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Thanks for all your advice thus far. I'm taking notes and integrating your suggestions into our "master" plan.

As for the floors and walls thing, I'm a bit torn. My inclination initially was the same as that of 2gifts who says to work from the top down (e.g. paint then do the floors). However, a couple of friends argued persuasively for the other way around. Supposedly, floor work tends to lead to chipped paint (the sanding machine, even handled carefully, inevitably comes into contact with the walls) thereby creating the need for significant touch-up on a new paint job, which is harder to do well than cleaning up dust before the painters come in. When I raised the spilled paint issue, my friends pointed out that paint can be easily wiped up while still wet and that a good painter will take care with drop cloths and will do any necessary clean-up before the paint dries.

Any other thoughts on this issue?

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