Vive les friezes!

A frieze is a linear repeated decorative pattern, with a geometrical or natural design. 

Russian style frieze

Russian style frieze

Bathroom frieze with Russian flair

Bathroom frieze with Russian flair

Oversize baroque frieze

Oversize baroque frieze

 

 Friezes serve several purposes in the decorative art: completing ornate rooms with sophisticated patterns,

Gothic frieze

Gothic frieze

or bringing in a specific theme as a focus point to a decor.

Owl and jewelry ceiling border

Owl and jewelry ceiling border

Ceiling with seabird

Ceiling with seagull and necklace border.

 In a minimalist setting, a frieze can be welcome to stress its architectural element, such as by underlining ceiling lines or framing a door. 

Simple burgundy ceiling line

Simple burgundy ceiling line

 

 

Deep red and blue straight frieze

Deep red and blue straight frieze

 It contributes to dividing and warming up an interior.  In the twenties, wide friezes at the top of walls representing landscapes or stylized patterns were very much in vogue. 

Art nouveau frieze

Art nouveau /William Morris frieze

 

 

Detail of William Morris frieze

Detail of William Morris frieze

 

These vistas or designs aimed at opening up spaces, and replaced more invading wallpapers.  The use of such wide friezes is perfect in children rooms to illustrate a narrative, leaving the rest of the wall space available for more designs or furnishings.

  Speaking of narrative, scrolls or banners on monuments, bearing dates and major public events, can be replicated at home with friezes stamping important family dates and memories, to personalize one’s home. 

 

Commemorative banner

Commemorative banner

 Friezes also replace moldings as a finishing touch: to break for instance the expanse of a wall, two colors are used horizontally, delineated at man’s height or at the chair rail level with a simple frieze.

Garland of olive tree leaves

Garland of olive tree leaves

 

 

Single color leaf garland

Single color leaf garland separating a light green and a dark green  wall surfaces.

Islamic geometric design

Islamic geometric design

 

Pompeian style frieze

Pompeian style frieze

 Exterior friezes work also wonderfully: under the eaves of a roof for example or as a window surround, they soften a façade and bring it originality. 

 

Outdoor frieze under rood line

Outdoor frieze under rood line

 A frieze is a decorative accent and does not need to be complicated or invasive to do marvels.

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Murals and wall paintings for children bedrooms and playrooms

 

Children live between reality and wonderland where they personify what they believe they are or could be.

2 friendly trees

2 friendly trees

A fantasy ambiance with murals or characters is more conducive to their games, and having a world of their own also gives them their own marks in their stability and development.

2 sisters boating

2 sisters boating

If you decide to offer them a mural that will endure several years of their childhood, pick a theme that does not look overly babyish.  Starting with a newborn room, you can safely have a sky reproduced with its living creatures on the ceiling as well as on the walls,

First hot air balloon in space

First hot air balloon in space

or realistic animals, trees, flowers and natural elements, anthropomorphic or not.

Tree arm holding boat and nest

Tree arm holding boat and nest

For children above three, a jungle theme is always a favorite as they are no longer scared by wild animals, to the contrary.

Panther with Kilimandjaro

Panther with Kilimandjaro

 

Elephant in playroom

Elephant in playroom

A jungle brings an element of mystery and unexpected, with its invisible spirits that one can sense.  This fits their taste for adventure, and quest for fright to challenge them.

Jungle and toucan

Jungle and toucan

New characters and odd situations will invite them to dream.  Furniture, such as a chest, stools, and headboards can also be painted to their whims.

Door board with trompe l'oeil shelves and Felix

Door board with trompe l’oeil shelves and Felix

Floors also lend themselves to trompe l’oeil that will delight them: for instance, this huge chessboard painted on a hallway floor, with checkers and toys.

Checkers on chessboard floor

Checkers on chessboard floor

 

Chessboard floor with miniature car.

Chessboard floor with miniature car.

As a rule, children need to be associated with your mural project, or decide on the color of their room, which they already have probably already chosen in their head.

snow mountain and skiers

snow mountain and skiers

Remember, you are not designing a room, but simply adapting the walls to their personality!

Reading dog

Reading dog

Giraffe and chimp

Giraffe and chimp

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Illuminate a room with paint effects!

 

 

Houses often have rooms deprived of natural light, and area lamps will be a poor substitute to this necessity; fabric or wallpaper can enliven walls, give them warmth, and yet still no light.  To make walls glow and give them beauty, there is nothing like painting them with metallic paint patterns.  Choose small or over sized, modern or traditional patterns; however, stay with light colors such as white, pastels, pale gold or silver, with a goal to bring as much luminosity as possible.  Also, remember that metallic paint absorbs shade twice as much as regular paint, such as color applied on ceilings looks twice darker than on walls.  Moreover, where natural light is lacking, metallic paint will look even darker, hence the choice of a pastel tone.  In India, there is a wonderful tradition to treat walls  by embedding small pieces of mirrors in plaster, designing patterns.

Tree and birds with inlaid mirrors.

Tree and birds with inlaid mirrors.

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Indian inlay of tiny mirrors on wall.

Indian inlay of tiny mirrors on wall.

They make rooms glow as if plated with silver, and one never tires of contemplating the infinitely surprising effects of these designs, which change depending on the angle from which you contemplate them.

Geometric design formed with mirrors

Geometric design formed with mirrors

In a more modest attempt to bring light to a dark dining room.

Sideboard HL before peonies.

Sideboard HL before peonies.

 DR peonies

DR peonies

I painted over-sized peonies on an English-pink wall.  I started with a diluted off-white paint to create the transparent shapes of the petals, and then I emphasized more on the heart of the flowers, and started adding silver and mother of pearl white.

DR pearlescent peonies I finished with touches of gold and a few birds.

Sideboard with new painted decor.

Sideboard with new painted decor.

Mirror and flowers

Mirror and flowers

It made the walls glow differently at night and in the daytime.  The sad and dark room became fresh and luxurious with happy walls that seemed to have come to life.

Peonies and corner cabinet.

Peonies and corner cabinet.

 

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Open the space in your home: bring in the sky!

Who does not like looking up at the sky to observe clouds, the intensity of its blue, and its passing birds?  One relaxes thinking of how nice it would be to glide in the atmosphere and follow their track.  This is why, as a change to a traditional white ceiling, it is a wonderful option to introduce a sky.  It brings the outdoors, fantasy, and lightheartedness inside your home, all while adding height and depth to your room.  It can be limited to a space circumscribed around a chandelier

Banana leaves around chandelier

Banana leaves around chandelier

Or, it can be contained in a square, or inside a tray ceiling. P1000737

Banana leaves in the sky

Banana leaves in the sky

A tropical sky with palm or banana tree leaves adds a lot of fun, whereas a pure azure with swallows and shredded clouds accommodates a traditional or contemporary look.

Azure sky with swallows

Azure sky with swallows

Vertical walls provide an excellent canvas for a serene sky as well, accompanied by flying creatures or engines of your imagination: airplanes, balloons, fish, etc.  In a closed space such as an entrance, a painted sky will push back the walls; on slanted ceilings, accompanied by a trellis, it will open the roof to nature.

Bathroom with trellis.

Bathroom with trellis.

Sky with trellis , birds and butterflies.

Sky with trellis , birds and butterflies.

Sky with trellis birds and butterfliesThis is also a wonderful theme for a nursery: against this azure backdrop, trees, birds or flying engines will always look charming and amusing.

Hot air balloons on nursery walls.

Hot air balloons on nursery walls.

Montgolfiere in nursery sky nursery with hot air balloons The key to a convincing sky is to keep it light to save the impression of the infinite expanse it conveys.

Light sky with birds

Light sky with birds

Sky with bird.

Sky with bird.

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Modernizing 1950s Bedroom Furniture

A client of mine inherited family furniture and decided to keep them for sentimental and practical reasons. They certainly were functional and of high quality, but their color was the snag: they were painted in a flamboyant 50′s yellow ornate with a garland of red and green flowers.

Giant 1950's Italianate headboard

Giant 1950′s Italianate headboard

One of the pieces was an extra long Italianate “bombe” chest, and the other a matching curvaceous headboard. To suit her new bachelor pad, my customer envisioned something more modern and sleek. Since she had picked a neutral palette for her apartment, we decided to go with a metallic color, “Nickel” from Modern Masters to make the furniture more lively and precious. In order to reach our final faux finish, I lightly sanded the pieces and primed them with an off white finish.

Headboard partly primed in grey

Headboard partly primed in grey

Extra long primed Bombe chest

Extra long primed Bombe chest

I rolled the metallic paint over this base coat and brushed it very delicately to create a “strie” finish. On the headboard, I brushed the paint horizontally to imitate the raw silk characteristics.

Headboard with horizontal "strie" finish

Headboard with horizontal “strie” finish

On the chest, I divided the top surface into three different squares that were framed by a dragging effect in a different direction.

Top of chest divided into 3 sections of framed  "strie" finish.

Top of chest divided into 3 sections of framed “strie” finish.

Detail of "strie" finish on the top

Detail of “strie” finish on the top

It brought a discreet and very sophisticated touch as it broke the monotony of a long surface top.  Because this “nickel” metallic shade is semi-opaque, the off white base coat was still visible underneath and contributed to lightening up the piece and giving it a fresher and cleaner look. The metallic paint is shinier under the light of the camera flash than in real life, where it looks quite subdued, as you can see on the pictures above.

Bombe chest modernized  with metallic "Strie" finish, in hazelnut color.

Bombe chest modernized with metallic “Strie” finish, in hazelnut color.

Faux finished chest in pale hazelnut "strie" color.

Faux finished chest in pale hazelnut “strie” color.

The sides of the chest were also faux painted with a “strie” done horizontally and framed, following the structure of this piece of furniture. Now these two elements are well integrated in a modern décor.

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