Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Tools of the Trade

As our summer 2008 time draws to an end in less than two weeks, I look around at how much we have accomplished....and how much is left to complete. There's always next summer. I guess we're making progress, because there's a smaller space in which to store all our leftover "stuff". The bedroom, bathroom and hallway on the deuxieme etage are no longer suitable for piling building materials. They are actual living space.

I look at my collection of supplies, the French names now almost familiar to me. I think back to the first day I attempted to buy the equivalent of our American drywall taping mud. I studied the illustrations on the buckets at BricoMarche and read my various store literature before hesitantly purchasing any enduit bande a joint. Then I braved using the dry powder topping compound for easier sanding, enduit de lissage.

I stressed the same decisions before buying what I determined to be thinset and grout for setting the tile in the bathtub---carrelage mural and joint fin blanc. The names are different, and as we are finding out everyday, there are many "false friends" in the French language. I didn't want to have bags of false friends lying around.

It seems that there is a special caulk for just about every application, and I'm working my way through the list. I know I'm a sucker for a good marketing scheme, but who am I to argue?

When it comes to painting I thought I would already feel comfortable, but that security quickly dissolved. While there are mat (flat) and satin paints, I was getting lost at the acryliques and glycerols. Murs et plafonds are walls and ceilings; monocouche indicates that it will cover in one coat. Primers are called sous couche. Most DIY stores don't offer the thousands of paint chips you'll find at Home Depot or Lowe's, so people buy huge tubs of blanc and mix their own colors.
I owe thanks to my sister-in-law Leslie for nudging me several years ago to start experimenting with paints and pigments. "You can always paint over it if you don't like it", I seem to keep hearing her saying as a way of indicating that you never really can make a serious mistake with paint. And so I have had my fun with paint and pigments. Oxide jaune, oxide de fer rouge, sienna naturelle, sienna light luberon......A little of this, a lot of that. I just keep on adding until I get something I want to look at for awhile. It's not permanent, it's forgiving, it doesn't have to last forever. And, there's always next summer.


Anonymous said...

Nancy and Doug - You have certainly developed an interesting vocabulary in your new language. I hardly understand the uses of all these things in English! I love the paint pigments and having seen your work, I think you mixed and selected very well with paint colors...Peggy

Anonymous said...

It has become increasingly obvious to me that you two are just not "pastel people". HA! Your pigments are so brightly sunny and earthy! That dark red pigment would make a definite "statement" on your shutters! Just a thought!

You know Luke loves color!

Angela Murrills said...

Thanks for the inspiration. We'll have lots of walls to paint in the new house and love the idea of using pigments. A & P

P.S. We know what you mean about the variety of products. Anyone ever added up the hours you spend cruising the aisles of Bricomarché when you buy a house in France?

Anonymous said...

Now you guys know how most of us feel when we think about how to do a project in our homes here in the U.S., it is all French to me! Although I will say (to continue the metaphor)that Dan seems to be learning French quite well these days.