Friday, August 07, 2009

Plaster Pop




As you can see I am making progress in the dining room. As impressive as those pictures are, they are strategically framed so as not to show the scaffolding, tools, paint pails, and general filth that still covers a lot of the floor.

I still have three big jobs left.

1) Big: Strip the windows. When I stripped all of the paint off the woodwork several years ago I never stripped the windows and window jambs because I wasn’t sure of the best way to do it without breaking the glass. I prefer a heat gun and I was afraid the high heat would break the glass. I still prefer a heat gun, but I feel more confident with it now. When I stripped this room it was the first time I had ever stripped paint before.

2) Bigger: Finish the floor. I need to replace a few floorboards and then even out the current surface. The plan is to finish the original redwood floor as it was originally done in 1895 with tinted shellac. What I need to do is fill some minor nail holes and some larger holes from electrical conduit. I also need to smooth out the current finish. This is the original tinted shellac finish, which was hidden for decades. I had to use a heat gun to get up some tar paper that was put down under some particle board in the 70s. Once I get it smooth, I’ll use aniline die to tint the shellac a deep, dark maroon and then slather on a half dozen coats, or so. Most of the floor will be covered with carpets.

3) Biggest: Repair the fireplace. I want to be able to burn coal. To do that safely I need to line the chimney. The big problem here is that the chimney no longer extends up through the roof. I need someone to line the chimney with a double-walled, stainless steel liner, repair the fire box, and rebuild the chimney so it extends high enough above the eves to meet code. It is not going to be cheap, but what is even worse than the cost is the fact that I can’t do it myself. In eight years the only time I’ve ever hired someone to work on my house was when a friend faux-grained my upstairs bathroom door. I don’t like other people working on my house. I’m sure there are therapist out there reading this and salivating at the thought of getting me in for sessions to deal with that, but that is just the way it is.

I’m very happy with the paint and the medallion, which I painted semi-gloss white. This rest of the paint scheme is a little more bold that I usually do. Every room I’ve painted so far has had color on the walls. To date, I have no white or beige walls. Bold, contrasting colors is something I have not tried, and red walls can go horribly wrong very fast.

I must have gone to every paint store in Eureka, Arcata, and McKinleyville looking at reds. In the end though, picking the gold color was the real challenge. I found a red called “Bolero” at Sherwin Williams almost immediately, but continued to look at reds over the next few weeks to see if there was something else I liked better. There wasn’t.

The gold took a lot longer. I actually bought samples and tried a few on the walls before I made the decision. That is something I’ve never done before. I ended up going with Benjamin Moore’s “Bryant Gold”. This was the first time I’ve used Benjamin Moore and I really liked the paint. It was pretty much one coat, with some touch-up afterwards. Not so with the Sherwin Williams.

Sherwin Williams can be frustrating because you never know what you’re going to get. Some of their interior dark bases are very watery. I just don’t understand it. The exterior paints are great no matter whether it is a dark or a light base. I went in and ordered the Bolero in flat, interior latex, Super Paint and the guy told that color does not come in that paint.


I could only get Bolero in Super Paint if I went with semi-gloss. That would probably end up looking like I painted the walls in red Jell-O. I had to get it in Duration, which doesn’t come in flat. In Duration the lowest luster you can get is matte. Some paints come in matte, low-luster, and gloss, while others come in flat, satin, and semi-gloss. I mean, what the hell?

So I ended up with Bolero in Duration, matte. My blood is thicker than this paint. It took 4 coats to cover the walls. It is not that it took more paint – I didn’t even go through the gallon. It just goes on so thin that you must apply many coats to get good coverage. Very frustrating.

In the end I’m happy with it, so I guess that is what is really important.

I also made and installed picture rail to go at the confluence of the two colors. I went back to Almquist Lumber {why does that name sound familiar} to get more salvage, old-growth redwood and whipped up a batch of picture rail on the router.

I also Fine-a-Lee trimmed out the little dumb waiter style door I made oh so many years ago. I didn’t think I would ever get to that. But with that, the trim is this room is done-didly-un. My dining room woodworking days are behind me. Well, except for the windows, but that is just paint stripping, and I ask you, who doesn’t love to strip paint? No one – that’s who!

I also FINE-A-LEE finished the electrical in the whole entire house. Back in the 1970s they snaked half-inch metal conduit through the house to supply electrical outlets. It was beyond hideous but at least people had outlets and were not trying to plug everything in to the 4 outlets in the house. That’s right, I said 4. Prior to 1972 this 3500 square foot house had a total of 4 outlets in it, with most being tied in to the original 1895 wiring. Another fire waiting to happen.

I removed it all years ago when I rewired, but I never removed it from the dining room because of the paneled dado that extends 3 feet up the walls. In other rooms I cut holes in the plaster and installed modern boxes and outlets and brought everything up to code. I couldn’t bring myself to cut in to the dado. In the end, I installed the outlets in the baseboard. I had to cut in to the old redwood, but it looks so much better than the crappy conduit boxes.


Katherine said...

Wow. Oh wow. Oh double wow.

Jayne said...

When you first said you were going to paint the walls red and gold, I was dubious....but I really, really like the colors you chose. POP! is certainly the right word for that medallion. Beautiful.

Karen Anne said...

So nice and so daring. I never would have had the guts to pick those colors.

Thanks for the tip about Sherwin Williams. I thought it was just me. I painted a closet a few months ago after not having done interior painting in quite a few years. I used two coats of Sherwin Williams and it needs another coat, but I figured, well it's the utility closet, full of stuff anyway.

I'm about to do more than half of the interior of the house, so I'll try Benjamin Moore.

1916home said...

The color scheme is just awesome!!!! I am in love with it in fact. I once saw this exact scheme... red on the bottom, golden on the top on one of those HGTV shows about 4 or 5 years ago. I have not forgotten it. I told this color scheme to my brother who was remodeling his house and he just did not pick the right colors...YOU DID and yours looks fabulous! Great job! Now I cant copy!

HPH said...

WOW! Great looking medallion within your color scheme.
WOW! Beautiful chandelier under that medallion.
WOW! I still drool over the 'cabinet'.

Greg said...

Thanks everyone. I think one of the reasons the red works here is because of the paneled dado and the frieze.

With the dado, and the frieze above the picture rail, there is only about 5 vertical feet of field that has the red. Had I done the entire 10.5 of vertical wall in red, it may have been too much.

Sadie Says said...

I love the colours too! It's the right red to go with the gold. You did an excellent job. I'm just in awe of all of the work you did to restore this room. What a lucky house :-)

David said...

I like your use of bold colors for this room.

Deep reds are the most difficult paint colors for coverage (any brand). They have to be mixed in a deep tint base, which has practically no titanium dioxide - the white in most tint bases. That's why it's so runny. It's basically clear liquid and colorants with no body.

That said, I've always had good experience with Sherwin Williams Superpaint in red such as Roycroft Copper Red. No more than two coats needed. Not so with Behr.

I think VOC law compliance may explain why your Bolero red is not available in all sheens. To get the color right in flat, they may have needed to use something like the Color Accents deep tint base, which where I live in CA is discontinued for non-compliance. I've had this issue with dark browns in exterior paints, too. Every time I walk into SW something has been discontinued (in CA), the latest being their A100 brand of primer.

Greg said...


Thanks for the info. I noticed the A100 was gone. That is what I've always used in the past. There was also a paint called "Harmony" that is listed as a "no-VOC formula". I never noticed that before.


er1983 said...

That looks great! I can't get over how rich and deep the tones are, and how well they set off all of the woodwork.

Great choices on the colors.

Anonymous said...

Last time I went to SW they had CHANGED THEIR DEEP BASE so that my outside house colors no longer matched!! I made them mix to a color sample I had so I could still do touchups.

Looks great, Greg! I still think some gold stencilling would look stunning! But maybe I should let your excitement level about using some Victorian colors for the first time subside first.. . .

Greg said...

That's right, I almost forgot. When are you coming to do the stenciling? ;-)

Anonymous said...

When are you sending me the ticket?
It's just another skill to add to your repertoire. Hey, if you can do plastering you can do stencilling. I'll send you some websites.

Greg said...

It is not so much that I can't do it, so much as I don't want to do it. I did the stenciling in the mud room and it wasn't too bad, but that was a small space.

I'm not sure I have the stamina at this point to spend that much time on something that tedious. I will admit though, that it would look great to do a red stencil pattern on the gold frieze.

slateberry said...

That is a beautiful photo of your picture rail. Putting it on the marble is such a tease!

When I make mitre cuts to molding for my house, I save the corner bits and put tiny screw eyes in them. then I give them to friends as Christmas ornaments. I don't know if they like it much, but to me it's symbolic to give a piece of my house away. And some of the pieces look really cool, especially if they're pre-stained--the contrast between the finished and cut areas looks good.