Metamorphosis Monday: Fake a headboard

One of the biggest expenses in decorating a bedroom can be the bed itself; however, if you're on a limited budget (and who isn't these days), a headboard is one of the easiest design elements to fake. And for this week's Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, I'm going to show you how to fake a headboard from bi-fold closest doors. Recently, for a client, we had to decorate two guest rooms on a very limited budget. In one, the client already had a bed. In the other room, which contained a king size mattress, one of our duties was to find a bed--however, our budget did not allow for a piece of furniture. The solution: a metal bed frame and a headboard. The question was, "what headboard?"
We looked for inspiration from one of the existing pieces of furniture, this beautiful painted armoire in shades of bronze, green, and beige. Our solution, a headboard made from off the shelf paneled bi-fold closet doors painted to co-ordinate.s

Here are the doors in their original white finish.

Next, I primed them in red. I did this so that when I sanded off paint from the edges, the red (an accent color in the room) would peek through the bronze finish. The darker primer would also make painting a bronze color easier.

Here are the finished doors, painted in several shades of bronze with a dark wash and touches of gold, in place. We attached the doors directly to the wall.

A detail of the finish:
The doors provided a striking headboard with a scale appropriate for a room with 12 foot ceiling. The paneled detailing complement the client's existing armoire for the traditional decor that the client asked for.

Finally, my friend Valerie from Visual Vamp has progressed once again in Apartment Therapy's Color Contest. Please visit Here to vote for her. Thanks.


Lost Puppy Love Part 2: A new home

About a month ago, this little fellow showed up on our front porch. He had big sad eyes, a wagging tail, a great personality; alas, he did not have a tag or a microchip. We fostered him while searching for his people, but weren't able to find the owners. I would have loved to keep him, but we already have a huge dog, two cats, as well as the two cats belonging to my partner's twin who just moved in with us for a while--in other words, a whole lot of mammal for a 1600 sq. foot house. But luck was with us all, and we've found him a good home. And even better, it's right in our own block. While walking him, I ran into one of our neighbors, who has a young daughter. She was looking for a dog for the family and fell in love with Little Man on the spot. A day later, he was at her vet, being fitted for a snazzy new red collar, and being trained as her shop dog. We'll miss having him around, but I'm glad the story has a happy ending.l

I'd especially like to thank Valerie at Visual Vamp and Nathan at Laurel Street for their help, along with all of the help from readers. Thank you.


Vote for the Vamp

My friend Valerie, the fabulous visual vamp, has moved to the second round in Apartment Therapy's annual color contest. Her home is beautiful single in the Garden District that used to be a home for wayward girls (and with the Vamp in residence, the tradiont continues), and Valerie has decorated it with lots of style and color. The most colorful room is her office, above, the former dining room. Decorated in what she desribes as "modern Creole," the room features tomato red walls, lush aqua silk draperies, and a shot of chartruese linen. If you have a chance, please support a New Orleans lady at the apartment therapy contest by voting HERE. The voting lasts for the next 24 hours.


Metamorphosis Monday: From brown and drab to Swedish fab-a furniture makeover story

Forget English country, Tuscan farmhouses, and French provincial. Right now, the hottest look in design is a mixture of Swedish and Belgian influences. And why not? It's a pretty, delicate feminine look that can be easily adapted to many projects. So, for this Metamorphosis Monday hosted by Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, I decided to show a transformation of dated finishes to a painted Swedish look. Recently, I've been collaborating on a fun project, making over a rented cottage for a single female executive. One of her major issues was a lack of storage and dressing space (this is a client that sincerely loves her shoes). Our solution was to turn the room that adjoined her bedroom into a dedicated dressing room. Before, it was a mismash of passageway, home office, and den, but did not function well in any of those capcities. We relocated the desk to the guest room, closed off an unecessary door to increase privacy, and decided to add a dressing table and closed storage. At this point, budget, as usual, became a problem. How to add three large (and usually expensive) pieces of furniture at a price that would be appropriate? Especially since we had decided to do the room (and the adjoining bedroom) with a heavy dose of Swedish style? Paint and a local consignment store was our answer.
We found two of these large, well built, but dated armoires to flank the bedroom door. One became a laundry closet with a place for hanging clothes, a hook for ironing board, and storage for hampers. The other is an accessory closet, with space for handbags, shoes, jewelry, belts, etc. In both, we had full length mirrors applied to the inside of the doors.
The client already had a small set of these lyre back chairs. Even though the form is English, the delicate lines and lyre decoration do fit the Swedish asthetic. If these had been high quality antiques, I wouldn't have been comfortable painting them, but they were reproductions from the 30s or 40s with battered finishes. And finally, we found this writing desk to convert into a dressing table. Looking past the dark cherry finish, we noticed the fluted legs and moulding, as well as the applied carving motif. In fact, the desk has several characteristics of Louis XVI furniture, which supplied the inspiration for much of Swedish furniture.

After primer, paint, wax, and lots of burnishing with steel wool pads, a painted Swedish finish began to emerge:

The armoires were glazed in layers of beige and pale grey oil paint to achieve a pale, neutral appearance and act as a foil to the painted grey furniture.

The beautiful and delicate lines of the chair became more apparent with its lighter finish:s

And now, our client has a dressing table fit for a Hollywood star of the 30s. Miss Crawford would be happy--there's not a wire hanger in sight.


Troubles of the World: Goodbye Miss Darlene

Giclee is I'll Fly Away by Bill Hemmerling (http://www.hemmerlingart.com/giclees/)

One of the reasons I worked optimism into the title of this blog is because I try very hard to focus on the positive. It's not always easy for me...I can become negative easily and forget my blessings as I bemoan the petty difficulties of life. Right now, I could easily list 10, 20 problems I'm worried about...but then real trouble comes along to remind you how small and insignifcant most of our "troubles" really are. This week, one of our neighbors was killed by her son during an argument that started over a bicycle. Though New Orleans can be a dangerous city, our neighborhood is peaceful and closely knit, so we are all shocked as well as deeply saddened by Miss Darlene's death, and our hearts go out to her fiance Rodney and her family. Today, please remember that most of our troubles are nothing more than passing fancies that mean very little.


Plates + Hangers = Instant Backsplash

Here's a sneak peek at my latest project in collaboration with my friend Donna. We're working on a fabulous pad for a single girl, but with a twist--the twist is that the pad is a rental. Because of this, we're obviously avoiding making any major changes to the cottage apartment. One of the biggest problem areas is the kitchen, as is typical in a lot of rentals. The cabinets are oak in a medium finish and the counter top is a cream formica---not exciting finishes, but I've seen (and lived with) worse. Furthermore, there is no backsplash, just 4 inches of formica and sheetrock. Luckily, our single girl loves blue and white and had a large collection of plates. A coat of a beautiful soft blue paint, some plates hangers, a few nails, and voila: an instant backsplash. For interest, I used a variety of different patterns. I also overlapped some of the pieces, but there was an ulterior motive: the large bowl is hanging over an outlet and hiding the plug to the coffee maker!
In this case, because of the nature of the apartment and the client's taste, we've gone for a cottage inspired look, but the idea could be adapted for other styles. We're putting the finishing touches on the rest of the cottage and I should have some pics by this weekend.