Sunday, October 31, 2010

There's a Cat on my Chest!

When you have cats, nothing is off-limits to them.  They will nap anywhere you wish they wouldn't.  Sometimes I find them sleeping contentedly on folded laundry still warm from the drier, and sometimes (oh dear!) on a painting project.


By the time I thought to snap a BEFORE photo, I'd already sanded, primed and painted the chest in Antique White.  Guess I got off to a fast start!

Originally this had been a honey colored cedar chest that belonged to my client's Mother, but she wanted to use it in her own bedroom.  Could I dress it up to go with her antique green color scheme? Could I paint it traditional looking, but whimsical, too? 

I had decided to paint traditional floral motifs on each end, and got those done quickly.  BUT the rest of the chest stumped me.  Since problems are best solved over a cup of tea, (and maybe a bit of chocolate) I left the studio to take a break and returned to find one of the cats perched on top.   He sat there for hours, just watching me as I painted.

I enjoy working on furniture, epecially when a client tells me "just have fun with it."

Usually the architectural elements on the piece are my inspiration.  Moldings define spaces that can be painted with a pattern.  For example, the front of this chest had vertical boards that begged for stripes.  Then to balance out the wide stripes, I painted narrow ones on the skirting with casual swipes of the brush. 
 
Tip:  repeat patterns, but change the scale

Add more patterns - like the trellis design on the yellow stripes, and the rose buds on the green.   

Tip:  Mix patterns for extra interest
                Move the cat so you can paint the top, then take away that "new paint" look with some dark brown glaze.
Tip:  Antiquing always adds character




Enjoy!

See other great paint projects at Domestically Speaking's  Power of Paint Party!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall Fix-up: Woodgraining a Door



Cornstalks, bales of straw and pumpkins are beginning to appear all around town, as fall shows up in all her spendor.  I saw this little fellow today, while I was taking a walk......a creative walk, feeding my senses with the the color and textures of fall.  I enjoyed seeing the many ways my neighbors are decorating their porches and front doors for the new season.  

A beautiful entrance welcomes friends and guests and shows off a little of your home's personality. 
 But before you begin to stack the straw and arrange the pumpkins, step back and take a good look at your at your front door.  If you've wanted to change the color of your front door  --  and procrastinated -- there's still time to work some magic while the temperatures are right for exterior painting. 

This dark green front door got a quick face-lift for the fall season with a wood-grain effect resembling mahogany. 

before
  
after
                                                                          
How to paint a simple wood grain?  Here are some pointers. 
 You'll find more details about colors and glazes at 1-2-3- Mahogany.


Step 1 - Background Color
Look at a real piece of wood and match the lightest color for your background paint color.  For Mahogany, I often use a rich red-clay color such as Benjamin Moore Brick  #2084-10.

Step 1- background paint
  Step 2- The Under-grain


Again, look a a real piece of wood and you will see a fine, linear grain in the background. This is what we paint first.  Brush on a glaze of raw umber. Not certain how to mix a glaze?  Find some help here.

Using a clean brush,  hold it in your fist like a fly-swatter and tap the surface of the wood, as if attacking a pesky fly.  Womp!   See the texture from the brush? 

Continue tapping the surface, moving from bottom to top of the door trim, as you lay in the under-grain of the wood.  Yes, there are artistic brushes designed for this job -- they're called "floggers" and they are pricey.  Make do with what is on hand, and try a 2"-3" paint brush.  LET IT DRY.

Step 2- Under grain

 Step 3 - Over grain

This step builds the long grain lines in the wood.  Before continuing, first spray the newly painted wood with shellac.  This seals the first layer, isolates it, so the next layer won't  make a muddy mess!   OK.  Mix a second glaze color, a deep maroon, and with a chip brush apply it in long strokes. Now with the tip of the brush, draw long strokes through the wet glaze.  Instant grain lines! 


When dry, apply several coats of UV protected varnish.  Sand lightly between each layer for a smooth, satin finish.

Then go get the pumpkins!
Enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Frame up

Just as the right accessories make an outfit look fabulous, the right accessories for your home can complete a room and make it look fabulous, too.

A client wanted to hang this mirror in her dining room, but the color needed a change.  The yellow-gold leafing on the frame was too gaudy for her muted neutral style.  Could I make the frame more more silvery?  More like champagne?  And leave a little of the gold showing?  But not too much?


I gathered a few items from the studio shelves and began to work.  You can easily find these items, or similar ones, at your paint store.  For this project I used:  Pratt-Lambert Winslow Gray #2270 mixed by my Sherwin Williams store as a tester, Modern Masters Warm Silver, an opaque metal paint, and Valspar spray paint in Brushed Nickel.

I began tapping the Winslow Gray paint onto the frame.  The name is mis-leading as Winslow Gray actually is teriffic neutral beige!  I used an inexpensive chip brush for this step, randomly tapping and pushing on the color.  I didn't want complete coverage, but left some of the gold showing.  

Using the same rough brush, I dabbed on some of the Modern Masters Warm silver.  A nice contrast was developing between the flat wall paint and the metallic paint.

                                      

As a highlight, I lightly misted areas with the Valspar Brushed Nickle spray paint.   A final sanding adds some distressing and reveals small areas of the frame's original red primer.    The frame was ready for its new home!



Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Kitchen Encounter

The kitchen is the heart of any home.  It's here children do their schoolwork, family meals are served and friends gather for a cup of coffee and a chat.  We like our kitchens to function well, and look good while doing it.

This kitchen was fun to do because my client, an ambitious and capable woman, did so much of the remodeling herself.  From installing the ceramic tile, to nailing up the crown molding, she was very involved in the work. 


My job was to add the finishing touches to the walls. 
We discussed several options and settled on a rustic stone texture that would complement her European Modern style.

I began by painting the room with metallic bronze paint.
  That alone would have looked great, but adding the rough stone texture gave the room its unique personality.  The stone was troweled onto the wall in a vertical fashion, allowing some of the bronze to peek through.

Step 1-Stone texture added over bronze walls
When dry, I sealed the wall and rubbed on
some chocolate colored stain.
  The contrast between the metallic paint
and the rough texture was interesting.

Step 2-Dark brown stain generously applied

Step 3- Ready for furniture and accessories.
At the other end of the kitchen,
 I turned my attention to the newly built hood fan. 
 We decided to give it a hammered bronze effect,
which  was very effective in the room.



The frame was built of plywood with a wonderful piece of wood trim forming the bottom edge. 
 I applied stucco to the flat surface, then used a stencil
and some more stucco to create the center medallion. 
After it was dry, I used some bronze paint (love bronze!)
 and stained it black to capture the relief.

In the end, this kitchen offers a generous serving of style and function that would satisfy any family.

Enjoy!












Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fireplace Focus

While some prefer simple, clean-lined design, others revel in complexity, finding joy in mixing layers of color, texture and pattern for a visual and tactile experience.

This fireplace falls into the second category. 
 It's part of a feature wall that stands directly opposite the glass entry doors in a bright, stylish foyer.  By its very location it is the focal point of the entry and commands attention, but the client and I agreed that it needed some drama.



The client wanted to play up the antique gold mirror frame
and she did not flinch about using color and texture on the wall.  She chose a multi-layered design composed of gold leaf applied to a base of crinkled tissue.

Because the technique would cover the existing paint entirely,
there was no need to paint the wall first.  I could jump right in to the fun part!  Here are the first pieces of tissue being applied to the wall.

Tissue paper can be applied to the wall with paint
 I found some dark purple paper at the craft store.    
Working with crumpled sheets of tissue in one hand
and a roller laden with paint in the other,
I continued to cover the wall.

Once dry, squares of gold leaf were applied randomly. 
It was slow going, first with tissue, then with gold leaf. 
 Excess pieces of gold leaf fluttered to the floor
and defied being swept up. 
 Other pieces stuck to my fingers and landed in my hair.

The final step in the process was to antique the wall with a dark brown stain, giving the entire wall an aged bronze glow. 
                                        
The purple works well in this instance because it is the accent color used throughout the home. 
All in all, a dynamic, welcoming feature to a unique home.

Enjoy!


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