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This 60s, open plan bungalow had good architectural features including a high v-slope ceiling and large fireplace. Tina also had an exotic mix of furnishings and art objects. But none of the focal features of this happy family home was given its due. The overall impression was cluttered and a bit bland, which did not suit Tina's busy, upbeat lifestyle.
By accentuating the positive attributes in any room you will achieve an immediate and exciting transformation. I began with the soaring ceiling, adding a series of beams that were aged and painted to look like old barn boards. This detail draws the eye up, giving the room a feeling of grandeur. Then, to pump up the ambiance, I chose a warm raspberry for the large expanse of walls and made it even more spectacular by applying tinted plaster over a base coat of paint. The silky smooth texture and brilliant colour of the Venetian plaster creates a stunning backdrop for Tina's furniture.
The fireplace surround was redesigned to complement the room's new, modern appeal, and is now long and low. The ebony gray surround and mantel run the length of the wall, and Tina's mask collection becomes an important highlight in the room.
Indonesian style couches are low and comfy-casual, set up on a large pink and orange, kid-friendly area carpet that is really a series of carpet tiles that can be laid down in any design you choose. (Please see resources.)
Updated materials and colours and a few extra storage tricks brought fresh, new life to the kitchen. Plain white melamine cabinets were painted the palest shades of yellow and turquoise. A series of boxes built in above the cabinets, and a shelving unit over the stove give Tina the space she needs to display her colourful collection of Fiestaware. The kitchen was large enough to house a center island that not only offers more preparation and storage space, but also has become family central for eating, doing homework and catching up with each other's busy schedules. Enclosing the new refrigerator gave us space to hang a custom designed notice board that helps everyone stay on track.
This home now reflects the high energy and enthusiasm of Tina and her three fantastic children. It's bright and modern, with bold strokes of colour and exotic charm.
Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.
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A ridge box was built from three lengths of 2" x 6" wood and screwed along the center peak. Beams are spaced 36" apart. Before installing the beams distress the wood by banging and scratching it up with a hammer and chisel. Apply a light beige base coat, getting into all the grooves. Mix a dark gray coloured glaze and brush it on, then drag through the glaze with a wire brush creating fine lines that make the finish appear old and worn, like weathered barn board.
The original mantel and surround were removed, leaving the firebox. Two long rectangular boxes were built from 3/4" plywood, good one side. A sheet of Masonite 1/8" thick was cut into irregular stripes; the stripes were glued onto the plywood for decoration. To finish, we used a sharp knife to shave away the edges of the Masonite stripes and made nicks to give the piece a worn look. Then primed and painted. (see resources) The rectangular boxes and mantel were installed around the firebox leaving a space that was filled in with pieces of cement board for safety.
Kitchen Island and Countertops
The beautiful island is topped with maple-finished plywood and the countertops with birch-finished plywood. Once stained, three coats of special, quick-drying oil-based varnish were applied to give a sleek, glossy surface. Metal edge trim was glued on for a 50s retro touch that is popular once again.
We built a wall from medium density fiberboard to enclose the refrigerator, which gave us a perfect place to hang our personalized notice board. Cut a piece of Masonite to the size you require, prime it and apply a thick coat or two of metallic paint (has magnetic quality). Roll on alternate bands of green and black blackboard paint, one for each family member. To make your own magnets, cut out family photos, glue to painted wooden discs and back with magnetic strips.
Overall Living/Dining and Carpet
Warm and happy raspberry is the perfect hue for this open living and dining area. The ceiling was painted a soft mauve and detailed with beams treated to look like barn board. Low Indonesian-style seating fits the exotic ambiance, while Interface Flor carpet tiles make a practical, colourful area rug that is versatile and fun. (see resources)
Storage and Cabinets
Open shelving and storage units are a great way to show off colourful collections of crockery in the kitchen. In Tina's kitchen every spare inch is put to use; storage boxes were built above the upper cabinets and a large shelving unit fits above the stove. You can paint over laminate cabinets with Melamine paint. If it's not available, then use a high adhesion primer and then choose acrylic (water-based) paint.
Venetian Plaster Walls
Jim and Peter are masters at achieving this glorious old world finish. Apply a raspberry base coat with paint first so that it's easier to get coverage with the plaster coat. Tint the Venetian plaster with paint colours (see resources) and roll the tinted plaster on in workable sections. Then smooth it out with a spatula. Let dry. Rub the walls with the back of the spatula and fine sand paper to bring out the shine and create some texture. Wipe down the finished walls with a cloth to remove any loose plaster dust. Note: tinted plaster dries about 50% lighter, so test before starting your wall.