Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fit for a Princess

My weeks have been busy lately, juggling kids, clients, meetings, art lessons at my son's school and the endless list of household chores.  When things get too busy, it's easy to lose focus on what makes my career so fun--creating beautiful spaces and seeing my clients' happy smiles. I had one of those moments recently and it truly made it all the stress and busyness seem worthwhile.

This week I got to do an installation in a little girl's bedroom.  Let me begin by saying that this little 10 year-old is an absolute doll.  I have boys, but if I had girls, I'd want them to be just like her.  She's sweet, smart, funny, polite and just generally great to be around.  She likes decorating, art, and little crafty projects.  She even hand-makes her own thank-you notes.  How charming is that?!

Almost one year ago, this young lady lady moved with her family into a new house. (One of my many custom-home projects.  Go to , click on "Portfolio", then "Le Magnifique" to see the rest of the house.)  When she moved in, she was promised a pretty bedroom with lots of nice, girly touches.  She has been patiently waiting all this time for her mom and me to get things just right.  Needless to say, after waiting almost a whole year, she was getting pretty anxious to see this all come together.

Wednesday was the big day, or "Canopy Day" as she was excitedly calling it.  You see, she was getting her first bed canopy and she was ecstatic.  I was excited too.  I don't do a lot of children's rooms and a custom bed canopy was actually a first for me.  I agonized over the details for a long time--trying to decide how big it was going to be, how it was going to hang (there was a heat vent in the ceiling directly over her bed that couldn't be blocked), what sort of fabric to use, should it have fringe or ruffles, etc, etc.  The moment of truth was finally here.

The big install (not really that big) included the custom wall-mounted bed canopy, some new coordinating bedding with matching accent pillow, a new seat cushion and pillows for her window seat, and some pretty, ruffled, cafe curtains to hang in the window. This all came together while previously-mentioned young lady was away in school.  Her mom and I were giddy with delight when we saw the finished product.  It's hard to say who's going to like this room more--the mother or the little girl!

Here's a sneak peak of how it all came together.  Please note that these photos were taken with my rather gimpy pocket camera (very old and with a broken flash) and I have yet to do the formal photos.  These pictures don't do the room justice, but hopefully you get the sense of how fun this little project was.  :-)

(The room during construction.)
  The bench seat and flanking bookcases were my custom design.

(Post move-in, as decorated by the young lady, pre-Sheila Mayden Interiors.) 

(The bed canopy on the day of the install.)
  Many thanks to my great installer, Frank Larson!  You are a miracle worker!
And another charming side note: the ceiling fixture was brought from her bedroom in her old house, for sentimental reasons.  I love that!

(View of the whole room.)
  My only disappointment here is that my camera didn't render the colors very accurately.  The room looks warm and sunny in person.

(Close up detail of the bed.)
  I found the mirror (over the bed) after we had selected our fabrics and was so excited because the color was a perfect match.  That's serendipity at it's finest!

(Close up detail of the window seat and cafe curtains.)
I love how this all came together, right down to the little crystal knobs on the bench.  So pretty, feminine and fitting for a little lady.
I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into one of the joys of my job.  It was such a fun day and even my husband noted that I was still beaming at the dinner table that night.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Painted Doors - Anything But White

When my husband and I went to Germany on our honeymoon nine years ago, we fell in love with the little medieval town of Rothenburg.  Part of Rothenburg's charm was that all the homes had beautiful old doors, with exquisite carved details, and they were painted in a rainbow of colors.  We spent the better part of the day wandering up and down cobbled streets taking photos of our favorite doors.  At some point it became a contest to see who could find the coolest door and take the most artistic photo.  It's one of my favorite memories from our honeymoon.

A colorful exterior in Rothenburg, Germany
Here in the states, people have pretty much accepted the notion of a bold, painted front door, but that is where most of us stop.  We think nothing of having a red front door, but when it comes to the doors on the interior of our home, we gravitate to our safety zone of white, off-white and cream.  I wonder why that is?  Even the American colonists painted the walls, trim, and doors inside their houses with bolder colors than we do.  Most of us think that classic American architecture means white trim on white walls.  The truly historic colors might blow your mind.  Those colonists make us look like color wimps.

historical paint colors
Govenor's Palace, Colonial Williamsburg, VA
Lilac and Red in a Historic Home

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate

So maybe we're not going to rush out there and paint our walls a vibrant shade of lilac, or over-the-top emerald green, but maybe it's time to rethink the rules a bit.  Who's to say we can't paint our doors and trim a color? Anything but white!

I snooped around on Pinterest today and found some fun examples.  Let's start with something fairly basic: Black.  We've long admired the stateliness of a black front door on the outside of a home, but what happens when you bring that same notion inside?  For starters, you could paint BOTH the interior AND the exterior of your front door black.  Bring some of that drama into the foyer.  Even when the rest of the trim is left white in this historic home, the black door pops and makes me say, "Wow!"  I love how they've then repeated smaller doses of the black on the stair newel and handrail and in the wall art.  The bright gold-toned wallpaper and the crisp white trim keep this foyer from being anything but dark and grumpy.  

My mother always tells me I wear too much black. I'm thinking I need a glossy black door inside the house too...
Stately and Beautiful
To take it one step further, you could paint a coat closet door black, as seen here.  This home also has traditional bones and most of the trim has been left white.  The black closet door adds graphic punch and elegantly repeats the inky hue on the dining room walls in the foreground.  They've used black to make a traditional home look more trendy and graphic.  I think it's a nice balance of old and new.  
Montreal Entry Design by Tamara Anka

Or if black seems too ominous or dramatic for you, how about an earthier neutral?  Maybe a brown or a gray?  Here the doors to this bathroom have been painted a deep chocolate brown, accentuating the richness of the door hardware and contrasting against the crisp white of the classic subway tile.  Suddenly I'm intrigued by the room and want to take a second look.
Brown painted interior doors Benjamin Moore: Night Horizon Satin Finish enamel
Rich Brown Adds Interest
Then for the playful but color-phobic, there is the option of adding chalkboard paint to one of the recessed panels of your doors.  The looks says, "we're not too serious around here," but at the same time there is a practical element to the idea and the color combination is classic.  Seems perfect for a kitchen in a busy home, as seen here.  
The Lovely Cupboard: DIY: Chalk Paint Door
Pretty and Practical

Ahhh, gray.  I love it.  So restful and easy on the eyes.  Here all the rest of the trim is white, but they've painted the living-room side of these barn doors in a soft gray to match the kitchen cabinets.  I like how it ties the two spaces together without being overly dominant.  I could be right at home in this space.  There's not a lot of color, but there are interesting shapes, patterns and textures that keep your eye moving about the room.
barn doors-love the color
Easy Elegance

So now for some bold color.  As I mentioned earlier, the easiest way to try this out is to paint both sides of your front door the same accent color.  Here they've brought a cheerful yellow into their all-white, cottagey foyer.  I love this look.  It seems very fitting with the decor: happy, homey, and with just the right balance of neutral and zip.
nice entryway, yellow door
Pure Charm

Taking it one step further is this BRIGHT yellow door inside an eclectic home.  The bones of the space seem pretty traditional (notice the door casing, the extra high base molding and the four panel door) but the decor is witty, youthful and very mod. Something tells me this person likes to live in the moment and have fun.

painting door edges. need to do this in den
Bold and Playful

And talk about color!  This is the extreme.  Shocking orange says, "wake up and pay attention!" Too bold for some, but I think it works here because everything else about this interior is crisp, clean, simple, and mostly white.  It's also very contemporary, which lends itself well to a few bold pops of color.
painted doors
Not for the Faint of Heart

Still not convinced to paint out your white doors, but want to try something new?  How about adding some pattern to your white doors?  Let the doors be the canvas for your creative expression.  I love how this person has used brass upholstery tacks to mimic the abstract geometric pattern found on the walls.

door treatment
Artistic Expression

And lastly, painted doors can be a great alternative for kid's spaces.  It's a kid's room for goodness sake, add some color!  Here the walls are already painted a pretty shade of girly-pink, but the homeowner has toned down the sweetness and given it a bit of contemporary edge by painting a door the same shade of mossy green as found of the window shade piping.  I think it's a great touch and very current.
painted door
Pretty Nursery

So get out there, buy some paint and experiment.  It's cheap, easy, and can be easily be fixed if you aren't happy with the results.  Remember, there's no rule that says all doors have to be white.
Honey We're Home: Black/Gray Painted Interior Doors
From the Honey We're Home blog