26 October 2008

cave painting (the silver-leaf edition)

maison21 and a good friend were recently discussing m21's post on his cheap n' chic dining room curtains, and our friend asked if we mentioned the ceiling of the room, as it's always been a favorite of his, but funnily enough, we never even gave it a thought. because like the sun coming up each morning, and the seasons changing, our ceiling is just part of the natural order of the universe- something that just is, always was, and always will be. we haven't given it a thought in years- many, many years.

you see, when m21 moved the atelier- what now seems like thousands of years ago- it was actually a cave, not an atelier yet, and dinosaurs still walked the earth (swear). "decorators and dinosaurs co-existed at the same time", you ask incredulously? of course they did- just ask a certain vice-presidential candidate- she'll totally back me up on this one!
anyway, as usual we digress- back to decorating: when we moved into the cave- oops, we mean atelier- we dreamed of a glamorous silver-leafed ceiling in our dining room, like the above image from domino's website. problem was, we didn't have a clue of how to do it ourselves, or any money to hire someone to do it for us (if we remember correctly, there was a recession then as well, in addition to the dinsosaurs and stuff). so being the budding decorista that we then were, we improvised with an application of oil-based aluminum paint, applied with a rag. knowing we cold never replicate the squares of real leafing, m21, and his then housemate just ragged the paint on with a combination of tight swirls and loose strokes (a bottle of wine probably helped our technique). the end effect was rather pretty, kinda like a stormy sky. it reflects daylight beautifully, but really shines (pardon the pun) at night.
the application was totally cheap, and pretty darn easy- a quart of paint and a couple hours (any tedium was prevented by the wine). we chose oil-based paint (sorry, we don't remember brand- ask your local paint store to hook you up), because it provides a more reflective surface, and covers super easy- a quart for our tiny dining room was plenty. the drawback of oil-based enamel is that it's totally toxic- wear thick rubber gloves for this hand-technique (safety glasses would be smart, too) and have plenty of ventilation. oh, and if you ever want to paint over it- good luck with that! if you chose water-based metallic paints (ralph lauren makes a nice one), clean-up is a breeze, and it's not quite so toxic, but you'll have to do more than one coat (a real drawback with a hand technique like this one- you'll be totally over it before you are done). latex metallic finish paint also often has more of a satin, pearlescent sheen- still pretty, but not quite as shiny and reflective.all these years later, dinosaurs may be extinct, but our ceiling is still going strong (maybe a little foggy with age, but aren't we all). it was certainly a cost-effective decorating investment, having stood the test of time (and fickle decorating tastes), making it perfect for our uncertain economic times today. if you try a little faux-silver leaf cave-painting in your own home, let us know how it turns out!

14 comments:

Dianne said...

You are a riot!!!! Love the looks into your own home. The ceiling looks great. Not too sure about your politics though. LOL

Suzy said...

Lol!

It looks great! What an excellent idea. I might have to try that one myself if I'm ever in a position to own property again...thanks to this damned recession...

katiedid said...

Beeee-u---tiful!!!! I love the moldings and how they frame out the silver paint. Too funny.;D

Mrs. Blandings said...

I find wine usually helps with this type of project - bravo! It looks fabulous. btw - I used the RL paint on a clients powder room and the painter was none too happy with me afterwards. I have heard they have improved the coverage since then.

maison21 said...

thanks, diane!

suzy- go for it in a rental- it's so pretty your landlord will thank you! (um, on second though- don't follow that advice).

katie- i am grateful everyday for my original art deco moldings. seriously.

mrs b- i'm with you on that one- i think wine pretty much enhances all projects and hobbies. and yes, the ralph lauen paint requires several coats to look like anything decent, which is why i'd suggest anyone attempting this go for the toxic enamel...

Lauren said...

I've spec'ed the RL metallic paint and the painters did a good job with it. I ADORE your ceiling, it looks great! I love a good DIY project.

Anonymous said...

off topic, here's a link for mona & richard:
http://www.tutztutz.com/2008/10/puppy-vs-lion-cub/

--the original cheetah hating anon

Julia said...

That last picture is going into my decofile! The colors are so great together, I never would think to have a silver ceiling with a gold chandelier, but it really works. The turq and raspberry red is stunning!
Now on a serious note, I need help, what do you do with a 200 year old house with 6 foot ceilings!!!!!!!!

Coco of Cococozy said...

Carrara marble is awesome. Love the hexagon tiles. Have a friend who just used small rectangular calcutta gold tiles for flooring...it is fab. Can't wait to see results!

maison21 said...

thanks, lauren! and i'm glad to get your recommendation on the raplph lauren paint- i haven't used it in years, but like mrs. b heard it was reformulated for better coverage so delighted to hear from someone who has actually used it.

toacha- that is AODRABLE! and nice to hear from you- we've missed you!

julia- i'm so glad you found the image inspiratirational. but i'm sorry, i have NO good advice about 6 foot ceilings- i've actually never encountered such a thing, so i can't even visualize it! making an 8 foot ceiling look a bit higher- easy: hang window treatments up close to ceiling, and paint it a lighter color than walls (in gloss if possible), but i don't know if it would work on 6 feet- that's a toughie!

anyone out there have any advice for julia?

maison21 said...

inspiratirational = EXTRA inspriring :-)

Emily Johnston | EJ Interiors said...

I was laughing aloud at this post- you need your own talk show- seriously...how is it that wine always makes things turn out better! Looks so good- what a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Hi M21! I swore off design blogs for a while (too depressing in this economy to see so many pretty things I can't afford) preferring instead to focus my attention on political blogs instead. (Now there's a cheery subject!) But when I saw those photos of the puppy & the "kitty" I totally thought of your kids. So thought I'd pop in here and see how you were doing. I see you've totally spruced up the place. Fancy blog now!
--the original cheetah-hating anon

pk @ Room Remix said...

Love this project! I included it in my post today and linked back. Hope you're having a good day...