Reader, if I were not already a fervent believer in the power of paint, the use of paint in French chateaus would have changed my mind. But in fact when it comes to the power of paint, I’m like the Cowardly Lion: I DO believe in paint; I DO believe in paint. So I didn’t need a lot of convincing. Still, I got some pretty cool ideas.
Here’s one of the simpler ones: use coordinated colors to pick out and emphasize layers of trim, such as molding at the top of a wall.
Granted, in a modest California ranch house, you might not have 36 different layers – but I think you could still employ the general principle. And here I love the combination of olives, mustards, gold, and wine.
Here’s another easy one. Here, paint is used to pick out trim and to highlight the colors in the wallpaper as well as the gold of the picture frame. It brings the whole room together in a cool way.
This one is a bit more challenging. There are two pieces to it. The first is a door. See how the paint colors are used to highlight the molding as well as the trim around the door? It’s hard to see from the photo but the door is not flat at all – each of the paint colors is picking out a physical layer.
Now, here’s the cool part. This is a window right down the hall from the door. There is NOTHING in relief on this wall – it’s all flat, yet it’s painted to look just like the door and it actually totally fools you until you get up close and think, “Hey, that’s not molding! That’s FLAT.” At least, it fooled me. The paint is perfect, of course, with each line precise and no wobbly edges or smeary bits.
Here’s another idea: clouds on the ceiling.
By now, of course, we’ve all seen this. But think about it – the person who painted these clouds on the ceiling of an 18th century French chateau was probably the VERY FIRST PERSON to think of it – and that’s pretty cool. Plus, of course, the clouds are awesomely fluffy cotton balls, and the sky is a perfect French blue. Just because clouds on the ceiling is no longer a new idea, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it.
Now here’s my personal favorite.
Now before you roll your eyes thinking “For heavens sake, who has a HARPSICHORD just sitting around waiting to be painted?” think about the principal that’s being demonstrated here. What I love about this is the idea of painting the INSIDE of something – something that might be seen only rarely, and would always surprise. And it doesn’t have to be something fancy, like a trompe l’oeil mural inside a harpsichord. Think of that lowly bathroom cabinet. Then think of that same cabinet with the inside of the door painted a smooth, glossy hot pink. Reader, I just might.