Working days: 13
Ending on: Project day 123
All this time I have believed that all the walls in the unit were white. However, looking around with fresh eyes reveals that it's very much an off-white and in some rooms, like the bathrooms, it has a distinct yellow-ish tinge to it. That will have to change.
So, you go to the paint store and see all the lovely colors on those paint chips. You pick out the perfect color. Just to be safe, you buy some and swab it on the wall. Yuk! Rule number one: no paint ever looks on the wall as it does on the paint chip.
I've bought enough paint for color tests to cover the entire kitchen several times over. Rule number two: white is wonderful.
DR Painting begins work on combined bathroom and painting jobs. In preparation, everything in the master bedroom closets has to be removed so the closets can be painted. According to plan, this would be done one room at a time. In reality, no room – once begun – was ever "done" until the whole project was done.
As a result, the space to live in became ever smaller. In hindsight, it would have been better to go to a hotel for the duration. It's just very discouraging to every night look around and say, "Where shall I sleep?"
Baseboards: As part of the project, all the baseboards were removed and replaced. The original baseboards were short and stained some non-descript color. The new baseboards are taller (4") and have a shape. All in all, a good choice. The problem, of course, is that the Pergo was installed without removing the old baseboard. And, since the Pergo tiles are glued to each other and cut to fit around the edges of the room, this presents a dilemma. Leave the Pergo the way it is — and have the baseboards be different from the rest of the house — or take up the Pergo quarter-round and replace the baseboard behind it. Of course, the quarter-round will still be necessary to cover the gap left between the Pergo and the wall/baseboard. I opt for replacing the baseboard.
Getting to "done" was a very uncomfortable path. Why uncomfortable? Two things, primarily: One, discrepancy between what you see being done and the way you think it should be done. Two, how much do you want to compromise on what you see as "quality"?
How it "should" be done. For example, the conventional advice on painting is that the first thing is to thoroughly prepare the surfaces for painting: patch any holes and cracks, prime the patches, apply paint. Arriving home after the first day of painting, I was astonished to discover that paint had been applied but holes were still there and picture hangers had been painted over!
My first reaction was: "What the f*?" I went all around the rooms that had been painted and put strips of blue masking tape by all the offending places. (The fact that I had run out of Prozac several days before didn't help -- any semblance of calm, level-headedness is chemically induced.)
By sunrise of the next day (you notice these things — like sunrises — when you're not sleeping at night) I had decided to give the benefit of the doubt. I would say that I was surprised to see the picture hangers painted over and explain that I didn't intend to put the pictures back up. Reaction? "I do all the big things first, the details later."
Frankly, I think that's a lot of bullshit. There's no way that patching after the wall has been painted gives the same quality result as patching before. The true explanation, I suspect, is that patching after painting gets the project to "50% complete" much faster, hence another payment.
Compromise quality. Quality, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. But I'm talking here about pretty simple things. Generally this is about taking "shortcuts" rather than going for the more "finished" look. For example: cutting baseboards square at the end instead of angling them.