Monday, March 28, 2011

Divine Intervention: Rescuing A Room

So what happens when you have a room, with walls that boast a very expensive, muli-layered finish (like venetian plaster)... and you can't stand it?

Perhaps the artisan who installed the finish made one or two boo boos that you thought you could live with.  And you were wrong.

Perhaps this room is a small powder room on the first floor of a really busy, bustling home... and is hands-down the most often used room in the house.  Over time, additional boo boos, nicks and bruises appeared.

And finally, perhaps you have children... three to be exact... so add them and their antics to the mix and well, you can guess the picture...


Before you paint over it and trash the whole thing... is there another alternative?  YES!  You say a little prayer and you call Divine Rooms!

This olive green venetian plaster treatment was discolored in a
few areas. Note the patch above the sink.  This annoyed my
clients but they cleverly hid the spot with a mirror!
This would bother me too.
These patches happen when the plaster is applied too
thickly.  It tends to dry darker.  Very thin, tight coats are
critical for proper installation of venetian plaster.
I'm not really big on "inheriting problems" (contractor-speak for fixing, repairing or finishing another artisans work).  But I felt up to the challenge.  It was a perfect candidate for Divine Intervention.

Venetian plaster cannot be repaired.  I knew to "fix" this issue I would essentially need to do two things: 1.) distract the eye and 2.) camouflage the boo boos with "pattern."  The perfect way to achieve this was to stencil a dense design and add more colors.  Because the surface was a high gloss, waxed finish I didn't want to compete with the shine... so I selected mica powders as my medium, for their rich metallic lustre.  Gloss and lustre compliment each other quite well when you are looking to enhance with richness and depth.

This stencil, called Corsini Damask, is from the lovely
and comprehensive Royal Design Studio collection.
I chose to work with a darker green (for a tone-on-tone effect) and a complimentary reddish, coppery color for highlights.  The green color was created by mixing a Modern Masters green metallic, gold mica powder and brown metallic powder together with a pinch of a very durable, clear medium that dries rock hard.  The second color is a coppery reddish gold mica powder mixed with a touch of brown metallic powder, also with the clear medium.  Applying anything over a waxed surface is not easy, as wax is intended to seal and thereby render the surface impervious.  However, I tested my mixture on sample boards and was confident they could withstand wipe downs and heavy room traffic.

The mica mediums went on somewhat sheer so as not to obscure the venetian plaster underside.  Oh!  And before I began I washed down the walls.  Very important if you intend on "rescuing a room."  Always, always, always start with a clean surface.  You wouldn't put make-up on a dirty face, would you?

Beautiful!  The essence of the room is hard to capture
due to the high-gloss shine and glow of the materials. 
The wall with the most damage... viola!
Nothing but gorgeous now!

Another look... BEFORE
and AFTER!
Sometimes it really isn't necessary to scrap a room and start from scratch. Sometimes all you need is a little faith, some patience and a pretty stencil!



  1. Brilliant move, Angela! The blended metallic colors is one of my favorite stencil looks. Thanks for making the Corsini Damask sing!

  2. Really beautiful, Angela. It looks like a completely different room. Well thought out use of product as well. Congrats!

  3. Angela,
    It looks just beautiful! Great save.

    I am really enjoying your blog (thanks, Melanie) and look forward to visiting again!


  4. Thanks Karen! And welcome to DivinePainter, Ann. :)

  5. Loving that damask pattern as well as the finish you chose. Simply gorgeous!