OPINION: House painting a confusing job

I'M UP to my ears in house paint. Literally.

A friend I was having drinks with on Sunday afternoon moved a lock of my hair to reveal a swoosh worthy of a Nike sneaker covering most of my right ear.

I don't have any memory of how the paint got there, apart from the obvious fact that I am trying to eliminate all traces of my home's previous owners from the interior walls and architraves.

Now, painting is a job I usually don't mind. If one is completely changing the look of a house - as am I - there's a great deal of satisfaction to be had at the end of every day. One has only to walk into a freshly painted room to be instantly chuffed. If the paint job is merely freshening up an existing colour scheme, well, not so much. It's like the difference between paying for a car to be detailed (instant "wow" factor) vs. buying a new battery or tyres; both the latter are necessary but visually there's not much bang for your buck.

Luckily for me, I get to completely transform every single room in the house as the last lot (LL) went a bit berserk with the colour chart.

Almost every single wall was painted in a different hue, most of which don't exist in nature. It occurred to me when I first inspected the house that some folks shouldn't be allowed access to a colour chart; it's sort of a Dracula-in-charge-of-the-blood-bank scenario.

I don't know what some of the colours are named; having spent a few hours wading my way through the approximately 1500 shades of white available, I didn't have much energy left over to hunt down their preferences. But I suspect they have names such as Cappuccino, Merlot, Aubergine, Petrol and possibly Baby Poo Brown.

The transformation as I work my way through each room, carefully painting out the previous decorating vandalism is profound and, as I mentioned previously, enormously satisfying. I've chosen a warm white, named Whitewash #2 (one of the less-fanciful names available). But here's the rub; the LL cut the most important corner in the painting game by slapping on acrylic paint over the previous 30-year-old hard-as-a-rock oil-based enamel. Without doing any sanding or other surface preparation.

Yikes. So my two weeks of painstaking cutting-in around five doorways in a short hallway (there's more architrave than wall) now needs to be laboriously stripped off as my efforts can be peeled off with a fingernail.

Sharing the information with a strolling neighbour the other day proved to be a mistake; I waxed lyrical about the idiocy of the LL, only to find they were quite good friends of hers.



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