Although we have enjoyed various methods ringing in the New Year, we have a tradition of starting the New Year with a painting project, an activity that goes back for at least 10 years. Jim instigated the policy one New Year’s Eve when, while waiting for the ball to drop, he began painting a dingy basement staircase with left-over blue and white paint. That good use of idle time caught on with the family, and shortly thereafter the basement walls were covered with an irregular, enchanting pattern of blue and white swirls– a decided improvement over the old yellowed paint. (Do note: another New Year’s Eve found the basement painted with a more distinguished design in two shades of gray.)
We’ve been planning this year’s project for a few months. Here at the new house is a small room in the basement that we’ve dubbed the “Tinker Room,” a great place with space to work and to store art supplies. We’d spend some time clearing out and cleaning up the room, and along the way put a couple of coats of white on the interior walls, which really brightened up the place.
One problem with the basement in this old house is an uneven and somewhat dusty cement floor. Even after sweeping up the dust, it needs another sweep. In the Tinker Room, we skim-coated with patching cement containing vinyl, finished with a broom to give a pretty smooth, slightly textured surface. Jim then used a floor scraping tool to knock off the points. Then we waited 60 days before painting as advised by the experts at Anderson Paint.
Anderson Paint is a business that we’ve been frequenting for over 30 years. It’s the kind of place where a salesperson will gladly spend a half an hour explaining product choices and answering the questions Jim and I manage to come up with about a project we haven’t done before. We decided to go with a water-based epoxy product called Aquapon from PPG Industries. It proved to be easy to mix and use and provided great coverage; plus, it didn’t smell too strong or awful– an especially nice aspect given that it’s deep winter here and no windows were opened.
Jim suggested a trim effect with a 6-inch border of the gray paint on the walls around the room. Although the bumpy textured walls resisted total cooperation with the painter’s tape, we managed to do a good enough job. I mixed the paint in small batches, and Jim put on 3 coats over 3 mornings. Then we waited a couple days before moving the table and shelves back unto our newly painted Tinker Room floor.
The new floor is even nicer than I had hoped. It makes the room cleaner and brighter, and the basement one step closer to being a great space. Marking the New Year with a painting project is a satisfying tradition at our house, and one we plan to keep.