Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lime Plasters: Stucco Lustro Stair Wall

What do you do with a "dog" of a staircase? 

The early 80's is alive and well in our home with fake terracotta tile, plush carpeted stairs, heavy wood banisters, groovy mirrors, and white metal handrails.  Bridget is really the only thing attractive on this staircase. 

I painted the wood and metal banister with Black Setcoat, popped on some Onyx Venetian Plaster, and over glazed with metallic bronze, metallic dirty gold, and dark brown colors.  Now the look is more Oiled Bronze.  This is a simple finish to do, but it was going to take much more to "fix" that huge run of wall.  Look at how sad the painting appears on the giant baby-poop colored surface. I had 1 weekend to get this finished since the staircase needed scaffolding and would keep the upper floor (where the Master Bedroom is located) blocked off.  Poor Bruce had to take the dogs to the lake so I could get this project done.

It was time to call in the troops!

My trusty assistant Ashley and her very talented Mother-in-Law Julie came over to Getter Done.
Julie worked out the best method to scaffold the stairs-no need to move the setup as we worked.
We used 2 full set-ups stacked on top of each other.  Half of a third scaffold was attached at the end of the double stack. 

This is a lime plaster finish therefore it needs a special primer.  I used 1 coat of FE Quartz Primer rolled 100% over the original paint.  I tinted the Quartz Primer with Dark Brown Faux Creme Color Concentrate and thinned the gallon with 50% water. I only used half a gallon for the entire wall.  The primer dries fast-less then an hour and will dry about 40% lighter then the tint in the bucket.

When the Quartz Primer was dry, we troweled a layer of tinted Old World Texture Coat.  This is also a lime product and, although I tinted it a dark brown color, bleached out significantly as it dried.  We covered about 80% of the base primer with this layer. In a Friday afternoon, we rolled Quartz Primer and troweled our first layer of Old World Texture Coat-this layer needed to dry overnight.

The next morning, We troweled a second coat of the Old World Texture Coat.  You can see the wet areas compared to the lighter dried ones.Between these two coats about 90% of the original Quartz Primer base is still showing.  Because I wanted the textured layer to be a darker chocolate, I used a Setcoat mix of Dark Brown and Brown to roll a chocolate color over the whole surface. This took us half a day and 4 gallons of Old World Texture Coat.
Here is a close-up of the textured plaster before I painted it.

In the afternoon, Julie and Ashley returned-thank goodness-and we troweled on a tight layer of Stucco Lustro tinted to a cocoa shade using Faux Creme Colored Concentrates.  I batched 4 gallons of Stucco Lustro and ended up with 1 gallon left.  Because this layer will also dry slowly and lighter, we left and went to Jalapenos for Tacos and Margaritas-no more scaffold work for us that night!
The next morning, We applied the Old World Venetian Wax.  This is petroleum based product and it smells weird.  It is flammable-no smoking or open flames please.  This was tinted a dark chocolate also with the Faux Creme Color Concentrates.  The wax is tight troweled and softened with a cloth. When the wax was damp, we brushed Metallic Gold and Bronze Mica Powders into the damp wax and buffed it with cheesecloth.  In the afternoon, I took a buffer brush attached to an electric drill and buffed the whole thing to a glass shine. I mixed 1 gallon of wax and had a half gallon left.

The finished product-completed Friday afternoon through Sunday evening.

A close-up of the completed look.  The art work is not lonely anymore- it really pops against the new background and for the Lady of the House....

"Really darling-it looks great-so please don't bother me again!"


  1. This is nice stucco lustro stair wall.ALL the post are looking beautiful.
    Stucco Contractors Seattle

  2. Hi Rebecca, Ashley. I just wish I could Work with you Guys! It's really inspiring to read about your Work and your experiences. I am a completely self-made handyman, thought with an Industrial design background and therefore somewhow natural interest in decorating (Classic) techniques. I've just wanted to try French polishing on my stair railings but ended up with a mahogany stain and a Tonkin varnished finish (good choice). Now I've given my bathrooms Stucco Lustro, Classic on the walls (you can try Google 'ulf westergaard' and check the Bolius article, to see) and I chose the Classic with no color/pigment since it would go well with the light green/Black tiles - a good balance even though the glazing don't show as much as if I've used pigment. So I've gave it 3 layers - I understand that you don't build up the Stucco Lustro the Classic way but use it more as a spatula/filler and the polished it with Wax, or did I get it wrong?
    I'm very fond of linseed oil painting as well since it really shows the craftmanship or lack of it. If you ever come to Copenhagen feel free to see my results:-) Thanks for now! Ulf Westergaard

  3. So you went all total dark and woodsy with the walls? That’s a nice change; it totally matched the stairs after the work is completed. I’m not sure if it’s just the light, but the tint of Stucco is not so visible on the photos. Anyway, like I said, it’s very nice, and I guess that’s what matters! =)

    Geoff Hull @ Gogo Contracting