I have a client that ordered a desk online for her business. She had someone assemble it and the color was just wrong for the space. It wasn’t what she had expected, through no fault of her own. Sometimes what you see online and what you get in reality are different. It happens. Usually, the company will take items back but since this piece had already been assembled, sending the desk back was not an option.
Quite often I will get asked to make something visually fit into a space. At first, the client wanted the desk to really have contrast. I took photos and superimposed different colors on them using my computer.
The initial results were not on point.
The decorating style of this commercial location is “farm-chic.” The desk had had to be elegant, to stand out and yet fit in.
I figured making the desk look like it was created out of barnwood, but chic barnwood was the way to go. I asked the client if I could use a metallic silver in the finish and she was excited. My stipulation was that I had to keep it light.
Many layers of bonding primer, base paint, glaze. metallic paint, barrier coat, topcoats…
Problem solved. The desk fits into the environment, continues the theme of the space, and the colors are just right.
Need help with your space? I can help you!
Please call me at (908) 599-2129 or fill out the contact form and I will get back to you!
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.
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.
A designer friend of mine contacted me a few weeks ago. She was helping a restaurant owner do a low budget renovation in one area of his restaurant. The reno didn’t involve tearing down anything or relocating booths. This was strictly a cosmetic update. The booths were a red orange in color and they were permanent. So, how was I going to integrate that color into the new visual overhaul?
Being that this restaurant is Italian, we were going for an Italian appearance in the takeout area. The designer chose a Benjamin Moore warm honey wall color for the background in a matte finish. She was also adding a few decorative hanging pieces that I had to work around. Plus, I was to pick up the dark red and dark green colors from the dining room So, I had red -orange booths, a warm honey background, some additional sculptural elements and dark red and dark green to incorporate into the final outcome.
After showing the restaurant owner my portfolio, he liked brick breakaways (where walls look like they are cracking and revealing bricks) and grapes. This would be the subject matter of my handpainted art. The designer showed me where the sculptural elements were going to be installed. I like when project elements like this create a matrix. It’s a matter of fitting all the additional pieces into place to make the puzzle complete.
I drew grape vines and grapes on the upper portion of the walls and had them cascade over strategically placed breakaways. I measured where the sculptural elements were going to be installed and made sure the design fit accordingly. I was going to incorporate the reddish orange and dark green into the grape leaves and make the grapes dark red. The designer wanted light bricks. I chose neutral colors from Benjamin Moore that would work with everything else.
Voila! It all fit into place, just like the pieces of a puzzle. The result was a warm inviting space on a low budget.
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