I recently had a referral to someone looking to have me do a paint job in their nursery as they're expecting their first baby! She sent me this picture from Pottery Barn, wanting me to stencil one accent wall with this scallop/ribbon design. While I am more so used to free style murals and artistic painting and have never actually used a stencil, I figured my OCD would help me with something like this...turns out the first time at something will always be harder than expected...
Luckily, my client had found this blog posting about how to recreate this stencil and it ended up being a LOT of help. Check it out here. I bought blank stencil sheets and invested in a heated stencil cutter at Micheal's as well. This tool took some practice to master as it melts the plastic to cut it, making it easy to botch the design. Be patient with it and be prepared with back up stencil sheets (mylar).
I scaled out the design and made a CAD elevation drawing of the wall as it has a large window making for some difficult planning on scale and repeat of the stencil. From the elevation I determined I would make my stencil fit a 10" by 15" sheet. After printing the design (on 2 sheets to fit) I lined them up and traced it onto the mylar with a sharpie.
Then I used the fancy burner tool to cut out the design...
They had already done the base coat of Benjamin Moore's Iced Lavender and I took the Pearlized White to to the stencil.
While the level was mentioned in the directions on that blog, I canNOT stress the need for the level enough. Every time I took up the stencil and taped it back down, I put the level up to ensure all the scallops run perfectly vertical.
As the stencil was used at least 75 times on this one wall, the paint really caked up on it so I did a lot of freehand touch-up with a 1/4" paintbrush to ensure they really did look consistent.
Those windows were pretty tricky but patience was key and I love how much it looks like wallpaper!
With a happy client, I am pleased to say that my first venture into stenciling and having to stay within an actual restricted line (my stencil) turned out quite successfully! I can't wait for them to send me pictures with all their furnishings and the lil tot herself, Olivia!
Here's to more challenges like this one in the future! Bring it!
Storage. That was the number one challenge when working on little Aiden's room (see here). Anybody with kids or designing around them will encounter this issue. Where do you put all the toys and clutter so that nothing distracts from your thoughtfully executed design? After unsuccessfully searching for an economical storage unit to fit in a small space in the room, I ran into this...at JoAnn Fabric no less...
While cubbie units like this are not hard to come by, it's what I did with it that is. A vertical unit is fine...if you've got the space...but I realized (after what was probably too long of a head-tilted-stare in this aisle) that I could repurpose this piece horizontally to meet all my needs! So here's how I did it!
Primer was the first step. I had a limited amount of leftover green wall paint I wanted to use on the piece and it's coordinating drawers so I used a standard primer from Lowes to soak into the raw oak so it wouldn't soak up my paint!
With the whole piece primed out, I had a 1/4" piece of plywood cut to just smaller than the dimensions of the new top to become the upholstered surface for the seating aspect. From there we marked 6 spots to drill holes to match up from the wood to the base.
Something called a T-nut was then used so that a screw could be drilled up threw the base into the top but not interfere with the smooth, cushion of the upholstered seat. T-nuts became my best friends. What a perfect find!
After the wholes where drilled with everything in the right spot, the more attractive green coat was applied to the pieces. The crevices are tricky and you HAVE to watch for goopy drips because those are just ugly...and I don't do ugly. Also make sure the first coat dries before you try to apply a second coat to ensure that 2nd one covers nicely.
To upholster the top, I wrapped a nice 1" thick foam piece over the top and staple gunned that in nice and taught. The next layer was a broadcloth material...if you don't want to buy any (even though its super cheap), you can use an old sheet and it works just as well. With that layer taught down, you have a better chance of getting any pattern on your finish fabric lined up and you'll use less of that decorative fabric as it won't have to work to stretch over anything. Be sure to leave the T-nuts exposed and not stapled over so there is no problem drilling the pieces together. And don't be afraid with the staple gun. You can't really do too many.
After the piece was said and done, I added an accent of my chalkboard paint to the front of the drawers. I gave it 3 coats, taped off with painters tape, and it left a great, smooth surface to personalize the drawers with chalk for even better organization!
Now the room has a one-of-a-kind DIY storage bench. A perfect spot for this little tyke to sit and play and to clean up when he's done!
Having been out of school for just over a year now, I can tell you...it only gets better.
Starting into the creative industry, specifically interior design, in such a tough market and competitive field made for no easy feat. When I realized I was going to be taking a unique path into freelance work, I ran with the opportunity...and I haven't stopped runnin yet.
Starting small, of course, I have started in on projects here and there. Set design and painting, commissioned artwork, commercial Christmas decorations, wedding styling, and interior projects. Whatever I can get my hands on. As I've settled into a part time job with Calico Corners, learning the ropes of custom furnishings, window treatments, and fabrics, I found myself wondering if there was more I should be doing. With ambitious goals in mind, I needed affirmation that starting small, developing a portfolio, and getting whatever experience I could was just what I needed to do to jump-start my career...
After reading some encouraging words in a post on HGTV's blog...I encourage you to read it here...I realized I'm right where I am meant to be right now and doing exactly what I need to be doing...right now. There's a fun little rollercoaster in most career fields that you sort of have to bust into in order to ride. Any hiring companies out there seek experience...you can't get the experience until you've had a job...which loops you right back to not being able to find a job until you get that experience...are you wanting to hurl your corndog yet? Right.
Well a year later, I'm here to tell you there's hope. There may be other coasters in the park that you've got to ride before you can graduate to the Titan or the Superman...or in my case, the Scooby ride, because, to be honest, I'm terrified of roller coasters...but I digress....there's HOPE. There may be something about summer but one referral from a friend has led to another and to another. One successful painting has led to another and another. And as I type this, gates have flown open for me and opportunities to ride my own coasters have come at me left and right.
This isn't meant to be boastful, nor is it meant to depress those with no work...but it IS meant to encourage you to be confident in your abilities, create your own opportunities, and ride some kiddie rides until you bust into those big kid coasters.
"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them...they MAKE them." -George Bernard Shaw
I wrote about being encouraged and uplifted by these great words back in October and I still keep them at the back of my mind on a day to day basis. It's only gotten better since then, not always easier, but definitely better and I wouldn't trade what I've learned for any kind of routine job. I've got my own roller coasters to ride first. Someday I'll make it to the Titan but for now? I'm havin the time of my life.
One thing my client wanted in her little Aiden's new sports room was a locker for both fun decor and good storage. Welp here's how I made that happen for her...
FIRST. Get your parents to hi-jack a couple lockers from a local high school locker room...
But really. New lockers can be pretty pricey and I was going for a more vintage look...and was on a budget. So having a local HS that just remodeled their athletic facility was a giant plus! Getting them detached was a feat but it was well worth the money saved! You can also check for your local school district's surplus warehouses...they often only open to the public occasionally but can have some great finds too!
SECOND. Scrub a Dub. Cleaning was a bit of a pain as there was some rust, some bends, and lots and lots of dust. But in order to get a good cover, a well executed scrub down is crucial! An air compressor is really handy at this stage! Use some pliers to bend back any misshapen areas as sheet metal is pretty malleable!
THIRD. Take it all apart. Not really...okay but kinda...since we detached the lockers from a string of others, I needed to re construct a couple areas. By that I mean turning the side panels inside out and upside down to have a more finished look and no jagged edges...
FOURTH. Paint the town red! ...or the locker blue. Whatever floats your boat. I used a Rustoleum paint as it is great for most surfaces, especially metal and has good coverage. Drying between coats is big for even cover so you can actually see where more is needed. This took about 2-3 coats in most areas. Be sure to cover hardware or remove hooks or anything you may not want painted. And don't forget the nooks and crannies! ...but seriously. No one likes an unpainted cranny.
FIFTH. the sunshine phase. Let the sun do its work...let this thing dry and come back to it the next day or at least a few hours later for that final coat of evenness. If you have globs or drips anywhere, use a razor very lightly to get em off and then touch up that spot with a couple sprays. I used about 4 cans of paint on this piece.
SIXTH. Do your thing Honey! Install Install Install! Although it's simple to put a big locker in a room, something that is really important is safety! They may not be overly heavy but they are sharp, metal and pretty large. Use the holes at the back of the lockers to anchor this into the wall. Find a stud and put a screw nail through there. Even just one is enough to prevent anyone from yankin this sucker down on them. If you can't find a stud, be sure to put an anchor in because just nailing it to the wall will NOT do the trick!
And VOILA! A fun and inexpensive project, made with love...and some elbow grease.
A bit over a month ago, I started working with a new client! For a girl startin off her freelance design career, this was and IS a huge deal and great joy for me! Little Aiden just turned 3 and is transitioning from baby to toddler to his little boy years so his room was ready for a complete revamp! After expressing her wants for a chalkboard wall, some lockers and a sports theme, I presented some concept ideas to Natalie (Mom) for a playful vintage sports inspired room!
After hours of work and DIY and internet research and bargain hunting and contractor's quotes and feeding of my new found Etsy addiction, I have completed Aiden's room! My first full room project for a referred client, I am overjoyed to see that the process they taught us all about in school....WORKS!
Concept to completion and this space is for sure a room for champs!
Here's a peak into some of the little moments created throughout this little guys room...
Storage is a challenge for all parents. I turned this once vertical shelving unit horizontally to create a organized storage system with an upholstered top for seating and chalkboard fronts for personalized organizing!
This business is all about networking, and luckily my network of friends works in my favor! One of my best friends, Lyndi (creator of Sew Bee It from an earlier post) created this perfect pennant valance for the small window.
Can't find what you want? Create it yourself. I painted this baseball clock in an effort to get just what I wanted with a wooden plate and a clock kit. Easy. Shout out to my grandpa who makes these awesome wooden names and happened to have an "Aiden".
Natalie first fell for this Pottery Barn bedding in the catalog and there really just wasn't any beating it. It's fun, energetic, a lil vintage and has a ton of great texture.
Some refinished lockers hijacked from an old high school locker room make for great storage and fun decor. Obviously.
The green wall color (Melange Green from Sherwin Williams) was pulled from the PB quilt and the chalkboard paint is "So Stone" from Hudson Paints where you can find any color chalkboard paint you could ever want!
A hand-painted mural by yours truly completes and compliments the little guys fun and energetic new sporty space. What a fun project this has been.
Anyone else been keeping up with all the action the profession of Interior Design is gettin down in that peninsula state of Florida? Well they've been hit hard by people who just don't get it. Not understanding a profession is one thing but ignorance by choice and arrogance is a ridiculous game for grown adults to be playing.
House passed a bill called "Deregulation of Professions and Occupations" or House Bill 5005 and ASID members of Florida and many other states have been fighting tooth and neck to ensure this bill did NOT pass Senate. With interior design being one of the professions to be deregulated in the state of Florida, they assumed this would be beneficial...giving more people a chance to explore the world of design and make that leap from merely a decorator to a designer without laws and restrictions.
Pssshtt. What this would really do is actually detrimental and had it passed, could have affected the careers of designers in many more states. Regulation allows designers to practice commercial design and work on projects with building codes, LEED potential and really get their hands on some of those big markets in hospitality, health, education facilities and other spaces. These designers able to practice are licensed professionals who have worked hard, taken exams and achieved and maintained this status themselves, meaning no one should be able to take it away from them.
Last Friday, the bill for deregulation in Florida was defeated by an incredible 32-6 Senate vote. While this is a celebrated victory, that does not mean the profession won't continue to be a target for those wishing to simplify professions they may simply not understand.
Just because I don't understand medicine, does not mean I plan to take your MD away. Licensing is a great honor and show of commitment to a field that these people are passionate about. Hopeful to become a licensed designer and even a LEED AP myself, I plan to support the continued efforts to push away opposition and encourage understanding of the importance of regulation. The profession of Interior Design depends on it.