June 24, 2014

Turning up the base.

Well then. June has been a crazy month so far. I had every intention of sitting down a week ago (I can't  believe it was only a week ago) and telling you a bit about the most traumatizing part of it. But then I was so traumatized that I couldn't relive it right away and now, here I am, nine days later finally getting around to it.

We got possession of our house 11 days ago and pretty much everything since the week before that has just been packing, moving, cleaning, and painting. And that last bit was the traumatizing bit.

Since moving to Regina, Karl and I noticed a disturbing trend in home decorating. Well, we noticed a few actually. We now live in a city that gets winter for six months out of the year. That's a pretty big contrast to a city that gets about six days of winter a year, like Victoria. Living in subzero temperatures for 50% of their lives here leads people to do some odd things with their houses.

The most disturbing outdoor decorative choice I've found it people's desire to paint their houses weird colours. Robin's egg blue is not a good colour for your house, or even your trim. Actually, it's even worse on your trim when your house is a typical shade of pooh brown. Like our house. But luckily our house's exterior has a working colour scheme of poopy brown and some other neutral. There's at least some cohesion.

Also, Christmas decor. I have never seen Christmas decorations up in May at such a high number of places. The prairies really are more religious.

Another outdoor architectural feature that's common here is brick. Don't get me wrong, I love brick, but not like this. Almost every house here has brick on half of the front. If it's not brick it's a mismatched wood panelling of some sorts. Houses in Regina are like the mullets of the real estate world. Stucco? Brick? Wood? No need to choose when you can have it all at once!

I digress. Our house has some of that brick and wood thing going on but it's tasteful because it's just the chimney. And, aside from being the colour of soft poop, our house is lovely. But I might be a little biased already. I mean, it is my first house.

The big decor choice that many Reginan homes boast, though, is oak baseboards and trim. Whether they're real oak or not isn't the issue. The issue is that the majority of houses are all decked out in this really fab oak style trim. I mean, whoever decided to build a city on a swamp with mix and matched fronts of houses decided to take it to the next level. If you can't go outside in winter for fear of freezing to death, why not bring nature inside with a nice helping of wooden baseboards and trim! They look so nice next to the hardwood floors that most houses have here.

Puke. About the baseboards, not the hardwoods.

Karl and I knew that as soon as we got possession we were going to exorcise that scourge that our beautiful little house had inside of it: wooden baseboards and trim in the living room and hallways.

Thankfully, the previous owners had updated the trim in the bedrooms, kitchen, and bathrooms. The sexy basement doesn't need trim, but that's another story altogether and we'll save it for another time.

I'm not a superstitious person, but maybe getting possession on Friday the 13th and starting the long road to baseboard painting that night was a bad idea. We also painted the kitchen but that was fine.

Karl and I like to say that we know our limits. I know I can't park big vehicles very well and that making pretty pastries isn't really my forte. Karl knows that he can't play Jenga. The two of us know that moving furniture together is best left undone. We also knew, going into our baseboard painting marathon, that neither of us had much experience painting things particularly well so we would go through the extra effort and tape everything. Every. Little. Thing. Except the kitchen ceiling because the tape wouldn't stick.

I don't know if you've ever painted baseboards before but I have some advice for you before you start: don't. One living room, two hallways, and one back door entryway. Combined with the kitchen, it was almost three rolls of painter's tape and 15 1/2 hours of work over a weekend.

We decided to paint our kitchen a similar green to our last kitchen because I am consistent. The majority of the inside of the rest of the house is painted in some sort of warmer neutral that I will henceforth call Regina neutral. That colour is everywhere, including the place we just rented. I picked my battle and my hatred of oak baseboards and trim won out over every other colour woe I have about this place.

The previous owners left a fair amount of paint behind for us, and we didn't end up having to buy any paint for the trim. It was a small victory and one that we almost regretted once we realized the paint can we were using had a leak in it. Thankfully we noticed before we left for the night that first Saturday and the offending can is still sitting in a plastic bag, in a box, in our laundry room. Naturally it hasn't leaked since, but praise the Lord it didn't get all over our hardwoods. I'm pretty sure if you ruin hardwood elves come and pull out all your eyebrows while you're sleeping and it's very hard to explain that at work the next day.

It turns out I'm not a terrible painter. It also turns out that Karl is better at cutting in against the ceiling than I am at using a floor guard and painter's tape. But at least I'm quick.

There was a horrifying moment in the painting process when we realized that (a) we didn't prime when we started on the baseboards and (b) that meant we needed to do three instead of two coats of paint on them. Our window frames even needed four coats. There was great sorrow and wailing. I wore sackcloth and tore my clothes. But then I just got up early Sunday morning and painted from sunrise until sunset for the second day in a row, not stopping to eat, sleep, or even use the bathroom until the job was done.

And when it was done it was good.

Everyone who comes over has to tell us how nice our baseboards look because when they don't I have a little cry in the garage and wonder if it really does get better.

I could barely bend my middle finger after our marathon painting session and I'm thinking that's where I balanced the brush for those 15 1/2 hours. The top of my right foot was also bruised from all that kneeling on the floor. I like to think of it as my typical floor scrubbing injury. Because I get the most hardcore injuries.

I don't regret painting our baseboards, but were I more affluent I would have hired someone to just replace them. I also suddenly understand the appeal of spraying them instead of using a brush. It's something I always thought was a little over the top when I saw bloggers do it, but I so, so get it.

The night we finished painting, we went back to the place we were renting and the amount of wooden baseboards there made me want to cry. The 15 1/2 hours we spent beautifying our own little place would have been kid stuff compared to what would have to be painted there. And then I rejoiced because it was over, looked awesome, and within a week I wouldn't have to climb a million homicidal stairs anymore.


  1. Hahahaha. That sounds AWFUL and also exactly like the houses in Ohio. The half brick/half wood siding is extremely common, as well as the wooden baseboards and trims and doors. BLEH. I'm already resigning myself to having to paint those someday. Thankfully James doesn't seem to mind painting too much. But it's still miserable.

    I will never understand why people paint their houses the way they do. I saw a red brick house the other day with bright periwinkle shutters and a matching garage door. It looked ridiculous.

    Good luck with the painting, and post more pictures!

  2. Oh my gosh, I completely feel your pain. When we moved into our house, ALL our baseboards (which aren't even technically baseboards, they're just BOARDS), window trim, doors, door frames, etc. were ALL an ugly stained brown. We primed and painted just about every surface in our house...walls, ceilings, ALLLLLL the trim, doors, I even scrubbed and spray painted the fan covers in the bathrooms because they were stained from the last owner being a smoker (technically I could have just bought new ones but hey, I saved us like 40 bucks). We repainted our kitchen twice, and our accent wall in our living room twice, and our front door three times.

    Suffice it to say it's been 2 years since then and I STILL get hives thinking about all the painting we did. It's absolutely the worst. On the bright side...most other projects will seem like no big deal after all that!

    Houses here are boring. They all look the same...and most are vinyl siding, which means they're one of three colors...beige, tan, or light blue. BORING!!

    1. Um yeah I meant off-white (dirty snow white to you), tan, or light blue. I realize beige and tan are basically the same thing. ;)

  3. I would take oak coloured over pooh-coloured trim any day! Tradsies?


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