I Draw the Line Here…

We have a little two bedroom cabin style home.  And when I say “cabin style”, I don’t mean a quaint charming log cabin that we made to feel like we live in a bit of history.  Or even a true historical log cabin that really is a bit of history.  I mean a home that probably started as just a couple of rooms, a “bunkie” if you will, and owners would add a room when it’s needed/ they felt like it, complete with awkward spaces, each room it’s own level, Cabin Style home.

Now, if you go and google cabin, it’s log cabin this, log cabin that…. but our home is built post “log-cabin”, in the 1930’s-1950’s.  There are no logs- though our vision for the property is to make the house look like a Lincoln log home, complete with the green roof.

The Dictionary of American History includes this bit in with it’s definition of log cabins:

“Log cabins symbolized individualism, the pioneer spirit, humble beginnings, and hard work—proof that in America even someone from a poor background could become president.”

Which I think is super cool, and in terms of our house, super true.  Each year we get to make an additional improvement, make it a little better, a little nicer, though at it’s root, it will always be an “up and coming” cabin (even though we plan to retire here).

Among a couple of other planned improvements this year, one thing that needs done is covering up the Green and Black of what used to be Monika’s (the oldest child’s) room.  She liked Green, Black and Zebra and picked the green.  To be frank, I think it’s ugly.  But, also appropriate for a teenager.

But, she is an adult now, and has moved out, and it is time for the black and green to go.  Time for the room to reflect the new beginnings that we hope for it to have.  Time for it to be the “Hope Room” that we now refer to it as.

After a lot of thought considering the multiple purposes this room should serve:

  1. Guest room to our nieces, we have four of them.  And I love the chance to get to play with them in their toddler and grade school stages of life (and later I hope as well!)
  2. Bedroom for my Biological children when overnight visits resume.  Because Kids need a bed and a room and a space.  They should be staying in the room two weekends a month.
  3. An out of the way space for me to do my sewing the rest of the time.

And since one of my children is a boy, it needed to be something that could be played to either gender.   Plus, the interests and likes/ dislikes of children change often, and I don’t want to repaint that room again in the near term, so it needed to be extra versatile and classic.

Enter navy and white.  It never seems to actually go out of style- how it’s used changes, sure, but it’s always in style.  It goes from french country,

french country


to Americana,


to nautical,


to bohemian,


and  flowers,




and sports


without a challenge.  Navy and white can be an anchor (no pun intended) color for…. well, about any type of decorating interest a person desires.

Due diligence ensured, and of course a lot of pinterest-ing happened- check out the board here. The following plan was outlined to decorate and redo the room on the fly (ie cheap):

  1. Find an inspiration piece. This ended up being some fabric I found at JoAnn’s.  Initially I thought I would use it for Euro Pillows, but now that the plan is in action that fabric is being used for the pillow cases.  I located a fabric in my stash for the Euro pillows.  So far, all things were still navy and white, with the addition of gold.  I used this to settle on the proper navy paint.   Isn’t it just so pretty?  And it sparkles! painting a room 017.JPGpainting a room 018
  2. Get a good quality paint.  I have learned this over many years of repainting rooms. A good quality paint will cover much more completely and in fewer coats than a cheap paint.  You may come out about even on the money (2 gallons of cheap paint = $40 in my area, 1 gallon of mid-grade paint= $30, and one gallon of high quality paint = $40), but you will save yourself time, which is worth something in and of itself.  Get the highest grade you can afford.  There does come a point where you are just paying for a name- but a stop at your local paint store can help clear that up.  And I don’t mean Lowe’s guys.  I mean your local paint store.  Like the “Paint and Wallpaper” shop.  Not only will they usually give you good honest advice, but you get to support a locally run business in most cases too.  My plan called for one gallon of “white” and one gallon of “navy”.
  3. Get tape.  After many years of painting and some very helpful tips from my father (that he got from my uncle) regarding painting a straight line, I will be honest and say that it’s not uncommon for me to cut in without tape.  But I will say this about tape- you can get a much more crisp line and save time on touch-ups by using it, if you are not experienced at painting trim, it will save your sanity.  And it’s incredibly useful for adding fun design elements to a room.  My plan called for a geometric division of wall color- stripes.  Tape is necessary.  (And I’m totally going to show you how I did it in this article!)   I used Duck Brand 240180 Clean Release Painter’s Tape, 0.94 Inches by 60 Yards, Blue.painters tape.jpg
  4. Make sure I have a good quality paint brush and several rollers, and a paint tray.  I have learned cheap paint brushes give cheap looking results.  The paint doesn’t go on smoothly, the bristles don’t move for you.  At some point along the way I invested in a $15 cutting in brush, and have never, ever regretted it.  It’s been worth it’s weight in gold.  When I am working on an ongoing project like this, I rinse well after use, and then wrap it in a slightly damp wash cloth and seal it in a plastic baggy.  I don’t know if this is “proper care”, but it keeps my bristles flexible and the brush ready for use at all times.  Rollers, I just get basic ones, I don’t rinse them, unless I’m really bored.  (it’s a bit amusing to get the hose to hit the roller just right, especially if it’s sill on the roller holder, and watch it spin the paint out.  It’s also messy.)  I try to go one step above the cheapy cheap though.  And paint trays, I really do get the cheapy cheap plastic ones.
  5. Find a way to make/ get white bedding.  I figure white is versatile, and I can do color accents with pillows and artwork, easy to change.  So, how was I going to do this on the fly (cheap)?  I settled on using comforters I already had, in interesting colors, and making Duvets using white sheets to cover them.  I also bought some flannel to use for one side, I figured one side cotton and one flannel, because different people like to feel different fabrics.  This involved a lot of goodwill-ing and yerdling.  But I got the items needed.
  6. Beg husband to allow painting of the beds- headboard/ foot-board.  They are in not so great shape, and if they were white, they would look so great against the navy blue.
  7. Make a plan for the closet that includes painting the interior (misty aqua?).   And do something about that old dresser in the closet, that is needed but doesn’t look so hot anymore.  Maybe try the ombre drawers technique that is so “in” right now?

Plan at the ready, I took off.

In Lowe’s (we went for something else), I picked up several paint samples to try to find “my” navy.  In the process, I found this awesome soft white- called China White.Olympic2016_china white

So I bought a gallon of their midgrade, Olympic paint and primer in one, in eggshell finish.  (for more information about the difference in paint finishes, go here.)

Once I got home, I settled on the perfect “navy blue”, which according to Olympic is actually called Egyptian Violet.  It looks quite purple here on my monitor, but it reads navy blue on our walls, as you can see in the photo, and is a perfect match to the inspiration piece.
Olympic2016_egyptian violet

painting a room 013

And at Lowe’s, I found a color palette card that may become a good guide for the remainder of the room- with a substitution, or two.  One, the navy on the card was too blue for the fabrics I had in mind, so I had to sub that one out.  And secondly, the card had a turquoise color, and I really think I would prefer purple.  And bonus points, I already own some of the misty aqua from a previous painting project, and I am thinking that will be a GREAT color for the closet interior!

painting a room 020

I will be honest, I was going to cheap out.  I was going to Wal-mart and have them color match the Egyptian Violet.  But, I guess they don’t do color match anymore.  At least not at my local store. And the mere 50 color selections they have of mixed paint options didn’t have anything CLOSE to what was needed.  Besides this Egyptian Violet was an EXACT match to the inspiration fabric.  So, a quick phone call to husband, who was in front of a computer and google directed me to local paint and wallpaper store: Shelbyville Paint and Wallpaper.  I won’t be going to Wal-mart for paint again.  Seriously.  This place was comfortable, knowledgeable, and well, fun to be honest.  Since my sample was from Olympic paints, they identified that they carried the sister brand to Olympic-  P&G, and were able to find an exact match in the P&G color profile so that we didn’t need to rely on a picture from color match!  I was totally thrilled.  As a bonus, they carried my whopping one gallon of paint to the car and put it in there for me.  I thought that was very kind.  Again, I got an eggshell finish for our project. And, check their page out for tips on paint and decorating.  I have enjoyed exploring it- a lot. Their article about decorating with blue was particularly interesting to me, since I indeed am using the blue to mix new contemporary type designs- the blue  based fabric with gold roses, and old tried and true designs- the soft white fabric with blue roses.

I have a five-gallon bucket of primer from a previous round of painting, so I pulled it out, and primed those green walls, so that it would take the new colors better.  It was BRIGHT GREEN after all and I didn’t want that to bleed through my white.

bright green
This is the only picture I have with that Bright green, and trust me, it doesn’t do the right justice! 

For the top half, which was going to be China White, I put on two coats. For the bottom half, which was getting a change in color family, but with a color of darker intensity, I used one coat of primer.  For the black trim in the room, that I wanted to paint over with the China White, I used 2-3 coats of primer, depending on the area.  That may have been over kill since the paints had primer too, but I wasn’t taking chances on color bleed.

Peeps, Priming really isn’t a step you should skip when painting, unless you are painting tone on tone.  Below are my personal guidelines for priming:

When to Prime:

  • Anytime you have a drastic change from a dark tone to a light tone
  • Anytime you are covering a shade of red.  Period.
  • Anytime you are changing color families.
  • Anytime there are markings on the wall- such as pen, marker, water stains, or oil based stains.

When Priming is unnecessary:

  • When you are going from a light shade of a tone, to a darker shade of the same tone- for example from light blue to dark blue.  If you are going from light pink to dark blue though, you should still put a coat of primer on that wall.
  • When you are painting over white, and even then, sometimes a primer tinted in the color family you are going to is helpful.

Primer seals in old stains that could threaten to bleed through your new paint color- and some stains, or intense wall colors may need a couple of primer coats to get sealed under. For more information and help deciding if you need to prime check out this link at Rosie on the House.

Once the priming was done, I decided where the lowest possible point that I might want the white to go to on the wall would be, and measured that point all around the room.  I decided on 36″ from the top of the baseboard.  This made it super easy, because I could just use a yardstick to measure.

I started putting that China White on the wall, being sure to paint down to below my measurement marks, and it was instant… calm.  peace.  relaxation.  What a change the color made!  I will also say this about using white on top trims— You don’t have to worry if your cutting in on the ceiling half is imperfect.  AND since the molding and the wall were going to be the same color, I didn’t have to worry about clean cutting in on the buttom of the molding either.   This made the job a lot easier, and for the rest of my life, all top trims and moldings will be painted a shade of white, as a result of this experience.  😉

After finishing that, I went around my wall and remarked the 36″ again, and then used those marks to lay down some painters tape all around the room.  This is where my first white line was going to be.  Then, using a small piece of cardboard, cut slightly taller than my tape, I measured, placing the bottom of the cardboard on top of the tape line, and then making a mark where the top of the cardboard was all the way around the room.  I laid another piece of tape down, bottom edge lined up with my markings.  I repeated the cardboard measuring above the newest piece of tape, and laid tape down in the same way again.  This allowed me to have:

white (top half of wall)

blue (stripe)

white (stripe)

blue (stripe)

white (stripe)

blue (bottom half of wall).

I have to be honest here, I pressed the tape down well, and then made the mistake of just painting the blue right over that.  I didn’t know at the time it was a mistake, but here is the thing, especially if your stripes are high contrast like mine- um, the paint bleeds under the tape and you get goodness awful messy lines like this:


oops.  I was going to just painstakingly touch up, until google saved me again, and I read about the proper way to get clean paint lines.  And decided that it would be just as quick to redo my work.

Lesson: always research BEFORE embarking on creative ideas that you think you know something about.  In my case, I probably know less than I think ;-).


So, here is the proper way to do this technique, according to Good Housekeeping:

  1. Lay down your light (base) color.  In my case, that China White.
  2. Tape off the area.
  3. They call this part sealing, really it’s letting the bleed happen safely.  Paint over the edge of tape with your light (base) color- China White in my case.
  4. THEN lay down your contrast color over top of all of that.
  5. Peel your tape off, very slowly and carefully.

That should leave with the desirable crisp lines.

I am not much of a perfectionist to be honest, and really thought about leaving those imperfect lines behind, but I really didn’t want to find myself dissatisfied with the look later because I didn’t take the time to correct the problem when I should have, so I did the right thing, bought another role of tape and fixed it:

First by putting the tap back on and doing a “proper” seal:

Then rolling the blue over all that, letting it dry and removing the tape:

Ahhhh, much better don’t you agree?  Not perfect, still have a few places to touch up, but it’s less messy looking than it was with my half cooked method.

In case you are planning a similar project, here is a rundown of the expenditure for the painting part of the redo on this room:

  1. One Gallon of China White paint, Olympic One, Eggshell finish from Lowe’s: $27
  2. One three pack of 3/8″ Rollers from Lowe’s: $7
  3. One cheap paint try from Lowe’s: $2
  4. Two Rolls of painter’s tape from Wal-Mart: $6
  5. One roller from Wal-Mart: $2
  6. One Gallon P&G equivalent of Olympic Egyptian Violet in Eggshell finish from my local Paint and wallpaper supplier: $32
  7. Candy to keep a sugar high: $2

For a total out-of-pocket cost of: $78

** Recall, I already owned primer and a good paint brush, those will be things you would need if you do a similar project and would increase the cost.

I hope you find this information useful.  In this post, I have been able to share some basic steps to planning a room redo (KEY: INSPIRATION PIECE- when you have one, it makes every following decision so easy), Information on Priming, and a step by step for painted wall designs using painters tape.  I hope you will share with me some of your room makeovers!

And don’t forget to stay tuned for a later post about the DIY / upcycled/ thrifted bedding makeover, the long overdue closet makeover, and some furniture redo-ing in the very near future!  I am soooo excited to put this room together, and finally have a cohesive pulled together, planned look in there!  (An easy way to ensure you stay updated is to follow me!)


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