New House Paint on the Exterior

The biggest cosmetic change over the last two months is that we repaired and painted the exterior of the house. Here’s some of the painting-after photos (the color is deceptive – this is gray with a brown undertone):

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The house still had its original paint color of when we built it 18 years ago – a khaki green color. The trim around the windows was really suffering as well as two areas where squirrels had taken advantage of wood rot to gain access to the attic.

The house was WAYY overdue for a repair and paint job! In the photo below, the paint is still drying on the left (and why it looks uneven) while the painter repairs our chimney stack. Boy, I can’t believe he got it done in 12 hours with just one helper!

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We had discussed possible paint colors with a real estate agent years back and she had recommended gray.  The brick on our house is a red color (no orange-red) and had a gray/smoky black accent brick. As you can see from the photos we have a unique mortar – called “weeping mortar” – it is not a mistake and some people like it (like us) and some people don’t.

We went around to some neighborhoods that were a notch above ours and scoped out a bunch of houses with brick about the color of ours that had painted the wood gray. Definitely liked it! However, we preferred the darker grays, not the light colors.

One thing we did not like was the really light color trim around the windows and roof trim. The white trim with dark color would look better in a Cape Cod neighborhood and with a house with alot more wood showing. For example, this house has a large wood facade over the garage, so the two colors of paint work! I also love the shutters!

two_tone_paint_color_exterior_house_shutter_detail2_simplyrooms

However, this style just didn’t suit or house and we both thought it chopped up the line of the house too much. Our front house profile actually has far more brick than wood and could handle a darker color in order to make a statement.

Some people make out doing exterior house paint more complicated then it needs to be. Since we are reselling in three years, I just needed a nice neutral that showed off the brick of the house, and would be acceptable to a large number of shoppers. I didn’t need the exact right shade of gray out of 20 different test paints.

1.) Drive thru neighborhoods with similar styled houses and take note of paint colors. Take photos.

2.) I had collected paint colors through Pinterest and read various blog comments etc… that were attached to popular colors in the color family I planned on using.

3.) Get some test paint samples and put on the house. Make sure the test paint is put on in a big enough area you can see it from a distance. Look at it in different lights and keep it up for a few days. See what you think.

4.) If not happy, go back to the paint store. Painting a house is a huge undertaking and expensive. Better to invest in some more test quarts than tell the painter to stop in the middle of the job!

5.) Paint!

Going darker, which we ended up doing, was taking our paint a little out of the comfort zone of many of the houses in our neighborhood. About 80 percent or more still sporting the same light taupe colors the builder had put on over two decades ago! We felt it was worth the risk as more expensive houses had gone darker in tone, and we wanted to stand out but not too much.

Our Painter uses Sherwin Williams so we tried two shades on the front entrance (French Gray was the lighter) and we decided on the darker color, 7019 Gauntlet Gray (the painter chose a Satin finish which I LOVE!). With the needed repairs, this was a $2,000 job for a professional house painter (someone we saw do a house in our neighborhood and who really impressed us with the work they did).

before_after_house_exterior_paint_simply_rooms

I’ll get more photos once the sun comes back out. The brick color in the bottom before photo is more accurate. The top after photo was taken in really strong sunlight so the color is a bit off. New photos will be coming soon.

This is just the beginning of the house exterior redo – we plan on putting up shutters and doing a hardware accent on the garage, as well as new landscaping. However, after the big expenses we have had, I’m going back to smaller projects inside the house.

DIY Changing Solid Cabinet Doors to Glass Inserts

I found a great article here about the step-by-step process of converting solid cabinet doors to glass. We lucked out and our cabinet doors were panel doors. In the long run, this saved us some substantial money as we were able to change the look of our kitchen without paying a carpenter!

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Like I’ve written before always do a test door before proceeding with your actual cabinets. I had several cabinet doors I was removing for good (converting to open cabinetry) so it wasn’t a problem for me. However, if you don’t have a spare door, check out your local Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore where they sell odds and ends for home remodeling for dirt cheap prices.

Husband used a router but if you don’t have one, they are available for rental from tool shops. You can also find them used at tool consignment shops, on sale during Black Friday at Home Improvement stores, and off of Craigslist. They have great uses!

In the following photos, I marked important areas with a black Sharpie so you could better see what we were doing. Lime green lines are to show areas of interest.This work is done on the INSIDE of the cabinet door, not the face.

For this DIY experiment, we used the paint test door I made for the kitchen.  The areas marked with an X will be removed during this conversion.

When you look at the door edge you can see where the pieces have been fitted together to make the door. A panel cabinet door is not cut from one piece so it makes it easier to do this conversion.

Measuring this area tells you the depth to set your router blade.

Measuring off this side joint, you can figure the depth of the long cutting line from the edge of the inside of the cabinet door. We first measured the longest sides of the cabinet door, the short side, and lastly, the short side with the arch.

We will be clamping down a guide board. The Guide Board helps the router give a steady pass down a straight line. Measure the edge of the router to the edge of the other side of the blade, like so:

The Guide Board is measured at both ends to match the router edge to blade measurement and is clamped down.

The Guide Board was adjusted after we checked the router blade at the draw cut line. The router blade is sitting on the inside of the cut line and that is where it should be (click photo for a close up view).

VERY IMPORTANT!

The Router must be moved around the OUTSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a COUNTERCLOCKWISE movement.

The Router must be moved around the INSIDE of a rectangle (or circle) on a CLOCKWISE movement.

If you goof up that is okay – the above directions just make it easier for the router to cut.

The first pass of the router doesn’t make the cut we need so we go back for a second pass. This isn’t unusual during the first cut and you can always adjust the blade. We did the two longest sides first, the short side, and lastly the side with the arch. If you look closely at the second pic in this series (click on any photo for a close up) you can see how the panel is made up of fitted pieces:

The Guide Board is moved when we do the short ends.

All four sides of the inside of the panel are now cut.

The arch of the panel (on the inside of the door) also needs to be removed. You can do this with your router, by just scrubbing the bits out by running the router against the edges.

The inside of the panel lifts right out:

and the cabinet door becomes two pieces…

The doors were painted with chalk paint and went from orange oak stain to an off-white and distressed.

Glass was installed by Robinson Glass with 4 doors: 9″ x 21″ glass inserts with “seedy” (glass with a slight bubble pattern) at approximately $14.50 each panel ($54 total). If doing the glass installation yourself, remember to use a clear silicone caulk.

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Want to see more about cabinets? There’s more on the blog right here….

Tips on painting a ceiling

When remodeling a room you should plan on doing the work from the ceiling down when it comes to repairs, painting, installation etc… One major reason for this is painting a ceiling IS messy! Splatter WILL go everywhere.

Everything on the floor must be covered, remove what you can, and have a wet rag on hand to immediately clean up drips. Since I plan on replacing counters and painting the cabinets, I was only concerned about splatter hitting the ceramic floor. It’s the reason that builders, spray plaster on and paint before the flooring goes it. It makes the job go a lot faster and the risk of damaging anything is lessened.

Equipment

Roller, can opener, stir sticks, damp wiping rag for splatters, and lots and lots of dropclothes. If you step away from your job for a while, wrap the roller in a plastic bag so you can re-use. If you will be gone for over two hours, put the plastic wrapped roller in the fridge to slow down paint drying.

A paint roller handle that has an extension is necessary for doing ceilings. Without it your back will start to hurt.

I bought a paint roller screen which sits down into your 5 gallon bucket. This removes the need for a tray or pouring out paint into a tray so the job goes faster, it wastes less paint and the jobsite remains neater.

When planning the amount of paint you will need, if painting over fresh plaster (which we did) consider that you will use half again as much paint. For example, the ceiling would probably normally take a gallon and a half; I planned on using two gallons at least.

For the majority of the house, I used a simple white flat latex ceiling paint. That way I could extend the paint and anything left over could be used in any room. However, for this room I will be choosing a color.

Choosing a Color for Ceilings

When I used to watch Christopher Lowell’s show, he always recommended painting the ceiling of a room a color. I would pick two complimentary, but different colors and the ceiling was always too obvious. I mean your eyes would zero in on the ceiling and that wasn’t where I wanted the eyes to go. 

Martha Stewart also paints the ceiling of rooms a separate color then the walls. She does it in this matter: Room A has Color 1 on the walls, and Color 2 on the ceiling; then the adjoining room would have Color 2 on the walls and Color 3 on the ceiling and so on. This was profiled in one of her magazine articles yet, all of this seems overally complicated to me and means more colors you have to deal with in your design. More colors also means more paint left over and increased costs.

OTOH sometimes a white ceiling doesn’t do it for me, especially in a room which has a high ceiling. For example, in the powder room, I painted the ceiling a silver. It’s so high that the color is not oppressive which it would be in a lower ceiling room.

Because the kitchen has a high ceiling, has a lot of views while you sit in the breakfast nook to eat, and I will be installing white crown molding, I wanted to paint the ceiling a color other then white. Over the years of experimenting, I decided that what I would do is take the wall color (Rock) and use some of it to tint white flat ceiling paint. It would be substantially lighter in color then the wall, but would not be white, and the colors would automatically compliment each other.

Mixing Paint

To start with, I got two large, clean 5 gallon containers ($5 each at Lowes), two gallons of flat white ceiling paint (about $22 each), and I had a quart of Valspar’s allen + roth Rock ar720 (Lowes) leftover. Rock is the color all the downstairs walls will be painted in order for the downstairs to appear bigger for sale purposes.

I poured both of the two gallons of white together, and hand stirred. Then I added the Rock color gradually. Stirring and testing the color on the walls. Depending on how picky you are with this you may want to make a bigger patch area and let dry before proceeding with adding more color to your white base. If you get it too dark, it’s very hard to get it lighter again while it’s easier to keep darkening the white. For my purposes, I wasn’t that picky so used about a quart of Rock to two gallons of white.

TIP! ~ If you were mixing more then two gallons I suggest you get a paint mixer attachment for your drill to ensure thorough mixing.

Then I pour out about half into the second bucket, hand stir again, and then pour back to the original. Mixing paint in this manner should be done if you will be using more then one gallon of the same paint color in a room. For example, the family room will take three gallons of paint – I will mix all of them together to ensure the color is even throughout the painting process.

TIP! ~ Even if the paint is bought from the same store, at the same time, with the same product color and brand, slight variation can exist between cans. This variation will be blatantly obvious when applied to the walls or ceiling. Mixing the cans will ensure you don’t end up with streaks.

If using a custom mix, always, ALWAYS have enough paint on hand to finish the job. If you run out of a custom mix in painting a large flat area such as a ceiling you have no where you can conceal a break and change in paint. For example, when painting walls, you can switch to a new gallon of the same color at a corner but that isn’t true of a ceiling. And expecting a color match to be accurate on a custom mix is simply not going to happen.

While the job isn’t quite finished, and it’s hard to take a photo showing the proper color on the ceiling here is a bit of how the colors are working out. Between the ceiling and wall will be crown molding painted the same white as the door trim. This was another reason I wanted a color on the ceiling – the white between the two will have a sharper definition.

The Devil is in the Details

This week was working on catch up on many little projects…

We continue to replace all the upstairs door hardware with the new oil rubbed, brass doorknobs that I found at Restore (Habitat for Humanity) for such great prices. Upstairs alone that’s a total of 16 doors!

Each door has gotten an update of white enamel paint as well as the door frames. While time consuming, it’s so much easier to paint them when off the door frame.

BTW I’ve painted trim with latex and will never do so again. It looks okay until you try to clean it, then it starts to rub and peel off. Go with enamel for doors and trim. Also, go with one color (hated Trading Spaces and Clean House when they paint the trim some off color like dark purple!). One color makes the room and overall floor plan look bigger. It also cuts down on needing additional cans of paint in multi-colors (no half quarts left).

This time around all the doors and trim are getting Lowes, Valspar Ultra Premium High Gloss, White Enamel. This is not a tinted color so is $29 a gallon. I picked it because the bright white practically pokes your eyeballs out! I’m tired of these off-white colors which look dirty 20 minutes after you apply it.

I would personally plan on repainting trim about every three years in a house with children and pets; about every five with adults only. For hall walls, plan on the same if not more often. It’s why we put these corner wall protectors up -the corners get bashed up by kids and moving furniture.

I’m also touching up the trim around the doorways as some of the wall paint got onto them. It will make them look crisp and really sharp! Professional painters can do this with a sash brush and no tape. I’m not so good so mark out with painters tape and use a 1″ brush for where the moulding meets wall. For trim moulding around the door I use a 4″ foam cabinet door roller, and a foam brush to get the moulding’s edge.

I’ve also found a few spots where paint didn’t get onto the wall as well as it should. This always seems to be a problem because our walls are not smooth but textured with knockdown plaster. As the daylight changes throughout the day, I sometimes find a different spot so, as I find it, I have marked it with painters tape so I can go back and touch up.

This week the ceiling fixtures in closets and halls (7 in total) will be removed and the light rings spraypainted an oil rubbed bronze color to match the door hardware. It’s really amazing how much the home already looks newer with these few changes.

Another change we will be doing is replacing some of the light switches. The switches to the door that leads to the attic were really dirty – probably from carrying boxes in and out of the attic. I didn’t feel they could be scrubbed clean because they deal with electricity (water+electricity) so we just replaced them at 88 cents each.

Here you can see the new switches (left and right) next to the old (middle switch) – Quite a difference! This middle switch is going to become a dimmer so hence why it isn’t replaced yet.

TIP! Check all the electricity in your house (i.e. switches, outlets, fans,  phone, etc…) and make sure they work before putting the house on the market; a good inspection will find these problems and it may put doubt in your buyers’ mind about the quality of the home.

For example, we found the downstairs ceiling fan light wasn’t working- in taking it apart turns out the kids must have flung a marble up into the electrical box! Since we don’t use that light I had never noticed. Also, the phone outlet next to the bed needs to be replaced as it is not working either.

All these are small changes but it’s going to take a full week to get them wrapped up.

Changing paint color mid-stream

Usually I’m pretty good at picking paint but this time I goofed. I originally planned on using Lowes’ Waverly Tawny Green WV36007 on the master bathroom walls. I’ve been very pleased with Waverly’s Nordic Blue WV37007 (changes colors in different lights and isn’t so “baby” blue but a little cooler) but this green just didn’t do it for me.

Probably this would be fine in a baby room or somewhere you wanted to go soft and pastel-y but I wanted a strong, green-gray in the master bathroom and after a week of living with a test patch, I gave it the thumbs down.

Instead I’ve gone with Sherwin Williams SW Escape Gray #6185 (this is in their HGTV line) and I LOVE IT!  This is a dark gray-green color which makes the moulding really pop out and brings out the gray tone in the mosiac tile we had picked for the backsplash.

The weekend was spent painting – painting walls, trim, doors and more. I’ve got some more touchups to do but here are some rough photos too share; the photos were taken with a flash at night. See the before paint photos here… BTW the wall paint doesn’t go all the way up to the ceiling as we are putting in crown moulding.

Because the room has a lot of natural light and white moulding/doors, this darker color works. I don’t know that I would put it in a bathroom with no windows though.

The point is if a color isn’t working for you, don’t hesitate to ditch it. You’ll regret painting an entire room and then saying yuck so if your test area isn’t wowing you, re-group and go with another color. Paint is generally the cheapest thing you will do in a room so feel free to change it.

Project: Secretary Desk ~ country to classic

A few years into our marriage, I had redone the secretary desk that was from my parents home. Originally, it had been stained a dark color by my dad in the 1970’s. In the late 1980’s, I redid it in colors of green and orange. Now, I’m ready for a new incarnation.

before

After doing a lot of looking online at various photos of different colored hutches, I decided to go wtih black. If you want a piece in a traditional color choose black, white/cream, or gray. These are the “neutrals” of painted furniture and will last a long time and work with a wide variety of decorating styles.

drawers repaired with Bondo (pink)

Since this piece doesn’t have a protective topcoat, I just cleaned any dust and grime off with a slighty damp cloth. I don’t want the pine knots to show this time so spray-primed knot areas with B-I-N (an oil based spray primer) to prevent bleed through.

spray primer to cover pine knots

I painted the entire unit with one coat of gray primer (Valspar Latex Enamel Undercoat) I had on hand. I mostly used a 4″  foam roller to apply the primer; a brush was used to work primer into the curves and recesses.

After it dried overnight, the first coat of color, Black Onyx (Glidden, Home Depot), was applied with a 4″ foam roller. The first coat should be thin. There were a total of 3 coats and between the 2nd and 3rd I did one light sanding by hand with a 220 sanding block. This was enough because the surface was very smooth already.

Valspar Waverly Classics – Gull W38006A was used to color the hutch interior and desk area of the Secretary. This was leftover from the bathroom project.

I removed the old backing to the hutch area and replaced it with fabric (Hancocks upholstery fabric, two yards on sale for $15). Replacing the backing is an easy fix, especially if it is warped, damage or obviously stained or peeling. I personally like a hutch or shelf unit backing that is a contrast to the main body of the furniture.

Nowadays, stencils or wallpaper are trendy for the back decoration.  Stencils do best on large flat areas such as drawer fronts, table tops, or the sides of a hutch or dresser. Stencils were in, then out, and now seem to be coming back in.  JMO but stencils went out due to overuse and people using multi-colors (i.e. think grapes with green leaves and purple fruit) so keep it simple.

A very dry 4″ foam roller was brushed over the stencil to achieve the effect. The damask stencil is from Michaels, though Hobby Lobby had a similar, but larger pattern.

The only tricky thing about stencils is lining them up and making sure they are truly centered. You’ll need to use a ruler and painters tape to mark out the alignment.

Use a tacky adhesive to get them to stay put during the process and make sure you press any curlicues or cut edges down carefully as they often pop back up when the paint is applied, making a smear. When using an adhesive be aware that it will pick up any dust and dirt, so put a piece of tape on the end and hang it to the side (not the floor!) with paint side out to keep it clean.

Distressing: I considered it, but decided not to with this piece. It’s not a high quality piece and the drawer fronts are thin boards of pine that would be easily damaged by a heavy hand.

After stenciling, I let it dry overnight before I gave the entire piece two coats of wipe-on, water based poly (fine for dark colors but not for white/light). This works fine as this piece is not a table (wipe on poly is not durable enough for table tops JMO). Later, I’ll put on some clear wax, which gives a nice soft glow

NOTE! An oil based poly cannot be used on top of latex paint; it will also yellow over time.

Hardware: The drawer knobs are from Hobby Lobby; the lower drawers were the original just spraypainted light gray (Ace Premium Enamel spraypaint).

Still thinking on what I’ll put in it – simple white pottery, some silver, and books or …. With the busier backing I don’t want to put in a lot of patterned pieces on the shelves. It also has door fronts that I’m still working on which will be with an open grillwork of some sort.

Room: Ta-da the new, powder room (bathroom)!

What surprised me about this remodel is I came into it with a plan – and much of that plan was thrown out! It became important to be flexible and it’s one reason the room took longer then expected. Although the room wasn’t quite what I had originally imagined… it’s far better!

As we progressed, it became clear that some things weren’t going to work out. The cream color for the cabinets just didn’t look good with the bright blue of the walls; the bird paintings were too yellow and square for the vertical height of the wall (and were moved to the hallway outside the bathroom), the first, selected light fixture was going to be too dark for the light feeling of the room, and the dark mirror frame got changed to silver.

See the gallery of the new bathroom!

 

Thoughts on this room ~

For some time, I’ve felt that the height of the room (9 feet) needed to be featured. We did that with a speciality, pearl paint (Winter Blue Fox from Lowes) in a metallic silver for the ceiling, two patterns of crown moulding and a cabinet that reached all the way to the ceiling. Vertical artwork also draws your eye upwards.

Originally we had picked a stock vanity but I kept looking for a unique table that we could use instead. This became a big headache because the space was so small that most dressers (at 34-36″ were too wide) and end tables were too low. Persistence paid off when we found this table at an antiques mall in another city. Stripped, sanded, and redone in the grey to match the cabinet it is topped with Italian marble and a vessel sink.

For such a small room, it was expensive, time consuming and a pain in the neck. While I think it turned out lovely, I’ll be glad to work on some larger bathroom projects that don’t need as many changes.

Total remodel cost ($1400):

Wall finish– Lowes’ Venetian Plaster Aquamarina #67. Because we started with flat walls, one gallon did the job ($40).

Ceiling – Lowes Pearl paint (Blue Winter Fox) with crown moulding ($80).

Vanity ($120) – with marble top ($250), vessel sink ($125), and a new faucet ($150)

Overjohn cabinetextended height size with molding and wood, repainted, and new door pulls ($150).

Base Moulding – removed and replaced with larger molding ($20). Painted Chef White (from available paint)

Fixtures and extras – lighting fixture ($25), mirror ($60), towels and towel bar, toilet paper hanger, toilet bowl brush, trash can ($60).

ArtArtwork from Bed, Bath and Beyond (bought with $5 off coupons for $20 each small, $40 for the large) $120.

Toilet – The one chosen for the downstairs powder room is a space saver, quiet flush from Jacuzzi ($200).

This bathroom is now finished except for a few extra touches such as a towel bar and a soap dispenser — whew!!

How-To: painting furniture 5 ~ paint combinations

There are as many ways to create your piece of painted furniture as there are minds out there to create it! Before proceeding on a painting project, it’s helpful to do a search for other images that can help you decide on color, pattern, style and technique.

Here’s a sampling of some excellent examples of basic painted furniture designs to get you started.

BTW, featured projects were used with permission. Photos remain the property of their author. Click on any photo to go directly to the furniture’s home blog post which gives details of the project.

Solid color~ one color on a furniture piece can be a statement – especially if you want to go loud and colorful! The key is size, color and finish. Here’s a fantastic trio of red tables (spraypaint) by Janette Drost.

Just be aware that one solid color, whether that color is black or firehouse red, can become overwhelming on a huge piece such as an armoire, hutch or bookshelf. Use distressing, a glaze, or another color to give really large pieces more interest.

Two colors – For really large pieces, such as hutches, Secretary desks and bookshelves, using two colors can give more vibrancy to a piece that would have been boring if all in one shade.

I’m especially loving pieces that combine painting with a stained counter/desktop. Too many painted pieces in a room becomes a bit boring. Here is a fantastically, subtle piece by Gloria Fox at Potentially Beautiful. Be sure to read the blog post for details on how she brought out it’s full potential (including an unexpected glazing color over the white).

Check out this bold look with contrasting drawers of this dresser by DeVore. This really gives a modern, geometric feel to a piece and I love her knob selection.

Contrasting backs – I really like having a contrasting back to a bookshelf or hutch. Backings can be stenciled, use fabric or wallpaper, or just be painted/stained a complimentary color.

Check out B.E. interiors secret surprise armoire ~ a lining of fabric makes it a delightful jewel box.

Here’s my secretary desk project, with fabric on the backing of the hutch area.

 

Want it more subtle? My black bookshelves have a stained back. Afraid of stain? Try a gel stain – it’s easier to apply and use.

Distressed by sanding with two colors – This method takes two colors: an undercoat and a topcoat which will contrast. JMO but I’d recommend hand sanding (not using the electric sander) to reveal the undercoat because an electric sander can sometimes take off too much until you get used to how it works.

Here is another winner by Miss Mustard Seed… see the post for comparisons of Chalk Paint vs. Milk Paint projects. How much you want to distress back will be determined by how primitive you want your piece to look and she has a large variety of distressed examples on this post.

JMO but those with simpler forms with a more country look look better with more distressing, while ornate, carved pieces such as French Provincal look better with minor distressing and glaze.

Distressed black with rubbed stain – one of my favorite combinations: paint black, distressed with sanding, and then the bare wood is stained for aging. For example, Walnut stain makes a beautiful contrast to black.

Proper and Prim has a lovely black cabinet with a classic style of distressed finish. This style could fit any sort of country – American, English or French. Note how she sanded the area where the cabinet knobs go to simulate natural wearing.

I have a DIY post about how this technique is done using the legs of the dining room table.

Chippy (paint flaking) – have you seen that old furniture where the paint has chipped off in bits? Similar to the two color sanding effect for distressing, this also uses two colors.  Where it differs, is the paint is not rubbed off in streaks or batches but chipped off with a tool.

Have a dark base and put on some white, and start chunking off the top paint. White over something dark seems to be a favorite combination and The Painted Hive uses a secret weapon to achieve it.

Color base with contrasting pattern – such as stripes, diamonds, etc…

Lori at Mud Pie Studio sports a diamond pattern on the side of a desk with a contrasting stained desktop. Her blog post gives complete details and a photo essay of how it was done.

What I especially like about this piece is the restraint she used – she could have put polka dots over here, added contrasting painted drawer fronts and put on neon knobs! Instead, it’s tasteful, classic but interesting – a piece that will last a long time, no matter how the room changes.

Want it brighter? Check out this bureau featuring an Argyle pattern on never a dull day.

Color base with contrasting image – vine, bird on branch, clock face, etc…

This reverse, custom stencil project is easier then it first appears. Step-by-step instructions by artist, Lena Corwin show how to make it happen for you (scroll down on the article).

Birds are very hot right now in decorating. Check out Christina’s classic white-gray-gray desk with bird stencil all done on a non-existent budget.

JMO but where stencils go wrong is where they try to appear as if the item is “real” – it’s not still life painting 101! Go with stencils that are contrasting between two colors to give the impression of a form or outline, rather then trying to imitate a photograph.

Decoupage – newspaper, letters, stamps, postcards, maps, posters, etc….

A sidetable sweet enough to sing by Miss Mustard Seed. Applying sheet music to the tabletop she goes the extra step with some distressing and an aging topcoat you can read about on her blog post.

Some things I really like about this piece is that the size of the table makes it versatile: as a side table to a couch or chair, as well as something that could be tucked in a corner on it’s own or settled next to a desk. The color makes it a piece that will last forever no matter how you change your future style!

Sarah and Nathan used an Italian calendar for a beautiful little desk that makes you dream of holidays when doing your homework!

This is just a sampling of the many ideas you can use to create your own treasure!

How-To: painting furniture 4 ~ selecting paint

When selecting paint (other then spraypaint) your options fall into two, broad catagories:

1.) Oil based paint. Nowadays it’s almost impossible to find for interior use though is still commonly used with stains, primers and exterior paints.

Oil based paints are as durable as hell and was the choice for mouldings, cabinets, kitchens and bathrooms where hard usage was expected. They also take longer to dry so were great for those that wanted to play with the paint’s effects. I also think sometimes oil based paints give a richer color then latex.

If you can find it, oil based primers will give you a better base to work with then a similar product in latex. It should be applied with a brush, not a roller. Be sure to let it completely dry; I prefer overnight.

Oil based paints are more toxic then latex, require specialized disposal of it’s waste product, and needs paint thinner to clean the brushes vs. water for latex. When working with oil based products be sure to do so in a well ventilated area and wear a mask if not working outdoors.

Be aware of your city’s ordinances. Oil based paint cans usually have to be disposed of in a certain manner, as well as the waste product of paint and cleaning products to prevent ground water contamination.

JMO but if you are a casual DIY person who wants to do a couple of projects, I would skip straight to latex paints.

2.) Latex paints. For their ease of use and cleanup latex can’t be beat. However, because they do dry so quickly you can end up with more brush strokes, drips or errors. For most painting furniture projects you will most likely be working with latex.

NOTICE! There are some issues with combining latex and oil paints and primers. A primer can be oil-based and have a latex paint applied on top or another oil-based paint. If the primer is latex, it CANNOT have an oil based paint put on top.

For example, you put on a latex paint and then get an oil-based poly for the protective coat – wrong! This will cause issues later down the road because the oil is on top of the latex. A latex paint should have a water based poly coat or other water based protective product put on top, not something like varnish or shellac.

3.) Enamel can be either Latex or Oil based. Generally, it refers to a hard wearing paint that has a glossy finish. It is often used for mouldings, trim, cabinets and exterior uses.

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Interior vs. Exterior: Use Interior for furniture that will be kept indoors. Although, you may want to consider exterior for porch furniture as it is designed to deal with wet, rain, humidity and changes in temperature.

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Both latex and oil based paints come in different sheens. For example, flat, eggshell, semi-gloss and gloss. JMO but the paint guy and gals don’t really seem to understand how a furniture painter will be using their paint; most of the time their recommendations are wrong so read up and know what you want before you go.

Flat – not really appropriate for furniture projects. This paint sheen has little durability to being cleaned. Unless coated with some protective topcoat, it will show the most damage over time from use and cleaning. Goes the furthest in coverage. If you want to do a lot of walls, try this as the first undercoat to save money as Flat is cheaper then the other sheens.

Eggshell or Satin – A step up from flat, it is easier to clean. Some brands put Satin as a step up from Eggshell; just depends on the paint manufacturers. Depending on the brand of paint, this level of sheen may not be noticeable – it can almost be too subtle in shine. The shine is mostly seen when you are looking at the surface from an angle.

It’s a personal choice, but for me, this sheen does not provide enough durability or shine. I’ve used this on walls and as long as you don’t have kids, it’s okay. For kid areas, high traffic areas, or kitchen/baths go up to semi-gloss.

Semi-gloss – My personal favorite. It has more durability then satin and cleans easily. Traditionally used in high traffic areas such as kitchens, baths, moulding, doors etc…. As exterior paint, often used on shutters, doors, trims and porch ceilings.

Because of the increased shine, it does show off imperfections of the piece. It also costs more then the lower shine options, and needs more paint to finish the project then flat, eggshell or satin.

Gloss – Because of it’s high shine, you may find that in your furniture painting projects it shows every mistake and imperfection. It would be most appropriate for smaller projects – small side tables – or surfaces you expect a lot of wear and tear – such as a table top. Often used on door trim, window trim, cabinets, and bannisters.

Keep in mind:

As sheen increases — durability and cleanability increases.

As sheen increases – coverage decreases. The more shiny the paint, the more coats it will take to achieve complete coverage. This is where using a tinted primer can help you cut costs on your furniture painting projects.

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A word about paint brands – I’ve used stuff from Lowes, Home Depot, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams. JMO but there really isn’t a great deal of difference between them EXCEPT when you are buying their lower quaility store paints.

Where I see a great deal of difference is the color options provided by these stores. It’s why I generally go by color choice and not store when selecting paint. Buy good quality paint and, irregardless of the brand, it will look great if applied to a piece that has been correctly sanded, repaired and primed.

For most furniture projectsInterior, Latex Semi-Gloss applied over an oil based primer (if you choose a primer) and protected with wipe on poly for dark colors or polycrylicfor light colors will do well.