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2011 - Volume 2 Issue 2
Casas Bonitas
Remodeling a Home
Article: Jasmine Evaristo
Photos: Bill Faulkner
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The walls of a home are more than just partitions dividing the space. They give each room an individual personality, and they tell a story. Walls hold the history of a maturing home and family – the very essence of the dwelling. As a family lives and thrives within these walls, replenishing them can breathe new life into the space and can add significant value to the home without completely breaking the bank.

    Photo Captions

1.) photo courtesy of
     Benjamin Moore Paints

Bello Fino
Old World Interiors

Thomas Mendoza

Caesar Lujan
Juarez, Mexico

Karla Perry
Walls occupy the largest area of a room, define its size and shape, and serve purposes of both function and beauty. If walls could talk, what would they say? Your walls provide a background for an atmosphere; therefore, it is critical to have a clear image of the ambience you want them to convey. The detailed planning of a design will optimize the reinvention of your walls. Make note of the positions of any architectural details – lighting fixtures, doors, windows, outlets and dimensions. Forethought will enable you to carry through your vision effectively.

Perhaps the most time and cost efficient treatment when transforming your walls is simply a coat of paint. A splash of color will give any wall surface a new complexion. A bold paint color can brighten up a dull room, while a softer hue, such as gray, can add subtle warmth. Of all the varieties of wall treatments available, paint is the most versatile, providing the bedrock for a profusion of wall finishes.

Paints are made from a vast array of synthetic and natural materials, and come in countless colors, providing for unlimited shades, tones and tints. And with the application of assorted tools and techniques, a painted wall surface can give the illusion of a desired texture. The type of paint selected for your interior wall finishes not only influences the look and feel of a room, but will also affect the preservation of your home's value. To give your walls aesthetic resilience, opt for paints that are amendable to specific surface materials.

Alkyd paint is resin enamel that is fast drying, resists yellowing and cleans better than latex, and is generally sufficient in appearance after one coat. This type of paint is recommended for moldings, woodwork, trim, and anywhere moisture, fingerprints or scuff marks may be an issue. Latex is a type of water-based acrylic, making cleanup easy during application. Latex leaves no overlap marks, dries quickly and its characteristic odor is temporary. Latex paint is recommended for plaster, gypsumboard, masonry, wood sliding and acoustical tile. Enamel is a special type of paint similar to oil paint and is made with varnish or lacquer, which makes its finish exceptionally hard and durable. Now, there are two types of epoxy paint – the first is a ready-mix in a single can, while the second type is a two-stage finish, or a "catalyzed epoxy," which gives a tile-like coating to almost any surface. This paint type is prime in imperishability – once it hardens, the coating can be scratched, struck or marked and still be restored back to a high gloss.

Wall finishes add that final je ne sais quoi to the scenery of your home. And there is a collection of finishes to embellish your walls with. Sealers and fillers are special substances applied to new surfaces as a base coat to ensure a more professional appearance. Paint finishes are available in these variants: gloss, semigloss, or eggshell, and matte or flat. The higher the degree of gloss, the easier it is to clean. However, there is a tradeoff – higher-gloss paint also reveals the most imperfections within the wall. Flat finishes tend to look richer than semigloss finishes. Although, a matte or flat finish is easily marred by furniture, fingerprints and spills. A semigloss or eggshell finish will impede some scarring, and is the best solution for those rooms with high-level activity.

Stain penetrates wood pores and contains various colorants that can enhance natural color or give a different color to wood. Subsequently, varnish is a transparent coating commonly used to protect wood surfaces, and allow natural grain to show through – available in high-gloss or matte finishes. Other finishes include shellac, lacquer and polyurethane.

Paint textures add a layer of interest to the appearance of the walls. There are several techniques to achieving unique textures comprised of sponging, spattering, stippling, ragging, color washing and glazing. These all involve applying one or more colors of wet paint over a dry base coat of another color.

Decorative finishes speak upon the ethos of an enclosed space, giving it a sense of place. Faux finishes simulate the look of other materials, such as stone or wood, by using various techniques to apply paint to a surface. Among the more popular finishes are marble, granite and wood grains; more exotic faux finishes include tortoiseshell and malachite. Trompe l'oeil is a fantastic wall treatment for those who want to inject a note of humor into their interior design. The French term translating, "to fool the eye," is a hand-painted wall or covering that manifests a three-dimensional look.

Gilding is a finish applied to any surface that incorporates the addition of a precious metal, gold being the most common, but not excluding silver and other less expensive metals. Gilded walls may have a powdered metal applied to a substrate and then painted onto the surface.

One of the most lavish trends in wall finishes is Venetian plaster – a multi-layered plaster finish applied with a spatula or trowel, and then burnished to create a smooth surface that is as deep and luminescent as a pearl, offering views of both the world in which we live, and the world of the ancient past from which it originated. A Venetian finish can further define the style of a home. The surface is repairable, and when done with quality artisanship, is relatively low maintenance. Some Venetian plaster techniques include Centro Stoorico, Marmoreas, Tuscania, Florencia, Venexia and Rustuc.

Murals give a timeless layer of nuance to wall surfaces. A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly to a permanent surface. A distinguished characteristic of mural techniques is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously blended into the picture. Mural methods include Fresco, Buon fresco, Secco and Mezzo-fresco.

This isn't your grandmother's wallpaper. Gone are the dated patterns. Wallpaper has been revolutionized to become a valuable tool in interior design. Some of the latest trends to consider rolling onto your wall include printable wallpapers – allowing you to customize your desired patterns and designs; metallic designs give a dramatic decadence to your wall space; and earth tones give a room neutral ground for additional décor.

When contemplating an approach to refurbishing your home, deem your wall spaces as blank canvasses for your creativity at play. Let the walls of your home be indicative of the life you and your family lead. Ingrained with style and value, your walls can provide the backdrop for the narrative of your daily life. ///
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