Monday, September 28, 2009

Zoe Design in Boston Globe Magazine

The Boston Globe Magazine September 20, 2009 features a cover story on a house in Manchester, MA which we worked on earlier this summer.

In the article are photos of the mural that Lena Fransioli, Brooke Sheldon and Natalie Gardner painted in the dining room and glaze that Doug Garrabrants and Kasia Mirowska did in the living room.

What is not pictured is the kitchen floor that we all worked on.

The interior designer was Honey Collins of Lenora Collins Design. What follows is what Brooke wrote about the "process".

Recently, Lena, Natalie and I created a mural in the dining room of a lovely old home in Manchester by the Sea, MA. The room had "nice bones", which means that the lines and proportions were elegant. There was a chair rail so our mural was confined to the upper portion of the wall. The designer had two starting points of reference. One was a picture of an antique primitive panel in very pale tones… a landscape with a figure and a small structure in it. The other reference was a magazine clipping of a mural done in a show house, a landscape in pale greens and blues. The key words used in forming an idea of our project were "bucolic landscape " and " pale sepias, creams and blues." The designer wanted the mural to sit back on the walls and the color scheme to flow from the other rooms in the house.

We brought out our reference material…..books of classical landscape painters (Claude Lorraine, Corot, Constable….) and tear sheets from a variety of magazines (I cannot stress enough the importance of good reference). The designer and client looked through the books and, together, we started to form a cohesive idea as to the feel and color palette of the project.

Our first step was to color wash the walls in a creamy yellow-white to "kill" the stark white walls. Then we took artist's chalk and, deciding our horizon line, began to lay out the landscape. Chalk is great because it's easy to sponge off lines you don't want. Just make sure you are using a color that is not too dark. In this instance, we wanted the feel of an artist's sketch, with bits of drawing showing through.
Once the landscape was about 90% drawn in, we began to wash in thin layers of acrylic in sepia tones to get a sense of the lights and darks and to see how the landscape was sitting. We ended up scrubbing out areas that felt wrong and redrawing them. It's very difficult to get the drawing down pat before you paint but you will save yourself a lot of stress if you can start with a good framework. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time "redrawing" with paint. The layering of color came next… pale blues in the sky and water and deeper grey-browns and grey-greens in the landscape. The overall effect was soft and elegant. We decided to leave out human figures but put some Mediterranean-style buildings in the background.

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  1. Lovely. Fabulously, unequivocally, indisputably . . . lovely. :-)

    And the rooms ain't bad either.

  2. An undertaking which involves a team effort, no question...exquisite!