We were determined to paint our bedroom dark. Like, dark dark. We wanted it to feel like a big hug. Cozy, but not a cave. After rolling our top picks onto large foam board panels, we landed on Benjamin Moore’s Raccoon Fur – a pretty almost-black with a slight hit of blue. But with the decision made and in typical Kim fashion, I began to worry about our ceilings. They’re not perfectly straight!, I told Scott. For too many days, I said, we’re going to highlight those crooked ceilings. It’s going to drive me nuts, I know it!
Unwilling to budge on our color choice and exhausted with the back and forth, we were going to settle on the Old House Charm excuse until you all – not surprisingly, thank you! – gave us great feedback (just check out the comments in this post). Two strong suggestions rose to the top: painting a straight line into the ceiling or painting a straight line down from the ceiling. While we absolutely loved these ideas, in reality, we worried that the look may be a passing trend – half-painted walls are everywhere, it seems! We like the look, yes, but was it for us? We asked each other nightly; we asked our friends. We asked the internet again (naturally), and still we were undecided on what to do.
Our bedroom ceilings are 9′ high, so we decided to play with that height by stopping the wall color at a point that would still be noticeable but not so low that it would be a distraction. In our last update, we painted the top 1/4 of the room + ceiling with Behr’s Ultra Pure White in a flat finish to start, but the fun would come with Raccoon Fur. The goal? Cheating our way to a straight ceiling by creating one perfectly straight dark paint line.
Okay, let’s get right to the most lethal weapon we used to get those crispy paint lines – ‘SnotTape! The team behind ‘SnotTape introduced themselves to us towards the end of last year, and we were immediately fascinated. What could they offer to promise a clean paint line that wasn’t already on the market? We asked them a lot of questions, we watched their video tutorials, and we in the end, we knew it was a tape worth trying. What better test than our high-contrast bedroom walls?
‘SnotTape sent us two types of rolls: one for flat/delicate surfaces (black box) and one for eggshell/shiny surfaces (gray box). For starters, it’s not so much a tape as it is a lime green(!) gel. (Get it? It’s not tape?) The gel lines both edges of a thick paper, filling in gaps on your wall that normal tape just can’t touch – quite literally.
I taped all of our new trim work using the glossy surface ‘SnotTape (gray box) the night before Painting Day, and I used the delicate surface tape (black box) to get our deep, dark paint line:
We toyed with different heights for a good thirty minutes, using a tape measure down from the ceiling to help us visualize. In the end, we opted for a 16″ drop from the ceiling, which would go above the bed and laundry room doors, but it would intersect with the closet and wall of windows. We mounted our cross-line laser level (we have this one and love it) to my camera tripod, and we raised that on our 6′ ladder to get the proper height. Scott pointed the laser level towards the wall while I taped from our smaller step ladder. As Scott leveled up each wall, I used a carpenter level along the laser line to double check the accuracy. Note: Because our bedroom receives so much natural light, the laser line was faint – we hadn’t yet installed window treatments – and it’s even harder to see in photographs.
‘SnotTape’s online tutorial suggests using a mini roller to press along the edge, but I rolled the dice and did the best I could with a firm swipe of my finger. With the tape in place, it was time to paint! We used Valspar Reserve paint (dreamy), color matched to Ben Moore’s Raccoon Fur in an eggshell finish.
I used a small brush to cut in along the tape lines, and Scott followed behind with a roller. Once the paint was dry to the touch, we held our breath and slowly peeled back the tape… and it was so, so good. Hooray! I had the most minor touch ups (for real, it took me less than 5 minutes to fix the teeniest areas of bleed through), which I know for a fact was due to my less-than-ideal pressure in those areas.
When a strong paint line matters, consider us converts. #snottapeftw! For as long as we waffled on this paint treatment, we are over the moon with the results:
Raccoon Fur plays so nicely with our wallpapered laundry room, too! Although we haven’t yet installed baseboards in there, I like to keep the door open, because, cute.
But back to those crooked ceilings – just for a minute! The worst offender is along our closet wall, seen below. (The closet doors are removed while they’re being painted to match the trim.) The ceiling – well, the whole room, actually – only slopes up by an inch, although to the naked eye, doesn’t it look like so much more? We can’t expect perfection, but this paint trick truly draws our eyes away from that corner, and all we notice is how much we love this color.
Bedroom, you’ve come so far! We picked up a little vanity over the weekend, and we’ve been layering in accessories while we decide on art. To this point, this bedroom makeover has been one of the biggest in terms of our overall attitude towards this home. We’re sleeping better and we’re waking up refreshed. We don’t fight the urge to go to bed or sleep in a tad bit later; we crave it.
Paint for the soul? Yeah.
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with ‘SnotTape, which we can’t recommend highly enough. Find a local retailer here, or better yet, get yours on Amazon!
Until recently, we were pretty positive that our plainted black and white stairs were just One of Those Things that we’d have to maintain. All the time. We love them so, so much (as proven by the intense amount of love was poured directly into them), but every couple of months, I’d have to take out my mini paint tray and roller and touch up all the treads. Almost immediately after a fresh paint job, small scuffs would slowly appear, exposing the primer beneath. Eventually, the treads themselves would pock and chip down to the original pine, and we’d wait as long as we could stand before another fresh coat of paint, usually 4-5 months. As it turns out (or so we thought!), painted stairs + 2 beefy, excitable dogs don’t exactly mix.
We’ll never expect our stairs to be pristine. Every tread dips slowly towards the middle, and there is over one hundred years of dents from heavy shoes, items dropped and countless up-and-down errands. We love that; we want to see that character shine through. What we don’t love is the every-few-months maintenance after we spent a good year getting them to this point.
We painted the stairs (at the tail end of 2014) using three coats of good quality floor enamel in Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. Essentially, the enamel should hold up on its own, but maybe that’s for people that always wear fuzzy socks and tiptoe? Since then, many, many additional coats have been applied, but – surprise, surprise! – despite our best efforts, all it would take is one flying leap from CC towards the tile foyer to set us back. Jack’s habit of tripping up the stairs didn’t help, and although we’re a (mostly) shoes-off household, we needed to up our game.
Right now you might be thinking, why aren’t you using polyurethane? To be honest, we had been hesitant about polying the stairs for fear that if it didn’t work, I could no longer slap another coat of paint on the offensive areas. Instead, I’d have to sand down the poly, touch up and re-poly. Even more work = no way. That’s the thing about poly; when you decide to commit, well, you have to commit.
We were frustrated, but at this point, we figured we had nothing to lose. Let’s just poly, we said! Grumble, grumble. I fell down the internet rabbit hole researching the best polyurethane for floors, but I consistently came up empty handed as even the highest rated products still had a lot of complaints. But since our method of paint alone wasn’t cutting it, I chalked up low reviews to poor prep (prep is everything, we all know this!), closed my eyes, and bought this Varathane Floor Finish in satin off of Amazon. Note: The price on this goes up and down like a yo-yo. When we purchased, it was under $50!
Before we left for Hawaii in February (aka, the land of Jurassic Park!), I knocked out a stair refresh over the course of four weeknights. While we were gone, both Jack and CC would be staying with their sitter, so aside from our kitties, Maddie and Libby, and the house sitter, no one would be using the stairs for a full week. Here’s what I did:
• NIGHT 1, I applied Bondo to the deepest scrapes and gouges. • NIGHT 2, I sanded the Bondo, vacuumed and cleaned the stairs, and applied 2 coats of paint. • NIGHT 3, I applied 2 coats of polyurethane, following the can’s instructions. • NIGHT 4, I did a light sand with 220 grit paper and applied 2 more coats of polyurethane.
The enamel and poly both dry fast, and our dogs are weirdos that put themselves to bed early (I’m talking, like, 8PM they go upstairs to their beds!). I did the first wet application at the same time, and I followed up with the second coat at 10PM. As long as we were light on our feet, we weren’t too concerned with walking up and down the stairs in the late evening and early morning. Below on the left, obviously, is the before, and the photo on the right was taken yesterday:
It’s been a month since our much needed tweak – with 3 weeks of consistent human, Pittie and kitty use – and it was 100% worth it! The satin finish is so pretty; it really kicks the contrast up a notch. Not surprisingly, it’s more durable for quick cleanings with our vacuum attachment and a swipe with a damp microfiber. That said, it is more slick than the paint alone (so definitely keep this in mind!), and we’ve been talking about adding a durable runner to the stairs for well over a year. Any recommendations?
The pups continue to use the stairs as their personal launching pad from the second floor to the foyer, and the black treads remain black. It’s a beautiful thing! At it’s worst, we can see some indentations in the poly where their nails have scraped, but it doesn’t go beyond that. Had we simply thrown on another coat of paint, 3 weeks of use would have shown us several worn areas and peeks of primer – at least. But now? As it turns out, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Or, you know, your painted stairs and a four pet household, anyway.
Our entryway remains my favorite ‘room’ in this house. The evolution from move-in day to now has been one of our biggest transformations in this home, taking it from a typical Chicago two-flat to the single family home (plus garden unit!) it is now. Entryway, you have our hearts so hard.
PS! You can catch the story on our stairs from start to finish by clicking on the thumbnails below:
When we first started thinking about the finishes we’d like in our bathroom, we weren’t always on the same page. Scott is a big fan of polished chrome; as he’s said before, that shiny finish is like a pair of your favorite blue jeans – always in style. While I agree, it’s no secret that I love touches of gold and brass throughout the home! But as we began narrowing down our favorite faucets and shower head, I quickly crossed over to his side. Polished chrome is peppered throughout the entire bathroom, but when it came time to add hardware and lighting, we both agreed that this was our chance to play.
We teamed up with Rejuvenation – one of our very favorite places on the web (and in-person, too!) – and as we added drawer pulls and sconces, we watched as our bathroom went from very, very white to warm, inviting. We’ve always been big fans of mixing metals, and so we really went for it and layered it all in! Brass in satin and polished finishes, almost-black oil rubbed bronze and shiny chrome all share a starring role in this room.
I couldn’t shake the idea of adding a hit of shiny brass to the ceiling, which is really only visible if you’re much, much taller than me or if you’re standing in the shower. This is the semi-flush version of the Eastmoreland pendant from our kitchen, and it’s every bit as sweet. The brass base feels a little like a secret; I was only able to get this shot by standing on a step stool inside the tub (truth), but when you’re down low, it feels fresh and simple.
But! These sconces! We fell in love with the Pittock sconce moons ago, and we were only paralyzed by the decision to go single (times two) or double (times one). In the end, you can see we chose the single sconce, and each one hangs directly above our faucets. The oil rubbed bronze finish reads almost like a deep, rich black, which we chose to bring the black of our floors upwards.
Adding brass accents to a typically steamy room will surely add a patina over time, but we personally really, really love that. The most used pulls on our DIY kitchen island have developed well-worn areas, and it adds so much character! (This house is an almost 130-year-old lady after all!) Up next? A shower curtain, hanging our mirror, choosing art and organizing all the storage! The room hasn’t seen much use aside from a few doggie baths, but we’re almost there. So close.
To celebrate all the checked-off items on our bathroom to-do list, Rejuvenation wants to spread the brassy, chrome and oil rubbed goodness to you, too. And so together with Rejuvenation, we’ll be giving away $250 towards anything in their store! Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. This giveaway is eligible for those located in the United States or Canada and runs through Friday, March 18th until 5pm CST. The winner will be announced within this post and contacted directly. Good luck and happy entering!