Wednesday, July 27, 2011

painting my office!

My vision board, recently completed and updated, adjacent to my newly painted denim blue office wall. Copyright (c) 2011 Wendee Holtcamp

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”

- Henry Ward Beecher

I have been thinking about painting my plain white office for some time. As a writer, it was a pretty uninspiring place to write. I feel very blessed to have a home office, but besides having too many file cabinets (three), the white walls simply did not inspire me. So for some time, I have thought about what I could do to change it up. But the story goes back a bit further than this...

My daughter has been wanting to paint her room for at least 5 or 6 years now (it was a bright pastel yellow because it was a baby nursery for the people who owned the house before). I always told her no, I'm too busy to do that right now, maybe "one day." And so for this past Christmas, I gave her a present that said I would paint her room. About three months ago, we went to Lowe's and looked at paint and actually picked two colors out for her, and while there, I looked at paint swatches for my office. That's where the ball starting rolling...

I researched a bit on feng shui, thinking maybe having a certain color would help inspire me or bring more prosperity (not that I really "believe" in this, but you never know - I do know that colors have an effect on one's mood - I just am not so sure about feng shui but it is interesting to read about). One of the colors that stuck out in my mind was an eggplant/ aubergine color which is supposed to attract prosperity. So I decided on either that or a deep/slate blue. Doug had some time to help me paint Savannah's bedroom with the paint we had, and while doing that (photos at the end), we talked about what color to paint my office. I told him about the eggplant idea, and he says, "Barney! You are going to paint your room Barney color?!" (He has a funny sense of humor and was joking when he said it, but he still was not thinking it was going to fly). Well...

That completely deflated my balloon about that idea. Even though the color I had in mind is totally different from Barney's shade, I think every time I would have looked at the walls I'd think of Barney, and that would just not do! I'm done with Barney - and have been since my kids were little (I love you, you love me, we're a happy fanily, with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you... oh dear).

Like I said, I am not that into feng shui or anything, and I have no idea what side of the house my office faces or is located on or anything but if you're interested, apparently dark blue evokes the energy of deep calm and serenity. The page says it should be used sparingly in the home office (or, at least the south, northwest, and west areas of it) but alas it is now all over my office! It also says that one of the best combinations is deep blue and white which brings the energy of unlimited sky and happiness to one's home. Amen to that! And I have to say, I am in absolute LOVE with my office! But it took a while to get here, because my "first draft" as you will I did not care for. So with that, here are the photos and story along with it! Although honestly it was very hard to get the photos to actually capture either the texture or the actual shade, you can get the basic picture. Let me know what you think!

The original plan was to match the wall to the color on my blue Converse. I liked the washed blue look but I really like this shade. I found a Waverly Classics signature color at Lowe's called Boat Blue. Do you think it matches the shoes?Doug has been so helpful and sweet. Doesnt he look cute painting? Another shot of him helping me out.
So we finished in a few hours, and when I stood back and looked at it (mind you I hadn't yet taken out the plastic drop cloths, or put the electric things back on the wall, or put the furniture back) what do you think I thought? ... I didn't like it!! Something was off. It was just TOO dark. It is actually not lighter toward the bottom of the room - that is just the lighting of the photo.So I took a day off from painting, and the next day, took my son to an Astro's baseball game at Minute Maid Park with his friend. He had gotten two free tickets from being on A honor roll. Yay Sam!
We were in the highest section, and of course the boys wanted to sit in the absolute tip top row (even though our seats were a bit lower - it didn't matter because the stadium wasn't full at all). It was fun, and the Astro's actually won against the Nationals. So the next day, I decided to head back to Lowe's after doing some online research. It was getting a bit stressful because I had SO much work to do other than repainting my office, but I knew I just HAD to get it done while the drop cloths were all over and my furniture was pulled away from the walls. I found this page at the Ralph Lauren website about creating a denim-like striated wall. It had online flash-video instructions and looked pretty straightforward. Unfortunately the nearest Ralph Lauren store was downtown so I decided to see if I could find my own version from Lowe's (Their paint people are very helpful!)
I found a brochure about lime washing and color washing. I couldn't really tell the difference, so even though the lady at Lowe's recommended color washing, stubborn me thought lime washing seemed better. So I bought that and tried it in one inconspicuous area but it was all white and didn't look good at all. Sigh. So I brought it back and decided to try color wash (actually it was at this stage that I started researching online and discovered the Ralph Lauren denim technique). Anyway so with the color wash, you actually tint it. It is thinner and more transparent than paint but you have to pick a color for it. The color "one shade up" from Boat Blue I didn't care for, so I went around and found one I did like - it was called... Denim (Eddie Bauer Home). No joke. I didn't even look at the name at first. So I took a can home and got to work. Doug was busy doing some stuff so I did it myself, with Sam as my trusty helper. It didn't take as long as putting the original layer on because it's thin and spreads more easily. When it goes on, it looks greyish but it dries bluer/darker. In fact, the blue underneath really came through a lot more than I expected.It dries very fast so you paint sections with the roller, and then the technique part is that you take a stiff-bristled brush (in this case, I used a wallpaper-smoother which worked great and was only $3) and you first go one direction and then another to create a criss-cross pattern sort of like on a pair of weathered jeans. I first went up and down, and then across.
Here you can just see a side by side comparison of the color-washed wall compared with the original brighter and darker blue. I definitely like the color-washed look way better!! I should add that although I did striate the wall, it's not super obvious from afar. And it does not really look like the denim of the Ralph Lauren video but I still absolutely love it!
And although this isn't the best photo, it was the best I could get (all these are from my phone...). After I finished, I took out the drop cloths, moved my desk into a new location in the corner next to the window (before it was facing a wall - not good for feng shui apparently) and got rid of enough files (recycling) that I could actually eliminate one of my three file cabinets! The result is a more spacious office and I absolutely LOVE the new look!! I am thrilled! Also although it looks like there is a bit of red on the wall on the top left, that is just an effect of the photo because the sun was pouring through.To backtrack a bit, here is a photo of Doug helping me paint my daughter's room. You can see the yellow color underneath, and the turquoise blue that she chose. She actually chose 2 colors because we were going to paint alternate walls or do something, but it turns out she has a strangely shaped room with 5 walls and we could not figure out how to do it so it wouldn't look weird (and I want to sell my house in a few years so I can move so I didn't want something turning out really bizarre).My kitty found a spot under the plastic! She has such personality. Every single new thing in the house, she must "claim" by sitting in or on it. Or in this case, under!
The completed room! Looks great huh!
And it even goes great with her comforter. And with that, I will say goodnight!

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