Everyone likes shiplap, right?
You would think that Joanne and Chip of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” (which I am now reading may be over?) convinced everyone that it was the “must have” for everyone’s home.
Well, they certainly didn’t convince my client. She had shiplap in her basement rec room area and it was grouped with a beautiful wood tone bar and nautical ship light sconces; not the look she wanted.
An interior designer friend of hers suggested barnwood. My client showed me images from Pinterest of what she had in mind. The images I saw were monotone and I feared the look wouldn’t get rid of that shiplap feel. Both she and her husband like a somewhat contemporary simple streamline look. But, there was the issue of the bar. There was beautiful dark wood molding and crown as well. I wanted everything to look integrated as though all the pieces were intentional and belonged. My idea was a little different.
As an artist, I have been fascinated with things eroding, revealing, decaying. I used to wander the streets of Manhattan with my Dad as a kid and take in all the posters that were pasted up over other posters, signs half painted over other signs, graffiti, paint chipping, concrete crumbling. Yeah, that stuff. I just love it. (Hmmmmm….I’m thinking of another blog post to write now!)
Anywho, I thought of barnwood the same way. Each piece is unique and different.
But, I couldn’t get too crazy. I had to stay within the matrix of grays, keeping it light. I suggested to the client that we do some wood tones too to match the bar. She was receptive to the idea but cautious. I get it.
We pulled grays out of the floor tile and pulled wood tones out of the bar. I showed her each color on the Benjamin Moore deck and got a yay or nay. Now I would begin samples.
As with anything I make, it is a rarity that the first pass is a success. Art and being an artist is a learning process. Add to that equation respecting a client’s aesthetics and the challenge becomes a little greater. That said the first group of samples was mediocre, just “meh.”
But, she said, “We need more wood.” BINGO!!!!! That was my clue.
It’s all about listening.
The second set of samples had more wood tones revealed, some samples were basically dark wood that matched the crown and baseboard molding. I had a feeling that these samples were going to be the winners.
Always see the samples in the space where the project will be installed. Lighting does crazy things to color. Everyone knows that. I brought the samples over and watched her face for reactions. Once I explained that there wouldn’t be too many dark pieces of wood, and I taped the samples on the wall, so she could get a sense of pattern, I got the smile. Thumbs up.
The actual installation process was interesting; an analogy I think of when doing this type of random work is “creating a composition.” The eye has to dance all around the space and the walls should look balanced but not in a contrived way. there also should be areas that are calm for the eye to “rest.” There should be unexpected pops here and there.
I started with one middle value board. I created a random dance of different lengths of this one board. Each board I made was slightly different.
Next came the lighter value boards. Knowing my client wanted the total look light, I made sure I created boards like that. Next came the little darkest boards, just here and there.
Again, the dance. I kept hearing the voice of a professor I had at Penn State who would constantly say, “Work all around the canvas at once.”
Lastly, like the highlights on a still life, were the lightest boards. Some of the boards were grouped together according to their value, but not in a contrived way. Again, I had to pull off that idea of randomness but there couldn’t be total chaos. There had to be some semblance of order.
Of course, the project took longer than I thought. I am a perfectionist and I naturally fiddle with things until they look right to me. I freshened up the white paint here and there. A contractor I worked with a long time ago always told me, “Leave the space cleaner than it was when you came in.” I will never forget those words of wisdom. (Thanks, Frank!)
The end result accomplished what I had set out to do. The client absolutely loves it.
See ya later, shiplap.
Do you have any questions? Ask away! Want to schedule an appointment? Give me a call, (908) 599-2129