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White paint is not the answer: don’t paint your MCM stone (or brick)

25 min read Today let’s talk about why slapping a coat of white paint on your mid-century brick, stone or concrete block is never the right answer.

brick wall detail

Look … I’m going to get straight to the point. The internet is full of advice to “slap a nice fresh coat of paint onto your mid-century ____.” You fill in the blank: stone, brick, block, and woodwork. But in almost every case, white paint is NOT the answer.

Painting over stone (and brick or block) is a trendy, thoughtless, cheap (in a bad way) and very permanent move.

Long story short: Don’t paint stone or brick

So let’s talk about why you keep getting that advice, and then let’s break down some of the mid-century materials in a mid-century house you should not paint over.

Why does HGTV keep telling you to paint the stone then?

They do it for the before and after photo. Seriously. That’s the whole reason.

Well, that and it makes it easier for them to come straight in and copy paste an existing mood board onto the house without taking time to design WITH the features that are already in place.

White paint for a high drama photo

Adding a coat of white paint to almost anything guarantees high-drama high-contrast when you compare the before and after.

It’s a powerful way to trick the eye and brain into a “WOW” response.

That’s one reason HGVT designers, instagram influencer and other folks in shelter media love to paint it (whatever “it” happens to be) white. 

But once the wow dies down, you may regret going for a quick change over true transformation.

White paint so they don’t have to design

The other thing about slapping white paint (or black) onto everything around you as step one is that it’s also a fundamentally lazy move.

To me, painting over the existing stone, brick, block and wood in a house always says, “I don’t have the creativity to work WITH these existing materials so I have to white them out and start from scratch. Possibly so that I can copy paste the ideas of some other person I saw online.”

There are places for white paint

I’ve got nothing against white paint. And I’ve not nothing against choosing new colors or materials for a home remodel. But there’s a difference between painting a surface that was meant to be painted – like a wall or even woodwork – and one that never was.

If you paint a wall or a piece of furniture or an already painted door, that’s okay! Because you can simply paint it again and move on. 

But you can’t un-paint stone so …

But adding a coat of paint, white or otherwise, is a more serious choice on stone, brick and other masonry surfaces.

On these materials it’s a pretty permanent choice. Because they are naturally porous, it’s essentially impossible to unpaint stone or brick.

Plus, it’s a choice that changes the performance and quite possibly the structural integrity of masonry walls. 

Why NOT to paint your stone (and brick)

I’ve already gone into great detail on the subject of why not to paint your mid-century brick, by the way!  

Aesthetic reasons not to paint stone

A stone detail in a house – a stone hearth, a stone wall inside or out a stone knee wall that turns into a patio enclosure – this is the design the dna of the existing house. And the design that exists in place and time.

To ignore that choice – that moment of regional history, that element of whimsy from the original designer or builder is – I’m gonna say it – intellectually lazy. It’s refusing to acknowledge any other design thinking than your own.

The stone in your home may well be local – if so, yay. So there’s probably more of it around. But there are a diminishing pool of craftsman who could be called on to install something like it again.

That stone detail isn’t “dated.” It’s “historic.” And, when in doubt, let’s not overwrite that history.

It also … wasn’t meant to be painted over. Which leads me to …

Technical reasons not to paint stone

The stone in mid-century houses is typically limestone or sandstone. These are both sedimentary rocks. They have subtle striations of color, variations of texture and catch the light differently all day.

(As an aside, sedimentary rock is made of tiny fossils, shell fragments and other fossilized debris. How cool is that to have in your house. Don’t let anyone turn that into just a bumpy bit of wall with too much white paint!)

But the other thing about sedimentary rock is that it is very porous. So it’s going to be hard to thoroughly paint it. Paint will soak in differentially and overwrite some of that interesting texture. It’ll take work to get the paint on to the stone. But NO amount of work will get it back off again.

Once painted, mid-century stone can’t be unpainted. So you’ll be living with this choice for … well, forever.

Don’t paint your stone black either, please

I’m going to end my argument with this before and after image. Apologies if it hurts you. It hurts me, too.

before and after photos on a lovely limestone block fireplace ... painted over entirely in flat black paint. I beg you, do not paint mid-century stone, it is a trendy, ill chosen and very permanent mistake.

The instagram caption (I won’t link to it because it would seem mean) reads, “outdated orange stones are now fresh and modern.”

I beg to differ. The limestone may not have been ‘fresh and modern’ but it was authentic craftsmanship appropriate for the house … and, lovely by the way. A feature, not a bug, in the design.

This high drama Darth Vader paint job is breathtakingly trendy and will feel out dated in (checks watch) approximately five years if not less. I would feel the same if they had painted it white, by the way. And what’s the thing about trendy choices … they are never timeless!

But there will be no going back.

The only way to have an unpainted stone fireplace is to never paint it in the first place. The same is true for your brick by the way.

Need more advice on why NOT to paint your stone, brick, or concrete block … check out today’s podcast episode or just keep on scrolling!

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • Why painting it white is so tempting. 
  • Who that white paint is for. (*hint*, it’s not for the homeowner!) 
  • The first three materials you should NEVER paint. 

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Read the Full Episode Transcript

Today let’s talk about why painting your mid-century brick stone, concrete block, woodwork built-ins and more is never the right answer.

Now, I’ll tell you right up front. I was planning to record this episode and I’ve talked about this before I have a whole episode about why not to paint mid-century brick. So I thought I had a few more things I wanted to say, and specifically to address the HD TV trend to paint everything white. But as I started to get into it, I found that I had so many reasons I needed to share with you why it’s not smart to paint specific parts of your mid-century home white that I had to divide the episode into two.

So today, let’s talk about why when you go looking across the internet for how to update a mid-century home, HGTV and about 20 Other sources will tell you paint that stone white paint that brick white, freshen up your wood paneling with a nice coat of white paint, paint your tired trim white, brighten your concrete block basement with you guessed it, white paint.

But I’m going to tell you that all of that advice is dead wrong for your mid-century home. And I always have more than one reason why it’s not the right move aesthetically. And it’s also usually a bad idea technically to that is it’s a bad move for the health of your house. So let’s get into the first half of this now two part episode on the blight of excessively adding white paint to every part of your home and why home shows always advise you to do it anyway.

Hey there, welcome back to mid mob remodel. This is the show about updating MCM homes helping you match a mid-century home to your modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann architect and bits and free rancher booziest. You’re listening to Episode 1611.

Before we go further, the perfect resource for an episode about working with not painting over your existing mid-century stone brick and block is my mid-century house color guide.

Look, even if your house is entirely brick or entirely stone rare for a mid-century home, there are still some subtle but meaningful things you can do to change the feeling the overall effect of the house by putting paint on the paintable surfaces, the doors, the garage door, the trim, and other elements around the house to change its overall look and light to dark vibe.

If you only have a little decorative quantity of brick or stone or block around your house, then your options are even more wide ranging to completely change the way your house looks without ever having to paint a masonry element.

So I put together a resource a while ago. And if you haven’t grabbed it yet, absolutely rush over and grab the mid-century house color guide. It’s going to show you a number of possibilities for real world mid-century common masonry materials like light colored stone, red or cream, brick and more. And it’ll give you philosophical advice and practical advice on how to choose the right color for your house and your own preferences confidently grab it now by going to mid mod dash midwest.com/colors.

And even if you’re not thinking about painting or changing the color of your outside of your house right now, the sketches in the guide and the various color options applied to them are going to give you some fun eye candy for mid-century houses. And some examples of how changing the color of siding next to brick can really change the way that brick or stone reads.

And the way the whole house feels large or small, more prominent or more subtle based on its light to dark color read. So grab that. And as always, if you’re looking for the references I’ll make throughout the show, go to the show notes page at mid mod dash midwest.com/ 1611. All right onto our topic.

Before we dive into the specific areas where you should not take HGTV as advice to paint your brick, your stone, your block white, I want to give you this reminder that the biggest transformation you could make in your home is not necessarily the best result for you. You only need a big transformation in an area where the house has a big problem.

In other areas, the best use of your time, energy and money isn’t a transformation. It’s a tweak. So remember that people who are showing you their exciting examples on the internet are always looking to show you the biggest transformation. So I’m couching everything I’m going to say here today with the warning that while it’s very persuasive when we look visually to see a dramatic before and after photo in a magazine or on HGTV that’s not as valuable to us.

We want to avoid the draw of designing towards the before and after photo. And it’s always going to be catchy. It’s always going to be a clickable Pinterest link. It’s always going to be something we swipe on on Instagram to see what did it look like before. But I just want you to remember that those goals are the goals of people who are trying to get clicks on the internet are trying to sell their design services are trying to get you to purchase their magazine.

You’re a person who wants to be happy, comfortable and well supported in your house. So before and after is not the most important thing to you right is the most important thing to you. Low maintenance is the most important thing to you living comfortably in your house and making sure it doesn’t fall down around you I hope isn’t a most important thing to you.

So for each of these things for each of these areas, I want to talk about specific places in your house where you will be told when you Google, what do I do about my brick? What do I do about my stone fireplace? What do I do about the CMU block in my basement? You’ll be told by the Internet and by HGTV specifically, I know, why don’t you paint it white, or possibly painted black, painted dark gray. I always feel that that advice is a bit of a cheat.

One of the most immediately obvious reasons for painting, woodwork, stone, etc., white is that it’s a cheat code for not having to spend even a little bit of time or effort to make sure that what exists already in the house goes well together with new design ideas. So you don’t have to worry about whether wood stain grain species that exist in the house matches the new stuff.

If you’ve painted it, all right, you don’t have to pay attention to or even have a style guide. So to me, it always feels like a bit of a lazy design move even more than a before after shock. Reveal. It feels like a cheap outcome, an unnecessary one, in my opinion, because using a style guide to track the existing wood and green types in your house, and the stain types warm to cool, light and dark factors can help you fairly easy and easily answer these questions much more richly and with much more detail than defaulting to the simplicity of everything covered in white paint.

So instead of just saying, Don’t paint it white 28 or more like 208 times in this episode, I wanted to get specific and talk to you about each of the various places where we’re often told, just go ahead and paint that white by popular shelter media.

And I’m going to arrange them in order of how much you should not paint them by how hard it would be or possibly impossible it would be to ever rescind that decision. That’s something I think you should think about before you make a change to a mid-century home. And we’re going to begin with masonry. Original stonework, this is the thing I most do not want you to paint.

Now we’re going to talk about brick in a minute. But stone is the absolute number one top of this list, because once you’ve painted it white, I don’t know how you’ll ever get that paint off again. And as a technical problem, it can be very bad for that material and its overall longevity to be painted. Plus, it’s just a poorly thought through contrasting idea to paint stonework white.

Now, this really falls at the top of the list of areas in the house that a shelter magazine, a quick fix show or anyone who’s looking for high drama before and after photo will advise you to paint white. That’s because the stone detail in a house of stone hearth, a stone wall inside or out a stone knee wall that turns into a patio enclosure, a stone planter that’s the design DNA of the existing house, the design that exists in place, and it is essential to the person who chose it. They really thought this was the most special thing they could do here the most regionally representative, cool, classy, trendy the future it was the mid-century move that defined the house to put that stone there.

To paint it white is just ignoring what was going on in the house. It’s the new designer coming in and saying oh I don’t care about what is here, I just want to put my stamp on it. To ignore that moment of regional history that element of whimsy from the original designer or builder feels intellectually and aesthetically lazy to me.

This always makes me think of in movies when you have a multi sequence of movies. It’s almost as obnoxious as a character recast. Although a recast character sometimes feels like a human wasn’t available. They had personal life issues they couldn’t get along with the director. But what is completely unnecessary is when a new director takes over a movie series (I’m going to name check Harry Potter here) changed hands directorial a several times and each time the director would bring in a new designer and a new design team and a new costume designer.

And that costume designer would throw out the sketchbook on what the Hogwarts student uniform had been. This happened multiple times throughout the series. And I’m sorry, this hundreds of years old institution, and we’re supposed to believe that they get new uniform designs literally every couple of years during a war. No, absolutely not.

It feels so lazy and selfish of the designers to do this. You are a designer, you have an eye, you have opinions, you have preferences. And sure you want to put your stamp on things. You get to say the kids are aging and show their casual wear changing and tone. But you don’t get to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And you don’t get to just throw out someone else’s intellectual property and start from scratch pretending that the audience is too dumb to remember that people will never binge from one to the next.

And notice these dramatic changes happening from one film to another. When a modern interior designer or architect comes into a home and says I refuse to acknowledge the existing building blocks of the design language of this house. And therefore I’m going to quite literally whitewash over them before I start putting in my own materials, that feels petty. It feels lazy. And it feels scared.

When I see this happen, I think nothing in your design brain was possibly capable of coming up with something that could have worked with the original choices and still put your own spin on it. Okay, you’ve just told me a lot about your level of creativity. That’s the that’s the sort of subtext of splashing white paint over a stone hearth. Perhaps you felt like it was too loud for the room, perhaps you felt like it was gonna be too big of a contrast with the design movie you wanted you nameless HGTV designer I’m ranting at in my head right now.

But I can also see why it would feel like a reassuring move to make as a homeowner, you come in, you’re not sure it doesn’t look like your last home, you’d rather start fresh. This impulse to begin from a blank slate is powerful and understandable, particularly if you don’t have a design degree in your back pocket.

But I want you to feel a little more brave than this, you don’t have to start from a blank slate, you can begin with the design language of the house. And in a way, having that beautiful stone feature there. That brick or what we’re going to talk about as we go on. These are the building blocks for your design choices. This is the foundation of your style guide. And we’re lucky to have it if you have a house that no one else has painted over the stonework in before, don’t be the first person to go ahead and do it.

The aesthetic reason is that it just doesn’t make sense to cover up the organic shape and texture of stone with flat white paint, there’s supposed to be some natural color variation, some subtle striations some visual complexity happening in that material that’s more than just its shape.

But there’s a technical reason to. And the technical reason not to paint your stone is similar to the reasons not to paint your brick. Basically, a stone material is inherently breathable, it was not designed stone isn’t designed, but it was not put in it was not installed in such a way as to be not breathable, it was always meant to allow moisture humidity in your house to sort of soak in on all the exterior edges of that stone. And then be slowly and naturally released. There’s no planned way for moisture to escape out of that material other than through its externally air touching surfaces. And that’s how that stone has been behaving inside or outside of your house since the house was built, you know, mid-century house 70 plus years ago.

Moisture is a tricky little thing, it will get in everywhere, there’s no preventing that there will always be humidity, it will always seek in through the bat seep in through the backside of the wall. And that stone material on the finished backside you can’t get to and then it’s in there and it will come out, it will want to come out through your painted surface now.

And when it can’t, it’s going to do weird things. It’s going to crackle the paint on the outside causing spalling it’s going to crack the stone itself, it’s going to create separations between the stone and the mortar. It’s gonna cause subtle gradation differences in the way that the top of the wall holds moisture versus the bottom. It may cause the paint to flake off and weird little patches if you’re lucky.

And if you’re unlucky, it can cause an entire stone wall to detach from the surface of the house and start to separate and even fail.

In the best of scenarios, even if there’s not a major moisture problem that happens you have created a maintenance cycle for yourself. You’ve taken a material that never needed anything done to it and created something that needs to be repainted every few years, and you have perhaps created a material failure stone can literally start to de laminate or fall right off of an exterior wall. In interiors, it’s also not a great situation.

This is why I’m telling you not to do it for the first place. Because once stone has been painted, it’s a job that can’t be undone. It’s not going to be easy. I would argue even impossible to get paint back off of stone, there’s no easy way to remove the outer surface of stone, no amount of power washing or sandblasting is not going to damage the original finish of that stone.

And in mid-century houses in the Midwest that have limestone sandstone decorative details, you’re going to completely dissolve that material or at least its outer layer with high pressure water or sandblasting, you’re probably going to end up having to just fully remove the stone from the house and replace that with another finished material entirely. You may even have a structural failure. So if you’re making a really quick and dirty short term change that will forever have major structural consequences. That’s my definition of a bad design move.

Alright, hopefully I’ve persuaded you that if you have any original stonework in your house, you should leave it alone. Let it speak for itself make it a feature of the room. It’s a feature not a bug and do not whatever you do, paint it with a thick coat of white paint as you will have been advised to do by the latest HGTV show.

Okay, next up is Brick. I did not think I was gonna have so much to say about stone but I did so for brick I have already done an entire podcast episode, please don’t paint your midcentury brick. And I’ll point you to that. But you don’t have to switch listening in mid episode, I’ll recap the arguments for you quickly here because I want to make sure you know the numerous bad reasons to paint mid-century brick. And they fill a number of categories.

So of course, I’m saying don’t paint your mid-century brick, any color, don’t paint it gray, don’t paint it light gray, don’t paint it brick red. I do not like it in a house. I do not like it with a mouse. It’s a simple story. But specifically, let’s be to painting your brick white. Because brick is not meant to be white, even white Fired Brick is intended to have texture, some variegation, an interesting glaze tone, it’s not the same as white painted brick, there’s a sheen difference between the glaze and the mortar, that’s intentional. That’s the designer choosing things for a reason.

And when you glue it all over with a layer of thick white paint, it’s not the same as it once was. It’s not a refresh. And by the way, can I just say, if you are tempted to paint your brick because it needs a refresh.

Step one, two, well painting anything is to thoroughly clean it, you need to clean the mortar, you need to clean the surface. So if you feel like your brick walls inside or out need to refresh, by all means clean them at step one to painting, and then just don’t paint them.

Alright, so let’s talk about why not to paint brick. We’ve got both design reasons and technical reasons. If you want to listen to the entire episode on the topic, you’ll find it at 1106 If you’re curious, or if you need some really serious ammunition to persuade your partner, your friend or your contractor out of the idea of painting brick. Here’s the short version.

Aesthetically, paint is not what brick was meant to look like. Brick is a masonry object. It’s a natural object, it’s supposed to have texture, it’s supposed to have depth, it’s supposed to feel a little earthy, and to have subtle variations in color that give it its interest. They make each brick unique. When you slap a coat of white paint over all that you minimize the texture and you completely erase the color variegation.

Again, the thing that was making a simple shape, a beautiful and interesting object, not just minimalist. There’s also the argument that painting brick is intensely trendy right now. And anything trendy is never going to be particularly timeless. So specifically for painting brick, it’s such a powerful trend right now it is everywhere it is the top of the list, the things that flippers do when they move into a house is paint the exterior brick white, or sometimes black, dark gray.

And it’s what people do to literally whitewash over the interior of a space to make it feel, quote unquote fresh and new. But the very trendiness of that idea has set a ticking clock an expiration date on how long that idea is going to feel good and fresh and new. 10 years from now, this kind of painted brick is going to instantly say that this house was remodeled in the late teens or early 2020s. That’s never a good thing for your pride of place, or your long term home value. Any design moves so locked into a time, a particular year is guaranteed to go out of style just as quickly as it came in. That’s why I recommend following trends only is the easiest to update and adjust of places.

Brick is not the easiest thing to change once it’s been painted. Because this takes us to the technical reasons to not paint brick. Brick wasn’t intended to be painted just like stone, it was never intended to hold a coat of paint. And it wasn’t installed on your house in a way that was meant to have a paint seal on the outer edge. So when you cover, again, that breathable surface of brick or stone with paint, you change the moisture permeability of your walls, which mean that moisture will be trapped inside your walls.

And when you take a brick wall that’s been unpainted for 70 years and seal the outside of it, you have no idea what kind of moisture problems you may be creating. They include, but are not limited to, mold, drips and seeps and even long term structural damages created by water pressure.

Plus, there’s a maintenance headache. Whenever you paint a previously unpainted surface, you now need to keep painting it again, at some point particularly if the exterior it’s going to be every couple of years wear and tear on a painted surface means it’s got to be repeated.

And a brick wall needs to be maintained pretty much never so you’ve gone from something that was no maintenance to something that’s medium to high maintenance. If you’re still struggling with the idea, or if you just really want to paint your brick wall. I’ll point you to that episode, where I can make a much more persuasive argument.

But the long story short is that mid-century brick was never meant to be painted. It was meant to be a feature of the house not covered over. Okay. Here’s a message for people who are thinking fine della that’s okay, but I hate the color of my brick. I cannot stand it. I’m gonna whisper a little hint to you right now. I want you to take it lightly. This is not unusual, universal note for everyone.

But if you are the sad owner of brick that has a color or has a type of arrogation that you personally cannot stand. Probably that brick isn’t mid-century might be from a later era, but it happens occasionally. And you feel that you must, first, you must change the color of that brick in order to stand it at all in your life.

Then for you, I’m going to say consider staining your brick, don’t paint it. But staining can create a water permeable finish that adjusts the tone without completely erasing that organic color very occasion. So it doesn’t create the structural moisture problems that painting does. And note, neither does it completely remove the color interest of the brick, it can help you change the tone. If it’s pinkish, and you can’t stand that you can play with some yellow stain colors. If it has a too high of a contrast of light and dark, you can bring all the light pieces a little bit darker, but it will also preserve the contrast between your bricks and your mortar. Don’t stain the mortar.

So I’m not endorsing this, I’m not recommending it but if your options are paint the brick or do something then try something would be to stain it. Going back to someone who is determined to change the color of their house, I just point you to the mid-century color guide because there’s so much you can do to change the colors around the brick. And if you absolutely find that you must change the color of the brick stain is your friend much more so than paint. Please just never, ever, ever, ever paint mid-century brick.

All right, there’s one more topic I want to cover today. It fits in title logically before we have to divide this episode of two. We’ll do the wood various parts of your house next week. But there’s one more masonry object to discuss today which is concrete block.

So concrete block or sometimes poured concrete walls can occur inside and outside of midcentury house you’re gonna most commonly see block and poured walls in the basement of Midwestern ranches. Possibly structural main floors in southern states, particularly in hurricane country, and outlast a lot of concrete block and poured concrete retaining walls are part of the midcentury landscaping built into hills.

So again, my advice on painting this is begin by observing. If you’re talking about a previously unpainted surface that has existed for 70 years, you want to make sure that moisture never moves through that surface. If you’re painting, for example, the walls in a basement, you want to do everything you can to determine that there’s never been any water intrusion into that basement.

If you are painting over moisture, you’re creating a problem where you never had one before. That’s because concrete like brick and stone is a very breathable surface it absorbs moisture, and then lets it come back through. Sometimes water can literally run through it in a flood effect, with no damage the material itself as long as it keeps on moving. So step one is to check for absolute dryness.

But then this is a place where I’m more willing to let you go ahead and paint if you want, particularly in a basement. Painting the block walls of an unfinished basement can help you cut down on dust catching just the dust that accumulates over time or particularly if you’ve got a project area where you’re cutting wood or generating some sort of dusty byproduct, it can be helpful to have painted concrete block walls instead of bare ones.

It’s very likely that your concrete block walls or poured foundation walls have been painted before painting the basement walls was a classic early mid-century design move to take an unfinished basement from nothing to tidy storage space to sort of recreational space to cozy den on a on a trajectory. The quote unquote finished basement look if you will. And so you’ll often find painted concrete walls and even painted concrete floor and then layered over that furred out walls with wood paneling or wallpaper on drywall and then furred up floor with maybe just linoleum or vinyl tile, or maybe some sort of built up floor on top of it layering up the projects over time.

This is true in my home. And it’s been true in many of the houses of my clients and ready to remodel students as we can sort of unroll the layers of history and watch how people dressed up their basement into a den in real time. Okay, so concrete block, give it a maybe it’s not as naturally gorgeous of the material as stone or brick. I as an architect do have kind of a natural affinity for unfinished concrete. But if you want to finish the concrete surfaces in your house, then prime them properly with a recommended material and then go ahead and paint them if that makes you happy.

Here is what I want to leave you with before we wrap up for today. The bottom line is if it hasn’t been painted before, and you feel inclined to paint it, rethink that the HGTV tendency to want to splash a coat of thick white paint onto everything is ill conceived and short sighted and may cause you major headaches in the long run.

So this is not advice from people on the internet that you want to take. What can you do if your brick your stone your block has already been painted? We’re going to talk a little bit more about this next time. And I will be talking more specifically about wood. But I’ll just give you this Short version, the, the hopeful the reassuring advice that I hope you don’t need.

But if you are dealing, if you’ve been listening to this all along and saying, but della, there’s already white paint all over my fireplace, and I didn’t do it. Well, part of the reason I so consistently advise people not to do this is because it’s very hard to unring that bell.

Once you’ve got paint on these materials, it’s very hard to get it off. So you may be left with the unenviable option of making other plans, you can always take a stab at chemical cleaning power washing sandblasting, I have seen examples of people successfully removing paint from brick or block or stone. But there’s no guarantee, it really seems to be kind of a case by case basis.

And it also sort of depends on the original way that the brick or the stone was finished, what its natural qualities are how durable and hearty it is. So if you’re already dealing with painted, fill in the blank, take heart, there are other ways to introduce great midcentury designed to your house. But in that case, you may just be left living with a situation that the previous owner or you in a previous version of your life have created.

And in that case, don’t beat yourself up about it. But if you weren’t in the position of making the choice right now, to paint or not to paint something that’s never been painted before, put down that brush.

So speaking of timelines, and making long term choices, let’s focus a little bit on the positive with our weekly pep talk. And this week on our you can do it section of the podcast, I want to talk to you about when is the right time to begin planning your whole home improvement project.

People often asked me, we haven’t saved up we’re too busy with kids in school right now. We know we want to do a remodel of the kitchen, but it won’t happen this year. What is the right time to begin or planning? And this is one place where my answer is the same no matter what your circumstances are. If you’ve been listening for the last couple of weeks, you’re shocked. I always say it depends. I always say your choices matter on depend on what you need. There is no universal right answer.

But in this case, there is because the right time to start planning for the remodel work you’re going to do in the deep future is now right now. And you know how I know that’s true for you, as opposed to maybe not true for someone who’s not listening to me ask this question right now. It’s because you are listening to me answer this question right now.

So even though you’re worrying that it’s too early to start, you’re worrying about it right now you’re experiencing anxiety about it right now. You’re wondering, should I start now? Or should I start later, should I absentmindedly pin more pins on Pinterest, even though I’m worried that it’s too early, even though I feel that it’s too early to start worrying and planning, you are already thinking about it, you’re listening to this podcast right now.

And instead of anxiously spiraling and wondering what things are going to cost and wondering when you’ll be ready, you could be planning calmly, with a lovely long lead time completely detached from having to make final decisions. So this is one of those logical things. Whenever someone asks me the question is now too early to start, the very fact that they’ve asked me the question means they’ve wondered. And that means no, it’s not too early to start now is the right time.

The first time you care enough to worry about it is the right time to start putting the wheels in motion and start actively planning, because there’s no expiration date on your plan once it’s been developed. And remember, the last step of the master plan process is called develop, it means it’s not done. It’s not fresh today and spoiling tomorrow, it’s ready to carry on, adapt to whatever new information has come up in the meantime, if anything, and move forward when you’re ready. So you might as well start now.

And instead of anxiously pinning, you can do a dream exercise, you can discover something about your house, you can go into Pinterest and pin with a purpose. This is the power of starting now and saving you time and stress later. And also letting your planning process feel relaxing fun gamified as opposed to coming up to Deadline under the pressure of time.

So if you are wondering if you’ve been thinking about it, if you’ve been listening, and just following along and you’re wondering, When should I actually get started planning. I’m going to tell you right here and right now, the answer is today. And here is your helpful, make a change. Do something today do something this weekend level one update, it’s starting to get warm enough outside to crack the windows.

And I spent a lot of time today telling you don’t paint. But I mean, don’t paint things that are a bad idea to paint. I don’t mean you should never pick up a paintbrush. And so my little one quick fix suggestion this week is to get colorful with something, something that’s easy to recolor later. So in fact, when applied to the right parts of your house, a coat of paint can be one of the quickest, most satisfying and most changeable ways to make an improvement to your house.

It’s relatively inexpensive, low skill and impermanent. Paint your wall a cheery yellow and see how you feel about it. If you hate it, put a good coat of primer and paint it white again next week. Some of my best childhood memories are the satisfaction of changing the colors of my rooms and the rooms and my parents house around me with paint.

And it has a huge ability to let you feel in control to express some artistic ability and to try to let yourself let it all hang out a little bit, paint a mural, make up a fake wallpaper, have some fun paint, cheerful saying on your wall, it can all be painted over with good roller brush in the future. And so as long as you’re putting the paint on something that’s been painted before and can be painted again, you’re winning.

And I want you to feel empowered to make changes to your home, especially in the ways where it’s gonna be easy to change your mind again, or to live with and love your solution for the rest of your time in the house. So that’s all for today, you can find the transcript of the episode and the link to the resources the other episodes I’ve mentioned and that free mid-century house color guide at mid mod-midwest.com/ 1611

Next week on the podcast, we carry on my crusade against HGTV white blight by talking about all the other parts of your mid-century home you should never put white paint on. But until then, take a deep breath. Think carefully and then go ahead and have some color with paint. You can trust yourself and you know what’s a good paintable surface if you get a little long term thinking involved. So have fun with that mid mod remodeler.

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