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The layout is typical of thousands of new homes, featuring a circular, open plan main floor. From the entrance hall, you see through the kitchen into the dining area, which is open to the living room and then back to the hall. There is also a main floor powder room.
The plain walls were painted builder's white, and the many wood elements-- hardwood floors, the staircase, the kitchen cabinets as well as the dining room furniture were pale to honey tones.
An unattractive corner fireplace was made even more dominant by the harsh white background; not an appealing focal point. Plenty of natural light fills the space, but there is little that makes the homeowners feel welcome.
Gray was chosen as it is a natural complement for the warm wood floors and furnishings. Thin strips of molding were added to the ceilings throughout the ground floor as an interesting traditional architectural detail.
Tones of gray paint link the common areas of the main floor, and add much needed character. The inviting ambiance starts in the entrance hall with a fanciful trompe l'oeil skylight and silver chandelier.
The living room was given special treatment to visually separate the space and conjure up a cozy atmosphere for relaxing and entertaining. High gloss varnish was applied over dark gray walls to produce a reflective finish that glows in day and night lights. The large mirror over the mantel and the glass top coffee table build up this resonant quality.
Jim and Peter reinvented the fireplace fa┴ade to replicate the look of an old wood plank mantel and limestone surround, all cleverly made from inexpensive building materials, paint and plaster.
A decorating surprise is always fun. The removable zebra table top in the dining room is dramatic, and fits into the overall African theme. Plenty of large potted plants, baskets, grasscloth blinds, art and personal photos finish the rooms.
Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.
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The pinstriped paint effect on the bathroom walls requires a steady hand, but looks very cool. Apply a metallic silver base coat and when dry, cover with silver glaze that is a shade darker. Pull a notched spatula or rubber squeegy through the wet glaze from top to bottom, keeping the comb lines straight. For a clean edge at the top of the wall, we painted in a 1 1/2" band with dark gray, that looks like grosgrain ribbon.
One of the quickest ways to brighten up your kitchen is with a new backsplash. These mosaic tiles are easy to install, and their sparkling terra cotta and brown hues complement the cabinets.
Ceiling details are a time-honored means of adding character to a room. Stock molding strips were nailed along the edge and four inches in on the ceiling, and then the complete surface painted white. To reproduce the trompe l'oeil skylight in the hall, fill in the inner circle with blue paint, and stipple on white paint with a dry brush for the clouds. A ring-shaped stencil and two shades of gray are used to make the faux molding detail in the outer circle.
Make your fireplace a stunning focal point that fits the mood of your room. We covered this uninspired tile fireplace with plywood, and included a step to ground the firebox. Two large wooden sconces were glued on to "hold up" the mantel. The original mantel was boxed in with drywall and painted to look like an aged wood plank. First, apply a mustard yellow base coat. Then distress the surface with nail holes and scratches. Apply a dark brown glaze and run a dry paint brush through it to imitate the look of wood grain. The new "limestone" surround is actually Spacco (decorative plaster), which is trowelled over the plywood and textured with a sea sponge and spatula. Warm tones of burnt umber and gold glazes are rubbed into the plaster to highlight the texture.
The zebra tabletop is made in three sections cut from fiberboard; the edges are routed to give a professional, polished look. Prime and paint the top with a dark burgundy or black base coat and then paint in the white zebra stripes using a handmade paper stencil as a guide. Seal with high gloss varnish.
By contrasting the warmth of pine floors and the ocher fireplace with the cool grays on the walls, and adding ceiling moldings and painted finishes, the home takes on a timeless, "lived in" quality. To produce the glass-like sheen on the dark gray living room walls, apply high gloss varnish with a roller and smooth out the bubbles with a good paintbrush. Brush strokes should be going in one direction, up and down. Once the varnish is dry, apply a second coat for best results.
Depth and color were added to the windows with grass cloth blinds hung under a dark wooden valence. As an added detail, we taped off a 3" border down each edge of the blinds and applied a brown stain with a dry brush.