Hedge Funz

Hedge Funz

Peekaboo…

The use of hedges in Los Angeles…specifically Santa Monica and Venice, is fascinating.   In a place where folks seem completely at ease leaving their door wide open of a warm night, extraordinary arrangements of hedges which seem to be there to provide privacy, rule.

They may frame a doorway,

or a passageway, to be more exact.

changing size, height and shape.

They may enhance the mystery of a portal,

the thickness of a wall,

or the function of a fence.

They may be created from bamboo,

or have a topiary feel.

Or, they may define the distance from front to back, to front again.

Whatever their apparent purpose, the ubiquitous, albeit, creatively engineered hedge seems to have one function underneath it all.

To create privacy using the materials of nature.

In the process, they create some very interesting spaces indeed.

What sort of hedge funz do YOU have?

If you feel so inclined, please share about it with us here.

We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all hedging our betz in this Life, Together.

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Going with the Grain

Going with the Grain

As a companion to my June Bay Area Women’s Journal article  on “Faux Bois“, or the fine art of wood graining I am writing this post to further explore the subject. To create, or recreate the look of wood on tired, damaged, or lackluster surfaces is one of my favorite things to do!

There are so  many uses for even the most simple Faux Bois!  Who doesn’t love the warm look of wood in a space?  Natural (looking) wood gives a feeling of bringing the outside in.  From rustic, to elegant, and back again….go with the grain to enjoy beautiful (painted) wood for all seasons.  I would…wouldn’t you?

One of the most common uses of Faux Bois  is on doors, especially exterior doors.  Often these doors are made of wood that has been painted, or has become worn and weather-beaten.  Sometimes a homeowner, house painter or contractor will opt to have it refinished in a wood grain  finish, rather then replace it, or strip and restore it.

As most Faux Bois looks are achieved through the manipulation of semi-transparent glazes over a base coat, the color that emerges is the skillful combination of the two. This  also results in a sense of depth, giving the “fake grain” a sense of naturalness.

Windows too, are a common surface for Faux Bois. Sometimes, like the above, the sashes have been replaced, and need to be wood grained to match the existing frames and surround.  This can be tricky…matching not only color, but “faux” to real wood, but it can be done, and to great effect.

And, sometimes, as in the window above,  all of the wood areas are done, or redone, at the same time, on the recommendation of an interior designer, architect, or even decorative painter!

Ceiling beams can be especially fun, and satisfying to recreate.  These beams were initially painted the previous ceiling color, what a waste!  The homeowners and their designer wanted them to look like wood again, and to match the heavy, darkly stained wooden doors installed throughout the house.  Now they really pop against the creamy ceiling, adding character and interest to the room!

Both the cabinet and the mirror frame above are grained to work with the marble vanity top, a great solution for these newly built and installed raw wood pieces.  As the treatment is custom, the clients could choose the color, style and feel they wanted, in keeping with the hues in the marble.  As with any finish, Faux Bois is fine in a bathroom, as long as it is sealed with the  proper water-resistant varnish.

In the master bath above,  the tub cabinets were painted in white latex.  Once wood grained, they become a focal point in the room, providing another layer of richness and luxury, and connecting the room to the other wood finishes in the master suite. These cabinets are sealed with an oil-based varnish for extra water-resistance, luster, and depth.  The slight ambering of the varnish over time will only add to its warm glow!

If carefully planned, and executed with artfulness and skill, Faux Bois, like any finish, will enhance your surroundings, whether interior or exterior.  You can have the look of rich, natural or stained wood, without having to strip, restore, or replace.  Now, wouldn’t that be grand?!

Have YOU used “Faux Bois” in your Home, Business, or Community Spaces?

If so, please share about it with us here. We love to hear from you!

Remember, we are all designing this thing called Life, together.


Color Muze News, Views and Hues: Transformative Color

Color Muze News, Views and Hues: Transformative Color

I continue to be inspired by serving as the Color Muze for Cre8tive Compass Magazine, and Artistically Speaking talk show.  Helmed by Rebecca E. Parsons, creative “arte-preneur” extraordinaire, and master decorative artist, Lyna Farkas, Artistically Speaking is a popular blog talk radio show focusing on the visual arts.  It features interviews with artists and creative entrepreneurs that educate, intrigue, inspire, and inform us about how to experience, grow and create our Art, Business and Life, mixing and matching along the way!

Each third Sunday of the month at approximately 7:15pm EST, I join the delightful Rebecca and Lyna, to offer tips, share real-life stories, and provide guidance in the powerful and awesome realm of Color.  I will also be providing follow-up Color Muze articles for Cre8tive Compass Magazine, like this one!  SO, sit back, listen up, read, and enjoy the show!

In January 2011 we muzed about the emotional, communicative and transformational power of color, discussing real-life examples.  I’d like to share one of them here with you.

A beloved client, with whom I have worked for over a decade, found her charming but rather dark kitchen very depressing.  Over the course of time, she had added some stained glass, and worked with me to paint out areas of the dark woodwork which predominated in the room.

During the course of our work together, she had a period of great personal challenge that demanded tremendous strength and fortitude.  Although we had enhanced her kitchen and other areas of her home over the years, she felt strongly that the dark tenor of this important area was still affecting her state of mind, and needed to be transformed.

Astonishingly, the remains of the paint we had used in her kitchen years before was found, and she was able to get more of it from her local vendor.  We used it to paint out more of the dark wood trim and doors. The warm golden ochre color had been chosen to brighten the room (which gets little natural sunlight), as well as to set off the visual treasures displayed there.  True to form, the hue created its contextual magic once again.


“The final outcome of the project was transformational. “ said my client.What had been a dark and brooding extended kitchen area became a light and inviting space that perfectly wove into the accent colors already in place. The end product created a welcoming environment and one that now highlights the unique wooden carvings within the rooms.”

This statement is truly a testament to the transformative power of color.  It can support your life, and help you through dark and demanding times.  The “right” color can offer lightness, joy, grace and positivity to any space, in any context.  In other words, color can help you live.

During our Muze on January 16, 2011, I offered a way to approach our color decisions by suggesting three aspects to take into consideration when we are making them.  These aspects are:

  • Purpose
  • Effect
  • Context

These three aspects or considerations as regards to choosing colors can be seen as a three part lens through which to view color in any context.  I suggest you try writing these out in the form of a chart, a list, a set of questions or even a story, and see if this activity proves helpful to you in making color decisions.

In regards to my client’s color story related above…what was the Purpose of the color she was choosing for her kitchen? Well, the Purpose was to elevate her mood, communicate and support a sense of optimism, energy, happiness, cheerfulness, positivity and possibility.  A hue in the yellow family was chosen, not a lemony yellow, but an earthy one, which worked with the colors, textures, architecture and general sensibility of the room and its Purpose, as well as the home as a whole.

The Effect of the chosen hue is warm, light and bright (in comparison to the dark wood it covers), yet earthy and comforting.  Associated with the sun, candlelight, flame, and firelight, as well as gold and gladness, an earthy hue of yellow is perfect in this room for the Purpose described above.  We associate yellow  with optimism, energy, happiness, cheerfulness, positivity and possibility. Think “sunny” disposition!

What was the Context for this color?  As regards to Place, the kitchen is considered by many to be the hearth, heart, and nucleus of the home.  When I visit this particular Client, who has become a friend over the years, we don’t sit in the living room to chat; we sit in the kitchen. Thus our color needed to be appetizing, inviting, invigorating, but also relaxing. The choice of a warm, earthy golden hue also helps compensate for the lack of natural light in the room. In terms of the existing Design and Architecture of the room, with its cream walls, dark wood ceiling beams, ochre backsplash tiles, brick red tiled floor, and lighter brick stove area, our color needed to play nice with all of these elements, integrating, and not competing with them.  Finally, the room holds a number of Objects and Accents treasured by my Client: decorative plates, ceramics, and stained glass, which hang on walls, windows and doors.  Our hue needed to set off and work with these as well.

Purpose, Effect, Context is a way to think about, consider, and approach color.  The “P.E.C.” approach can be applied to your decision-making process about color in any context: web or graphic design, interior design and architecture, textiles, craft, decorative painting, and even fine or conceptual art.  Give it a try…its fun! Thinking in terms of Purpose, Effect and Context may help you sort out your color challenges with greater ease,  and allow you to experience the pure joy and pleasure of color more fully.

What a luscious, luminous world we have as finishers, decorative painters, muralists, artists, artisans and humans, to explore! Please join our Color Muze on Artistically Speaking Talk Show, and Cre8tive Compass Magazine, “where we honor your passion, and your vision, in this community we are co-creating”

Here’s to a colorful journey!