Now that you have all had a chance to process the construction details of my tiny storage cabinet, I'd like to share the inspiration for this unusual color solution. I'm not opposed to a solid color accent wall in general, but with a little ingenuity it's possible to take the ubiquitous solid color accent wall to new heights. Surrounding yourself with color references that recall a time in your life you fondly remember has the same effect on your well being as tuning into a radio station that just happens to be playing your favorite song. It's subtle, it makes us smile, and it makes us feel happy and safe, all at the same time. Reaching back in my memory for a collection of colors I feel best about got me half way there. I'm giving myself some extra credit on the pattern.
My father wore Argyle socks. Another fond memory is of his well-polished wing tip shoe teetering over the crook of his knee while he sipped his afternoon Manhattan on the rocks. I can't say I set out to emulate my father's afternoon arrangement with Jim Beam when I decided to outfit my living room with a storage cabinet for liquor. But, as is so often the case when we personalize the design decisions we make around the house, color & pattern references culled from the "memory file" entitled Happiness happen naturally when we let it. While this design could better be described as a repetitive diamond pattern, to me it's my father's argyle socks and his favorite drink, all realized on a wall.
It was easier to get an impression of how the twelve colors would work as a group once I put the paint into cups. For those of you who prefer to think through your designs and color arrangements, re-arranging the cups is a reliable method to organize the palette. Here's my happy color collection . . .
I did use a stencil for this project, which I mention not as an apology but rather because it was a stroke of luck that I had one that fit. If your ability to calculate a hypotenuse is clear in your mind, it's not difficult to lay this design out and tape each diamond as you go. A check, large grid, stripe, or any easy-to-render pattern you have an affinity for would be just as interesting. There are a number of reliable on-line sources for custom stencils--maybe you have a fondness for madras or toile?
After painting out each diamond with my signature random obliviousness, I noticed a pattern in my pattern and thought the distribution of color was a little unsettling. (I suppose I should have played around with the cups some more!) It would have been easy enough to change a few of the colors I had already painted, but I've learned such remedies can make me crazy in no time. Instead, I popped the top off a gallon of latex glazing liquid and got busy.
I mixed some brown paint from my cups with some matte black Aura paint, and added in one part Benjamin Moore's latex glazing liquid. Thinning this oddball color mixture with just a drop of water made what pro finishers call "dirt." Heavy dark glaze mixtures age and diffuse painted effects nicely. The small amount of water allowed plenty of time to play around before the glaze dries. I made this toning layer look somewhat linear with the help of a big brush to soften the glaze. The final effect is diffused, making the visual bounce in my busy pattern less jarring. If you try this "dirt" formula and it appears too dark or too overpowering, the glaze can be removed almost entirely with a wet rag. So, by all means, soften your paint techniques with a glaze.
Although I don't share my father's affinity for bourbon, I know this tiny storage cabinet could also be useful for napkins, stemware, or wine bottles. Would you agree the interest the cabinet adds to the room nearly trumps its use by any measure?
There was some question about the rail, which projects off to the side, serving as a guide for the door as it opens. It has turned out to be an excellent picture ledge, which frankly was just a happy accident. Maybe the rail would appear more well thought out if it were made to match the wood door?
The wood door needs some fixing and I'll explain the easiest and most efficient technique I know to clean up salvaged wood surfaces next time. A super easy rendition of a Faux Bois technique will make it look cleaner and be easy to keep clean. I have a way to go before I can report in on the efficiency of the tiny 28 square ft. storage cabinet, but for now I'm happy enough to have a destination for friends who share my father's affinity for a cocktail before dinner. Good design, great colors and making everyone feel right at home--all we need now is to find some Sinatra on the radio.