This section is from the book "Your Home And Its Decoration", by The Sherwin-Williams Company. See also: Nell Hill's Feather Your Nest: It's All in the Details.
THE words "Painted Wall" immediately call forth visions of the glossy walls grandmother used to have in the kitchen. This same old prejudice against such a finish arises when the wall and ceiling treatment for other rooms in the house is under consideration. But, fortunately, this prejudice is rapidly disappearing, and with good cause. The painted or, rather, decorated wall of to-day is not the kitchen wall of old. The painted wall does not necessarily mean the glossy finish with the sky-blue color, but rather the soft velvety and rich effect which can be obtained in any color desired, to match any fabric made, which is sanitary, wholesome, and surprisingly durable. One need but study the decorations of our most expensive dwellings to determine the practicability of the painted or - using a more proper term - decorated wall. These delightful finishes with their delicate stencil decorations are becoming very popular, and now that they can be more readily obtained, their use will be greatly increased.
The question of wall treatment is one which should receive first consideration in home decoration. It is the foundation upon which all other decorations are based. Some of the qualifications of a good wall are as follows: (1) It must conform to the general scheme of the room in color and design; (2) it must be restful to the eye, and not too prominent; (3) it must form a perfect background for pictures. Over-decorated walls and wall-papers designed in scrolls and glaring decorations are to be avoided. Plain effects form an important factor in the general scheme of a room and are gaining in popularity. The ideal plain wall is unquestionably the painted one and such a wall is most adapted to stenciling. Walls are best when treated with a rich flat finish which can be washed readily with soap and water without losing their original beauty. With such a foundation to work upon, the most satisfactory and lasting results are assured. Neither whitewash nor water-paint are permanent enough to justify stencil decoration.
The decorated wall does not necessarily demand a costly foundation, in fact, equally attractive results can be obtained on rough or smooth plaster, as on canvas or other cloth coating. Many kinds of fabric are used for this purpose. Prepared decorators' canvas is probably the most satisfactory. This material can be obtained in various weaves and weights. Burlap is frequently used as a wall coating, and it can be beautifully treated with Flat-tone or Flat-tone system. These effects can be obtained on either prepared canvas, prepared muslin, or any other fabric regularly used by decorators. (Specifications Nos. 33 and 34.)
PLATE K. Equally Attractive Results Can Be Obtained on Rough or Smooth Plaster. See Specifications, Chapter XXI (The Importance Of Working Specifications).
Plate CXXXVI. The Ideal Plain Wall is Unquestionably the Painted One.
There is an increasing demand for rich, velvety, yet durable, flat effects in the artistic decoration of interior walls and woodwork. The more refined and harmonious the results desired, the more necessary it becomes to combine delicacy, richness, and depth of color with a flat finish.
There are many cheap kalsomine finishes on the market which aim at this result, and are satisfactory for some of the cheaper classes of finish, but which are in no way suitable for high-class work. Flat-tone has been made to meet the particular requirements of these higher class, genteel effects in finishing, and is far superior to any materials heretofore offered for such work.
Sherwin-Williams Flat-tone has these important advantages: unlike oil paints, it is very finely ground in high-grade Japan liquid, is uniform in color, has easy working and good flowing qualities, splendid covering capacity, and it does not require stippling to insure a uniform finish. It can be applied with a full-size kalso-mine brush, leaving an absolutely smooth surface without brush marks or laps. It may be washed with soap and water without danger of rubbing up or spotting.
Flat-tone is economical to use, since the line of shades provided is very ample, obviating the loss of time required for mixing colors to any standard shade. The various colors of Flat-tone can always be duplicated in any quantity. This in itself means a considerable saving. Flat-tone is particularly suitable for chambers where its soft, restful shades blend perfectly with the simple hangings. The stronger colors are designed for use in the living-room, library, and dining-room. They form a perfect background for pictures and can be treated with simple stencils to good advantage. Working specifications for Flat-tone on rough or smooth plaster, or any of the fabrics mentioned, may be found in Chapter XXI (The Importance Of Working Specifications), specification No. 33.
The greatest problem in wall decoration, however, has been to produce a flat glaze effect which is at the same time deep, rich, and transparent in tone and, when necessary, blended and mottled. In addition to these qualities, such a finish, in order to be perfect, must be capable of soap-and-water washing. Flat-tone System is the solution of this problem. Its greatest advantage lies in the fact that it can be made to conform with any scheme of decoration. It is a finish that can be blended from light delicate tones at the ceiling to dark rich colors at the baseboard. With these valuable qualities it is not glossy and is extremely sanitary. Flat-tone System consists of Flat-tone, Flat-tone Glaze Colors, and Flat-tone Glazing Liquid. It is produced by first building up a suitable foundation with Flat-tone and following with a thin transparent coating of the Glazing Liquid, tinted up to the desired color with Flat-tone Glaze Colors. This finish can be applied over smooth plaster but is even more attractive when applied over canvas, burlap, or rough sand-finish plaster. Specification No. 34 will give full working directions for this finish.
There are many other wall finishes in which the home builder should be interested. The question of durable finishes for the bathroom, kitchen, lavatory, etc., is extremely important. These surfaces are subjected to such severe tests that only materials prepared to withstand such conditions should be used. These necessary qualities need not interfere in the least with the decorative effect. White enamels are not necessarily glossy, but when properly treated and selected can have the natural dull effect or the rubbed finish. Enamelastic is especially suitable for wainscoting and walls of bathrooms and lavatories. It is produced in dull, gloss, and rubbed finish. Surfaces of this character require artistic as well as durable materials. For the kitchen, the glossy surface is more satisfactory, and there Sherwin-Williams Enameloid will meet with the most exacting requirements. No matter what the conditions may be, there is some one of the Sherwin-Williams Wall Finishes that will prove satisfactory. (Specifications Nos.17 and I7a.)
Plate CXXXVII. Flat-tone is Particularly Suitable for Chambers.
Water Paints meet certain requirements in the treatment of walls. They are at least inexpensive and their best use is for temporary work. It can be said truthfully that the good quality water paints or kalsomines produce an attractive effect, because they are soft and flat. The lack of durability as compared to such finishes as Flat-tone is the greatest objection to them. Nevertheless such a water paint as Decotint has many other advantages. It is very easy of application, being prepared in dry powder form, from selected whiting and glue, and requiring only the addition of cold water. Decotint is sanitary, absolutely non-poisonous, contains no alkali, acid, or anything that may be injurious to health. It has great covering capacity, one coat being sufficient in most cases. Its colors are extremely attractive, ranging from the very delicate ivory, light gray or green and shell pink to the strong browns, greens, and other such colors used for walls and wainscotings. (Specification No. 35.)