Being an Architect is Hell – The Ongoing Descent

Being an architect is hell for any countless number of reasons, but one of the most prevalent reasons is that architects everywhere are assaulted visually on a daily basis by the most mundane of things.

Ridiculous tile layouts? check
Poorly aligned light fixtures? check
Bad proportions? check
Popcorn texture on ceilings? double check

The list could go on indefinitely but we have better things to talk about today … like my ongoing descent into the hell of being an architect where my own house is concerned. As a majority of you know, this last Friday was a holiday and as a result, my office was closed and I had myself a 3-day weekend … and exactly how did I spend my 3-day weekend?

Painting just about every room inside my house.

Possibly the Worst Paint Job Ever

My current house, like most houses not designed by me, has its faults. At the very top of the list is that my house might be the worst painted house ever. If they gave out awards for this sort of thing, I imagine the prize would be the equivalent of a room temperature shrimp cocktail.

To be honest, I’ve known that the paint job in my house was a hot mess from the first time I ever saw it. Admittedly, I didn’t truly know the full extent of just how bad it was until I started to fix the situation.

We all know (and be “we”, I mean “architects”) how things are supposed to be painted. There is a process involved and all the work that needs to be done in preparation for painting frequently takes longer than the actual painting. Things like removing electrical faceplates, brackets that hold up blinds or drapes, and HVAC grilles absolutely must be done.

… unless you are a complete tool and “Out of sight, Out of mind” is your personal construction philosophy.

Bad paint job

The first thing we tackled (and I do mean “we” and my wife Michelle was the acting General in what I am calling “The Battle of Indifference”) was to thoroughly clean every surface that was going to be painted and to remove any devices attached to the wall. While this portion of the process is not particularly difficult, it is completely disgusting and incredibly frustrating. There is nothing quite like sitting on the floor, your face a mere inches away, from someone else’s encapsulated DNA.


Evidence of Lazy Painting

While I don’t consider myself a complete neat freak, especially since I don’t have a maid and any cleaning that takes place is done “in-house” (i.e. me and my wife), I would categorize my level of cleanliness on par with a moderately well-managed hospital – you could eat off the floors, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Based on all the evidence I have observed first-hand, the cleanliness level of the previous owner of my house would fall somewhere south of that mark … somewhere in the neighborhood of “well-intentioned crack den”.

Painted built-inNuTone telecom

There is a cornucopia of evidence to support my observations, and simply based on how this NuTone wall speaker was treated, I think there should be a shrimp cocktail left out on my front porch and waiting for me when I get home.

Since I am not a complete jerk, I can forgive a little sloppiness here and there, and if there was a little paint on the sides of this wall speaker, I could deal with it pretty easily. But OMG and WTH? I have been trying to figure out the thought process that would lead someone to apply paint over this entire thing. The really crazy bit is that I have a half-dozen or so of these things scattered about my house and they were all painted a bit differently from one another.

Bad Paint Color with Worse Wall Texture

And then there’s this wall texture … Previously (and accurately) described as a “drunk fraternity kid icing a cake”.  We all know that the only reason to put this much texture on a wall is to hide something even worse underneath … like this really ugly floral wallpaper –

really ugly wallpaper

Sorry – the internet will not allow me to show you the wallpaper that was underneath all that wall texture. The interesting bit is that we know just how ugly the wallpaper was because when we removed the window treatment in the kitchen, they hadn’t bothered to paint that area.

All the painting supplies

I have a lot of painting supplies because I actually take painting pretty seriously and I know that for my allowable price range, nobody can paint my walls better than I can. Of the three days we spent painting our house, a huge chunk of that time was spent cleaning, patching holes, and refloating the wall in a few places. Another large portion of time was spent cutting in around door casing, wall trim, and at the ceiling … where we have popcorn texture. Do you know how laborious it is to cut in around popcorn ceiling texture?!? I can promise you that the last guys who painted out house certainly don’t.

If a painter goes to hell, I’m pretty sure that cutting in paint around popcorn texture will be their punishment.

Sherwin Williams Crushed Ice 7647

The paint color we decided to move forward with was ‘Crushed Ice’ from Sherwin Williams and I used the Harmony Interior Acrylic latex paint in Eg-Shel which is a zero VOC product (not a paid endorsement). This is a color that I really like because it looks slightly silvery (now that would make for a good paint color name) and adds some personality to the walls without being obnoxious along the way. The other thing I like about this color is that it has enough tone to it to help hide the imperfections in the wall – the sort of imperfections you become intimately familiar with when you’re actually painting the walls.

Painting in progress

I was too busy painting to take a bunch of pictures – but I do have this progress image where I was probably around 50% of the way through my tasks. If you want to see the finished product for yourself, you are just going to have to find a way to get invited over to my house.

As part of my on-going descent into hell, it was about at the 50% mark that I decided that I would have to retrim my house because the wood is in such bad shape. Guess it’s a good thing that I have all the tools for that job as well! We know that no house is perfect and that in all things, a balance must be found. All of the items I talked about today can eventually be dealt with and I know that I am slowly working my way through this process. The only regret I have with today’s post is that I wasn’t able to work in a Zamfir joke.


Bob signature FAIA

Source: Life of an Architect