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DECOR SCORE- Need a Touch-Up? Brush-Up! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Bennett Gilbert Creative Syndicate   
Thursday, 20 September 2012 02:20


Recipe for a kitchen that’s as titillating as it is utilitarian: antiques, oddments, and works of art in unexpected places.

Q: Our kitchen is old and funky. The house was built in 1929. We love it, but after l4 years, I feel a great need to brighten it up. I'm not talking major renovations. The floors are beautiful hardwood and the glass door cabinets are keepers.

Any suggestions (easy!) for simple touch-up ideas?

A: If I've said this once, I've said it a thousand times: think paint! It's magic in a can, the quickest and easier way to freshen and liven up any room in your house.

But there's more than one way to paint a room to make it young and bright again. In fact, there's more than one kind of paint — the kind you roll or brush onto walls and cabinets, and the kind artists use to create charm and whimsy on other surfaces.

The kitchen we show here sings a paean to the latter.

We're in the Northern California home of Dena, the celebrated artist behind Dena Designs, the studio that creates designs on products, such as linens and fabrics and books that rake in some $4 million a year.

This year, she's turned her hand to writing a new book, "The Painted Home by Dena," published just this month by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. From it, we borrowed this photo of Dena's kitchen to inspire your own. As you can see at a glance, it's a fun place to be, and half the fun is in discovering her accretions from a lifetime of flea markets and antiques gathering: the plates that march across the soffit, the vintage mirror behind the sink, that old crystal chandelier above it.

Everything you see says, "Here lives an interesting — and, yes, eccentric — artist." The best news is that you don't need Dena's artistic talents to recapture the ambience in your own kitchen. Dena confides that she commissioned the paintings on the cabinet doors to another artist.

"Landscape painting isn't my forte," she writes. "Inspired by English landscapes, I brought the interior panels, which pop out, to a local artist (who) painted them in the pastoral style of the reproductions I gave her."

There. Talk about an easy recipe for brightening up your kitchen!

Q: What's trending on the home front for 2013? A: Depends on whom you ask. Decorator Sara Ruffin Costello, who writes a design column for the Wall Street Journal's weekender known as "Off-Duty," said it's going to be all about saving money. You'll have to save it, you see, because you'll be spending bags of it to achieve the "Grand Dame" look she foresees: flora in extremis, window curtains that are swagged, layered and fringed all over, plenty of plush upholstery and "just a dollop of a quick shot of vodka."

As Sara laid out the future for design pros at last week's "What's New/What's Next" annual autumn event at the New York Design Center, we can also expect faded pink to be "the new color for living room walls." We can also expect natural woods — honey-colored and warm — to regain importance, sofa backs to curve, dip or be notched to add action to a room and garden elements to come indoors as accessories, especially living house plants.

What not to look for? Crystal chandeliers. Sara says she's busy cropping them out of all the photos she shows in her column.

"I'm recoiling from sexy chic," she says. "It has to do with the Kardashians."

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the coauthor of "Manhattan Style" and six other books on interior design.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 20 September 2012 02:26