Tag Archive | color

A Very Expensive Fig Tree

I have just chosen the colors for my new house. I know this may come as a shock to you, since you didn’t know we were getting a new house. But we are and I am very excited. The best part is, it is just across the driveway, only next door. I no longer have to steal the figs, herbs, and flowers from their yard. I can stop yelling at my dog for pooping on their lawn. It will soon be my fig trees, my lawn, my herbs and my bay plant.

The fig tree, my favorite fruit.

This new house is quite different from our current house. I won’t tell a lie, it does need a little updating and work, but the bones are good. I am excited to have more space, more closets, and for the first time ever, a garage! It is a craftsman era house, but with a more traditional layout. All of the original woodwork is still unpainted and intact. And yes, in case you were wondering, we are buying this one, jumping in with both feet.  So if you were considering investing in the real estate market right now, you may want to reconsider, as we have a most horrible real estate track record and this could be considered a “bad indicator”.

View of our new house, from our current house.

Our new house, from the front.

The Colors!

I am looking forward to showing you the progress as we renovate this house and turn it into our home. I have chosen the paint colors for the main floor, using as inspiration a set of ottoman/stools I bought recently. They have a woven top that resembles a beautiful rug with pale blues and greens mixed in. I am going to use cool colors in this house which is a trick for making the walls recede and the rooms feel a little larger.

A pair of stools with a woven top.

Of course, changing things up will be fun. The colors are from Benjamin Moore’s latest collection called “Color Stories”. These paints have no filler colors and are made with pure pigment. This color collection is inspired by nature and will bring depth to the walls and add a richness that you can’t achieve with a regular paint. The colors will change throughout the day with the light keeping it interesting. I can’t wait to show you the results. Here is a peak at the colors I have picked, of course, subject to change on a whim.

“Color Stories” by Benjamin Moore.

In order from left to right:  shiitake mushroom, picnic basket, mystic lake, rainstorm, and spring has sprung.

 This new house is a practical decision for us and I have been itching for a change. I am looking forward to this new adventure and to being able to eat as many figs as I want. If the neighbors ask nicely, I might be willing to share.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

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Sore Knees + Math = Awesome Floor

Sometimes math provides clarity. When I am surrounded by chaos, I find myself enjoying paying the bills. Something about the order of it all and how numbers always make sense. They are low maintenance and low drama. I love numbers.

I have a strange ability to recite numbers in order, forwards or backwards. This was only discovered when I was poor and willing to do just about anything for money while in college. With electrodes strapped to my head, the NIH researchers studying my brain said, “Wow! You are not normal.” This was meant, I think, as a compliment. Talk about skills you have no idea what to do with.

You may be wondering what this has to do with design, but I promise you, it does. I find I have to use math frequently. For example: when tiling a floor or backsplash, painting stripes on a wall, judging the scale of furniture or accessories to place in a room, or when painting a checkerboard floor, geometry abounds.

This is a lesson in geometry. If only my high school math teacher had used design to teach, I would have been a star student! With a few simple tools, some floor paint, and at least one crisis you are trying to avoid in your life, you too can do it. You will get into a math zone, I think similar to the runner’s high I know nothing about, and everything will come into focus.

First, prime and prep the floor. Make sure it is smooth and ready to receive paint. Use a good quality floor paint (I prefer Benjamin Moore). Then paint the entire floor, with a roller, the base color. I painted the floor green first.

Now for the math: find and mark the center of the room. In my case the room was not square, so I divided it into two imaginary rooms and marked the center of each section, which was about 8 x 8. This made it so the checkers were square and not elongated like the shape of my room. Then draw a line, with a yardstick as a straight edge, from one corner to the other, going through the center mark and creating an X. Moving from the center towards the edge of the room, draw parallel lines to the center line. You will get a checkerboard all the way to the edges.

Find the center of your room.

Now divide your room into a square and mark the center of the square.

Draw parallel lines to the center lines for the square. Voilà! A checkerboard pattern.

Using frog tape, tape off the squares along the outside of the pencil mark so you don’t have to erase any marks. With a tapered PURDY brush (please do not attempt to use any other type of brush to paint) fill in the opposite squares with your contrasting color. Now comes the zone part: continue to paint until your knees hurt. Or you can use one of those garden pads.

sore knees + math = awesome floor.

 A part of me would like to add a disclaimer here that says, “Don’t try this at home.” But where is the fun in that? I say instead, “Go for it; it’s only paint.”

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio

The Great Wall of Beltsville

My wall started as a collection of black and white photographs. The very first two were from a photography studio in England and given to us as a wedding present from a dear college friend.

The photographs have grown to fill up the space over my sofa. Each photograph has a story or represents a place that I love. The grouping has pops of red here and there and in the center is not a photograph at all, but a chalk drawing of a Thai dancer done by my great-grandmother. The unifying factor is that all the frames are black. Together, they make up the “Great Wall of Beltsville.” I can almost hear the “Great Wall” shouting at me, each picture telling its’ story over the other, like children vying for attention.

I have balanced the “Great Wall of Beltsville” with a single large photograph across the room. It is a way to add calm and to quiet the room. The scale of it alone commands attention and the x-ray plant radiates some sort of photosynthesischic.

Grouping art together can evoke the feeling of a gallery. The center of the group should hang at eye-level. I love the way my collection stands out on the painted orange wall. If you want a more formal look, hang the pictures symmetrically, side by side, like in this grouping from a Starbucks.

Art is complicated, but in a good way. It is versatile and can change the look and mood of a room. It can enhance your style or help create contrast. A group of art with a similar thread tying the pieces together can be more cost-effective and have just as much impact as a large-scale piece.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio