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!