In the weeks leading up to our California getaway, we were loading up the car and heading to Tree House almost every weekend, sometimes during the week and often times for a long stretch. We were starting to feel it. We were overtired and sore (for which Scott promptly booked us two massages while in Malibu!), waking up with the sun, fueling ourselves with caffeine and working late into the evenings (and during each and every Lucy nap). We kept telling each other that we were ‘front loading’ – working, working, working so that we could enjoy an entire peaceful week off. And we did have a peaceful week off, and we’ll share more soon! But you know what’s crazy? We still couldn’t prevent ourselves from talking about our renovations while we were supposed to be escaping them. We talked about what was next – our Chicago bathroom or the Tree House bathroom? – which I suppose is all a wonderful sign that we’re on our right path. An exhausting path, but a satisfying one, too.
Renovating is like that. It’s up and it’s down; we crave a break but we’re not that great at taking them. We build and tweak the closet makeover just so, and we lay down rugs and toss in pillows and caulk along the kitchen tile. All the while, we still had exposed drywall, paint swatches and windows without trim in the main living area! But because we were on a roll leading up to our vacation, we decided to squeeze in one. more. thing. During our last evening at Tree House (pre-California), we installed the trim and baseboards. And during Lucy’s nap the next morning, we painted the whole room. We could scream, we’re so happy!
Okay, but let’s back up for a moment. In a perfect world, our order for trim and paint looks a little something like this:
paint all trim > cut to size > install > fill nail holes with spackle > caulk everything > sand down raised spackle > run wet paint brush over the spackle and caulk (two thin coats) > cut in with wall color > paint walls
We recently upgraded to this cordless finish nailer, and it’s a game changer! (The sound of a filling air compressor makes me grind my teeth, so no more!) And after going through endless samples of white paint, we still ended up changing our minds from the original choice. We landed on a creamy off-white, which leans warm but not yellow. It was initially color matched to a Benjamin Moore swatch, but for this round of paint, we had it mixed to Sherwin-Williams Infinity paint from Lowe’s in an eggshell finish. It covered so well with the first coat, but we still went around and touched up the very few thin spots we could find. Note: Because it’s a custom color, here’s a code if you’re looking for something similar: 8915-0.5, 8916-2, 8988-17
Here’s the thing: This is so much more than just paint and trim. We share our experiences here because our hope is that we can all encourage each other to create, do and inspire. We don’t always get it right on the first try (our living room that’s half torn apart right now is a sign of change to come!), but we think that’s all part of the journey of loving where you live. And getting to that point when your heart sings as you enter a room? That takes time. It’s why we share the big stuff and the small stuff. Paint and trim? While it may seem like small stuff, it feels like big stuff. Really, really big stuff! Guys, we have paint and trim! One-and-a-half years into living in our Tree House, and we have a painted living room!
The palette in Tree House is warm and subtle, and it’s fulfilling all the coziness we always hoped it would have. We still like to inject contrast in smaller rooms (we’re looking at you, guest room!), and we love that our Mello sofa provides that for us in here. We receive questions on the Mello anytime it makes an appearance (here’s our original review), and we’re always happy to shout our love for it from the rooftops! It’s lounge-y and comfortable for long stretches, and its solid appearance anchors the room beautifully. The seat cushions are soft without sinking and sagging, whereas the back is more firm for support. That low back is also the perfect height to rest our arms, and we even balance our drinks and small plates along it (although we have plans to add a console behind it soon!). There’s already the slightest patina in the leather from almost a year of use, small marks from Lucy’s nails and excited doggie paws. Over the summer, our niece and nephew bounced all over it, and it was so nice to not worry about it. We don’t treat it with kid gloves, and it’s going stronger than ever.
At this point in our DIY lives, we can make short work of painting a room, and over the years, we’ve dialed in which tools we turn to over and over again. The right tools are ev-er-y-thing. We have an entire bin in our workshop for paint supplies, and we have it pared down to just the necessities. Here are the tools we reach for every time:
Our Go-To Paint Tools
1. DAP caulk for filling in all the gaps| 2. our favorite fast drying spackle to conceal imperfections | 3. 3″ putty knife to apply the spackle | 4. sanding pack to smooth out the spackle | 5. 2″ angle brush for the cutting in | 6. paint roller for obvious reasons | 7. 3/8″ nap roller covers for most wall types | 8. 2-4′ roller extension to reach all the way up without a step ladder | 9. paint tray (add corresponding liner for easy clean-up!) | 10. FrogTape for painting the sharpest lines (we use tape for contrasting colors) | 11. 4″ foam roller for painting baseboards and trim |
You might have noticed that there’s no baseboard behind the couch (see that sliver, above?), but we’ll be incorporating that trim into the console that we’ll be building (can’t wait!), and we still need to reinstall the vent and plate covers. The wall behind the couch will eventually receive artwork and sconces, and we’re still figuring out what to do with the remote for our electric loft ladder (we swooped it out of the way for these photos). Aaand we’ve yet to paint the doors to the bedrooms and bath, but we’ll get there! This is us, in real renovation time.