Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Doing It Myself

I love watching home-buying, -building, -design and -renovation shows on TV. My MySky planner is filled with episodes of Property Ladder, Grand Designs, Location Location Location, Relocation Relocation, Design Star, Interior Rivalry, Property Prophets, and Project Restoration. I hardly watch anything else...

So you would think, would you not, that having become an armchair expert on all things DIY, I would have taken note of the fact that just about every project on every show runs over time and blows the budget.

But nooooooooo. I foolishly thought I could redecorate the kitchen, bathroom, hallway, living room and bedroom of my downstairs flat in one four-day push over Easter...

Ha! I think I'd realised by the end of Good Friday that this was not going to be an achievable goal.

For the past four days I have painted non-stop for 10 or 11 hours a day. This evening I left work at just after five, and painted for another 4 hours.

I've completed the top coat in precisely one room so far. In two out of the five spaces I'm having to do three coats because the previous colours were so dark. I find I have bought twice as much paint as I actually need - which is a sh*tload of money wasted. I went back to the paint shop to check, but the guy had definitely done his sums right. Even with three coats in some rooms I've still not finished the first of two 10 litre buckets of paint.

All the ceilings are finished (although I still have half the ceiling paint left) - except for the largest ceiling which is in the living room. I haven't even started that one because I'm waiting to Get A Man In. I need The Man to tidy up the very rough job that was done on fitting a new piece of jib board in place of a damp patch on the ceiling ages ago.

The first Man called on Sunday to ask if he could come round in about half an hour. I said sure. An hour and a half later he called me again to ask if he could round in the evening instead. I said sure. I waited and waited. And waited and waited. No Man. No phone call explaining why no Man. On Monday afternoon he finally turned up - 23 hours after he was supposed to arrive. When I pointed out that he was almost a day late, he laughed and said "tell me about it!" I fired him. Now I have to Get Another Man In.

I also have to Get A Man In to take a look at the sagging ceiling in the kitchen, which apparently has become more and more saggy over the last few months. Wish Mick and Helen had told me that when they were living downstairs! I painted the ceiling anyway, (including the sag) because I think it might be a while till I can afford to get it fixed.

This is because I also need a glazier to come and replace the glass around the cat door, which is cracked. And I just spent a LOT of money on new carpets and lino for the whole flat because I haven't replaced them since I moved in 7 years ago, and they were looking very threadbare. And I still have to Get The Curtain People In to do a measure and quote of all the new curtains I need.

Plus I went to the paint shop on Saturday and bought even more paint because I decided the first colour I had chosen (all 20 unreturnable litres of it!) was too white. I decided on another neutral (of course! don't you KNOW you have to use neutrals these days???) two shades darker than the one I originally had. I asked the guy if the type of paint I already had (which I was now using as an undercoat) was suitable for kitchens and bathrooms, and he said oh well you should use this other one instead - it's a new water-based enamel, and you can use it in all your rooms. Really? I said, even in the living room and bedroom? Oh yes, he said, that will be fine.


I don't know why it didn't completely click that trying to use enamel paint on large areas of walls was really REALLY stoopid idea. I think it's cos it's water-based rather than oil-based, and somehow I vaguely thought this would make a difference - plus the guy said it would be OK and I believed him. The paint got sticky in the time it took to cut in along the top of just one narrow section - which meant that as I rollered over it, the roller pulled the sticky paint down in a kind of a crease along the top of the wall. As I could only do half the height of the wall with one roller-full, and then had to cut in along the skirting board, I ended up with another crease of paint between the two rollered sections, and one along the bottom for good measure. And don't get me started on the join between one section and the next...

I gave up after two walls. Plus it was a bit of a yucky colour too.

I took an hour off work over lunchtime today, got the bus home, loaded the paint into the car and took it back to the shop. The man listened sympathetically to my story, did the sums to check the amount of paint I had originally bought was correct, mumbled something about maybe I didn't cover the walls properly with it, and then told me I had to take the enamel paint home again and he would Get His Own Man In to give me a call and come and inspect my wall to see whether they will take the paint back. Good Lord.

I did have one success at the paint shop, however. It occurred to me sometime last night that I could utilise the unopened spare 10 litres of original paint by getting him to re-colour it to the shade in between the-one-that's-too-white and the bit-of-a-yucky-colour. Which he did. And it's just perfect. Yaay.

The bedroom does look pretty good now that the walls and ceiling are finished. I'm sure the rest of the flat is going to look equally as good. It'll also feel about twice as big as when it was painted in dark colours.

I have to finish all the walls before the weekend, and it's already Wednesday (well, when I wake up it will be, anyway). Chris's going-away party is on Thursday so I'm not going to get much painting done then. No Friday drinks for me after work! The reason why I have to get all the walls done this week is that I have to get ALL the woodwork done over the weekend, because the carpets and lino are being laid on Monday. And you can't paint skirting boards if there's new carpet down.

Aaaarggghhhhh. I may have to just do all the woodwork that actually touches the floor, and leave the window frames, kitchen cupboards, bathroom cabinets etc until after the carpet/lino is down. And use bloody good drop-sheets and be vewwy vewwy careful.

Bugger! Hope I'm not still painting by the time Peti and Tane move in next Friday!

It's very satisfying in a masochistic kind of a way. When I get into The Zone I can paint and paint and the hours literally fly by. But. My neck hurts. My shoulders hurt, my back hurts, my legs hurt, my ankle hurts, my hips hurt, and my arms hurt.

Next time I tell you I'd just love to buy an old house and do it up, remind me of how much work it is, and how stiff I'm feeling right now, will you? :)

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .


Anonymous said...

Oh you silly billy - why didn't you give me a call? I've painted loads of places, and I could have helped you with which paint to buy etc.... and I could even help you paint...


webweaver said...

ha! you can still help - I'll be doing the woodwork all weekend!