A Gustavian Experiment

Has anyone seen that I Love Lucy episode where Lucy makes a deal to trade apartments with another tenant and connives to switch out all of the furniture before Ricky comes home? Let me tell ya, Lucy, I can relate.  Moving furniture like a madwoman is my specialty!  One of the upsides to living in a design laboratory/studio/office is the ability to switch things up at the drop of a hat.  Actually, it's more of a compulsion, and a compulsion can't really qualify as an advantage, can it?

After I posted the bathroom, a few of you asked to see some more of the collaborative projects I've undertaken with my mom.  Since I've been home, we've undertaken turned upside down and fought our way through the entire house, experiment after decorative experiment.

Take, for instance, the kitchen.  I've got a love affair with velvety, soft matte walls, like the kinds you see so often in Swedish Gustavian interiors, with their powdery grayish blush palette (see another, more brightly colored version here).  So, we used that as a starting point, but of course, we didn't stop there.  We've been changing the look, switching out furniture left and right.  A blue and white cabinet, a jeweled and leopard commode... it all depends on how much bling we feel like digesting with breakfast. Thoughts?  Opinions?

Anyway, back to the wall! It is, after all, the backbone for the entire kitchen.  It looks like fresco, right? Alas, we have a dirty little secret!  We didn't apply pigments to wet plaster (requirements for a "true" fresco). Instead, we applied a watery coat of paint over a porous (and dry!) virgin plaster wall, with no effort to remove the dips, stains, divets, and irregularities that make it so wonderful.

However, there are other alternatives for texture.  For those who desire to paint the town velvet, a chalky finish can also be achieved with casein paints:
Casein was once milk/ And then it was cheese/ And now it is pictures/ How wonderful/ At noon came my "Meister"/ In white tie and tails/ To look at my work/ How wonderful/ Casein looks like fresco/ and Herr Apotheker F. said/ "red vill last foreffer"/ How vonderfool/ I shall paint the walls/ For tout New York/ On my return/ Most wonderful.
                                                                                                                -Florine Stettheimer


home before dark said...

Most wonderful! Look forward to seeing more. Loved the leopard on the chair of course.

Maria Confer said...

Oh, wow!!! So amazing and completely stunning!! The walls, the furniture, the overall gorgeousness is just wonderful. You two make quite the team.

Keep posting more of your work.


Michael said...

I love these furniture pieces! I would just love them to be in any of my room, but they look too precious to touch for me!

Lauren said...

Michael- I'm actually inclined to think the opposite. They'll probably look a lot better after some wear and tear!

little augury said...

I am a lover of the "chalky" finish-the linework is so nice-I so prefer the hand to the mechanical. I worked with a marvelous decorative painter that learned his techniques from Isabel ONeil and designing sets- all the world is a stage. A fascinating world-you have a gift. GT

Vicki said...

Omg, I love the huge gorgeous photos you post on your blog! Amazing!!!

Dynamite socks said...

Gorgeous chairs! and the coffe cup stand etc... Im decorating my new room shortly and im clueless as to which colout to use? what do you think? im thinking white? as a canvas becuase i plan to stick magazine cut outs etc on my wallls :D
GREAT blog!!!

-h said...

esp. with interior decorating, it's a skill that you either have or you dont. you obvious HAVE it! amazing!!

Lauren said...

-h: Thank you! In all fairness, though, I think it's something you can definitely develop. You give me too much credit!

Dynamite socks- Of course, you could always go with white, but another color could work just as well. Depending on what kinds of cut outs you plan to use, you could go with almost any color! At the turn of the century, people used to have "print rooms" where they would paste prints to their walls, and lacquer over them. They were really interesting looking and might give you some good ideas about the things you can do with cutouts- I'll post some pictures soon.

Vicki-thank you!

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