Your Guide to Creating Beautiful Spaces, FAST!
March 18, 2003
THE MISSION...DecoDreams is the home-decorating-made-
easy.com e-zine that delivers interior decorating tips,
ideas, and solutions to enhance all rooms of your home.
Staying on top of what's hot in decorating has never been
so easy or fun!
DON'T FORGET Your Friends!...If you like DecoDreams, please
do a friend and me a huge favor and "pass it along"...
...or ask them to subscribe by visiting
Home Decorating Made Easy.com
Diversity of creative ideas has always been the hallmark
of home decorating. That's why I've asked designer,
artist, educator and writer, Marney Makridakis, to share
her own unique brand of decorating advice in our "Ask the
Decorator" column. I think you'll enjoy her wit and
Submit your questions to Marney by clicking here.
> TABLE OF CONTENTS
1) PRE-launch For Unique New Home Decorating Guidebooks
o Featured Article
1) Preparing Your Surface For Painting -
Don't Get Past Your Prime!
o Turning Ideas Into Action!
1) Ask the Decorator
- The DecoDiva Answers Your Question On Painting Over Faux Finishes
2) Ask the Decorator
- The DecoDiva Answers Your Question On Painting Countertops
o Today's Quote
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NEWS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRE-launch For Unique New Home Decorating Guidebooks
Yes, it's true! After months and months of fun and
toil, Marney Makridakis (a.k.a The DecoDiva) and I are
publishing a "first of their kind" set of
interactive home decorating ebooks. Trust me,
these are like nothing you've ever seen!
The Awaken Your Interior Designer! Collection will be
launched very soon, but I could really use your help...
I'd like to get your initial impressions of this
unique package. In return, you'll get 20% off
the price of the collection if and when you ever
decide to buy it.
All you have to do is click here to read the description
for the package. After reading it, you'll be directed to a
quick 6 question survey that will take you less than 1
minute to complete. That's it! You'll be doing me a
HUGE favor :-)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ FEATURED ARTICLE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Don't Get Past Your Prime! -
Preparing Your Surface For Painting
We all know about painting walls - chances are, you've
probably painted a few yourself. But what about other
surfaces in your house? Is it possible to apply paint
to laminate, metal, wood, ceramic tile?
The answer is YES. Just use the right primer before
you paint, and then you're all set to paint the
surface in any way you'd like.
Take a look at this breakfast nook below, for example
(photo is only viewable if your mail service allows
An old, rusty metal table was painted to match the
exact color of brand new wrought iron chairs, and all
for a fraction of the cost of a new iron table. The
plain white canvas seat covers were painted yellow to
match the buttery walls and floor tiles.
Speaking of those floor tiles, the solid tiles around
the edge of the room and covering the entire adjoining
kitchen are actually the room's original white tiles.
They were painted with yellow paint to complement the
new specialty tiles in the center of the room. What a
great way to save money!
Finally, the laminate built-in breakfront (previously a
"faux wood" laminate) was painted a pale slate gray to
bring a more sophisticated look to the room, while
maintaining the cheery, light atmosphere.
So let's get down to business and talk about primers.
No matter what surface it's used for, primer creates a
bond between the paint and the surface you are
While it's tempting to skip the priming step, it's
essential for achieving a professional looking result
on any surface.
Do you know when primer is a MUST and when it isn't?
First, answer the following questions:
- Does the surface have existing paint on it?
- Is the surface's existing paint COMPLETELY
free of cracks, bubbles, or peels? (I mean TOTALLY
- Is the surface free of any holes or cracks in
need of repair?
If you can't answer "yes" to ALL of those questions,
then it's a trip to the primer aisle at Home Depot for
But don't worry! The only hard part about priming is
figuring out which kind to use, and we're going to take
care of that right now, with this nifty "Primer…for
Priming" (sorry, I couldn't resist!)
You can ignore my humor, but don't ignore this
1. Priming surfaces with existing paint: If you plan to
paint with latex (water-based) paint, the first step
is to test if the existing paint is alkyd (oil-based)
or latex (water-based).
If the existing paint is alkyd, you'll need to use a
special primer for glossy surfaces, such as Bulls Eye
1-2-3 by Zinsser
(found at http://www.zinsser.com/PDF/Sweets/bullseye_123.pdf).
To test if your existing paint is alkyd or latex,
apply a very small patch of latex paint to the surface
and let it sit overnight.
The next day, if you can easily scrape the paint off
with your fingernail, your existing paint is alkyd and
you need this special primer. Otherwise, you can use
a standard latex primer.
2. Priming new drywall or concrete: Use a latex(water-
based)primer, not an alkyd (oil-based primer). Alkyd
primer will make the surface too bumpy for the
subsequent coat of paint.
3. Priming raw wood: "Raw wood" is wood that has not
been "cured" or dried out. Prime with shellac, such
as B-I-N by Zinsser
(found at http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID=10)
4. Priming new wood or plaster: Use alkyd primer, not
latex. Latex is water-based and will seep into the
wood or plaster, leaving an uneven texture.
5. Priming non-porous surfaces: There are lots of
surfaces that I bet you never even dreamed you could
paint, like glass, ceramic tile, formica, and surfaces
covered with vinyl wallpaper, glossy latex paint or
Just think of the possibilities! These non-porous
surfaces should be primed with a high-adhesion acrylic
primer, such as DTM Bonding Primer by Sherwin-Williams
(found at http://www.sherwin-williams.com/Contractors/industrial/products/dtmbp.asp)
6. Priming metal or laminate: For either of these
stubborn surfaces, we recommend Vinyl Etch Primer by
(found at http://www.resene.co.nz/archspec/datashts/ra31.htm)
7. Priming a stained surface: If your surface is
badly stained from smoke, crayons, grease, or water,
use a stain-fighting primer such as Cover Stain by
(found at http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID=12)
8. Priming canvas: Prime canvas with an art primer,
such as gesso or a neutral glazing medium (available
at any art supply store or online art retailer such as
You apply primer with a household paint brush, just
as if you were applying paint. The one exception is
priming with shellac, in which case you should use a
With this handy list, you're well on your way to
creating beautiful surfaces that will pop with deep,
rich colors and textures.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ask the Decorator
DecoDiva, Marney Makridakis, Answers Your Decorating
Q. We just bought an old historical home we hope to
turn into a bed and breakfast and I would like to do
some faux painting in the rooms. Once you have faux
painted, can you simply paint over the wall if we
change our minds down the road? Or do the glazing and
other finishes prohibit you from doing that?
A: You're in luck...there's no problem painting over
that faux finish if you change your mind later. I'll give
you a few tips tomake it easy.
If your finish is highly texturized (such as a finish
created by sponging or stippling with three or more
colors, or a finish that was created with a thickening
agent), you'll need to sand the surface, first.
Simply run your hand over the surface. If it feels
smooth, you don't need to sand it, but if it feels
bumpy, a simple sanding job will do the trick.
If the finish was not created with a high-gloss glaze,
and it was not covered with a coat of varnish, feel
free to use any kind of standard primer to prime the
walls. Your original finish will be covered beautifully.
If you covered the finish with a varnish (which is
typical for faux finishes), you'll need to use a
primer for glossy surfaces (see Michael's product
suggestion in #1, above). This will make subsequent
coats of paint adhere to the wall.
You'll also need to use this product if you used a
high-gloss glaze mixed with your paint for the finish
(most typical glazing products for faux finishes are
not high-gloss, however, but a high-gloss glaze will
be labeled as such).
Ask the Decorator
DecoDiva, Marney Makridakis, Answers Your Decorating
Q. I have a solid white formica kitchen counter top
and would like to change it. It would be quite costly
to have it replaced but have been told that there is a
type of paint that can be used on formica. Is that
true and if so, could you point me in the right
A. As Michael mentioned in the above article, there
are bonding primers that you can use to paint on
formica. But you shouldn't use this technique on any
surface that will be used for food preparation.
But if you're trying to give your kitchen a new look,
If you have formica cabinets, consider painting them,
instead of the countertop. If there is a portion of
your kitchen counter that you don't use for food
preparation (such as a "work" area or "bar"), you
could use a bonding primer and paint that area in
a solid color.
That area will then contrast with your white counter-
tops for a fresh, clean look.
For many kitchen countertops, the formica extends
behind the counter to act as a backsplash. Again,
painting this area in a solid color will make the
countertops really pop with energy!
With a little creativity, you can give your kitchen a
makeover without replacing those countertops!
***************** TODAY'S QUOTE ***************************
"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to
cheer somebody else up."
Wishing you all the best,
Michael J. Holland - President
Home Decorating Made Easy
Copyright © 2003