Week 11 Journal: Painting the Curbly House (Finally!)

The Curbly House: Week 11 Journal
(Note: this post was supposed to go up last week, but I just couldn't get it out the door in time. Sorry!)

This week has been pretty crazy: a new baby boy at home, Alicia's starting to pack up in preparation for the move, and I've been working on transforming the Curbly House from a dark, messy construction zone into a freshly-painted, light-filled, livable space. Read on to watch our video journal, and get a first look at the (almost) finished interior. 


So, the biggest decision we had to make was whether to paint the woodwork, refinish it, or leave it untouched. We knew we'd have to make that choice from the minute we walked into the house, but we didn't really make up our minds until the last possible minute. Alicia was always leaning toward painting it all white (she felt it was too dark and stuffy). I wasn't so sure, and thought it would be pretty beautiful if it was sanded down and refinished a lighter (or no) stain.

(This was the living room when we bought the house. Can't remember what the rest looked like? Check out the Curbly House introduction blog post.)

During construction, we moved so many pieces of trim (walls shifting, etc.) that simply leaving it untouched wasn't an option. There were too many gaps to put all the trim back as it was before. That left painting or refinishing, and after a serious look at our budget and timeline, it was clear refinishing would be too hard.

So we decided to paint all the woodwork. Alicia was thrilled; I was a little hesitant, but now I'm totally on board. It looks amazing.

We started by washing the wood (with TSP) and lightly sanding it to take the shine off. Then we sprayed a coat of Sherwin-Williams Multi-Purpose Latex Primer.

Side note: We decided to go with latex instead of oil. After a long talk with the experts at my local Sherwin-Williams store, I was convinced that their ProClassic Latex Enamel would look every bit as good as oil (ok, almost every bit), last forever, and not take on a yellow tinge like oil will. Plus, no horrible oil smell.

After a first primer coat, I went through the entire house filling tiny nail holes and dents with spackle or painter's caulk. Then another coat of primer, and another round of spackling. I also sanded between coats to help smooth out the finish.

Finally we sprayed on two coats of the Sherwin-Williams ProClassic Latex Enamel with a high gloss finish. With each coat of paint, the wood looked better and better, and using a spray gun instead of brushes gave us a really smooth, shiny finish.

However you feel about painted woodwork, I think you'll agree that the house looks much lighter now:

created at: 09/03/2012

Next, we moved on to the walls. Spraying was no longer an option (we would've had to tape all the woodwork, and you can't tape freshly-painted enamel). So we brushed and rolled the walls, carefully cutting in around all the trim.

Cutting in the stairwell

A good paint brush helps a lot when cutting in (see my post from last week), and we got to use the Purdy XL Elite, a versatile brush that holds tons of paint, and works well with high-solid latex paints, like ours. Cutting in is tedious, painstaking work (often times you're in weird positions, painting over your head or lying on your back), but after you get in the groove it's kind of relaxing, and you can really see your progress.

created at: 09/03/2012

We teamed up with Sherwin-Williams to use their brand new Emerald paint line for the interior paint. Emerald is a zero-VOC paint, with a lifetime warranty and ridiculous coverage. It is just ... thick and creamy, that's the best way to describe it. And we loved that it's zero-VOC, especially with two little ones in the house.

created at: 08/29/2012

created at: 09/03/2012

Now on to the color choices. You can see all of Alicia's color inspirations on her Pinterest board, here.

Here's Ayla’s room. Alicia chose a peaceful blue and a vibrant pink called Rainwashed (SW6211)  and Lotus Flower (SW6310):

created at: 09/03/2012

created at: 09/03/2012

In the bathroom we went with a color called Quietude (SW6212):

created at: 09/03/2012

Our bedroom is painted in a soft gray called Alpaca (SW7022). You can really see how the white woodwork plays against the flat gray. 

created at: 09/03/2012

The back bedroom is our nursery, and it faces south and west. We choose a shade called Simple White (SW7021) that really bounces the afternoon light around. Eventually this room will turn into a playroom, so we’ll add color through stencils or wallpaper. 


created at: 09/03/2012


The play room is painted with a color called Sea Salt (SW6204). This is another neutral that gives center stage to the natural light in this window-filled room. 


created at: 09/04/2012

The living room, dining room and stairwell are painted in a color called Aloof Gray (SW6197). It’s a warm gray that morphs throughout the day as the light changes. Sometimes it shows more green, at other times it takes on a rich gray color. 

created at: 09/03/2012

created at: 09/03/2012

Even though we're still far from done (lots of touch up, decorating, etc.), I already feel like we made the right choices with the paint colors, and with the decision to paint the wood. The house looks completely different (and that's a great thing)!

Now that the walls are painted, it's time to put in the lighting fixtures, switches and outlets, and do a few other finishing touches. Then, it's time to clean the place up and move in!

Stay tuned .... 

This is a post in the Curbly House series! Follow along as we document every step of our complete home makeover, from gutting the walls to putting up the finishing touches. And don't forget to let us know what you think in the comments! 


Our painting project is being sponsored by Sherwin-Williams and Purdy. We're so thankful for their help with this project!

Still, all opinions in this post are mine alone.




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bruno on Feb 21, 2014:

Hi Emilia,

We used a satin finish for the walls and a matte finish for the ceilings. The white on the trim is Sherwin-Williams Pure White 7005.

Emilia on Feb 19, 2014:

Hi! Thank you for sharing your home.  I really got inspired and I am painting my house Aloof Gray also.  Could you please tell me if you used the matte finish for the aloof gray walls and did you use semi-gloss for the ceilings? What white did you use??

Emma on Oct 22, 2013:

Love the painted trim! Did you just use extra white non-tinted high gloss paint. There are so many shades of white it's hard to know which to choose!

Karen on Sep 11, 2012:

beautiful choices, love the white trim . .  congrats on new baby!


bruno on Sep 05, 2012:

Thanks guys! 

@stacey - I had never used Sherwin-Williams before, so I can't really compare to the SuperPaint, but I was super impressed with the Emerald, and everyone I talked to said it was the best paint they'd ever used.


BossNurse on Sep 04, 2012:

Just....WOW.  I *love* the white trim with the colors you've chosen.  That bathroom has me so envious.

Stacey on Sep 04, 2012:

Wow, it's looking gorgeous!  The white woodwork looks awesome!

Sherwin-William's old SuperPaint was my very favorite paint to use ever.  It went on so smoothly and had awesome coverage.  Do you have an experience with it, and if so, how does the Emerald compare?  The new SuperPaint isn't as good as the old stuff so I'm in the market for a new paint.

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