Distressed Colorwashing For the Bedroom

Color Therapy

I've posted pictures of similar techniques before, but what I found both exciting and challenging about this project was the location — it’s an intriguing room architecturally, and it’s also located in a big house in the woods.

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I feel as if my initial instincts are usually correct, but halfway through this project I started to doubt them. Is this too contemporary for the location? Too rough or too broad for the room?

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To recap, the process is to apply a basecoat (here, Farrow&Ball Pavilion Gray 242), break up the ground with slashes of underpainting (bruise colors of black, blue, brown) and then begin applying a series of glazes in with putty knives, rags and masonry brushes. We then close it up with a unifying final glaze of original basecoat color, and the trim is the same color in alkyd.

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In terms of color, we tested several colorways, and settled on a warm gray, not too beige and not too sweatshirt blue. It scarcely matters what the middle glazes are, as the final coat rules everything (Pavilion Gray 242).

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It wasn’t until I started painting the baseboards that it struck me this was exactly what the room wanted. This treatment is softly contemporary, still supports antique furniture, and it allows the room’s architecture to be itself, which is striking and unusual. To wit, I shot this post-painting in the style of Spartan minimalism that reminds me of the spreads I used to see in Metropolitan Home ca. 1986.

(Images: Mark Chamberlain)