lifelong love ::

it’s been over 20 years now … ok, maybe closer to 25, but who’s counting?  it was then that i walked away from my canvases, brushes, and paints not to look back.  but let’s start at the beginning.  for as long as i can remember, i have had an absolute love of color, shape, image … a deep interest in all things art appeared throughout my family.  so it was only natural for my parents to enroll me in private art lessons.  week after week and month after month, i’d attend lessons learning all about painting in a variety of forms {oil, acrylic, watercolor}, pastels, pencil shading.  the instructor was, and still is, amazingly talented … in fact, she is instrumental in our city’s youth art programs even today.  there was only one problem.  or at least it turned out to be a problem for me.  at that time, my art teacher had her students choose from a variety of images from her boxes and boxes of greeting card covers – the idea was that she could then see the image that each student was trying to create and help teach the techniques to accomplish that finished product.  the concept is good in theory, and must have worked for her hundreds of students over the decades.  but for me, it eventually blocked my ability to develop my own creative art without second guessing myself.

after that time, i still enjoyed my high school and college art classes, but felt there was a damper on my own individual creativity.  i followed the more practical route during those years … pursuit of a business degree, and considered the creative degrees to be more of a luxury.  i was mistaken.

life continues on no matter what path you take, and years later when it allowed, i began again to tap into my own creativity … first sewing custom children’s clothing and one-of-a-kind handbags, then back to interior design {including custom accent pillows and window treatments}.  but even more recently, the love of painting began to work its way back into my mind.

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as many of my creative ventures begin, it started with a need.  i have several interior decor jobs that are in need of large scale pieces of art, but when i’ve looked for the perfect wall art for the space, i’ve run into two roadblocks.  first, custom art is expensive … and after a client has invested in major pieces for the room {furniture, rugs, linens}, there often isn’t a large budget remaining to fill vast wall spaces.  second, many of the more reasonably priced pieces i’ve been able to find make my stomach nearly churn when i glance at the back side of the print only to find a “made in china” label.  i want real {not reproduced} art for a reasonable cost for my clients … is that too much to ask?  apparently it is.  so my solution?  make it myself!

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of course there’s a chance that the artistic creativity that i’ve kept sleeping the past few decades chooses not to wake up, but how will i know unless i try?  so after a quick trip to my nearby art supply store, i walked out with a bag full of gorgeously colored acrylics, brushes, and a canvas – not a large one to start, but one big enough to test out my ability {or lack of} to create abstract images that will give a few interior projects a unique and complete look.

while my trial run is far from complete, when the house was finally quiet last night, i got out an old paint palette, selected a few tubes to allow for a nice base on the canvas, and started …. {remember, this is only a base coat onto which some bold color will soon appear!}

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i’d love to know, what are those talents and interests you have stored away for a future time?  is now the time to dust them off and pursue your dreams?

once upon a design ::

several months ago, i shared a piece of the story of my little farmhouse and the big plans for the much needed remodel of the master bedroom.

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{master bedroom before}

while the room is far from its big reveal, a few hints of its new look are long overdue!

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what started as updates to the master bedroom have spread to other parts of the farmhouse, and  as is the case with so many design updates, there are pieces that although still loved and useful, are no longer needed.  since storage is at a premium in the farmhouse, i wanted to first share these items with my blog readers {omaha area only, please} before posting to craigslist.  email me at nicoleodettedesigns@gmail.com for more photos or if you’re interested in any of these items.

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solid oak antique church bench  $200 :: i bought this bench from park avenue antiques in fremont a few years ago for $325.  this bench was refinished prior to my purchase, and is in perfect condition!  45″w x 24″d x 35″h

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handmade 15″ custom accent pillows $20 for the pair.  the front fabric is a soft green with golden and light cranberry accents and the backs are a chocolate chenille.

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ivory coverlet / comforter and two shams $45 :: fits a full / queen size bed.  it’s finally time for me to say goodbye to the comforter that has been my favorite for years.  if only i had a guest room, it would happily find a new home there!  i’ve paired this set with nearly every color you can imagine and it gives a fun, fresh, new look every time!

make room for creativity ::

one question that many of my design clients ask is “what is the rule about … mixing metals … using dark colors in small spaces … combining paint and stain” …. the list goes on and on!  while i’m not usually one to abide by the “rules” of design, when it comes to living in a farm house that is nearly 100 years old, there are no rules to break!  i see every surface in our home as a space to bring in a bit more creativity or test a design idea!  this was certainly the case when faced with the ho-hum door to my laundry room.

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just like every element of our home, things are as they are for a myriad of reasons … in this case, the original walls were papered below the chair rail, and we quickly discovered that the paper was nearly holding the walls together!  the best and most economical solution at the time?  cover in beadboard and paint in a crisp ivory, and while i’ve never much cared for the result, it was “good enough” while other projects in our remodel took the spotlight.  up until recently, that is!  with the school year right around the corner {yes, i said it!}, i decided that this door which is positioned in a central spot in our home, could be more than a simple slab of wood between one room and another …. it could be command central!  after a trip to sherwin-williams, i was all set!

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first step … remove the hardware!  {ugly door, i know!  i really had nothing to lose!}

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next, tape the trim around the door and stir the paint.

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i quickly learned that this was a tricky paint to work with … a water-based paint that acted like an oil, agggghhhhhh!

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now for a little advise for those of you who think it may be fun to tackle this kind of project … while i’d recommend keeping a wet painted edge if possible, i’d also recommend using more of a “dry brush” technique.  each time i thought the surface was perfect, the paint would begin to sag in one place or five!  but after two coats of chalkboard paint and waiting 24 hours for the paint to cure, my family welcomed a fun, new way to stay organized, plan our days, and leave notes for each other!

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but this little hallway is far from finished!  the ugly golden beige color that adorns the walls will soon be the next item checked off the list!  oh, and you haven’t even seen the off-centered light fixture!  after another trip or two to my favorite paint store, and perhaps a visit to Lowe’s, this hall will be even more transformed and worthy of it’s much used position in my home!