Saturday, July 29, 2006

Faux foe...

... "I know, let's do it in a faux weathered surface, you know, one of those crackle things."

So spoke I in the heat of the moment, the flush of battle. When things were good and times were right. When we were fresh and unsullied. When I was REALLY stupid.

So right now we can't afford the really big fixes. But paint, who can't do paint?

First off, let me counteract a lie: "It's just a gallon of paint, that's CHEAP!"

OK, here's the truth. There's no such thing as "just a gallon of paint".

Lowe's knows this. Home Despot knows this.

I go in for a $0.10 latex glove and walk out with $138.99 worth of absolutely indispensible things I didn't know I needed.

And faux! Who invented the faux? How many faux (or fauxes, or faus, or fauxi?) were killed in the making of a quart of that stuff?

Next side note: The faux is the corporate iconic beast of the home shopping channel QVC.

So this room, this living room. Let me describe its original paint scheme as we obtained it... slime beige. It has an alternate name, urine creme. Too strong? I think not.

And the ceiling, WELLLLLLlll now THAT has been a work of art.

My original home design consultant (ex-wife) one Christmas looked at the faux (there it is again!) texture cracking off the ceiling and the beautiful browns and rusts and mildew-blacks of a long-gone storm and roof failure and said, "You know, with the angel up there on the tree against that background it looks almost like the Sistine Chapel!"

Right. A faux Sistine Chapel. If viewed through the prism of a Timothy Leary experience.

I'd tried to perk that room up. Spent more than I should on two couches. It just occurs to me now what they were. They were ... faux couches.

Faux suede. Micro fiber.

Now think about it. Fiber is fiber. Micro fiber means it's really little. Not really fibrous at all. Maybe under the microscope they're really more like little nubbins or balls. In fact, I know what they REALLY are... FAUX FIBER!!!

That impulsive furniture day, I'd looked that day at twills and denims and such... But no, said the clerk, "You have kids and cats, you need something that will really stand up... Only leather and micro-suede will do that."

My question 2.5 years later is: Stand up to what?

I knew instinctively that leather would NOT stand up to cat claws... but certainly faux suede would, right? Right. For 15.2 seconds. The couch arms are shreds. (Maybe I need faux cats.)

And to continue the thought string (more of a micro-thought-fiber, really), I thought until today that those couches were grey. I'd have SWORN to you they were gray. Grey. Gray.

Until I spoke my belief outloud today during another run to Lowe's to work on those walls.

I said "grey".

My current design consultant and her associate (brother) said, "Grey? Dad, what couches are YOU talking about."

Now I'm SURE I describe them as GRAY to the clerk at the furniture store. She agreed with me, grey. That was probably AFTER I said something about being red-green color-blind. (As a person who truly enjoys color and design, this always turns out to be just a tad-bit inconvenient.)

BUT... if the customer said gray, no need to correct him.

Come to think of it, I think they probably are a kind of gray. FAUX GREY.

SO... we painted on our "High Hiding Primer". That really worked. Hid the stuff we were really too lazy to fix. My 4th declared, "Dad, that's cool, let's just leave the walls like that!"

Oh no! We had plans. Color depth. Pop. Pow. Wow!

We were going to CRACKLE!

So we painted on the peachy-creamy undercoat. It looked good in the store.

It looked good on the walls!

HOORAY! We're doing well (I must add that the goal here was to surprise our interior coordinator/designer while she was on a babysitting foray... so the assistant and I were doing this quickly... always a good plan).

Next day we opened the faux crackle stuff. Figured out what it really was. Elmer's glue slightly thinned. And marked up to $13 a quart.

But we're gonna crackle so it's worth it.

Now another aside, the assistant and I have really got this painting thing down. I've now mastered the rolling edger (what a handy contraption... a pad that works like a roller/brush... a faux brush!). The assistant has the roller down.

I edge, he rolls... we did the 3 walls 15', 10', 15', in about 45 minutes. WOW are we good!

Only thing is... it's 10:45 when we finish. PM. Instructions say we must begin the next piece within 1-4 hours, or it's no-go.

11:45PM and we begin phase FOUR of this "pop, pow, wow". Here's the famous quote from the instructions: "For more dramatic surfaces, use a brush rather than a roller".

A brush. Ummm... I'm not good with brushes. I'm ok, but not great. Haven't really done it enough to be confident. Kinda tend to ... brush and brush and ... "Do not overwork topcoat as surface may become gummy."

OOOooh my. How did they know? Could they see into my future?

And when "surface becomes gummy" it ... well... it sags. The crackle faux stuff sticks to the top paint but SLIDES on the bottom paint. And slides. And slides.

Assistant is banished... He's not confident or steady enough with the brush. Course netierh am I.

It's 12:15. AM. The minions are sent to their perches in the lofts.

Progress is torturously slow. This whole missive is drafted while ... stroking. Up. Down. Over. My head is full.

I begin to get the hang of it, and by the time I'm on the back wall (3 hours later) I have crackle. But what of the early areas? WAAAAY too much "drama". The creamy show-through is big enough to ... to drive a faux through.

At 3:30 I stop looking at the clock. Later I look over my shoulder as I'm coming into the home ... stretch (reaching up for the high places) and see ... dawn breaking.

I put the last touches on and finally look at the clock... repair some sags too big to leave (ugh, that looks ugly up close) and wash the brushes, tumbling into bed for faux sleep at 7:30.

It's a work day. More like faux work I'm afraid, after that night.

... And when I awake ...

I HATE it.

No, not really that. I mean, it's ok, even kinda cool.

But I had something in my mind, and that wasn't it. Not even close. And the early places where there's so much light showing through... just NOT right. Not blending with the other walls.

Only one thing to do ... I have a faux collapse. A dad-breakdown.

My muse talked some sense into me (I was talking of paint remover and scraping the thing clean... what fauxlly). She recommended a couple of approaches, one of which I adopted today... It worked.

Any gueses????

That's right...

A faux finish!