Wrightwood, Paint, HistoryLauren BraudComment

It’s summer in Texas and everyone is thinking about long evenings on porch swings with a glass of something cold. This post has been making the rounds on Pinterest all over again so I thought I would update it with some of my favorite paint colors and a little more history on the tradition of painting porch ceilings blue.

Punny title, I know. This post is all about that elusive porch ceiling color: haint blue. The weather here in Houston is getting HOT and summer is in full swing (aka Jasmine is blooming and flash flooding occurs just hours after you were tanning by the pool) and what better time to talk about Wrightwood's pretty porches.

As southern as sweet tea and gumbo, haint blue has a colorful history that reaches beyond our shores and has a rich tradition in cultures outside our own. Some say painting porch ceilings blue keeps wasps from nesting (and that actually used to be the case, back when a toxic additive was mixed in with our paint colors), other say it keeps evil spirits at bay ("haint" is the Guhlluh pronunciation of "haunt" - and these haunting spirits couldn't cross water - often in the Caribbean you might even see door frames and window frames painted blue as well), or that a sky blue ceiling prolongs those warm southern evenings - tricking your mind into thinking the sun isn't sinking quite so fast at dusk. Whatever the reason, those who grew up in the south have learned to associate a pale blue porch ceiling with hospitality, charm, and southern comfort (the feeling....and possibly the liquor...).

A Gulluh house in South Carolina

A Gulluh house in South Carolina

As with all things at our flip house (belovedly known as Wrightwood), we tried approximately 2,518 different options or at least thats what it felt like. In reality, after scouring paint books, we settled on four blues, something just short of a miracle really. The best part was that one of those pretty blues had a very special name (I can hear my Dad still "Do not pick a paint color based off of it's name." ) And while I'm the first person to tell you picking a color simply because of it's fantastic name isn't the best idea, I know all the women in my audience have picked a nail color because the name made you picture a beautiful sunny day at the beach. No harm, no foul - but you also know, just because it makes you happy doesn't mean it looks great with your skin tone. Therefore, I did my due diligence and tested out each of the colors on the ceiling of the porch. 

This is without a doubt an incredibly important part of the process - colors change entirely on the horizontal surface of a ceiling. The light bounces in unexpected ways. I was looking for a color that was subtle; fresh and bright without being overpowering, though still very clearly blue. Lucky for me, the color that turned out to be perfect, also turned out to be the color with that very special name: Lauren's Surprise! (Hey Dad! It was meant to be!). I'm proud to announce that the ceiling color adorning the Wrightwood porches is named after me. Thanks Sherwin Williams!

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when picking a porch ceiling blue. Haint blue is a tricky color, but the simple answer is to pick something that goes with your house and your personality. If you love looking at it when you sit on your porch swing in the evenings with your sweet tea, you can't go wrong. 

We're one step closer to being done with the house - or at least getting to the fun part. Keep checking back, things on the inside are moving fast now. 

These are some of my favorite blues to paint a porch ceiling - I can’t stress enough testing out a few options on your own before making a decision but this is a great place to start whether you’re looking for subtle or bright!



Wrightwood, How ToLauren BraudComment

Wrightwood has over forty original, wood, double-hung windows and over twenty doors. Preserving the original millwork and trim work in the house has been a priority from the very beginning of this project. With the guest room we got to test out all the little tricks we've learned along the way to revive the original paint-caked, but totally beautiful and just waiting to be revived. Through a little trial and error (and grilling craftsmen for their tips) I've compiled what we've learned if you decide to take on a similar task in your home! Public Service Announcement: Safety first y'all. Make sure to test for lead paint, take safety measures if it's found, and use proper eye and respiratory protection. 

- Plastic Dropcloths
- Belt Sander
- Mouse Sander
- Sand Paper (ranging in grit from 50-120)
- Wood Filler
- Pre-mixed Bondo (make sure it is made for use on wood)
- Razor Blade
- Painter's Tape
- Tack Cloths
- Spray Primer
- Trim Paint
- Paint Brush

1. Prep Your Space
In a perfect, well planned, world you would remove the trim so you could take it outside for the majority of these steps. We unfortunately are unable to without damaging the drywall and so we've been doing all of these messy steps inside. If you're faced with a similar situation, properly prepping your space will save you 1000 headaches down the road. Clean up will be easier, sanding dust with be contained, and your floors will be spared from overspray and paint drips. We have wood floors, I think wall to wall carpet would be a whole different (nightmarish) story, so we started by placing painters tape directly on the floor anywhere any of the trim work meets the floor (this will keep the overspray from the primer from sneaking under the edges of your drop cloth - even when you tape that down too). Then carefully cover the entire floor with plastic drop cloths and tape them to each other and around the edges of the room.  Trust me, sawdust will get everywhere. Stuff a towel under the door to keep it from dusting up your hallway or other rooms too. 

2. Removing Old Paint + Fill Major Blemishes
A belt sander is your best bet. Someone in our house got a little overenthusiastic with a disc sander and gouged all these round little cuts into the trim. Carefully run the belt sander along the trim with the grain so you don't have to correct it later. Get as much of the paint off as you can with a rougher grit sandpaper (40-50 grit should do). Pro Tip: The lower the number on the sandpaper the rougher the texture, big numbers like 120-220 are super fine and great for finish sanding. If there are any bigger holes or gouges carefully fill them with wood filler, let it dry and hand sand down any roughness.

3. Clean Up and Spray Prime Round One
Before you paint, always and forever, wipe down your surface. You can use a clean rag, but a tack cloth makes things easier and their slight stickiness makes sure you get every last bit of dust. I say spray prime round one because we found that once you get a layer of primer on there you can see any last spots you need to even out to get a super smooth surface. 

From the Left: Trimwork after the first major sand and filling with wood filler, Post-first spray prime and evening out with bondo, post-second sand and second prime - all ready for paint!

From the Left: Trimwork after the first major sand and filling with wood filler, Post-first spray prime and evening out with bondo, post-second sand and second prime - all ready for paint!

4. The Awesomeness of Bondo
So this is a trick we learned from the man who painted our kitchen cabinets. Typically bondo is used on cars and is something you need to mix and then use up quickly. But then our cabinet painter showed us this. It's premixed and you can purchase it at Autozone or O'Reillys. Make sure the kind you get has wood listed as one of the surfaces you can use it on. Using a razor blade you can carefully skim it over rough patches to even out the wood and get a super smooth finish. Make sure you have adequate ventilation bc this stuff doesn't smell great, AND you'll need to let it dry for a bit. Pro Tip: Take a piece of painters tape and fold it around the end of the razor blade to give you a little more surface to hold onto.

5. Sand...Prime...Sand Again!
Take your mouse sander (or a square of sandpaper and your hand) and go over everything one last time. Use a 120 or 220 grit sandpaper for a really fine sand. Pro Tip: As you finish an area, close your eyes and run your hand over it to feel for roughness. Best way to feel if you missed a spot! Once you're happy with the level of smoothness (and trust me, it doesn't have to be perfect, if you've got old, original trim to work with it's probably an older home and character is something to embrace. That and you'll drive yourself crazy trying to get it perfectly smooth!), take your tack cloth and wipe any dust off of everything before your second round of priming. Make sure you cover all the red from the bondo; again, it doesn't have to her perfect, but at least a enough that the red won't show through when you paint!

6. The Final Paint
For Wrightwood I used the Benjamin Moore paint pictured above in Super White. It's a great "in between" of an acrylic and an oil based enamel. It cleans up with water (though the can does suggest once your paintbrush is all rinsed you do a final rinse with mineral spirits) but it's thick and self levels really beautifully - meaning that as you paint it on you may see a LOT of brushstrokes but as it sits the strokes seem to fade away like magic! That said though make sure you paint quickly because it does dry fast and if you find you missed a spot it's best to let it dry entirely before painting over it instead of risking it getting a little gummed up. Honestly ladies, it's a lot like nail polish. Have you ever tried to put on a second coat but then it's not quite dry and not wet enough and you end up with this weird gunked up gummy spot? It's kind of like that. Pro Tip: Start from the top. So on a door frame that means paint the top horizontal piece, then the two vertical sides. On a window do the same: Top horizontal, then vertical mullions, then horizontal sill - always painting in the direction of the wood - horizontal strokes on horizontal boards, vertical strokes on vertical boards.

Ta-da! All Done!

Ta-da! All Done!

This is a couple-days-long project factoring in drying time for the wood filler, bondo, and primer, but I hope this tutorial gives you a comfort level with the process and that you'll feel confident enough to give this a shot! If you have any questions, I'd love to answer them in the comment section! Best of luck!


Wrightwood, Before and After, InspirationLauren Braud1 Comment

This week we're tackling the upstairs guest room. In plan not much has changed, but a couple minor changes have resulted in a completely transformed space. We started with a room covered in thin fake wood paneling, acoustical tile ceilings, green shag carpet, and had a door-sized hole in one corner. Let me visually remind you where we started:

When we removed the wood paneling we fell in love with the ship lap much that we've decided to leave one wall and the ceiling exposed. What seemed like a simple decision  - like most things in the house - has turned into a pretty involved project. The wood had years of glue stains and thousands (thousands) of tiny tacks that were holding the ancient wall paper (oh yeah there was wall paper under the wood paneling) in place. Before we could sand the wood, we needed to remove as many of the tacks as possible (I would say we only managed about 50%). My extremely tenacious mother has spent the last two weeks sanding the wall and the ceiling with one of those little vibrating sander mouses - a belt sander, while faster in theory, would get torn up on the tacks and was useless. After sanding, the tacks were no longer subtle, rusty specks; the rust sanded off and there were now hundreds of tiny points of shiny silver all over the room. Attention to detail is a blessing and a curse y'all. We took a paint brush and painted "rust" back onto every little remaining tack. Even better, we left exposed shiplap in the stairwell, the hall way, and the ceiling in the office so we have a few more opportunities to perfect the process. While super labor intensive the exposed wood has an incredible affect on the room and I've never seen anything quite like it. 

I would love for this guest room to be super simple, warm and layered with textural neutrals. A simple platform bed, a place to sit, and a dresser so guests don't have to live out of a suitcase. Two walls are full of windows letting the morning sun in in all it's glory, so I have a feeling blackout shades will be nessecary as well. I'm looking for a creative solution to side lamps - I'm liking the idea of a pendant hanging from the ceiling or maybe something with an arm - windows will be behind the headboard, limiting what we can do with sconces. Aside from the dream of constantly refreshed bouquets of flowers, thats about it. 

If everything goes according to plan over the next two days, you will be able to tune in Wednesday and see the guest room in all it's renovated glory. No furniture yet, but refinished floors, painted walls, and that painstakingly (& lovingly) restored exposed ship lap. I feel like I've said it before about other rooms but I think this will be the first, officially, finished room at Wrightwood! I'll start accepting applications now for the honor of "first guest". ;)