Thursday, January 3, 2008

Floor stencilling

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, and Gracewood Design, in Portland, Oregon, 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,

As seen on Flickr, by Kirrily Robert, stencilled floor at the B & B


Brilliant Asylum said...

The green and white floor is my favorite.

Jennifer said...

Me too, most definitely. I was looking for more images like that, just to show everyone how very contemporary stencilling can look.

Neutral Dwelling said...

I agree with Brilliant Asylum- The green was my favorite also.

Ms. Porter said...

oh my gosh, so gorgeous...i love the green and white as well but the stairs are so amazing too.

Susan said...

what a fantastic post! great ideas !

Kari & Kijsa said...

Very cool floors...your blog is fabulous! The foyer of kijsa's home is a finish that consisted of layers and layers of stain taped off to create an inlaid wood many great little time!

smiles, kari and kijsa

Jennifer said...

Holy smokes! That must have taken hours! I'd love to see a photo if you get the chance to send it along.

melissa @ the inspired room said...

Great ideas, I'm just catching up on your posts, your blog dropped off my google reader so I got behind! Such inspiration I've been missing, oh no!