Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The "Character" of Creativity, Experimentation and Communication applied to New Walls

Andrea and I decided to begin work on remaking the middle room in the house.  Traditionally, this would be the dining room in a Victorian but we feel most comfortable using it as our main room where we hang out, watch movies and entertain.  The concept of a dining room seems to be of less importance these days as families tend to not be so big and relationships seem more fragmented.  Besides, on those occasions when Andrea's rather large family comes for a visit, we bring out the big table and put it in the Salon de Sylvia, which is still bereft of furniture.

One of the big problems about tackling walls on an old house is having to choose between taking out old, drabby plaster/drywall or painting over it again.  The main problem with the walls in the house is that they were spray coated with paint in such a way that they are extremely bumpy as well as completely lacking in any character.  This makes it a challenge to get the 'smooth look' we like and prevents us from using sticky-back picture holders for our artworks.

 After some research and thought, I decided we should skim coat the walls and do a little light sanding to achieve a smoother wall we could work with.  Andrea and I then talked about if we should paint or use wallpaper.  We wanted to stick to Victorian colors but not duplicate what we already did to other rooms.   Advice for such a project swung towards going with color to match your furniture, but we didn't have any and didn't know what we would eventually get.  In addition, the carpet hid more oak flooring similar to the parlor and I knew I would eventually want to bring that out as well.

I redid the redwood molding and wainscot areas of the room so we need to have colors that complimented those.  I pictured something dark and she pictured something with a little minty in it.

What we came upon was to first paint both walls a Deep Garnet in eggshell.  Nice color but once again the bumpiness and unevenness of the old walls still stuck out.  In addition, it made the room too dark and look a bit like a bar! lol.  My beautiful wife has a great sense of color and she added Heath and Wheat as top coats that were applied using our favorite method: sponging.   Add glaze to your top coats and then sponge it on completely eliminates the bumpiness in the walls and gives it a smooth, almost wallpaper feel to the walls.

We kept the garnet on the lower half of the wall to mimic the dark wainscot on the other walls and added a strip of wallpaper border at chair rail height a la "a trome l'oeil".   We hoped the contrasting colors would be tied together by this border we found at Urban Ore for $1.

This project took a week to do and 1.5 bags of drywall paste, one gallon of garnet and 2 sample cans of Heath and Wheat and one pint of glaze.
We'll work our way around the room until it all looks the same!

What do you think?


  1. Good ideas! I like the way you express your idea and the topic you choose. KEep on your sharing! I appreciate it. house painter phoenix

    1. Thanks Carl! It's high praise indeed coming from a professional painter like yourself.

  2. Great job on the redecoration! It’s very chic and classy! You did a good job sanding your wall too. It looks smooth, and the surface goes well with the paint. My neighbor did their sanding and repainting as well, but their walls were much harder to sand because they had grooves and larges ridges. What they did was, instead of using sand paper, they just touch it up with another coat of paint. It’s more convenient, and too much sanding can damage the paper surface of the dry wall.

    1. Thanks Phoebe!

      Perhaps my post wasn't clear enough but, I just re-coated our bumpy walls with drywall paste, let it dry and then did a light sanding. That and the 3-paint sponge process helped deliver these marvelous new walls.

      We just love looking at them and now probably won't even hang any pictures up! lol