Applying Decorative Painting Techniques

Project: Bob's Shingle Style Home, Episode 23, Part 2



New storm windows are being installed on the outside of the house, and planting is finishing up in the newly designed front yard. The landscape architects are on site to explain the changes that were required by the city. Inside, a special faux paint finish is being applied in the master bedroom, and we take a peek at how those fabulous tiles have come together in the master bath.

Part 1: Revising the Landscaping Plan
Part 2: Applying Decorative Painting Techniques
Bob meets with artist and faux-painting expert Kim Sweet, who is applying a gold parchment effect on the master bedroom walls. Kim shows her process for applying glazes at random for a natural effect. Bob tries his hand at applying some color.
Part 3: Installing Paneling in the Master Bedroom Closet
This project centers around the remodel of Bob Vila's own gracious Shingle Style home in Cambridge, MA. It's a house with a lot of history and beautiful architectural details, many of which were obliterated in remodels of the 50s and the 70s. On the centennial of the house's construction, Bob gets together the best talents in the business to recreate and renew it to its former glory, making some important modifications along the way that will transform this into a dream house for today.

Also from Bob's Shingle Style Home

Hi, I'm Bob Vila. Welcome home again.

It's another beautiful fall day in New England, and today we are working on the landscape.

Rick and Nancy Lamm are going to be here, and we're going to discuss some changes to the front garden, that were caused by the denial of a zoning variance.

Inside the house, we have a visit from Kim Sweet, who's in the master bedroom and she is adding a final flourish with some faux finishes,
and also we have carpenter David Ives, who's working in the dressing room, putting in some very unusual paneling.

Stick around, it's good to have you home again.

Bob Vila's Home Again.

Well, we're going to get started today talking landscape. When we began this project months and months ago, it was our intention to redesign the whole front of the house, including the approach to the kitchen door.

And Rick Lamm, our landscape architect, had come up with a very good solution. Here's the street, and here's basically the corner of the house where the kitchen door and the kitchen entrance is. We had planned a double car parking tray right there, since this house doesn't have a garage, that would allow us to walk right into the kitchen. Now, in order to do that you have to go before the zoning board and get a variance.

And we had trouble. We had to wait three months before we could actually get a hearing in.

And when we did finally get a hearing about a month ago we were turned down. So, what we have done is totally redesigned the front of the house and Rick Lamb is here to describe a little bit of what we've done here.

Hi Rick.

Hi Bob, how are you.

You got a different plan but, we're standing in front of a little kind of New England jungle here. Why don't you tell us little bit about this?

Well, to give the back of the house and particularly the kitchen area some real interest, so that as you look out of the windows in the summer and spring and fall, you get the nice shimmering leaves of the birch.

But, in the wintertime, you get this nice exfoliating bark of this black birch that will then contrast to the neighboring white birches.

It's like peeling paper.

And it's got a nice pink color that goes with, picks up some of the plum of the house.

But, it doesn't screen the house from the road, but it gives you a sense of separation.

Yeah. How tall will they get, Rick?

They'll probably get to 25 feet tall and they will fill out together and one thing not to worry about, if you look at birch growing naturally in the wild, birch grow very close together and so trying to keep them apart so branches don't rub and things like that.

It's not an issue it's really a very natural condition for them to take.

And let me give you one little surprise question here , are they a healthy tree?

Yes, yes. And they're reasonably drought tolerant, they're not as long lived tree as the always your oak and things like that, but it's certainly for our considerations, it's fine.

And then you've mixed in a lot of this red twiggy material under it.

This is part of the dogwood family it is the red stem dogwood so that again you have very nice interest in the winter time.

But its a bush .

It is a bush, it does get if you leave it alone, it will get to be in the eight foot height.

But it's a great bush to trim for flower arrangements and things during the summer with this very gated leaf.

And it will basically fill in. and so this a kind of a wonderful secret, private, sort of fun entrance to the kitchen door which you couldn't change your kitchen when you changed your parking.

Right.

There's no doubt these are lot prettier than having two cars parked in front of the house, but we still have the issue of approaching. And there we go.

We're standing right in this area here.

The kitchen door is here.

Yeah.

And so these are your birch trees that we just looked at.

Yeah.

With the red-stem dogwood underneath.

Yeah.

And then and as we move across, with the side-walk and street here, this will be some hosta right off in front of us, that's dies back in the winter entirely and then comes up. And it's a great plant to use with bulbs because as the bulbs grow up and finish, the hosta is now coming up and you don't need to go treat the leaves and things before fall.

And that has been the main challenge in the assignment here, was to design a low maintenance garden, that would be very pretty in this spring in the fall. But that would never see a lawn mower.

That's right.

Or here one.Or here.

And so, this is ground cover and if we go over here, what we've done is we've massed rhododendrons and azaleas.

We have combined different colors between this Abigail Adams which has this nice russet leaf in the fall. Nice pink flower.

That's an azalea?

That's an azalea, this is an azalea and this is a Delaware White that will be white.

So these guys don't loose their leaves in the wintertime, right?

They're semi-evergreen, so they lose some. And then, you move to your rhododendrons, which don't lose their leaves either.

But, because rhododendrons are plants that are evergreen, do transpire moisture when it gets really cold, they curl so that they reduce the amount of surface area.

Exposed, yeah.

And these, there's a quick rule of thumb. The smaller the leaf, the smaller the rhododendron, the larger the leaf, the higher they get.

So, these will get about so big?

Well they will get up towards your windows.

Now, whats the pallet, because this will all grow up. Into one big mass.

This will be a sort of a knobby mass.

And what will the colors of the bloom be?

It's white to pink with little salmony pink in the avocado adams.

Sounds charming.

And the flowers are pink and then this is all pinker. Here, our myrtle, a dark green cover, stays green all year. A blue flower in the spring, but will be, this will be filled with bobs.

But we still have a couple of big trees going in here.

You are starting at the middle here and here. And over there, there'll be three.

Crab apples.

Aand the purpose of putting in there next to the house where more normally seen creating an outside room for the house, and defining the street edge.

So that the views from the house will really be defined by the location of these trees as well as of course by the picket fence.

I have seen them interests barrier something in. And speaking of berries, we have lined your standing in the front walk.

The front walk is lined on each side with this Blue Princess Holly, and in order for the Blue Princess to have berries we need a Blue Prince over here too.

So this is the prince.

That's the prince. The prince never has fairies, but the princess does.

So we've got Holly at the front door, but the main thing is you've redesigned the whole approach both for people and for cars off the street, right?

Right, and trying to get it so that the cars aren't riding in your front walk.

Right.

So, we have a blue stone front walk leading up to stairs that are being built.

Right.

The bushes that come to define an apron to the cars.

This is what you call the apron?

This is the apron. That will have blue stone. And then you have a parking place for one car with additional space as weather your family requires to be able to pull up further down in toward the garden.

Right. We'll be able to tandem park a couple of cars. And the blue stone, which is a native stone here in New England will dress all of this area that approaches the house.

Yes, and that will be the front door entrance.

But this is just concrete. But the matrix of the concrete will be dressed with this local crushed stone aggregate which is called rosestone which has this purple cast to it, again to build on the house.

Nice job. Thanks for the redesign. Now, the construction of this is interesting. You notice I'm standing on all this blue stuff. This is rigid insulation, and of course, I'm stepping in between the reinforcing rods. That's to make sure that our six inches of concrete for this parking area never crack on us.

But see these orange lines here between John and Frank, that they're stringing out? These are tubing for hot water from the furnace inside the house, which will magically make sure that the snows melt in the winter time.

Won't that be neat?

Got to break for messages. Don't go away. Now let's meet Kim Sweet. And let's talk about faux finishes.

Hi.

Hi, Bob.

Nice gloved hand there.

So we have a very yellow master bedroom and you are gonna tone it down and change it around. But why don't we talk first about what you expect as a base?

Well we worked off of this sample board and the base is done in this color is oil based finish. There are three coats on it now , and it's a finished coat. I mean, you could be fine with a room like this. And what we're gonna do is apply three glazes, different variables, with a yellow glaze on top and just work the finish so we get a little more light.

Its a complicated paint scheme in order to get this effect. Now you said oil based. Is it preferable to start off with an oil base paint as your background?

I think it is. I mean an oil finish has really has a nice luster to it. It's very durable. Yeah, it's a good finish.

And then, the glazes themselves, do they dry out right away or?

The glaze will give you a little bit of time to work the wall. You are probably talking about on a wall like this.You 've got, maybe 3 hours to work the whole surface? I just did a test here and already it's starting to pull back a little bit I'm not having as much, you know, luck pulling the glaze off the wall.

You know, the test that you're doing seems a little bit less green than this. I like better.

Oh, great I did two tests, there is one of there. I thought may be it is seen little bit darker, so I came down here and had and added a little bit more umber to the glaze.

I think its also good to test in two places because the room has different qualities of light. And if you test it, it will sort of give you a variable of how it's gonna be throughout the life of the room.

Don't you have to worry about having that sample look right with the rest of the wall, once you do it?

Well, actually what I'm gonna do is I am gonna wipe this down So that we don't run into an edge. This is just too dry to work a glaze against, its going to give you sort of a ridge.

So you're going to erase that?

If this is what you want, if this is what we've approved, we'll work from this.

Yeah.

And I'll take it down before we get started .

Go ahead and take it down.

OK.

The only thing I would say is when we actually rag it, I'd like to see a little bit softer look.

OK.

What are you using, this paint thinner?

Yeah. A little bit of mineral spirits will just take the glaze right off.

Oh wow!

Once it dries it's going to be set and unmovable. But we've got about we got probably 24 hours before it totally dries, and then about a week before it's totally cured.

Here, let me take the other sample off for you.

Great.

While you work on that one.

OK. So this is also glaze, and you just actually roll it on. Can I help get it up there?

Yeah, that'd be great. Thank you.

So what I'm going to do is apply the first glaze.
And, you prefer to start on the left hand corner. Is there any reason?

Yeah, I am right handed and it just seems like you're not in your own way. So, what I usually do is, start from upper left hand corner and then work my way across the wall to the bottom right.

So, I've got, what I'm calling sort of the base glaze, on. And now I'm gonna brush in three different pigments.

They're all glazes as well. They're sort of, they call it sienna, a yellowish green and a little bit more of an orange.

Great, thank you.

You're kind of at random, huh?

Yeah, you really want to, you know, you're just thinking about moving in across the wall and just giving it a sort of richness.

This is what makes it fun, because you're kind of...

Yeah, definitely.

You're kind of being erratic and creative and applying it without any real pattern in mind, right?

Yeah, exactly.

What you wanna try to avoid is any kind of pattern at all because you want it to look natural and most things in nature have sort of a random feeling to them.

Exactly.

Now can two of us do this?

That would be great, yeah.

Can I help by rolling on some of the base glaze?

Yeah, that would be great. I think its a really good idea if you gonna do that, split the labor to sort of give each person a very specific task.

Even though it's not that complicated a technique, everyone has a different hand, you know, how you will brush the paint into the wall?

Its going to just read a little bit different with each person, so splitting the task is a good idea.

So, I noticed that you rolled it on relatively thin. Is that the best thing to do?

Yeah. We're gonna really work the glazes in, so the lighter the application, the better it is.

Once I've got my glaze sort of on and I've worked on the other two glazes I am taking my rag and I am just going to sort of basically pound into the glaze.

Now Bob, you said you didn't want a lot of texture.

So what I've done is I've kind of softened the rag.

Made it a little. You know.

So there aren't too many folds in it?

Exactly.

So.

If you have fewer folds in it, then you have a softer effect.

Let me show you when I tighten it up, I'll do it over here 'cause I think you'll be able to read it.

This is sort of what we're trying to avoid.

I've got a little more scrunched. It just seems to leave a lot more rag mark.

Which is great, if that's not what you're looking for you just want to kind of, you know soften the rag out a little bit, and then just pad it over.

We're looking for more of a parchment.

Now, I've got to try my hand at brushing some kind of...

Yes, please. I think it's gonna dry. I've got this brush up here.

Ok.

The other thing you you want to do is when you've got roller marks you just want to kind of make sure you take care of those or else you are going to start having lines through out the space.

And of course you take care of them with the rag right?

Right. The other thing you can do is you can brush in real soft so that there is not, like, pockets of color.

So, do you want to go all the way across at a single height? Or do you want to do a whole wall section at a time?

You kind of want to work the whole wall.

I mean you want to sort of be brushing in to different areas at the same time moving across.

I've still got an area over here, I'm just going to work this in and then I'm going to jump over here.

You've got the magic touch. I don't.

We're going to have to break for some messages.

When we come back, we're going to be working on paneling.

But we'll check back with you towards the end of the show.

Great.

Thanks Kim.

Thank-you. Now, the panels that we are using here in the dressing area are from Brazil. It's a type of mahogany that's laminated on a chipboard product. And you know, this is the 90's.
A lot of these products no longer have outgassing situations in the using glues that are quite safe so, it makes it easy to create rooms like we doing here. David Ives is working on this one.
Hi David.

Hi, Bob.

And, in order to make everything kind of blend together with the doors of the closets, what David is done, is to take the panels and cut them into these rectangular sizes. Then fit them against the plywood that we had put on the studs, and close everything in with. This is real Honduran mahogany, right David?

Yes, it is.

And I guess what you've done is, you've run everything through and milled it, so that you've gotta wrap. Put on either side.

Right. So that's a cover over my cuts. Gives you a very nice covering.

It's a very nice design because it really creates a kind of a banker's paneling in here.

Yeah.

How are you dealing with this above the door?

Well we are just getting that in now. And what we're doing is adding a little adhesive to it. Because it's set so that it's got a good, good seal behind it.

So that's a panel adhesive .

Yes. This is a really strong, they use it for putting down floors.

Right.

And this should work really well here. Keeps it from warping or bowing and in time from temperature change.

And you face nailed it.

Just barely little tacks here so I make sure that they are covered by my trims.

But it's really the adhesive that's doing the job.
Oh yes, that's really important because it will hold it against the panel set, the plywood wall .

Now, you're not putting any adhesive behind the mahogany trim.

No, in this case here, I'm gonna use the nails to do that.

Because I have a good stud behind there, and the glue really doesn't have the strength for that type of whole in the mahogany.

Yeah, 'cause the mahogany has a thicker dimension.

It's pretty strong.

Yeah, exactly.
And then one vertical piece,

It shoots right in there.

Nifty.

And that's gonna continue right through the room.

Yeah, now of course, these are just the details that the architect brings to the job. He's spent a lot of computer time, doing not only the paneling layout but also ordering things such as this door. This particular door is the same exact design as the original doors in the house, but because everything here is mahogany, We had it milled and what's interesting is, that from the point of view of getting a custom door made, this is under three hundred dollars. That's comparable to, you know, what you have to spend on just sometimes on a good solid flush door.

So David, will you be putting these pieces over here next?

Yeah, as we going to continue around the room, and I have some angle pieces here in rough form. They're going to have to be finished up a little bit better, but they're going to come in.

It's a 22 degree angle, we are gonna clean them up and tighten them right in there.

Okay.

And get some more paneling throughout.

So we've got to rip a few more piece.

Yeah.

Good. Not bad.

Okay.

So, if anybody out there who likes to do this kind of work gets the wrong idea, we've really had David working for five to six hours, and that's a talented craftsman.

You get this far along, this is fine work it's fun work but you got a take it slowly. And of course, when this is farther along, we'll get the other artisans in here to put a stain on to match the pre-finished mahogany.

Thanks a lot. Take a break.

Okay.

We are going to break for some messages. When we come back we'll check in with Kim to see see how the faux finishes are coming along.

Wow, Kim! This looks fabulous.

Thank you.

It really does.

Thanks a lot.

And, of course, again in real time, it's been more like six hours of working.

Yes.

And you've gotten all of this dormer wall in.

Now, why didn't you just continue across here?

Well basically what we want to avoid is having the wet wall against the wet wall. And working these tight corners, what's gonna happen is your knuckles are gonna hit the wet paint and it's gonna damage the finish.

I got you but you did get over to the other side.

Yes.

So that you basically done fifty percent of the room, and this looks terrific.

Great.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.

OK, we're running out of time.

Come home again next time, when we're going to be meeting our interior designers who will show us some schemes for the entire house.

Don't miss it.

Till then, I'm Bob Vila.

It's good to have you home again.

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