I Like All Colors That are Black or White.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already gathered that I painted my living room! I’m bad at keeping secrets when provided with so many social networking outlets. Oopsie!



I like it! I don’t LOVE it, to be honest—the color’s a little bluer than I was expecting—but I do like it a lot. WAY better than the red, even if I end up repainting it eventually.

I know there were some fans out there of the red, but I hated it. Hated it. Even if I had wanted to keep it, the walls were in R-O-U-G-H shape and it would have needed to be redone. Not that it matters, it made my head hurt and my eyes bleed. At no point ever in the entire time I’ve lived here did I think to myself, “Hey! Maybe I should keep this red. It’s so funky!” That, by the way, is a good example of something I would never say aloud, in case you were struggling to think of anything.

Something I would say? “I’m painting our living room Paper White by Benjamin Moore in matte. The ceiling will be White in eggshell, the moldings will be Super White in semi-gloss. The doors and fireplace mantle will be Onyx in Pearl.”

Something Max would say? “Do whatever you want, but please stop talking about it. What’s for dinner?” OMGYOUGUYZDREAMY.

Because I get questions in the comments and the occasional email regarding this very important and surprisingly mysterious concept, I’m going to tell you how to paint a room. Well, how paint a room. You can do it however you want but my way will always be the right way.


1. Locate, patch, and sand holes with spackle. Really sand, now. Don’t be a punk.

2. Move all your furniture and crap into the middle of the room, cover with a giant $2 plastic tarp.

3. Try to go inside your furniture fort, look around, pretend you’re in a quarantine chamber in a space ship.

4. Put drop cloths on floor around perimeter of room.


1. STAY HYDRATED. Painting is hard work, don’t kid yourself. It will take you many hours, most of them standing, which is more physical activity than you’re generally comfortable with. That’s why I recommend you stay hydrated. I like to stay hydrated with a couple beers or glasses of wine because, let’s face it, painting’s the fucking worst. Worse than famine. Worse than natural disasters. Worse than Rick Perry. (Maybe not worse than Rick Perry.) The point is: loosen up, settle in for the long haul. So drink some booze, smoke some weed, whatever works for you.

2. Gather up your supplies. You will need: paint, a paint brush (or several), a paint tray, a roller (and pad, I always use “semi-smooth” for walls), and a ladder unless you’re a giant.

I like to use a 2″ angle brush, and because I was feeling a little crazy that day, I bought a stubby one without a handle. What am I, a leprechaun? I don’t know what came over me.

3. Start by cutting in the perimeter of the ceiling with your brush, since the roller can’t paint corners. “Cutting in” is a fancy painterly term, and when you say it, you’ll sound like you know shit.

4. Paint the ceiling with a roller. Now, you might think you can skip painting the ceiling. “But it looks white,” your lazy ass says. YOU ARE WRONG. It is not white. When confronted with real white, it looks poopy and horrible. Like so:

PAINT YOUR CEILING. You won’t regret it.

5. Start by cutting in with your brush around moldings and up the corners of the room. This was a special pain in the ass because I also had to do it around all those fancy wall-moldings, too.

6. Prime, if you have to. You should really prime if you’re painting a light color over a dark color, or the other way around. For dark over light, ask your paint store if you should use a tinted primer. At this point, things will look terrible.

7. Cut in around the moldings and corners again, and paint another coat with your roller. Then do that again. You probably want two coats, maybe three depending on what paint you use. I used Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select, which is really nice stuff. I usually go with just the plain Regal (it’s a little cheaper and still very nice paint), but I really didn’t want to do three coats.

8. After you’re done with the walls, paint the moldings! Now, you might think you don’t need to paint your moldings. “They look white,” you say.

WRONG AGAIN, STUPID. You need to paint your trim. Just do it, you’ll feel better.

Now, this might shock you. DO NOT USE PAINTER’S TAPE. There is a time and a place for it, but it’s really not necessary in most cases, certainly not for painting most moldings and stuff. Normally, it just messes you up, since paint gets all up under the tape and ruins your clean lines. It also takes forever to apply, and really isn’t as fun as you think it is to rip off. You really just need your angle brush, a steady-ish hand, and about three minutes of practice to really get the hang of things. If you are going to use painter’s tape, please for the love of god use it right.

The last people who painted my apartment apparently did not read the tape instruction manual and thought it would be easier to cut their tape off  the wall with an x-acto knife. This is not only wrong, but evil, because it leaves TEENY TINY slivers of painting tape that will slowly separate from the walls over time and drive the next painter totally fucking insane trying to peel off. It’s not right, it’s not fair, never do this ever or your karma will be in the shitter. And that’s a promise.

9. Clean up, put your furniture back, and you’re done!

Max bought that painting a couple weeks ago from his friend Matt Uebbing. We’re still deciding on art placement, so it’s not hung yet, but we’ll get to that.

I decided to paint the wall moldings with the ceiling paint, which is just off-the-shelf BM “White” in eggshell. It offsets nicely with the wall color without being SO in-your-face, and the finish is every-so-slightly glossier than the matte walls. I just used a 1″ brush, and it took forever.




We really need some art on the walls and to fix up that super sad stuff happening on top of the mantle. All in good time.

Obviously, I painted the fireplace the same BM Onyx as the doors, and I really love it. I used to totally hate the tiling work, but now I think I kind of like that too? I don’t know, for some reason now it seems kind of perfectly-antiquey-poopy-brownish-mustard. Masculine might be the word I’m looking for. Anyway. The new paint has really changed my views on them.

I am totally in love with my new lamp, by the way. Like, if I die, and I’m ever reincarnated as a lamp, I think it would look a lot like that.

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. 11.10.11
    Alana said:

    UGH. so beautiful.

  2. 11.10.11
    Bernadette said:

    The living room looks FABULOUS! I’m loving the black fireplace – it looks so much better now!

  3. 11.10.11
    Mary-Ellen said:

    F a n t a s t i c.

    It looks so much better.

  4. 11.10.11
    Katie said:

    Looks great! I’m still obsessed with your black doors

  5. 11.10.11
    victoria said:

    gorgeous, daniel! love it all.

  6. 11.10.11
    Emily said:

    hey daniel! looks great. can i ask where you got those excellent pillows on your karlstad?

    • 11.10.11
      Daniel said:

      The yellow/blue/black dot ones I MADE! But the fabric is from Marimekko, via Crate & Barrel. The ones behind them are from CB2 (Coco pillow!).

      Trust, whole post coming about those pillows. I am not a sewer.

  7. 11.10.11

    I love that the photo with the black doors is basically my house:

    The apartment is looking great, my friend. I’m happy for you guys!

    • 11.10.11
      Daniel said:

      Haha, seriously. I’m jeals of that hardware!

  8. 11.10.11
    Kate said:

    How did you paint the wall moldings without tape (or many hours spent touching up with a teeny tiny brush)?!

    • 11.10.11
      Daniel said:

      I just used a 1″ angle brush. It was tedious, but I’m really not sure it would have saved any time cutting all that tape precisely and sticking it and painting it and then STILL having to touch up where the paint bled under the tape…I don’t know, it just seems easier without it. Also, tape is really for very straight lines, and everything here is so old…straight lines just don’t exist with old!

  9. 11.10.11
    Sarah @Knit York City said:

    Wow! It looks fantastic. Your painting tutorial is hilarious and amazing. Is that a real Herman Miller Eames chair? Is it rude of me to ask? I’m jealous either way if that makes it better.

    • 11.10.11
      Daniel said:

      Not rude at all (not to me, anyway…)! Nope, it’s a vintage fake (I wrote about it here!). It’s very different than an original (screws through the plywood, totally different base, bigger proportions, etc. etc.) but it’s still comfy! And, you know, in my price range. That too.

    • 11.11.11

      It’s fabulous! Drooling!

    • 11.11.11
      misa said:

      omg, i’m such a lousy manhattan nest devotee. i completely forgot you wrote about that eames lounger.

  10. 11.10.11
    Jamie B. said:

    So beautiful. Never move. Seriously. Unless, like, 10 years from now you decide to have kids or something. Otherwise, stay.

  11. 11.10.11
    Dennis Conrad said:

    Gorgeous wall color. It isn’t reading too blue at all in these pictures, and I’m sure it looks different depending on natural light and time of day. Your painting tips are great. I have always loved to paint. My dad taught me when I was about 12 yrs. old and from then on I was the one called in to prep a room, I dealt with the tarp, taping and cutting, priming. I helped paint, then afterwards did all or most of the clean up and care of all accessories. It’s the one DIY that I really enjoy and don’t worry — “will I screw this up?” I also don’t mind removing wall paper and repairing plaster or dry wall. It’s a solitary thing, and very satisfying results.

    People should read your tips carefully and take them to heart. Painting is a great way to love your space.

  12. 11.10.11
    Jamie B. said:

    Oh, and a painting question – what do you do if you rent and you have a (shudder) popcorn ceiling? Paint over it? It’s an old building so no way am I’m removing that.

    • 11.10.11
      Daniel said:

      You can totally paint popcorn! You probably want to use a roller for semi-rough surfaces, though… it’ll have a much thicker nap than a regular one.

    • 11.10.11
      Jamie B. said:

      Great to know, thank you. I just moved into a new apartment and was trying to do the whole “oh, I’ll live with the renter’s beige for a while until I can paint …” Yeah, no, fuck it. If I’m setting my crap up the way I like it, there’s no point in doing that half way.

    • 11.12.11
      kelly w said:

      Be warned– some popcorn ceilings are total paint sponges, sucking it in (my mom learned this the hard way). It may take a lot more to cover it than you anticipate.

    • 11.11.11
      Wendy said:

      You can buy a foam roller specifically made for painting popcorn ceilings.It has cuts around it every couple of inches and it does a great job.

  13. 11.10.11
    kmkat said:

    Looks great! But you need to go into more detail on how to paint. For example, what IS the right way to use painter’s tape? Sanding the patches: tell us about a sanding block vs. using our bare hands with the sandpaper. I’m sure there are other nuggets you could share, too.

    • 11.10.11
      Daniel said:

      Oh, painter’s tape… I really only use it if I really need a straight line between two different paint colors. I’ll include it in another post, but here’s a very good explanation of how that works! If you’re going to use it to tape off moldings and ceilings and stuff, there’s no reason to cut it off the walls! It should just peel off when you’re done, preferably before the paint is totally-totally dry (it’ll be easier to peel). But really, I just find tape to be more trouble than it’s worth 99% of the time.

      Sanding… depends on the spot. I usually just hold sandpaper in my hand for small stuff, but for bigger surfaces I prefer a block.

  14. 11.10.11

    Always insane what a simple coat of white paint can do – like from gross shanty dorm to high class adult domicile. When in doubt, white that shit out.

    Ugh. Dying over all the architectural details and amazing floors and tiles. My house is so boring.

    • 11.11.11
      Daniel said:

      “from gross shanty dorm to high class adult domicile”


      (Is that too many words to be the new name of my blog?)

    • 11.11.11


      More words = better

    • 11.11.11

      Now I REALLY can’t wait to get cracking on a new blog design for Daniel…

  15. 11.11.11
    kay* said:

    the lamp is the first thing i noticed in your ‘after’ picture. i have been wanting that cork lamp since i spotted it in a very early issue of (the now defunct) Domino…i remember even submitting a question on AT years ago asking if anyone knew where to find one. you, my friend, have the best thrifting (if in fact it is a thrift find?) karma. the best.

    oh yeah, the room looks a trillion times better. the red totally had to go.

    such a great apartment.

    • 11.11.11
      Daniel said:

      Yeah, flea market… I get lucky sometimes! The lamp was made by Laurel, but I just searched “cork chrome lamp” on ebay and there are a couple pairs up now! They aren’t the GREATEST deal ever, but they aren’t too horribly priced, either!

    • 11.15.11
      jl said:

      i picked up that cork lamp in portland, maine almost 5 years ago now. got it for a steal at this great shop called ferdinand. ha, it definitely just threw me to see it on your blog. anyway, your newly white living room is gorgeous, congrats.

  16. 11.11.11
    melissa said:

    Your fugly ass fireplace just became amazing! I am so jealous. I wish you could come to my new Dolores Park flat and help me! I’m still trying to convince my man to let me paint our wall doors black. He made an executive decision (WITHOUT ME!) and put the drawer liner on the door panels and thought I would be proud of his crafty decision. I seriously almost moved out! Ok, enough about me…amazing work again!

  17. 11.11.11
    Tania said:

    From Hades to Heaven…

  18. 11.11.11
    Isabelle said:

    *Sigh* – what a relief. Looking only a few seconds at the PICTURE of your living room made MY eyes hurt and bleed; can’t imagine what it must have been like sitting in it in real. Reminded me a lot of images one has of certain “etablissements” ;-)))

    What a calmness, style and elegance the plain walls have brought with them; finally your furnitures and NOT the wall can do the talking …. And, hay, finally, the quarrel between the fireplace stukko and the fireplace tiles has seized; they look like friends now. NIIIIIIIIIICE JOB!

    And Marimekko is GREAT! We have “Ikea shades turn UNIKKO” in different colours for each room. ;-))

    Nice job, but I don’t envy you for the work involved.

  19. 11.11.11
    Christiane said:

    It looks amazing! And I’m deeply impressed, that you painted the ceiling, because that’s really the most annoying thing in the world to do.

  20. 11.11.11
    Sass said:

    I am gobsmacked! Those black pocket doors with the white trim – seriously! I’ll be dreaming about that for a while.

  21. 11.11.11
    Libby said:

    daaaang that looks good. i’m a color on the walls person but you might have just convinced me that white is good sometimes too. and i’m totally with you on painting the what-looks-like-white-but-isn’t trim and ceiling. it makes all the difference!

  22. 11.11.11
    Nancy S said:

    LOVE your blog & your new apartment. I came here to the comments to search out info on that great cork lamp – dang.
    Maybe I can dream up a DIY version.
    Keep up the great work – with your fabulous style – in decorating & writing :)

  23. 11.11.11
    Pam said:

    Daniel, I really enjoyed this post. (Always awaiting your next one) Laughing my way through. As an avowed serial painter I have learned never to use tape. It adds like 16 extra unnecessary hours to a job. Also guilty of not painting the ceilings and completely regretting it later. Lazy. Do you mind if I put a link to this post on my blog? I would love to share as I am painting my stairway hall from top to floors and you have a very witty tutorial here.
    I do love the subtle difference between the molding and walls. Gorgeous!
    Thanks, Pam

    • 11.11.11
      Daniel said:

      That’s fine, Pam! :-)

  24. 11.11.11

    Great job! Looks amazing, I especially love the black doors!

  25. 11.11.11
    Adam said:

    I love it! Absolutely beautiful. I’m getting ready to paint my living room as well, this is perfect inspiration!

  26. 11.11.11
    cammy said:

    I like red, but that was a LOT of red. The “after” looks much cleaner and calmer.

    And you are so right about painting ceilings. I’ve never bothered to put that much work into a rental, but my new landlord (as of September) painted everything before I moved in, including the ceilings and the difference is amazing! I must remember this the next time I move.

    I’m in a 110 year old house and I can relate to the “straight lines just don’t exist with old!” bit. Level floors don’t seem to exist with old, either. And hanging curtains on windows that have settled unevenly is a problem in geometry–hanging the rod absolutely level means that it looks crooked on the window, so you have to hang it just crooked enough that it looks level. If that makes any sense.

  27. 11.11.11
    jodi said:

    it looks SO great! what a transformation!

  28. 11.11.11

    Whoa, whoa! It looks so amazing! We painted our whole downstairs this year, and I bet with all those moldings your one room took longer! The results are so great. I actually think that slight blue-grey tint makes it the perfect off set to the white trimmings.

    Also, I couldn’t agree more about the lamp- its the fist thing I spotted in the ‘before’ picture!

  29. 11.11.11
    susan said:

    I can’t imagine *anyone* saying you should have kept the red. It was hideous. You’ve done an outstanding job on reclaiming that room. Also, if you think of those fireplace tiles as more bronzy I think you’ll find it picks up the bronzy elements in your room nicely. Is bronzy a word?

  30. 11.11.11
    dabney said:

    more accolades here; it looks great. and i have the same cork lamp! $5 from a friend of my sister-in-law. she just wanted it out of her house, stat! (it competed too much with her pottery barn i think.) and we were the lucky beneficiaries.

    and i spy another great rug. your collection is growing.

    well done sir!

  31. 11.11.11
    Krysta said:

    Um, this looks awesome! I am with you on the red- I HATE red walls. I love how to whole room reads as white but the white on the walls and the white on the trim and moulding is slightly different. Also, with all the of the white and the awesome lack doors and fireplace, I kind of like the fireplace tiles.

  32. 11.11.11
    Ann said:

    Looks absolutely fantastic! I also love the round coffee table you added, it breaks up the rectangles and square shapes in the room.

    • 11.11.11
      Daniel said:

      Haha, that coffee table isn’t actually mine! I’m babysitting it for my friend Maya (I picked it up for her and I’m holding on to it for a few weeks), but I REALLY like the round shape so much better for this room, so I’m keeping my eyes out for another round coffee table for myself. Max doesn’t like the Eames one anyway, so we’ll find something we can both agree on.

  33. 11.11.11

    I don’t think anything can be worse than Rick Perry but your living room looks amazing!

  34. 11.11.11
    Gaidig said:

    Lovely! The subtle contrast between the moulding and paint color is especially nice.

  35. 11.11.11
    Jinia said:

    That is fantastic! Was hard to really see all the interesting molding/ceiling in the room with all the red haze in front of my eyes but now so nice…

  36. 11.11.11
    Celeste said:

    I love you.

    Best line: “WRONG AGAIN, STUPID.” I lol’d at work.

    I cannot WAIT to move into a place where I can use all this inspiration!!

  37. 11.11.11
    Lauren said:

    This looks amazing. I am having a horrible day at work and after reading this post, I am instantly in a better mood. You crack me up and this room looks pretty amazing.

  38. 11.11.11

    I’m just now rolling into this party, but HOT DAMN! It looks incredible Daniel, nice work!

  39. 11.11.11

    I probably said I liked the red originally. If I did, I was wrong. It is terrible. And ugly. I’m glad you painted. It looks fantastic. And you’re right, that lamp is bomb!

  40. 11.11.11
    Drew Bell said:

    Yow, that looks great.

    People who call white walls “sterile” and “boring” don’t know the pleasures of morning light on coved ceilings. I took a few pics of ours last month: http://www.flickr.com/photos/droob/sets/72157627851704687/

  41. 11.11.11

    love the new, clean look. and, i agree about the painter’s tape. i usually use a wide crafting or water color brush to get clean lines.

  42. 11.11.11
    rj said:

    Daniel, how do you protect against paint lines? I had two coats on white on my ceiling, and I could still see paint lines. Then I used Floetrol (latex paint additive that helps latex paint flow… I just sounded like a commercial… ) and put on another coat. It’s mostly fixed. But not perfect. I’m OCD like you. Need to try the booze-while-painting tip though…

    • 11.11.11
      Daniel said:

      Hmmm… maybe it’s a matter of not having enough paint on your roller and then pressing too hard? You want to get the roller quite saturated and you shouldn’t need to apply a lot of pressure to get good coverage, and then just make sure you roll back over the parts you’ve rolled. Like, roll a W, and then back again over the edges. I’ve never used any additives (sometimes I’ll add a little water to older cans that have thickened up over time…), but I don’t usually have a problem with lines! Just try to catch them when the paint is wet!

  43. 11.11.11
    Kevin said:


    Love the blog post, as always. I had a question about how you handle slightly peeling paint in the trim of an older house. My husband and I just bought a house last year, built in 1912. I would love to pant the hell outta my trim but not sure about lead in the old paint. Thoughts?

    • 11.11.11
      Daniel said:

      Oh man, I’m definitely NOT the best source for safety information on lead paint. My understanding is that it really doesn’t pose a hazard unless it’s flaking or creating dust, in which case there are safe ways to remove it, or just remove the parts that are flaking (like keeping the surface wet to avoid dust, wearing a mask, etc). It’s definitely NOT necessary to strip your trim or anything like that (the more you “disturb” it, the more dangerous it can actually be)… I’d probably just get rid of the flaking stuff with a wire-brush and then prime and paint right over it. But that’s me… if you’re REALLY worried, or if you have babies or something, definitely consult a better source!

      I do know you can get lead paint testing kits at hardware stores for only a few dollars, which can tell you if there’s even anything to worry about!

  44. 11.11.11
    misa said:

    perfect, perfect, perfect. i hope in my next life i’m reincarnated as your apartment.

  45. 11.11.11
    Rose said:

    It looks wonderful!

  46. 11.11.11
    Jenn said:

    What are you kidding?! Night and day my brother – NIGHT AND DAY. Looks awesome!

  47. 11.11.11

    MFing amazing!

  48. 11.11.11
    o said:

    Looks good.

    Never used the Regal Select but in generally I really like BM’s “matte” stuff. Its got a pinch more sheen than flat but I believe it is mixed with a ceramic which is what makes it so durable and scrubable compared to any other flat finish. Also, I think BM Regal in Flat feels really hard to apply…I’ve only used it in “Super White” but the 3 gallons I have used were all a pain to apply while the Regal just flowed on like smooth silky velvet.

    Also, the matte stuff smells really good and very different from other latex paints.

  49. 11.11.11
    Michelle said:

    Wow! This looks so so amazing- and i LURVE the black doors. I was drooling over all the hard work you put into restoring the hardware. Great job!

  50. 11.11.11
    Louise said:

    It’s looks completely different from the before photos. IT LOOKS SO GOOD.

  51. 11.11.11
    Lena said:

    Soo much better! And yes, you need a coffeetable with softer curves, I am sure you will find the perfect one on the street or on craigslist for 10% of its worth or something.
    I have to say, i still don’t like the fireplace tiles- I hope you will do something about it. But all in all, at lot of improvement.

  52. 11.11.11
    Chris said:

    I am so pinteresting this shit right now.

  53. 11.11.11
    Christina said:

    So absolutely perfect!
    Re pillows: I sew. I will sew your stuff for more blog posts!

  54. 11.11.11
    ian said:

    Hugh improvement! My house is already painted white and you convinced me to paint the interior doors black.

  55. 11.11.11

    absolutely gorgeous! although i am a huge fan of red and have a red music room… you were so right to change the color for that room!

    so love reading about your adventures!

  56. 11.12.11
    Sherry said:

    The place looks so much better with white walls! I loath when people act as if you shouldn’t paint a wall just because they happen to like the color or think that you need more “color” in your house just because your walls are white. My boyfriend’s sister is like this. Totally was offended we painted over colors she said she liked when we first purchased the house. Ugh. You can paint your hallway yellow and your living room pumpkin bitch, this is my house.

  57. 11.12.11
    Alicia said:

    I swear, you took an apartment that rents for, what, late teens-low $2,000’s a month, and made it look like it costs thousands per month. A++-mazing!

  58. 11.12.11
    Dennis Conrad said:

    Have you seen the black and white interiors in the film Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinski? Amazing. Your last two posts reminded me of it.

  59. 11.12.11

    I have that EXACT same lamp! I got it at the DAV for $5 and I was so ready to throw it out when my husband and I moved into our house but he saved it from re-donation and now I kind of like it again. Go figure.

  60. 11.12.11
    Anne said:

    Love. It.

    Question on the transom: will you reglaze it? I’m all curious.

    • 11.12.11
      Daniel said:

      Oh gosh. No current plans… this might be odd, but I’m not even ENTIRELY sure if there ever was glass in it, or if it’s possible it was functionally more for ventilation. There isn’t any trim where it looks like glass should be, but it might have been removed longggggg ago.

    • 11.12.11
      Anne said:

      Ah, interesting. It would be cool to put in a little glass panel with a hinge. And a chain.

      (I am full of suggestions that would probably be tons of work!)

  61. 11.12.11
    Harlee Cole said:

    Hey Daniel,

    I also have a love for black fireplaces/mantles. I had a similar problem with my faux mantle it was painted a nasty chalky off-white,(“AKA builder’s white”) and I painted it black, but I had some fugly tiles around the mantle and it was faux green marble tile . So I used con-tact paper in a faux leather! It look really slick and nice now. and I can peel it off when I move.

  62. 11.12.11
    Mariela said:

    I love your living room and the black door. Looks amazing.

  63. 11.13.11
    anne b, said:

    this must be such a relief for you guys! now I want to paint my living room :)

  64. 11.13.11
    diana said:

    Awesome! You took this 19th century Paris bourgeois appearance and made it 21st New York! And there, my friend, lies your genius.
    I also like how passionately in love you are (am I rude? I just admire it).

  65. 11.13.11
    Magpies at sunrise said:


  66. 11.13.11
    Colin said:

    The shot of the white wire chair in front of the black doors is pure sex.

  67. 11.13.11

    You’re so right about EVERYTHING!
    Paint your ceilings!
    Paint your trim!
    Don’t use tape!
    Great job painting!

  68. 11.14.11
    bekah said:

    I’m sorry, but as I read this post the voice of ‘Honey Badger’ kept creeping in my head…

  69. 11.14.11
    Dusa said:

    I’m acomin’ over to sit in your Bertoia, framed against those faboo doors, and look out your newly painted windows. Pay no attention, I’ll bring my own cooler.

  70. 11.14.11

    I LOVE this change so much! It looks just fabulous! (I’m wishing I had interior doors to paint!)

  71. 11.14.11
    Mary said:

    Two words: GOR. GEOUS.

  72. 11.14.11
    Joy said:

    I’ve never felt so “sold” on white walls in my life. The transformation is fantastic–I can’t believe those fireplace tiles look so good! Also, I love the subtle difference between the walls and the moulding. Great post.

  73. 11.14.11
    anne mcd said:

    What color did you end up using for the walls? Paper White? Thanks!

  74. 11.15.11
    jbhat said:

    You and Anna are seriously helping me figure out that I too must only love all colors that are black and white. Your living room looks just right now, and thank you for tackling it, because now it no longer hurts my eyes. Thank you also for the realistic painting run-down. Painting really is sort of a nightmare! But good for you for rolling up your sleeves (and maybe you rolled up something else too, heh heh) and getting ‘er done. What a tremendous accomplishment!


  75. 11.15.11
    Fionnuala said:

    I appreciate that it took forever, but the extra effort in picking out the moulding on the walls in the ceiling colour was WELL WORTH IT.

    White walls, black doors. One day.

  76. 11.15.11
    Natalie said:

    Much much better. No question. I can tell you put a lot of sweat equity into this production. Your landlord is so lucky to have you there. I have been toying with the idea of painting my interior doors black against the white walls. There are 10. Mys hubs is scared of the black. I am scared of the labor involved. Do you think there is a way I can paint the doors while they are on the hinges? Or do you think I have to remove each one and loosen the hardware? Yikes. That would take forever and require strong hands to help me.

  77. 11.15.11
    Judi said:

    This is so amazing I can’t stand it. Is covering everything with a tarp necessary for to not get paint on them? or worse still the odor/toxins… About to spray lacquer on my wall so I guess I’m curious.
    I need a tutorial on painting radiators stat!

    • 11.15.11
      Daniel said:

      Me too!

      I guess it’s not necessary, but it’s not a bad idea to cover your stuff before you paint, right? Sometimes rollers will let off a fine mist of spatter, and you don’t want that all over your furniture! Especially if you’re painting your ceiling, I’d say cover up.

  78. 11.15.11

    You have opened up that space! It’s gorgeous now. No more looming and ominous deep red walls. Yikes.

    So the beach is Dead Horse Bay. South Brooklyn. It’s awesome. You’ll love it. Go.

  79. 11.15.11
    Rosalyn said:

    So, I just recently found your blog and have gone through all the posts – and I had to give you a heads up if you hadn’t found it yet – there’s a Marcel the Shell part 2. It’s awesome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ta9K22D0o5Q

    • 11.15.11
      Daniel said:


      You just made my month.

  80. 11.16.11
    Cai said:

    I probably could have read through the 103 comments to see if you had already answered this question.. but my eyes could also melt out of my head.

    Matt Uebbing’s painting is superb. Where can I get on of the them?

    • 11.16.11
      Daniel said:

      I think the best way is to send him a message on Facebook (here’s his profile, a small album of his work is linked in the post)—he doesn’t have a site right now for his stuff! But I do know he has much more work than is in that album (and some of it is sold, anyway), so get in touch even if you don’t see something you want right away! He’s a really nice guy and sells in a nice range of prices.

  81. 11.16.11
    Mom said:

    I think you really like white, black and the ranges of colors in between–meaning shades of gray. Anyway, love the post and I LOVE reading all the comments. I feel like your readers have their own little game of “I spy” going as they examine each of your pics with a fine tooth comb.

  82. 11.17.11
    Lawny said:

    People LIKED the red!!?? Thats was horrendous. period. Now it is fanfuckintastic! The architectural detais in your apartment are truly amazing and sooooooo time consuming to paint – BRAVO.

  83. 11.17.11
    Naomi said:

    Your living room looks AMAZING. So bright and big now. The before and after pictures really bring the point home – I always wondered why renters put in all the money and time and effort into their apartments, but you can’t argue with results like that. Also, your apartment was truly hideous, good on you for seeing its potential.

    One more thing though – for the love of god, change those fireplace tiles. They are not mainly, they’re just poop ugly, you had it right the first time.

  84. 11.17.11
    lynn said:

    the room looks gorgeous now, so open and fab. but for the record, it was not the red that made the room busy, but the white detailing. too much detail in a small space works to make you crazyman. all red, moldings and all would have been a different thing, with a huge white vibe in the furniture, that would be super fab, challenging perhaps but super fab. love see thru chairs with fur for contrast.

  85. 11.17.11
    Abby said:

    I have a pair of those identical lamps… but I’m loving your shade better than the ones I have on… where is your lamp shade from? The room looks fantastic, obviously, by the way.

  86. 11.17.11
    Kate said:

    This comment is not relevant to this post, but your man-on-a-plane/spitoon incident? That happened to me on the train today. I thought the guy was backwashing soda at first because he kept spitting into a bottle. So. Repulsive. I now know precisely how you felt.

  87. 11.18.11
    Sean said:

    I had the same problem with Paper White! The chip was so clean and refined without being sterile and then on the walls it’s either too blue or too green, depending on the light. What is this Benjamin Moore?

  88. 11.18.11
    Lauren F said:

    really?! could your apartment get any better.

    whoever moves in once you guys leave is golden.

  89. 11.20.11
    gogo said:

    New living room color is (yawn) boring… I LOVED the red!. Fragrance and throw pillow discussion is hilarious. You are a scream, Daniel! Sewing machines are the second best piece of home equipment. Best one is Cuisinart! love gogo

  90. 11.24.11
    Renata said:

    Hi there!

    love your blog, just found out about it!!!

  91. 11.26.11
    Jillian P said:

    I was saying “FACE YO FEARS” as I was threading my serger for my maiden reupholstery project.

  92. 12.3.11
    hellojulie said:

    Hi Daniel,

    I am so impressed with everything you do and you are still in school! I keep telling my husband that what you are doing is really amazing and just so resourceful. He is so happy that I am figuring out ways to not spend money so he thanks you!!

    Anyway-we are moving into a Craftsman Style Bungalow in Santa Monica California and you have inspired me to paint everything inside white. My initial idea was to paint everything in Benjamin Moore “Super White”-the trim in Semi-Gloss, the walls in Matte and the ceiling (because of you:) ) in Eggshell. I honestly don’t know the difference between Matte and Eggshell and my husband keeps telling me we should do the walls in Eggshell and the ceilings in Eggshell BM “Super White.” Can you tell me what would look better?
    Thank you so much for your much appreciated advice!!

    • 12.3.11
      Daniel said:

      The difference between Matte and Eggshell is just that matte is going to be flatter whereas eggshell has a bit more of a sheen to it. PERSONALLY, I’m a huge fan of matte paint for walls, but that’s just me…eggshell is also a totally normal option for wall paint. Some people say that eggshell is easier to clean, which is only true if you’re using crappy paint, but if you use BM, that’s not a problem (I get any scuffs off my walls with Magic Erasers, no problem, and I’ve used the BM “regal” formula everywhere except the living room.).

      I have no idea why I started painting my ceilings with eggshell. I have no idea if that’s even normal! BM also just sells white “ceiling paint,” and I don’t have any idea how the finish compares. I’m not an expert! I always find BM employees to be super smart, though, so you can always ask one of them!

      Good luck with the new digs! Start a blog so I can read about it!!

  93. 12.3.11
    Pam said:

    Looks awesome!

    Painting is not worse than Rick Perry. I live in Texas; trust me. Painting is good for the abs, and Rick Perry is a moron, and makes me want to drink, or eat carb-loaded Mexican food, neither of which is good for the abs. Painting makes you do math and geometry and Rick Perry takes insurance and education away from children, and putting teachers out of work. Painting makes things look better (at least when you do it) and Rick Perry can’t tie a necktie properly, and would certainly make things look worse if he were somehow elected to anything ever again. Anywhere. In the universe.

    Just sayin’. Thanks for the blog.

    • 12.3.11
      Daniel said:


      He is so terrible. Him and all the other Republican candidates. They all terrify me.

  94. 1.5.12
    Whitney said:

    Painting that room was the best decision ever. Such a clean and gorgeous look. Oh gosh, I can not tell you how much I love your paint job.

  95. 1.10.12
    jeni g said:


  96. 1.10.12
    Angela said:

    You have a gorgeous space. Great colors, amazing textures.

  97. 1.27.12
    Amanda said:

    Your room looks a zillion times better! The red and white must have felt like living at the the North Pole, ugh.

  98. 3.3.12
    Kara said:

    I love the title of this post. We just painted our dining room black, it has thick crown molding and it is now the bee’s knees. Also, your analogy of painting is spot on. Painting is worse than famine.

  99. 3.5.12
    Rae said:

    I wonder if your landlord knows about all the amazing changes you guys have made! He or she is so lucky to have such stylish tenants that will leave the place much better than they found it. :)

  100. 9.20.12
    Chris said:

    I pinned this post for when I got around to painting some white walls. I wonder, since you said you weren’t entirely happy with the Paper White, what other white you wish you’d used?

    My daughter wants to do her room white – it’s currently a light green with BM Acadia White trim.


    • 9.20.12
      Daniel said:

      It REALLY depends on the room, the light, and what’s in it, but if I were going to redo it…I like BM Lacey Pearl and Moonlight White for softer warm-gray whites and Snowfall and Simply White for really awesome white-white’s.

      The Dove White we have everywhere else is quite nice, too, but after living with it for a year I do wish it was a bit cooler (which is how I felt about Moonlight after living with it in my old apartment…they’re very similar whites, although moonlight might be a bit more grey. It’s all so subtle!)

    • 9.21.12
      Chris said:

      Thanks! I read that Dove White is quite popular, but I will check out the others too. The Acadia White on the trim is a warmer white, so the Moonlight White might be perfect to go with that and the white/gray Swedish thing we’re gonna do in there.