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Wow. This was a scary room -- Halloween scary. Overpowering orange walls, black shiny dressers, flouncy floral curtains and an old parquet floor all fought with each other for attention creating an edgy mood that was anything but restful. It was a case of decorating gone terrible wrong.
Toni envisioned a completely different look for her bedroom; she imagined beautiful crown mouldings and soft colours that would combine to create a dreamy, romantic mood.
Everyone felt better once the orange was gone and the walls given a creamy white, finely textured plaster finish. We concentrated on introducing layers of traditional mouldings to the room, a pared down version of the ornate design details seen in Italian mansions. A box was built around the top of the walls and covered with strips of cornice moulding, while a custom-built headboard was decorated with authentic plaster reproductions. To embellish the ceiling, we added small wooden rosettes painted to match.
A garden theme blended well with the Tuscan flavour. A bedside table was built from a wrought iron base and a plain wood top, then given a faux rust finish. Plaster flowers frame a large mirror, and we embedded a lamp inside a concrete garden urn.
The most unconventional move was to lay down a vinyl floor -- not the usual choice for a bedroom, but today's new vinyl patterns make it a winning alternative. This floor looks like slate tiles, which would be right at home in a garden room, but the vinyl is warm and soft underfoot.
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Fine workmanship is seen in the details of this Tuscan garden bedroom. To apply the cornice mouldings we first built a fiberboard box around the perimeter of the room, 8" x 4". Polyurethane cornice moulding from Balmer (see resources) was nailed and glued along the front and baseboard moulding on the underside. The cornice was then painted white, a continuation of the white plaster walls.
The whimsical mirror frame appears to be hand carved, but we used plastic flowers and Durabond plaster to create this effect. From a piece of MDF, cut a circle 6 inches larger than your chosen mirror. (Ours is a round beveled mirror from Umbra.) Center the mirror on the MDF and trace its circumference. Remove the mirror and fill in the border with inexpensive plastic flowers (available at craft and dollar stores.) Staple the flowers securely into position. Cover the flowers with slow drying Durabond, using your fingers as well as a brush to mould the plaster around the petals and stems. Once the plaster is dry, spray paint the border and plaster flowers white. Glue in the mirror.
The trend today is to leave walls neutral and paint colour over head. Toni's bedroom ceiling was painted Para's Lavender Lilian, then softened with a 50:50 paint/glaze mixture of light mauve applied with a brush and ragged to produce a cloudy effect. The lavender casts its romantic hue over the reflective surfaces of the bedroom. Painted wooden rosettes add delicate detail to the misty lavender ceiling.
Faux Rust Finish
One method of aging a new piece of garden-inspired furniture is to produce the look of rust on the surface. The wrought iron table base was first painted mustard yellow. You will need two colours of oil-based spray paint, rusty red and black as well as a spray bottle filled with water. Spray on the rust colour covering most of the yellow base coat. Mist the water over the rust paint, then spray on a little black in random sections. Dab the surface with a rag. The oil and water react to replicate the look of rust corroding the wrought iron. (Always wear a mask when using spray paint.)
A popular choice for kitchens and bathrooms, Armstrong's vinyl flooring is an unconventional choice for the bedroom, but their gorgeous array of new patterns such as this faux slate tile makes a perfect complement to our Italian garden boudoir. We leveled the old parquet floor surface with sheets of plywood so that the vinyl would lie flat.
Before plastering, to fully cover the dark orange base coat we rolled on two coats of heavy duty primer. Venetian plaster is a specialty plaster that is finer than regular plaster. The plaster was applied with a trowel, then lightly textured with a damp sea sponge and smoothed over with the trowel again. A good tip is to moisten your tools while creating the texture to keep the plaster moving. Seal the dry plaster with a coat of white paint and then brush on a creamy white coat getting into all the tiny crevices. Wipe over the wall with a rag, leaving this slightly darker white paint behind in the indentations to highlight the texture.
The focal point of this dreamy room is the bed, which was designed around a custom-made headboard decorated with authentic plaster mouldings by the craftsmen at Balmer. The separate moulding pieces were laid out on a pre-cut MDF board with routed edge detail. We traced around the plaster pieces to ensure perfect positioning, then glued them in place. The headboard was then primed and painted semi-gloss white. It's secured to the wall with heavy-duty plugs and screws.
Delicate fabric panels flank the bed. They are hung from swing-arm curtain rods; airy white linens and mauve and purple accent pillows enhance the divine setting.
The trick to transforming an old concrete urn into a lamp base is to use the drainage hole for the electrical wire and carefully drill a ridge along the bottom of the urn so that the wire will lie flush. Cut a piece of plywood to fit inside the urn and drill a hole in the center for the wire. Drill holes and screw the base of the lamp to the plywood. Use construction adhesive to glue the plywood into the urn. Fill the urn with river rocks to camouflage the real lamp base and finish off the effect.