Accent Walls: Yes, yes, YES!!!!

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?

BOOM.

That’s what accent walls do.  They make a statement.

This wall, created with various products creates a wall with a great deal of visual interest.
A wonderful way to hi-light an architectural feature on the ceiling.
A metal reactive technique really makes this wall a work of art.

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.  

Hygge and why I love it so

Remember the obsession with lights I have?  I found the reason why.

At a recent meeting I attended, someone mentioned Hygge.

Who-what?

Hygge.  It is pronounced “Hoo-gah.”  It is a Danish word that means a feeling of happiness, coziness, contentment.  The person at this meeting started talking about  a book by Meik Wiking,  The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living and gave a brief synopsis of what it meant to be cozy, and to have a life of contentment.

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: keep it simple and stress-free!

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!

Breathe.

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!

Finding The Right “Tool” For The Job

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.

Plaster finish option 1
Plaster finish option 2
Plaster finish option 3

I’m curious to see which one she chooses!

Is there a space you’d like to change or turn into a focal point?  Contact me at marcine@artworksbymarcine.com or (908) 599-2129 today!

Don’t be afraid to show your sparkle!

sparkle, artworksbymarcine, glitter, metallic

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.

craft, stones, sparkly
Gold stones from Hobby Lobby

The drop ceiling was painted a flat black.  The result is simple glam and elegance.

sparkle, artworksbymarcine, glitter, metallic
Here is the finished result: Simple. Glamorous. Elegant.
Differently sized stencils with alternating champagne and black glitter.
Letting that sparkle shine!!!

Don’t be afraid to add materials like glitter or stones to your walls.  A little sparkle is a good thing!

Questions?  Feel free to reach me at (908) 599-2129 or marcine@artworksbymarcine.com

 

Budgets: necessary in a creative project?

faux, metallic, artworksbymarcine

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.

Have questions? Give me a call at 908-599-2129 or send an email to: marcine@artworksbymarcine.com

 

Wallpaper or Faux? YOU Decide!

faux finish, wall art

Years ago, I met someone who was extremely involved in the interior design industry.  She was quite frank and it was clear she had little patience for someone like me:  an artist who creates murals and wall finishes.   However, I appreciated and respected her honesty.  “Why wouldn’t I choose wallpaper?  I don’t have to go through all these steps like I would with someone like you.  I measure my space, look through a book, pick out the paper, order it and arrange to have it installed.”  I can have it done the next day if I chose to.”

Maybe years ago when I was young in this profession,  my feelings might have been hurt.  I think my training as a fine artist and having to endure numerous critiques in undergrad and grad school plus the feedback I received showing my work to gallery owners kind of helped me develop a hard shell about what I do.  I’m not bothered by what folks have to say about my art.  Like it, not like it—it’s a matter of YOUR preference and YOUR aesthetic.  I actually chuckled after my meeting with this person because the conversation got me thinking.   Oh this thinking thing: I tend to do it a lot!

IT IS YOUR PREFERENCE; that’s the bottom line.

But, how to figure that out?  Well, in my twenty years of being in business, I’ve done work for many a former wallpaper lover turned disliker and lover of faux finishes.  Yep, I could be partial to the questions and key points I’m going to direct your attention to, but I will do my best to be as neutral as possible.

1.  Are you a “I want it done YESTERDAY” kind of person?

If you answered, “Yes” then wallpaper may be for you.  Yes, you can go pick out a pattern from a book and order the wallpaper.  Just know that there is a delivery turnaround and hope that your pattern isn’t out of stock.  Also, make sure you order enough because paper is printed in “runs” (dye lot number) and you have may not match another roll from a different run.  Also keep in mind that you have to hire an installer unless you plan on doing it yourself.

Yes, there are limitations with hiring someone like me.  Unless you are hiring a crew of finishers, generally folks like me are a one person army.  And as my original critic said, there is a process.  Why?  Because we (collectively) want to make sure you get what you want.)

2.  Do you like a mechanical design or a more loose handmade look?

Orderly images that come in a repeat pattern actually can be done by both industries but to have something completely devoid of any personal touch, is usually left to the wallpaper industry.  Yes, as artists, we have wallpaper stencils at our disposal, but again, we do things by hand so there are instances where things beyond our control happen.  If you appreciate the look of things done by hand, then the faux-finish/unique wall finish  is for option is for you .  (De Gournay does sell hand-painted wallpaper and there are companies who will hand print wallpaper for you, provided you have the budget.)

3.  Is having something created for you completely custom of importance to you?

Remember the answer I gave  in question 1 about the process?  Please hear me out:  As I mentioned before, we want to make sure YOU get what YOU want.   I do have to note here that there are companies on the internet who offer “custom wallpaper” creations, as long as the art is provided by you.   As far as customizing minutae such as a tweak of a color, I have not yet heard of a company who can sit down with you and customize the repeats to your liking. Yes,  we meet with you, we show you samples, we look at your decor to offer creative options, we show you colors, we make colors, we tweak what ever needs to be tweaked so you get what you want.  The personal experience is of high importance when dealing with an artist or an artisan.  We want to develop a relationship with you and make you happy.

4.  Do you love the unique and have an appreciation for art?

Do you look for things or images that are out of the ordinary?  Something that  perhaps no one else has?  Something that you can’t do yourself but you can articulate to someone exactly what you want done?  Again, the personal one -on-one experience of dealing with a wall finisher will help you accomplish your goals.  We basically turn your walls into works of art.  Consider tour walls or ceiling:  shimmering foils,  sparkly glitter, or large mica flakes, or even Swarovski crystals attached to areas for special interest–how unique!  And just think, you are supporting the arts!!!!

5.  Are you concerned about durability?

Wallpaper has been known for its durability, expecially if you have commercial wallpaper installed.  That stuff is just indestructible.  However, in our industry, we work with plasters that are lime based and harden over time, we use concrete based plasters in addition to a wide array of protective topcoats.  Many products on the market today contain newer technology to provide additional protection.  In addition, many manufacturers have incorporated UV technology to prevent colors from fading quickly.

6. Cost effectiveness.

Cost effectiveness can be argued for either arena.  There are so many variables that can be thrown into this equation, that there really isn’t a definitive answer.  Some wallpaper rolls run upwards of a $1000 and that doesn’t include installation.  Some faux finishing products can cost a couple hundred dollars per gallon.

7.  Ease of removal.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog entry, many of my clients are former wallpaper people who just had a really hard time removing the wallpaper and they do not want to deal with that experience again.  Some wallpapers, such as the wallpaper was that foil/velvet flock from the 1970’s  (I’m chuckling because I’m thinking about the wallpaper my parents had in our kitchen–yikes!!!) was super difficult to remove.  If the wall wasn’t prepped properly to begin with and the client may remove large portions of sheetrock along with the wallpaper.  In addition, you have to make sure that all of the remaining wallpaper glue has been removed from the wall.  Painting on top of a surface with adhesive still on it will cause cracking of the newly painted surface.  On the other hand, some of my clients had no problem removing their wallpaper and were just looking to get away from the wallpaper look.

I’m going to throw a wrench in my entry here:  some faux finishes are a pain to “remove.”  Removing a faux finish is sort of a misnomer.  Why?  Unless it is a painted finish like a colorwash which may need a light sanding and then a primer to begin repainting, technically, you are adding texture to a wall.  If you’re adding texture, the only ways you can prevent that texture from telegraphing, i.e. showing through , in the future, is to sand, sand, sand, or skimcoat (applying a thin coat of plaster or mud to the wall to even out the surface), or re-sheetrock the wall.

No matter what choice you make, there is a level of commitment. You simply cannot repaint the walls if you decide you don’t like the way they look.  An immediate change in either wallpaper or faux finish would prove to be rather costly.

I’m sure there are additional points that I have overlooked.  But, I think if you look at what I’ve mentioned above and think about your responses to the questions and to the points, you will see what YOUR preference is a little more clearly.   I already know what my preference is 😉

What are your thoughts?

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to discuss your redecorating project, please contact me at (908) 599-2129 or fill out your contact information here.