The Renovation Construction Ending Soon & The Painter Is Fired!

Hi Everyone,


Happy Father’s Day!


Thank you for the dozens of incredibly supportive and helpful comments and emails you sent me last week.

If you missed the drama, you can read about the renovation paint disaster here.


There is so much going on that I have to break it down.


  • First of all, yes, the renovation construction, except for the den, should be finished this coming week.
  • I am pretty sure I’ve found a new painter and a new flooring contractor. I will know by sometime this coming week, maybe even Monday. So, there will be more about that in a subsequent post.


Gosh, Laurel. That was fast.


Yes, I know. But when I put my mind to something, I don’t mess around.

So, here’s a partial recap of what went down last week.

On Monday, I spoke with Robert, my GC, who, as I said, had turned a complete 180 from “The painter is your responsibility, and I’m [losing] my shirt on this job, nonsense. Later in the day, I spoke to Bryan the painter, who was calm and assured me all would be fixed and the paint would be perfect.

The next morning (Tuesday), no van was parked behind the building, but the lights were on downstairs, and the toilet seat was up, meaning a male was in the apartment.


Mostly, it was pretty quiet. Occasionally, I heard a bit of sanding.


However, twice, I caught sight of not Bryan, the painter, but his employee, the same one who made the paint mess. I found him outside the building, having a ciggy and drinking something out of a can.

The image is intentionally blurred to protect the guilty.


Blurry did not return on Wednesday. Robert said it was because he wasn’t feeling well.


Clearly, he was out of focus the day before, as well. ;]


That day, I got on the horn to find competent professionals to paint and do the floors.


Sadly, Brendan and Eugene (the carpenters), who had been on a roll, did not return last week.

On Thursday, Blurry returned.

I woke up to the sound of him sanding the wainscoting right outside the den.

Seriously WTF???


Was that painted, Laurel?


No, it wasn’t.


Was he finished sanding off all of the paint downstairs?


No, not even close.

It would take a crew of about three people at least three days to remove all of the paint.


Wait, Laurel! Were you in your home alone with Blurry?


No, I hired a bodyguard.

Yes, of course, I was alone in the apartment with him, although I only saw him once. Since November 29th, I’ve been alone with one, two, three, or occasionally more men for about sixty days.

Anyway, with a smile, I opened my door and asked him if he could keep going downstairs.  He smiled back and said, sure.

Blurry left at about 3:00 on Thursday, and I went downstairs to investigate. While some things were better, there was still plenty of orange peel, and he hadn’t touched the “paper mache” crown moulding or the hundreds of feet of panel moulding and some of the doors.


And, he did NOTHING in the bathroom.


Blurry did not return on Friday.

I got Bryan on the phone late to inquire why Blurry and himself weren’t there! I got a lot of grunting and hmm-ing. He insisted that they were nearly finished prepping downstairs and that I told him to stop sanding upstairs.

I said, You’re not even close to being finished downstairs. Then I remembered a particularly astute comment and asked Bryan, “WHO gave you permission to paint?”

“I don’t need permission,” he said.

What a ___fill in the blank___!!!

When asked about the miles of panel moulding, he said, “Oh, that wasn’t painted; it was only primed.”


plastic latex - renovation construction disaster and I fired the painter for incompetence and blatant lying.

Above is a piece of the trim that Bryan claims is only primed.

Primer for paint is DEAD FLAT. This is shiny latex.

Okay, as my blood reached the boiling point, I knew this farce needed to end immediately!

“How dare you tell me such a blatant lie. You are NOT coming back. Goodbye.”


It has occurred to me that he’s so impaired he actually believes that’s primer, not paint.


Although I felt bad about firing him, he left me no choice.  Of course, anyone who did what he did in the first place did not deserve another chance. I just wanted him to fix it. But, even then, he failed miserably. I asked him if he ever came over to see what was going on. He said he was there for a couple of hours on Thursday.


That right there is beyond the beyond. He had NEVER come by before to see the mess his employee had made. Never mind he should’ve dropped everything to help fix the disaster he promised on Monday would be perfect. Yes, that’s what he said!

Robert understood completely and has been very accommodating. It was only that one text that was bad. I think some of you missed that he’s been his usual sweet self ever since.  So, he will be here Monday when Blurry and Bryan get their filthy crap out of here.


What else is going on, Laurel?


Isn’t that enough? lol Well, a lot is going on.

I am working out a timeline for finishing the prep, floors, and paint within the next two months.

I will meet the guy I’m 99% sure I am hiring to paint, and I can’t wait to share more about that.

Brendan and Eugene will be back on Monday. As stated at the beginning, they are expected to finish all of the renovation construction this week except for the den. I may have to move out for a week or two.


However, that’s not all that’s happening on Monday.


Please stay tuned! It’s all good!



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31 Responses

  1. Hi Laurel! For some reason I can’t get my computer to let me “reply” to your response to my question. But, I did want to say a very big “thank you!” Hearing about your cabinets being Sherwin Williams was hugely helpful. And, I’m honestly amazed that you take the time to answer so many questions from readers when you have all that you have going on. (Which, I hope continues in a positive vein for at least a stretch now!)

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts on Benjamin Moores various offerings. In thinking about this question again, I just looked back over Sherwin Williams’ options, and realized they have another trim paint called Pro Classic that is an alkyd like Advance, so now I’m also curious about that and thinking I’ll try it out. I don’t expect it will replace Advance in our hearts, but if it helps me move forward with this project, I’ll be happy.

    Thank you again. I’m rooting for you with this last leg of the renovation!

  2. I am glad you are not paralyzed by these disasters upon disasters, but I still don’t understand why Robert recommended Bryan.

    1. Hi Anne-Marie,

      That is a very good question. I’m sure Robert works with several painters, but probably thought Bryan would be a good fit because he paints and does wallpaper. Of course, I don’t know for sure. As for the poor quality of work?

      1. People change for many reasons and sometimes those changes affect the person’s ability to do tasks they formerly did very well. I don’t have to conjecture what might be going on. I think most of us know the most likely situation.
      2. I’ve seen a lot of super crappy paint jobs in my lifetime. Most people know very little about paint. Why would they? So, they figure the professional knows what he’s talking about and that what they’re seeing is what it’s supposed to look like. They believe Bryan when he says the cheap paint is the best product BM sells.

      It’s not just Bryan, but his employee, Blurry.

      We also don’t know if this has been a slow decline or a rapid one. That, plus a few jobs where people didn’t complain because they don’t realize the paint doesn’t look right.

  3. Thank you for sharing all the details of all of this, Laurel! I’ve been following along very intently, but this is my first time commenting. I want to say how endlessly helpful it has been to hear how you handle these sorts of situations. I’ve been reading some of your text conversations to my husband, and we walk through them and compare them to what we are going through to see how we can do better next time. 🙂

    I also want to ask a question about Benjamin Moore Advance. Well, more specifically, about your thoughts on Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel as an alternative to Advance. We have lots of experience with Advance, and know that it is an excellent product. But, we’re in a conundrum because I’ve fallen in love with Sherwin Williams White Duck as ‘just the right’ white for our space. It has a touch of red that works well for this house, as we’re working with 100 year old pine floors with a fair bit of red in them. In contrast, Benjamin Ballet White and F&B Slipper Satin (which I understand to be the closest equivalents?) are both a touch more green and while they can look warmer than White Duck in certain situation, in the context of our floors, they look cooler (more grey). We have actually already purchased and started using White Duck — colour drenching some of the halls, and then continuing White Duck on the trim into other rooms (I’m loving this look, by the way, even though it’s frowned upon in North America not to use a truer white — it seems to help the rooms look a little bit more aged to have the softer contrast).

    So far, as a colour, White Duck is working well, BUT I can tell that the SW trim paint it isn’t on par with Advance, and so I keep stalling the entire project second-guessing myself about whether we should just use Ballet White (or something else??? I was looking at Soft Chamois and Timid White to see if I could get the warmth some other way… but so far nothing is looking as exactly right as the White Duck with its touch of red).

    All to say, I’d be grateful to hear your thoughts. I know in your last post you were very adamant about Advance as the only option for trim. I’m curious if you think SW trim paint is a step bellow Advance, but not as much of a step bellow as Benjamin Moore’s other paint lines… or, whether you are convinced that trim will just never look quite right with ANY other product. I trust your eye! I haven’t been in as many houses that have been done to a high standard to know myself, but I do know that these little details make a big difference in the overall effect of a space, and so I’m desperate to know: what would you do if you had to pick between Advance, and a slightly better-for-the-space white?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Summer,

      I’m only learning now that Benjamin Moore has some other formulations that are excellent other than Advance. I will be writing a post about this. Also very good are Aura and Regal Select. I learned about a new one today and have no idea why I’ve never heard of it before. But, that’s not important at the moment.

      I’m not as familiar with Sherwin Williams. However my cabinets are a Sherwin Williams color. I’m presuming the paint is by them too. The satin finish is lovely and silky.

      Sorry, I don’t know if that is helpful or not, but it’s all I can do right now.

  4. Hello Laurel, I know those painters’ cousins in Taiwan. A while ago my apartment had a lot of work done. The carpenters and electricians were exemplary, but the painter was a nightmare–thousands of paint splatters all over my belongings and marble floors, and even then I found quite a few “holidays” on the wall that were missed. Also, literally no prep work was done–dirt, dust, and small holes were just painted over. I spent hours with a razor blade cleaning up, but even that didn’t fix it all. At least my apartment has that run-down kind of charm (well, it does now), but you had all that magnificent new millwork and cabinetry installed–what a shame!

  5. SO glad to hear you fired that painter! You are a better woman than I, giving him a chance to fix it. Unbelievable that they just lied to your face.

  6. Dear Laurel
    You are one of a kind ! Amazing grace under pressure – outstanding quality to have…
    Always good to get rid of any toxic people – moving forward – good luck with the new
    paint and floor people…
    Please don’t let the painter in unless someone else is there…
    Here’s to a wonderful upcoming week…!

  7. As is said in the South, “Bless his heart!” (NOT an endearment). I’m with whoever suggested dumping all the ditritus outside, make sure Cale is waiting by the door to greet whoever, and asking your legal counsel to protect you from any attempt at a lawsuit or lien.

    And I agree -next week will be better!!!

  8. Good Riddance! I once had to block my door to disallow a tiler from entering after he had made a huge mess the day before. His boss came to see the job and told me he’d send someone else to fix it, but he sent the same guy. I told him the guy, “I’m sorry, but I’m not allowing you in my house.” He started calling me nasty names and tried to push past me. That’s when my dog got involved. She was having none of him coming in either! Good old Clover. She was gentle as a lamb except when someone was threatening her mom. She chased him down the stairs and right out the front gate. She got a bacon (her favourite treat) for a job well done.

  9. Blurry is obviously not used to being supervised! Even the way he keeps his tools shows his sloppy attitude. Good for you on giving him the boot! It sure will be interesting to hear what your new painters think of the previous prep. You are on the downhill slide, so hang in there!

  10. Dear Laurel,

    You did the right thing with the painters and it is a good thing that Robert will be there when they come to collect their stuff. Unfortunately, some just don’t get it when it comes to doing their best job for clients.

    I feel so bad that you had to even deal with such poor workmanship! Best of luck with your new painters.

  11. On a cabinet and paint job, I eventually realized that the company was a “Who’s on first, What’s on second, I Don’t Know is on third….” In desperation, I taped up a very detailed punch list in the work zone; bulleted, sequential order. Item accomplished to my satisfaction, I checked it off. If not, I discussed with crew and made a note on the list. That helped them & me stay on track. I’d say it kept me sane but that ship had already sailed.

  12. I think I would move the painters stuff outside and say “come and get it”. I’m not sure I would allow them back into the house. I am just starting a renovation to my house this week, we do have a great GC and hopefully he stays that way…? I am nervous. Not about him, but about everything else. We can move out while it is being done thank goodness. I have been taking notes, Laurel!!! Lol!!!

  13. Laurel. I worked for a GC in Boston. I think the paint fumes get to the painters. If you haven’t hired a painter I highly recommend Fine Line Painting. also for wood flooring Boston Premier Wood Flooring out of Quincy.

  14. This stuff is so hard. We’re remodeling everything. My husband designed a shower so big I won’t use it, all that glass with our hard water is a part time job. And it made our closet smaller. Then there’s the sidewalk and steps on the side of the house. It was so bad my husband made them tear it out. A whole sidewalk!! The owner of the company came to see it. They just meekly broke it up and packed it away and no charge. We got someone else to make it. I should check for a lien on the house!!


  16. Some things just have to be done. I am a non-confrontational person and once had to fire someone hanging wallpaper. It was so bad….I could’t let them finish……difficult for me, but had to be done. Glad to see you are moving forward in a positive direction. Your vision is spot on! I can’t wait to see it done as well! 🙂

  17. Laurel, OMG! And as we used to say “Good riddance to bad rubbish”. Fingers crossed 🍀 on your new paint contractors. Good ones are really worth what they charge. And just in case here are the fabulous guys I used (referenced thru my kitchen designer) – have been used by my neighbors – very professional, focus on prep before they even think about picking up a brush, however I am not sure if they go into Boston. But just so you can add another name to your resource list:
    Paul Duren, Painting Contractor
    Phone Number: 978-263-2973
    Address: 61 Central St, Acton, MA
    Duren2 at verizon dot net

  18. Glad you finally fired the painter! I wouldn’t even trust him with the sanding. Clearly he’s breathed in too many fumes of something. Having been a painter and contractor, Laurel I highly recommend you get your floors finished first. A lot of dust is generated from floor finishing – even when they say it’s dustless. Get the floors done and the painting should be the very last thing done. I know you like Regal select on your walls but in my experience with darker colours, Aura has colour lock technology and it holds the colour over time better – making it easier to do touch ups – this is particularly good for colours that have more depth. I also love its velvety appearance. That said, regal select is good quality paint also.

  19. Oh my, I’m totally confused and need a roster of who’s in and who’s out! I think I’ve concluded that Laurel is now acting as the GC; Robert the OG GC is now out (but if so, why is he coming back on Monday?); Brendan and Eugene are still performing some role, (but don’t they answer to Robert?); Blurry and Bryan are out (and good riddance); floor guys are out; but are there others who also got the boot? This drama rivals Bridgerton!

  20. Oh Laurel! I have been following your project so closely and was in awe as to how you found contractors that were capable, showed up and most importantly “not impaired!”

    I just read this post and was really just hoping the painter was stupid! I live in an 1832 Federal on the upper coast of Maine (originally from between Baltimore and Philadelphia where I had a plethora of talent to pick from and a GC Dad that is amazing, but now lives in Tennessee). I have fired impaired plumbers, landscapers, painters, roofers and electricians more times than I have found non-impaired, capable contractors in our area! My heartbreaks for the trades as some no longer see their profession as a craft or an art form and it is only a “job.” Seriously, my 13 and 16 yo son’s have been able to prep (non-lead jobs) )and paint since they were about 9 or 10!

    My house is way, way, way, way behind on projects needing completed because of all of the above. I do as much as I can with the guidance of my 80 yo Dad over FaceTime because I am just fed up! There are 4 excellent preservation GCs in a 150 mile radius here and they are booked up 3-5 years in advance and the huge estates on MDI usually gobble them up $$$$.

    You are an inspiration to me 💕

  21. Hi Laurel,
    I’m so relieved that things are going to improve. It seems the nightmare is coming to an end.
    I feel like this is going to be a good week.

  22. Oh dear Laurel, you never once mentioned homicide in these posts regarding the paint disaster. What restraint!

  23. I fired your painter’s tiler “cousin” in Kentucky. Similar work ethic who left non-English speaking helpers to do ridiculous things with KERDI and tile in a 2nd floor shower that had to be ripped out and redone by the tile store (our son) who recommended him. Unknownst to me, he slapped a lien on our house! We lived there long enough for it to expire, but really! Watch out for that.

  24. My darling mum used to say somethings require ‘persistence and then perseverance’ and you have demonstrated both in abundance.
    Bravo Laurel xoxo

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