240 posts categorized "color"

September 07, 2011

Countdown to Brimfield and Color Chats--the NEW Benjamin Moore blog

Color chats, a new blog from Benjamin Moore is ready to launch, so this will be my last post here at Living in Color. I'm off to hunt and gather and tweet from the Brimfield show, and if all goes according to plan, on September 7 Benjamin Moore will launch the best blog for color www.ColorChats.com

Color Chats screenshot

We'll have lots to talk about on Color Chats, the blog destination for talking Benjamin Moore color, design, DIY, and before & after projects.  (Maybe even yours!)  So, take a minute out to re-set your rss feeds from www.livingincolor TO www.colorchats.com, I'll be back to greet you in a few days, and we can get the colorful conversation going.  I'll bring along a furniture find from Brimfield, and you can bring the questions, comments and design ideas to chat about. Spread the word and meet me there--www.colorchats.com.


August 30, 2011

Shopping Brimfield for Antiques & Furniture Suitable for Painting

Lucianna Samu

Seems anyone who lives within traveling distance of Massachusetts is busy cleaning out their car to make room for every possibility and probability to be found at what hard-core salvage and antique hunters simply call, Brimfield.  It's known officially as The Brimfield Antique Show (Sept. 6-11) and next week it will be a nice diversion from the lingering Irene news, and a great opportunity to stock up furniture pieces worthy of painting and repurposing.  The deals and steals at Brimfield are plentiful, especially if you know what to look for--here's a short list of sound furniture buying tips to keep in mind.



Chairs Suitable for Painting


Brimfield is sure to be brimming with oddball chair offerings and sometimes even an entire set, table included.  Begin your chair negotiations by wiggling the back a bit; if it wobbles at all, know that it will need to be re-glued.  Sit on chairs before you buy them and do the wiggle thing again.  Turn all your chair choices upside down before you close the deal.  Often times, chairs are stuck together with metal brackets, gaffer's tape or copious amounts of construction adhesive to make them appear sound.  Reduce your offer on shaky chairs, but buy any you really love.  Wobbly or not, I'll tell you how to ready them up for a low-cost paint makeover.


Unpainted Wood Furniture


Experienced scavenger hunters can distinguish a solid oak dresser from a mass-produced utilitarian piece made of MDF from a mile away.  Readers of this blog have the added advantage of knowing furniture of any provenance can be successfully transformed with paint.  Big ticket mahogany and really good cherry furniture is better left to the refinishers, but that said, oak, maple, birch and all unidentifiable wood species are suitable for painting, irrespective of condition.  Run your hand over tabletops, to rule out excessive water damage, especially if the top is a veneer.  You can determine if tabletops are a "sandable" solid wood by looking at the underside.  Cracked or peeling veneer can be glued, primed and painted.  Buy low!

Don’t pass over mass-produced pieces at Brimfield if the size and line suits your style. Here’s a sneak peek at one of the many super-simple paint ideas I’ll be posting during the next few weeks.


Painting over Peeling Paint


I love this look, and even have a name for it: "Pleasing Decay."  You can arrest the peeling somewhat with a coat of Benwood® Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane, but the results are iffy at best.  Peeling paint needs to be removed before it can be re-painted, and that means stripping, otherwise it will continue to peel.  In general, it's a safe bet that previously painted wood in this state of distress may pose a lead hazard, so think these purchases over carefully, no matter the price, if you have small children or pets.


during and after

I myself will NOT strip furniture, and I'll pay extra for good pieces when this work is already done.  Good furniture strippers are as hard to find as good shoemakers, and nobody does this work cheaply anymore.  Know that paint strippers will loosen the joints of mortised furniture, removing old glue right along with the paint.  Not to worry--if you find an entirely naked table with it's legs falling off, re-gluing and proper clamps will return the most rickety looking pieces to soundness in less time than it will take you to peruse the Color Gallery for paint color options.  Go ahead, put it in the car!


Painting over Metal


Anytime I see rust--even out of the corner of my eye--I'm reminded of an entire summer spent wire brushing my mother's iron railings.  UGH!  But who can resist repurposing vintage metal furniture?  If reinventing utilitarian industrial metal stuff ranks in your top ten list of repainting obsessions, let's hope your car has a big trunk.  I'll be adding and documenting the refurbishing of my pair of metal wagons to the September blogging to-do and to-share list, along with a car load of low-cost Brimfield finds.  You can keep up with all things Brimfield, including my whereabouts at the show and Benjamin Moore sponsored Brimfield events, on Twitter, at #Brimfield.

Stay colorful!




Benwood Stays Clear Acrylic Polyurethane

Benjamin Moore Color Gallery

Brimfield Tweetup

August 26, 2011

Recycling and Brightening Up Old Furniture with White Paint

Lucianna Samu

I'm a firm believer that every sound and sturdy chair is a suitable candidate for the recycling, re-purposing or "up-cycling" white paint treatment.  Collecting odd chairs is a hobby for me, and during the long cold months of winter I like to occupy myself cooking up new fangled ways to paint my summer's collection of needy and sad looking chairs.  I shop garage sales, antique shops, auctions, the roadside and finally the September Brimfield show with equal fervor.  It's a long cold winter here on the farm and I need stuff to paint.


photographs by Mark Samu

I've never had a chair under my brush which didn't look better painted with plain old white paint--clean, modern, fresh, and done.  So, all color options aside, a coat of white primer is always the best place to begin.  This could turn into a very long and informational post, but I'll hold off on how to select furniture worthy of painting until next time.  (We can chat about Brimfield too!)  For today, I'd like to introduce a pair of chairs which are so comfortable and sturdy I'm able to overlook the issue that they just may be . . . ugly?


I tried not to think about my Aunt Faye's living room--an homage to crushed velvet and plastic covered furniture--while readying my diminutive cane backed sweetie pies for paint.  If you don't know anything about crushed velvet, know this--it's impossible to get paint out of it.  A carefully applied protective taping, which can survive through two coats of primer and two coats of paint, is the first order of business.  I used blue tape because I had it--plain old-fashioned beige masking tape is, in fact, the better choice when taping upholstery because it's more tacky.


A rookie may want to cover the seat cushions with plastic in case of drips.  I went with the old dishtowel method of cushion protection myself.


After sanding, washing, re-sanding, and re-washing the chairs, it was time for the white primer.  I never waxed these chairs, and sanding alone wouldn't remove every trace of wax.  Two coats of Benjamin Moore's Quick Dry White Alkyd Primer put my mind at ease.  After all, these beauties are at least forty years old, surely someone loved them enough to wax them once?


After the first coat of primer was very dry (a day), the chairs got a light sanding with a 220 grit sandpaper and a quick cleanup with a tack rag.  Now, here's the place some of you may wish to take a time-out.  The white primer will give you a pretty clear vision of the condition of your piece.  Fill any holes you're not loving with wood filler.  (Please, no joint compound or caulk fillers on wood--it won't sand.)  Get out the wood glue, and fix anything splintered, peeling or troubling in any way.  Spot prime all of your fixes, and live with your white "whatever" for a while if you're not sure of a color choice.


If, like me, you're convinced the white is perfect (and it so often is), one option is to do another coat of white primer on your treasured thrift shop find, and call your recycling project a job well done!  Good garage sale reclamations and long lasting up-cycling finds deserve our best work though, and for that we need some Benjamin Moore paint.


I used two coats of semi-gloss white Advance.  I'm new to this product--a waterborne equivalent to alkyd Satin Impervo, Advance is a heavy, or full-bodied paint, making it less apt to run down all the tiny holes in the cane.  Be sure to stir this paint well; always remember, the shine is at the bottom of the can!

Slow and steady is the furniture painter's mantra; the work shouldn't be rushed.  Maybe you'll get full coverage in one coat, maybe you'll want three--keep an open mind and remember, you want a beautiful finish that will last.  No one will ask you how fast you got the work done, I promise.


For the cane, I like to work with a very stiff 3-inch synthetic brush that I actually swirl around in tight little circles.  This oddball painting method works well on wicker too.  "Swirling" is hard on the bristles, so be sure you straighten them out when you clean, or you’ll need to sacrifice the brush to get your cane covered perfectly.


Advance takes more time to dry than other waterborne paints, so set yourself up accordingly.  Once it is completely dry, the paint will sand to a beautifully smooth finish that feels as good as it looks.  For smoothness, you need to work wet and again, Advance is a great paint for sanding.  I use a 400 grit wet/dry paper for this final step. Wet sanding means what it says--sanding with water.  Because I'm a little nutty, I dip the sandpaper into soapy water; a splash of dish soap helps the paint layers hold the shine despite the sanding.


I'm pretty sure my Aunt Faye would be appalled that I painted such "beautiful" cane, a habit I'll keep quiet about when patrolling the retro furniture offerings at the September Brimfield show.  At Brimfield, there's enough furniture crying out for paint to keep us all busy this winter, which is why all good garage sale and thrift shoppers and bargain hunters conduct their seasonal grand finale at the show.  Next time, I have my tips to help you choose the most suitable pieces for recycling.

Stay colorful!



Benjamin Moore Advance


Twitter: #brimfield

August 23, 2011

A Patriotic Color Scheme Circa 2011

Lucianna Samu

It's official--the glorious blue bedroom is complete and I think General George Washington himself would approve.  I began the transformation of this room with an uncharacteristic yearning for the color blue, proving once again that when it comes to color conundrums following a gut instinct is a wise decision.  Lifting my personal embargo on blue walls in deference to my Revolutionary War era blue and gold color palette ultimately led me to Deep Ocean 2058-30. Ta-da!


photographs by Mark Samu

Deep Ocean 2058-30

This particular blue is a very complex jewel-toned hue, rich in vibrant green undertones.  Here in the soft Northeastern daylight, Deep Ocean appears almost, but not exactly, turquoise.  By night the bluer range is lifted by the yellow of incandescent lighting.  While technically a dark color (it's LRV is 12.6), the room feels breezy and bright, and best of all it always appears crispy clean.


The high ceiling, painted Blue Veil 875, is just a whisper of blue.  Painting hard to reach high ceilings a soft shade of blue will ensure they remain looking clean and fresh for a very long while: a good trick if you're not much for the extension pole!


Blue Veil 875

The crisp white windows, and long expanse of primed and painted (and sanded!) white bookcase, form a collaborative relief of seemingly crystal clear white, which leaves me to imagine white caps dancing across the moody ocean blue.  I've managed to increase the contrast, by choosing Ivory White 925, a white absent of yellow, blue or green influences.


Ivory White 925

The sunburst mirror adds just enough shine and glitz--the definitive tried and true choice for accessories when you're accentuating mysterious and moody jewel-tone color.


Because the high contrast is the origin of that all-important neat and clean quality, the final stroke of (white) brilliance is the pure white painted chairs.


Following up on Jane Dagmi's lovely post last week, Finding the Best Blues and Purples, my final white accessory was sourced from the hydrangea patch.  Next time, we can talk about how to paint any old chairs to look like new, in any color your instincts or your hydrangea patch, is inspiring you to try.

Stay colorful!


Lu's blog 

Deep Ocean 2058-30

Blue Veil 875

Ivory White 925

Jane's post Finding the Best Blues and Purples

August 19, 2011

Painting Old World Stone with Texture Paint

Lucianna Samu

Color, texture and pattern are the design equivalent of a master chef's lightly sauteed mirepoix. Three simple ingredients--how is easy is that?  The color and pattern components of a fabulous bedroom design can and should be a love thing; no other room in the house is better suited to your personal taste or love of a particular color.  Patterned bedding, drapes, throw pillows, a rug or the artwork can begin to speak to the textural ingredient, but to realize a truly balanced and polished trilogy, nothing speaks to texture better than stone.

unstyled after

My bedroom is a not terribly large--11x 14 feet--and three large windows limit where the furniture and bed can go.  Once the decision to add a television was agreed on, I realized the focal point of the bedroom would soon be defined by the ubiquitous thirty-six inch black 'accessory.'  The fireplace wall, a too modern, too small, possible mistake in the room entirely, needed to be elevated to the status of a feature.  Here's the fireplace and bookshelf wall before all the painting in this room began.


After I embellished the fireplace with a mantle, I got to work making a clean, but highly textural faux stone effect, hoping to better define 'my side' of the feature wall.

Creating faux stone is the child's play of painting for decorative effect; it's dirty, dirty work.  Other finishers will disagree, but I believe the less talent for this craft you have, the better your result will be.  What we're after is a reasonable representation of a natural material that time and age and weather have conspired to make interesting.  Recreating newly minted stone, brick or rock walls is a higher calling, but painting dry-stacked weathered fieldstone, and suggesting it's been limewashed no less, is just plain fun.  Here's Esmond and me, looking very Dr. Seuss, testing out the colors and stone size.


The wall is painted Revere Pewter HC 172 and this color will be revealed as the grout color beneath the tape, and behind the finish.  Successful stone techniques begin and end with the choice of a perfect grout color, and Revere Pewter is a reliable choice.  Lots of willy-nilly, haphazardly depicted stones are described next with tape.  While some effort is made to maintain the illusion of a level consistency, some wear and decay is depicted in the 'settling' of the layout in the middle.  Be sure to apply a tape edge to the walls you want to protect, and if you're new at this, make it a wider protective edge than my one inch, so you don't mess up the adjoining walls when you start 'painting.'


You'll need to become one with the tape.  I hate to tape, but there's no way around it for stone making.  To get the grout separating each stone to appear random and uneven, the tape is torn off the roll with a wiggly edge.  I've learned that if you buy two-inch wide tape, and get your tearing and wiggling just right, you can make two separate pieces of 'grout' at a time.  Here's my torn tape, hanging from my uncovered fireplace mantle like a clothes line...


To make the paint mixture, I filled a mud pan with Benjamin Moore's Latex Texture paint, which is white, and drizzled 3 paint colors right over the top.  No mixing--just lay the paint colors on the texture paint.  Next, this messy concoction is picked up from the mud pan with a flat venetian plaster blade.  No brushes--the paint mix is laid on the wall with the blade.  You can use a spackle blade instead of a venetian plaster blade, and if you sand the sharpness off the pointy edge with a heavy grit sandpaper, you'll eliminate the annoying straight line in the texture these heavier spackling blades will leave behind.  Not much thinking going on for this work--here's Esmond and I doing a test before we started the high work.


Once that mess is dry, it's a little of this color and a little of that white to settle the look down and create some order to the effect.  To do this part, I work to refine each 'stone' individually.  Along with the blade techniques, I also apply color mixtures to the wall using waxed paper I buy from the butcher.  Butcher's paper is waxed on one side, so the paint will stick to it without loosing too much of it's water content.  The paper application adds another layer of interest and depth to the textural effect and appears different from the bladed application.


All this glop and goo and uneven painting makes for a very messy edge--bad news for an expert technique.  Scoring the edge of the protective tape with a dull knife or putty knife, before you pull the tape down, (always toward the new work!)  will ensure your edges look tidy.


Removing the grout tapes will take some doing--leaving yourself some tails hanging when you lay these tapes up, will make finding them easier when the texturing is complete.  Please don't curse me too much if you need to resort to tweezers or dental tools to dig up the tape.  Your hard work will pay off when your stunning rendition of some sort of stone looks and feels remarkably like the real thing because the grout layer is behind the paint technique where it belongs and not painted on top!


For a finishing touch, use a squirt bottle to spray water onto the technique here and there, starting at the top edge.  Gouge out a few vertical lines, and your stone will be left looking as if it's been rained on repeatedly.  Next time, I'll give you my tips for super success painting inexpensive bookcase and storage shelves.  Here's my before & after so far.  Never too sure about those chairs--maybe a coat of white paint?

before and after

Stay colorful!