Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Solarium Floor

I want to start this week's post with a big giant THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to vote for The Cow Spot last week for the apartment therapy Homies Awards. I ended up coming in 9th place in the semi-finals. 9th place in a National competition, not too all are the best and I was very honored to be considered. 

Back on the home front Brent and I have been busy sprucing up the solarium. Last we talked we had painted the ceiling, which really helped liven up the space.

The room was looking good as long as you were looking up, but as the eye drifted down....OY-VEY....palm... to...forehead....The floor was a whole other bucket of blah and needed some serious help.

 The floor is a 12" x 12" tile, which isn't setting the woods on fire in the cool department, but even worse, it always looked dirty. The grout was light colored and already stained when we bought the house. No matter how much we cleaned the tile, it always had a grimy vibe to it. Plus, the light colored tile with the light colored grout showed dirt very easily. Even when the tile had been deep cleaned, one trip outside to let Luke out or to throw some burgers on the grill and it seemed we were back to square one because every piece of debris that was tracked in would show up instantly. The solarium is the bridge between the deck and the den so it sees a fair amount of traffic, thus the flooring in this space really needed to be something more forgiving. 

As we considered our options we really wanted to find a solution that would solve our problem aesthetically without breaking the bank. We have big fish to fry all over this house and didn't want to spend a big chunk of money on the solarium floors. So, for  a while we stuck a big "TBD" on that project and went on with life. Then one random day, as luck would have it, one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, posted about a DIY makeover they did to their bathroom floor. The long and short of it - they purchased a stencil and painted a design on their floors. The results were dramatic and it took them 5 hours. Light bulbs went off, angels started singing and this little voice inside of me, the one that tells me to buy horse heads and other fabulous things, screamed......"BINGO!"

I clicked right over to Royal Design Studio Stencils and began perusing my options. There are a lot of cool stencils on the site and Brent and I spent a few nights narrowing down our favorites, but ultimately decided on the Herringbone Shuffle Stencil.

Photo from google search. 
While we waited for the stencil to arrive we prepped the space for the new floor. To begin we purchased Sherwin William's pre-catalyzed water based epoxy paint in extra white.

This paint came highly recommended for our specific application because of the durability the finish offers. This paint is often used in commercial spaces with high traffic areas like schools and hospitals.   

The space was already feeling better with the floor half painted in the extra white color. 

With the floor painted and our stencils in hand we were ready to go. This is what the stencil looked like pre-paint. 

Let me stop here and say this photo of me all chipper and smiley holding the stencil was taken in late October and the final picture you will see further down the post is from early February. That's right this project took about 4 months from start to completion. We did not work on the project every day, but it did prove to be a bit more involved than we anticipated. I was counting on the whole 5 hour scenario, but unfortunately for us that timeline was not in the cards for our space.

Let me explain:

We went to town taping down our stencil and rolling on some paint just like YHL and countless other people have done before us with great results. Sadly our first stenciled square did not yield good results, nor did our second or third. WHAT. THE. HECK? Why was this not working for us? The answer became obvious quickly: Grout. Young House Love had painted their stencil on the sub floor AKA a flat surface with no grout. The grout lines created small valleys in the floor, where the paint from the roller would pool and run, getting paint outside the stencil lines as well as on the back side of the stencil (a big issue when it comes to stenciling). If we had continued down this route, we would have had to get a small paint brush and literally  hand paint each area of the stencil that was along a gout line. 

So, we RE-painted OVER the first stencil pattern with our white paint and came up with our plan B: Spray paint.  Genius, right? We thought so too. But before we could start using the spray paint we hung poster board around the entire perimeter of the room and then we taped poster board on to the floor around the stencil we were working on.  

This was a pain to say the least, but if you' have ever used spray paint you know the paint fog travels and will quickly coat all that it lands on. Because our walls and the floor were white, this was essential because the dark gray fog would of been very obvious. 

Once a square had been sprayed we would let it sit for awhile. Sometimes hours and sometimes days.  We wanted to ensure the paint was good and dry so that it would not smear when we lifted the stencil.  

This approach is one of the main reasons the project took so long, but it worked and left us with very little touch up at the end. 

We would complete one cycle and then begin again. 

Note: We also had to cover the completed tiles with poster board to keep the fog off of them as well. Yet another reason it was imperative the paint was good and dry. Wet paint would have stuck to that poster board and poof….ruined. 

The process wasn't hard but it took time. The actual act of spray painting the pattern was easy. It was all of the prep work and waiting that drug the project out. There would be days where we would complete the cycle 3 or 4 times and other days we would do one cycle before bed and then not touch it again for a week. 

But the more we did…..

the more excited we became at how it was all coming together….

Then one day a fire got lit under us. I'm not sure if it was the weeks worth of snow days we were given or just a general need to check this bad boy off our list, but we went to town and before we knew it, we were done. I can only describe the feelings I felt the day I was finally able to rip off all the poster board and tape and throw it away as pure joy. I cleaned the floor, wiping away the little bit of paint fog that had settled, and BAM:

We have ourselves a funky fun floor that literally makes the entire space have more personality. Suddenly just like that it was all worth it. The frustration is forgotten and all we can see is a happy space. 

The floor feels so fresh and is easy to clean because of the pre-catalyzed water based paint, but when debris does sneaks in, it isn't as noticeable because the pattern helps to camouflage it. Functional and pretty, does it get better? Obviously the space has a ways to go, we need to figure out furniture and a rug may or may not be in this rooms future, but for now we are letting the floor bask in all it's glory and we couldn't be happier with the end result!

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own. 

12 Appreciated Comments :

Tiffani Stutzman said...

Wow!! What a pain...but it looks great!

Stephanie @ Sandpaper and Glue said...

what a process.... but it does look amazing!

Courtney Foster Shearer said...

Thank you Tiffani & Stephanie! It was quite the process but we are so happy with the results!

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Delbert Powers said...

It's amazing sometimes the simple ideas that can make all the difference in the world. I love the design you used and the contrast it creates in your solarium. I will definitely be trying that. My wife can pick out the design. I think she will be thrilled with the idea. Thanks again for the photos and post. It looks great.

Delbert Powers @ Minute Man Intl

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