Today I thought I’d share a bit of crafting and interior design with you. My husband and I traveled to Italy a few years back, and as we totally fell in love with the country, we thought we’d keep a little bit of it close to us. Because I love to cook, that room had to be—the dining room! It took me quit a while to pick the color scheme, and even longer with color swatches taped to the walls to pick just the right colors. I ended up painting the walls a pumpkin/amber color. Then I got to work with a new, soft, 3″ wide paintbrush and some red glaze. The red effects you see on the walls are created with the brush dipped slightly into the glaze, then wiped almost completely dry. I worked along the ceiling line, into the corners, and along moldings, brushing the glaze on in various directions to crate the effect of smoke or dust gathering there (except that it’s red!). The trick is to keep the effect blotchy, not going for an even coat. I worked away from all the corners and edges, using an ever lightening touch. The main parts of the walls got just the tiniest bit of glaze.
It took quite a bit of time, but I worked just a small area at a time–and the effect was worth it. I was going for an outdoor trattoria look, very casual. I continued the look with shaped cafe curtains, and used the same fabric to cover the seats of my dining chairs. I actually used outdoor style furniture, in metal and glass, to continue the look.
To further the Italian look, I purchased two prints of paintings by Fra Angelico (my favorite 15th century artist). One I matted and framed the regular way. and with the other I tried something different. I got a scrap of plasterboard slightly larger than the print, trimming the edges with a matte knife to bevel them . I glued the print securely to the plasterboard. Now for the fun part. Using fine grit sandpaper, I sanded both the plasterboard, to get rid of any paper exposed, and the picture, to remove some of the surface–especially at the corners .I then lightly distressed the surface. My intention was to have this look like a piece of fresco, where painting was done directly on wet plaster. After finishing with a coat of matte spray varnish, I leaned it on a small corner shelf. Here is the finished effect:
Then I added something very non-Italian, although maybe some people are unaware. I hung a tapestry reproduction on one wall. Tapestries were, and still are, mostly made in Belgium. But the theme of this particular tapestry is the making of wine. And since we do love wine and just below the tapestry is a wine rack, I thought it might be fitting. It also fills one wall of the dining room nicely.
We finished the room with a couple of photographs of our trip, in some frames that a friend gave us for our 20th wedding anniversary. Although the room is not big (12 x 14), it has a lot of light coming in from five windows, and really gives the feel of being out-doors. As we don’t have a deck, this is the closest we come to dining “al fresco”.
Here is a walk-through movie of the finished room. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did creating it.
See you next time!