Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
CLICK ON THE RABBIT ( yes, those are cabinets) TO SEE MY PORTFOLIO, AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MY SERVICES...theartofthehome.com

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Talk about trying something new!

When not working on my own house lately, I've had the chance to do some fun projects for actual profit.  This dining room recently went from typical beige Midwestern to colorful Contemporary Country, with the help of designer Amy Kos.  The client actually chose the wall treatment, painted to look like panels of rusting barn siding, embellished with real screws, and her husband chose the wine bottle chandelier.  There is a reclaimed barn wood table on the way, and a childhood toy box bench and wooden barn will take their place alongside a buffet and corner curios from Ballard Designs.  What a fresh spin on American country style!  I'll post pictures of the finished project in a few weeks, along with a link to Amy.
Click to view, click again to enlarge

I was back on the job this morning, putting a quick crackled black-rub finish on their simple oak mantle...just a small detail to give context to the black firebox, and a more rustic finish to better compliment the organic nature of the stone.  That's fancy for "A little less builder oak, please."

Hope you have a great Memorial Weekend.  Check in next week for photos of "How I Started my Summer Vacation"...yeah, that's as in "What I'm painting next, here at home".  Throw a brat on the grill for me!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Details, details, details

Now that the big stuff is done in the kitchen, it's time to focus in on the smaller details.  Today I had my Third Thursday Art Group here, and after they took in the ceiling, walls, cabinets and floor-that faux tile floor really does fool the eye-they started asking about the bits on the counter.  Uh-huh, here we go through the brambles again...

Why buy spices in jars when you can buy 'em cheaper in bags, then spend a jillion hours creating custom containers from recycled olive jars (martinis anyone?), Pebeo ceramic paint (their glass paint is too sheer), and polymer clay? 

Why buy canisters from Target when you can top lidless yard sale finds with vintage china plates, to which you epoxy handles styled from recycled cabinet pulls and more polymer clay? 

And why leave a perfectly cute candlestick lamp alone, if you can give it a funky paint job and a paper clay rabbit head? 

Why hang out in the pub or in front of the telly when you can go to your playroom and make cool stuff that all your friends envy?

To all my friends who say they have no time to do those fun little projects they always talk about but never get around to, I issue a challenge:  Turn off the t.v. for a month, invite your friends to come over for art dates, instead of meeting for drinks or coffee, and see how much more satisfied you feel at the end of those four and a half weeks.  Divinity is in the details, and the details happen in the minutes we choose to use fully.  Have a perfectly divine weekend, whatever you choose to do!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tea in the garden, anyone?

I meant to do something unique, but I didn't quite envision this, when I started out.  If you want to see my  kitchen in it's former yellow plastic glory, scroll down to the previous entry.  If you want to look at anything closer, click on the picture, then click again for a close-up.
She's painted from floor to ceiling, or is that ceiling to floor?  The "copper" ceiling is actually paintable wallpaper, first coated in metallic copper paint, then in gold glaze, to look better against the pink walls.  One hint, should you want to try this:  cut the paper into about three foot lengths along the natural divides, as it is very heavy, and will pull itself down before the glue dries.  Once painted, the cuts never show.

Yes, you can paint vinyl flooring.  The secret is very good primer and very good clear coats...and a lot of hours if you plan to do all the shading you see here!

The counter tops are painted in a faux marble, and the backsplash is troweled plaster with a piped on twig trellis, reminiscent of majolica pottery.  Usually I prefer to leave piped plaster white, but this time, I tinted it, as it seemed to help coordinate the backsplash and counter colors.  Dimensional plaster really is one of my very favorite things to do!

Every bunny needs an escape route!

Usually this is where I write the menu for the week, but with all this painting, I haven't been cooking much!

There are still some details to attend to...valances over the windows, paint on some of the furniture pieces that sit against the other walls, and maybe bringing the 1940's stove back up from the basement, where it was plumbed in for a summer kitchen when the "new" stove was installed.  For now, I think I'm ready for that cup of tea...or maybe just a wee nip of sherry? 

Friday, May 14, 2010


Done with the kitchen.  Okay, not quite.  I've a few details and styling (that's fancy for put the stuff back on the counters) to do before I take proper pictures on Sunday, after which I'll put three coats of poly on the floor, after which there are a few dozen other things I could still do, but probably won't.  Somebody stop me, please!  So, here's where it started, bright and airy, but not at all my style, even when it was in fashion:

Before:  vinyl wallpaper patterned with butter churns and spinning wheels, yellow plastic counters and backsplash, and vinyl flooring in a color that British designer Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen once referred to as "there's a reason we flush"...'70's Country Americana at it's, um, finest?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Almost there...

For those of you checking on the kitchen progress tonight, the paint work is almost done.  I've of course thought of amazing details to add to the "stone tile" floor, so I'll be painting through the night.  If you're awake, send some good vibes my way, and check in around 9:00 tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Belle's Birds

Click on photo to enlarge, click again to view details.

Alright, this should be the last tease before the whole kitchen is unveiled.  Here's one of the upper cabinets, graced by the neighbor's apple tree, and one of the resident mourning doves.  I love painting animals I haven't painted before.  I check out every book from the library across the street with pictures of the subject (It's a tiny library, so it's not like I'm stressing the 100 book limit), and really research the details.  This dove was a little fluffed up, compared to the sleeker poses of the others, but it made it more interesting to paint, being able to see more individual feathers.  Amazing how many details and shades of color there are on a plain gray bird!  Yup, another trip through the brambles, and don't even get me started on the endless possibilities for apple varieties.

Someone asked about "Belle's" Kitchen, and I realize it's been about a year and a half since I introduced Belle Amie, whose name is French for Beautiful Friend.  Belle is a 1906 post-Victorian eclectic with hints of neoclassical influences in th...huh?  Sorry.  Belle is a big white quirky confection of a house, built by Friend J. Whitlock, in the very heart of downtown Belle Plaine.  She has a huge front porch, a back parlor that makes a perfect art studio, a brilliant pink stained glass window in the entry, and three mismatched fanlight windows in her huge attic.  She's asymmetrical, quirky, beautiful and charming to the core...like all my best girlfriends!

She's also far from finished, in the decorating sense of things, and as she's supposed to be a showcase for my work, I'm pushing hard not to be another one of those about whom people say "Oh, you know, it's like the shoemaker whose kids go barefoot..." (Does anybody say that anymore?  Do kids even know that there used to be shoemakers, before there were sweatshops in third world countries???  Oops, wrong blog.)  Anyway, tune in next Friday morning for what I sincerely, wholeheartedly, please Dear God let it be true, hope will be the unveiling of the finished kitchen, painted fully, floor to ceiling.