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This family den was dark and gloomy. Yellowing wood paneled walls, a dark brick fireplace and the old parquet floor created a heavy, cavernous atmosphere that Sigal hated. The stucco and beam ceiling would be difficult to freshen up, and the odd bits of mismatched, hand-me-down furnishings did nothing to brighten the mood.
Sigal's declaration that she was happiest surrounded by white was the key to transforming this dated den. We began by unifying the fireplace wall with a stunning plaster effect. Faux brick panels were adhered to the walls on either side of the existing brick and plaster was troweled over the entire surface. The brick fašade was then painted white and aged gently with touches of light umber glaze, rubbed back to highlight the contours and crevices of the bricks underneath.
The wood planks on the main wall ran in a diagonal pattern, which showed through after they had been painted white. We altered the look with trompe l'oeil, which is a paint effect that tricks the eye. We painted in gray shadow lines crossing the diagonals, which now gives the impression of old Mediterranean tiles along with the plaster.
The messiest job was the ceiling. The rough, pointy stucco had to be scraped and sanded down, a hellish job for anyone. You must wear a proper mask and goggles to protect yourself from the dust and flying debris. Once the surface was smooth, Jim plastered corner stencil motifs for beautiful detail, and all was painted white.
I wanted large white tiles for the floor, but was forbidden to even think about this by Sigal's best friends who swore she would hate it. An alternative had to be designed, bought and in place within two days, so I brilliantly thought of using the simple Uniclic floor system and selected the most gorgeous cork floor in a rich merlot shade. Maybe they were right. This floor is durable, warm underfoot and the color grounds the all white room.
We introduced some color with the baby blue couch and burgundy slipcovers for a favorite chair. The television needed a home to hide in, so we bought a standard TV cabinet and revamped it. Doors were hung so that they could be opened back flat against the sides to allow for easy viewing. I dressed up the door fronts with pressed tin panels painted white and tea-stained to accent the pattern in the tin.
A series of thin plank shelving set up on aged metal brackets leaves room for displays, and the unique handmade coffee tables with their curved legs and painted highlights make the room personal and inviting.
Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.
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A frame and hinges were added to the front of the armoire so that the doors now open back flush against the sides. The doors were faced with pressed tin, cut to size and bordered with wood trim. The cabinet was painted white, and wet tea bags used to highlight the patterned tin.
To apply the ceiling relief decoration, choose a plastic corner stencil and tape it in place. Apply Spacco (decorative plaster) with a spatula coating the stencil, and remove the stencil while the plaster is still wet. Once the motif is dry, sand gently and paint along with the rest of the ceiling.
Cork flooring is new again, and the rich merlot stain of this easy to install floating floor is a perfect complement to the natural, light qualities in the den.
To give the shelving the appearance of age, 10" x 1" pine planks were cut in half along the length and all edges were beveled with a router. The planks were then painted gloss white, and two planks were laid on each set of brackets. The metal brackets were painted black, then white and sanded back to look worn.
Sofa & Chair
The new baby blue sofa is a delicate and irresistible infusion of color, as is the burgundy, slipcovered chair. Framed family photos and other special keepsakes add the final personal touches of home.
The coffee tables were built with 3/4" plywood, good both sides. The tops are 24" square. Leg shapes were cut with a jigsaw. Paint with gloss white, plus Red Current for the inside and accent lines.
This all white room gets its personality by treating each of the surfaces in a unique way. The fireplace and faux brick panels are covered with layers of plaster, painted white and highlighted with a light umber glaze to add touches of the palest yellow. The white, painted panel wall has cross strokes of gray paint, which gives the illusion of tiles. Stenciled motifs applied with plaster decorate the ceiling where the beams meet.