10 June, 2009

Stripping for the Tenants

I tried, honestly I did, to strip the sconces with an environmentally friendly product.

Truth be told, I hadn't even planned on stripping these quite yet. They belong in one of the bedrooms of the tenants' unit, and I thought they could wait.

But after seeing them against the freshly plastered blue wall, I couldn't stand how ugly they looked. It bothers me when people don't remove switch plates, socket covers, and the like when repainting. This is always the result: a fixture with three or four coats of thick paint on it. It was obvious these were lovely at one time, but the paint had obscured all the details.

And so, despite the fact that we have a to-do list as long as my arm, I threw one more project in the mix. I first tried to remove the paint with Franmar's SoyGel, a product I've had mixed results with. It did well on the first layer of off white, and the underlying rancid butter yellow. But then I came across the dreaded peach enamel.

At one time, everything in the house was painted a gawd-awful peach. Long ago, long before Crayola came out with its Multicultural Crayon set, they had a crayon named "flesh."

That's what color I'm talkin' about. Picture it on wood trim, on walls, on light fixtures, on the ceilings. Oh yeah, we've encountered it on everything. Everything I've attempted to strip in The Box House has a coat of this enamel hidden somewhere in the layers. And SoyGel can't cut through, not even if I leave it on way longer than required, not even when I place a sheet of plastic wrap on it and leave it sitting for days. It won't budge. And our Silent Paint Remover? That starts smoking almost immediately when it encounters this paint. I'm not sure what it is, but this paint's evil, and has nearly reduced me to tears many a time.

So for the sconces, I gave up and used the super-toxic-strip-through-anything stripper from Home Depot. And, thank heaven, it worked, because I'm dealing with a tight schedule for this project. But I do feel a little guilty.

The original finish was gold, but we decided silver would look better on the blue wall, so I drybrushed it with American Accents craft and hobby enamel. I'm fairly happy with the results, because all of the rich detail is still visible. If I had more time, I'd try to add a faux antique finish, but we need to get these back up on the wall ASAP.


Tonia said...

You are a magician! Who'd know those details were lurking under all those nasty layers of paint?

You used the evil non-environmentally-friendly product for the greater good. No guilt required.

Jennifer said...

It looks so much BETTER now, though!

Lady Quilter said...

Kudos to you Kiddo. All your hard work and frustration is paying off. Am proud of your results. Now I can't wait to see what the sconces in my bedroom will look like. They have knights on horses!
Box Mon

Karen Anne said...

Amazing that someone would cover up that detail. Shakes head.