Since Kid 1 is taking summer off due to good grades, she was going to get a job.  Instead we decided that she should redo upstairs, which still had paint original to the house and we would compensate her with the money we’d save by not hiring someone to do it.  The project involved a living room renovation, which was painted in this yellowing white.  This upstairs living room mostly serves as the media room and kid hangout spot.  Painting it was a huge undertaking, so we all agreed that we would pitch in some, even though the burden for most of the project rested on her shoulders.  We ended up pitching it quite a bit, because we all really underestimated the size of the project.  But she did most of the walls.

It was determined that curtains had to go and the room required a drastic facelift, because we all kind of hated it.  We faced the hurdle of popcorn ceiling and briefly considered soaking it off, and then we remembered that we had a deadline.  The project was just too daunting, so we opted for painting it instead.  It went something like this.

Click to enlarge

There comes a point where going up and down the ladder really does a number on your legs.  But it was all worth it.

This is the before shot from a video Kid 1 took when we were buying the house.  So picture this, except more messy, with a couch and TV on the wall.\


Warning, a lot of pictures under the cut.

DSCN2950DSCN2954DSCN2955DSCN2957DSCN2953The cats and the small dog have claimed this room as their own.

DSCN2950DSCN2945DSCN2947DSCN2949There are still touch-ups left, but we are happy with it.

Well, I’m off to finish this long Sweep in Peace scene.


  1. Tasha A. says

    The room looks great – that is a whole lot of wall to paint!! Love that you caught the photos of you cat stealing the green toy! Thanks for the photos!

    • Tasha A. says

      Also – I’m pretty sure that Dina’s Beast is sitting on the couch – really want to see that transformation happen now! 😉

  2. says

    Now I really want to know where that weird short higher up door leads. Please tell me there is a Narnia-esque short novella about it!

    Also, looks great! Spectacular job!

  3. Jenn L says

    Awesome! I love the color, we have our living room as a dark blue and I just saw a cool idea yesterday on apartment therapy for using a high gloss version of whatever matching color to paint subtle designs on the walls, seeing your renovations just motivates me more!

  4. LynneW says

    Glad to see you are feeling better! That gray makes a very nice background and the pet pics are a great bonus – thank you. Oooh, and another Clean Sweep installment on the way. Life is good.

  5. Richard C says

    If someone had suggested that color combination to me I would have told them to go home and sober up. That really works well. I guess all the windows make the difference?

    • Ilona says

      The windows and the posters and pillows. Soft gray and red tend to go together well. It is surprisingly cozy. :)

  6. Victoria says

    Love the color and the new curtains! Nice cat action shot, too! Congratulations on all the hard work.

  7. Anna says

    I like that color a lot! Great choice. Your cat is too cute! Little ball of fluff….or big ball of fluff. I can’t really tell but he or she is still pretty stinkin cute. I’m really glad someone else asked about the short door, too bad it goes to the water heater. Haha! You could say it leads to Baha-char.

  8. Sooz says

    I agree – great color, but without Gordon’s fashion sense, it would be blah…. LOL

  9. JeNoelle Flom says

    Great color, never in a million years would I have done grey! It all looks great.

  10. Alyaki says

    That turned out really well! I wish we had all your windows – it’s makes the space look cozy with the wall of windows and darker paint. It’s a huge difference from what it looked like before! Kid 1 and the family did an awesome job in there. =)

  11. Ami says

    Nicely done. I’m not usually a big grey person but that dark charcoal is nice and looks like it would make for very cozy TV watching. Def “media room” feel to it. Great job! And I totally get that being a ton of work.

  12. snapdragon says

    What a good choice for where you live.

    Gray just doesn’t work as well where you get over 200+ days of cloudy or rainy weather.

  13. says

    I love the gray! I really want to replace our cream paint with a nice dove gray, but I hate painting way too much. I repainted the two rooms I just couldn’t stand and the rest of the house is the original paint from when we bought it.

  14. Denisetwin says

    love the color combo, I never ever would have picked those out, and yet it really looks fantastic! Congratulations to Kid1 and everyone else, it looks great!

  15. Katie S says

    First, congrats to Kid 1 for getting good grades! I think she did a marvelous job on the painting…I agree that this was a BIG job! Well done to all of you.

    I have always loved a dark gray for decorating, whether it be walls, upholstery, whatever. It is a nice neutral that you can use as a background to many colors…red and white are just two of them…yes, I include the pretty white ceiling as a part of the decorating…it is the fifth wall after all.

    Best of all, the animals…what beauties they are. I have lived with dogs and cats all my life. I, for one, am not surprised that the cat ended up with the green toy! :)

    • sarafina says

      Looks great, I hope Kid1 didn’t really fall off that ladder.

      I hope your summer isn’t too crazy, can’t wait for next Magic book. As an aside, I saw one of your Kate books in a 1/2 Price Books store – that’s when an author has really made it, when the market penetration is so high the author’s books show up in 1/2 price, imo.

  16. Yvonne says

    Every summer our kids had to either get a job or work for us, 13 and up. They preferred to work for someone else, apparently we were harder task masters. But the same lessons were learned.

    How to organise yourself, how to start something and finish it. Being accountable and that feeling of accomplishment, not to mention earning money!

    It stands them in good stead in there adult lives, both have achieved high ranks in the military at young ages, so seeing the benefits and thanked us for teaching them these lessons.

    You guys are good parents!

    • Ilona says

      So far the main lesson learned is that one should go to college and not paint houses for a living, because that’s too hard. 😉

      • Rob says

        That’s a good lesson.
        Thinking back on the days putting tape on shipping boxes motivated me during some of the more boring courses.
        Somehow that job always stuck with me as the worst.

      • Yvonne says

        True, yet College requires the same skills. I have mentored new analysts that had not figured out these lessons. By the time I am done with them, they know, but are behind their peers that had gained this knowledge from experience. I swear some of them would stare to death if Mom wasn’t still feeding them.

  17. Claudia says

    I never would’ve thought to put dark grey on the walls, but it looks fantastic! And, yeah — that’s a biiiiig space, I can see why the rest of the family ended up pitching in.

  18. Marsha says

    It looks great! I painted my master bath in a dark grey called “peppercorn”. Next I want a feature wall in my light grey bedroom in that color.

  19. catlover says

    Painting popcorn ceilings absolutely sucks! I scraped all mine one room at a time when I repainted. I used a metal upholstery head on my Kirby and raked it back and forth. It sucks up all the fine dust so only had to vacuum up the larger pieces off the floor, so much easier to paint then and still had texture. Balancing the Kirby on the ladder was the hardest part.

    • Reb More says

      Oh, that would be a nice way to do it. We just used a pump sprayer and a big trowel to scrape it off. IF it has never been painted it comes off great – but then you get wet messy chunks of stuff all over. We covered EVERYTHING with Plastic (including bunny suiting us), and then just rolled it all up when it was done. The hardest part of the job was figuring out how to retexture our now flat, plain ceiling.

  20. Kathryn says

    Congrats to Kid 1 on the grades and a great painting job! We taught our 14-yr-old how to do interior painting last year; even if she ends up paying someone else to do her painting (not likely in early adulthood), at least now she knows how it should be done.
    Love the color scheme and movie posters, especially the grey walls/brown flooring combo . . . really classic but up to date.

  21. Stacey says

    Looks great!
    P.S. We have a cat that looks just like that. Her name is Serenity-she never shuts up. :)

  22. Inga says

    Someone truly evil would ask if your cat and dog Chose the Colors, so they could blend better in, but of course now you could always cange the cushions if you wanted a CHANGE ;-)! By the way… if that greenhaired young female hiding behind the dog is kid 1 tell her, she did an awfully good Job with the painting and DID earn her fee!! Grey is a bitch to paint, because you always see the uneven parts!!! Good Job young Lady! Greetings with a wink from switzerland… Inga

  23. Atzimba says

    The room looks great! Kid 1 did a fantastic job! Maybe I missed it, but did she get to pick out the color palette for the room? It’ a great choice for a media room :)

  24. Jane C from New Orleans says

    Cool renovation! The color is so dramatic! Good job! (I guess only the pets that match the color scheme have taken over the room!)

  25. Fan in California says

    OMG!!! That was a huge undertaking!! Turned out great and loved the kitty and dog in the pics as well. I echo the earlier sentiment: glad you’re feeling better!

  26. wont says

    Great job! And you are such great pet parents to create a room for the cats and dogs. We can tell they appreciate it. 😀

    So glad you are feeling better.

  27. Mandi says

    Of course the cats and little dog think the room is theirs, they match the room! They blend right in and know they can use camouflage to blend and stalk and play with their humans, other animal friends and toys!

    Are you sure the short door only goes to the water heater? 😉 No turret? Or a balcony? Nothing really cool?

    You guys did a great job, it looks really great. Love the “Does not play well with others” poster! The red accent pillows with the grey and the curtains look really nice against the gray. :) Two thumbs up!

  28. Sara says

    Love what you did to the room! I have popcorn ceilings, too. They are the worst! Obviously talent runs in all areas with your family!

  29. jo says

    Thanks for sharing this. I understand and support your need to move your blogging private but I do miss the snippets you shared. This made my day. Also glad to see you back after the tummy pain, hope you and the family are well. We are mid winter here and I’m jealous of all the sunshine coming thru the windows. Counting down to spring. take care.

  30. venus velvet says

    I think the color scheme is probably what makes the cat and dog feel at home – they blend right in. :) Lovely room.

  31. cocoakitten says

    Happy to see your life post again :) I especially love pet pics 😀

    P.S. Gordon is looking good & trendy in his pattern-on-pattern outfit 😉

  32. Gai LaMarche says

    Love the new paint. kid 1, you did a great job. But mostly I am still. ROFLMAO over Gordon’s outfit. I can just picture Calenia’s face if he walked into Gertrude Hunt wearing that. Gordon, wear it to Murder By the Book. I will definitely want a pic! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…(wiping tears)

  33. says

    I really like the color of your bedroom with the matching sofas and carpet. It gives a unique feel and looks splendidly beautiful.