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Family Room Built-ins - Painting it!

Hey guys,

First of all, my apologies for not giving you an update on this project all last week. It was a super BUSY week working right here in the family room.

The part I was dreading the most was precisely this one, the painting part. I knew it was going to be tough, but geez, this was so hard! Or I guess it felt like that because of the size. This thing is huge!

I was also running late. The initial plan was to have this building project all done by December 9th, because one week later my visitors were coming and I wanted to use that last week for decorating the room. Ha, all that week was dedicated to sanding and painting. :/

But, let me show you how it all went.

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That first picture is what you saw at the end of my last post. The only thing it was missing was the fake wall there in the center where the tv goes and of course, I needed to cover nail holes and gaps.

Before attaching the ¼" plywood front, I made the holes on the counter to bring down the cables for all the tv and media components.

I also made the holes for the adjustable shelves using the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig. So easy!

And they were done! Yes, I needed a pic in front of this beast! :D


I used DAP Fast'N Final to cover nail holes and gaps. Then, I sanded everything with 120 grit sandpaper, followed by another light sanding with a 220 grid.
After dusting everything really well, one coat of Kilz primer was applied.  I used a brush to apply it on the corners and then a roller for all the flat surfaces.


I applied the primer to full strength which is thick. It brought the wood grain up, so it was time for me to sand all those rough surfaces.

I used my orbital sander, for all the flat surfaces, and for the corners, I used sanding pads. And here again, I first used 120 grid paper and then a 220 grid. All that sanding was one of the hardest parts of this job, it was lots of sanding, and my hand was feeling it.

Oh, and as you see, the room was enclosed with that plastic curtain, and rosin paper was covering the floor. Even though I took those precautions, there were still lots of dust around the other rooms.

Before going on to the next step, the dust needed to go! All the shelves were cleaned and then a tack cloth was used to get rid of any particles still lingering in there.


I used my Wagner Home Decor Sprayer to apply that first coat of BM - White Dove Semi-gloss finish. It worked very OK. Things started to move faster.

And how do you like my white gown?! :D  I also bought that stronger mask, but somehow it didn't work. one of those pads kept on falling down, so I had to use a regular mask.


Once again, sanding rough spots was necessary, though it wasn't as bad as with the primer. I used 220 grid sandpaper.

Then, the dust was removed once again with the powerful suction of the Ridgid Wet/Dry Vac. And a quick pass with a tack cloth before applying another coat.


I started applying that second coat with the Wagner sprayer, but somehow it didn't look right, it looked very uneven, I tried and tried again, but nope. it looked patchy. So, I had to go back to using a paintbrush and roller for that second coat.

I waited a full day for the paint to dry before giving the unit a new coat of paint.

That weekend when I was supposed to be finished, I was at it, doing retouches and asking my son and husband for help.

The boy gave the walls a coat of paint...

While the mister installed the lighting fixtures and did some caulking.

It was finally the time to remove that plastic curtain before starting the final phase of this project... The doors! Yes, you can see them there. But, that's going to be covered during my last post about this project.

Here's a peek after removing the rosin paper and painting and installing the adjustable shelves:
Arm Wall Sconce

I really like that light in the center of the room! I used a drum shade that I already had. ;)

My visitors arrived this past Saturday, and the room was cleaned and almost done. Those final days before their arrival I was working on the doors, but hey, stay tuned, because that's the last part of this project and then the room reveal. ;)

The work here might be done, but I'm also busy taking six kids all around town! :D Today we'll probably be in downtown DC, then on Thursday, we'll probably be snow tubing.  I think that's gonna be lots of fun! Check our outings and this room's look during the holidays right HERE.

Here are the links to all the work done for this project:

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  1. Oh my word, this unit is fabulous and you are amazing. I can't imagine tackling such a project. I love it all. Congratulations on such a beautiful job as usual.

  2. WOW WOW WOW Cristina. You never cease to amaze me! Merry Christmas to you and your family! Hope you have a wonderful holiday! xo

  3. Stunning built-ins they are going to be wonderful to display cherished items and storage items not in use. Happy New Year, Kippi

  4. Hi! I remember when you built these - I eagerly awaited each update. Now I'm doing my own and have a painting question. Do you remember exactly what type of BM paint you used? Bookshelves are tricky with paint because books and decorations can stick to the finish, even l after it's cured. This happened on my windowsill so I'm trying to avoid it on the shelves. I know the paint type is important but I'm not sure which type to get. Have you had any issues with sticking?

    1. Hi Joni, how fun that you're building your own set of shelves! Remember to first use primer, that's what's going to prevent the paint from peeling off. The paint I used here was BM - White Dove Semi-gloss finish. I would love to see your finished project!

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