Through a series of blog links, I came across THIS unbelievable pantry done by Shelley of The House of Smiths- check out her blog if you are not already familiar. Holy freak! Can you imagine? Turns out she had the same color dilemma when doing her pantry and her HUSBAND solved the quandary by suggesting gray. It would appear that he solved my quandary too- gray is the perfect non-color, color to serve as a backdrop for my colorful landscape plans!
Shelley's Pantry Project- I know, I never get sick of looking at it. I wonder if it still looks that organized? Probably. Other people are not me. I have a corner pantry like this and BELIEVE ME, decor aside, it most certainly does NOT look like this!
Ta Da! My new 'Mom Zone' complete with Big Bertha- my 300 lb. drafting table. This less-than-lovely table has been sitting in my front room, for ALL to see, for many months. A BIG part of my motivation to finish the basement was to get this critter moved somewhere less conspicuous. She may not be beautiful, but she is highly functional.
The shade of gray I chose is Sherwin Williams 'Lazy Gray' in the Duration Matte Finish. I'll just say right now I am a paint snob. I will ONLY use SW or Benjamin Moore paint, both in scrubable matte finishes. The way the light hits the paint at night and creates a warm glow is amazing! Much better, in my opinion, than a semi-gloss that has a harsh glare. Matte paint from good sources is NOT like cheap, flat paint. Not the same at all!
Money saving paint tip: Sherwin Williams does 40% off sales once per month. If you know you'll be doing some painting but haven't decided, just buy the paint when it is on sale then take it back to get it tinted when you've decided what color you need. This also works if you are painting several different colors and are unsure how much you need of each color.
It wasn't just the color of Shelley's pantry I loved- it was the quatrefoil (clover) design. That particular element is a common theme in historic architecture and landscapes around the world and since my room is also where I'll do my design work, it seemed apropos. Once the color and decorative treatment was decided, everything else just fell into place design-wise.
Logan's old 'little kid' room with honeydew and light blue walls. As you can see, I had to do A LOT of wall patching! LOL! The window and wall trim is a project I did a few years back. It's an easy and inexpensive way to add some interest.
Shelley at House of Smiths has a vinyl cutter and does that for a business so she has access to the equipment and materials that generated the perfect pattern for her home. I do not.
I figured I would stencil my design. And it was pretty much a comedy of errors from that point on! I LOVE how it came out but I can say without a doubt that I will NEVER undertake such a project again!
If you'd prefer to stay sane, I'd recommend you purchase wallpaper instead. Seriously. It would be WAY easier! In fact, here's a similar pattern that comes in multiple colors. If you still want to try my cheap, stenciled version, I will describe the process below so you can avoid some of the mistakes I made.
I was able to reuse many elements from my old 'scraproom' from down in the basement- I eliminated this room a few years back in anticipation of turning it into a kid bedroom. I also got rid of it because I was frustrated by the mess the girls and I generated in there. Gotta avoid that problem this time around by having LESS stuff!
The big craft room I USED to have (it was just too much, honestly).
Old paint shelf
In fact, I was able to re-purpose items from all over the house. The only thing I purchased was a $60 desk from the classifieds that I used in the kitchen computer zone so I could take the beat up white desk that was already there and move it to my roomfor the sewing machine - so really, BOTH spaces now look better!
Ikea 'Fira' drawer units painted white and added label holders.
Quatrefoil Stencil Instructions (for those who want them):
I downloaded the FREE quatrefoil design that JEN from Tatertots and Jello made (same one Shelley used). The template was the right scale for a pantry or tray but too small for the effect I wanted on the wall. I took the pattern to the copy store and enlarged it by 200%. I then purchased a large sheet of Dura-tex from an art supply store to trace the pattern onto for the stencil.
So eager was I to begin the project that I didn't really think it through like I should have. I painted the upper wall with the gray paint and thought I'd cut out the stencil while that paint dried. It didn't take long for me to realize I'd done it all backwards!
The wall needs to be painted the color of the quatrefoil design and then you will stencil the background color over the top.
So, I had to re-paint the top before I could begin. I used a high-gloss white which was a pain to apply but well worth it because of the 'slickness' of the paint made clean up post-stenciling easier. It also has a great contrast 'shine' effect against the matte paint- similar to the look of the vinyl.
I used a lightweight spray glue on the back of my stencil to hold it in place and soon learned that the bigger the stencil, the more impossible it is to properly position it flat on the wall. So I cut it into smaller pieces which got smaller and smaller as time went on.
The wall has been repainted high gloss white and my stencil is now gray from previous applications. The stencil stays put on the wall thanks to a coating of temporary bond spray glue on the back. I am painting the gray color OVER the white with a roller that is not TOO saturated with paint then cleaning off the design portion with baby wipes and touching up paint with a small brush where needed.
About halfway through, I had to make a whole new set of stencils. Still, the $15 I spent in plastic to create them is WAY less than the $500+ it would have cost to do this in vinyl or even the $100 I'd have to have spent on wallpaper. Unless you factor in time- it did take 3 days of stenciling, with dry time in between each section, to finish this sucker!
Secret Painting Weapon: As a serial re-painter, I've picked up a few tricks. My favorite one is BABY WIPES! Baby wipes are pre-moistened and thin so they don't get in your way like a rag does. I always keep a few fresh ones on my person while painting so I can quickly wipe up any boo boos. I used the baby wipes to clean off the quatrefoil shape after removing the stencil- and burned through 2 packages of them!
With a stencil, don't expect perfectly crisp shapes. Since my design is in the upper part of the room, this works out fine because no one gets up close and personal with the design enough to notice.
If the imperfection of a stencil bothers you, use the stencil to trace the design on the wall with a pencil then paint it on with a paintbrush. Be aware that if you go that route, the painting order is reversed and you'll paint the wall with the background color then put the quatrefoil design color over the top.