Dressing Up Spaces with Material and Furnishings

Fabric Adds Drama to Designing Focus your embellishing around something you love, such as a dramatic piece of material.
Redecorating this attic master bed room (at right) and bath into a thoughtful retreat started with the property owner's love of toile de Jouy fabric. Toile is a scenic patterned fabric which was initially used in France in the 18th century.
To enhance the material's blue-and-white scheme, the ceilings and walls are decoratively striped and painted in paler blues and creamy whites. Scraps of toile material cover the shades of swing-arm reading lights.
Toile is duplicated in the bath to visually link the two adjoining spaces. The material covers a flea-market vanity and mirror frame, and puts a womanly twist on a director's chair, shower curtain, and window valance. A deep-blue semigloss paint surface adds high contrast to the wall structure.
Southwest Furniture-Finishing Techniques
Explore these furniture-finishing strategies that record the distinct appearance of the Southwest.
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In keeping with a visual that's of the Southwest as well as grounded in American furnituremaking traditions, Roy and Carol Nowacki, owners of The Bunk Home, a furnishings and antiques store in Corrales, New Mexico, craft their furnishings from pine. Next, they distress each piece with a paddle pierced with screws (to give the look of wormholes), a crowbar (to make dents that'll take the stain differently and produce dark streaks), wire brushes, or a brick.
Each piece is then finished with irregular levels of stains as well as layers of paint that are sanded and dry-brushed (see picture at right), then finally burnished with abundant coats of pigmented beeswax.
Ornamental latches or deals with add the final touches to a piece.
" To avoid having the wood look flat you need to develop its surface, simply as an artist would do a painting," recommends Carol. "You do that with wax, pigments, and paints." And lots of elbow grease.
" Whenever I desire to paint a piece I'll stain it first, then layer different colors atop the stain. After the paint is dried, I'll take a wire brush to it so that I can pull various layers of color out in unforeseeable places-- and even go right down to the stain to take out the wood's natural grain."

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