We both work in corporate communications. A large part of our day is spent clarifying messages, aiding understanding and making sure everyone knows the score. Clearly, we can’t be arsed to do that outside of work or the disaster that was last weekend would never have occurred.
A major misunderstanding with Kitchen Guy went something like:
“Just checking, you are doing all the painting in the kitchen diner, right?”
“But we thought that was what we’d agreed – you do everything, we don’t need to touch any of it.”
“Except the decorating. I don’t do painting.”
“But you did the painting on the job you did for our friends, you did everything for them whilst they were on holiday.”
“No, they paid for a decorator to do the painting, I just organised it.”
“Ah. So, can we add it on to the job now?”
“No chance. That’s 2 weeks of a professional decorator’s time.”
So, it kind of explained our bemusement at the order of work thus far. We did wonder why they put spotlights into the ceiling before painting them and radiators onto bare plastered walls etc. Just kept putting it down to “Ooooo, I guess that’s how professionals do it. Isn’t it fascinating?”
We also wondered why Kitchen Guy gave an ‘am I meant to care?’ look when we told him the paint had been delivered and was stacked in the hallway.
As we marvelled at our incredible stupidity our choices loomed sharply into focus.
1) Pay for a pro when the job is complete. (Meaning the kitchen diner wouldn’t be finished for another few weeks and it would cost a fair whack, which we don’t really have left for this room.)
2) Do the painting ourselves when the kitchen was installed – being incredibly careful not to get paint on our new cupboards, floor, appliances, granite etc etc (Note: We are not incredibly careful people and masking up a job of that size would take FOREVER.)
3) Stop whining, refuse to believe it’s 2 weeks work for a professional decorator and that it’s totally beyond a pair of amateurs and get the f***on with it. It’s only painting after all.
Yes, dear readers, we went for option 3. Because we are stupid and stubborn.
So, in one weekend we:
- Mist coated 2 ceilings (watered down emulsion to seal the bare plaster)
- Mist coated all the walls
- Sanded, undercoated and two 2 coats on the coving
- Slapped 2 coats on the walls
At this point it seems only fair to remind you that the space we are working in is pretty big and the ceiling is about 3 metres from the ground. And, we had no light as the electrics aren’t yet wired up. Impressed yet? You bloody should be.
All in, this took us 32 hours. Each.
So, 64 hours – yep, Kitchen Guy was right: 2 weeks work for a pro.
Did we do a great job? Well, to be honest, it wasn’t bad considering. We didn’t sand down nicks on the walls in between coats, we didn’t have time but, all in, we were pretty proud – especially when, this week, we were complimented on our finish by a very experienced tradesman. We still have woodwork to finish off but that’ll be much easier to tackle, even with everything installed.
What we learnt:
- Clarify exactly what is included when you hire any tradesman (yeah, yeah, basic principle, we know, we shouldn’t have had to learn this the hard way, blah blah blah)
- 32 hours is a serious amount of hours to put into one weekend and it is not recommended, however keen you think you are.
- Painting on that level can make you hurt in places you had no idea could hurt that doesn’t subside for days and inexplicable bruising will appear
- When rollering, small specks of paint make you look like you have the pox and will alarm the local shop keeper when popping out for a pint of milk
- Painting high ceilings is undoubtedly the most evil job ever (especially when you’re only 5’3’’)
- Farrow and Ball paint is worth every last goddamn penny as it goes on like a dream and the finish is amazing – we ain’t never looking back
- A sense of humour, and a little whisky, can get you through just about anything
There’s also a slight satisfaction that whilst Kitchen Guy is doing an amazing job and we were quite happy to hand the whole lot over (and indeed thought we had) there’s something quite satisfying about knowing our own blood, sweat and tears are in that room now.
Above all, our 32 hour lesson has taught us that, if we put our mind to it, we can do it. So the rest of the house feels a tiny bit less daunting now.
Bring it on.