Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Ease of the Folding Screen

It’s time for another installment of one of my favorite things. Items under this label are stylish and easy to incorporate into your homes while, at the same time, making a big impact.
Today, I want to share some thoughts on folding screens. Of course, these have been around forever, but the options for folding screens are endless these days. First, let me tell you why I love them. Folding screens can instantly give a room a focal point, hide unsightly views, visually divide an open space, add a bit of architecture, can create a headboard for your bed, and most importantly, set up in a minute!

I have found that another great use for screens or room dividers is to separate the entrance way into a large room; sort of giving you an instant foyer. A lot of homes have you walking right into the living room, and I personally, prefer a little buffer between my living space and the front door. Pop up a screen there and maybe add a plant in front of it to differentiate between your entryway and the living room.

Folding screens come in countless varieties. If you’re a DIYer, you might choose homemade ones with simple solid pieces of wood, or for a casual look, simply hinge three large house shutters together. Here is a how-to courtesy of This Old House:

Of course, screens are also available in rich finishes and exotic woods, but you don’t have to spend a lot to achieve the same look.

Folding screens come in all shapes, sizes and prices, so there is definitely one out there in your budget and style.

Let me first talk about some more ideas for inexpensive folding screens. Again, they will all be hinged with simple hinges with at least 3 panels each. Here are some objects that will make great folding screens:

Hollow core doors (or paneled closet doors), house shutters, reclaimed wood, lattice, fabric panels stretched across a simple wood frame, large mirrors, large wooden windows…well, you get the idea. Basically, anything that is somewhat sturdy, is tall enough for your use, and can be hinged, will work! If you’re artistic (and I just KNOW that you are) you can paint a mural, stencil, etc, on the screen for an even more custom look.

Now, if you’re in a hurry or just not feeling that crafty, just buy yourself one already made. Again, folding screens come in all shapes, sizes and prices, so there is definitely one out there in your budget and style. There are even "screens" made of dried branches and plants. They don't hide very much, but visually, are beautiful.

Elle D├ęcor recently did a spread on the "Top 10" favorite folding screens. Here are some images from that feature:

So look around and see if there is an area in your home that needs some pizazz or something that just needs to be hidden.  Either way, a folding screen will be your best friend.
'Till Next Time....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Easy Wall Striping Technique

Some walls just need a little something to make them stand out from the rest of the room. While you all know that I love wallpaper, it isn't always the answer (did I just say that?!?). So here is an easy DIY technique that I have used many times before. This time, however, I remembered to take pictures to share with you :)

Supplies Needed:
2 types of same color paint: 1 Satin or Flat and 1 Semi-Gloss (or High-Gloss if available)
*You will need more of the base coat of paint than you will need of the striped glossier color*
Painter's Tape
Clear Painter's Glaze (if necessary for textured walls)

First, make sure that your wall is dust free and cleaned before you paint the base coat of paint (your satin or flat paint). You will also need to analyze the wall to check for imperfections that can be fixed such as small holes or cracks. Some walls, especially newer homes have a "knock down" effect or some other sort of texture on them; don't worry, these walls can still be striped, but there is just one extra step to take which I'll get to in a minute. The wall below, was very textured as well, but turned out just great.

Secondly, decide how wide you would like your stripes and in which direction. I chose to create horizontal stripes on these walls as they are in the foyer of a client's home and I wanted to lead the eye in to the living area, however, vertical stripes would have looked good too. Totally your call. For the width, you can use equal distances or even vary each stripe a little, such as one wide and one narrow. I chose to create equal distances and just measured the height of the wall and divided into the general width that I wanted: approximately 8 1/8 inch wide. Make sure to place your tape on either side of the lines to leave open the area to be painted (looks like you have varying widths but you won't)

Next, measure and mark your stripes lightly with a pencil and use a large level to continue a level, straight line around the wall. Do this for each strip until you are finished laying it out. If you have a keen eye, you can get away with simply putting a small mark on the wall at each end and then aligning the painter's tape to each mark, but this has more chance of having an unlevel line.

You will then add the painter's tape to the lines. I like to place the tape just UNDER the pencil mark so that when I paint over the tape, it will also cover my lines.

Here is the extra step to take if you have textured walls: BEFORE you paint the stripe, apply a clear coat of glaze to each taped area. The glaze will dry and seal the tape and prevent any paint from seeping down behind the tape and leaving an uneven line. Give the glaze enough time to dry before painting the next coat.

Now you are ready to paint the stripes. For each taped off area, you will now apply the semi gloss (or high gloss if that's the case).

Finally, remove the painter's tape. I like to remove it before the paint has completely dried so that the tape is easier to remove.

Voila! Striped Walls!

*Note: Of course, you can vary this technique to suit your decor by using different color paints, faux finishing the inside of the striped area, etc. but the basic rules will still apply*