Vive la diffe’rence

Often, when a home is purchased, we are faced with a pure white canvas.  The goal of the seller had been to keep it neutral.  The challenge for the new homeowner is how to create a home that reflects their personal style.  In this case, the desire was to transform this space to compliment their French Provencial furnishings.  Now, upon entering the room, you are swept back to a bygone era of quiet beauty and graceful living reminiscent of the countryside of France.

A traditional color palate of warm muted tones was inspired from the largest pattern in the room, the area rug.  The mantel is the smallest feature on this wall.  Yet, our intent was to make it the primary focal point.  To achieve this, the bookcases were painted in a solid tone slightly deeper than the new wall color and softened with a minimal edging detail.  The previous “faux marbling” on the ledges was too harsh and emphasized an uneven horizontal line across the wall.  The contrast and finish on the bookcases is now very subtle.  This provides the accessories an opportunity to be the main attraction on the shelves.

The Design Process:

The mantel was an odd shape.  Notice the firebox, the bookcases, the windows and the mirror. . . they are all square or rectangular.  Two small pieces of trim mold were added to each side before painting and treated as part of the structure.  This gives the illusion that the mantel is geometrically consistent and balanced with the other elements in the room.  Multiple intricate aging and distressing techniques were blended into this faux finish.  It reflects a sense of authenticity that only happens over time.  The unexpected use of subtle green undertones works to draw your eye to the center of this wall.  Strategically placed red highlights add interest and feature the simple architectural details.  The mantel now carries enough “visual weight” to support the placement of a tall elegant mirror above.  There is no mistaking that it is the most important design feature of this grand space . . . vive la diffe’rence!

Be sure to visit my website at to view more amazing transformations.  For a full screen close-up of this project, click on the right side of the slideshow icon.


  1. You have done a beautiful job here and in your other posts! I really enjoy reading about “The Design Process” – always illuminating to see how other artists get from here-to-there.

    Great blog

  2. How could any of this be better stated? It coln’udt.

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