When I first began to experiment with paint, I was constantly amazed and inspired by the transformation such a simple medium could have on the character of a room. I have applied paint to pretty much every surface you'll find in a home - from plaster and Gyproc walls and wood floors to melamine countertops and cabinetry, even metal watering cans and clay pots.
British painter, teacher and author Annie Sloan shares my passion for paint and the important role it plays in decoration. She says, "Every room needs at least one piece that makes an impact, where you can pause for breath, take everything in, and then move on."
Sloan is the author of many books, including her latest, "Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture and More" (CICO Books, 160 pages, $24.95). Sloan's kitchen in Normandy, France, is a stunning example of what can be achieved. The main ingredient used for all surfaces is Sloan's signature paint, called Chalk Paint because of its velvety, matte finish.
Chalk Paint sticks to just about any surface - wood, concrete, metal, matte plastic, earthenware and more, inside and outside the home. It dries fast so you can add second or third coats quickly. The paint is made specifically for painting furniture, floors and for giving walls a completely smooth, matte finish. The paint is thick in the can and spreads on smoothly with good coverage; it is easily watered down if you are after a colorwash look.
Sloan's color selection, which includes a historic palette, makes it easy to find what you need. The oak dresser in her kitchen was done with a coat of Old White Chalk Paint and then rubbed away to create a limewash look. The ceiling beams are Duck Egg Blue, which is a greeny blue that looks greener when applied over dark wood, and then Louis Blue.
Visit www.anniesloan.com for more ideas, instructions and videos.
Dear Debbie: I have a solid-surface counter that goes all the way up the wall to under the kitchen cabinets. I would like to decorate above the stovetop, creating a focal point. I thought about stenciling words, but I'm not sure what paint to use or if that would work. Do you have any other ideas? Thanks - Jan
Dear Jan: You can paint over a slippery surface such as the countertop material you have, as long as you use a paint that is specifically designed to stick. There are glass paints and paints designed to go over plastics that would work, as would Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint mentioned above.
However, there is a good chance that with repeated cleaning any paint will wear off. Another option for decorating this space is to hang an interesting piece of wrought-iron art, or a rack that holds kitchen utensils. These can be cleaned easily and would create an interesting focal point.
House to Home is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email your questions to house2home