Here’s the situation: I’m a decorative painter, I live in a rental, and I largely wouldn’t change a thing — except for these dreadful floors.
They’re 30 year old contractor-grade linoleum, and as dry as cardboard. I first noticed how sad and sullen they were when I shot my studio for these pages a year ago, and it’s been bothering me ever since. It was the one element in this place from toe top to crown that I haven’t had my hands on. And then it struck me— why not just paint? My landlord's only offer was to replace the floors, which meant more new subflooring, more dust, and more lino. So I went to work.
By painting the floors in acrylic floor paints, I leave them re-paintable for future use, and I can have whatever I want. The patterns are based on Roman floor patterns from my travel photos, and I’m fairly certain the large medallion is from St. Peter’s cathedral.
To start, I put a basecoat of Floor Paint in a soft warm gray, and marbled it with sea sponges and turkey feathers. The trick about marbling to me is to be artsy enough, but just let it rip.
As far as the pattern, it’s all about the drawing and the math, and fitting it into this horse shoe-shape ground area. My technique also is to leave the layers as transparent as possible, which gives the paint depth. Veining in black and off white furthers the illusion. Circles and arcs in the pattern surprised me by echoing the architecture of the studio.
It’s slightly over-the-top, but I remain of the large gesture. Topcoat in poly. And yes, I asked my landlord for permission.
Sherwin Williams Porch & Floor Enamel, Waterborne Satin, 7016 Mindful Gray
Benjamin Moore Bruton White cW-710, Bone Balck CW-715, Geddy Gray CW-720
Varathane Polyeurothane, acrylic satin.
Assorted sponges, feathers, compasses and ruler
(Image credits: Mark Chamberlain)