Saturday, June 27, 2009


Ok, so I panicked. I realize that now. Still, with everything in the news these days about The Swine Flu, you can’t be too cautious.

As I was walking through the dining room with my first cup of coffee of the morning I thought I spotted a Swine Flu virus on the floor. I quickly dumped out my coffee and slammed the cup down on top of it. I then preceded to isolate the room from the rest of the house.

After I sealed the room off and got plastic sheeting over everything, I donned my homemade biohazard suit and with a can of Lysol in hand I carefully lifted the coffee cup off of the “virus”.

Well, it turned out to be an ant. A very confused and angry ant at this point, but an ant none the less. No, there was no Swine Flu in my house and I was completely safe after all.

Boy, isn’t my face red.

It wasn’t a complete waste of time, though. Now that the dining room is sealed off from the rest of the house and all of the woodwork is covered in plastic, the stage is set for plaster wall repair. The plaster is largely intact and structurally sound. The first step will be to clean the walls and get rid of any remnants of wall paper. I stripped off the 7 or 8 layers of wallpaper years ago, so this should not be too difficult.

I will then patch the minor nail holes and small divots. Once that is done I will paint the entire surface with Weld-Crete. Weld-Crete is a masonry adhesive made by Larson Industries. Its purpose is to help the new skim coat adhere to the 100+ year old lime plaster. They also make a product called Plaster-Weld, which would be more appropriate for this application, but the local supplier only carries Weld-Crete. They are essentially the same thing, only Weld-Crete is designed for exterior, industrial applications.

After the Weld-Crete is applied and has had time to dry I will skim coat with Diamond Finish plaster. After that I will paint, which brings me to my most feared and hated job of all…

Picking Out Paint Colors

This hideous and disgusting process started today.

Because I already have the dado in the room I will be doing a traditional “tripartite” wall where the wall is divided horizontally in to three parts: The dado, field, and frieze. This is a style that was popular from about 1870 to about 1910 and was championed by critics of the time like Charles Eastlake and Clarence Cook. When selecting colors of paint or wallpaper it was suggested that the frieze should be light in color, with the field darker, and the dado the darkest. The ceiling will be the same color as the frieze.

I’m leaning towards a red field and a gold frieze with a picture rail where the two meet. The dado, of course, is the burl redwood raised paneled wainscoting that is original to the room. So far the first round of color selection includes Sherwin William’s Bolero (7600) for the field and Humble Gold (6380) for the frieze and ceiling. If history repeats itself I will decide I don’t like these colors only after I have painted the entire room.

Another hair-brained idea I have is to paint the ceiling sky-blue and sponge on large, fluffy white clouds. I think this would only work if I applied a heavy cornice where the frieze and ceiling meets and chose something else for the field and frieze. Given that I have 2 green rooms in the house and the exterior paint is a monochromatic green color scheme, any shade of green is out of the question.


HPH said...

Whew. That was close. It would be a tragedy for those beatiful 'cabinets' to come down with the flu. Way to protect them!

1916home said...

I dont know where Ive been... but all this walnut talk and photos I dont ever remember seeing the other side of the room! It looks BIG and nice! Im sure whatever colors you choose it is going to look awesome!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to stencil something on that frieze and wall. On the wall some gold fleur-de-lis would look nice, or a few narrow gold lines just above the dado and below the picture rail.

Then on to the windows! J C Penney has some nice lace curtains that are frequently on sale.

I can't resist vicariously decorating your dining room because I am stuck at MY most hated job--sanding.
(Ha! Word verifiation - pregy - highly unlikely!)

kathy said...

Too bad you're on the opposite side of the US. I've got a 5-gal. bucket of PlasterWeld in the garage.

I drooled over that cabinet/work of art, btw.

Greg said...


That is too bad. That stuff ain't cheap.


Stenciling is a great idea. I'll let you know when I'm ready for you to start. ;-)


Katherine said...

Why aren't you exploring a wallpaper frieze?

I like the idea of the red and gold, but I would like aubergine better. I seem to recollect that red was considered out of fashion by the end of the century.

What colors are in the carpet?

Greg said...

I tried to come up with an answer as to why I'm not doing a wallpaper frieze. The only thing I could come up with is that I'm not doing it because I don't want to. I just have a picture in my head of what the room will look like when it is done and a wallpaper frieze is not a part of the picture.

I'm sure it would look nice if I got the right paper.

The carpet is redish. You can see a picture of it in the May 11th blog entry.

Boolysteed said...

I know why no wall paper. After putting on the diamond plaster coat, that requires, NO SANDING, it would be a crime to cover them with wall paper. I'll just throw it out there, venetian plaster. It would be beautiful. the colors are more subtle as they are incorporated in the plaster. Trust me, no one will be looking at the wall with the redwood "masterpiece" in the room. And I'm going to guess, that all that redwood is going to cast a red glow to the room as well. My 2 cents.

Boolysteed said...

Greg, if you are using Plaster Weld on the ceiling, mean you don't do 3 (scratch, brown, finish) coat on plaster. You are just going to add a "diamond" finish coat? And does the plaster weld go on like the other mixes? Thanks.

Boolysteed said...

Greg, if you are using Plaster Weld on the ceiling, mean you don't do 3 (scratch, brown, finish) coat on plaster. You are just going to add a "diamond" finish coat? And does the plaster weld go on like the other mixes? Thanks.

Greg said...

The plaster in this room is original and in very good shape so I'm just doing some minor patching and them skim-coating. The Plaster-Weld gets rolled on like paint to the original plaster and then the skim-coat goes on. The Plaster-Weld is a bonding agent designed to help the skim-coat stay put. There are other types of bonding agents that you can add to the plaster as you mix it.