Saturday, October 19, 2013


There was the possibility of calling this post, "fifty shades of blue". For me there is almost an erotic reaction to blue. The right blue can be like the soft trail of a single finger's slow soothing caress down my bare back from the nape of my neck to the well just above the curve of my cheeks.
It's that pale watery blue that comforts and relaxes like a warm bath where eucalyptus scents the air.
It can be a stairway that elevates you into a blue sky softened by a thin layer of wispy clouds.
The softest of blue can transport a traditional entry into Alice's threshold into Wonderland.
It can be the whipped cream of a kitchen.
There are way more than fifty shades of blue
Blue isn't always somber. It can be strikingly bold and hot when it shows its Mediterranean side
There can be an unexpected whimsical side to blue.
You can buy it at IKEA in more shades than you can count
It's hard for me resist the beauty of blue.

We're in the process of renovating our house in Madison...and moving into a new apartment in New York City...and taking care of a new set of clients...and raising a seventeen-year-old who still hasn't gotten her drivers license and needs to be driven to swim practice at 5:30 in the morning...and the list goes on...and on...and on
Part of the renovation was to have been a minor repair to the ceiling in the living area. It erupted into a completely new ceiling. Of course it's blue.
We've been trying to enhance the mid-century cottage aspects of the house. After the thought of minor repairs got tossed out the window we toyed with the idea of adding rafters but with a relatively low ceiling height we opted for slated pine that we stained a driftwood gray-blue. The process was pretty simple once we had worked out the right combination of stains.
Here's what we did. We bought stain grade pine v-groove lumber. We decided the more knots and imperfections the more interesting and authentic the ceiling would appear.
Next we laid out some sawhorses in the front yard Clampett style as the base for our painting stage. We used rubber gloves and had a tub of rags set at the ready.
For our stain we chose Cabot semi-transparent deck and siding stain. We chose two colors: Chesapeake blue and Fieldstone gray. It's a rare day when we can find a color that works for us all by itself. The combination of these two colors gave us the right shade of blue we were looking for.
We bought a couple of those small rollers and brushes, a couple of tray liners and we were set.
We started with the blue, rolled it on one slat at a time,
went back over it with a brush to get any missed crevices but mostly to brush off any excess stain
and then went back over it with a rag wiping off the remaining stain. We had to use some muscle power here. We wanted the wood to be almost wiped dry. What we ended up with was a translucent stain with a lot of the original wood color showing through.
If we had left it here we would have had a very baby blue looking ceiling so we repeated the process with a coat of Fieldstone gray.
This toned down the blue giving us a more sophisticated subtle blue color.
The key with the staining is to do the rolling, the brushing and the wiping without letting any time lapse between each part of the process. You don't want to let the stain set too deep. You want to preserve that translucent quality that lets some of those gold tones of the wood shine through.
Our contractor had just torn a fifty year old rotting wrought iron porch off the front of the house and then ingeniously reconfigured it into a drying rack for us in the garage.
The ceiling is now done. The crown molding is going up and the world's ugliest carpet has now been replaced with real red oak floors. We will keep blogging the progress on the house with both its successes and failures

L'Atlas Imaginaire
Didier Massard, photographer
Represented by Julie Saul Gallery, NYC

1 comment:

  1. These are great inspirations. Blue is really a nice color choice. It adds a warm and calming effect on every room, especially if you go for a lighter shade just like in the fourth picture. There’s no doubt that it will look great with your siding as well. How’s the renovation by the way?

    Dina @