And also, perhaps most importantly, I used Stacey and Clinton’s advice, and bought the best furniture and decor pieces I could afford, to give the place longevity and (ideally) save money down the road.
On to the good stuff – the photos! Here are some “before” shots of my place. Pretty basic stuff.
The dining area:
And the rest of the living room:
The colour I picked for the living room is “Garden Flower” by Behr, but I had it matched at Benjamin Moore at 50% intensity. It’s always worthwhile to play around with the basic colours, to achieve your ideal shade. I also went with matte paint instead of eggshell, the traditional choice, for a couple of reasons. First, it doesn’t show flaws as much. [Ed: a key consideration for any do-it-yourself-ers.] Second, I noticed that when I used eggshell for the sample pots, the light reflected off the gloss and made all colours look grey. The matte version had the opposite effect, by absorbing the light and producing a more intense colour.
Overall, I tried in excess of 20 samples while working on the condo to get all the colours right (and still ended up having to re-paint an entire room that came out looking awful). I decided that rather than layering on colour over colour, the best way to get an accurate representation of what each paint would end up looking like on the wall was to buy sheets of white poster board, paint them with 2 or 3 coats, and then tape them to different walls to see how each shade would look in every part of the room. I couldn’t believe how much a single colour could change! The green I chose looked soft and warm in the spare bedroom, and day-glo bright in the hallway. If it hadn’t all come from the same paint can, I would have thought that the store had mixed the wrong shade. [Ed: I can attest to this. The Tiffany-esque blue my husband and I chose for our basement looked almost “mint chocolate ice cream” green in the stairwell, and light blue elsewhere in the basement. It also changed tonality and intensity with changes in lighting (natural versus artificial). Cat’s approach is probably the best way to avoid any surprises once you’re ready to paint.]
And here is the bedroom after the renovations.
A friend has said that the overall effect of all the work is very “Home and Garden”, and I tend to agree – I think I need some more personal photos on the walls to make it a little less sterile. I think the living room wall above the sofa would benefit from a photo collage of my travels or something similar, although I’m terrible at putting that kind of thing together (and my dad will have a stroke when he sees all the holes pounded in the walls). I guess that’s why they say that home improvement is a process that never ends – there is always something more to be done.