THE NEWELL POST: Color me happy – Florida Times

June 9, 2012 | By More

Color me happy

After much planning, work is finally underway in my sunroom! I mentioned the project here a few months ago, specifically about selecting cork floors to replace the room’s mauve carpet. When the materials for the floor finally arrived, I was more inspired than ever to get moving on this project. They are stunning and I can’t wait to see them installed.

But before the flooring can be installed, the room needed paint and that posed another issue: I had no idea what color I wanted on the walls. I had thoughts of painting it the same Tiffany-esque blue that’s on the three walls in my living room. But, then I bought a piece of furniture that threw a wrench in my plans — a little blue church pew. Yes, really. I saw it when I went to speak to Melaine Taylor at Riverside Market Antiques Interiors (Homes, April 28) and fell in love. However, the pew blue clashed with my Tiffany blue so I was back to square one.

I sought help from Peter, my friend/co-worker who’s something of a graphic design genius, and he made a daring suggestion: coral. My go-to colors when it comes to clothes or decor are green, blue and purple. Oranges, reds, corals, etc. almost never enter my palette. I was pretty nervous when I used a Creamsicle orange paint for my spare bedroom, but I still love the color more than a year later. I decided to take Peter’s advice and use the sunroom as another opportunity to break out of my color comfort zone. We chose La Fonda Flamenco Pink by Valspar with a built-in primer. It’s closer to peach than coral, but still lovely and bright. He also helped me pick some complementary shades of blue and green to use as accent colors in the room.

Once I had my color all set, I had to begin prepping the room, which is the most time-consuming part. My friend Josh came by to help me move out all the furniture, remove the broken three-blade fan (goodbye, Gimpy!) and take down the vertical blinds. Now, I don’t want to go so far as to say I despise vertical blinds, but they are definitely not my favorite choice. They block all light in the room, which is fine if you’re using the space as a TV den, as the previous owner was. But I want my sunroom to have, well, sun. So, out they went, and in came the light. In fact, I couldn’t believe how much light poured in, especially since my yard is now missing the shade provided by one giant oak and one little fig tree (Homes, April 21).

With a blank canvas, I began my work filling holes and caulking the trim, which didn’t look like it had ever been done. It proved to be a bigger chore than anticipated. While I was caulking the crown molding, I made a not-so-pleasant discovery. I know from a previous owner that the room used to be a screened porch. The three outside walls are brick with a soffit over the brick going up to the ceiling. There are some sizeable gaps between the wood soffit and the brick. While caulking the ceiling, I got close enough to the gaps to feel air coming through. Not good. Filling the gaps was a must, so I turned to my friend Josh for some help. He recommended Fast ‘N Final lightweight spackling compound. It has a consistency like airy mashed potatoes. It was substantial enough that I could push clumps of it into the gaps and smooth it out with my fingers. It dries pretty solidly, too. I bought a quart-sized tub and used about half of it to fill any place brick met wood, e.g. around the soffit, where the one wall of paneling met a brick wall, and underneath the window sills of all eight windows. Filling all the gaps took me a couple of hours, but all the leaks are now filled. Finally I could get to the fun part!

As I mentioned, three of the room’s walls are brick and one is paneling. I only used the coral paint on the paneling and the soffit, as suggested by Julie Dewhurst Terrazzano of Stage the Sale in Jacksonville. Painting only the parts I did left me with enough coral (all around the room) to make a statement, but not enough to be overwhelming. I did the walls first, then the ceiling and crown molding. I probably should have started with the ceiling and worked my way down, but I can be a messy painter and I’d rather paint over white on coral than the reverse. I chose Valspar’s flat ceiling paint in white for the ceiling and Valspar’s semi-gloss interior paint in white for the crown molding and the trim around the doors and windows.

While still a work in progress, the room already looks worlds better. Before, the brick, walls, trim and ceiling were all the same shade of beige. Now, the room has some variety and dimension.

Now, it’s on to phase two: installing my handsome new cork floors!

Michelle Newell is a Homes staff writer, first-time homeowner and practicing DIYer. She welcomes your feedback, suggestions and inspiration.

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