Glenlochan -The Beginning

Glenlochan -The Beginning
Glenlochan - The Beginning

Glenlochan Today

Glenlochan Today
Glenlochan Today

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fun (or Not) With Chalk Paint

As mentioned earlier, we took the plunge and consulted with a designer (Kelsie Hornby, CID, ASID, Elegant Designs, Inc.) to start whipping the inside of Glenlochan in shape, one room at a time.  Not having worked with anyone before (we've always made interior decisions on the fly based on personal preferences, many of which would probably make the professionals cringe) this was a new and, thankfully, very good experience for us.  We decided to tackle the study first - it's the first room one sees when walking in the front door and it also seemed like it would be easy to finish (this was six months ago and it's still in progress, go figure).

In any event we have made some progress (delays are all on us) starting with an awesome rug that our designer suggested and that we adore:

The next step was to paint the bookcases black...yes, black.  They aren't made of special wood, but it does seem a bit perverse to be painting over newly stained and finished wood.  Nonetheless, we jumped in and I began researching various kinds of paint to accomplish the look we wanted - not distressed, but a stately black that would make the bookcases look like they had been there forever.  At the designer's suggestion, I investigated milk paint and chalk paint.  I quickly took milk paint off the list - it did not seem durable enough for this application.  After some testing, I did decide to go with Annie Sloan chalk paint.  Note - chalk paint is not the paint used to create chalkboards (chalkboard paint)!  I'm not positive I'd make that call again, but I did learn a lot and I'm happy with the end result.  First I had to clear everything out, heavy sign.

 The shelves were laid flat for easy painting:

Next I painted everything with one coat of Annie Sloan graphite color paint:
It looks very dry and grey at this stage.  I had to make a decision between light wax, dark wax, or one coat of each.  I elected for the dark (even being told it would be "streakier") because we were going for a rich black look, not a rich grey (and no, Annie Sloan chalk paint does not come in "black" - graphite is as close as one can get).

The painting went really quickly - no sanding required, it coats wonderfully, even over the Waterlox finish.  The time savings on the painting was quickly eliminated during the waxing process, however.  I found the wax very difficult to work with, messy, and very uneven in results.  It was a labor intensive process that wore me down.  Here you can see the difference between the waxed and unwaxed sides:

At the end of the day, I'm very happy with the finished result and I would definitely use chalk paint again, but only in certain applications.   Here's what I learned:

Pros of Chalk Paint

  • It covers quickly and can paint over any surface without sanding or prep
  • A little wax and a little paint can go a long way
  • One can achieve a variety of looks with chalk paint from elegant to distressed
  • If waxed properly and allowed to age, it's very durable
  • The paint is very low odor
  • It *can* be very fun to work with  
  • The end result can be amazing and has much more depth than a latex application
Cons of Chalk Paint
  • It's pretty expensive ($40 for a quart and you still need wax and supplies)
  • It can be hard to find - sometimes available online, otherwise you have to search out boutiques that carry it and the store closest to us was constantly out of what we needed, which was very frustrating
  • The color choices are a bit limited and the lack of a true black is disappointing
  • The wax needs to age for 21 days for full durability - which meant the bookcases did not get reassembled until a month after completion, ugh
  • Using the dark wax as the first coat is tricky - it's much easier to use a coat of clear wax and then dark over it, but the results will not be as dark
  • Although there are many expensive and special applicators for the wax, I found that the easiest "applicator" was a cheap sponge that had been moistened slightly.  The dark wax is messy, so gloves were a must-have.  (I can hear the Annie Sloan devotees sighing with exasperation at this point)
  • The paint is very low odor but the wax is not - windows had to be opened
  • There are seminars and certifications for working with Annie Sloan chalk paint - go figure - that could be a pro for some, but I like a product that I can use effectively without spending time in class
Here's the finished product:

Now I still have to do the same thing to the bookcase on the other side.  I *might* be done by Christmas....!  More on this room as we implement more of our designer's suggestions and near completion.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Paving the (Walk) Way

The summer has flown and, despite the lack of posts, there actually has been progress (and some great fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding and crabbing). 

The front of the house has really been shaping up this season.  First, we FINALLY managed to get the wrought iron railing that we had specially made in Philly over a year ago OUT of the Philly house dining room and to Virginia for installation (via a UHaul trailor).  Here it is in the place it held in Philly for far too long, wrapped in bubble wrap!

Rob quickly had it installed, just in time for the bricklayers to start their magic.


 The paver walkway was laid in a basket weave pattern with a broad apron and a long walkway all the way down to the sidewalk. 

The finished porch and walkway is amazing.

And, Rob added the requisite tree swing in the large old chestnut tree.  Although it was installed for the kids, we've probably used it more than anyone so far.  A great way to take a quick break and so fun.
Just a swinging'....