Faux Bois Concrete Floors

We used to have a beautiful finished basement. An off-white Berber carpet, comfy furniture, a big TV, spare bed, and all the kid’s toys corralled into one place….

Then a record-breaking rain storm left us with a big mess of wet and moldy carpet.  Most of the carpet has been stripped out of the room leaving us with bare and boring concrete floors.  We’ve since had several more floods following big rain storms, so we don’t dare to re-carpet.  What to do?

I found inspiration from a fellow blogger, Mandi Grubler.  Check out how Mandi took a few cans of paint (and a little elbow grease scraping and scrubbing to remove the carpet glue) and turned a yucky concrete floor into a beautiful “faux bois” floor in her daughter’s room!  I can already visualize bold painted furniture and the colorful fabrics you could use to finish up this space.

Read Mandi’s step-by-step instructions on her blog, Vintage Revivals > >


BEFORE image found on vintagerevivals.com


AFTER image found on vintagerevivals.com

Thanks for the inspiration, Mandi!

Harry Stearns Painting’s unpaid marketing consultant & chief cheerleader


Gray is the color of the day

I just finished reading the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine and amidst the bright colors of summer featured throughout the magazine I was surprised to find the monthly featured color choice is gray. Driftwood gray to be exact. According to the article, “There’s a new gray in town, and it’s not the cold, steely hue you’re used to.  These go-with-everything shades,  inspired by weathered wood, radiate warmth.”

I was skeptical.  Summer’s all about sunny yellows and ocean blues, right?  But, I turned the page and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the gray, especially layered with more traditional summer colors.  (Pick-up a copy of the BH&G July 2012 issue to see what I mean.)

Image found on bhg.com

I was just cruising around HGTV’s blog and found that their color of the month for July is –  you guessed it – gray, although they use the other spelling, grey!

Marianne Canada, contributor to Design Happens, writes, “It’s officially the dog days of summer, at least it is here at HGTV headquarters. The temperatures have been coming in over 100 degrees and everyone has taken to the air conditioning. When it’s sweltering outside, you probably think of hot colors like Pantone’s Tangerine Tango, or maybe an intense chili pepper red. But this month we’re making a case for what might seem an unusual choice for July: Driftwood Grey.

Image found on blog.hgtv.com

“I know what you’re thinking, grey? For summer? But bear with me. Instead of thinking of stark, cold, wintery tones, picture the weather-beaten, sun-warmed grey of boardwalks and beach houses. We love how it pairs with sunny hues, but it looks equally great set off by neutrals.

Image found on blog.hgtv.com

Lili’s Driftwood Grey Pinterest board won our team over with its great use of the color, inside and out. When pitching her choice, she summed it up perfectly, “Driftwood grey evokes coastal climates for me, particularly the New England coastline. I think of sunbaked and wind-battered shingles on Cape Cod and gorgeous pieces of water-worn, knotty tree trunks. This is the lighter, breezier cousin of flannel grey and perfect for summer.”

What do you think? Are you feeling Driftwood Grey in the heat of this sultry summer?

(Harry’s wife, Harry Stearns Painting unpaid marketing consultant & chief cheerleader)

Favorite exterior paint jobs

Image found on CaliforniaPaints.com

Harry’s painted a lot of homes in the past 30+ years.  You’d think with all of the paint and stain colors Harry’s applied to houses that it would be easy for him and I to choose a color for our own house.  It’s not!  Our house has natural red cedar siding with a clear preservative on it.  We have spent – literally – years trying to agree on a stain color.

I just found a slide show of California Paint’s favorite exterior paint jobs. Guess what? I think I found my favorite color combination. Do you think you can guess which one it is?! (Hint: It’s NOT this one!)

Take a look here.

…Now to see if Harry agrees!

(Harry’s wife, unpaid marketing consultant & chief cheerleader)

See your favorite color combinations come to life!

See your favorite color combinations come to life with Benjamin Moore’s new Rooms by Color gallery online!

Image found on benjaminmoore.com

My favorite color is green and my wife’s is blue. What do you think of this children’s room painted green with blue accents?

Rooms by Color
Now you can see your favorite color combinations come to life online at BenjaminMoore.com with just a few clicks. Rooms by Color will display eight room types in stunning, perfectly coordinated color palettes drawn from eight of Ben Moore’s most popular color families. Find the perfect color scheme for every space in your home, room by room.

Eggshell, flat, semi-gloss. What’s your go-to sheen?

Image found on paintquality.com

According to Debbie Zimmer, Editor of Paint Insights at the Paint Quality Institute blog, when it comes to selecting an interior paint for your home, there’s more to consider than quality and color. Most paints come in a variety of sheen levels – as many as six, depending upon the brand – and some are better suited for certain rooms than for others.

Paints with flat sheen are most common. They offer several advantages: being non-reflective, they tend to conceal imperfections in walls and other surfaces; they help to make uneven surfaces like poorly taped drywall look smoother and more uniform; and many hide the under-color well, since they typically contain a lot of pigment.

Flat paints are a good choice for just about any ceiling, and for rooms and spaces that aren’t exposed to water, high humidity, or heavy soiling… such as bedrooms, home offices, and living rooms.

At the other end of the sheen spectrum are paints with gloss or high gloss sheen. Being very reflective, gloss paints tend to highlight imperfections in walls and woodwork. But they are especially tough, durable, and stain-resistant – and, they are much easier to clean than paints with less gloss.

High gloss finishes are ideal for use on windows and trim, children’s rooms, and playrooms. And since they have better resistance to mildew, they also are a great choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

Paints with semi-gloss sheen are a smart compromise between the two sheen extremes, providing some of the benefits of each. Since they are not as highly reflective as gloss paints, they won’t show surface imperfections quite as much; yet they still offer good stain resistance and are easy to clean.

Semi-gloss paints are extremely versatile, working well on windows and doors, trim, even cabinets. They can even be used on the walls of kitchens and baths, and various surfaces in children’s rooms and playrooms.

Most lines of paint have at least a couple more sheen levels from which to choose. The descriptions vary, with eggshell, satin, and low luster sheen being the most common. Again, the best way to think of these sheen levels is in terms of their performance: Being less “shiny” than either gloss or semi-gloss paints, they won’t highlight nicks and surface imperfections quite as much, but since they have at least a little gloss, they’ll be easier to clean than flat paints.

Where to use eggshell, satin and low luster paints? Paints in these sheen levels pretty much have the run of the house, working well just about anywhere you need the blend of performance attributes they offer.

At first blush, it may seem confusing having to choose from so many sheen levels. But once you understand what each has to offer, you’ll appreciate the luxury of being able to “calibrate” the exact combination of paint attributes you want in every part of your home.

For more information on interior paints and sheen levels, visit the Paint Quality Institute blog at blog.paintquality.com or the Institute’s website at www.paintquality.com

Vinyl is Final

It’s been a busy week for us.  You know the old saying, “Make hay while the sun shines?”  Well, the sun has been slow to shine here in New Hampshire which is a big problem for a painter with lots of exterior jobs scheduled!  I was finally able to move outside yesterday after finishing a job in Waterville Valley stripping wallpaper from three bathrooms and two bedrooms and painting a large condo.  Seeing all those 55-gallon garbage bags filled with wallpaper strips reminded me why I never papered my own home!

Asia, a fellow blogger, recently asked me about painting vinyl siding:

I just bought a house. It’s a smaller home with vinyl siding. I really wish the house was a different color, but I was told that although it is possible to paint vinyl siding, it can cause problems due to the expanding of the material during the warmer months. I was also told that you should never paint vinyl a color that is darker than the original color. Is that true…? I mean, my house is white, so what color is not darker than that? lol. In your professional opinion, do you think I am better off just re-siding it or painting it?

Here’s my response to Asia:

Vinyl is final in my book and I’ve never attempted painting it, nor would I even if a customer wanted to hire me to do it. The expansion and contraction issue would be a major consideration – especially here in New Hampshire with its four seasons – along with adhesion/bonding. There may be some specialty products you could use, but to go from white to a darker color could present problems because it attracts more heat, which could cause problems with the siding – buckling/warping, etc. My brother has a very light color vinyl siding on his house in southern New Hampshire. He has not painted it, and never will, because he has had problems where the sections that are exposed to sunlight and heat are actually warping (they look like they’re melting!). He’s had to replace the siding a number of times in that particular area.  So…bottom line…as a contractor, I would be leery about painting vinyl siding.


Mint, Green & Everything In Between?

Benjamin Moore design expert and DIY aficionado Leigh-Ann Allaire recently blogged on colorchats.com that she has been noticing a subtle buzz about the prospect of two throw-back hues creeping back into home trends…PEACH and MINT!

Hmmm…Is it time for these 1950′s ice cream shop hues to re-emerge into our trendy interiors? And if so, what other colors will they mingle with to form a new, fresh palette?

Read the complete story on colorchats.com.