.  In all honesty, I needed his obsessive self to give me a breather for half an hour.  And he did.  He came back with paint and pizza and beers, and I had managed to paint half of what we had left (shocking how much you can get done when you aren't having to constantly say "I said just leave it alone!  I just tried that sp-- what did I tell you?  Now the paint that I had there just fine came up!").  We refueled, and foraged on.

Around 8pm that night, we finally finished.  It's not perfect, and we still have a few touch-ups that need to be done where the paint just got spotty as it got later/darker during the day.   But for the most part, I think it looks pretty darn good considering it nearly drove us to the nuthouse.  I kept telling myself "If we can survive painting this room, our marriage can survive anything."  We were definitely painting newbies, and what we realized is that our bedroom was so easy because we painted light over dark, so it covered really easily.  This room was painting SUPER dark over a bright purple, so it was naturally going to take more than one coat.  Had we gone into the process knowing that, I think it would have gone over much more smoothly altogether.  The guy at SW who sold us the navy paint even told Brian, when he went back in for gallon #2, that had he known what we were painting over, he would have advised us to buy two gallons to be safe-- annoying, but mainly our fault.

We still need to replace the ceiling fan (notice the pastel butterflies) and obviously clean the mess off of the floor (Molly ran in mid-paint fiasco with that JCrew shoebox in her mouth and it momentarily broke the tension-- bless her), but as of now we've added a desk: 

And we have a new desktop computer set-up.  I initially wanted the desk kind of in the middle of the room, like in the picture above, but that doesn't really work with all of the wires of a desktop, so we've since moved it against the window and it looks much better.  We still need a rug, a bookcase, filing cabinet, and a tall table on the other side of the room for my craft area, and to hang everything on the walls.  After surviving the painting, that's all easy peasy stuff that we can do along the way.  And once the room is fully finished, I'll certainly be sharing a picture!

Was it stressful painting the room?  Yes.  Would I tell any other married couple do also attempt painting on their own?  HECK yes.  Seriously, it was so fun.  We drove each other nuts, but it's neat to peek in the room and know that we took that project on together and that it actually looks pretty darn good.  I LOVE the navy.  Love love love it.  It pops so nicely against the floors and the molding, and the white furniture that we're (slowly) adding to the room.  If you're considering painting, DO IT.  Have fun and be ready for a little tension, but the end result is so worth it.

Now, for an important question-- what color rug would you put in this room?  We're sticking with white furniture, so I'm open to the rug being a pop of color, but am also open to a neutral like gray/white.  I've seen a handful of great navy/white rugs but am thinking that would possibly be preppy overkill. 

And, because I can't let one of my favorite days of the year go by unnoticed...

Happy St. Paddy's from my best Irish lass(ie)!!

1 comment:

  1. As a current expert in all color-matching navy, and since you don't need to worry about appearing "un-nautical" or "un-holiday" ... mint, coral, or if you want it a bit more muted, light gray works, or there's always dusty rose with champagne/rose-gold accents pieces (I'll probably have ~ 100 of them by November that you're welcome to!!).