Sprucing up Rooms with Material and Furniture

Fabric Adds Drama to Designing Focus your embellishing around something you love, such as a dramatic piece of material.

Remodeling this attic master bed room (at right) and bath into a gracious retreat began with the homeowner's love of toile de Jouy fabric. Toile is a picturesque patterned material which was initially utilized in France in the 18th century.

To strengthen the material's blue-and-white scheme, the walls and ceilings are decoratively striped and painted in paler blues and velvety whites. The headboard, likewise inspired by the toile, is hand-painted on the wall. For other fast updates, a textured all-white cotton refreshes bedside chests, and a toile slipcover gowns up a thrift store seat. An old oval frame, touched up with paint, triggers a blue willow patterned plate. Scraps of toile material cover the shades of swing-arm reading lamps.

Toile is repeated in the bath to aesthetically connect the two adjacent areas. The fabric covers a flea-market vanity and mirror frame, and puts a feminine twist on a director's chair, shower drape, and window valance. A deep-blue semigloss paint surface includes high contrast to the wall.

Southwest Furniture-Finishing Techniques

Check out these furniture-finishing techniques that catch the special look of the Southwest.

In keeping with an aesthetic that's of the Southwest as well as grounded in American furnituremaking traditions, Roy and Carol Nowacki, owners of The Bunk Home, a furnishings and antiques store in Corrales, New Mexico, craft their furnishings from pine. Next, they distress each piece with a paddle pierced with screws (to give the look of wormholes), a crowbar (to make dents that'll take the stain in a different way and develop dark streaks), wire brushes, or a brick.

Each piece is then finished with irregular levels of discolorations as well as layers of paint that are sanded and dry-brushed (see picture at right), then lastly burnished with rich coats of pigmented beeswax.

Ornamental locks or manages add the last touches to a piece.
" To prevent having the wood look flat you have to construct up its surface, just as an artist would do a painting," advises Carol. "You do that with wax, pigments, and paints." And lots of effort.

" Whenever I wish to paint a piece I'll stain it first, then layer various colors atop the stain. look these up After the paint is dried, I'll take a wire brush to it so that I can pull various layers of color out in unforeseeable places-- and even go right down to the stain to pull out the wood's natural grain."

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