Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year!

I didn't want to wait any longer before wishing you a Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2008!

It's been crazy busy for the last month. We've done a powder room, a large kitchen/great room, and currently finishing up a small wine cellar, and getting ready to work on a new chiropractic clinic. All that and the holidays made for a very busy calendar. There was some time set aside for holiday cheer, decorating and busting out the sewing machine to craft a few gift items.

The images on these pillows were found in vintage children's books. Reading 'Twas The Night Before Christmas was a Christmas Eve family tradition which my sister has passed on. I hope my sister enjoys her new pillows. I had such fun printing these out on fabric then assembling them. The sachets are filled with cinnamon and cloves. They are ornament size to help fill a tree, or hang on a door knob for holiday greetings, or can be placed in a drawer for seasonal scent. A perfect handmade gift!

There will be more decorative painting project photos soon -- stay tuned. Thank you for all your suport in 2007!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fabulous Nursery Or Teenage Room

Are you ready for a lovely transformation? A gorgeous nursery for a baby girl due early January.

The only evidence I have that this is actually a before photo is the bedding. Almost everything else in this nursery is brand new. Babies don't sleep in beds you say? Well, the room also remains a guest room for now. Since the baby hasn't arrived yet, the crib hasn't made it into the room. But the new gorgeous furniture has!

The idea for this treatment came from the Faux International Magazine. When I saw the finish I immediately made a sample for my portfolio in hopes that a client would fall in love with it -- it has been in my portfolio since early Spring 2007.

I knew someday I would walk into a room that screamed for this treatment. Even the base paint in this room was a perfect fit. It was meant to be!

I'm not a fan of builders mudding the walls so thick they create a brocade substrate, but our final treatment in this room actually enhances the plaster technique and creates more ambiance with sparkle.

Don't you just love the two pink chandeliers? Fabulous!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Glamorous Bathroom Walls

In this business we do a lot of dramatic powder room and bathroom finishes. I think its because its a space that allows clients to be over-the-top dramatic - like you would see in a restaurant. Bathrooms are a good jumping off point when adding ambiance and drama to any home. Perhaps I'm showing my idealistic side and its really because most budgets fit this size space, but I'm going to continue to think its because I have clients that want the beauty of a fine finish to be seen by all.

This client's home which has been published several times is full of the most gorgeous interior designs. Word started spreading about this very talented homeowner who as a result of all the successful press and his innate talent for design has recently started his own design business.

The moment I walked into this Portland Foursquare and saw the living room I fell in love. The entire house is spectacular! I didn't want to leave. After listening to the clients telling the tale of this historical home and how they came to live in it, and discussing potential projects I asked for a tour. A tour helps me determine how I can create the best finish that suits the clients. We had been discussing a possible project in their guest bathroom. They had explained that they designed the guest bedroom to feel like a San Francisco boutique hotel suite, and the attached bath was now feeling a little flat. When I reached the second floor landing and saw the guest bedroom I almost screeched. My favorite color of green mixed with black and white and loads of glamor and glitz to make any girl swoon.

Once I saw the bedroom I knew immediately what I wanted to do in the bathroom. When I delivered the sample board a couple of weeks later that clients were so excited. I wanted the bathroom to accent that bedroom and have an updated, yet historical feeling. Most historical Foursquare Craftsman homes were either wallpapered or stenciled. So I created a custom plaster finish tinted to match the sheers on the window. Then I created a custom stencil pulled from the design in the bedding and randomly placed that over the vertical stripes.

This past May the clients were gracious enough to invite me to participate as a volunteer in The 2007 Irvington Home Tour so I could promote my business and talk about the finish. I planted myself in the corner of the bathroom which has two doors so I was able to talk to people about the walls as they flowed from the hallway into the bathroom and then into the fabulous guest room. Most of the people that came through thought the walls were wallpapered. It gave me a chance to explain my process which is a specialty plaster that has an iridescent quality.

Here's a before photo of the bathroom. Don't mind that fantastic Cymbidium getting watered in the tub.

So, if you don't have a huge budget for decorative finishes - start with a powder room or bathroom and go from there. You'll often have fantastic results!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Updated Kitchen Cabinetry

Saving old cabinetry is a great, green idea and keeps most of the waste out of our landfills. This house is about 20 years old with the original kitchen cabintery. The existing maple cabinets were in great shape (sorry readers I don't have the before shots on this one due to my lack of discipline when it comes to charging the batteries).

The clients had received a quote on refacing the cabinetry and then decided to find a more economical option -- and having your cabinetry painted, glazed and top-coated is a great value in comparison. Why rip everything out when your cabinets are in good shape? When cabinet doors like these have nice face frames with stiles and rails they lend themselves to a traditional glazed finish that enhances the frame.

Glaze treatments can vary from heavy to light. This particular finish is on the medium side with a slightly rustic feel.

It was such a transformation when I went back today to see it for the first time since we glazed (another painter top-coated) even I was awestruck. It is a lovely kitchen, and the homeowners achieved their goal. They wanted to stay in the home for a few more years and have an updated kitchen without renovating.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Guest Bathrooms With Chandeliers

Who wouldn't want to stay in a guest bedroom with a guest bathroom as luxurious as this? A sunken jacuzzi tub surrounded by beautiful marble, a chandelier, and lovely scents. I think I'd have a hard time leaving.

We applied a specialty plaster in two tones to the ceiling dome which started out as a plain white plastic cast dome. The mirror was cast iron painted all white. The same specialty plasters were used to create more depth with the flowers. The lions head towel bars, toilet paper holder and the sconces all started out bright gold. With that same fabulous plaster we softened up all those accessories creating continuity throughout. The vanity which was hard to photograph got the same treatment as well. The end result was one of the prettiest bathrooms I've seen in a long time.

When I returned the mirror to the client the husband hugged me. That was the first time a husband had hugged me, and so unexpectedly. He was absolutely delighted that we could transform such an ugly mirror and give it such beauty.

One of the great joys of this job. Making someone so happy with the final design!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Contemporary Fireplaces

I love fireplaces. To prove it I have several 3-ring binders full of fireplace design ideas pulled from the pages of Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Home & Garden, Traditional Home... just to name a few. I had grown quite fond of these two ideas and kept hoping that one day I would meet the perfect client open enough to allow me to replicate these ideas into a custom faux treatment.

Well, I did meet those perfect clients. A contemporary designer that I work with introduced me to a couple who had just built a contemporary home and their 18'H x 11'W fireplace was a blank slate! The designer had given me a brief description of the home before our initial meeting, and I had an idea a treatment simulating wood would look stunning in their home. I didn't have a sample board created, but I had these magazine ideas. When they saw the pictures their eyes lit up and they got a little excited of the possibility of their fireplace really becoming the focal point of their home. It was already going to be the focal point just because of it's size and placement in the home, but it needed to be a FOCAL point.

So here is my blank slate.

It was a project that required scaffolding.

And here it is in all it's glory! It's a plaster treatment that has been glazed and the "grout" lines are Modern Masters silver paint.

The clients were fabulous people! She made me the best lattes, and I recall a fabulous glass of wine with dinner one evening. We never expect clients to be so generous, but we've worked with some of the greatest people. I guess after spending a week in their house swinging from scaffolding you create a bond.

If I may say so, the picture doesn't do it justice because it is such a grand presence when you walk into the home.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Vacations To Remember

I recently met a wonderful couple that have been together for 50 years. They wanted me to create a Tuscan mural in their breakfast nook so they could remember their most recent trip to Italy. She had reference pictures for me to create a rendering and he requested that there be a few farm houses that he could look at while enjoying his meals.

The challenging part of this mural was figuring out scale in between the five windows and making the perspective seem realistic.

During the first meeting with the clients they had dated, decorative, fabric valances that I knew would fight with the mural. Luckily the client was open to my suggestion of removing them and adding in some architectural element to the mural that would enhance the windows but not take away from the overall mural design.

They loved my idea so much I ended adding the same architectural element over the two kitchen windows and the three large windows in their great room - creating continuity throughout the space.

They were such delightful clients, and we have a lovely testimonial from them to present to future clients.

A big thanks to my local Benjamin Moore representative for this referral!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Save Old Cabinetry, Go Green!

One of the great things about our line of work is being able to salvage beautiful architectural features of old homes and making them feel new again. If your cabinets or built-ins have good bones you don't have to rip them out, rebuild, or reface them yet! Think Green! Why fill our landfills with cabinetry that can be given new life for a few more years and save you money.

We are on our way this morning to do just that -- revive an old kitchen with good bones. We'll be glazing cabinetry all week. I'll be sure to share pictures with you when we've completed the project. For now... here's a buffet in a 1920s bungalow that we worked on this summer. It has been given new life and complements the client's home decor.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Quintessential Teen Room...

We are often blessed enough to work in many beautiful homes and lucky enough to be surrounded by clients with great taste in design. This room is one of my latest favorites. It was designed by a 13-year old.

It was her idea to have the emblems on one wall, the other three walls are painted a hot pink. I handed her the Benjamin Moore fan deck and she selected all of the colors. She's got a future career in interior design I'd say! She was such a delightful teen. I couldn't believe she wanted to be in the room the entire day - even while we snapped chalk lines and marked where the stencils would be placed. Normally we advise clients to keep the project area free of all foot traffic and some decorative painters are often reluctant to have clients hang out all day for intellectual property reasons and because sometimes it's a little distracting.

My favorite part of this room is the glitter glaze we applied to all the circle emblems. You can't see the subtle glittery effect in the photos, but the shimmer is there.

Don't you know... everything is better with glitter! Except chicken as one five year old client explained.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Old Fireplaces

Not sure what to do with your old ugly brick or stone fireplace? Call a decorative painter. Most likely the options for a finish will be more cost effective than ripping it out and rebuilding with the materials that everyone else has. The old fireplace in this lovely Portland bungalow home was very ugly stone most likely installed in the 60s. The contractor built up the fireplace, covered with wallboard and skimmed it out. Then came time for our magic... a pounded copper faux finish leaving the client with a custom, unique treatment that blends in with their decor.

The mantel was a custom finish as well. The client wanted the brand new mantel to have an aged feel to it. As you can see in the closer photo there is crackle in some areas.

The bookcases were painted white when we started with this project which seemed out of place and floating after the fireplace and mantel were complete. We came back to give the bookcases a lighter treatment so the mantel would still stand out.

The final result -- happy clients are good clients!