May 30, 2012

Goodbye Red Parlor, Hello Blue Parlor!

As you know, we've been hoping to paint the rooms in our house since we moved in, namely the front room since it had the boldest color and is basically the first impression you get when entering our home. Well, that's exactly what we did over a portion of the long weekend, and today we're sharing the results!

The parlor had been painted a bright red color with a textured deeper red sponged finish overtop of it — we are not kidding. Here are some of the best "before" shots I could find from our time being here.


Over the holidays (maybe the only time this red was actually working for us, haha):

Most recent view with some spackling paste and paint swatches:

And the view we most often see from our various perches around the house:

We've been swatching different paint colors all over the house here and there, but they've mainly just stayed swatches for the time being. That is until we swatched up the front parlor with a single color that both Tim and I said "that's the one" without any hesitation — so we decided to just go for it.

We'd wanted to try something in the robin egg blue family that still provided a deep color, but was more calming and welcoming than the jarring feeling we were getting with the red.

To get things started, we removed all the small things from the room, pushed all the furniture we have in there into the center of the room and covered it with a cheap plastic drop cloth we'd picked up in packs of 3 at the hardware store. We then went around and dusted the entire room from ceiling to floor in order to make sure the walls were free from dust particles and any other bumpiness.

Tim went around with a tub of Spackling paste and finished coating 2 layers (letting each one dry fully) over any holes, visible cracks and other weird areas before sanding them down to a smooth finish. The shot below really shows the red texturing well — I felt bad for about one second about painting over somebody's hard work on that wall, then the feeling passed.

Now it was finally time to prime, so Tim fired up the record player and started rolling.


Side note: after loading and going through these photos, neither us know why he's wearing a sun-visor to complete this job, so we'll just call it the paint-visor from here on out.

We picked up a multipurpose primer from our local Lowe's. Not only is primer a great way to get a light prep base on the wall over a dark color, it's a great way to seal, stain-block and provide a mildew resistant barrier for the walls — it's basically a way to start fresh. 

We went with a tintable version since the paint experts at Lowe's recommended adding a slight grey tint to the bright white color of the primer as a way to offset the red even more in preparation for the final blue finish we were going for. It was great getting their opinion and advice since we'd never tackled painting over something so bold before and in the end it really did save us time, because we were able to coat the entire room with a single thick coating of primer instead of two.

Even Brandon jumped in to help out. His painting skills were so good they did not require a paint-visor.

After the priming was complete, the room already looked dramatically different — and even larger than before with the new lighter color.

I was so excited with the changes at that point that I had the energy to just go ahead and do an entire first coat of trimming around the room before we called it a night. Tim popped open the paint (still wearing the paint-visor and sunglasses within reach even though it was dark outside) and I took my turn cutting in the trim throughout the evening.

I'm more of a trim gal, which is a great thing since Tim prefers rolling — makes for a good match. Even though we bought painter's tape we didn't end up using any since I wanted to try to cut in without it. Being very particular and going by the motto of "slow and steady wins the race," it went well enough that I was able to trim the entire room without the tape — score!

For the actual color, we went with Light Silver Sage from the Restoration Hardware Silver Sage color line in the subtle velvet finish. We've been wanting to try out the Restoration Hardware paint line for years now since they claim to be a more eco-friendly option with easy glide and expert coverage.

We picked up 2 gallon cans from the store, not knowing how many coats it would actually take us to complete the job, but to our surprise we were able to give the room 2 full coats of paint and touch up areas with a single can of paint with some leftover (just like the line claims), so we'll be able to return the second can and still have what's left from the first to use for any touch-ups we need in the future.

After letting the 2 coats fully dry and leaving everything in the middle of the room once more overnight, we set everything back up and snapped some big reveal shots:


Here are some of of our favorite details:

And here's the new view from our perches within the house. We keep catching ourselves peering into the room from our usual spot in the kitchen/family room and surprising ourselves — "oh yeah, the room looks so different, and SO much better" we'll say.

Big difference from before, right?

We were able to prime 1 coat and paint 2 coats on the room within 24 hours from start to finish, aside from touch ups. The paint quality really was amazing and went on incredibly easy and smooth. We couldn't be happier with the end result and would definitely use paint from Restoration Hardware again if the colors match up to what we are going for. I think we surprised ourselves at how easily we were able to paint this room by ourselves and made a deal that moving forward my job will continue to be trimming while Tim's job is rolling — I think both of us left that handshake feeling like the other one got the short end of the stick :)

We'd eventually like to transform that front parlor into a functioning office, but as you can see for now we've arranged furniture and other odds and ends in there as best we can until we have time to tackle it further. We're having a lot of fun taking it one step at a time and always get a thrill out of accomplishing a project like this that provides such an immediate difference!

Thanks for following along while we painted the front parlor and bid farewell to the textured red! We'd love to know — have you recently tackled painting a room? Are you a trimmer or prefer to roll? Do you wear special painting accessories like a paint-visor to help you get the job done?

P.S. For anyone wondering, yes — that is an antique painter's ladder we use around the house. Tim actually brought it home one evening after it was headed for greener pastures in one of his warehouses. We absolutely love it and it even works better/feels sturdier than most modern ones we use.


  1. Paint-visor hahaha!

    That room belongs in a magazine...seriously, it's gorgeous!

    1. wow that is so nice Monica! We feel like it has a way to go but are loving the fresh color in there!

  2. Just beautiful! What an amazing difference paint can make. That color is perfect, goes so well with the light, opens the room up, but still feels cozy. That velvet finish is divine. I'll have to check it out!

    1. Yeah, we are converted RH fans now for sure!

  3. I forgot to say that our front room is the same deep red color as yours used to be...without the sponged finish. That is definitely a room that we would like to change, but our first priority is changing the kids' rooms....all 3 of them!

    1. You can do it! I bet the kids will be excited to see changes in their own rooms — we were surprised at how quickly this one room went. It gave us motivation to do more hopefully soon!

  4. Love the new color! It looks great, and I have to say the visor was cracking me up. I think you should put it in a glass box and pull it out every time you paint:)

    1. Hahaha — it was so funny looking back at the photos and asking ourselves why are you wearing that visor??

  5. How perfect! We started painting our kitchen, dining room, and living room last summer. But with three kiddos and a TON of wood trim around everything, plus taking off for the winter, we're still not quite done! We found that we need two coats of primer and two coats of paint on our old walls. My husband is the roller guy, and I do the trim as well. We're getting there!

    1. Wow, that is a lot of work! We haven't begun to tackle trim either — might be something we do down the road.

  6. You two are amazing...the massive transformation you've made to the Parlor is truly gorgeous! I couldn't help but stare at the photo of the new Parlor because of the magnificent change in the room. While staring at it I feel so much warmth, charm & joy. So if I can feel all of that from a photo, I can only imagine what you are able to feel whilst in the room.
    I'm really sorry if I'm creeping you out or scaring you...that's not my intentions. I tend to babble on a bit when I see Beauty.
    From Tania in Australia

    1. Helloooo Australia! Thank you so much for your kind words and we are so happy you liked it. We are so happy to get that red out! Thanks for stopping by in our little world!


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