Did you ever go to museum and step into a gallery where there was a large piece of art taking up the whole wall such as a Jackson Pollock or a medieval tapestry?
That’s what accent walls do. They make a statement.
They are an opportunity to create something really unique that is a portrait of you. They also serve to set the “tone” or atmosphere of your space. They are also a great way to make your space unique when you’re on a budget. And, if you’re someone that is more neutral, accent walls are a great way to add a bit of color or texture without going overboard, (unless you want to 🙂 ) If you love imagery, consider doing something such as a mural or a visual graphic. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. Suppose you decide you want to change that wall down the road? In the case of textured applications, just skim coat the wall.
In my experience, accent walls are generally the first wall you see when you walk into a space. It just makes sense to have your statement “heard” as soon as you enter a space. Accent walls can also be part of a wall such as in the case of a fireplace wall. Or, accent walls can hi-light an interesting piece of furniture.
Accent walls can also be a ceiling. Oh, yes they can! (I saw you shaking your head.) Your ceiling is your 5th wall. It will never be obscured by furniture, or hanging artwork, other than a light fixture. Why not use it?
Still not sure? Baby steps. Paint the wall or ceiling a different color and live with it for a bit.
Isn’t it great when there are no rules to creating the space you want? Accent it!
Let me help you create an accent wall by turning it into art! Call me at (908) 599-2129 or send me an email.
Of course my mind drifted that night to creating a feeling of coziness. How was that accomplished in a space?
I did further research, because I’m a bit on the nerdy side. In their youtube video, The Mustards explain how they try to maintain Hygge in their home . Because of their geographic location, Scandinavian countries have long winters. They look for ways to bring in light to those long nights. Candles, warm white lights, light walls, fire crackling in a fireplace all do the job. Of course, a fuzzy throw blanket and fuzzy pillows also help. Simple furnishings creating the least amount of visual clutter, and keeping the space tidy also creates a space to relax in and not feel anxious. Plants bring a bit of life to the space. And, of course there’s always a hot cup of tea and the company of friends to complete this feeling of coziness.
Well here in NJ, our climate is a little different. We have the heat and humidity and a decent growing season. We are also CROWDED and there’s always A LOT going on.
I knew the connection with Hygge was with the lights, and the attempt to make my space less cluttered. But with a 13 year old boy who drops his stuff everywhere, that’s a constant challenge. I wanted more. When it was time to repaint my downstairs, I kept thinking about what made me feel cozy? Besides the lights, summers out on the deck chatting with my Hubs by candlelight, it was also the sight and smell of the Jersey Shore and how relaxed I felt going to the beach early in the morning and drinking my coffee while watching the waves meet the shoreline. It was the colors in driftwood. All of those things funneled into my space.
You can feel cozy no matter where you are. It’s up to you to create it. Think about what those things are that makes you feel cozy and happy, and how they appeal to your senses. The hints are there. Happy Hygge!
Choosing colors for your room: it’s fun, trust me!
Many of my clients find this part of the process extremely stressful.
First of all, relax.
I always tell my clients to not look at the “whole picture ” in this case. It is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. After all, did you ever see a color deck? Many paint companies have more than one!
There are many ways to figure out a color scheme. The method I use for a single room is the following:
Find a “source of inspiration.” I know, you’re probably saying, “What does she mean?” Basically, this is something you are visually drawn to. It may be a work of art, a photograph, a rug, a favorite sweater, a memento from a trip…anything!!!
Now, in that piece, what colors do you really like? That’s your starting off point. Usually, folks pick 3: a main color and two supporting colors.
Yes, there are “color theory 101 rules.” Primary color scheme, secondary, tertiary, analagous, complementary, tints, shades, blah blah blah……
Guess what? I don’t follow rules, at least , not in this case. If there is one color I like in that inspiration piece, I go with that. Then, I may look for additional colors in the color deck that go with that color nicely. Going horizontally across a color deck usually insures success that the colors will go together. But, you can bump up or go down one color from the horizontal will also work. See? not so hard.
I will also pair up a trim color and a ceiling color. How to do that? Well, let’s talk about trim. Put the color deck colors that you want to use for the trim up to the color you’ve selected for the wall. You cannot just randomly pick a trim color. Why? Simply put: color changes depending on the colors they are next to and what we’re looking for is color compatibility.
Ceiling color. The ceiling is your fifth wall. Convention tells us to go lighter. If you really like that one color that you picked out from your inspiration piece, why not choose a lighter tint of that color? Or, If there’s another color in that piece but your comfort level tells you it is too dark, you can use a tint of that color. For a bolder move, go dark! Why not? My rule is that you should be happy in your space!
Lastly, invest in pint samples of the colors. Paint some pieces of posterboard but make the pieces a decent size, i.e. 9″ x 12″ Or, if the paint store sells “designer chips” get those. They don’t cost that much and are the size of a piece of paper.
I always tell my clients to live with the colors for a little while. Move the larger samples around the room. See how the lighting affects the colors. See how the colors will look against your furniture or kitchen cabinetry.
Small investments of time and the purchase of some samples will give you a stress free start to getting the job done right the first time.
Hope this info was helpful to you. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, If you’d like to schedule a color consult, or discuss a project, please contact me here . I’m happy to help!
Recently, I visited a potential client who has a tall wall in her entrance hallway. This wall was narrow but tall. She was concerned about choosing a finish that would not only look great but was able to withstand the wear and tear of family traffic.
There are all kinds of products out there in the decorative painting world. Want something to look like suede? Yes, we’ve got that. Want something to look like metal? Yep, we’ve got that. Want something to look like stone? Yep, we’ve got that too.
The right “tool” for the job.
There’s an extremely durable plaster that would fit the bill and, it can be painted. As a matter of fact, this stuff is magic. I can manipulate it into brick, I can make a cracked old wall–all kinds of things. The fact that I can hand paint it to further customize the project is an added bonus. The paints will be wall paints. It can also be top-coated for further protection, but honestly, it will dry to a hard colorful finish that will be washable with mild soap and water.
I provided three samples to the client, all with the same colors and the same materials. They were just executed differently.
A decorator friend of mine asked if I could help her out on a powder room project. This particular project was located in a new upscale lashbar business here in New Jersey.
I love this decorator friend. She gives me carte blanche to do whatever as long as I stay within budget and adheres to a theme. (Debi, you ROCK!!!)
Gold, black, sparkle, glam. Those were my parameters.
The powder room size was quite small, 4×6. There was going to be a mirrored vanity and the toilet. That’s it. The walls were going to be the canvas. I suggested a metallic paint for the walls and then a random placement of stencils using glitter and stones.
I showed Debi the ideas I had and she showed them to the client. The client was excited. It was going to be a spin on the retro 50’s glam.
I used Modern Master’s Metallic paint in a matte finish. I did a matte so the walls wouldn’t overpower or fight with the glittery stencils I was going to install. I went for a champagne instead of a gold. I wanted the space to really read elegance. Metallic walls look best sprayed. I don’t know how to use a sprayer–yet–so I used the traditional roller method. For those of you planning to do a metallic finish, I would highly recommend that you base coat the walls in a color extremely close to the metallic. Metallic paints are expensive and if you can avoid doing multiple coats, all the better. i added Modern Master’s extender to the metallic paint so the paint wouldn’t set up and dry quickly, reducing the chances of lap lines. I would up doing multiple coats because the paint is semi-opaque. Make sure when you roll a section, you back roll the paint in the same direction ceiling to floor. This will point all of the mica particles in one direction for a smoother looking finish.
Once the paint was done, it was time for the fun stuff!!!! I added glitter in both black and champagne. Despite all the sweeping and vacuum cleaning, there was still glitter on the floor. And yes, I used disposable tarps plus covered the vanity and the toilet. Unfortunately, if you remember doing holiday crafts as a kid, I’m sure you have memories of Mom complaining about glitter being everywhere.
It does happen.
Once the glitter was dry, I found stones in my local Hobby Lobby store. I asked Debi if I could use the clear prism stones in addition to the black and gold stones. She loved the idea! Those clear prisms went well with the mirror vanity. Gorilla Glue helped adhere the stones onto the walls. Use the glue sparingly because adding too much will cause the glue to run out from underneath the stones and drip down the wall.
The drop ceiling was painted a flat black. The result is simple glam and elegance.
Don’t be afraid to add materials like glitter or stones to your walls. A little sparkle is a good thing!
It all boils down to money. Not my favorite topic, but something that must be addressed. Yeah, I know–insert eyeball roll.
From my point of view, the conversation is not only about dollars. It is more about communication and education. The client needs to tell me what he or she wants and then ideally, a budget is discussed. ( What if the client is unsure of what he/she wants? The artist can show a variety of samples from his/her portfolio as ideas.) Then, I can see if there is a product that will accomplish the task using a reasonable amount of labor.
In other words, is the project doable for a certain price???
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the scenario. I do, quite often, ask the clients if there is a budget in mind. Sometimes I’m given a ballpark and sometimes not. I’m not really one to engage in a numbers game. Remember the communication and education thing I mentioned before? I, as an artist, want to keep the communication lines open. I need the client to tell me yes or no on a finish, and how much they are willing to spend. This way we aren’t wasting each other’s time. For example, there are some metallic paint products out there that cost over $100 per gallon. This is just the materials! If the products are imported from overseas, there’s a good chance they are going to cost more money. In terms of labor, my labor price is pretty average. This is where I need to educate the client: it’s the labor involved with a particular process. Some finishes require 5-7 passes, meaning that there are 5-7 times I’m applying products around the room. In terms of mural work, if you are looking for something much more intricate and hyper-real, you can expect to be charged more. Why? You are paying for someone’s time. Everyone’s time is valuable, isn’t it? Lastly, let’s not forget the artist’s “artistic vision, i.e. ability to see things creatively or creative problem solving, come into play . All of these things hold value. That value will be reflected in the final project result.
My advice is that as a client, be up front with the artist. If there’s a strict budget, make that known. Ask questions about products. Ask if there are alternative products that can be used. If you’re requesting a mural ask the artist if he/she can do what you’re asking within a monetary framework. If you don’t ask, how will you know? Communicate these concerns to someone you may hire to create a vision for you. That person will in turn, appreciate the teamwork effort and will do his or her best to educate you on the most appropriate way to achieve your goals.
I’m sitting on my couch (it’s a rarity, trust me) on December 30th in the afternoon. The snow has stopped falling here in NJ and I was actually happy that it was snowing because I had nowhere to run to . Two pots of coffee and a quick shovel of snow, I’m here writing this blog entry. I started to think about the year that has almost come to a finish. I think the theme of “Change” is a pretty good way to describe the year as a whole.
I’ve always liked changing. Who wants to stay the same? Not me. I think that’s inherent in being an artist. We’re all about change and embracing it. That’s how we grow as creatives. External physical changes are easy to spot: different hair color (I think I’ve been every shade of red since I was 16) , different clothing styles, (as long as it comes in black–my fave.) The real changes that are most important are the changes on the inside, in my opinion. It’s those changes who help us grow and learn.
My son graduated high school this year and was off to college. I had to deal with letting go. He was my first one leaving the nest and since my mom passed away 5 years ago, he has been my rock. Yeah, it was hard. I had to grow up a little. I think he was already grown up and ready to leave the nest, lol. (There’s a saying I have that “We actually learn from our kids.” )
My husband had Thyroid cancer, which he beat, but then developed lymphoma, and later Lyme He has had two clean PET scans so no lymphoma but we are always watchful and stay on top of bimonthly checkups. The Lyme? Well, that is another story. We’ve become vigilant about our health and are proactive in addressing any concerns.
My younger son, who is in the sixth grade, has had changes in school, which directly affects us at home. We are trying to give him more responsibility to manage himself but in small increments so he doesn’t get frustrated.
And me? Well, I’ve changed some of my habits, getting rid of not so good ones and replacing them with more good ones (still a work in progress.) I’m making friends both online and offline with people who are more of my silly, sarcastic, real, down to earth, creative ” tribe,” who are positive thinking, honest individuals which is a good thing, and I’m weeding out the toxic people. Professionally, I have had the opportunity this year to work for really wonderful clients who appreciate and see the value in what I do and trust my judgement. Yes: appreciation, value, trust. Clients like that fuel my fire as an artist and a business person and for me, that has been super exciting. The end result is some really cool projects I completed. This is one of my goals for the new year: to find more clients exactly like those people. One of my other goals is to keep expanding my tribe. In my personal artwork, I started getting back into making my art. I have paintings in my studio that I feel are unfinished. I just don’t have an ending for them now. I tend to overthink my work and that has proved to be stifling. That’s another thing I have to work on.
That’s just some of the changes here….I’m sure that 2018 will hold even more change. I think the theme of 2018 will become (dare I say Change) Opportunities: opportunities to teach and be taught, opportunities to grow, opportunities to lead, opportunities to give, opportunities to create.
I am so looking forward to it.
I hope you are too.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2018 bring us the most wonderful opportunities life has to offer!
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
I had received a phone call from a client last year about repairing an existing mural. There was cracking and buckling of the wall surface. Upon inspection of the mural and getting a little background by the client: age of home (around 100 years old) age of mural (completed in 1973) I knew that I had to do a little more research. I pay great attention to detail and am thorough in every job because the end result will have my name on it.
I contacted Scott Haskins of Fine Art Conservation Lab in California ( www.fineartconservationlab.com ) He took the time and explained to me various options of what needed to be done. I am very grateful to this gentleman for sharing his expertise with me.
Because the house was older, traditional plaster on wood laths was how the walls were constructed. From close inspection of the photos, we both agreed that there was some kind of water damage. Therefore, the origin of the damage should be found to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and then the wall needed to be stabilized: scraping away the loose layers of plaster and reapplying new plaster to stabilize the wall. I took this information to the client and she had contractors come in to look at the damage. Superstorm Sandy was to blame for the water. Thank goodness there were no other water leakage issues. A plasterer came in and then repaired the damage. Last on the checklist was me to come in and repaint the areas of the mural that were gone.
Here’s a photo of one of the sections:
This area was the largest of the repair areas that had to be done. The other areas were smaller and were the result of necessary electrical work . Once the area was clean of plaster dust, I began with two coats of primer and then studied the mural work in the surrounding areas. Because I only took small shots of the damage itself, I didn’t take whole wall shots. My bad. I had to look at the contextual clues of the surrounding areas to paint in the missing pieces of the puzzle. I studied how the artist painted the sky, how the mountain range was done, the trees and the foreground . There were different colors intermixed and my eye is pretty good with such things so I honed in on doing the sky first. I always work back to front, top down. The sky was the most challenging area. One has to account for fading of colors, etc. Once I had addressed that area, sections began falling into place. Upon closer observation, the original artist did a red underpainting in the mid to foreground area! Consistency is the key, so in the repair, I did the same thing. While I was working, I thought about when I was a child and I would spend hours copying works of art. I always felt that in doing so, I had an understanding of how the artist worked and could understand his or her rationale in doing what he/she did.
Within 7 hours, this section was repaired:
The end result was to have everything look like it belonged. It was as it should have been.
I’m glad I was able to reach out to Mr. Haskins for his expertise. I’m glad that the client did the steps necessary to ensure a good result. The effort was worth it because the end result was seamless.