Friday, November 20, 2009

Best GiveAway Ever! Valued $275-plus....

'Tis the season . . . to ignite your creativity and to win some terrific GIVE AWAYS!!  Everyone is invited to participate, and you have until Dec. 5 (since some of us might be facing holiday time crunches).  Help spread the word and win something in appreciation, too! Here's the scoop:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tricks of the Trade

Leslie Sinclair, owner of Segreto Finishes in Houston, gives up her trade secrets in the new book, Better Homes & Gardens "Before and After Decorating ."  Leslie's rolodex is a Who's Who in decorating. When she began her company, she literally used her own large, outdated 1960s home as an experimental canvas. This is where she perfected many of the techniques (i.e. plaster, stenciling, faux finishings) used by her army of talented artisans today. (She remains very hands-on with each and every project her company takes.) Various rooms of her own home are featured in the BH&G book.  Her living room once featured a plain-Jane white brick fireplace, popcorn ceiling and white walls.  Today, it's transformed, as you can see in some of the images posted here.  She added a marble surround as well as a mantel, which she textured using a gesso-like faux finish. Old-world elegance aptly describes her living room decorated with French-style furnishings.  She turned a large concrete birdbath into a coffee table. Talk about wow!  During this photo shoot, we had to move her antique French daybed. We just couldn't get it in the shot, or enough of it to convey what it is to the viewer.  She hung drapery panels on hooks she got at Pottery Barn to soften the new French doors she had installed. The popcorn ceiling is long gone, and the view upward is absolutely stunning thanks to added painted beams and a faded stenciled design.  Scraping the popcorn texture on the ceiling is a messy job, she says, but it's necessary to update a room's look.  She provided this tip when wanting to create a ceiling pattern; it comes straight from the book: " To transfer an original design, enlarge the motif as needed (hers if from an Italian tile) and transfer it to paper. Perforate the paper along the lines, tape the pattern to the ceiling and pounce powdered chalk through the holes. This leaves tiny dots of chalk outlining the design. Fill in between the lines with paint diluted with a latex paint conditioner for a watercolor effect."  HAVE old chairs? Leslie's 20th Chippendale Queen Anne set in her dining room also got a facelift (she hates to throw out something if she thinks she can re-vamp the look with paint or a wash). She gave the set a sought-after patina by making a special glaze. She mixed an oil-base primer with an oil-base paint and added paint thinner. Brush it on the chair, she says, and then wipe it off. After the glaze dries, apply a paste wax. Make sure you apply enough in the corners and crevices.  Her chair seat covers are constructed from old Aubusson rug remnants.  Buying a small piece of something either expensive or special can take a look far even when used in small doses.  Sewing pieces of these fabulous rugs onto velvet is cheap elegance at its best!  
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