A Vine Line
Problem: A large light-filled dining room that looked cold and sterile.
Solution: Flood the room with color, texture, and pattern.
“It’s a large room that needed to be pulled together to make a big statement,” artist-designer Brian Carter says. “A small pattern would not have worked. Pale colors would not have worked. It needed to be dramatic. The vines and leaves gave the room the organic quality that it previously lacked.”
Carter took inspiration from the colors in the chair seats, painting the walls above the wainscoting an opulent red. Next, he used chalk to draw gently curving vines that stretch from the ceiling to the chair rail. Using chalk allowed for adjustments in the design; spacing the vines 15 inches apart left room for large abstract leaves. “There is lots of room for variation in the design,” Carter says. “The pattern should have a hand-drawn look, not perfection.”
Once the design was established, Carter used his artist’s brush to paint over the lines with a golden-tan color. After the paint dried, he stood back and scrutinized the result. “It’s important to get the pattern down before adding the texture and glaze,” he says. “You are bound to make a mistake. This way, you can touch it up or even paint over a section and do it again until the pattern is squared away.”
Textured glazing was Carter’s final touch. He used a short-bristle wallpaper brush and dark brown glaze to give the walls pattern and depth. By applying the glaze horizontally, then vertically, he was able to achieve a look that replicates linen. “The pattern on the wall reads completely differently after the glaze. It looks like the pattern is woven right into the background color. It has more depth and sophistication,” Carter says. “Done in different colors and without the glaze, the same design could be very playful and whimsical. This gives it a sense of age and makes it feel established and substantial.”