Friday, June 24, 2011

The Living Room is Finished!

Before we get to the "After" part, you should go back and watch the video on this post so you can get the "Before" firmly in your mind first.

The first part of the project was a quest to give the walls a little character-- some texture and depth. I used wallboard joint compound to give a faux plaster finish. I simply troweled it on about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, right over the original wallboard, leaving plenty of texture. The kids helped me out with this, since I didn't need it smooth or uniform. They had a blast!

You see two colors of plaster here because the darker bit is still wet... You can tell I went section by section-- doing about half a wall each day. It goes really fast, but I have three kids, so a half hour was about all I could put into it at a time.


After all the plaster was up, the tough part was figuring out a color and glaze that gave the effect I was looking for. It took nearly a month, at least $50 in samples, numerous trips to Lowes, hours of research and an emergency Skype session with my sister to figure out how to get the look I wanted. In this picture you can see some of the failed attempts. You can also see the Field Flaxflower Blue that I ultimately settled on going up around the edges. It's really bright.


See? REALLY bright. It was at this point that I started to panic a little and doubt the decision I had made. That's some briiiight blue, baby.


After the base coat was on, I started working on the topcoat. I had intended to use a tinted glaze, but it just wasn't working. I finally realized that the problem was the sheen, not the color. I'd been trying to recreate a milk paint, or whitewash look, but the glaze has the sheen of at least a satin paint, if not semi-gloss. Totally wrong for whitewash. I finally figured out that I could take plain white flat paint and water it down significantly, apply first with a roller and then backwash over it with a wet sponge.

After I lived with one half-wall done in the whitewash for a week or so, I decided it was a little too much contrast, so I changed to a not-quite-white. It's a white that's juuust to the blue-grey side. KWIM? A "bluewash", if you will. Perfection!

Also, Jamie decided to "help"-- resulting in my first ever Poison Control Hotline call. They were very nice. I suspect I may be using their services again.


And then this week, thanks to the wonderful people at St Paul's VBS program, who kept my children safe, fed and happy all morning for five days in a row, I finished the bluewash!

Here's the finished product! See all the interesting shadows and the almost-3D effect of the bluewash? Isn't it cool??? :D



The whole room now has this ethereal, summery, wide-open spaces feel to it. I love it. Now I just need to get some furniture in there...



Rebecca Walsh said...

I absolutely love it - especially with all that beautiful brown wood trim. Good job, girl!

Herb of Grace said...

Oh yeah, the wood trim totally "makes" it. It's one of the reasons I loved this house from the moment I saw it.

Polly said...

Lisi, it's beautiful! I'm SO happy you have it finished--that must be so relieving. Now you can relax....? :)

Hosanna said...


Denise said...

Very, very, very beautiful!!!! It is so appealing, perfect for a living room with so much draw. I'd want to stay there all day!

We wanted to find a blue-silver-gray for Baby Boy's room... And ended up with something lovely from Olympic paint (hadn't used them since our 1st house). All his furniture is Espresso colored, so it's the same contrast. What I realized by looking at your pictures is that your TRIM really makes the whole thing work. Our white trim does NOT.... Of course, the room is really small, so it would overwhelm it to change I'm sure, but still, just saying yours is beautiful!

Herb of Grace said...

Denise, yes, the dark trim would keep the blue-grey from looking too pastel... which was the first problem I ran into with this room. I really didn't want a pastel, but I wanted something light/pale. that's why the bright blue under the topcoat ended up working so well.

septembermom said...

Really nice. I'm very happy for you guys.

Susannah Forshey said...

It looks AWESOME. Now you need new doors....those yellowish doors on either side of the fireplace are bleah. Or spray paint them pure white, maybe. I really love the dark wood trim, Denise is right. It makes the pale blue into something very opulent rather than just another "blue room." It looks "Old and Valuable" instead of just "painted."

So, I have a question: why are there 2 chandeliers in that room? It looks like a ceiling fan/light and also a drop chandelier. Isn't your dining room on the other side of the kitchen?

Niecey said...

Wow, that looks awesome! Nice work.

Herb of Grace said...

Polly, you know me... Relax? I still have five more rooms to finish! :)

Susi, I have ni idea why someone installed three light fixtures in that one room... I really don't. The one you can't see in this pic is the recessed lighting right in front of the fireplace. When you look at the pics, you might think that the ceiling fan fixture is centered on the fireplace, but no. It's ever-so-slightly off to one side and about two feet in front of it is a recessed single bulb that focuses on the fireplace. It's perty dweeby lookin'.

The fireplace lighting debacle we cannot help, but the dropped chandelier on the kitchen end of the room will not look so out of place once I have my island/bar/additional counter space installed. It'll be directly under that light, about five feet long and counter height. We'll put some bar stools on one side and have a kinda breakfast bar/buffet thing there.

Herb of Grace said...

Oh yeah, the doors... Well. I have a plan for that, too, but we'll just have to see how it works out. Each of those doors has, on the outside, another what in Virginia would be a screen door, but is actually a GLASS door. I mean, it's shaped just like a screen door, but there's glass where the screen would be.

My plan was/is to get rid of one of those sets of doors-- preferably the ugly, interior ones, and put in a wrought iron bar half-door. I mean, half eight. So kinda like a wrought iron gate in the doorway. The thinking being that then we'd be able to open the glass doors onto the pool deck and still have a child safety barrier in place. Right now we just have some tacky wooden child safety gates up. We'll see how that all pans out...