Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had lovely holidays, and are only slowly getting back into the regular swing of things. I'm excited to be back blogging and reading everyone's inspirational ideas, and am so looking forward to a year of great design and new projects.
I'm starting off 2008 with something I've never tried before, but just love how it adds texture to a room and acts as a wonderful design accent -- floor stencilling. Floor stencilling was very popular between 1740-1840, and can still be seen today in affluent American homes built during this period. Then, as now, stencilling was used to simulate woven carpet, floorcloths, tiling, and parquet floors, at considerably lesser expense than the real thing. And, most were painted using one colour -- often black on pumpkin pine. Again, to cut down on costs.
Today, there is a growing interest in creatively accenting wood floors with paints, stains and tints, inside stencilled designs. Companies like MB Historic Decor, based in Vermont, http://www.mbhistoricdecor.com/ and Gracewood Design, in Portland, Oregon, http://www.gracewooddesign.com/ specialize in creating original and authentic stencils used in both interior and exterior designs. Though now, patterns usually incorporate one, two, or three colours.
All you have to do (it sounds so easy doesn't it?) is prepare your floor by first washing, scraping and sanding away all the old paint and varnish, then, priming it with wood primer so the paint or stain will adhere. Then, you trace your stencil onto the floor, and colour it in with cold water fabric dye that adheres well, remembering to use an almost dry brush. Once this is all done, you protect your design with floor finish.
Here are a few examples of floor stencilling I've pulled from Flickr and other sites. As you'll see, it's beautiful in smaller rooms as a stark accent, down otherwise uninteresting hallways, on stairways, as faux carpetting, and even around the pool on acid washed concrete. If anyone has taken on a project like this, and would like to share, please do, and I'll post it up so everyone can see. Or, if you're bitten by the creative bug reading this, let me know, too, and also how your project goes!
As seen on MB Historic Decor's website: Diane Nazar's finished stairs in a 21-year old, Colonial Revival farmhouse, suburban Chicago
As seen on Gracewood Design's website: photo of their studio floor when they were located in San Francisco
As seen on Gracewood Design's website: pool deck
As seen on la apartment therapy, www.apartmenttherapy.com/la
As seen on Flickr, by Kirrily Robert, stencilled floor at the B & B