Welcome to DIY Diary. Each entry covers a new home improvement project. Here, learning how to limewash walls helped LA designer Sarah Weichel transform a scuffed-up guest bathroom.
When designer Sarah Weichel first embarked on a full gut renovation of her very first house in 2018, learning how to limewash wall was not on her radar. The first house makeover was an expensive disaster. “Long story short, we hired a ‘man with a van,’ which I now understand is industry speak for ‘bad contractor,’” says the founder and principal of Swike Design in Los Angeles. After spending all her savings on renovating the house (and then renovating it again!), she ran out of money to make improvements to the guest-house bathroom. But what to do when you have “very limited skills?”
Eager to wrangle this high-traffic space, where “the walls and baseboards [were] painted a cold and flat white, which [had] picked up scuffs and dirt over time,” she opted to try her hand at limewash paint, known for its richness and depth. “With an acrylic paint, you’re aiming for precision,” Weichel continues. “With this material, the intention of the product is to create movement and texture on walls, so even a novice can’t mess it up with the freehand application.”
Her DIY inspiration came from the frustration of seeing a ton of newly built and remodeled homes with “a lot of white drywall everywhere that’s kind of void of any architectural integrity or detail,” Weichel says. The idea behind using limewash paint is to make your home read more like a 17th-century Italian villa. “It creates just a really worn and weathered and patinaed moment of visual interest,” she says. “And I think it’s especially appealing when moving into something that’s been recently renovated, because those homes tend to feel a bit more modern and cold.”
Not only does limewash paint add charm galore, but it isn’t hard to do. “It sounds more difficult than it is—it’s really like adult finger painting,” Weichel says with a laugh. She used Portola Paints Lime Wash, and found it easy to use. “I could not be less of a DIY’er,” she says. “Picking up the paintbrush and trying to do it myself did feel overwhelming at first, but the beauty of the product is that the more movement that exists within it, the more beautiful the results. It’s almost impossible to mess up.”
To select a hue for the guest bathroom, Weichel carefully eyed the existing white oak vanity and travertine floor. “I went with a more neutral, tonal limewash to speak to the organic modern, scandi elements in the space,” she says. No wonder this tactic is all over Instagram right now. “It’s a way to add movement, texture, richness, and depth to the space,” she says. Here, a step-by-step guide on how to limewash walls in a day.
To limewash paint your walls, you’ll need: