One long, dark hallway, yards of knotty pine beadboard with chair rail, plus a few of the most frequently used rooms in the house… and Houston, we have a project! So what’s a DIY girl to do? Gather up lots of white paint, an angel wing or two, and bunches of stars… of course!
My everlasting kitchen cabinet painting endeavor changed course and became more intensive since I first started, so I’ve been taking a break by finishing up this space instead, which is basically the super highway of the house. It was so dark and claustrophobic, I loathed to even run to the powder room, so I knew it had to be brighter and more inviting, especially for guests. I also wanted to incorporate some whimsy, to give this ol’ gal some flavor and personality in an unexpected way.
This project has progressed in a few stages as the vision developed, changed, and developed some more – as they do.
First, I brightened the walls from an old, dingy light terracotta shade to a subtle griege-ish white, which I had recently painted and was in love with in the living and dining rooms. Due to the darkness in the hallway, though, it didn’t have quite the freshness and light as in the other areas, and instead looked more like a dim concrete gray, a la parking structure. Hum. Not what I was expecting…
I had already painted and re-painted in the family room and kitchen, so by this point, I was over it. Instead of repainting altogether, I brainstormed how I could liven it up and add something special and interesting without a total re-do.
Stripes? Texture? Faux finish? No…STARS!
I decided to add gold Moravian stars using handmade stencils I created from a simple vector graphic I found online, and then printed and cut out of cardstock.
This definitely gave the whimsy factor I was looking for, including some hand-retouched variations in the star types to make sure it wasn’t too patterned or repetitive. They turned out perfectly imperfect, and I love how you can glimpse a peek of it from the front door, too.
Now for the beadboard…
Call me crazy, but I adore knotty pine – nostalgia from childhood, I guess – and wanted to find a way to keep it. However, once we had our hardwood floors refinished to a weathered/driftwood shade of grey-ish beige in my quest to create a Nordic Cottage oasis with a French twist, there was just no denying that the piney lodge look here needed to go.
I sanded it some, and played around with a few ideas other than the classic solid white, painting test strips of charcoal, navy blue, even golden yellow to match the stars… but alas none of these looked quite right. It was when I finally sanded the test strips away that I had the ah-ha moment: Whitewash!
Whitewashing is quick and easy, and so forgiving. I love the casual, worn-in Scandi feel with a hint of the natural wood grain and color, yet that still looks airy and clean. Plus, it ties together the whitewash I did on the golden oak beams in the family room, right next door. I used a couple of dry chip brushes to swath on chalk paint. After drying and a quick, light rubdown with a sanding block, I rubbed on some white antiquing wax.
Here’s a close-up of the finished technique:
It’s sooo much brighter and cleaner looking, and feels much more together now.
To accessorize, I placed this Swedish-style country bench I found at an antique shop at the end of the hall to bring back in a bit of the pine and give the entry a cozy anchor.
I’ve had this metal angel wing forever, which I surrounded by a couple Moravian star-style vintage candle holders:
I’m planning to improve the light fixtures at some point, and re-paint the worn-looking garage door at the end of this hall – maybe even yellow to match the front door and the stars. Eventually, I’ll need to figure out whether to paint or leave that stained pine trim and doors… throughout the house. It’s a big job, and I do like the wood itself – though it may look much more crisp, clean, and updated in a nice, bright white.
So, what do you think? What ways have you incorporated some whimsy into your home? What unique elements have made their way into your decor? And last but not least, what’s your position on painting natural wood elements like these? Do tell!
Love and light,