Portland Day 12: My Baby’s Growing Up

On the morning of Day 12, Chandler did something shocking. She went to IKEA to pick up a NORBO table for the kitchen. Alone. This is the same girl for whom, 11 days before, I considered purchasing and then slipping a crushed-up Xanax into her coffee before we embarked on our first IKEA run. Needless to say, I was beaming with pride.

While she was out running errands, I was painting trim. Still. It took one coat of primer and about six coats of white paint (I blame the off-the-shelf Glidden brand. Benjamin Moore would have never done me like this), but I finally reached the end of the road with Operation: White Trim. It was quite a battle.

One of the problems with this apartment is that it was really, really dark. Even though the living room window is massive, not a lot of natural light gets in because of the architecture of the building, surrounding trees, and Portland’s generally grey, indecisive weather. Since painting all the walls would have involved a lot more money and a lot more time than Chandler was really looking to put in, we decided to coat all the trim in white semi-gloss paint. It’s amazing just how much painting trim totally brightened up the apartment, even though we didn’t even paint the doors too.


And after:

A new, much brighter light fixture obviously helps, too, but things were already vastly improved even with the old light. I can’t even describe what a difference it is.

Another thing the white trim did, which was kind of unexpected, was it actually made the walls look better. Whereas before they seemed like a dingy white (since there wasn’t a true white-white to compare it to), the white trim made them look kind of creamy and warm. Crisp white paint does wonders, people.

And the light is super cool. I know yesterday’s picture wasn’t great (I was mostly trying to set the scene of that insane thrift store), but it has a really nice texture, and looked really great once Chandler’s friend cleaned it up a bit and hung it. The shade is held up by invisible thread. Nifty.

Between coats of paint on the hallway, I was spray painting outside because I multi-task like that. And I’m awesome.

The chair frames are white! The exhaust fan covers for the fans in the kitchen and the bathroom are white! Oh joyous day.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 1.21.11
    yyz said:

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know that your blog is the first in a really long time where I am in extreme anticipation daily of when the next post will be! Your documentation of this Portland Rehab has me on the edge of my seat. It’s not just the content but the genuine and honest way you write about the experience, it’s darn pleasurable to read. Thank you!

  2. 1.21.11

    I love it! We had similarly fabulous results with our very narrow, very cramped, very door-heavy hallway. And we’ve spray-painted all of our bathroom fan covers, too…works great. Even though my style isn’t quite as modern as yours, I really appreciate your aesthetic and I look forward to your posts. :)

  3. 1.21.11
    ontse said:

    You really are amazing! And Chandler is such a lucky girl to have yo as a friend and doing all those things in her apartment! How about a trip to Barcelona (such a beautiful city) to help me out with my apartment?… ;)
    By the way, great blog!

    • 1.21.11
      Daniel said:

      if you want to pay for my flights there and back and have a bed for me to sleep in, I wouldn’t turn down a trip to Barcelona!!

  4. 1.21.11
    dawn said:

    i wish you were my friend.

    chandler owes you BIGTIME.
    her place is looking fabulous.

  5. 1.21.11
    Lena said:

    Looks good. But the better the other things are looking, the more ugly those carpets become. If it was my apartment I would be ripping them out right now, no matter whats under them. VCT or linoleum tiles would look ten times better! But since the apartment is big it might be expensive and not worth if she doesn’t stay too long.
    Anyway, excited to see how it will look like in the end!

  6. 1.21.11
    ModFruGal said:

    Nice! Next time you paint on a budget..the Home Depot Behr premium primer/paint in one is amazing stuff. I painted a pale gray matte over chocolate glossy walls in one coat, yep…one.

    • 1.21.11
      Daniel said:

      Good to know! Thanks!

  7. 1.21.11
    Alicia said:

    No, you’re SERIOUSLY awesome. Wow. I’m about to paint my house and this reminds me that I need to paint the exhaust covers too. You’re a genius and your friend is very lucky.

  8. 1.21.11
    Lee said:

    I agree with yyz – this series of posts has been really great to read. Blogging at its best.

    It would be awesome if you could elaborate on the new light fixture. You purchased the shade alone, correct, without any lighting elements? How did Chandler’s friend make it work? Thanks!

    • 1.21.11
      Daniel said:

      The light is hardwired in with one of these, we just cut off the plug! Chandler already had it, and it works really nicely for this. The fishing line attaches to the little ring on the light canopy.

  9. 1.21.11
    KES said:

    You are hilarious and talented. Keep the posts coming, I look forward to them each day!

  10. 1.21.11
    Nicole said:

    That’s it! That does it! I am painting my trim, no-painting policy be damned.

  11. 1.21.11
    Tuli said:

    I’m down in Eugene and we live in a duplex with very similar off-white walls, ugly carpet and trim, except our trim is a dark, dark, dark brown. Seriously, it almost looks black. And we don’t get much light either because our main windows face north :( I’ve been fantasizing about painting the trim white for a year, but we have a 2 yr old and it seems like so much work! Are you planning on painting the doors? If I ever get the balls to do it, I’ll definitely do our doors. There are 4 of them in a tiny black hole of a hall.

    • 1.21.11
      Daniel said:

      I wanted to do the doors, but Chandler thought that might be taking things a little too far. She’s not quite as gung-ho on the whole I-don’t-care-that-I’m-renting-this-place thing as I am.

  12. 1.21.11
    sudha said:

    landed on ur blog while looking for some mid century classic furniture pieces…beautiful home and a very awesome place on the net…i would love to feature your home tour on my blog …pl let me know if that sounds good

  13. 1.21.11
    Cait @ Hernando House said:

    Looking good! Love that light fixture!

  14. 1.21.11
    Sarah said:

    This whole Portland diary is making me want to paint so bad. And buy tons of furniture that I don’t need/can’t fit in this little Manhattan apartment.

    So jealous! Love your blog.

  15. 1.22.11
    augusta said:

    dude, am in love with this, you. but the carpet, now looks like shit, and you know it. so now what do we do?
    I will keep checking in (daily, cuz your fantastic) to find out. what. you. will. do. or say. about. this. thing. (the carpet).

  16. 1.22.11
    Lucía said:

    I’ve become completely obsessed with your blog, you’re pure genius. Been dying to renovating my own place for a while now… it’s a rental too, furnished. With awful furniture. As in old lady furniture. Hope I could paint those up shamelessly as you do, but I sadly lack the courage… You should become a design consultant, I’d definitely hire you! That is, If you’d be willing to travel all the way down to Uruguay, where I live.

  17. 1.22.11
    Kimberly said:

    My husband and I have been having a bit of a disagreement about painting our wood trim. We have a lot of trim and I want to paint it all white. I cant wait to show him your before/after pics so he can see how great it looks!

  18. 1.22.11

    You’re awesome. I HATE painting trim – which is why I still have only primer on half the new trim in our house that was installed 2 years ago! So bad.
    That fixture is lovely.

  19. 1.23.11

    You’re a good friend, Dan, you know that?

  20. 1.24.11

    I agree with everyone commenting that this is my favorite read in the blogosphere. Loving the Portland series! Are you redoing the bucket chairs before you ship them? I guess there’s probably more outdoor space in Portland to make a mess!

    • 1.24.11
      Daniel said:

      No time! They’re on their way to New York, where they’ll receive the royal treatment. Actually, it’s really not a very messy project at all, the Penetrol just smells a little funky.

  21. 1.24.11
    Merissa said:

    I can’t believe painting trim took that long. I would have died! By the way, though I only know you from your blog, I’m absolutely positive that you’ll love this dining room, so I couldn’t help but share:


  22. 1.24.11
    Meg said:

    Sherry from Young House Love just did a post about the trim they did in their home – it seems like a pain in the bottom but works wonders apparently!

    Thanks for your posts, they have been fun and your friend is definitly hooked up.

    Talk about whirlwind makeover!