• Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Home Gym Walls — Compromise & Progress

I’m finally making some real progress on the home gym walls! It’s not as much as I had hoped to have accomplished by this point, but that’s because I took a detour (as often happens with my projects) before making the final decision on how I wanted things to look.

A few days ago, I showed you three different options I was considering for the walls. The crowd favorite was clearly this option with the stripes in the middle of the walls, with white above and below.


I was so glad that was the crowd favorite, because it was my favorite also. So earlier this week, I painted the darkest teal section on the main wall, which I showed you on Monday.

home gym - walls with first color 2

And then after letting the walls dry about 36 more hours, I started taping off that design. I knew right away it wasn’t going to work.

Living in an old house presents challenges that can be quite irritating for a perfectionist like myself. And living in an old house that sits on a pier and beam foundation that is always moving and shifting ever so slightly throughout the year can be enough to either make said perfectionist loosen her grip on perfection a bit (or a lot), or otherwise she will be driven absolutely mad.

I’ve gotten used to the quirks of an old, constantly shifting house where nothing is ever perfectly level, square, or plumb. But even in the other rooms where things aren’t perfect, I can generally fudge things a little so that the average person won’t notice. To date, the room that has presented the most problems for me has been the breakfast room…until now. This room is, by far, the worst. You can literally feel that you’re walking “uphill” as you walk towards the front right corner of the room.

And because everything is so off, that means that the windows (the windows that have both vertical and horizontal lines on the upper half) aren’t perfectly plumb or level. Neither is the ceiling. Neither is the floor.

So when I started marking off a design that is comprised of nothing but vertical and horizontal lines in this room where nothing is square, level, or plumb, I could tell immediately that it was going to look awful and accentuate the non-level and non-plumb windows, ceiling, and floor. As a perfectionist with a touch of OCD (even one who has learned to loosen her grip on perfection over the years), I knew that design would have been the end of me.

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So it was back to the drawing board for me. And if straight horizontal and vertical lines wouldn’t work, then I decided I needed to go to the very opposite end of the spectrum and do a totally freeform design. After searching on Pinterest and Instagram for anything that I could use as inspiration, I came across this piece from an artist I follow on Instagram.

via Siitta Q on Instagram

I decided to do something loosely inspired by this, with all kinds of freeform shapes in my various 15 different paint colors, and then embellished with white curvy lines, white dots, a bit of shading, some highlights, and some gold accents here and there. I started off by using a pencil to draw some very random freeform shapes, which you may (or may not) be able to see here…

home gym walls with freeform design 1

I did a few of those and then realized that I could just as easily do freeform shapes using a paint brush and paint as I could using a pencil first, so I went directly to the paint brush and paint step. This is how it looked after a few colors.

home gym walls with freeform design 3

I wasn’t sure about it, so I added more until I got to my warm colors.

home gym walls with freeform design 4

At that point, I still wasn’t sure, so I decided to stop for the night and look at it in the daylight the next morning.

home gym walls with freeform design 7

I still had a ton of embellishments I wanted to add before this design would be finished, but there was still something that just wasn’t sitting right with me. First of all, at this stage, this looked like something that belonged on the walls of an elementary school.

home gym walls with freeform design 8

And even though I knew it wouldn’t look anything like this after all of the embellishments were added — white curvy lines, white dots, highlights, shading, gold lines, gold shapes, etc. — my mind just couldn’t see anything beyond “elementary school.”

But the biggest problem I had with this design is that I had spent quite a bit of time narrowing down about 150 paint samples to a select 15 to use in the perfect order to produce a beautiful gradient from teal to whatever that reddish pink color is. And I had taped them together in that beautiful gradient, and that beautiful gradient of paint colors had been sitting on my kitchen counter for weeks where I could see it every day. And every time I saw it, I loved it more and more. I had my heart set on using all of those colors in that exact order, and here I was settling for a design where that gradient was almost completely lost.

I told my mom and sister about it during our Wednesday lunch, and both of them assured me that I’d never be satisfied with this freeform design, even if it turned out gorgeous. I knew they were right. And that left me with one remaining option — full vertical stripes. The room, even with all of its quirks, can handle vertical stripes. It was when I added the very obvious horizontal lines along with the vertical lines that things went off the rails. But vertical stripes floor to ceiling would work. They weren’t my first choice, but I decided to try.

So yesterday, I sanded down that design a little just to remove any paint ridges that the brush may have left behind, and I started marking off 6-inch vertical stripes on the wall.

home gym walls with gradient stripes 2

I wanted the colors separated by tiny stripes of white, so I used 1/4-inch painters tape to tape off the stripes.

home gym walls with gradient stripes 3

After I got quite a few marked and taped off, I sealed the tape with a thin coat of the white wall color.

home gym walls with gradient stripes 4

Obviously, I’ll have some touchups to do on the areas of the walls where I had already painted the various colors. But on the rest of the walls that are still white, this method will leave perfectly crisp 1/4-inch white stripes between the colors.

On these particular areas where I tried out the freeform design, I’ll have to come back after the wide stripes have had a couple of days to dry, and I’ll have to tape off those skinny stripes and repaint the white between the colors. It’s a pain, but it’s the price of trying out different ideas.

So after getting all 15 of the colors on the wall last night, this is what it looked like.

home gym walls with gradient stripes 5

It reminds me of Fruit Stripe gum. 😀 And I love it.

Of course, right now you just have to imagine the little 1/4-inch white stripes between the colors. But I like this so much better! And I’m so glad I decided to go back to my original gradient stripe idea, even if I had to modify it quite a bit and couldn’t get exactly what I had originally wanted.

I think this is going to work out perfectly. It’s going to take a whole lot of time to get all of the walls painted, but I’m full speed ahead now that I have all of this sorted out, and I can already see that I’m going to love it.

Old houses are great, huh? 😀 They really are, but perfectionism and old houses don’t really mix. And sometimes an old house will outright reject your design plan. I wanted lots of vertical and horizontal lines in this room, and in hindsight, I’m pretty sure I could hear my house laughing at me. 😀

By the way, I have all of these paint colors listed on my house sources page. Click here to find them.