I had hoped to be sharing the finished living room with you by now, that was the plan anyway. Before Christmas I painted the walls with two coats of Valspar Mountain Midnight, a dark green (that frustratingly photographs blue) It was a big step out of my white comfort zone, as well as a huge step away from my original Living Room Revamp plans…
…but I’d come to the conclusion the room needed something to inject some soul into it and the colour really worked. Usually I love an all white backdrop, talked about in the blog I wrote Why all white, my reasons for almost all white walls. But in this room’s case, when it’s all white, it just feels like a room full of objects, it feels cluttered, disorderly and strangely disjointed.
The tones of the wood details within the room really suited the darker colour, it felt snug and instantly had more personality. But two coats weren’t enough, the paint had a tendency to mark quite easily too, probably due to how matt the finish was, I knew, post Christmas/ New Year, a third would be needed, but I didn’t mind really, I was happy with the depth of colour and the ultra matt finish suited our less than perfect walls.
Fast forward to March (January and February just blurred into unproductive hibernation), I popped to B&Q, bought another tin of the Valspar paint and set the next day aside as the get the room done day.
I would like to add at this point that I hate painting. Hate it.
So, Paint Day came and I decided to also do the ceiling. Now I get that that was a risk, a very dark colour, in a small room, that doesn’t have a particularly high ceiling. But it was just something I wanted to try. Partly because of the glorious Artex that I felt became more of a focus when the walls and ceiling were a different colour.
Because of said Artex, painting the ceiling is super hard work, you think it’s covered, then you move slightly to the side and realise the other side of the bumps have all evaded the paint. Exhausting, but I pushed through and did two coats on the ceiling and the third on the walls.
It was part way through painting that I realised something was up, the areas that were dry were just as shiny as the wet areas. I double checked the pot, I’d definitely asked for matt and the label stated it was just that. I finished the painting and decided to wait 12 hours, to let it completely dry.
It didn’t get better. The walls and ceiling were so shiny the light reflected off it and looked awful, every blemish on the walls stood out, the invisible blocked up doorway, where the Ercol sideboard is, was completely visible.
Just for the record, it’s incredibly difficult to capture the full extent of the hideousness, but Stu summed it up well. The living room now looked like ‘a seedy sex den’.
I did feel like having a cry, by this point I was supposed to be at the fun, staging/ accessorising part of a room revamp, instead I was in a much worse off place than before I’d started painting. All thanks to a £23 tin of Valspar.
I went back to B&Q, where they tested the paint against other matt paint brands and confirmed that it was much shinier than it should have been, they even suggested using the Valspar Eggshell as this was drying more matt. I explained the extent of the damage that one tin of paint had caused and the issue was escalated to the Valspar area rep. Long story short, I was informed Valspar would pay for a Decorator to sort the room, B&Q would cover the cost of the paint. I refused to use Valspar paint again, my confidence in the brand lost and B&Q agreed to Farrow&Ball. I was also asked to escalate the issue to B&Q Customer Services, so they could follow the correct procedure with Valspar. 2 weeks pass, I had had two decorators come and quote to sort the room, both of which couldn’t believe it wasn’t some kind of gloss paint that I had used. In this time I also decided to have the ceiling skimmed, as the whole episode was making me so miserable, so it was a treat to myself. Again, another professional who thought the ceiling had been painted with gloss.
Having the ceiling plastered fell on one of the coldest weekends of the year, we were advised not to light the fire for a day or two, to avoid the ceiling drying too quickly and cracking. You could actually see your own breath whilst sitting in there. Freezing.
I got back in contact with B&Q, to check on the progress of my case, desperate to move on and have a finished room. Only to be told that actually no, Valspar wouldn’t be taking any kind of responsibility what so ever, so it was kind of tough luck from their (Valspar’s) perspective, no concern what so ever that their product isn’t fit for purpose. I had heard of others having issues in the past, there was the whole cat wee smell debacle, but until now hadn’t had much concern, I’d used their paint a few times, happily answered questions from readers asking about what I used for Nancy’s room. I won’t be so positive again, it’s really not a risk worth taking if this is an acceptable outcome from using their paint.
B&Q, however, have been very helpful throughout, especially my local store team. They may stock Valspar, but it isn’t their product, despite this they’ve provided me with a Project Package, to help get the room back on track, which is much appreciated, considering the entire room needs priming before anything can begin to happen. It still means a lot of painting by me to undo the damage.
Cue much paint colour confusion, I find it really hard to choose and commit to a colour at the best of times, but when you have already found ‘the one’, which was perfect for the space, but now can’t have it, that’s beyond frustrating.
I’ll talk more about my paint selection process when I can share more positively about this room, for now I wanted to update all those that have followed my paint woes on my Instagram Stories and those messaging asking what the hold up is. I had wanted to hold off talking about it publicly, to allow time for those involved to do the right thing. That didn’t really happen.
I had to miss a deadline for photographing the room for a collaboration and now I just want this whole negative experience behind me. Our house isn’t huge, I’ve been living in the stress and disappointment for weeks now and it’s draining.
So, up yours crappy paint and here’s to a new plan, one I am even more excited about and hope to share more about with you soon.