Category Archives: Painting

Wainscoting: A Formal Affair

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“Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely;

and leave something of the happiness you bring.” —-Bram Stoker

Your foyer offers the first impression of your home to all who enter. And mine was really boring. Not exactly the vibe I wanted to present to our holiday guests. Wainscoting offered the perfect solution, adding a formal flair and breaking up the monotony of the walls.

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I cheated a bit with my wainscot, opting for a simple method to create the look of the formal wood panels. First, I nailed chair-rail moulding on the walls 36 inches from the floor.  Be sure to use a level—a crooked chair rail can make you dizzy! Then using some rudimentary math, I determined the size and quantity of “boxes” needed for each wall, taking care to keep a uniform space between the boxes as well as between the chair-rail and the bottom trim. I used a level to draw the boxes on the wall with pencil so I could judge how they’d look and make any adjustments before I started cutting the wood.

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Using 1.5 inch trim moulding, I miter cut the ends at a 45-degree angle, forming picture frame boxes.

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These trim pieces were placed on the wall with liquid nails and finishing nails, using the pencil-drawn boxes as a guide.

The picture-frame boxes provide the optical illusion of raised wainscot panels.

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I painted the chair rail and wainscot portion of the wall in Linen White, providing contrast to the taupe wall above.

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The finished foyer, in all its formal flair. Happy Holidays!

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Stainless Steel Paint

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My husband is one of 8 children, so every 7 years it is our turn to host Thanksgiving. We’re up this year but our oven wasn’t. Sure it worked and could roast a turkey, but it wasn’t….pretty. The wall oven is over 15 years old and it is indestructible. While all of the other appliances in the kitchen had broken down and been replaced with shiny new stainless models, the white and tinted-glass oven stood firmly in the wall, refusing to budge, break or give up. I hated it and concocted sneaky ways to “break” it…until I watched an episode of Cool Tools on the DIY Network. I realized I could camouflage it and force it to match its shiny kitchen counterparts. All I needed was an afternoon and my new best friend, Stainless Steel paint. Continue to see the Before and After>

Haint Paint

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On a trip to the charming city of Charleston, I became a fan of “haint” paint. “Haint” is southern slang for “haunt,” and legend holds that painting a porch ceiling in a lovely shade of blue will guard your home against evil spirits. Many swear it also wards off insects! While I unfortunately don’t have the charming wrap-around porch that graces many a Charleston home, I employed the concept of “haint paint” to help transform my dark family room to more of a beachy, cottage look. Keep reading to see The Before and After…

Family Room Rehab

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Our family room was a cave. 1970s dark wood paneling covered the walls and the bookcases that flanked the pinkish brick fireplace. It was a look stolen right from the set of The Brady Bunch. I dreamed of revamping the room to reflect my favorite place on earth–Ocean City, NJ. The task seemed monumental.  Tear out the walls and start from studs?  Reface the horrid brick of the fireplace?  Dollar signs danced before my eyes.  In the end, all that was needed was a little paint and a lot of elbow grease.

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I opted to keep the paneling on the walls and paint over it.  First, I “washed” the walls with Liquid Sandpaper to remove any dirt and wax.  It took a first coat of heavy duty primer and 3 additional coats of white paint (Benjamin Moore’s Atrium White in an eggshell finish) to cover the dark wood.  I used a roller to apply the first primer coat, but every seam between each panel had to be painted with a brush for full coverage. The tedious work was worth it–the painted paneling looks like bead board, contributing to the desired beach cottage atmosphere.

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Next, I tackled the fireplace.  I scrubbed the brick with a wire brush and detergent to remove any grime.  A thorough vacuuming removed any lingering dust.  The same routine of primer and 3 coats of paint (same color but a semi-gloss finish) covered the brick.  I learned my lesson from the painstaking chore of painting over each panel seam by hand and used a heavy-knap roller for the fireplace.  Much better coverage!

I’ll chat about how the room got the blues in my next post…

Beach Cottage Family Room

Beach Cottage Family Room

Add Some Fire to the Bedroom

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I’ve always dreamed of falling asleep to the crackle of a roaring fire. Nothing screams romantic B & B like a fireplace in the bedroom. Alas, no such luxury existed in our bedroom, though that is not to say that sparks don’t occasionally fly in the master suite.

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A chance sighting of a vintage mantle in a local salvage yard brought my dream to life. Sort of. I bought the piece and sanded it down to remove the worn, chipped paint. I repainted it, then did some sanding of my own to add the character back into the mantle. Continue reading