September 27, 2012 by Decorum DIYer
Wow! Has it been five years already since my husband and I sold our townhouse for sale by owner? Time really flies when you are busy having babies and revamping a mid-century home. Yup, five years ago our family consisted of only three: Chris, me, and our little Roman whom was only 18 months old. Well, five, if you include our two kitty friends, Anabella and Sascha. Chris and I purchased our 1995 townhouse in 2000. I really loved our townhouse, although I usually say townhome, but my auto-correct doesn’t like that word and the little dashed, red line is bothering me. 🙂
So, I thought it was only appropriate to share with you a tour of our first home, our townhouse in Abingdon with a concentration, of course, on our previous home’s paint colors. We were lucky enough to have an end-of-group unit and purchased it at a time that the market was quite affordable. Here is our townhouse’s exterior:
As the townhouse was only five years old when we purchased it, there really weren’t any major renovations, nor fixes, that needed to be completed. Of course, being an avid painter and decor enthusiast for as long as I can remember, the first item on the agenda for me was to paint. When we purchased the house, it was decorated in more of a folksy, country-style than I liked. The living room was ‘Lobster Tail’ pinky-red (Yes, that is the actual color name – the previous owner told me when Chris and I viewed the home and I never forgot.) The kitchen was plastered with a cream on taupe scroll wallpaper design, complete with a garish, fruit-themed border – not my taste. The main bath was a soft green with stenciled grass, lady bugs, and dragonflies – again, not too me. The master bedroom was a school bus yellow, with a cobalt blue accent wall – okay, but the shades were incompatible. The second bedroom used as a child’s bedroom was a nice, deep blue, but splattered with little stenciled fish everywhere – not much on aquarium living. The remainder of the home was builder beige.
I admired the home owner’s brazen color choices and effort. Although I was hesitant, I was excited to live with the color schemes for a while, until I knew what I did and did not like and how Chris and I would use our spaces. Well, after a week of living in the home, we could not be in that house another day without painting the living room. The color was okay in normal light, but in the early morning (as in the time one would be descending the stairs on the way to work), the rays of the sun enlivened the room with a very grotesque orange-y, pink-y hue. It was quite bothersome to Chris and me. Never has one paint color made me feel so ill. It is amazing how the color that surrounds you makes you feel.
That very evening, we were at Home Depot cruising the paint aisles. At the time, most of the major paint brands didn’t have colors that appealed to Chris and me. The rare exception to that was Ralph Lauren. I loved every sumptuous, earthy color offered in the Ralph Lauren palette. Being excited and over-zealous, we chose a complicated and time-consuming ‘antiqued leather’ faux finish. The process was: 1. prime the ‘Lobster Tail’, 2.paint the base coat, Ralph Lauren’s ‘Devonshire’, and finally 3. the glaze top coat in Ralph Lauren’s ‘Chestnut’. Here is sample of the finish up close, as provided by the Ralph Lauren website (although, I don’t recall seeing this line offered in Home Depot any longer):
The glazing portion took almost a week, as it involved dipping what looked to be a stiff-bristled scrub brush into the glaze and then pounding, or stippling, the brush against the walls. The cutting in and ceiling portions were really difficult, as it required a lot of feathering to avoid creating a hard-line of stippling. It was a labor of love. The results were beautiful and I always received many compliments from friends and family on the results. So, here is our living room:
Next up was that pesky, wallpapered kitchen. If you know me, or have followed me recently, you know I DO NOT LIKE WALLPAPER. Sure, there are some beautiful wallpapers in this world, but when you have had to remove as much wallpaper as I have, the notion of wallpaper just sounds like a bad idea. My husband, Chris, and I were married in October of 2001 in Las Vegas (yes, we boarded a plan just after 9/11 – what were we thinking?). Anyway, we spent our honeymoon stripping…., wallpaper, that is. Well, technically, I spent our honeymoon stripping wallpaper in the kitchen whilst my husband lay dying in our bed of bronchitis. Okay, he wasn’t really dying, but he was quite ill. I stripped all of the wallpaper solo, and painted the kitchen in a dark, reddish, brown color that reminded me of clay (clearly before my wine drinking days) similar to this:
Of course I don’t have a photo of my previous kitchen painted in that hue, I am the queen of forgetting to take a before photo, remember? I also have to admit that I even sponge painted a bit in that kitchen. I am not proud of it, but hey, maybe that is why I didn’t take a photo? Anyway, the color above didn’t last long. I fell in love with Behr’s ‘Tate Olive’. Clearly, this was the beginning of my ardent love of Behr paint products. So, here is our townhouse’s kitchen in a lovely shade of green:
Moving on to the master bedroom. At first, we thought we wanted a gray and purple bedroom (hey, how ahead of the gray craze was I in 2000, eh?). So, we painted the bedroom gray, but with a texture. Not a faux texture – a REAL texture, sand paint. If you have ever painted using sand paint, you are probably laughing or even maybe groaning as your read this. Sure, it sounds cool, but it is a royal pain to adhere to the wall and you need to constantly stir the paint or all of the sand particles settle to the bottom of the tray and can. Our master bedroom ended up looking more like a parking garage than the romantic, cozy, earthy retreat we hoped for; although it was better than the blue and yellow. Of course I don’t have a photo! So, we decided on a different color scheme, in a more golden direction. We just happened to be at the new Lowe’s in Abingdon (it was closer than Home Depot) and drifted into the ‘dark side’ of paint – Valspar. We couldn’t help ourselves, we were actually wooed by the color scheme suggestions that are offered in the tiny little cards at the bottom of the paint chip holder. Here is the color scheme from Valspar: Woodlawn Lewis Gold (walls), Baked Scone (ceiling), and La Fonda Ecru (trim). And here is our master bedroom in the same colors:
Now onto our master bathroom. When we purchased the house, it was painted a light green with tons of flower field-ish stencils of grass and insects. My first attempt at painting this room was again due to an antiquing finish from Ralph Lauren. Basically, it had the look of a tarnished mirror. It was accomplished by painting the walls in a metallic silver and then washing a tobacco stain glaze over the base coat of silver. I loved it, but Chris did not. This is the only picture I could find in which one can actually see the tarnish silver walls, so I also provided a close up from the Ralph Lauren website:Prior to placing our house on the market, I decided it would be best to tone-down the faux finish and I chose a lovely deep shade of a greenish-gray by Behr called ‘Spartan Stone’. Here is our master bathroom:
Well, that wraps up the first half of my Townhouse Time Travel post. I hope that at the very least, the color selections I have made give you more power to choose your paint selections. Don’t be afraid to try. Until part dos, happy painting!
(To see part II, please click here.)