This is a really simple post for New Year’s Day. I’ve been thinking about how to add mouldings to the walls in the part of our staircase that has the turning stair leading up to the higher floors. Unlike the front hallway at first glance this isn’t a simple one third, one third, one third prospect where I have a type of moulding below a dado, something above in the next third, then a picture rail and ceiling section of moulding. The need to follow a diagonal line which turns into a flat can make this simple formula complicated.
The below dado section is fine, but if you want to add a series of panelled mouldings in the next third, as I do, they have the challenge of having to follow the diagonal line too.
I managed to gain inspiration from great houses and how they handled this dilemma.
Here in this green painted stately home you can see how the mouldings have been used in lines to section off areas giving clear horizontals to create tableaux mouldings. So a narrow, moulded frieze runs from the base of a higher floor around the visible stairwell.
Here it is in a more simply painted white decor, although the mouldings are magnificent.
Here is what I will base my blue and white colour scheme on, with the possibility of less expensive stencilled panels surrounded by simple, wood appliqué moulding frames.
Obviously the ceiling moulding is never going to happen, but it’s interesting to see how the final area on a stairwell landing can be treated.
My main goal next year is to finish our new kitchen at long last. I’ve written about it many times, but we still haven’t finished. Nevertheless when it is finished our plan is to move the dining room to the room that’s beside the kitchen, connected via the small entrance area that I spoke about in yesterday’s post.
I love chinoiserie and thought about how I could get the look in the hallway, bedrooms and now I’m thinking of the dining room.
Chinoiserie is expensive, so the only way we can realistically afford this look is if I hand painted it with the help of stencils. I’ll, of course, share here when I do it. However in the meantime you can click on this link to see my last attempt at painting birds with a stencil like tool.
Now to the chinoiserie.
Which is a way of painting in shades of grey, as the name suggests. I love it, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to manage it myself. Here are some of the images that make me want to blow the budget though.
You may remember how I shared pictures of our hallway this time last year. The orange brown carpet covering the walls were…..well see for yourself…..
Well, I’ve been planning our Easter decorations for this year (see here, here and here for last year’s Easter wreaths, for an Easter garland and this year’s coasters) and wanted to do a group of stair garlands. These turning stairs wind up two more floors and are really pretty so they’re crying our for some statement decor.
But that carpet! anything I did would be set against that 😩. So on Monday when the kids went back to school I’d had enough and, on just the bottom level, the carpet came off.
My husband thought I was crazy at first as I’d been in the middle of ironing and I’m still doing the kitchen. So to start something new was a bit….unnecessary to say the least. But I just started when I was boiling the kettle for tea, then each time I went for a cup I did a little more stripping it off.
As it went my husband’s mood lifted – the hall was so much lighter. He definitely came round to my way of thinking. I left the lining on the walls and, as my local discount store Action does some very inexpensive chalk paint, I used some cans of that to start painting where I’d taken the carpet off. It’s giving it a nice linen type feel because of the texture of the paper underneath.
Here it is with the lining and painted (the paint I sent still wet in the second pick, hence the differences in colour)….
It’s not a long term solution, I haven’t even tried to smooth over the lines where the paper meets, nevertheless I’ve started to think about what I’ll be doing in the hallway in the (probably distant) future.
Mouldings or Stencils
When I first started thinking about how I’d decorate my hallway I looked to Lincrusta. Anyone who follows my Pinterest account will know that I have a whole board dedicated to this form of decorating. However it’s very expensive (£200+ a roll) and challenging to put up. So no on both counts.
I’m also a big fan of wainscotting, so had considered this too. Following my application of mouldings to the kitchen island though I started to think about just applying mouldings beneath a dado rail; much easier to do than wainscotting as you don’t have to mitre anything, super simple going upstairs and I can also achieve a look of pared down Lincrusta.
You can buy mouldings relatively cheaply, ranging from 1 – 20€ depending on what you chose. However you obviously need several for each section you make, but ultimately it shouldn’t be more expensive than wallpapering.
Added to that if you wish to use mouldings above the dado rail you can consider making moulds yourself from an original in plaster. I wouldn’t suggest using these below the dado rail as it’s more likely to receive blows from everyday life so it needs to be tougher; a bit like Lincrusta.
The other good thing about doing it this way is that it can be added in layers; mouldings can be bought and applied for below the dado rail, then perhaps to cupboard doors, then walls etc. Not only can this make a huge project more accessible, it means the cost can be spread out over the year and, as there is a danger that it could all get a bit overblown, you have time to reflect at each stage to make sure you get the balance right.
I’ve been on Pinterest to start planning and here are the different ways these can be used.
Gold and Highlighted Mouldings
A more simple look, mouldings can be painted a simple gold like this where the gold compliments the duck egg blue beautifully. Notice how the walls are kept white beneath it, so the over all impression isn’t too gaudy.
Here is a similar style but used on walls.
The wall panelling is beautiful, but I personally think this level of guilded intricacy is best suited for a grand space, for a grander house. Although our French home isn’t modest by my standards (my first home was a tiny, Victorian terrace after all) it isn’t a grand chateau either.
If you look at these next images of the blue and gold the simpler use of mouldings keep the beauty of the colour paring, and the wow factor without entering the realms of Liberace. The final image is very sedate in comparison.
Complimentary Tone Mouldings
I could forgo the gold completely of course, here are images of contrasting and same tone mouldings.
The last one is beautiful, but I can’t help feeling that’s home with a lot of servants and no children! I have similar colouring to the first one in my dining room, so I’m thinking of adding that there. However as this will eventually be our ‘guest’ entrance, I want a more relaxed family entrance into the kitchen, I like the idea of a subtle gold to add something of a wow factor; particularly at the times of the major feasts, Christmas and Easter.
Various Tones Painted Mouldings
There is also the possibility of painting the details of the mouldings in different colours and having alternative, complimentary shades. Here are the some examples….
They’re subtle and I like that. Here are the mouldings painted, which can be done in neutral, subdued or more vibrant tones…
I really like the second image, but the third seems to go with the ceiling medallion I’ve already painted which you can see again here…
Mouldings and Stencils
A less expensive combination is mouldings and stencilling, so you have the effect of the former with, depending on how you do it, the reduced cost of the latter. Obviously I’m thinking of making my own stencils, which can be very expensive. Nevertheless a prepared stencil is still significantly cheaper than rolls of wallpaper and repeated uses of mouldings depending on the area that needs to be decorated.
These ones below are using the subtle blue pallet; I especially like the tall slim panels which I can see either side of the front door. The mouldings themsełves are basic, it’s the stencil that adds the intricate detail.
These have more intricate mouldings, painted using a variety of colours…
The following is one that doesn’t use a stencil, but is a handpainted rose. Those of you who’ve seen my secrétaire desk know how I enjoy hand painting my furniture, so this could be used in conjunction with the image below which has detail below the dado rail…
The reason why I like the panel below the dado rail in the one above is that it looks just as effective below and it could be something that I use to counteract my following point.
Space For Pictures
Where we used to live in England I had a gallery of family pictures going up the wall of the stairway and, as you can see in the images above, here I have some old engraving prints of the local sights in local Normandy. I want to continue using what I have as well as adding my family photos. The difficulty with stencils and mouldings above the dado rail is that it could be hard to find an appropriate space to hang them.
An alternative is wallpaper in the mouldings, or a stencil made to look like wallpaper…
Or still using the more intricate stencils, but as a for me of frame like these…
In fact to me, if you compare these last images with those first few of the blue and gold, they seem to strike the best note of French Provincial – pretty, with period charm – to grandiose.