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DIY

hand-painted walls

by Kate Pruitt

Whenever I have a vision for changing something, I become very impatient to see it completed. This amazing dining room transformation from Ava Roth reminds me how wonderful it can be to tackle slow, epic projects, working bit by bit when you have a spare moment and watching your work grow from one little section into a gorgeous, dreamlike expanse. Truly a labor of love, these illustrations took Ava a little over a year to complete and are all painted freehand. You can read more about Ava’s process, including her paint brands and colors, after the jump. Thank you so much for sharing, Ava! — Kate

Photographs by Brenda Liu

Read the full post after the jump . . .

I first started thinking about painting my dining room years ago when, on a trip to the royal palace in Phnom Phen (Cambodia), I saw that many of the rooms were painted instead of wallpapered. Although the rooms at the palace were repeating patterns, just like standard wallpaper, I was immediately inspired by the idea of meticulously painting an entire room in my own freehand style. I decided to create something that looked at first glance to be wallpaper, but on closer inspection became apparent to be a non-repeating painted design. Like with a wallpapered room, my goal was to be able to hang art on top of the painting, as opposed to having the painting dominate the walls like a mural.

The initial inspiration for the painting itself came from looking at the designer Tord Boontje’s beautiful work. His art has a very whimsical feel to it, and I fell in love with his magical forest motifs. The painting on the dining room walls does not follow any pattern and does not repeat itself. It is painted entirely freehand, using a very small (#02) paint brush. I looked at images of forest foliage and animals on the internet when I needed fresh ideas of what to paint.

The first step was painting the walls dark grey (Benjamin Moore “Cinder” AF-705). I chose this color because I knew I wanted to paint in gold and thought that a sharp contrast between the wall color and the gold would appear very chaotic.

The gold paint is from Sheffield Bronze Paint Corp., and is a water-based paint called “Supertone Golden Touch.” Once the walls were painted grey, I simply picked up the gold paint and began painting freehand in one corner, and slowly worked my way around the entire room. I have three kids and run a business, so painting the walls happened only when I could grab a spare hour — usually in the wee hours of the night. For this reason, the project took well over a year to complete, although I know I could do it in a month or two if I had had the time to paint during the day. The cost for the project was very minimal. The only cost was the paint, and the only tool I used was a small paint brush. I estimate that the entire room cost less than $350. — Ava

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