the wait is over or a mystery demystified

When I left you with the “something’s afoot” cliff hanger this past Friday, I didn’t think it would take me this long to close the loop.  But life interfered, as it is wont to do, as did Easter, a huge garage sale, and other such things, and I am now just finding time to post the pictures of our newly painted — wait for it, wait for it — kitchen!  That’s right, the room that never stops being updated.

It all started with the installation of the pretty absolute black countertops.  Actually, it really started last July when we bought the condo and painted the kitchen with leftover master bedroom paint, called Popular Gray.  Unfortunately, Popular Gray (a pretty clay color) reads pink/gray in our kitchen’s flourescent lighting.  Instead of rushing to change the paint job, Nate and I decided to wait until we had updated the countertops to see if we could find a more complementary tone.

We both love yellow and green kitchens, but from our past experience with the fickle lighting, we knew that any yellow-based shade would look sickly.  So, we decided to stick to a cool color that would create a soothing place for us to cook and bake.  After testing four potential colors, we moved forward with a light gray/blue (notice a pattern, anyone?) called North Star from Sherwin-Williams.  I took the Friday before Easter off and was able to tape off and paint our kitchen in about three hours (see my fool-proof painting tips below).  Nate and I are super-pleased with the results, and have been trying to incorporate pops of yellow wherever we can (yellow and blue/gray are just so pretty together).  Coming soon: a yellow tea kettle and yellow tea towels.

Katie and Nate’s Painting Pointers

1) Buy good paint. Buying good paint, from a store like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin-Williams, may appear to be a bigger investment (approx. $40 per gallon vs. Home Depot’s $25 per gallon).  However, the coverage is superior to Home Depot-grade paint, meaning you’ll only need one coat (unless you’re painting your walls red, which will require two coats and will cost you your sanity).  Also, the paint mixer computers at specialty stores are recalibrated frequently, meaning the color on the chip is the color you will get in the can.  Finally, nice paint can be cleaned without fading or chipping.
2) Buy a nice brush for cutting in. We have a Purdy 2″ angled brush that keeps a steady line and doesn’t flick bits of paint everywhere (like cheap brushes tend to do).
3) Invest in a canvas drop cloth. The plastic ones don’t cost that much less, and they don’t absorb any paint, which means they’re practically begging for you to step in the wet paint you drop and track it around your house.
4) Tape, tape, tape. Using blue painter’s tape may take some time up front, but will save you a TON of time and frustration down the line.  To keep a straight line with the tape, overlap pieces that are no longer than one or two feet long (depending on what you’re covering).  Otherwise, a crooked line is inevitable.
5) Get brushes and rollers damp before use. That way they don’t soak up a ton of extra paint, leaving the brushes and rollers goopy and hard to handle.  Just be sure to thoroughly ring out the excess water before painting.
6) Purchase a Shur Line touch up kit. It contains a mini roller and three mini roller brushes, and helps you get into very tight spaces without having to use a paint brush (which tends to coat less evenly than a roller).  Oh, and it costs about $5.
7) Refrigerate leftover paint. If you are painting a room (or many rooms), and will need to break for the night only to start again the next morning, cover your paint tray and rollers in plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge.  This will keep the paint wet for later use.  Just be sure to let your paint get back to room temp before using it again (this usually takes me an hour or so).  Always rinse out brushes after you’re done using them.

Anyone else have good painting tips they’d like to share?

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