The Pearly Gates
Finally, FINALLY this project is 99% done and that is how it will stay for awhile. Why not 100%? Because if I have to lift a paintbrush to these doors any time in the near future I may scream. Or cry. Or curl up in the fetal position.
Here is the before from the realtor photos of our home:
And a bad iPhone pic:
After living with these doors for a few month in their natural maple color and trying to love them I was ready to divorce them. I am really not a light wood kind of girl so I struggle a lot with wanting to paint everything that I come in contact with that is light wood. However, we had grown fond of the way these doors can be closed to corral kids in or out, create somewhat of a noise barrier when we watch loud movies, and just the way they create a distinct separation between the rooms without closing things off. For these doors I thought it would be a quick and easy transformation with a little paint to bring them up to date and make them more our style. I put out feelers on color options to my facebook friends and the general consensus seemed to be in line with my feeling that they should be white. Mark finally agreed that painting them was the way to go and the day I got the green light I started taping them….
and taping them….
and taping them. 216 panes to be exact.
I swear- this part of the process was so time-consuming and meticulous! I should have known then that the rest of this project would not be a walk in the park.
After finally finishing the taping job I was uber eager to pick up a paint brush. So I began priming the first panel. I noticed very quickly that as I painted the primer beaded up on the surface and did not remain even. It was then that I remembered reading about the complications of attempting to paint maple when I was thinking about painting my beautiful computer armoire. You see, Maple is a very hard wood that is not very porous. Because of this it doesn’t allow paint or primer to easily sink into it’s surface like other woods resulting in the paint “beading up”. It wasn’t until this moment that I realized that these doors were maple. doh!
So I was left with few choices. I had already completed one side of one panel with one coat of primer. I decided to press forward and continue priming knowing that these doors would likely need two coats of primer.
On average, it would take me about an hour to do one side of one door with one coat of paint or primer. In the end, each side of each door took two coats of primer and two coats of paint. There are 8 sides. Over 32 hours of painting total not including taping/cleanup in between painting sessions. Just let that sink in for a second.
I was so fed up with my quest to update these doors and at some points just wished I had left them the way they were!
But I pressed onward and finally finished painting the last panel.
Then I started peeling off the tape…Ack!
Instead of crisp even lines as the paint peeled off I was left with uneven paint lines on the plexiglass and areas where the paint peeled off with the tape and the maple was showing. I was so frustrated! Back to painting this time with a tiny brush as I examined each and every pane and touched up where needed trying hard not to get paint on the glass. The other set-back? The paint does not scrape easily off the plexiglass with a razor like with regular glass without scratching the plexiglass. So I had to go back with a product called “Goo Gone” and a Q-tip and clean it off and it left the plexiglass a bit foggy in places. Here is where the 99.9% comes in because there are still a few places where I need to touch up and Goo Gone but I just can’t bear to lift a paint brush or Q-tip to these doors anymore for awhile. So here I am sharing the unfinished project afters but someday they will be completed.
At the end of the day, I am glad that I did this and the doors are now white. Are they perfect? Far from it! But do I love the imperfectly painted white doors more than the perfect maple ones? Absolutely. They remind me of french doors which I have always had a soft spot for. I love how they lighten everything up and connect the rooms and their decor so much more. I’m a sucker for crisp white!
This project has killed any ambition I had to someday paint my maple computer armoire and I will likely someday sell it. It just isn’t quite right. I am leaning more towards a built-in option for a desk for me anyway. More on that soon!
The crisp white of these doors has led to a ripple effect now though causing me to loathe the way our fireplace with it’s off-white painted brick looks dirty now. Can’t wait to make it over in the future as well with some framing and tile.
Amazing how the seemingly little changes can turn out to be giant changes in the end.