Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reporting In

Despite the tagline of this blog, I wish to report that I am still alive and kicking and have not killed myself trying to renovate this house. Yet.

I am, however, still in the throes of the ever-expanding halls-and-stairs painting project.

After nearly eight hours of sponging and blending last night and into the not-so-wee hours of this morning, I completed what ought to have been the sixth and final layer of the faux finish that is to repose above the new chair rail and the William Morris "Blackthorn/Green" wallpaper in my 1st and 2nd floor halls and up the main stairway. But way before I got done, I could see it wasn't going to make it.

It's partly that, again, the plaster doesn't take the glaze the way the foam core does. The pleasant opacity I got in some areas on the paper-faced sample simply wasn't appearing on the walls.

The bigger problem is that the combination of colors (deep moss green, dark rose pink, and yellowish white) I chose works beautifully up close. It has depth and liveliness and even warmth. When you step back from it, however . . . Uh-uh. It's shallow and cold, the colors resolving to a steely gray-blue. When I juxtapose a sample piece of finished wood trim, the contrast between its deep mahogany tone and the new wall paint makes the latter seem all the more chilly.

Before I went to bed last night (ok, this morning) I had reconciled myself to mixing up a new and warmer topcoat color and having at it again today. Back in the 1980s and early '90s I rented an Arts & Crafts style apartment with beautiful dark reddish oak woodwork. I painted my living room and dining room a light peach color. It went well with the wood and I lived with it happily for years. So now bugger whether warm peach might be out of style or not; it worked and I liked it then, I'm going with it again now.

Happily, I have a whole arsenal of pots of sample paints to play with, and as of a few minutes ago I've used some of them to compound a new batch of glaze which I believe-- I hope-- will work. Last night I was seriously entertaining mixing it then and then getting back up on the ladder and working straight through till this portion of the hall and stair work was done. Thought better of it, and thank God I did. Took me nearly three hours of experimentation to get a tone I liked.

(Let's see . . . 5:00 AM plus three hours mixing plus eight hours of painting [with climbing up and down the ladder, moving the ladder, adjusting the ladder, moving the lights, putting the paint tray, sponge, blending pad, etc., back up on the ladder, picking my long-haired cat's fur out of the paint job with tweezers, looking for the tweezers, settling for my fingernails when I can't find the tweezers, etc., etc.]; add in taking out the dog, feeding him, feeding the cats [two or three times], and maybe, maybe eating something myself; factor in no sleep for a day and a half . . . and that equals, yeah, that really would amount to me killing myself trying to redo this house.

(On the other hand, if I had kept at it, I could be done by now.

(Or done for.)

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