Warmer Welcome in One Weekend
Lately, I’ve been so busy working on the homes of my interior design clients that my own home has been patiently waiting on the sidelines for some attention. My husband and I and our four children live in Corner Hall, a gracious 1890 Victorian in the friendly, no-stoplight historic town of Round Hill, Virginia. It is a lovely, tranquil place to live, and we are so glad we made the decision almost two years ago to move out to the country.
I decided to devote last weekend to getting our entry in order. In an otherwise pleasant home, the area with the least charm was definitely the foyer. The space was too dark, relying on just one small ceiling mounted fixture for the majority of its light. The existing paint color on the walls had all the charm of a well worn pair of Dockers–namely, none. I thought painting tone-on-tone soft green stripes on the walls of the entry would create more visual height and would also suit the home’s Victorian architecture. While I do not consider myself a full-fledged DIY-er, I am quite handy with a paint brush and decided to tackle painting these wall stripes myself. Full disclosure: I eagerly call in the pros for tougher jobs such as exterior painting and paper hanging. I enjoy the ritual and rhythm of painting. In a strange way, I feel like picking up the brush myself creates a bond between me and my home– an acknowledgement that we are looking out for one another. “I’ll give you shelter from the storm if you agree to get me out of this unflattering khaki number.” Okay, it’s a deal! One caveat–I admitted to myself that if the end result looked like a homemade disaster, I would call in my painters and have them rescue the walls from me. Having had no experience with painting stripes, I did a little research. This is always a good idea when taking on an unfamiliar task–you can fully grasp the scope of the project and have any necessary tools/supplies you might need at hand. I found some incredibly helpful tips from Centsational Girl’s DIY blog. I also came across a series of short Expert Village youtube videos on the subject. Armed with this knowledge, I dove in! Here is a photographic trip (my apologies for my lack of skill with a camera!) through the steps I followed–be sure to check out the two DIY sources I mentioned above if you would like a more detailed explanation.
First, paint all walls with your lighter shade–in my case, Benjamin Moore Aura in Dark Linen. Reminds me of the translucent green on the inside of a cucumber. Quick shout out: we are lucky to have a wonderful Benjamin Moore store, The Paint & Paper Place, just down the street from our house on Main Street in Purcellville, VA. I highly recommend them to those of you in the area!
Next, measure very carefully with a laser level–the more time you spend on this step, the better. I spent much of Friday maniacally measuring out 6″ stripes–I decided these would be the perfect width stripe after measuring out the walls and seeing how many would fit across. I didn’t want the stripes too narrow or too wide. This measuring + marking was definitely the longest and most frustrating (@#$%!) part of the job, although using a laser level made it tolerable. When taping your lines, be mindful to place tape on the outside edge for the darker stripes you will be painting. Press tape down firmly. I would recommend the Frog Tape I used–slightly more expensive, but creates very sharp lines with no paint bleed.
Add post-its to the areas you want to avoid painting–I added more post-its than were probably necessary, but didn’t have any mistakes!
Paint over tape with original lighter colored paint to create a seal–will help keep lines crisp
Paint darker stripes using two coats. I chose Benjamin Moore Pale Sea Mist for the deeper stripes. The color conjures up the confection perfection of a Ladurée macaroon. Yummy!
Remove tape after the second coat, while paint is still wet.
The result: very crisp, very beautiful stripes!
I tackled the light problem by replacing the picture light on the wall with a Circa Lighting Vendome Triple Sconce. Thanks to my handsome husband Eddie for installing the sconce–and for not electrocuting himself in the process!
My last steps were to hang the custom monogrammed plates I ordered from Kelly Wilson Antiques–each member of our family is represented by the letter of our first name. Eddie, Katie, Seamus, Declan, Owen & baby Maeve. The central ‘M’ platter stands for McCormack.
Lastly, I transported the vintage Baker console from our dining room to the foyer and it was the perfect finishing touch for the space. Don’t be afraid to move your furniture from room to room–you might find an even better home for it!
Of course, a designer’s work is never “done,” so the hunt continues for the perfect petite hanging lantern, a gilded mirror, and a vibrant rug to elevate the space. We are also planning to remove or cover the radiator since it is no longer use, and to replace the front door with a more beautiful salvage door from the same period. But Rome wasn’t built in a weekend! So for now, this much warmer welcome will suffice.
And lastly, to my home, thank you for being so patient with me.