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

Ornamental Plaster Sculpting, Mural Painting, Faux Finishing, and Imaginative Interior Design.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Once upon a time, they lived happily ever after.

And they said I couldn't edit my ramblings!  I told the whole story in one sentence, right there, didn't I?  Not exactly?  Okay.  You're right, the story is never that simple.

My friend, Cindy Faus Heimerl, is a wedding officiant, and the owner of Marion's Place, and Rubies & Rust (click here for info atmarionsplace.com).  Both are enchanting event locations on the same property, on the hill above Belle Plaine.  Marion's Place is the restored farm house, and Rubies & Rust is the barn. But this is a barn like no other, as you might have guessed from the photo above.  Yup, this is a barn with chandeliers.

Before:  mint green cinder block wall.

After:  Cheatie faux stone wall.
So, that's where the story starts.  The barn was pretty well fluffed upstairs, and had hosted teas and gatherings, art sales, an open mic night, and Glamour Camping (it used to be a barn with chandeliers and a whole buncha beds, for grown-up girl slumber parties).  The ground floor had cool furnishings, but it also still had partial dirt floors, and the dropped center of a dairy barn.  Cindy had cleaned and painted, but it was still not the most functional of spaces, and still a little whiffier than a retired barn needs to be. 

Wanting a more interesting place to perform weddings than many of the venues non-traditional brides were renting, Cindy decided it was time to kick it up a notch, and called in the big guns.  She called in her favorite contractor to bring the concrete floor up to level, the staircase up to code, and spray this main level ceiling white.  Their work was beautiful, but the soft mint green walls, which had looked so fresh against the barn wood and dirt, now looked like sad, hospital green.  Eeewww!  So, she called in the other big gun:  Me.  Hmm, well, I'm more like a big splash of happy than a big gun, but on with the story....

Left-overs and free "oops" paint kept this project on budget, and using them up on friends' projects keeps my storage room from overflowing.
I emailed her a photo of a loft with gorgeous stone walls, and asked if this is what she was dreaming of.  Her reply, "Yes, but isn't that a lot of work?",  I brushed off with "We'll do the quick 'cheatie' version."  (this is where the soundtrack plays the ominous, "famous last words" kind of music, in case you don't know me, or haven't been following this blog very long.)  I raided my stash of leftover paint for every can of beige and brown, grabbed the tub of tools, and with the promise of coffee and bagels, headed up bright and early yesterday morning.  Well, bright and a little later than planned, but still long before the church bells started in.
Cindy Faus Heimerl, wedding officiant, barn owner, artist, aging-parent companion extraordinaire, and general laborer.   The woman does it all with a smile!
Having been painted just a couple years ago, the walls were mostly prepped, but some exposed concrete block still showed, and at the likeliest to get wet places at the bottom of the wall, so Cindy primed while I stirred up a batch of tan for the base coat.  If you paint cinder block walls, especially at or below ground level, absolutely spring for primer designed especially for this.  Otherwise, you're wasting your time on the pretty stuff, and you will have a bigger mess trying to seal them later, when the paint is half flaked off and mildewed. 

I started the tan base coat while Cindy finished the primer, then while she ran for lunch, I tested the glaze, which was really full strength dark brown paint, smeared into the grooves, then scumbled out with a damp rag.  Quick, easy drama, but it needed a little more depth, so I grabbed some left over ivory paint and thinned it a bit.  Using a Woolie tool lightly dipped in this white, I was able to pat highlights on very precisely, then blotted them slightly with the damp rag, to settle them into the shading.   A sponge would do the same, but the Woolie can give you sharp edges, saving lots of time
Yup, that's me, in my usual fashionable attire, and my usual "If I don't look at the wall behind me, I won't have to think about how long this is gonna take me" trepidation showing clearly on my face. 
At this point, my suspicion was confirmed.  Though not a precise technique, and though we weren't going to spend the time to create realistic stone, painting both sides and one end of a sixty foot space (thankfully, we were only painting just past half of the length of the barn!), was going to take a little longer than we had hoped.  This does not surprise you at all, does it, Dear Readers?
Concrete block turned into a warmer faux stone.  If you have time to spend, chips and angles can be shaded in, giving a completely realistic effect. 

Simon the Supervisor, and guardian of all things edible.

Luckily, we had Simon to supervise us, some good music to listen to, and family stories we hadn't yet shared, so it was a pleasant way to spend a rainy morning, and a long afternoon.  Okay, a reeeeaaaaallly long afternoon, as we kept going until about 9:30p.m.  We didn't finish, but the base coat is pretty much complete, and the top glaze is nigh on half done, so it will be ready in plenty of time for the open house.

What?  Yes, you can come see it in person!  Okay, maybe you folks in Belgium and Ireland and South Africa and Moldova (and all those other countries about 7 timezones away) will think it a bit far to travel for an afternoon of entertainment in a barn (with chandeliers), but anyone in the Twin Cities area will want to come...

A sneak peek at the upstairs decor. 

Save the date for Sunday, September 18th. There will be refreshments, a variety of entertainment, and lots of chandeliers (yes, I am especially fond of the chandeliers).  Cindy has asked me to write something witty yet thoughtful, on the topic of weddings or marriage, to read to you all.  I'm not sure my experiences are quite what brides-to-be want to hear, so this may be a bit of a challenge. Should I fail to come up with something, not to worry, I'll still be around to say "hi", and enjoy the other entertainment with you.
If you don't happen to need your barn decorated, you still might want to see what I can do for your house.  Check out my portfolio and services at theartofthehome.com.

Questions about a decorating project you're tackling yourself?  email me at dawnmariedelara@gmail.com, and I'll do my best to answer them.

1 comment:

Teri said...

Your friend in Belgium wishes sooooooo much that she could be there!!!! It's such a pleasure to read your blog. Yours, unlike my stories, ALWAYS have happy endings!! One day I'll make it there. I hope you're planning the same here! xo