Rather Square: DIY-closet painting and testing for lead paint

We’ve been bringing you regular updates from Rather Square, a blog ran by Oak Park residents Laura Kesselring and John Christenson, an Oak Park husband and wife who are artists and graphic designers that recently started tackling the redesign of their 1920s historic home.

This week’s post covers do-it-yourself painting, specifically closets — including testing for lead paint.

As we get ready to update the toddler’s bedroom and convert the spare bedroom into a nursery for the new baby, I took on the quick project recently of painting the closets in both rooms. Not a very dramatic or exciting job, but one of those necessary updates that I wanted to get done and out of the way before we started to work on the rooms themselves.

Courtesy Rather Square

Courtesy Rather Square

 

Both of these small closets have enough room for kids’ clothes and storage. They were a little worse for wear on the inside – the wall paint was dingy and scuffed, with shelving covered in old contact paper. And neither have lighting installed. Eventually we’ll probably put in some kind of wireless light in each closet, but for now I thought that repainting them a fresh white color would help clean and brighten them up. The toddler’s closet was an old dull white already, but the baby’s closet had been painted a pale shade of peach (hard to see in in this less-than-stellar photo, but kind of similar to the room’s original wall color).

 

 

 

Courtesy Rather Square

Courtesy Rather Square

 

…For the paint itself, we took advantage of Ace’s recent buy-one-get-one-free sale on Clark + Kensington paint. We hadn’t used this brand before, but figured that using it inside closets was a safe way to try it out. And I wanted a formula that included primer, to keep this (hopefully quick) painting process as streamlined as possible. We paid only about $30 for two gallons of the Premium Interior Eggshell Enamel, which I knew would cover both closets with extra left over for future projects. I went with a nice bright white called Illumination… although the toddler seemed more interested in the bolder end of the color spectrum…

 

Courtesy Rather Square

Courtesy Rather Square

 

…Before starting to paint, I removed the hanger bars and the contact-paper-covered shelving. Then I broke out the new paint and got to work. The job took a little longer than I anticipated – even though the closets are small, there are a lot of angles and nooks. And I did the inside baseboard trim at the same time (but I left the closet doors for another time). It’s hard to get good photos of these tiny spaces, but here are some detail shots of the process and end result.

 

Courtesy Rather Square

Courtesy Rather Square

…I ended up doing two coats of paint on each closet – the C+K didn’t seem to cover completely after just one coat. Even so, I was pretty satisfied with the paint quality, and I was able to finish both closets in one day. Including the ceilings!

…Brighter, cleaner, and they even feel a little bigger now with their new coat of (aptly named paint color) Illumination! Just painting over the aged walls makes these small spaces seem more inviting.

 

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