A New Way of Looking at Fencing!

I live in the East Bay of the SF Bay Area and there are very interesting opportunities to catch a lot of cutting edge design concepts for interiors. Well, turns out that exterior ideas that are 'different' also exist and I found this one in the Rockridge District in Oakland a couple weeks ago.
Instead of using ordinary fencing material, this homeowner uses doors and joined them to create a barrier - but an artistic one that begs the viewer (if you are on the sidewalk it's best), to peak through the glass...


Preparing the Surface of Furniture for Painting

This is THE number one most important process that anyone should master before applying paint to anything.
I recently refinished a section of the 100 year old cement, car oil-soaked surface that my mechanic's shop was in. He had purchased some 'magic' paint product off the internet and simply used Pinesol to clean the cement before spreading this semi-water-based, two part epoxy type paint on the surface. I'm amazed it even stuck as much as it did! What happened though was typical: the oil bled up through the paint and created dull, ugly spotting all over that was uneven - and unnerving to say the least. What he didn't understand was that he should have taken the time to use BOTH TSP and muriatic acid to strip the cement bare before applying any type of paint. All I could do was TSP it all and reapply a more industrial paint to go over the bad prep job underneath, and it already is better.

For furniture, the process is a little different. But nonetheless, still important so that the end result will give you a paint finish that not only will retain the type of sheen you want, but be as durable and lovely as possible.

                                                 STEP #1:  De-Gloss the shiny surface

STEP #2: Sand the surface with a sponge-like hand sander. *this type of sander will allow for easy access to curves in the furniture's surface.

STEP #3: Use Simple Green for interior cleaning & thorough rinsing (hot H2o)...
...TSP powder - avoid the 'green' version as it really is pathetic - (hot H2o, heavy duty dish gloves, and fresh sponges to rinse)...for kitchen & bath cabinets and exterior furniture.

1)   Is the surface of your piece shiny?  Does it have a glossy finish or varnish?  Is it plastic or laminate?  Fresh paint needs something to grab onto.  Slick, glossy surfaces don’t give it much to bite into.  If your piece is slick and/or glossy, wash it first, then take some 220 grit sand paper and de-gloss it.  This does not mean sanding ALL the finish off.  It means to scuff it up a bit so it is not so shiny.  This will give the paint something to stick to, and only takes a minute or two.

2)  Is the surface of your piece rusty or covered with chipping or flaking paint?  This will require a little bit of sanding.  Most high quality paint sticks to whatever you paint it on – and if that is flaking, peeling or chipping, so will the paint.  Just take some 80 or 60 grit sandpaper and sand down the flaking/peeling/rusty parts, then clean off your piece. If it was REALLY rusty, you might want to spray some Rust Inhibitor and RUSTOLEUM makes a good product for this. After the surface is smooth and completely primed, you're ready to apply the new paint.
STEP #3: Remove all rust and Prime

3)  Has your piece been sitting outside for a while?  Chances are it is covered with some sort of outdoor dirt, pollen, bird poo or tree sap.  Although paint can provide a strong surface, it won’t remove bird or insect poop! Clean your outdoor piece with TSP and HOT water, use a wire brush (metal surfaces) or very stiff nylon toothed scrub brush to get into the grooves and curves of bamboo, wooden or vinyl-strapped pieces, then rinse it off. Let it dry completely in the sun and finish off with a nice 100% cotton rag, then spray prime it.
Now you are ready to apply the exterior paint product of your choice.

If you are painting your kitchen or bath or other hard furniture cabinets:  These types of cabinets get handled frequently.  Cooking grease, body oils from fingers, food splatters, soap and 'wet dust' build up on them. Before you paint them, clean them really well with TSP and HOT H2o, then rinse extremely well with fresh sponges - and more than once before drying off with 100% cotton rags.
After all, don't you want them to come out looking like this....


Spice Up Your KItchen!

A sweet little modern kitchen look: streamline cabinets, brushed nickel finishes with sharp black counters, clean lines & simplicity rules.
To add some 'spice' though…...

BOOM! Open any drawer and you get a tangerine surprise! All paint for drawers used is the relatively new ADVANCE from Benjamin Moore. High gloss, latex-mixed-with oil to provide a very durable and vibrant result in a room that could use it!



Does this image conjure any familiar scenarios when trying to find that 'perfect' color? It may seem at first look that this is a very organized, sensible approach to discovering the best color for an area. But here's the bad news: IT. IS. NOT.
Our brains can only handle comprehending color choices when we narrow the options down. Also, when the colors are presented in a certain manner.
Placing more than a couple of options in any given area can confuse the whole decision making process. And, to place paint samples directly on a surface means you've allowed a substance to dry in a patch that will stay right in that one spot. You can't tell how that color will perform when up against the carpet down low to the floor, or against the white cabinetry or the dark red tiling in the kitchen, or the greenish stonework in the bathroom. 
A better choice is to take the same wet paint and apply it to foam core board of white slick art board that can act as a pre-primed surface for paint. The size should be no less than 8" by 8" in size.
(The worst - and most common mistake - is when people take a piece of brown grocery bag paper or newspaper and spread some paint on it.) But by using the proper type of sample board, the paint coats (at least two) will reveal the true opacity of the color. At that point you can then hold that dry sample piece up anywhere in the area: behind that piece of art, held next to the cabinet, or taken down near the floor boards. THIS done along with your lighting IN PLACE ALREADY - you're 99% there in selecting the best color choice for any area.


So You're Buying a New Carpet?

SOME WOULD SAY: "Beige" or "Off White"
Remember that when you fall in love with a particular color, the best way to 'flatter' it is to surround it not with itself, but with a complimenting color that will cause it to pop out and be noticed.
There is no 'right' or 'wrong' in this situation; it's all about the mood you want to create and the lighting that will make or break your placement of color in a room with a beautiful piece of carpeting like this here.
The architecture for that room will also help direct which color(s) and where to place them.
I can guarantee you one thing with a carpet like this: if ONE accent wall were to be completed in a warm, rich reddish brown color, that would be a striking compliment that would cause the blues, caramel and golden color in this piece to really be showcased. Red tends to anchor other things in a room. It can certainly stand on its own as a strong accent, but when placed in a room with warm, soft colors that are surrounded by creamy warm off-whites, the red would be an anchor point that can make the entire room feel like a complete project.
Warning: watch for clashing use of other reds in the area (like picture frames). Best to stick with rich brown finishes.


How Good is Your Sense of Color?

This is a very interesting test for anyone to take. Go ahead. Much better than facebook games wasting time!


Interior Color & Painting Work I'm Proud of!,0,1585400.photogallery?index=la-fi-hot-property-jim-herzfeld-20130728-pictu-001

This property and project was a delight to work on with one of the funniest men I know! Over the course of several months and three separate long visits from me, Jim and I made this house a home again for him and his family. From the colors on the walls to selecting & shopping for furnishings, this gorgeous home came to express a side of him that he'd never had before, and I feel so lucky that I got to be part of it all. Now someone new will get to experience this lovely interior! Wonder who it'll be?....