ColorTherapy: Decorative Painting & Pattern

For a little splash of color, why not try one of my bold retro patterns in your powder room?

I have so many fun projects in the works that I’m about to subtitle this column “Decorative Painting Therapy” — it’s not just for rag rollers anymore. The twin inspirations for this project were this wallpaper tear-sheet, and a photo I took of a floor in Venice — which I can’t find as I prepare this post. (And yes, even my mother knows I wander around Europe taking pictures of the floors.)

The wall was painted Violetta (Benjamin Moore AF 615) before I arrived. The lattice is Orion Grey (Ralph Lauren TH14), the shadow is my new favorite Tea Kettle Black VM156, and after three tries I finally mixed my own highlight. I painted the black first, white second and finally the grey in long strokes. As always, I find it easier to paint free-hand, although I did tape between the black and white just because the corners were so tight.

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I base many of my patterns on those from ancient Rome, which I try to update for contemporary settings. The difference here is color and scale, and also the fact that what looked like solid triangles on a floor becomes a treillage on the wall — something you could almost put your hand through. Now if only I could find that photo from Venice…

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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