Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"She who rests on her laurels will probably end up getting poked in the rear by branches"
Maybe that sentiment has been expressed previously and more elegantly by others, but it's my own personal motto. And so it was that after a weekend of basking in the glow of my Antiques Roadshow moment, I got back to work Monday morning, bravely struggling with the "enduit decorative a la chaux" that's going up in the dining room.
I don't know WHAT the heck to call the stuff in English. Babelfish is giving me "decorative lime coating", which sounds like something an innovative chef would put on orange roughy and serve with a purée of autumn vegetables.

The stuff looked great on the sample wall at the DIY store. And it seemed so easy to apply. You just spread it on , smooth it with a trowel and voila! Instant rustic charm à la française!

But of course, as with so many other things that seem easy, it hasn't been all that instant. First of all, I had to strip the walls and repair them. Then I had to put on a coat of textured base paint. And then finally I got to start applying the actual decorative coating.
It goes like this: You glop a heap of this fluffy, plastery stuff on the wall and spead it around. And then you fuss around with it for ages, trying to make it look like it was put on by a master artisan enduit-applier guy - the kind of guy whose ancestors were slathering a mixture of donkey dung and chalk onto the walls of their peasant neighbors back in the Dark Ages and making it look darn good, too.
Elegantly masterful, yet nonchalantly casual.
After a hard morning slaving over a hot wall, I went out for a moment. While I was gone JP ventured into the dining room to give it a try.
He later reported, somewhat astonished: "It is VERY difficult!".
No kidding.

This morning, I only have one more wall to go with the plaster. Sadly, I used up the last of my third pail of the stuff last night. So, I have to go back to the DIY this morning and buy more.

This is more than a little frustrating, as I only need a couple more litres to finish up with, but it only comes in one size, which is about twice as much as I need. And at 44 Euros a pop, it's not a small matter.

Once the stuff is all up and has dried for a day, I can start on the next stage: applying the wax coating. It gives the walls color (we chose a sort of natural peachy shade) and makes them washable.

After THAT, I'll put on a stencil border in cerulean blue.

Then after all that, I'm going to sit in my beautiful dining room and drink kir.

You are all invited.


oreneta said...

Did you know that plasterers are the most highly paid trade in the construction industry? More even than plumbers (who would have thought it was possible). They are paid so freaking much because it is so darned difficult to do well.

babzee said...

The second photo in this post is amazing. I want a 1x2 metre blow-up framed in steel hanging on the spare, unfinished wall of the converted Brooklyn factory loft which I live in (alone) in my fantasy life.

PS: I got my laptop back!

Beth said...

When I become a highly paid plasterer, I just may buy Ms B that fantasy loft.

And congrats to her the return of her joy and freedom (internet-wise).
Happy surfing!

La Framéricaine said...

Beautiful, if hard, work!!! I'm happy for you that you are proceeding apace.

Count me in on that Kir.

The Duchess said...

I know it's bloomin hard work, but so worth it as it's such a beautiful finish! It looks so good with the right lighting too. Good luck with it all!