Family Work Day: My Favorite New Tradition

Last week I told you about a new tradition my sister started in our family, a seasonal work day, and I shared with you the before and after pictures from her backyard makeover. On another work day we helped my other sister’s family prep and spray the exterior of their house. Can you guess what we had my family do when it was our turn for the fall work day?

No? Let me give you a little background to help you figure it out.

Years ago we painted our city bungalow ourselves. It took a weekend to tape and spray, covering the band-aid pink color with a creamy white (I wish I was kidding about the pink…). However, it took a year to finish the green trim. A year. And there wasn’t a long front porch or lots of trim like our current house. So I was kinda dreading painting all the trim in our cottage.

Which is why, when my sister suggested that we all trade work days to get major projects done this fall, I was practically jumping for joy.

We coordinated our schedules so that every family got a work day during the months of September, October, or November, with painting projects taking the earliest slots and those with yard work/leaf raking the later ones. Everyone brings a salad or finger food to share for lunch and we get to hang out together for a day. What a deal.

So now you might have guessed that when it was time for our day we brought out the White Behr Paint trim color, lots of brushes (did you know the dollar store carries brushes that are great for things like this?), and rags and then sent them to work on all our trim.

Now, I totally love my front porch, but one of the downsides of it is all the painted wood. In fact, we actually never got past a coat of primer after adding the porch in our major garage remodel after we moved in.

Umm, that would be five years ago.

Did you know that primer will peel off every year if not covered with paint?

Yeah, we learned that- like, three times (the other two years we just left it peeling- I can’t believe I just admitted that). We just couldn’t seem to get past the scraping of the previous year’s primer and then re-priming before the weather would turn.

But after my lovely family was done wielding their brushes (which took the four of them a couple of hours!), the porch now literally glows with its clean, peel-free paint.

And words really can’t describe what I feel when I look at it. Truly. Can a person’s heart dance?

After just confessing that we had never got past priming our porch, I guess I can go ahead and confess that the same thing happened with the french doors we added to the dining room, another thing that takes awhile to paint.

Did you know that primed surfaces don’t wipe clean from dog mud and finger prints? Yeah, we learned that, too.

Somehow I think we could’ve gone nicely through life without learning these things about primed wood.

Got high peaks? How about sending a brother-in-law to do it for you?

Everyone mentioned how thick the paint was, which was perfect for the trim- it didn’t drip as much when reaching up to paint and covered great.

And when you (incredibly) run out of areas to paint? That’s the time to get another job completed! What a blessing to be able to get these arbors finished as well as the trim painting- these things which would’ve taken us until next summer to finish were all completed in a day!

I’m tellin’ ya- this is a great idea- do whatever you can to make it work for you!

I have to leave you with this picture of Brian channeling some southern papa. He cracks me up with that hat- here in the west it should be a good ol’ cowboy hat, but he clings stubbornly to his little straw hat.

And see that can of paint? All gone by the end of the day, and all the trim painted- whoo, hoo!

Now that we’ve made you wait all week, make sure to check back tomorrow for the before and afters- it’s pretty dramatic…


Disclosure: Many thanks to Behr Paint for providing the main paint color for An Oregon Cottage. Always, the results and opinions are my own.





  1. says

    That is impressive!

    When we lived close to my parents, we would buy a truckload of mulch and hit both of our houses in one day. That was wonderful, but not nearly as big a deal as getting all that painting done!

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