Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chapter 34 – Kid Holiday painting (Day 142)

A full year into this building a home project and I’ve heard so many horror stories about poor quality materials, workmanship or lack of experience. Painted walls is one of those things I’m a little bit concerned since most Japanese homes have wall paper and it’s a lot easier to hide dry wall imperfections. But it puts me at ease that the job is currently being done by just one person with many years of experience, and the hope is that it will be uniformly well accomplished.

We’ve wanted the kids to be involved throughout the process as we feel it’s important for them to understand all the work that goes into it. Below is the girls bedroom which they will share. Instead creating 2 small bedrooms we opted to make them room 14 tatami in size or about 250 square feet (large by Japanese standards) Each child got to pick an accent color for rooms. Ishan our oldest boy picked a strong evening blue. Iva chose pink and Saya chose Baby Blue.


But no free lunch at our home. Everyone needs to chip in. So we coordinated with the builders for the kids to help with the painting. Below our Saya (7) and Iva (8) are applying the base color with the rollers under careful supervision. A note about paint fumes. There were none: EcoFlat 100 by Nihon Paint is a water soluble paint with low VOC rated 4-stars.


Between the 3 kids they were able to finish 1 coat in about 1 hour which was a lot faster and easier than anticipated.



  1. Cool! Painting is the fun part! Doing all that compounding and sanding is the dirty, tedious part!

    The really nice thing about paint is how easy it is to change as your kids grow! Imagine their teen years when black is "cool" and they discover that throwing glitter onto the paint while it's still wet makes it even cooler, if that is even possible!


  2. Hehe—great that you're getting the kids to pitch in. It's fun for the kids to be given a responsibility like that, and it should give them more of a sense of ownership of the house. I bet they enjoyed it!

  3. Wonderful project for the kids!
    We were initially so sure we would get painted walls, but we were told that it would cost us 4 times more to get painted walls than to get wallpaper. Is this accurate from your experience?
    Apparently, labor is what accounts for the higher cost with paint. Do you have any numbers on this?
    Also, we’ve seen wallpaper catalogs by 2 firms and were extremely impressed by the variety of textures, colors and properties. So we’re still debating what to do with our walls. How easy and costly is it to change wallpapers after a few years? I guess we need to get more details from our architect on this. If you have any info, please share.

  4. Ken,
    Yes, Paint is more flexible which is why I did not veto the pink and baby blue :)

    For basic white wall paper, based on my calculations it's about 750yen/sqm. Paint was about 1800/sqm. this includes all the labor costs, so it's more like 2.5 times the price. The multiple depends on the quality you are comparing on. So 4 times the price sounds about right as a starting point then it's up to you to negotiate.

    There's only 1 wall that will have a high grade accent wall paper in the master bedroom to add texture. We looked through a humongous catalog the size of 2 phone books and picked out of those. I suggest you to go to a showroom and inquire about the type of glue they use since it's a contributor to sick house syndrome.

    Good Luck.

  5. Our painted walls were 3 times the price as well.

    We went with Ecoflat by Nihon Paint as well. I hate it. We have lived here six months and need to repaint the first floor already. I am going to order online from Benjamin Moore in Tokyo.

  6. Hi Medea,
    What was wrong with Nihon paint? Hard to clean? Cracks? It is a rather mat finish which can be a challenge with younger kids.

  7. Sorry this is late. It is not possible to clean, at all. There is a mark on it where a piece of paper towel dropped onto it 1 month after painting. I have never in my life seen a wall get so scuffed by so little. I even tried a test wall with a high gloss and that is similar. Maybe it's because I've been spoiled in the past (used to work for a Farrow & Ball retailer) but it's not the quality I expected.