Preparing to Paint

After picking out our paint swatches, we headed back to Jumbo with a rental car to pick up our outdoor furniture and buy the painting supplies. I had prepared a list of supplies with the help of a colleague, but I was still a little unsure what type of roller I wanted and which types of paint brushes were available.

Because it was a weekday, we were in German-mode and Kay was also a bit hangry after work, so overall it was not the friendliest shopping experience as I tried to quickly figure out auf Deutsch what I wanted before our rental car was due back. Anyhoo, here are my spoils!

  1. Painting sieve: 2.25CHF ($2.44)
  2. Bucket: 8.95CHF ($9.70)
  3. Whisk: 2.5CHF ($2.71)
  4. Small roller: 5.95CHF ($6.45)
  5. “Angled” handle brush: 9.5CHF ($10.30)
  6. Pink painter’s tape: 3.95CHF ($4.28)
  7. Painter’s tape with brown paper: 2.95CHF ($3.20)
  8. Plastic covering: 5.75CHF ($6.24)
  9. Telescoping paint roller: 26.9 ($29.17)
  10. Extra roller: 13.50CHF ($14.64)
  11. Bucket: 8.25CHF ($8.95)

We had a *bit* of a debate about what kind of roller to buy and which kind of paint brush to buy. I was looking for an angled trim brush like Young House Love recommends (or many US resources), but I just couldn’t find anything similar. Kay just kept pointing to the “dispersion” brush section and saying that we had to choose a brush from there, but I wasn’t really happy with the selection. They didn’t have ANY angled brushes! 🙁 And Kay just kept saying that the brush had an angle in the handle, and that meant it was an angled brush. He was positive that this is what ALL painters use in Switzerland, so that’s what we bought.

  • 1 Roll of brown floor paper: 19.95CHF ($21.63)

  • 5L purple paint: 48.5CHF ($52.6)
  • 1L green paint: 12.5CHF ($13.56)

Total Project cost: 180.9CHF ($196.98)

We ended up just going for it and buying the colors we liked. Our swatches were actual paint strips on paper and not just printed colors, so we were pretty confident that the actual paint would be what we wanted and I wasn’t going to be totally upset if it was slightly different because we had a clean slate at home to work with.

Back at home, Kay started preparing the entry wall for painting by unscrewing all the molding from the wall to paint below it. Our painters that Allreal hired were actually really lazy and didn’t tape or remove anything in the entire flat. They painted over the sides of all our doors, painted light switches and basically anything that was removable they just painted. It was nice to take the molding off and know that we’d do a better job painting it than the builders had done.

Can you see the two colors of white above the hole on the right? Yeah… nice work!

Next Kay removed the doorbell camera cover and the light switch cover.

See, lazy painters?! This is how you do it properly!

Both the light switch and doorbell hardware kind of hung out a bit from the wall, so Kay just bagged them with plastic and taped them up.

Kay also took the kitchen door off its hinges so that it wouldn’t be in the way as I went to and from the kitchen while painting.

Next I started taping. Kay was pretty adamant that I MUST tape. Period. We kind of had a heated discussion about it and I figured I would just shut up and tape and see how it goes and blame him if it goes wrong.

But when I started taping with the one-sided paper tape, which is tape with a 5″ or so piece of waxy paper attached to it, I noticed the tape was more like masking tape and when I went to realign some, it ripped a bit of the ceiling paint off. Nope, not putting that on the rest of the walls! So I stuck to the pink tape.

In the living room I put brown paper on the floor which I doubled up on later, and once the pink tape was up I put the brown paper tape on top of that. But I had a problem… I had already taped up all the kitchen walls when I realized that the pink tape was also taking off a bit of the ceiling paint in the living room.

Not good!

I told Kay that there was no way I was taping up the whole living room ceiling, which is much bigger than the kitchen area and he was really worried about the ceiling paint so he agreed that I should try and paint it by hand instead, but I was worried because the brush we bought for the trim seems kind of not-precise, so I was really not sure how it would do.

When all the taping was done, Kay was already wandering in and out asking me when I would start painting. The man was obviously nervous. 🙂

Tape is already a couple points down with this ripping-the-ceiling-paint-off business. I’m not optimistic, but Kay wouldn’t have me painting any other way. Do you ever follow your spouse’s wishes even though it’s against your better judgement?

To tape or not to tape

I have painted in houses before so I’m not totally inexperienced, but one thing I am a little unfamiliar with is painter’s tape. Why do you need it?

Kay, who has never painted anything in a house before, is pretty certain that every painter in Switzerland uses tape (even though our painters clearly did not use it anywhere in the flat) and for as long as we have talked about painting the house, he has talked about how we have to do it properly and tape. As we prepare to paint, I’ve been researching more about the pros and cons of using tape and what it might mean for us.

Pros of using tape:

  • Clean line
  • Straight line
  • Professionals do it (is that a real reason?)

Cons of using tape:

  • Pulling tape off dry paint may pull paint up from wall
  • Pulling tape off wet paint may touch or smear wet paint
  • Pulling tape off wet paint might cause wet tape to get paint on non-painted surfaces
  • Color can go under tape and ruin the straight line (this is my biggest fear)
  • Tape could pull wallpaper off wall (we have pretty flimsy, fragile wallpaper)
  • Takes a long time to put up and remove tape

There are actually enough bad things that can happen with tape that I kind of want to just paint the walls when Kay is gone and tape up what I want, but not everything. But Kay thinks the lines will look like shit if I don’t use tape and that I’ll get paint on the ceiling.

Do you use tape when you paint? Where do you use it?

Picking out Paint Swatches

Lately it seems like almost every night and weekend we are wandering around frightening places like this:

But why are home improvement stores so frightening?

Well… everything in them is at least 3-6X more expensive than anything you would find in an American home improvement store. Basically, places like this scare the pants off me because everything related to home improvement is incredibly expensive and every time we walk out we have a 300-600CHF bill it seems.

Still, we want to paint some accent walls in our flat now that we finally own the place, so after choosing colors in Photoshop, we stopped by to pick up paint swatches and then we accidentally found an outdoor table and chairs set on deep discount…

That was another 480CHF down the drain… yikes! See what I mean about these places being dangerous??

Back at home, I taped up the paint swatches in the rooms to get an idea of the color. It was hard to tell at night, so we would have to wait until the day time to really check out what the colors would be, but it was interesting to see how different they looked at home than in the store.

Kay has never painted a room and while we are only doing one wall in each color and not an entire room, the process is a tiny bit exciting.

Like I mentioned earlier, we are planning on doing a green accent wall in the kitchen, but only up in the corner way up high, like Kay saw at his friend’s house.

Kay had originally thought the middle swatch was the best in the store, but on the wall he wasn’t so sure. We would have to wait until morning to find out.

As for the living room, Kay has set up his Philips Hue lights, so he actually played around with how the purple would look with all the different light combinations we will be able to do in the room and it was quite interesting to see how the color on the walls reacts to blue light, red, green, pink, etc. Some of the purples looked almost black in certain lighting and so even though it was dark, I think seeing the purple in the various lighting options helped us narrow down which swatch we wanted.

How do you swatch colors? Mini cans of paint are over 22CHF ($23.8) a can and I cannot imagine spending 150CHF just to get some paint samples. Again, prices in Swiss home improvement stores terrify me! 🙂

Paint Inspiration

Painting our walls was always off-limits while we lived in rentals because Kay is… how can I say it, super Swiss, so he was always terrified of doing anything to endanger our deposit. Considering that our deposit was around 5500CHF ($6000), it was a big deal and I didn’t push the issue because I also wanted to get all that money back some day. This meant no nail holes and no paint.

When we lived in Winterthur and Kay was furnishing what started out as his own flat, he bought black furniture to go in the all-white flat and red curtains for a very Swiss red/black/white decor. That flat was the extreme of the “clean Swiss look”. It had stark white tile, white walls and white cabinets. He didn’t hang any pictures up during his entire time there.

When we moved to Zürich together, we had the lovely terracotta flooring and wooden beams throughout the ceiling, so the flat had enough color that I didn’t feel like I was being suffocated in white and he even nailed one hole in the wall for a painting from Paris. But now that we have moved again to a place with a little less character than our charming attic flat, I’m really looking forward to finally being “allowed” to paint some color onto the walls!

For what seems like forever, I’ve been dreaming of a bright red wall like I found on Pinterest:


See how nice it would look in reality below? And you can buy so many red home decor items in Switzerland. Decorating = done.

But over the year Kay went to visit a friend who did some lime green in the kitchen and ever since then he’s been dreaming of bright lime green in the kitchen, which in my mind just wouldn’t go with the red in the living room… but then I found this inspiration picture and I’m just not sure. What do you think? Too Christmassy?

(Via Houzz)

Kay seemed pretty set on this lime green idea. “So fresh!” he would say, so I started thinking of colors that would go better with lime green than red and remembered how much I like purple and green mixes. At first Kay thought this sounded super crazy… so I needed to compile a bunch of inspiration pictures before he warmed up to the idea of painting anything purple in our house.

(1/2: Via Houzz  3. Via Houzz 4.Via Houzz  5. Via 6. Via New England Home  7.Via Room Decorating Ideas 8. Via Apartment Therapy 9. Via Mummy’s Little Dreams 10. Via Deviantart 11. Via Houzz 12. Via Hammonds 13. Via Houzz)

Kay still wanted to see it on our walls via Photoshop, so I mocked up the red version earlier and this version below to give him an idea.

We both really liked the way the green and purple accent walls will interact with each other from the kitchen and there will still be plenty of Swiss white walls, so no big paint job (saves costs!) and we will still be able to use Kay’s mood lighting from Philips to play around with color in the living room.

Who comes up with the color choices in your household?

Mattresses from Germany

I looked all over auction sites and listing places online to try and find another 90X200cm mattress and frame for Kay so that he could stop sleeping on our old mattress on the floor and “rejoin” me up on a frame. Luckily I was able to find another motorized frame for less than the price of a non-motorized frame but I was having trouble finding a mattress of the same height and type from Tempur, until I turned my sights to Germany.

On eBay Kleinanzeigen in Germany I was able to find a mattress selling used for €250 with €80 shipping to a town just over the border from Switzerland. I also bought a tempur butterfly pillow for myself from and had it shipped there as well.

Kay and I went to pick up the goods during the week, but we stopped at Obi on the way home and decided to buy a huge sun umbrella, while I totally forgot that we’d have to fit both the umbrella and the mattress in the car at the same time!

Using my handy Swiss army knife, we were able to open the mattress from its odd curled up box and stuff it in on top of the sun umbrella, but the ride home was not particularly fun… I had the mattress pushing me into my seat belt, which was cutting into my neck.

Back at home, the lift in the lobby is still covered up in protective wood until all the tenants have moved in. I think it was a smart idea from the contractor, but I’m also curious to see what kind of interior they are covering up below.

For some reason, every time we are in the lift I read this as “glory hole” and wonder what exactly a glory hole is for, because I can only think of one dirty thing…

Our bed saga will continue as we search for a frame. We’ve realized that since I found frames with motors, we cannot put them in beds from IKEA or so because they need room to extend and function and cross bars found on IKEA beds don’t work for that. So for now we have ugly Tempur frames that I won’t share with you yet. 😉

Did anyone else buy their bed in pieces or is it just me? Would you ever buy a mattress used? Normally I think it’s gross… but the savings were just too good to pass up.