HGTV Designers Answer Your Questions
HGTV host and designers answer some of your common decorating questions.
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Is there a way to "revitalize" brass finishes, i.e., fireplace surrounds, carriage lights?
Matt Fox: There is a paste you can make with baking soda and lemon juice. And you can make a pulp mixture that can be brushed on with a toothbrush. And then let it set for a couple of minutes and then buff it off with a clean rag. And I don't know the name of it, but there are many brass cleaners that you can purchase that work wonderfully, but try the home remedy first.
Is it possible to paint a laminate bathroom counter top ? We have a large double basin vanity with a solid white counter top. We are wondering if it possible to prime / paint maybe stencil & seal the top. If so what would you recommend to use and what steps would you use to prep?
Matt Fox: Yes...first, clean the countertop with warm soap and water. Lightly sand with a 150-grit sandpaper, remove the dust with a damp cloth, and then prime the entire surface with a bonding primer. Bonding primers allow paint to adhere to almost anything. And then you can apply your topcoat, and I like an oil-based paint for that. Good luck—great project!
I want to paint my kitchen with a southwest theme. I want the colors to have the look of rust or a terra cotta pot. But I don't want to stucco or plaster but still have the look and what base color do I use and glaze color? have any suggestions?
Shari Hiller: Well the washing technique is Matt's favorite choice for the pottery look. We start with a bright gold in a latex satin for the base coat, and then a rust in a latex satin for the washing coat. Don't dilute the topcoat, just use an old white athletic sock dampened into the straight topcoat paint. Take the paint to the wall and rub it into the gold base coat. Your arms will get a workout, but the finished look is worth it. Try it on a sample board to get your technique down.
I've seen you and others do a lot of textured walls. How do you remove the texture in the future if you want to change the look? Or can you prep the wall somehow before you add the texture?
Matt Fox: That's always a big discussion with homeowners before we attempt it. The only way to remove it is either to scrape it off or sand it off. That's why I normally apply it over a primed wall. Be forewarned, it's a bear of a job. So, if you are thinking of using a texture, plan on keeping it for quite a while.
I have a paint question. I am redoing my hunter green kitchen chairs to black. I have painted them a flat black but want to go to a semi-gloss or a satin. My question is what is the difference between these two finishes and do I have to use a poly when finished?
Matt Fox: Since you have already painted them flat black, why not consider using a satin or semi-gloss polyurethane for a topcoat? That'll give you the sheen and protection you desire. Satin and semi-gloss are just a type of sheen. Satin being less glossy than semi-gloss.
What kind of primer do you suggest in order to paint over a paneled wall?
Matt Fox: A latex primer will do just fine. Just something to get the wall sealed and for the new topcoat to bite into.
My question is about putting texture into paint. Is it an easy thing to do? How much do I put? It's only for the top, where there was a border.
Matt Fox: You want to start with a separate plastic pail. Pour in just a small amount of paint and slowly add the texture to get the consistency you want. That will be your formula, such as a cup of paint, and a cup of texture. Then, once you have your formula, you can make a batch big enough to cover the area. Practice on a piece of cardboard until you have the texture you desire.
I've noticed that sometimes when hanging wallpaper, you advise a sizing and activator. Are these two items needed when the paper is pre-pasted?
Matt Fox: Sizing is needed anytime you paper. It helps you move the paper around on a wall, and it helps for removal. And the activator is specifically for pre-pasted. It creates a consistent bond between the wall and the paper. Sounds like extra work - but you'll be so happy you did both.
The only wall in my bedroom where I can put our king-sized bed has two windows about the window's width apart. What can I do for a window treatment?
Shari Hiller: If it is necessary for your bed to be placed in front of the windows, then how about a large drapery that covers the windows and the area in between to create a large colorful background for the bed? If your bed isn't over the windows, it is okay to treat them separately but alike. They don't have to be tied together, but decorated the same.