My kitchen: Dark Wood Cabinets and Warm Grey Walls: Update

I finally found a photo of dark brown cabinetry with grey walls in what looks like a small kitchen (courtesy ApartmentTherapy) – and I love it! Currently our kitchen walls are painted light blue, which definitely feels bungalow-y, but there is something a little undignified about it and I would rather hearken to the Spanish style leanings of the house. Which are, might I add, just leanings. We have stucco, but no tile roof and archways, but they are not curved! It doesn’t know WHAT it wants to be, which I think has been part of the struggle redesigning our little artist cottage of a house. But after seeing this photo I feel more confident that a neutral color palette will help soothe the space. Nothing like a hunk of bread on the counter to make me feel like this is the right way to go 🙂

This was first published April 26, 2012.

Here’s the new paint job:




Perfection is hard won…

…so join me in crazy town!

You may have seen the last post, a simple image of a perfectly finished,
newly painted bedroom.
That photo was a lie. Well, the finished part anyway.
First, let me explain myself. This is how I want my ceilings to look. Normal, right? Not so much to ask for.
THIS is how the ceilings in this house would look if I was not a citizen of crazy town. This is because we have a little something called TEXTURED WALLS AND CEILINGS. Beware, my friends. The painter’s tape is in vain.
So, in order to paint something like THIS ARCH, of which there are THREE in the living/dining/kitchen area, you must commit to the following:
A cup of paint and an angled brush.
So by the time I got to the bedroom yesterday, I was a full time citizen of crazy town, and woke up this morning ready to spend the day on a ladder, now very good with my cup and brush. 
Moral of the story is work on your surgeon’s hand,
you Spanish-Style-Bungalow-Dreamer!

Relaxing, wonderful grey.

The room may be a mess, but a new era has emerged: Cobblestone Grey. We love the way light changes the room as the day goes on – light grey in the morning, purple in the afternoon and charcoal in the evening! In the world of perpetual California sun, this is a relief. Now I just hope our blue curtains still look right!

Painting Exploration One: The Puzzle Tree

The next series here at MarlaneDesign is
called Painting Explorations, and will cover the ways that someone who does not consider themselves an artist in the “I do paintings” kind of way can begin to explore canvas and paint. These will not be technical tutorials, but suggestions for opening up a new creative outlet!

One of my favorite paintings is called The Puzzle Tree, a tiny tree on rough canvas that I did when I was 17.The design resulted from having only several shades of green and brown paint to use and not much else. I like to think of it as an example of just using what you have and seeing what comes of it. It’s also an example of how playing around with paint when you’re first starting out can result in some fun things that don’t require much technical skill. There was little precision in creating this piece!

To do it yourself, try playing with a limited number colors inspired by a room in your house, using a cheap canvas. I got this one at a garage sale and painted over the unfinished sketch that was there, but you can get tiny canvases at art stores for as little as a dollar. Make it no pressure. Put on some music that you love or an episode from a fave talk radio program (I am fond of This American Life!) I recommend starting with acrylic paints, since they dry faster. Play with shapes and brushstrokes that are interesting to you, taking inspiration from a chair or statue that you love. Don’t try to plan what you’re going to do, just let your mind respond to the strokes that end up on the canvas, creating vignettes and maybe even stories. Look at every “mistake” as an opportunity to go a different direction. If you find that you’re painting a landscape, start doing the detail by going from the image that is the farthest in back (in this case, the sky) to the image closest to you (the tree). You might just end up with something that compliments your decor for years to come!