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industry insider
Portola Paints shows designers how to use Lime Wash
May 25, 2017

Family-owned Los Angeles-based paint company Portola Paints specializes in hand-blending colors in their West Hollywood outpost. The company is also known for lime wash: lime-based coating for interior and exterior walls that develops an enviable patina over time. Jamie Davis, who founded the company with his brother Casey Davis, shares with EAL where and how to apply the paint. 

Lime Wash; courtesy Portola PaintsLime Wash; courtesy Portola Paints

Walk us through Lime Wash. What’s the process? What are some of the more popular applications?
Portola’s Lime Wash is a traditional lime-based coating for interior and exterior walls, designed to patina and soften over time. First, we recommend that you prime with our special primer for Lime Wash, called Limeproof Undercoat. This can be applied with a standard roller or brush. Once you’ve applied the Limeproof Undercoat, you’re ready for Lime Wash!

First, you’ll want to choose your color. We currently have 30 standard colors available in Lime Wash. You can see them on our website or request hand-painted color chips. We also have small sample sizes available if you’d like to make and test a few samples prior to ordering.

When applied outside, Lime Wash will weather and streak over time, causing the color/wash to patina, resulting in a look similar to that of older buildings in Europe and South America.

As for the application, this is where the magic happens. The beauty of Lime Wash is that it is a totally natural product that will bloom and create a soft, two-tone effect. There are numerous application methods that can be done to create varying results. We are working on tutorials for a number of different techniques—stay tuned!

Jamie and Casey Davis, Portola Paints founders
Jamie and Casey Davis, Portola Paints founders

What should the uninitiated designer know about using Lime Wash? 
Lime Wash is a natural product and is not something that you can have complete control over. You can, however, guide it in the direction that you want.  There are also a few limitations that designers need to be aware of. For example, if Lime Wash is going to be used in high-traffic or wet areas, a protective coating should be applied on top. We sell a product called Matte Wall Sealer, which is a semi-matte, protective, clear coat that will add a nice washable skin to Lime Wash.

Additionally, there are a few limitations to what colors can be achieved. The natural Lime paste in Lime Wash will soften and mute the colors, so it is not always possible to make Lime Wash in excessively bright or dark colors.

Aside from Lime Wash, what are some of the projects or products Portola is best known for?
Aside from Lime Wash, our most popular specialty finish is our Roman Clay. Roman Clay is a plaster finish for smooth interior walls. Similar to Lime Wash, Roman Clay has depth and variation in the color. Roman Clay can also be used in a number of different styles of homes, from contemporary lofts to Mediterranean to midcentury.

We also manufacture our own line of eco-friendly interior and exterior paints. We just released our latest collection, New Standard, featuring over 200 colors!

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