Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Gorgeous Fall Garden

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Fabulous Copper Leafed Dining Room Ceiling

As you know, I am not a professional photographer. My work is very visual and sometimes the camera just doesn't do it justice. If I have done work for you, I am sure you know decorative finishes always look so much better in person. Throw in the metallic, shimmery element of many of my favorite finishes and it's even worse. That being said, many of my projects go unphotographed or unblogged because they are lost in translation of the photos.
However, this particular project, that was not the case. Leafed or guilded ceilings always look AMAZING!

The process is really cool, albeit labor intensive. After all, hand applying hundreds of 5" square, very thin "leaves" takes some time. I've shown you silver leafing on some furniture in the past.

Painting the ceiling chocolate
So the process is the same, only larger. We started by painting the ceiling a chocolate brown in an eggshell finish. One coat is sufficient since it will mostly be covered by copper, but you want a color to peak through here and there. Next, it is very important to layout some grid lines so that you can keep your leafing somewhat on track. Otherwise, it will be curving allover the place and your client will think you've been drinking. The lines are more a guideline, but extremely helpful.
If you have a million dollars, they also put the leaves on a roll and you can roll it on in straight lines if that is important to you. I like the distressed old world look, so the old fashioned way works for me. If you forget this step and do it after the sizing, the leafing won't stick to your lines (I know this from experience. I know, I know, but I do occasionally make a mistake). Next, is the sizing (the sticky stuff that the copper sheets stick to). It's milky going on, but dries mostly clear.
Then, we start applying the leaves. You can't breathe during this time or you'll blow the leaves to the floor or worse, breathe them in. Mmmmm, six hours with no air...I think I'm beginning to understand my problem. With multiple people applying the leaves we try to spread out in different directions so that we are not all bunched up in one corner of the room at the same time. Reminds me of a Tetris game. A bad Tetris game. If you've played, you know what I'm talking about.

Now that the entire ceiling is leafed it's very shiny. Unless you are a raccoon, it's a bit much for most peoples taste.

So we use an oil glaze or stain to tone it down. I used a rusty tone for the copper to really make it rich looking. It's quite a different look with the glaze.

The finished look is gorgeous! I am newly inspired to work on a few of my ceilings. To finish off the room, we added a soft copper metallic glaze to the walls. It all tied together beautifully! 

I will be posting these to Houzz soon. If you want to keep up with more of my new projects, follow me.  And as always I would love your reviews and feedback and feel free to share. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mom Angst

My nights have been sleepless lately. My 19 year old son has been on a mission to live life his way. I know I shouldn't worry, that worry is wasteful. I know that prayer is the best thing I can do but at the end of the day when your super smart little boy is making decisions that don't seem so smart, it is impossible to quiet the voices in your head saying "what if?". He left last night to go to his newly acquired house three hours away. No job, no money in the bank and no cell phone (he lost that on Monday and didn't have it insured). This time last year he decided college wasn't for him. I left home at 19 as well. I had a job, I had a plan and I had goals. I was in college and remained there until I graduated. Maybe this is my reward for tormenting my parents.
I know I need to let go. Many people have left other countries to come to America. They too had nothing and were able to start from scratch and become successful. The world is different now. Hardworking successful adults are struggling. Ugghhh! It's good to let it go. To let him go.
I would love to hear some happy endings of other's teens who are now very sane, stable and successful. And I'll receive all the prayer's I can get. :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Black Distressed Kitchen Island

Finished Kitchen Island
My services were recently requested by Scott from His company was doing a total kitchen remodel for his client. They had beautiful, new cherry cabinets installed and a huge new kitchen island. She wanted the island to be black and very heavily distressed, with the wood tone showing through the same as the existing cabinets. I got to start with all natural, unfinished wood. That never happens! It's always, old and dirty and in bad shape. What a joy!

I decided to use a product that stains and seals in one step. I used Bombay Mahogany to mimic the stain color of the new cabinets.

Even though it was oil, it did slightly raise the grain of the wood enough that it needed a light sanding when dry. I was going to use my usual awesome bonding primer/basecoat but I knew with the amount of distressing she wanted it would be difficult to remove so I needed something to allow me to easily chip away the paint. I went old school and used a wax candle. I rubbed it randomly over the cabinets, being sure to hit the natural high points of the cabinetry.

I used my trusty black bonding paint, only available online, and began to paint. It has great coverage and great bonding capabilities so I had to make sure it didn't dry too long.
Once they were dry to the touch, I used a plastic scrubbing pad to remove the paint, reveling a distressed, aged look.

The paint rubbed away perfectly, giving a naturally distressed look! The finished cabinet door.

The black paint needed to be sealed when finished. We didn't want a shiny finish, so I mixed a water based satin varnish with a flat varnish, at about a 1:1 ratio, so that the cabinets would still look old. Here's another  shot.

You can see some of my existing work at or keep up with my new projects at

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