FOR PAINT’S SAKE

Zapped by Zolatone: a splatter of choice ends a design dilemma

Panic was a possibility, but Shar-ron Belson and Tony Garrett had done their homework. The search for the right neighborhood and the perfect house was behind them, but the clock was ticking. The new owners of their old house had to move in immediately, leaving only two days for packing, moving, and renovation of the new domicile.

“We knew what we wanted to do,” said Belson. “We had fallen in love with the location, but the house was completely ordinary and not us at all. The question became, could we do everything in two days?”

The couple’s new home was a sprawling Fifties ranch. Designed to snuggle a limestone bluff on the Lakewood side of White Rock, it made the most of spectacular water-front vistas but needed a complete makeover to meet the new owners’ design demands. Garrett, an interior architect, and Belson, a marketing consultant for contract furnishings, had their work cut out for them.

The house was somewhat neglected, though sound. Though interior traffic patterns were good, the Seventies-in-the-burbs style was the antithesis of what Garrett and Belson wanted to live with: shag carpet here and there, a bucolic wallpaper mural in the master bedroom, baths with funny bunny paper and green ceramic tile. The exterior brick had been painted yellow; the trim a dark brown.

The Garrett/Belson style called for an urbane approach. The two artful lodgers and their enviable collection of classic modern furnishings would be most comfortable in serene, neutral surroundings.

“The house needed to be one color everywhere to unify and continue the sense of spaciousness,” said Garrett. “I was thinking of gray, and Sharron liked soft pink. I had specified Zolatone finishes for commercial interiors and we both liked the look, so it was the logical choice,”

Zolatone, a patented method of paint chemistry and application, was originally developed as a coating for industrial surfaces, often used as a finish for automobile trunk interiors. It’s a process where encapsulated oil-paint drops in three to five different colors are suspended individually in a clear, slippery, water-based solution. The solution is then power-sprayed, the paint dots popping and splattering on impact.

Under close inspection, the finish is a patterning of tiny, raised paint dots and micro-splotches of varying colors. At a bit of a distance, it’s a textural finish, a composite neutral color made up of all the colored dots.

Zolatone has become a favorite of fast-forward furniture designers and of interior designers for high-traffic, commercial settings, but Garrett’s all-or-nothing design scheme gave the method new meaning. He selected a color combination of five dots: a charcoal and an oyster gray, two pinks, and an ivory. And he called for the entire house to be covered with the stuff.

On the interior, woodwork, doorknobs and window hardware, ceramic tile, wall-paper, and textured sheetrock were evenly coated. Zolatone adheres most successfully to painted surfaces, so rooms with wallpaper or tile were given an overall coat of flat latex paint as base. On the exterior, brick surfaces, wood trim and eaves, metal gutters, and downspouts were Zolatoned. The roof, in good condition but contra the new color scheme, was sprayed with solid charcoal gray, oil-based enamel.

The change was dramatic and immediate. The interior of the house became a matte, neutral environment for art and furnishings; the view of the exterior of the house from within, one unbroken line of texture and color. The exterior of the house was freshened, modernized, personalized.

“We packed one day and night while the painting at the new house was done, carpeted the next morning, and moved in,” said Bel-son. “It was a quick fix that turned out to be the best answer.”

Interested in zapping with Zolatone? After interviewing Belson and Garrett and an educational conversation with Randy Scholes, president of Randal Contract, manufacturer’s representatives of Zolatone in Texas, we offer the following pointers and pitfalls as primer.



●Do not attempt the Zolatone processyourself. To maximize success and minimize headaches, review your plans with aninterior designer or architect. In any event,to be confident of the professional applicatoryou’ve selected, ask for three to fivereferences that you may visit to judgeworkmanship of the finished Zolatone.



●Hire a pro. As in any spray-painting process, 85 percent of Zolatone is the painstaking masking-off of surfaces that are not to becovered, a task my seventh-grader can handle easily. But the rub comes when Zolatonestarts to pop and splatter. If the person at thecontrols is not trained and experienced, theresult could easily be slap and dash ratherthan dit dit dot.



●Zolatone is not inexpensive. The moresquare feet covered, the less expensive itbecomes. Because of the nature of the mixture itself, a twenty-five-gallon minimumpaint order is not unusual. So it costs moreto buy Zolatone and have it applied than tohire a professional painter to apply normalpaint, and zapping just a kitchen or the guestbath is not cost-effective. Garrett estimatesthe Zolatone application for their home’s interior cost about the same as purchasing amedium-priced vinyl wallcovering and having it installed professionally.



●Zolatone to the trade:

S. Webb & Associates, (214) 350-2967 National Painting Company, (214) 352-822 Stan Clinkenbeard, (214) 254-2976 (for areas of less than 3,000 square feet)

●Zolatone at retail:

Phelan’s… Not Just 4 Walls in Preston Center, (214) 368-6455

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