Use Your Tax Refund to Add Value to Your Home!

If you’re one of the lucky ones waiting to receive a nice-size tax refund this year, why not spend it on something nice for yourself, like repainting some of your favorite rooms?

Last year, nearly three-quarters of all taxpayers got refunds, with the average refund exceeding $2,800. That’s in line with recent history, so this year’s refunds should be in the same “neighborhood”.

How much painting you can do with your refund depends on a lot of things – the size of your check, of course, but also whether you use a professional painter or do the painting yourself.

The website HomeAdvisor estimates that it typically costs between $400 and $800 to have a contractor repaint a room. The most important variables are the size of the room, whether the walls are textured, and the amount of time the project will take – along with the big one, where in the country your home is located

No matter who does the work, it’s clear that the average tax refund can finance quite a bit of interior painting. If you take a turnkey approach and give a contractor the go-ahead, you’ll likely be able to select three, four, or even more rooms to paint. If you’re an ambitious do-it-yourselfer, you could probably give a fresh, new look to your entire interior!

Assuming that you’ve earmarked some of your refund for other purposes, what’s the best way to use part of it on painting? Here are some ideas:

  • give some new color to the space where you spend most of your time
  • enhance the appearance of the room where most of your company gathers
  • redo your entranceway, where visitors get the first impression of your home
  • use this as an opportunity to undo the color “mistake” you made in the past
  • and, if you decide to paint several rooms, focus on those that are adjacent to each other to better coordinate the overall look of your interior

No doubt tax time can be trying, but for the great majority of taxpayers, there’s a reward at the end of the day. So, treat it as such by treating yourself to some attractive new interior paint color!

Finding Mold is Not Uncommon in the Tidewater

I Found Mold In My Williamsburg Home…Now What?

Discolored spots on walls or surfaces that seem to spread is something that requires immediate attention. If you suspect your home has mold, it is time to have a professional weigh in on the matter. Left untreated mold can spread quickly resulting in damage to your home and pose health threats that range from allergic reactions to respiratory infections. A professional mold remediation company will be able to tell you if you are dealing with mildew or mold and, if it is mold, what kind.


MacPaint  has plenty of experience identifying and treating homes with mold infestations and even offers a free visual assessment. If you suspect your home has mold, we recommend taking the following steps:

  1. Call us at 757-874-9100We are available 24/7 and serve approximately a 100 mile radius from our office in Newport News, VA.
  2. Next we arrive and do a visual inspection. This visual inspection is free and we can give our opinion on whether or not we believe it to be mold and not mildew.
  3. If we suspect mold, we call a professional inspector who is certified to do mold tests. There are many types of mold, some of which are more dangerous than others. The mold tests will tell us exactly what type or types of mold you are dealing with.
  4. Based on the results of the mold tests, we will follow the safety protocol for eliminating that specific type of mold. This involves containing the area so the infection doesn’t spread, removing infected materials, disposing of infected materials, cleaning, and rebuilding as needed.

After your home is free of mold interior painting may be necessary. Painting your walls a fresh, new color can help give a sense of renewal to your home and end an unfortunate occurrence on a positive note.

Kill Two Birds with One Tone

If you’re about to do some interior painting, you may be able to kill two birds with one tone – namely, improving the appearance of your home interior while also giving it a cozier feel. All that’s necessary is to stay on the “warmer” side of the color spectrum.

Red, orange and yellow, as well as brown and tan, are all considered warm colors. They tend to “advance” in our mind’s eye, drawing in the walls, and making the space feel smaller and more intimate. Cool colors, including blue, green, violet, and certain grays, do just the opposite: They “recede” in our perception, opening up a space so that it feels more expansive – and less intimate.

If you’re among those who hate the cold, or live in an area that experiences long stretches of harsh winter weather, the implications are clear: Choose paint color from the warm side of the spectrum, let it “pull in” the walls like the covers on a bed, and you’ll greatly enhance the comfort level of your home.

Not ready to totally commit to warmer color? Then introduce a member of the red, orange or yellow family by way of one or more accent walls. In addition to contributing to your coziness, you can use the warm walls to otherwise enhance the appearance of the room.

The trick is to use warm color on the specific walls you want to “advance” or focus on. An obvious candidate is any wall with a fireplace — paint the surrounding space in a rich red hue, and the hearth becomes the hero of the room. Likewise, if your best art is displayed on a single surface, use that as your warm-color accent wall and “move” it more into view.

Warm color theory works on ceilings, too. Painting the surface overhead in a light tint of one of the warmer hues will help cozy things up (but keep in mind that it will also advance the surface, making the ceiling seem a bit lower).

These same principles apply to your furnishings, which can also be used to help warm things up in a room – although to a far lesser extent than the paint on your walls. There is simply no substitute for the amount of warm color you can introduce into your home by doing some interior painting.

So, if you’re shivering under a blanket as you read these words, don’t feel like your only option is to turn up the heat. Adding some warm wall color in an attractive shade of red, orange or yellow will help you feel warmer, and with luck, may even allow you to turn down your thermostat a digit or two!

Painting with and On Wood

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is about paint that coordinates with wood. I had a reader contact me the other day, wondering what to do about her kitchen cabinets and wall so that the colors would work well with her red pine trim and doors.

The woodwork in her home is beautiful, I love the big fat trim around the windows, the hardwood floors and the red pine doors. As you can see the ceiling is also planked wood, but she is planning on covering that up with drywall and then painting it white to lighten up the kitchen. She is also getting new custom cabinets, and a new quartz countertop.

Her question was what color to do the cabinets and the walls to coordinate with the red pine she has in her home. Her contractor suggested she go with blonde maple cabinets, and she wanted Sharkey Gray by Martha Stewart to go on her walls.

I put together a palette so that she could see what that might look like with the wood, and also added a few other greiges that I think would go great with Red Pine.

greige paint colors to go with wood trim and cabinets

From top to bottom the paint colors are Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams, Sharkey Gray by Martha Stewart, Pismo Dunes by Benjamin Moore, and Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore. I love all of these colors because they are warmer greiges, which you want you have a warmer wood such as red pine.

Debbie has been going back and forth between blonde maple cabinets and painted. I told her that either one would work, it just depended on the décor style she was looking for. Mixing woods can be very beautiful, but to me the wood in her kitchen would really pop if she went with painted cabinets. I found some inspiration pictures with woodwork and I love the beauty of the wood itself when the rest of the room is a neutral color.

kitchen with wood trim


kitchen with wood trim


white kitchen cabinets with oak trim


kitchen with oak trim


kitchen with wood trim


My go-to color for white cabinets is White Dove by Benjamin Moore. It’s got a touch of cream to warm up the color and it doesn’t have any weird undertones. Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams is an identical match to White Dove if you prefer Sherwin-Williams.

white dove benjamin moore


With wood, I love beiges, creams, greens, and blues.

paint colors to go with warm wood

Here are some of my favorites from each category I listed above that would look great with warm, wood trim.

Starting at the top: Ivoire by Sherwin-Williams – a light cream with a touch of yellow.

Network Gray by Sherwin-Williams, a great blue-gray that is a good contrast with wood trim. Here is an example of blue with wood.

blue paint with wood trim


The middle color is Huntington Beige by Benjamin Moore. A great neutral with a hint of brown.

Crisp Khaki by Benjamin Moore– a great tan that would work well with any type of wood trim.

The last color is Svelte Sage by Sherwin-Williams. I love green with wood, as I’ve mentioned before it’s natures best combination. Here is an example of a sagey green with wood.

I hope this helps when trying to decide the best paint color to go with your wood trim.

Removing Wallpaper the Right Way

Removing wallpaper requires that  you will need sheets of plastic drop cloths, a garden type sprayer, and a wallpaper scraper with a razor blade that can be changed when dull, or a spackle knife – AND PATIENCE.  The razor scraper is best used on plaster walls, the spackle knife on drywall (or sheet rock or gypsum board.) You can use the razor edge wallpaper removal tool on drywall, but the wallpaper must be thoroughly saturated with hot water containing vinegar so it can be razored off of the drywall without damaging it. For the plastic sheets, spend a little more money for the thicker kind. Don’t use the super cheap but super thin sheets, which are hard to open from the package and will tear and will not hold the weight of the removed wallpaper lying on them when you pick them up. The sprayer has a pump handle on top. You pump this handle and build up pressure, and do it again when the original pressure has gone down. You may have seen people spraying their garden with this type of sprayer. It is perfect for saturating the wallpaper you want to remove.

Before you do anything, go to the circuit breaker or fuse box to turn off the electricity in the room where you will be removing wallpaper. Move furniture away from the walls. Place the plastic sheeting at the base of the wall, right up against the baseboard. Make sure the carpet, tile or wood floor is completely covered to prevent water damage or glue mess on floor. Make sure also that all furniture that could possibly be hit with your sprayer is covered with plastic drop cloths.

Before you even fill the sprayer, score lines on the surface of wallpaper. Be careful not to go too deep and score the walls making extra repairs necessary. There are also tools available at the hardware or paint store made specifically for breaking the surface of the wallpaper so that the water solution can get under and through the wallpaper. These tools contain small wheels with spikes sticking out.

After all of the plastic is in place and the surface of the wallpaper is scored or “Broken,” the sprayer can be filled. DO NOT buy the expensive chemicals made for wallpaper removal. They are largely ineffective and can irritate skin. If you decide to use these chemicals, make sure you are wearing the right respirator to protect your breathing paths and lungs. I strongly recommend that you do NOT use them. Regular white vinegar works better than these chemicals, and vinegar is cheap. When filling your garden sprayer with vinegar and water, use a 2:1 solution, two parts water and one part vinegar. You should use the hottest water that you can. Don’t buy or rent a wallpaper steamer. They are dangerous and it is easy to get burned. You have to stand and hold them against the wall, only covering a very small area. Wallpaper steamers do not work. Hot water and vinegar is the way to go.

Now that your spraying combination is mixed in the sprayer, pump it up and spray all the walls in the room. At first the paper will soak up all the water and the wallpaper will look dry. As long as too much water is not running onto the plastic, you can immediately go all the way around the room again with the sprayer. Then go do something else for about twenty minutes. Return to the room and spray it one more time liberally. There will be water on the plastic, and as the wallpaper is scraped off there will be sheets of paper and glue, making for a very slippery condition. Be VERY CAREFUL walking on this slippery surface

Now that the wallpaper is saturated, you can use your razor scraper or spackling knife to start removing the paper. If it is very hard to scrape the wallpaper, wait. If it is too hard to get off, you need to spray the room again and WAIT a while, and it should come off easily. The paper and glue will eventually soften up with enough spraying and time.

After you have completely stripped off the wallpaper, it is time to get the glue off. Try to remove the glue as soon as possible after removing the wallpaper while the glue is very wet. You can use a wet rag followed with a clean, dry rag or towel. Keep turning the rags as they become saturated with glue. There may be too much glue to take off, in which case you may have to use your razor scraper or spackling blade to scrape off the glue. It may be a little difficult to remove the glue, but it is not nearly as hard as stripping the wallpaper, which you have already done. Now you can roll up the sheets of plastic full of stripped wallpaper and glue.

Let the wall dry thoroughly before painting. Fans will help this happen faster. When the wall is dry, you should apply an oil base primer/sealer on it. There are some good latex primer/sealer products, but for sure shot coverage, I use an oil based product. You have to wear a respirator to use oil base primer/sealers. These respirators are not cheap, but if you apply an oil base primer/sealer without a respirator you will get sick, dizzy and high. These products can also damage the nervous system, so WEAR A RESPIRATOR. You should actually wear a respirator no matter what type of paint you are using, but they are an absolute necessity when using an oil base primer/sealer. Always make sure to read the warnings, cautions and instructions on cans of paint. As you pour the paint, make sure not to cover these warnings, cautions and instructions on the back of paint cans. These warnings are for your safety and health, as well as anyone nearby. And don’t forget about pets, they can get sick and be harmed by some products. It is best if all people and pets be somewhere else when applying products like an oil base primer/sealer. When the primer is completely dry, the repairs can be started.

Painting Before You Move In to Your New Home.

Let’s begin with a caveat. Unless you have a big pile of money lying around, ignore this article. Follow the advice of  interior designer Judith Taylor. In her Houzz article, “12 Key Decorating Tips to Make Any Room Better,” she advises waiting to paint until you move in. “There are thousands of paint colors with various tints, tones and shades,” she says. “You want the color that best complements your upholstery, artwork, rug, and whatever else. You can pick that color only if your stuff is actually inside your home.

If you don’t have the additional funds to hire furniture movers, interior designers and contractors, you should probably paint before moving in. Otherwise, you’ll most likely put it off. You’ll procrastinate. Or you’ll wrangle with the couch, wrench your back, lose your job, and things will continue to spiral downward.
Here are three indisputable reasons to paint before you move in. 
  1. You can easily paint ceilings, closets and trim. Who wants to tape trim and edge in ceilings while herding furniture and arranging drop cloths? And just imagine painting the bedroom closet once your slovenly spouse has staked his claim.
  2. No one wants to occupy an ugly house. Even if you paint white now and choose color later, your inner Nicole Curtis will thank you.
  3. It allows toxic VOCs to dissipate. Acute exposure to VOCs induces headaches and nausea. Chronic exposure causes cancer and liver damage. Even low- or zero-VOC paints may contain formaldehyde or ethylene glycol. Thankfully, the majority of VOCs from latex-based paints will dissipate within the first two weeks.

 Pre-Painting Checklist

  • Match your paint hue to your existing furniture, artwork and floor coverings, or vice versa.
  • Choose your favorite paints and tape the swatches to the walls. Watch the swatches throughout the day to judge their performance in morning, afternoon and evening light.
  • Speaking of lighting, install your permanent light fixtures and bulbs before choosing your paint colors.
  • Don’t rebel against your former stark white living space by picking Banana Yellow and Navajo Turquoise for your walls. No home should resemble a fruit salad.

The Absolute Most Important Reason to Paint Your Home Before You Move In … Because, to be honest, it makes our lives easier and could save you money.

50 Fifty Shades of Gray

In the annals of sexually-charged event cinema, ”Fifty Shades of Grey” barely lights a candle let alone combusts with unbridled forbidden passion.
whoops, wrong blog…



Gray has certainly undergone a radical transformation in the past few years — in terms of how we view it, that is. No longer is gray only associated with dreary days, serious attire and a gloomy outlook. This quiet neutral has shaken off its bad rap. Gray has not only replaced beige as being the “It” neutral, but grays are now synonymous with style, sophistication and glamour.

Dear John,

Well it is my first post and have a lot to live up to.  The departure of our longtime employee John has left the office quite lonely – not to mention Hemingway-esque shoes to fill.  (The poem from a couple days ago was pure brilliance.)  Anyway thanks for all the hard work and tutelage John.   Safe travels – onward and upward.  More witty banter to come…



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Goodbye Dear Readers

Writing this blog over these past seven months has been one of the most rewarding facets of my job. We’ve laughed, cried, and learned together. Today is my last day with MacPaint. I’ll be turning you over to Woody, the new guy in the office. He’s a witty one, and I trust him to keep you entertained and up to date on all the latest innovations and styles in painting.


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