Painted Illusion

painted illusion doorway - Skonahem via AtticmagA color block “frame” transforms a door opening.

It’s fascinating to see the way paint can be used to create visual effects in rooms. A painted-on headboard in a bedroom comes immediately to mind. There also are trompe l’oeil walls with perspective that puts depth of space in narrow quarters. Recently I found a photo [top] of a doorway widened by dark painted trim that creates a portal, expanding the opening well beyond its narrow dimensions. In this example, the deep blue used inside the archway replaces the need for casing. And while it has a slightly eccentric look, it might well be applicable to an open plan home where walls meet awkwardly and paint color transitions can be perplexing.

(Source:  skonahem)

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Boho Cottage Kitchen

Steamer Bay sink base - John Lewis of Hungerford via AtticmagPattern and color added to plain white cabinets can create subtle variations.

The appeal of a cottage style kitchen is the informality and unpredictability that comes from working with less than perfect materials or spaces. Simply fixing up something old, without trying to make it look new, often results in a quirky or bohemian (boho for short) outcome. That, I expect, was behind the idea of producing new kitchen cabinets that would look like unfitted pieces that had been rehabbed. The intent was to manufacture charm – always tricky. However, each of these sink bases belongs to a collection made from essentially the same pine doors and drawers, though that may not be apparent at first glance. Credited to the Steamer Bay collection by John Lewis of Hungerford, an established English house that specializes in painted cabinets and furnishings, the vignettes show how variations in color, hardware and accessories can be useful for anyone trying to conjure up an easy DIY look for a cottage kitchen.

Gray vertical stripes on cabinet doors [top] alternate with horizontal stripes produced by painting every other drawer front gray. Otherwise, the sink cabinet is white, with an old-fashioned butcher block top. Pillar tap faucets on risers evoke a kitchen style dating back to the early 20th century. An upper cabinet on one side of the window is offset by the open plate rack and shelf, opposite.

Steamer Bay sink base - John Lewis of Hungerford via AtticmagEven with beefy hardware, when the sink unit is left white it looks more conventional and far less interesting. The over-sink shelf with simple brackets is the most elemental of features, too. Of course, the taxi-yellow old-fashioned refrigerator-pantry picks up the slack on the plainness.

Steamer Bay sink base - John Lewis of Hungerford via AtticmagYellow and white stripes on matching upper cabinets add soft color to this sink area. That’s sparked by a pair of yellow curtains which seem a little cliché – where are all the wonderful quirky prints? But the cabinet tops are great for display and painted kitchen furniture points up the look.

(Source: John Lewis of Hungerford)

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Natural Interior Barn Doors

Natural wood plank and wrought iron sliding interior barn door - Francie Hargrove via AtticmagLarger than conventional doors, barn-style sliders function like art in a room.

Unpainted sliding barn doors are often chosen for their particular character – anything from the color and grain of the wood to the look of the bracing and hardware. These doors may be vintage pieces with embellishments that add a layer of texture and pattern to walls, which works well for neutral spaces. As decorative screens-on-wheels, their placement also determines whether they function as a background or a partition.

For a house with a distinct wood look – heavy on the beams – North Carolina decorator Francie Hargrove chose a hefty natural plank slider with horizontal wrought iron braces outlined in wood [top]. Even the handle is substantial. As a divider between a hallway and sitting room, the door eliminates the need for a large piece of art behind the game table.

Horizontal plank natural wood sliding interior barn door with iron frame and accents – Athezza via AtticmagReclaimed oak planks, cut short and run horizontally in an iron frame, create a door with a whiff of that 1940s French industrial look that’s been so popular in catalogs. While a door this wonderful could go in any room, an antique stone wall and limestone block flooring add heaps of cachet. Not ironically, the door is an ideal background for the metal Lustre Bombé pendant light offered by the French home décor retailer Athezza.

Diagonal plank and 4-square framed natural wood interior barn doors – Decorology via AtticmagI’m cheating a little here because the wonderful doors with diagonal weathered planking and heavy contrasting wood 4-square frames aren’t actually sliders. Shown in a 2009 Anthropologie catalog, they have hinges. I think they would look better as sliders and I’m including them for anyone seeking beefy door ideas to knock off.

Vertical plank natural interior barn door with Z wood bracing – Detalhes Magicos via AtticmagIn a room with a shiny white floor and painted batten walls, a planked barn door with a Z brace and prominent nail heads almost looks like the floor was flipped up. The inversion is prime and the tone of the natural wood (which looks stained) warms up the ascetic black and white scheme.

Vintage restored natural wood sliding interior barn door in an Ontario farmhouse – The Marion House Book via AtticmagOne look at this funky old slider and you know there’s a back story. Location: rural Ontario, Canada. Style:  Euro-Boho eclectic. An artsy couple with twin toddlers sold their city place and renovated a falling down house in the country. All the wood came from local mills and the restored-barn-bathroom-door is, the owner says “squeaky and hard to deal with,” and evidently a conversation piece. Any wonder why?

New natural wood sliding interior barn door in a restored English barn – Mclaren.Excell via AtticmagA minimalist light wood sliding door in an actual restored barn does double duty creating a modern Scandinavian look and functioning as a partition. Originally built in the late 18th century, the barn was enlarged at the end of the 19th century and used for livestock until it was converted to a 25-room, two-story living space in the late 1990s. For a new owner, the English architects McLaren.Excell stripped it down and completely restructured the space creating enormous open rooms that are distinctly modern. The full story, complete with construction photos, is an interesting read. However, the door is a perfect expression of a modern take on this form.

(Source: Francie Hargrove, Athezza, Decorologydetalhesmagicos, themarionhousebook, mclarenexcell)

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Lantern Love

Fez Placements and Tile Napkins - Kim Seybert via AtticmagOne of the most popular geometric motifs to emerge over the past few years has been the Moroccan lantern or arabesque.

Lantern motifs have become popular on drapery fabrics, rugs, wallpapers and stencils and, of course, kitchen backsplash tile. And it isn’t a stretch to say that the arabesque has become an alternative to subways (finally!). In my interview with  Ann Sacks Product Development Portfolio Manager DeeDee Gundberg  last year, she explained the reason: arabesque “allows a design element without being too risky.”

I’m for making the lantern motif more risky, which is why I was struck by the use of intense colors with this pattern in a collection of table linens by textile designer Kim Seybert [top] for her luxe Fez placemats and Tile napkins – a clear homage to the trend.

white lantern or arabesque tile set with red grout - colvm blog via atticmagBut even white lanterns (which Home Depot even stocked for a time) get a jolt of color by using tinted grout. The vivid filler hue gives even a plain white arabesque tile shapes a riskier twist, even on the floor of a childrens bath where this combination was used.

(Source: kimseybert, colvm)

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More Lake Camp in Maine

lake side entrance of Maine camp - Atticmag

See the rest of the rustic family lake camp in part two of our tour.

This week, I traveled (virtually) north to visit my friend Marsha’s idyllic summer cottage – called a camp. The first half of the Lake Camp tour began with a view of the back entrance [also above] because that’s the scenic side.

front entrance of Maine Lake camp house - AtticmagBut I also want to show what the house looks like in front – where the twig ‘Welcome’ sign hangs. I think it’s so charming.  And see those small windows? That’s the guest room, where I’ll take you shortly.

pine paneled great room of a Maine lake camp house - AtticmagInside, there’s a great room, with a hallway leading to the master bedroom, and a loft above.

pine-paneled master bedroom of the Maine Lake Camp house - AtticmagThe compact master shows Marsha’s passion for vintage and antique furniture, including the red-painted iron bed and the quilt. I was intrigued by the little hanging shelf to the right of the window. Marsha explains that it’s her command center which “organizes my life while at camp…[a] place to pin business cards, reminders etc.” While the furniture looks simple and elemental most of it – like the blanket chest at the foot of the bed — is antique. The Euro sham-pillow in the center has a cheerful embroidered saying:  “Good Morning.”

guest bedroom in a Maine Lake Camp house - AtticmagOne guest room is tucked under the eaves at the front of the house. Painted in Sherwin Williams “City Line,” it is the same muted green used in the kitchen and baths. The bedroom is spacious enough for a twin bed at the other end. Windows all around contribute to the open-air feel of an old-fashioned sleeping porch.

twin-bedded, pine-paneled sleeping loft in a Maine Lake Camp house - AtticmagUpstairs, the compact sleeping loft space holds two twin beds where the grandchildren hang out. How could any child not love a “camp Grandma” that’s this much fun.

Maine Lake Camp bathroom with American Standard fixtures -- AtticmagTwo identical baths serve the master and other bedrooms. Each has American Standard’s “Standard Collection” pedestal sink and matching  toilet.

dining area in the screen porch of the Maine Lake Camp - AtticmagThe screen porch, at the back of the first floor boasts a 9-foot-long red western cedar dining table and views of the lake on all sides!

sitting area on the screen porch of the Maine Lake Camp - AtticmagA sitting area, decked out in patriotic red-white-and-blue, is a great spot to enjoy cocktails at sundown. Wicker furniture from Lloyd Flanders is weather-resistant and the chaise is teak –  no worries when a storm rolls though.

Adirondack chairs around a firepit at the side of the Lake Camp in Maine - AtticmagWhite-painted Adirondack chairs are a favorite of Marsha’s for both her homes. With their tall backs and low seats they are the perfect perch for daytime relaxation or a night time marshmallow roast when the firepit’s roaring. Day or night, the clear blue water and picturesque setting makes any visitor want to enjoy the true purpose of camp, and “Go Jump in the Lake.”

Marsha also opened her Virginia Farmhouse for an exclusive Atticmag tour!

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