Sunday, June 27, 2010

Walls that Shimmer

A beautiful powder room is a gift you give your guests. 

When the owners moved into their new home, they inherited a powder room that didn't fit their style at all.  So we set about changing walls previously painted with a mural of trees and sky, into something more suitable and elegant. 

A grey green metallic fresco was chosen because it complimented our inspiration piece - a mirror that once belonged to the client's grandmother.

First the ceiling was painted.  This is always a nice touch for any room, but here it was especially important because the room was small and the ceiling was high, 9 feet. 

Color on the ceiling alows the deep crown molding to be featured.

With the toilet and vanity removed, the painting could begin.  Thin layers of metallic fresco were applied to the wall, giving it soft variations in color and texture.

Here's where it started.

And here's some progress.

The fleur-de-lis were added using gold leaf.

Finally the light fixtures and fittings could be installed
and Grandmother's mirror presided over all.

In the end a casual powder room turned into an elegant gem that the new owner was pleased to share with her guests.

happy painting!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Detour into the Garden

These white climbers bloom all season
Today, I'm painting furniture,
which is a slow process
of waiting for primer and paint to dry. 
 So in between each coat of paint,
 I decided to do a small project inspired by my garden. 

I'm neither a skilled nor diligent gardener.
  In fact, I'm a lazy gardener. 
I plant what pleases me and when time permits,
I attack the weeds. 
 Perennials are the backbone of my garden
 because they return each year without fuss. 

This spring I've seen a palette of beautifiul color.
 Because of all the rain,
the plants have gotten more care from Nature
than I ever would offer them. 
The flowers are thriving. 
 And best of all,
the bugs haven't begun to eat anything yet!   

...and just outside my kitchen window this rose bush
bursts with magnificent color.

Even the flower boxes on the railing look nice.

Tangles of  Silver Lace have devoured the arbor.

Surrounded with all these fresh flowers,
I felt inspired to create something "garden-y",
but what? 
I remembered a photo of a wreath designed
around a garden hose
 and decided make one for my front door.   

The base of the wreath is a coiled piece of garden hose. 
Three loops seemed about right
to make a wreath of about 18-20" in diameter. 
 I added new brass fittings
on the cut ends of the hose to finish them off. 
 From a 50' garden hose,
I was able to cut three wreaths
 -- enough for two friends and me!

Green pipe cleaners secured
an assortment of silk flowers
 and stems to the hose. 
There was no rhyme nor reason to the arrangement.
 I just kept adding flowers
until my eye was satisfied. 
A green ribbon popped into the center
.... and voila! 
A wreath that defintely says "GARDEN". 


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Raspberry and Orange Parfait

       An orange and raspberry room is not for the timid! 

This bold, cheeful nursery was done three years ago, just before the guest of honor's arrival.  Her mom tells me that the room suits her young daughter's exuberant personality perfectly.  Her daughter loves the whimsical jungle animals and is especially fond of monkeys.

Today, the baby that once occupied the crib, has graduated into her big-girl bed.  By placing that bed under the window, the chenille chair could move closer, making the perfect spot for reading bedtime stories....or taking a cat nap.  Do you see Franky, the orange tabby cat, hiding next to the chair?  Doesn't he fit so nicely into the decor?

These pillows are wonderful, and there are even monkey sheets!

Color and pattern take center stage in this room.  There's a lot going on!  Among the other animals, there is an elephant spewing flowers,  a girl watering her garden and a large tree stretching onto the ceiling.

But, a room isn't done until the last detail is in place and the little girl had a request - could I please paint a princess and a monkey in her room?  Oh, and the princess's crown should sparkle

So keeping the same whimsical style, I painted a silly monkey offering a banana to the princess.  It makes no sense, but why not?  Whimsy and fantasy are all part of a child's imagination and this little girl enoys both.

Lucky little girl!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Table Talk

Whether its in the kitchen, dining room or on the back porch,
when friends and family gather, there's usually a table in the middle. 
 And if the table is pretty -
that's even better!

After sharing my sister's table with you last week,
 I thought you might enjoy these, also.

This table began life as a stained oak table with two leaves. 
Once upon a time, the client painted the top white
with added fruit and a dark green border. 
The chairs were also painted white. 
It was a charming set
- and I wish I had remembered to take a "before" photo to share with you. 
But times change and so did her decor. 
 Rather than white, a more sophisticated look was needed. 

Let's paint the table black, leaving the oak pedestal stained,
but rub the edges for a vintage look.


                              Inspiration for the design on the table top was the fabric chosen for pillows.
                          Its a Jacobean design, resembling a tapestry. You can see a bit of it in this photo.


                                          I translated the design onto the table, then lightly sanded.


                                           It was such fun to see the table and chairs in their place of honor
                                                         coupled with a banquette lined with pillows.  
                                                                   What a great place for tea!

My sister found this sturdy table at the curb one morning while walking her dogs. 
Now, why would someone throw this away? 
Hoping that it wouldn't be snagged by another 'curb-side shopper', 
she jogged home and got her car. 
 What a treasure!  Then she shared it with me. 
 I purchased chairs from World Bazaar
finding their clean lines made a perfect match for the table.

I donated the set to a charity auction. 
 Later, I learned that the woman with the winning bid
uses it as a bridge table on her summer porch.
  How great is that!
Once you start painting,
you'll look at cast-offs with a new eye,
not seeing their limitations and flaws, but only their potential.  
 And isn't that a great lesson for life? 
 It's too easy to see the flaws in people and situations,
but to focus instead on the potential
is a mind-set worth cultivating.

Happy Painting!
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