Wall Options
The following story appeared in American Painting Contractor, June 2005

Illuminating a Showplace Home with Tuscany-Light Finishes

Gary Lord Wall Options replaces the new with European splendor.

When Gary Lord was asked to create a European feel without the heavy handed application in a residential project, he jumped at the chance to evoke what his clients called "Tuscany Light." Using tiles, fabric and carpet swatches, granite and even cabinet doors as color samples, Lord collaborated with his clients, Clint and Kim Brown, on choosing unique textural and light effects for each room, with creative techniques culminating in a complex street scene mural in the lower level hallway.

To meet the final deadline set for a large open house, Lord worked closely with the general painting contractor finishing areas immediately after him in a sequence that kept the crew out of harm's way with the other contractors.

Work began in the dining room, with Eggplant and Merlot Lusterstone, an architectural coating that produces reflective stone-like patterns in a high/low dimensional finish. A sheer texture coat of Eggplant was applied with a stainless steel trowel in a broad arched movement. Two tight skim coats of Merlot Lusterstone, thinned with water to 20 percent, created "luster" with no burnishing. In the master bedroom, Off White Aquabond was used as the base. The main walls were glazed with two Benjamin Moore paints, each mixed with Aquaglaze. Working out of gallon buckets with 4-inch Whizz rollers and bucket screens, the crew rolled in a 50/50 pattern and mottled the colors together with a cotton rag. While the glaze was still wet, a 4-inch blending brush softened the rag texture and create an embedded, overall suede effect.

The bedroom's accent wall consists of 4-by-12-foot lengths of Kraft paper skim coated with Ruby Venetian Plaster, torn to make a ragged edge and tightly crumbled to crack the plaster. Lord soaked the paper pieces in brown colored water, uncrumpled and dried them flat, then hung them with wallpaper paste to create a random torn edge pattern.

The technique used on the master bedroom walls was repeated in the kitchen but with a sheer glaze and different colors. Adding Aquacolors to Aquacreme glaze, each color was rolled on, ragged off and then blended out to create the background. Aquacolors were also used for the stencil paint. A texture material, Aquastone, was randomly sponged on, then knocked down with a 6-inch blade to create an older plaster feel. Finally, multiple colors of Aquacreme were scrubbed on with a 4.5inch round, vibrant green nylon brush that Lord and his crew call "Leon Neon."

On the master bathroom walls, a texture finish Lord calls "Hearst Castle" was applied. A scratch coat of a sandy plaster material called Plastertex was rolled on, then sponged in a random vertical pattern and knocked down. When dry, scraping with a taping blade burst open the sand particles in the Plastertex, creating an irregular brown speckle finish. Two glazing colors followed, and high areas were tipped with Gold Palette Deco to coordinate with the tile. To finish it off, a trompe l'oeil mural was created in the archway behind the tub.

In the powder room, Lord's crew skimmed on Bronze Palette Deco with a taping blade, and then troweled in a random checkerboard with Japan Scraper blades. Petroglyph-like designs were added while the finish was still wet. The final step was to overglaze with Aquacreme III a darker bronze.

To create the "Tuscany light" columns, thinned Sandstone was applied over Aquabond Off White, followed by more Sandstone applied with sponges and knocked down. When the finish was 75 percent dry, the crew scraped the columns, revealing varying colors and depths and thus creating a cost-effective sandstone look.

In the foyer, two colors of latex paint were mixed in a 1-to-4 ratio with Aquaglaze, and then applied in a random open pattern. When blended to allow 5- to 10-percent of the off white base to show, the result was a simple and fast version of Venetian Plaster.

In the rotunda, Lord created a sky mural in the dome. First he painted the darkest blue in the apex, the middle value in the central circumference and the lightest color at the horizon. Lord then used his HVLP system to rough-in the clouds, and a cup gun for adding highlights and shadows. To enhance the twilight effect, the Browns added a row of dimmer lights.

In the lower level hallway a mural depicts a street of shops in a quaint city. After chalking up approved sketches, each building in the street was composed with a different material. The billiard hall is brick with a limestone cap, the barbershop has wood siding and the theater sandstone. Trompe l'oeil effects were painted on the flat panel doors to reflect the theme of each room. Additional effects were created for the home theater and billiard room.

As a crowning personal touch, crewmember Kris Hampton replicated real movie posters but used the faces of the Brown's children in place of the movie stars. Congratulations to Gary Lord and the crew of Gary Lord Wall Options on combining the light and textures of Tuscany in this stunning showplace home!

Gary Lord Wall Options crew members include Micah Ballard, Mo Jennings, Kris Hampton, Jeff Sutherland, Joe Taylor, Dave Texter and Jeanne Taylor.