No-Money Remodel #2: Living Room (& Good-bye Red!)

For more on my challenge to remodel our house in 2011 with ZERO BUDGET, click here.


Ready or not …

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After five months of scavenging Craigs List, Freecycle and the local paint recycling center, I finally rounded up enough FREE paint and primer to tackle the upstairs.

And since there aren’t any “breaks” from the kitchen/living room/hall/entry, that meant getting enough paint to do the whole upstairs in one shot.  Most of the paint that I’ve found has been a half gallon of this or that—not enough to finish a single room, let alone the whole floor. But when I finally found a nearly full 5 gallon bucket of generic “builder’s beige” last weekend, I knew it was time to get going.  (Not that beige was my choice for paint colors, but beggars can’t be choosers.)

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But even with 5 gallons, I knew I only had enough paint for a single coat of the upstairs. That meant I would need enough primer to do two heavy coats to completely cover the red underneath. Thankfully half-full gallons of primer have been easy to find and it wouldn’t matter if I use two different brands.

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The first step was to remove the vinyl sayings from the walls. And honestly, I really hedged here because the art and sayings in the living room speak to me on an intensely personal and emotional level.

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I am moved every time I look at this picture and read one of my favorite quotes from George Washington given as he addressed the Continental Army following their miraculous victory in taking Trenton.

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But, you can’t paint walls with the vinyl still there (plus I never liked how high up I put my quote—should have moved it down a few inches.) And as my sister reminded me … I can always put that same quote back up once the walls are repainted.

So after 30 minutes of peeling (totally forgot to use a hair dryer to loosen up the vinyl first—oops), it looked like this.

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One more reason to love vinyl: not a single bit or paint came off or residue was left after three years on the walls. Love that.

The other vinyl was a large scripture that was above the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights along the overly-long red living room wall. I loved how rich the red looked with the aged parchment and dark frames during the fall and winter …


… but it’s pretty dark for spring and fall. So down came the scripture and frames with a little help from my kids during commercial breaks from Saturday morning cartoons.

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 photo paint2.jpg (And let’s just ignore the foot of dust on the organ, m’kay? Thanks.)

The next step was repairing all the massive holes in the walls—bleh. Someone recommended we use special drywall screws for hanging the large frames and curtain rods, but it was a huge mistake. The screws left big holes in the walls that practically pureed the sheetrock around it. When we went to remove these stupid things, the wall around the screws was noticeably puffy and completely disintegrated.

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We had to lightly pound the wall around the holes flat so that the powdered sheetrock bulges could be brushed away. We used a ton of spackle to try and repair the damage, but it’s still very noticeable. The damage from the curtain rod over the living room window is so bad that I think we’re going to put a window box valence there instead. 

A quick wipe down of the walls and it was time to paint – yeah! All of the furniture got pushed into the center of the room all classy like and I was ready to go!

The only problem was that I only had the small rollers on hand because Smart Girl (me) insisted that we had plenty of left-over rollers and supplies downstairs and didn’t need to buy any more thankyouverymuch.


So since my truck was acting up (long story) and Mr. Thrive was still at work, I went ahead and started painting with the small roller just to prove that a small roller would work just as well.

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Dumb, da dumb, dumb, dumb.

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Using the small roller took for-ever and didn’t cover worth a darn. So I sheepishly texted Mr. Thrive to pick up some big-kid rollers on his way home and then watched as he rollered a nice, thick coat of primer in no time flat.

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Yeah. Much better.

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The game plan for tonight and tomorrow is to finish priming the entry way walls and kitchen. I started the entry, but could only reach so high. My awesome neighbor brought over a ladder last night so that I can tackle the rest of the red after kids go down.

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The kitchen is going to be a chore and will probably take most of tomorrow’s nap time to knock out … assuming kids actually take naps 🙂

Once that’s done I’m going to get The Dirty Half Dozen to work sanding the bead board so we can paint that, too.

So …

Not a bad way to start our upstairs remodel and worth the wait:

Living room + entry way primer: FREE


7 thoughts on “No-Money Remodel #2: Living Room (& Good-bye Red!)”

  1. I just found your blog for the first time through WFMW, and I LOVE the no-budget remodel idea. That's how we decorate too. 🙂 I hope you enjoy the beige… it's so neutral that maybe you'll be able to accessorize it and enjoy it for a long time.
    I also love your historical pieces on the walls and the vinyl quotes. Will you be reusing them in your new decor?

  2. I recently found your blog and love your philosophy on being happy with what you have! I found this post interesting…we have the same George Washington picture in our living room AND the same wall sconces in our foyer. What a strange coincidence!

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