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Home » PEOPLE AND PLACES in MA » MASSACHUSETTS (all topics) » Empowerment by Design
Linda Abbene applies a faux finish to the walls
Empowerment by Design

Part 2

By Mark B. Oliver | September 29, 2010

Previous Article in this Series

In the second installment of our three part series, we catch up with the progress of the renovation of the Donahue’s home.

A large pillar protruded out from the wall directly behind the sofa.

A few weeks after Effie Donahue and her husband Paul commenced work on renovating the first floor of their colonial house in Waltham, Massachusetts their rooms have changed beyond recognition.   Aided by (m) + charles beach INTERIORS and the Empowerment Design Package m charles produced for them ($799), the Donahue's are achieving an astonishing transformation.

“It has gone better than I could ever have expected,” begins Effie.   “Although I still have furniture piled up into the middle of my rooms, and it has undoubtedly been a lot of hard work, I look around and don't recognize the house I'm in.”

One of the centerpieces of m charles' design was to conceal a large pillar that was directly behind the sofa.

“The pillar dominated the wall and protruded three inches into the room.   As it was structural in nature it couldn't be removed,' explains m charles.   'Having discussed the matter with Effie carefully, we agreed to put up a new wall to hide it.”

Studs were applied to the wall to conceal the pillar

“The stud work and the sheet rock went up pretty quickly,” continues Effie.   “I was surprised how relatively easy it was, and the room felt larger which I would never have expected.”

The other advantage was that the ugly wires that were needed for their existing surround sound system were now neatly hidden behind the new wall.

The next step was for the rooms to be painted and m charles had recommended a deep Moroccan red for the dining room as well as the wall extending into the living room from the dining room. For the remaining walls in the two adjacent living rooms, m charles beach called for a complex mustard-colored faux finish technique commonly referred to as 'Color Washing.' This provides depth to the walls rather than a simple flat finish.

THE walls were pre-primed

“My natural instincts had always been towards lighter colors, thinking they would make a room feel larger, but I trusted m charles judgment and we just went with it” says Effie.   Her friend Linda Abbene had kindly agreed to help.

“Before I arrived the walls were pre-primed and ready to go with a pale yellow tinted primer, similar to the basecoat color,' explains Linda.   'A latex satin basecoat of Humble Gold by Sherwin Williams was edged out and rolled on. While the walls dried, a mixture of one part Chocolate Swirl by Behr, to four parts latex glaze was prepared. The glaze gives the faux effect colorwash a transparent appearance. It was applied with a four inch brush in a series of "X" patterns that were blended and stippled to achieve the desired effect.”

A white chair rail was then installed by Marisa Peek who had been recommended to Effie.

After the Faux Finish is complete

“The chair rail is just one element than can transform a typical standard living space into an elegant room,” says m charles, a sentiment that Effie readily agrees with.

“The sconces that were then installed were also a revelation,' reveals Effie.   'By shining the light upwards, it makes the ceiling feel much higher.”

With just the sanding of some floors to go, the project is both on budget and on time.

“I have found that in the current economic climate it really paid for me to shop around,' Effie explained. 'There was one particular Torchiere Floor Lamp that I wanted.   On one website it was $200, but on another just $105.”

Effie has been keeping both family and friends outside the house as much as possible before everything is completely finished and the 'grand reveal.'

ONE will bring you photos of the new look home, together with the all important question as to whether they went over budget, in the third and final installment next week.


(m) + charles beach INTERIORS

470 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

(508) 361 7030


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