Sunday, January 30, 2011

Change of Paint

the view from my porch
  Maybe its the icy, wintry weather keeping us inside that makes us want to feather our nest. Or maybe its the start of a new year and the promise to tackle those projects that have been set a side for a while.

Whatever the reason, with a burst of energy, I decided this was a good time to freshen up our den.  Out with the old, and in with the new color ---rich, chocolate brown with white beadboard.



The den is my husband's room -- a place for him to put all his guy stuff.  Years ago he bought a massive oak roll top desk, oak bookcases as well as an oak display case & filing cabinets for his room.  Did I mention he likes oak?? 

But the room never was a cozy retreat.  And it was my fault.

I ignored the room, because I didn't know how (or want) to work with all that oak.  But now there's a plan:

My attitude changed, when I treated my husband like a client and listened to him.  (lesson learned!)   Who knew he had a design style?  Think  CRAFTSMAN - ART DECO - WILLIAM MORRIS -STICKLEY.  Its warm, cozy and masuline!

I'll keep you posted as the room comes together and becomes his very stylish "man cave."


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gold or Silver?


This dining room sparkles! 
So why was I needed? 

A friend asked me to change the color of her mirror from antique gold to antique silver.  She felt the cool silver color would suit the room better, because it would complement the crystal chandelier.

The gold frame relates to the background of the wall paper
A few hours later, after applying silver leaf and a toning glaze, we re-placed the mirror on the wall and stood back to enjoy the change.  

Both gold and silver work in the room, but each gave the room a slightly different flavor.  There was no "right" choice, just a matter of preference.


The silver frame plays off the leaf design in the wallpaper


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fun with Furniture

There's a growing stash of furniture in my workshop that begs to be painted.  Each time I look at it, I tell myself soon....soon...soon.

 No more procrastinating; it was time to begin!   I decided to tackle a few pieces at time, starting with the smaller ones, saving the larger pieces for a more ambitioius day.  A bit of sanding got the job started. 

The brick is holding a piece of veneer in place while the glue sets up.

Then two coats of stain blocking primer

After experimenting with lots of paint colors, I finally found the "perfect" shade of white for painting furniture. (shhhh! Can you keep a secret?  It's Sherwin Williams Westhighland White).    

Funny how after working to get a nice smooth paint job, I then want to make it look old and abused.

Doesn't it look better with sanded edges?
A little bit of antique stain adds to the aged effect.  Slather it on, then wipe it away.                                     

Wipe off the stain, leaving some to settle in the edges.

As I worked, I imagined the table would go into our newly painted den.  I just finished painting it dark chocolate brown with white beadboard. (I'll share that project with you when the final details are done).   Placed in front of the window,  the table would be a work surface for me, but more importantly, a place for the cats to nap in the sun. 

BUT---- it didn't took right.   Painted white, the table looked too "girly" for the room I share with my husband, so I wandered around the house looking for a spot where it could go, and settled on one of the guest bedrooms.  

So the hunt begins for another table....there are a few  thrift shops I've wanted to visit.  Who knows what treasures I'll find. 


Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Kitchen Mural

We will open the book.  Its pages are blank. 
 We are going to put words on them ourselves. 
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.
(Edith Loveljoy Pierce)

Each New Year brings a fresh start -- time to begin with a clean page of the book and write a new chapter for ourselves.....a "do over" of sorts. 

In the spirit of starting over, let me share a recent project with you that I had to do over because of a mistake I made.  And while I resolve not to make that particular mistake again, I'm certain there are new ones waiting for me!

The homeowner wanted a small mural painted her kitchen.  Both she and her husband enjoy their home's wooded setting  - birds and squirrels fill their yard.  So they wanted a window scene to include some of their favorite creatures.
I measured the space, a peak above the dining table, and returned to the studio to paint the scene.  But as I worked, the mural seemed too small, and so I impulsively decided to make it larger.

You guessed it!  When I returned to the client's home to install the mural, it was too big for the space!  Disappointed, (and thoroughly annoyed with myself) I went back to the studio and began again, this time sticking to the original measurements. 

Lesson learned:  Plan your work, then work your plan.  

And, then, because I would be starting over, the client asked for a few changes to the design.  Surpise, the second mural was more appealing than the first!  The client and I liked it even better (whew!) than the first.

Lesson learned: There are no mistakes, only happy accidents.

Here's how the mural grew:

A soft wash of sky and clouds

a little bit of  foliage
the beginnings of a squirrel

he's almost done

And ready to deliver.....again!

Now, even though its winter outside, there's a little reminder of summer inside.


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