Updating Slate Tiles

BeforeAnd afterOk so firstly can i start by acknowledging that writing a blog is hard.  Funnily enough I don't mean coming up with content to put in the blog.  Anyone that knows me - knows I can talk under water and relaying that to paper (or screen isn't hard) however what is hard is this working, parenting, wifing and schooling from home.  We live in a small modest 3 bedroom home -don't get me wrong I love our home but when we are literally living on top of each other each day- i question why we ever downgraded from our previously ridiculously large home.  I feel I go into one room and next minute, hubby, daughter and son are all with me, hell sometimes the two dogs are there as well -help I am suffocating.   Now that I have vented and hopefully others feel the same - lets get on with the details.

As I have mentioned recently (last 6 months) we moved back to the house we purchased approx 15 years ago.  It was perfect at the time when it was just Stuart and me; it was great when we had Seb and when Tilda was a new born the house was complete.  Then we tried running two businesses from home-getting squishy, kids got older-got squisher, hubby wanted to expand business and there we are moving out of town.  Children have grown-at the age where education matters and our priorities have changed, as have our business goals and much more.  We move back into town to offer them what we can.  In the meantime whilst living out of our humble original home it was a rental for approx 10 years, so I am sure you can all imagine the state of it, even though we kept up the necessary maintenance, expenses arrive that you ignore but once it is your home again you want it to feel that way -  a " home" .  So the self renovations start.  There is going to be nothing major the style of the home doesn't allow for extra bedrooms or bathrooms-it is simply what it is but that doesn't mean it can't be lovely at the same time.  So with the help of self quarantining I am going to work my way through it, using Wise Owl and other products I sell so if you want to do the same, you have some idea of what is happening.

Where else would one start but of course the entrance.  There isn't to much here, some wall paint, a new handle, door stop and some styling.  The main downer of this area was the slate tiles. Our entrance because of these was horrible, hell that is an understatement.  It was miserable, dull, uninviting and simply sad.  An entrance is meant to say welcome, come in, enjoy, relax, just wait to see what else this home has to offer.  Instead the tiles were saying run-run for your life, don't come in, get out while you can.  I simply couldn't take it anymore.  I would never want to visit me-let alone be a customer who comes around to pick up something I have put my heart and soul into.

So I cleaned and cleaned these tiles.  The number one mistake you can make when doing any surface is to leave grit, grime, dirt anything that can loosen from  the underside so I cleaned.  I mopped first up just using pine-o-clean, I did this twice to make sure it was clean.  I then used a 80 grit sandpaper and sanded each tile, grout mark everything so I knew that when i laid my primer and paint it would stick.  I then cleaned again.  I don't know if Pine-o-clean has anything in it that repels paint so next I started with a fresh water mop-no cleaner, i then went over with a mop of sugar soap, followed by a hand wash of a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.  I finished up with another hand wash with plain water-once I was finished the water was being returned clean to the bucket.

So at this stage I have cleaned and scruffed up my surface.  Now its time to Prime.  This is a hot subject -a lot of people say you don't have to, I simply say better to be safe then sorry, or you get in what you put out.  I never miss priming-I learnt the hard way the mistakes that can come from not priming.  If you are just starting out this can include lack of adhension, bleeding (gross yellow or red that comes from timber bleeding through the paint) plus on the side of benefits priming gives great coverage and a perfect place to start-so let me ask why wouldn't you prime?  Basically you can't give me answer I couldn't debate.  Now with primers you really want to follow the instructions (like all processes the instructions are here for you to achieve optium results)  I also note that as we all know I am going to plug the hell out of Wise Owl Primer and not because it is simply awesome but because it is safe, it is water based, it doesn't have nasties that are going to give headaches, it is stain blocking-not drain blocking and namely in this case it was made to work hand in hand with the One Hour Enamel that I am about to use.  So I give two coats of Wise Owl Primer in Grey -allowing the correct dry time-the first coat you question yourself and what the hell you are doing.  Am i doing this right, is this going to be enough, how will this help, this looks horrible and so much more but then I did a scratch test and I was happy so away I went on putting on my One Hour Enamel (let me just add I am still nervous, what if this sucks, what is I should have just ripped the tiles up, what if hubby was right, what if what if...) but I continued....

Let me just share with you, our home is slightly abnormal in the fact that it has 8 different tiles used through out (purchased like this), it has beautiful ornate detailing in what would be the formal lounge room and then after that it is all just stock standard. If you turn left from the entry it is elegant and formal (well meant to be when I am not using it as a paint room or the boys using it as an xbox room). If you go straight at the entry you basically walk straight into a linen cupboard -so as you can imagine we are dealing with a very strange characteristic home.  Where I am going with this is colour-what colour should I do.  I personally love urban rustic, industrial, patina-rust all that grunge, you feeling me?  This home doesn't allow for that.  I may get to add a few finishing touches here and there that will allow for it, but in general I have to stick to simplicity.  So there isn't anything more simple and elegant then Gray Linen in the OHE.  It is that non white look you see on classic french pieces where they don't want to use white because they want to add some warmth and age to it.  It was perfect.  By the end of the second coat I was doubting myself less but still questioning what will the end result me.  I waited 2 hours between coats and applied another.  The smile was getting bigger and the frown of doubt fading.  It did take three coats for me to be completely happy.  It was gorgeous.  My kids didn't want me to do anything else but they didn't know what was coming (well neither did I if I am being honest).  I went to bed to think it over.  The next morning, I decided to dry brush with Kashmir in the OHE.  I went a little heavy at the start but by the end it was exactly where I wanted it to be.  The skirtings also needed to be done, so I took the Kashmir  (once primed also) over onto the skirtings and about half way up the way.  My plan in the near future is to have some wainscoting but whilst we are self isolating I am not " allowed" to go out to hardwares etc to grab this.  I can however imagine the end results.  Kashmir half way, with wainscoting details and then a beautiful dado timber rail between the two colours bringing them together.  The top section of the walls are kept as they were, just cleaned and refreshed.

At this stage (other then wainscoting, the door, the staging, and the small things I am nearly finished.  I wait a day ( because of life) and apply two coats of the Wise Owl Varnish in Satin to the Tiles, I wait about 6 hours, once again because of life, generally I would wait about 2-4 depending on humidity in the air.  I am in love but something is missing.  it just needs that final bit of jazz.  I decide to use the Black Walnut Glaze by Wise Owl to darken where the grout is, just to define and shape each tile and to make it its own.

I am so happy I did this.  I have no regrets, except I have done everything backwards (floors should have been left to last, but hey in this crazy world perhaps a little backward thinking isn't such a bad idea)


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