(This is a house-centric entry, in case the title didn't give it away. They'll pop up from time to time, since this mostly-gardening blog is also the most logical place for house-blogging to go.)
I've been wanting to freshen the paint in some rooms. I guess it's been ten years or more since most of them were painted, not long after the house was built. (Where does the time go?!)
When we first painted, we installed chair rail molding and chose two shades of green for the living room (formerly a rarely-used formal dining room)-- a lighter green for the top and a slightly darker one for the bottom. I still like those colors, but it felt like time for a change. Besides, the room has suffered the rigors of being "the puppy room" two time over, and Trixie and Luna both made their marks in the form of chewing and scratching.
(I accidentally deleted my recent "before" photos from the camera, so we'll have to make do with the photos from 2004, back when the room was freshly painted. I hadn't even put up the curtains, yet, but at least you can see the paint colors.)
The light in that room always felt greenish (no mystery why!), and it didn't help that, unless the lights are on, the room is fairly dim most of the day (east-facing and shaded by trees). This time, a "barely there", pale color seemed wise. I wanted either a soft, neutral grey or a soft, neutral beige. Are you sensing a theme here? Bold paint colors work well for some people and places; however, I think I've had enough bold wall color for a while and am craving neutral walls and bold accents, instead. (The exception will be in our kitchen, which is painted a decidedly mustardy yellow. That will stay, as it's a fairly recent paint job and is toned down by so much surrounding neutral in the form of cabinets and beadboard wainscoting.)
We ended up choosing new colors for both the living room and the foyer. One of the rooms the foyer opens into is the living room, so they're closely linked. The light grey will go in the (currently dark red) foyer, and the very soft beige goes in the living room.
Of course we couldn't just keep it simple and paint the whole wall (minus the chair rail). No, that would've made the job too easy. Instead, we did our usual thing of starting out with a simple idea and gradually talking ourselves into something more time-consuming and complex. In the end, we decided to put up "faux wainscoting" in both rooms. Below the chair rail, we've put up hardboard (I think that's what it's called) to create a smooth, non-speckled texture, which will be followed by rectangles of narrow molding.
Incidentally, molding is not cheap! We checked one of the big box stores, but they didn't have much selection for simple, narrow molding, and what they did have would quickly have added up to more than we wanted to spend. Fortunately, there's a Dirt Cheap Building Supplies store in Pensacola. Some time back, Donald found our replacement cabinet/drawer pulls there-- brand new (in the bag) ORB(-ish) finish hardware marked down 90% off the original price! Well, they also sell narrow molding for 5¢ a foot-- 40¢ for the typical 8-ft piece. A much better price than the first place we looked.
Here it is after two coats of Valspar's "Woodrow Wilson Putty" (in satin finish) on the upper portion of the walls and the unpainted hardboard on the lower portion:
We've primed the lower wall (except for a few seams that may need more attention), and Donald is in the process of figuring out the layout of the molding. Then there's more caulking and painting to do before we can move the furniture back in. (The foyer is next on the list.)
Apologies for the varying, not-true-to-life colors and the off-level look of these photos. I just snapped them, and it turns out it's not that easy to get a really good photo of a room that way. There are more photos to follow as the project progresses, though, and maybe they'll turn out better!