Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dreamy Sky Ceiling and Mediterranean Textured walls

As hard as I try to sell my clients on modern, colorful finishes....some 'Olde World' finishes are admittedly just as comfy as a pair of Ugg slippers on a snowy winter morning.  This week I installed 2 old favorites in a dining room. A dreamy sky ceiling with a ceiling medallion, and crumbled stone walls with carved "Delicato" Modellos.  Modellos are vinyl stencil or mask stickers that create a perfectly stenciled or carved look, depending on which type you get:  Positive or Negative 'weed'. 
The "Delicato" design is one I have used before...I love it, it fits into many design styles and is very pretty.  Here is a powder room I did a few years ago with the Delicato Modellos.

This particular client is very committed to a French/Mediterranean look. Her adjacent kitchen has beautiful terra cotta tiles with hand painted decos. They have also ordered a beautiful, drippin' with crystals  chandelier (not shown in the following photos), which has an oil rubbed bronze finish. Given some of the existing details in the home, and the fact that beneath the chair rail was some damage from a previous wallpaper removal, I sold my clients on a trowelled Aquastone finish.

The recipe is as follows.

First I planned out where my Delicato designs would be....and painted in those areas with Aquabond Bronze, and a few smaller areas where I will let chunks of the bronze show through.    I let the Aquabond dry overnight, and the next day applied the Modellos and trowelled untinted white Aquastone over the entire walls (leaving a few chunks of bronze showing through here and there). Whenever I am using a heavy texture over Modellos, I go ahead and pull out a small section of the sticker so that I can find them later.

Here the walls are shown with random areas of bronze paint, and the applied Modellos.

After I let the Aquastone dry overnight, I came back in with 3 glaze colors  : Aquacolor Earth Brown  (which is a khaki greenish/brown), Aquacolor Autumn Brown (which is a brownish orange) and Sherwin Williams 'Blonde'.  The resulting color works well with the Terra  Cotta tiles in the kitchen, and the new white washed floor in the dining room.

While I was working on the walls (which is a minor factor in this room), I was also working on the ceiling, which is the real WOW factor here.
I created a dreamy sky look by swirling and sponging on 3 shades of blue (SW Honest Blue, Denim and a mix of those 2 Navajo White) .I had my client prime the ceiling with a heavy duty primer, and then basecoat it for  in Sherwin Williams "Honest Blue".
  I began by creating dark shadowy clouds with the Denim blue mixed with 75 % Glaze. Next I swirled on a layer of Navajo White mixed with 75 % glaze over the entire ceiling.  The last 2 passes were just adding in individual clouds with different shades of the colors I was using, mixed together to create a lot of variation.  A sky ceiling is much more of a mural than a faux finish, it is a lot of standing back and looking and blending in areas that look funky.  For this installation, I created the lightest clouds in the center of the room, radiating out from the chandelier, because I would also be using a Modello stencil around the chandelier.

Here is the sky ceiling completed. 

 Because I work alone, sometimes I have to do REALLY CRAZY things to get a job done, like cutting a one time use ceiling medallion modello IN HALF so that I could apply it to the ceiling by myself.  Hey, whatever works,right?  My one and only complaint about Modellos is that they are white and therefore extremely hard to see through the backing paper. So I compensate for that too by drawing the design on so that I can see it to help me with placement.  I also measure out points on the design so that I can make sure my placement is correct. Even so, I ended up being slightly off on one side of the design, but I have to blame that on the fact that my client promised me numerous times that this chandelier would be taken down and it was not.'s barely visible and anyone who points it out is a jerk in my opinion. Haha. I tried at first to just cut an opening to wrap around the ceiling medallion, but I was having too much trouble with it staying up while I made adjustments, so I just cut it in half.

I should also note that before you apply a modello, the underlying finish should be really dry. I let mine dry for about 40 hours with a fan blowing on it for several of those hours. I was glad the client mentioned to me that they have had a lot of issues with ceiling paint pulling off with tape....glad we primed it and let it dry out so thoroughly.  I was STILL nervous about it though.

Here is the Modello design with the backing paper removed and I have begun painting in the design.  The client decided she didn't want the outter border, which I think I was the right decision.

Voila!  Here's the design after I applied a little gold foil here and there, and then removed the stencil sticker. I cannot wait to see the new chandelier!!!!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Sometimes I decorate...

Because I mostly work in empty houses, I LOVE it when I get to collaborate with another creative person on a project. This week I got to create a backdrop for Sarah Jane Photography's Holiday set. Sarah came up with the idea to use only neutrals and to paint the fireplace and tile white...while I designed and executed the wall finish and the mantle and fireplace displays. Such a fun project! I can't wait to see her portrait work in front of this set. She plans to add a crystal chandelier over the fireplace, and a linen upholstered armchair, which I cannot WAIT to see!!! I think these family portraits will be super classy!

Here are the details:

The background wall color is Sherwin Williams "Alpaca", which I am falling a little bit in love's a grayish lavendar that changes color as the day progresses. Love that!  The birch trees were painted with a pearl glaze and white paint.

One of my favorite cheapskate tricks for holiday decor is to buy the 5 dollar plastic pine garland and then completely cover it with spray on snow. I added a few  'expensive' floral picks of long pine needles covered in crystals  and pine cones.  I tucked in disco balls ( my signature thing!) and hung lots of crystal chandelier drops from the garland. A little burlap ribbon was all we needed to complete the look.  I found the burlap stockings at Hobby Lobby and scored them for 7 bucks a piece!

I really love the way the firebox turned out.  I used the ceramic logs that were in place and added some pillar candles, disco balls, 'diamond' vase filler, large plastic diamonds and fake snow.  I can't wait to do this in my own fireplace! The diamond vase filler and big fake diamonds were from the bridal aisle ( which mostly gives me "cliche' overload hives") at Hobby Lobby.

Just for fun...Here's the 'before'... (well, actually 'in progress', the before was a fireplace wall hiding behind a bunch of hanging backdrops)

Quite the transformation!!!!!