Wild about Stripes!


Why do I love painting stripes SO much?!… simple explanation: they always look incredible. And ANY room in your home can benefit from their clean, classic appeal- from dining rooms to nurseries to bathrooms. Stripes always, always, always look fantastic!


Sure, most of the time the stripes are verticle, but they can be horizontal too!


Painting stripes takes patience: Measure, level, line, tape, paint, peel, repeat. But I always find it funny when my clients seem to be apologizing for what they consider an agonizing, monotonous task. When the simple truth is- I love it. It is relaxing in its simple repetition and finite like a math problem- there is only 1 correct answer! I don’t have to stand back and ask myself “do I need to paint a tree in this corner? Will adding this building throw off my composition?” No way!


AND… unlike wallpaper- where you are limited to what’s out there- with stripes there is an infinate combination of colors, textures, and variations of widths to choose from. No two projects will ever look exaclty the same!



Gray- or GREY ( I can never get them straight! ) is a really hot color right now. Stripes are a great solution to using this edgy color while still infusing some brightness into the room. I just recently finished these pin stripes, ‘Classy’ said the young man. I couldn’t agree with you more!


So now that you know how much I love stripes, pick a room that you want to dress up a little and give me a call!


Model Train Room


A model train room enthusiast from Herndon, Virginia contacted me to begin transforming his garage into a model train room. Something I’d never done before, so I jumped at the opportunity!


In the beginning, the area along the walls were fairly open- making it easy to paint. Once the mural was completed, the giant stage-like platform would become the base for the town and all the railroad tracks. But at the time, it just made a great table for laying out all my paint colors!


The overall look and feel for this mural was Pennsylvania in autumn- showing farms, rolling hills, a little white chapel and a lot of beautiful fall colors in the trees.


If you know anyone that is into model trains, you know that they are IN to them!.. It is a hobby that requires dedication, attention to small details… and a fair amount of expendable income. So it takes time to get everything just the way the want it.


Needless to say, I was thrilled to receive these pictures showing the finished product!



From Barn Door to Shoji Screen

I do a lot of tranformations in this line of work, but this recent painting project turned out SUPER! But unfortunately, I cannot take the credit for the idea itself- it was a concept my client in Laurel, Maryland had for her upstairs hallway. She wanted to replace the standard doors opening into her hallway bath and laundry room with barn doors in order to maximize space. She already had an extensive collection of Japanese artwork, so the idea of painting the doors to look like a Japanese shoji screen just came naturally.


The first task was to draw the lines in even segments. I decided is was a good idea to make use of the blank wall space in between the two doors since it was similar in size to the doors.


I reinforced the lines with a little dark paint so they wouldn’t get lost when I started adding the background colors. Nothing drastic- just subtle gold and cream tones to give the impression there was light behind the screens.



Next, I painted a shadow of a tree- to break up the stoic pattern but to also add softness and interest to the overall look and feel of real shoji screens.


Finally, I needed to make the lines of the screens really pop- making them clean and precise, so that part was done last. Some blue painter’s tape helped keep everything tidy and looking good. The contrast of light and dark tones is really what is needed to make this design work!


The result was truly incredible- a perfect compliment to the kimono hanging in the foyer and the perfect tones for the lightly colored hallway.


Below you can see the door opening up the the bathroom.


As one final touch, the inside of the hallway bathroom was painted with this koi pond scene.


Broadway Dreams


When Showcase Dance studio in Manassas approached me about doing a Broadway-themed mural for one of their dance studios, I was thrilled!


The space was truly a ‘blank canvas’- a large wall about 9 ft high and 20 ft long. In order to get a good grasp on the concept, I printed out pictures of New York City and Broadway to help inspire my sketch.


In order to give the mural a nightime feel with glowing lights, I started by painting the entire wall a midnight blue. Then, as I added the bright colors, it was like painting with flourescent lights!




The final result was eye-popping and colorful- hopefully a great reminder to the aspiring dancers of where they can go!





On Safari in Leesburg


If you’re ever visiting Leesburg Sterling Family Practice on Riverside Parkway, you can see this adorable safari-themed waiting room for kids.


The entire African landscape centers around a gigantic baobob tree and miles of grassy plains. A few staff members even contributed their personal photos for my inspiration.



One of the reasons we decided on this theme, as opposed to others, is the way the colors already complimented the earthtones throughout the medical center. And the carpet pattern is perfect!



Complete with elephants, zebras, giraffes and even a pesky warthog, this fun, engaging mural really brightens the space and I hope brings a smile to everyone waiting to see the doctor!




80’s Arcade Mural


When asked to paint a Pac-man themed mural for an arcade room, I jumped at the chance. Being a child of the 80’s myself, I’ve pumped my fair share of quarters into Pac-man machines growing up!


I started with my wall painted flat black. And because the Pac-man game board is square in shape, I had to do some scaling ( using math! ) to make the grid fit on the wall while keeping it as large as possible.


This design involved A LOT of measuring and leveling vertical and horizontal lines. The blue tape I used was instrumental in keeping everything evenly spaced.




The result was a fun throwback-themed arcade room!


Maryland Vineyard


This project proved the ole expression is still true- you DO learn something new every day. When this client approached me about painting scenery from his favorite wine-growing region in Hungary, I thought, “Hungary?… Who knew!” But I was definately up for the task.


The wine room was in the basement and the idea was to create a realistic view of the scene- as if one were sitting on a patio gazing out at the vista.


I figured the best way to make the setting believable was to paint a doorway looking out.


Once the scene was underway, the illusion of the door frame was painted to add to the dimensionality.


Lastly, a warm faux texture added the perfect amount of authenticity to the space. The final result was a basement wine cellar that quickly became the most popular room in the house!


From Pilot to Pirate


Aye Matey! There comes a day when every child decides their room is too ‘baby’ for them. And so is the story of this once ‘Baby Aviator’ themed nursery now turned sailor of the high seas! Inspired by the Pottery Barn bedding, this room really adds color and flare while making good use of the space available.


Like most projects, I don’t tend to spend much time drawing out the design. I think just slapping down color is the way to go! Covering the yellow with various shades of blue immediately gave the sense of an ocean and a horizon line.

working_pirate_room_mural (1)

The last part of this scene by the bed was to add posts to make the bed seem like a boat tied up a the dock.

working_pirate_room_mural (2)

The final result was fantastic!



… but wait- there’s more…

The client decided to go ahead and include the bathroom with the theme. But this time, I wanted to make it appear as though you were inside the ship, so I started in with dark browns to give the illusion of wooden planks that would have comprised on old pirate ship.


And yes, it was a bit nerve-racking taking a perfectly pristine white wall and adding the harsh dark tones!.. but the result was engaging and so much fun!



Lastly, the space opposite the toilet allowed just enough room to paint this barrel and treasure map. I mean, what’s pirate without a treasure map?!


Room with a View


What better way to celebrate Leap Day than with a blog post- I know, it only FEELS like I update my blog every four years… I’m trying to get better though, I promise!


This dining room project was for a brand new home. I love getting started in an empty house… the ultimate blank canvas!


A few photos for inspiration and a rough sketch was all I needed to get started.


And as usual, I don’t waste much time drawing out the details- I just like to start slappin’ on the paint!


The first day was spent mostly blocking in the water, sky, and rolling hills.


The sides were a little tricky- creating an ending point for the bridge while keeping the scene in the proper perspective. Greenery often helps achieve this easily enough.


Next I had to focus on the details of the bridge.


Greenery in the foreground added to the dimensions of the vista and really gave the scenery some pop.


Lastly I added some splashes of color with flowers and rounded out the composition with some tree branches to draw your eye toward the center.


After three days, the beautiful dining room was complete….anxiously awaiting the furniture.