Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Priming Walls and Molding in Den

Posted on | March 14, 2011 | 26 Comments

The paint came in the mail on Thursday and we began priming the molding and walls on Saturday afternoon. I decided not to prime the whole room. I want to make sure I like the final color and hopefully we’ll figure out some tricks to retain the detail in the molding in the process. Farrow & Ball paints all have different complimentary primers formulated to enhance the top coat color. I really like their paints because they use natural ingredients such as chalk, lime putty, linseed oil and china clay. All of their paints are water based and low in odor and classified as either low or minimal VOC.

Before we got started I opened up all the windows and wiped down the walls and molding with a damp rag. I wanted to be sure all the dust from sanding was removed and I had a clean surface to apply the paint. I taped off the ceiling with blue tape and began painting the molding with a brush. I tried to take my time and be really careful painting the detailed flutes. I didn’t want to overload my brush and gunk up it up but using a 2″ brush was causing major problems.

I got frustrated which caused Greg to be annoyed and spout non-helpful phrases, I thought you knew what you were doing, just help! Me: Really because I went to school for painting? Followed by me yelling; Don’t hover over me and tell me I’m doing it wrong, just help me! I’m sure the whole neighborhood heard because the windows were wide opened. If I was walking by I would have burst out laughing! What couple doesn’t bicker when they’re working on projects together? We both calmed down and Greg came up with the idea to use a short bristled brush and dry brush the paint onto the molding; kinda like a stencil brush.

His method seemed to work so we finished the day priming the rest of the molding on the wall. On Sunday, I primed the walls using a roller. It looks like I’m going to need another coat because the paint samples I tried out are still visibly. While I was painting the walls I also noticed we have some gaps between the lower molding and the wall. We’ll have to come up with a solution to fill these gaps and then I’ll give the walls another coat.

As the primer went up I got really excited to see how nice the room will look cleaned up. I will miss the glow of the wood molding but once the floors are done the room will warm back up. Stay tuned…

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26 Responses to “Priming Walls and Molding in Den”

  1. Emily
    March 14th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    What about caulk in those gaps? Or are they too big? You could try to put some twine in the gap if it is too big, and then caulk over that. The twine would give you a surface to caulk to.

    Looks good!


  2. Sara
    March 14th, 2011 @ 4:34 pm

    So fun! Just curious, the wall color (the wood you are painting here) – is it the same as any of the samples in picture 4? (or 1)?


  3. Katy Elliott
    March 14th, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    Yup! It’s #3 from the left in the first photo. Verte De Terre: http://us.farrow-ball.com/pws/ProductDetails.ice?ProductID=100234&redirect=true


  4. Katy Elliott
    March 14th, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

    We’ll probably stick some wood down in the hole and use wood putty over the top. We had to do this to the top of the molding where it meets the ceiling too. We made a silly video we posted on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/katyelliottblog#!/video/video.php?v=10150105979102219&oid=64173004512&comments


  5. Karen
    March 14th, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

    So Exciting! If I can’t wait to see it all painted, you two must over the moon!


  6. Celia
    March 14th, 2011 @ 4:54 pm

    We are in the middle of a house remocel (75 yr old house)… and have had some problems with gaps after stripping wood, sanding it and then putting it back up. We have been told to caulk in these areas… and the caulk “Big Stretch” has been great. We have spoken with many people about this and they all say the same thing. Caulk. So far… it has been a great solution and a great product.


  7. Celia
    March 14th, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    not… “remocel”… remodel. oops


  8. moparbrownstoner
    March 14th, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

    Looks great!

    Also, after you caulk and prime, I recommend painting the wall color first, then the trim. That way the green color goes where it’s supposed to and there are no gaps between the two paints.


  9. redbrickbuilding
    March 14th, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

    Your recreation of your comments to Greg made me laugh out loud. That’s exactly how I am with my boyfriend…and he usually managed to be so patient about it! The slow going sounds super frustrating but it must be exciting to see the color going on.


  10. quintessence
    March 14th, 2011 @ 6:13 pm

    Looking great!! I’m dying to use the vert de terre – its SUCH a beautiful color. Looking forward to seeing the next stage.


  11. Susan
    March 14th, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

    Looks great so far, and I had to laugh because we were discussing the very same issue today! How we will most likely get in an argument when painting, ha! Doesn’t everyone? :)


  12. nicole
    March 14th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    what about a thin line of silicone in the gaps? that’s how we’re handling some gaps where our crown meets the bead board or corners of our door molding have a slight gap, on the recommendation of our contractor. it actually works great. we primed, applied a first coat, a thin layer of silicone smoothed out with a fingertip and then two coats of paint over. looks incredible and no gapping visible.


  13. Mom
    March 14th, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

    The caulk dries white where as the silicone dries clear and paint doesn’t adhere well to the silicone while the caulk is paintable.. I have used caulk to fill in that area and when painted it looks great, you can’t see it. I thought that Emily’s idea of putting some twine in the crack first was briliant. When you are putting up trim, even if it is new, you always seems to end up with a gap that needs to be caulked.


  14. Steve
    March 15th, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    Wow, it looks really beautiful. A Colonial museum.


  15. julie whitmore
    March 15th, 2011 @ 4:40 pm


    Been enjoying your blog so much. I know a professional painter and he said that with detailed molding you thin the paint a bit, and put on two coats, letting the first dry.
    That way it doesn’t collect in the corners and grooves.


  16. Sara
    March 15th, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

    When you are in the room did the sample on the wall (3rd from left) match the actual painting on the wood? In the photo the two colors look very different in shade.I’m trying to imagine what to expect if I tried this at home.


  17. Katy Elliott
    March 15th, 2011 @ 10:56 pm

    The new colors on the wall and molding are primer not the actual color of the final paint.

    I still have to do that part.


  18. Tara
    March 16th, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    It is going to look beautiful! I’m so glad you went with the vert de terre color. Having just finished up some trim/painting/remodeling, I second the use of caulk, as well as thinning the paint before painting trim in order to maintain the crisp detailing.
    Also, had the same “conversations” with my husband whilst painting cabinets. Par for the course…) Best of luck!


  19. Lauren Gries
    March 16th, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    I’m glad to hear that we’re not the only couple who bickers during home projects and repair. It sometimes can be so frustrating, but in the end I think always brings us a little bit closer together.

    The place is looking beautiful, can’t wait to see the end result!


  20. jen jafarzadeh
    March 17th, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    So exciting you’re in the final stages with the den! I want to paint a couple walls in our place, and I’m thinking of “cheating” and color-matching a couple favorite Farrow & Ball colors with Benjamin Moore paint. I know it won’t be the exact same, but since we’re renters and I’m impatient once I start a project, I wanted to save some of the time and cost. I could spend hours dreaming about those F&B color fan decks though.


  21. Katy Elliott
    March 17th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    Thanks Jen! Their paint is really expensive. And a lot of paint shops do a great job color matching using a Benjamin Moore color. The F&B paints when you see them in real life have a really nice chalky quality that I like for an old house. But if you just like the color do a color match! Good luck with your new place!


  22. Naomi Parker
    March 18th, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

    I admire your patience and planning, what a fun project! Looks like such a great space. I even like those different color swatches as is, maybe for a different room? Anyway, nice work!! Best, -Naomi


  23. classiccasualhome
    March 19th, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    At least Greg helps! It is looking great!


  24. Katy Elliott
    March 21st, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    Of course classichome! But we are totally real people who bicker like everyone else. It’s all fun!


  25. Justine@designskool
    June 15th, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    Do you have a bedroom or bath with detail like this? If so, have you considered leaving it sanded a la photo number 3? Would be gorgeous. Very John Derian.


  26. Katy Elliott
    June 15th, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

    Nope just this room has this decorative molding. Yes, very John Derian. I really wanted to bring this room back to it’s original glory and I personally prefer things a little tidier. But his house is very cool too!


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