Full Episodes of Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford

Attic Room Striped Wall Painting Project

By: Danny Lipford
Attic room with vertical gray and white striped walls and purple ceiling accent.

Attic room after painting vertical stripes on the walls with purple accent.

We’re adding pizzazz to a seldom used attic room by painting the walls in a bold white and gray striped pattern with purple accents on the ceiling.

Also, see how to repair cracks and holes in walls using quick setting, powdered drywall compound.

Read episode article to find out more.

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Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re picking up the paintbrush to add some color to a teenager’s attic rec room and show you how easy painting can be.

Sydney Betbeze: I don’t tape. I don’t even drop-cloth.

Danny Lipford: Confidence. Excellent. We’re just wasting our time putting cloth down. Jaime and Sydney Betbeze love old houses.

Jaime Betbeze: Well, we’re both very involved in preservation here in town, and this is my hometown and I dragged Sydney here, but one of the ways I was able to convince her to move was all the beautiful homes and the history that we have.

Sydney Betbeze: We’ve lived in this house for nine years, just about, and what drew us to the house, actually, was the neighborhood. We wanted to be in this particular area, a historic neighborhood, and it’s got the best houses in the area.

We gutted the kitchen and we gutted all the bathrooms in the house, and so those were the major renovations that we’ve done in the house. And then cosmetic work, just changing all the paint colors, except for the teen room.

Danny Lipford: The teen room is a third-floor attic that was converted to a living space by a previous owner, but it lacks the pizzazz it needs to make it a hangout for their daughter Virginia and her friends.

Virginia Betbeze: It’s just going to be a room where, like, my friends and I hang out…

Allen Lyle: Yeah?

Virginia Betbeze: And watch Netflix and that kind of thing.

Allen Lyle: I understand that you’re the artistic one. Is that right? “the artistic one”? Does that describe you?

Virginia Betbeze: Yeah, probably. My room is completely covered with artwork.

Allen Lyle: Yeah?

Virginia Betbeze: That’s pretty much what I want to be when I grow up.

Allen Lyle: Nice. All right, so mom won’t let you have an art studio. Have you asked her why she won’t let you?

Virginia Betbeze: Well, supposedly I’m supposed to “share the room.” ! So…

Allen Lyle: What if we could convince her that it could be part studio?

Virginia Betbeze: I would like that.

Allen Lyle: OK. We’ll see what we can do.

Virginia Betbeze: OK.

Allen Lyle: We’re going to work on that.

Sydney Betbeze: Well, the room itself is great. It’s got these great alcoves. All the gables of the house just lend itself to all of these neat little nooks and crannies.

And what we envision up there are just some nice trundle beds, some furniture you can jump on if you wanted to. Something that’s not antique, something that’s fun.

Everything in the house is hardwood floor. Everything in the house is antiques. We just want something fun for her to be able to lounge on and have a good time.

Danny Lipford: Hello, Sydney. How are you?

Sydney Betbeze: Great. How are you?

Danny Lipford: Good. I’m doing great. Doing well. So, painting a third story?

Sydney Betbeze: Yes.

Danny Lipford: Sounds like a lot of stairs.

Sydney Betbeze: Let’s head up!

Danny Lipford: All right. Good. Now, I’ll bet you’ve been up and down these stairs quite a bit.

Sydney Betbeze: Uh, just a little. Every once in a while. All right, and finally… We’ve made it.

Danny Lipford: All right. Oh, yeah, what a great space.

Sydney Betbeze: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: Good storage space, but it’s too much room just to use for that, huh?

Sydney Betbeze: Exactly, so it’s this nice, big area, and what I see is, with your help, is transforming it into an area that kids can come have sleepovers up here and…

Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah.

Sydney Betbeze: You know, TVs and computers.

Danny Lipford: And I understand that you’re quite a painter yourself.

Sydney Betbeze: Well, I’ve picked up a brush and I can do some cutting in, so…

Danny Lipford: OK. Good, good. Well, we’ll enlist you in helping us with this. We’ll get everything covered up because the floor is in great shape.

Sydney Betbeze: Yes.

Danny Lipford: And then, heck, we can get this thing done in just a couple days.

Sydney Betbeze: That sounds fabulous. I’m ready.

Danny Lipford: Perfect. Now it’s time to nail down those colors.

Sydney Betbeze: Is that too dark, or what do you think? I need your help with that.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: I think that’ll be good, though, with the lighter having—you know, the whole room won’t be too dark.

Sydney Betbeze: Right.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Overall because you’ll be balancing it with the..

Sydney Betbeze: Right.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: The lighter color.

Sydney Betbeze: It’s just a highlight color.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: All right, awesome. Did you want another color, or is two good?

Sydney Betbeze: Someone had suggested maybe doing, like, a sort of a tone-on-tone, sort of stripe somewhere. What do you think?

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Oh, yeah, that would be cool. So you want a gray color?

Sydney Betbeze: I want a gray. That’s a nice new neutral. Yes, we’re over the beige, so we want a gray.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: You like that one?

Sydney Betbeze: These are nice. This has a little bit of a kind of greenish to it, maybe. Are you seeing green? I’m seeing green.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah, I’m seeing green in these two. Not so much in this one.

Sydney Betbeze: I like those. I like it.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Now what about your other color, like a complementary color?

Sydney Betbeze: You know, we’ve got the window with the blues and the..

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah.

Sydney Betbeze: There’s a kind of pinkish, but if we head more towards the purple, I think, kind of grayish-purples might look good.

Danny Lipford: So while Chelsea goes to pick up the paint, Sydney and I get started clearing out the room and covering up. I don’t know how neat of a painter you are.

Sydney Betbeze: I’m pretty darn neat, man.

Danny Lipford: All right.

Sydney Betbeze: I don’t tape. I don’t even drop-cloth.

Danny Lipford: Confidence. Excellent. We’re just wasting our time putting cloth down.

Sydney Betbeze: No, it’s for show.

Joe Truini: Most people use an empty coffee can to soak their paintbrushes before cleaning. And that’s a great idea unless you just drop the brushes in the can. Because if you do that, the weight of the brush will bend the bristles. And once they dry like that, the brush is no good, you might as well toss it out.

So here’s what I did. I took a wire coat hanger, and I cut it slightly longer than the diameter of the can. And then I set the brush in the can and raised it about an inch off the bottom of the can and made a mark where it crossed the wire.

Then I drilled a hole through the handle, slightly larger than the diameter of the wire. Now all you need to do is push the wire through the hole, thread it through the hole, and drop it into the can.

As you can see, the bristles are up off the bottom of the can, and then you can pour in your solvent. In this case that’s latex paint, so we’re going to use some warm water. Pour it right in there. Now, you don’t want to get the metal ferrule on the brush wet, but you just want to cover—there you go.

So you cover all the bristles and you let that soak, and now you can go back and finish cleaning up the rest of the job. Come back, and that brush will be ready for thorough cleaning as soon as you pull it out of the can.

Danny Lipford: Sydney Betbeze wants to jazz up this converted attic space for her teenage daughter and her friends. While I’ve been putting together a plan with Sydney, Allen has been trying to find out what her daughter Virginia wants from the room.

Allen Lyle: But basically that’s going to be your space, right?

Virginia Betbeze: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: OK, well, what do you want up there? I’m thinking dragons, whatever.

Virginia Betbeze: I really don’t know.

Danny Lipford: And now it’s time to get to work on the drywall repair. Well, Sydney, the walls are really in pretty good shape. This seems like the worst part of it.

Sydney Betbeze: Definitely.

Danny Lipford: But it almost seems like a little bit of, like, settling; not unusual for this.

Sydney Betbeze: Well, this actually isn’t settling. This was neighborhood kids and my own coming and sliding down this, and their feet landing here. They thought this was a toy or a slide.

Danny Lipford: Oh, that’s fun.

Sydney Betbeze: Well, it might have been fun, but they did a number on the wall.

Danny Lipford: Did they tell you about it?

Sydney Betbeze: Uh, they did admit it, but can you help fix it?

Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah, that’s no problem. I’ll show you how.

Sydney Betbeze: OK.

Danny Lipford: And I’ll let you do a few of these other places.

Sydney Betbeze: Sounds good.

Danny Lipford: All right. Let’s grab the stuff. Of course, the first step in any type of paint job is to make sure that you get all of the defects out of the wall that you possibly can. Now, a lot of times, you can use regular lightweight spackling. That works great if you have a small hole, like this nail hole. But when you have something like this, you really have to use a joint compound.

A lot of different types; there’s some that dries really, really slow, like overnight, but to speed this one up, we’re using a quick-setting 20-minute type of joint compound. The pros call it a 20-minute mud. Now all I’ll have to do is put a little powder in here, mix a little water in it, and we can be putting a second coat on this within 20 minutes.

Once the joint compound is mixed, it will not only fill voids, it will also act as an adhesive. In the places where we’re bridging a gap, we’ll embed some paper drywall tape in the mud to reinforce it and prevent the cracks from reoccurring.

Once she’s seen how it’s done, Sydney wants to try her hand at drywall repair. Look at that. It’s beautiful. It’s great.

Sydney Betbeze: Y’all can fix that, right?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, we can fix it. While the big repairs dry, I’m touching up the little flaws all over the room.

Meanwhile, Chelsea has returned with the paint they selected. She and Sydney are applying it to some self-adhesive sure swatch sheets. When the paint dries, they can stick the sheets to the walls to finalize their decisions about what color goes where. Now, once all the joint compound is dry, we’re ready to sand.

Hey, look here. Great timing here. Perfect. OK, little sanding time.

Allen Lyle: Uh-huh.

Danny Lipford: And I got, just in time. I just got that fixed up for you. That’s one of your favorite tools there, so if you want to start sanding back over this way, I can give you a few tips on how to use this thing. Now, it’s really kind of tricky because it pivots so much, but it is so much easier than just using your hand.

Sydney Betbeze: OK.

Danny Lipford: So if you just keep it flat.

Sydney Betbeze: All right.

Danny Lipford: And then just get it where it feels comfortable to you. You don’t have to bear down on it too much. You really want to sand the whole entire surface of the wall just lightly, as well as the ceiling. It seems like it’ll take forever, especially with that kind of help that you have over there, but that’s OK.

Allen Lyle: I can hear you.

Danny Lipford: But if you’ll just lightly sand it, just take it easy, and keep up where you are and just go all the way around.

Sydney Betbeze: OK, great.

Danny Lipford: And I will start doing a little caulking over here.

Sydney Betbeze: All right.

Danny Lipford: All this paint preparation may seem excessive, but if you’re going to put in the time, effort, and money to paint a room, you might as well do it right.

Once the sanding is complete, everything gets wiped down with a damp rag to remove the dust, and we’re ready to paint. Allen’s already getting started over here. He’s not good for much, but he can mix paint pretty well, so…

Allen Lyle: Thanks a lot. Yeah, I’ve seen, actually, colors. Even though it’s the same color, it’ll be off by half a shade from can to can, so I want to mix these two gallons to make sure they’re consistent.

Danny Lipford: And I know you want to do the cut-in. You don’t like to roll. You like to do all of the cut-in and trim-out. So I got you several brushes to choose from. What do you think?

Sydney Betbeze: Well, you have a nice selection, but I think I’m going to use my old faithful here.

Danny Lipford: Wow, I thought that was a dust brush.

Allen Lyle: Wow.

Sydney Betbeze: No.

Allen Lyle: Well, I’m going to make it a little easier for you. I love this, one of my favorite gadgets. Just stick that on the edge of the can, take your brush. It’s a magnet, holds it in place.

Sydney Betbeze: I like it.

Danny Lipford: All right, we’re all set up. Do a little mixing, and we’ll get all this ready to go. Sydney says she’s a pretty experienced painter, so she prefers to do the cut-in freehand without any masking tape.

Sydney Betbeze: I’m ready for some wisecracks.

Danny Lipford: You’ve got a wet brush in your hand, nobody’s going to say anything. And she seems to have a pretty good handle on it. So it looks like you don’t need any tape.

Sydney Betbeze: No, you don’t.

Danny Lipford: Pretty good. Respectable. But I can see you need a ladder, though. With all of these hands, the work goes pretty quickly, which can be a good thing unless…

Sydney Betbeze: Oh, my gosh. What am I doing? I’m painting the wrong wall.

Allen Lyle: Gee whiz, Sydney.

Sydney Betbeze: Look at me, y’all. I painted the wrong wall.

Allen Lyle: Gee whiz!

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: You just love the color so much.

Sydney Betbeze: I was like, put it everywhere! What am I doing? Why are y’all letting me do that? Oh my gosh, y’all.

Danny Lipford: We’ve worked with a lot of rookies. It’s not…

Sydney Betbeze: Don’t film that, Brad.

Danny Lipford: Despite the miscues, soon we’re ready to start applying the light gray that’ll cover most of the surfaces.

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Oh, Sydney, I like it up against the purple, too.

Sydney Betbeze: Looks good?

Chelsea Lipford Wolf: Yeah. You’re going to like it.

Danny Lipford: And, when Virginia gets home from school, she gets a sneak peek at what her room will look like once it’s complete.

Sydney Betbeze: So what do you think? You like the purple?

Virginia Betbeze: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: In fact, Allen draws her into the chaos by throwing out a little challenge.

Allen Lyle: Now…you have to create something using those three little marks.

Danny Lipford: While we finish the first coat, why don’t you check out this week’s best new product.

Jodi Marks: Now, if you want your painting projects to look like a professional did it, you need to do what the professionals do. And they take the time to prep the surface, and they also take time to tape off. Now, everybody hates to tape off, but you need to protect that so you don’t have a lot of clean up.

Take a look at this device by 3M. This is the Hand Masker 3000, baby. And what this does is it holds, not only your painter’s tape, but if you want to cover, say, with paper or with plastic, it also holds that paper into place as well.

Now, there’s two spindles. First of all, you pop your tape in over here. And then on this spindle, you can either put paper up to 18 inches wide, or you can put the plastic film on here that then folds down and can drape and cover the entire wall.

The beauty of this device is that it marries the two—tape and paper or plastic—perfectly, so you’re not having to struggle with putting that on. Once you’ve got it in place there, all you got to do—just going to push this in place—and look how quickly I can work down the wall.

Danny Lipford: We’re giving Sydney’s bland attic room a makeover so her daughter Virginia will have a quiet place to paint and a cool place to hang out with her friends. We’ve made all of our repairs and started getting some color on the walls. We even gave Virginia a chance to exercise some creativity in the process.

So at the start of day two, we’ve got some momentum going to finish this thing up. We had a great day yesterday and were able to put one coat on all of the walls and the ceiling. Actually put a second coat on these walls because later on, we’ll be painting some really cool stripes on that. That’ll be a great accent wall when you walk right up the stairs.

Now, you know a lot of paint jobs will take you more than one day, so you know you hate to spend a lot of time cleaning all of your brushers and rollers. Well, here’s a few tricks here.

You can use some of the cases that we found here that’ll seal it up real nicely with your brush, as well as your roller—those are pretty cool—or the old tried and true methods of just using a Ziploc baggie or a plastic shopping bag that you can wrap your roller or your brushes in. You can even put either one of these in a refrigerator to even slow that drying down even more.

And it’s so important that you clean your brushes thoroughly when you do clean them, or you’ll end up with something… like that. This morning, our priority is getting the second coat complete. As you might expect, it goes faster than the first one did, and soon we’re ready to add those stripes that Sydney wanted.

Allen Lyle: We’re going to measure from the corner to there, from this corner to here.

Sydney Betbeze: Right.

Allen Lyle: We want our stripe to start in the corner, and because we want the stripes to be the same size…

Sydney Betbeze: Right.

Allen Lyle: We need to take whatever this number is and start dividing and find the right number, all right?

Sydney Betbeze: Yes, OK.

Allen Lyle: So if you will, take me to that corner there.

Sydney Betbeze: OK.

Danny Lipford: So, after a few measurements…

Allen Lyle: Um, 95 even.

Danny Lipford: Allen figures out how his calculator works, and they come up with a number.

Allen Lyle: Shall we do that? seven and three-quarter?

Sydney Betbeze: That sounds right. Yeah.

Danny Lipford: Once the intervals are lightly marked on the baseboard, they’re using a four-foot level to create a plumb line up from that point.

Allen Lyle: But if the house is off and the lines are plumb and it looks funny, then you have to just stand at an angle. Oops.

Danny Lipford: This is the only way to ensure perfectly plumb, parallel lines, since the corners and edges of the walls often waver in and out a bit.

Allen Lyle: When you put your tape on, rather than pull out a really long piece, we’re going to do it with just short pieces.

Sydney Betbeze: OK.

Allen Lyle: If you do a really long piece, it has a tendency to want to warp on you. So again, this is our gray so we want our pencil mark on the inside. Just like that. And then you come back with a putty knife, what’s called burnishing it, and we’re going to do it again on the gray side. Just press it down.

Sydney Betbeze: All right.

Allen Lyle: All right.

Danny Lipford: We’re using delicate surface tape for this application because the light gray paint on the walls is fresh. A more aggressive tape might peel up that color. This stuff is also designed to react with the water in the new paint so it forms a barrier along the edge, so hopefully we won’t have any bleed-through on our lines.

Sydney Betbeze: I might end up making this the adult retreat.

Allen Lyle: Ooh, you’ll have some unhappy people if you do that.

Danny Lipford: Once all the stripes are masked, we can start applying the darker gray paint. Even though there’s tape around the edges, you don’t want to glob the paint on there. A smooth, even application with a good brush or something like this small cigar roller is really what you need. Let’s see what we’ve got here. And you peel it back just like this, like 180. That’s a good, clean line.

Sydney Betbeze: Yes. Looks great.

Danny Lipford: OK. There’s one. You know, some of the tape, it’ll bleed over a little bit, just really takes away from the overall look of it.

Sydney Betbeze: This looks like a great line, though.

Danny Lipford: Mm-hmm.

Sydney Betbeze: Comes off easily.

Danny Lipford: Perfect. That’ll leave you an idea. I think that’s going to be a nice, bold look.

Sydney Betbeze: Absolutely. I love it.

Danny Lipford: All right. Let’s take the rest of it off here. I think this is my favorite part of the job because it gives such an immediate sense of gratification. Each strip of tape that’s removed reveals a crisp new line. That is neat.

Sydney Betbeze: It looks awesome.

Danny Lipford: It’s neat, isn’t it? And if I was you, I would tell people that you did that by hand.

Sydney Betbeze: Absolutely.

Danny Lipford: I wouldn’t say anything about tape.

Sydney Betbeze: But what if they saw, see the show? They’re all going to watch the show.

Danny Lipford: Oh. Oh, yeah, that’s true. That’s true. You got me.

Sydney Betbeze: It looks so good. I love it.

Danny Lipford: And within just a few minutes, we’re peeling off the last of the tape, just in time for Virginia to see the finished work.

Virginia Betbeze: Oh, wow. OK. That’s quite different.

Danny Lipford: Virginia’s not very talkative, but I think it’s safe to say she likes her new space.

Virginia Betbeze: It’s very different and it’s very neat, and I like it.

Sydney Betbeze: It’s neat and you like it?

Virginia Betbeze: Yeah.

Sydney Betbeze: All right. Good job?

Virginia Betbeze: Mm-hmm.

Sydney Betbeze: Good job.

Danny Lipford: The most common questions I hear from people about painting have to do with primer. When do you use it and what kind do you use?

Primers chiefly serve two purposes: they promote bonding and they mask color or stains. Now, anytime you have new wood or drywall, the first coating on it should be a quality primer. This seals the pores of the materials; and, at the same time, creates a surface that is ideal for later coats to bond with.

Primers aren’t made to be durable, but they do help make the more durable coating stick. Stain-blocking primers do just what the name says. They block stains created by wood resins, water, and other materials from bleeding through both themselves and the topcoat.

If you’re painting a ceiling that has had a leak in the past, primer—preferably one that is shellac-based—is a must to prevent those brown water stains from reappearing in the new coating.

Danny Lipford: Sydney’s attic space was bright and spacious enough, but not exactly the exciting destination a teenage girl wants, so we not only replaced the dated color palette, we added that pop she wanted with purple accent ceilings in all the alcoves and in the center of the room.

The color fits right in, since it was taken from the stained-glass window in the front of the room. Then, with a little tape and time, we created the tone-on-tone stripe pattern that forces you to take a second look, just to make sure you’re paying attention. It’s amazing what a transformation a few hours and a few gallons of paint can make.

Well, Sydney, I bet you’re writing a list for everything that you need to furnish the room.

Sydney Betbeze: I am.

Danny Lipford: Well, I’ll tell you what, you didn’t even need us to help you on this painting. You’re so good at painting, you could have done this whole thing yourself.

Sydney Betbeze: I wouldn’t have done this size project without some help, for sure, and I would never do the striping without some expert guidance.

Danny Lipford: Well, I’ll tell you what, that was a lot easier than any of us thought it would be. It really turned out well, and what a great focal point on this whole back part of the room.

Sydney Betbeze: Looks great.

Danny Lipford: OK, when you brought the colors in, I wasn’t sure about the purple ceiling, but it’s growing on me. It actually looks pretty good.

Sydney Betbeze: Yeah, nice pop.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, it is a nice pop. You did a great job, and you can see, by doing just a little bit of work in a home like this and able to, you know, spend some time picking the right colors, and make sure that you do some bold things. Put some personality in that room by picking a bold color here, doing a few of the stripes so that the room that you paint is distinctively your own.

Hey, thanks so much for being with us this week. I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you next week right here on Today’s Homeowner.

Sydney Betbeze: But you could have supplies on this side, too. You could have supply things going behind you so that when you’re painting or whatever, you can just reach and have all that at the ready.

Virginia Betbeze: Mm-hmm.

Sydney Betbeze: Sound good?

Virginia Betbeze: Yeah.

Sydney Betbeze: Maybe Santa needs to bring you an easel.

Virginia Betbeze: OK.



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