DC

Not your grandma’s stencil

I’ve recently warmed up to the idea of using stencils. To me, they always felt like ‘cheating’ a bit in the custom painting world- but the fact remains- they look amazing! Stencils afford you the ability to create just about any intricate pattern in an endless array of color combinations. However- anyone trying to sell you a stencil kit will tell you ( and show you ) how easy it is… and the OTHER fact is- it’s not!

Sure, it’s faster than hand-painting this bad boy- but stenciling requires effort to perfectly align the design both horizontally and vertically. In addition, the right amount of paint must be applied and the stencils eventually fill with paint and must be cleaned. This particular one soaked for 45 minutes and then I carefully scraped off the soft paint with a credit card for another 45 minutes. You can see in this photo below that I had to individually stencil on each ‘loop’ of this ornate dining room design. The other difficult part is the corners- often I had to hand-paint the corners to get the pattern to line up perfectly.

 

This next nursery project kinda plays an optical illusion on you. If you didn’t see the blue on the other walls, you’d think the blue pattern was the stencil, when in fact, it’s the white paint that was applied over top. Either way it goes, it looks great!

I really like this next pattern- the marrakech trellis. I’ve done this several times by hand, but really liked how the stencil version of this turned out as well. I used metallic silvers on a light beige paint to create the desired effect.

And finally, I had a lot of fun creating this custom design on a stairwell using a medallion stencil. I used the same stencil to create 3 distinctly different medallions and alternated the paint colors for even more of a variation. The random layout makes this pattern super fun!

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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