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It's obvious that decorating wasn't a priority for Christine and Tomas. Their master bedroom was dull, dated and too small to handle the overflow of books they both loved. After 30 years of marriage, they were still sleeping on a mattress on the floor. The now vacant bedroom next door was in equal need of some TLC, with kids' wallpaper from 20 years ago and a hodgepodge of furnishings.
Christine was still waiting for Tomas to bring some sense of order to their basement, which was stacked to the ceiling with more books, discarded furniture and the collections of a wonderful life with their two now grown daughters. But instead of attacking the basement, their daughters, Ingrid and Ali, wanted to surprise mom with a new bedroom. And we thought that combining two undersized rooms into a master bed-sitting room would be a perfect solution.
I had no idea what style or color palette would appeal to Christine. Judging from the state of their present bedroom, decorating was not of pressing importance. But more space is always a thrill, so with a giant leap of faith, I decided to knock a huge hole in the wall that adjoined their now married daughter's bedroom and create a master bedroom suite.
There was wood everywhere, floors, trim, doors, and the many different wood tones detracted from the overall appearance. I chose to go with a dark stain for the floors, and painted and stained the baseboards, wood trim and doors with a dark faux wood effect that imitates the look of real wood.
Yellow ocher is a favorite color of mine, as it is both dramatic and cheerful. The girls weren't so enamored, and even one of the painters said it reminded him of being in the middle of a block of cheddar cheese. But I persevered, knowing that it would look brilliant against all the dark wood.
The bed was raised from the floor with a box spring, and a funky silver antiqued headboard was fashioned from an old door. For this grand bed, we made a gorgeous duvet cover and shams from red toile fabric, the only pattern in the room. Full white curtains keep the room fresh and bright by day, and inviting at night for evenings spent reading in bed.
TV is now in the sitting room. An old sofa has been slipcovered in white cotton, plus a few new wicker chairs, and a dresser transformed with architectural prints keep the mood arty and casual.
I did know that Christine loved plants, and so I filled the rooms with greenery, building on a French country cottage mood. We took a series of close-up shots of Ingrid and Ali, had the photos developed in sepia tones and hung them in identical silver frames above the bed. These are a constant reminder that it was their lovely daughters' idea to give the bedroom a Facelift. Their idea, not mine.
Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.
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Architectural drawings or any design you choose can be photocopied and blown up to the size that suits the piece. (You can paint photocopies with orange shellac on both sides to make them waterproof and more durable.) We added feet to elevate the dresser, so that it floats in its space.
This decoupage effect works best on a flat-faced dresser. Remove the handles and apply a coat of primer to the surface. Leave the drawers in for the decoupage. Brush decoupage glue (Podge) to a small area and place a photocopy into position. Roll out any air bubbles. Continue until the piece is covered. Use an X-acto knife to cut between drawers and along the edges of the dresser. Apply three coats of varnish to seal in the paper layer. If the prints were not pre-sealed, then use water-based varnish.
Stained Wood Floor With Border Pattern
The pattern on the freshly sanded wood floor is produced easily, and without having to measure, by laying down strips of high tack masking tape. Starting at the wall edge, we laid down three strips of 1 1/2-inch tape, and then one strip of 1-inch tape. The tape strip against the wall was removed, the next one stayed, the third one was removed and the thinner one stayed. When the stain is applied the areas under the tape remain natural. After the stain dries, remove the tape and seal the floor with acrylic varnish.
Before cutting an opening for the door in the supporting wall between the two old bedrooms, the ceiling was braced, then the studs were cut and a supporting beam fitted into place. The French doors were made from bi-fold doors. New moulding frames the opening, and all were painted with a faux wood effect to match the floors.
A comfy old couch looks refreshed with white slipcovers, and the wicker chairs, storage boxes, candles and silver-painted framed photos of the sisters are all designed to make the bed-sitting room personal, inviting and cozy.
Antiqued Silver Headboard
For this custom made headboard, the idea is to find an old door that measures about a foot longer than the width of the mattress. Since it will be lying on its side, the doors panels should be symmetrical. We built it up by adding a piece of crown moulding along the top edge. The antique effect was created by first painting the prepared door a shade of gray close to the color of the silver transfer foil. Once dry, leaf size (a special glue) was applied to the surface and let dry till clear, about 20 minutes. Silver transfer foil was laid over the sticky size and pressed down flat with a soft cloth. When the foil is peeled away the silver is transferred onto the surface. Shades of teak and Jacobean stains were brushed over the door sparingly and rubbed back to highlight the panels and to give the effect of tarnished silver.
Faux Wood Finish On Painted Mouldings
The mouldings were painted Golden Haystack, a color that was close to the wood's natural color. Dark wood stain was applied over the dry paint with a stiff brush to create the strie effect of wood grain. Lines were softened with a clean, dry rag folded flat, and then two coats of varnish applied to seal and protect.
Mouldings were added around the ceiling and a pine valence box runs the length of the wall to hide the curtain rod. The walls are golden ocher, a bold color chosen to complement the dark wood floors. Plenty of greenery balances the deep yellow, as does the red French toile fabric on the duvet.
Painted Wood Door
This beautiful old door that opens out to a small balcony was refinished to match all the other wood detail in the rooms. Here's how to strip and repaint. Apply paint stripper, let it work for 20 minutes, then scrape the old paint off. (Reapply paint stripper for stubborn spots.) Clean the surface and let dry and air overnight. Sand, stain, always rubbing in the direction of the wood grain, and apply two coats of varnish.