From Does and Trees to Doors

i-92bb4bc9e435f751c8caf4289e9a4fd2-aspeninspiresm.jpgThere’s nothing like spending a month staring at trees. As I hinted recently, my purpose for I was wandering all over the mountains, searching for aspen, was artistic inspiration. But to what end? Well... it all started when I painted my walls. Folks would come and observe my progress.

"The color looks great. But what are you going to do about the doors?"

I’d cringe every time. The battered hollow-core doors in a dark wood stain stuck out like sore thumbs, especially upstairs. There, the hallway was the loft, which was also our office. It’s the one room we spend more time in than any, and here it was overwhelmed by this group of big ugly doors. No room for furniture there, or even any art hung on the wall. What WAS I going to do with those awful doors? I couldn’t afford new ones.

One day, I was looking at my color scheme. I’d chosen a creamy off white color, accented with mossy greens, deep black, bright white. The idea was to make it sort of a relaxing spa sort of feel. (So I wouldn’t always long to go to one!) I figured the Zen-like palette was probably inspired by some bamboo grove or something. Bamboo? What was I doing trying to mimic bamboo? That stuff wouldn’t grow here in Colorado if we tried to force it. Then it hit me... of course. We had something better than bamboo. We had the aspen. And that’s when a lightbulb went off in my head.

i-ecbeec8e5d7cc00edef4ef6ba33be057-aspenstp1.jpgI started by painting the doors the same color as the walls, the light brownish color in an eggshell finish. It looked rather white, until I began painting the outlines of aspen trunks in a bright semi-gloss white paint. The white really stood out, especially being a shinier finish. It looked weird at the time, but it was exactly what I wanted.

i-218a26b7300ee253877d1dff56a4a562-aspenstp2.jpgNext came more semi-gloss, this time in grey. I used a dry brush, sweeping lightly across the white, ghostly trunks, trying to get a little dimension. Then I came back in with a tiny brush and painted in branches and some details on the trunks. My trees were beginning to come to life.

The next few steps were simply lots of little details. I used a deep black in a satin finish (in between the glossy and the flatter eggshell) to paint "eyes" on the trees, and then flat green to create leaves. I had some blue paint leftover from my son’s space/robot nook, so I blended it with leftover white to decorate the attic trapdoor above with sky and clouds. Finally, I went around and painted all of the trim in black, to look sort of like picture frames.

It would be an understatement to say I was pleased with the results. Check it out:


Since that shadowy picture does no justice, here are the doors, close up (click each for larger images.)



Four doors weren't enough. I continued the theme on a few doors downstairs, as well. Here’s the coat closet (which was inspired by the photo at the top of this post) and the end of the pantry (which was inspired by the tree near the two does... the only tree stately enough to stand on its own.)

i-aa23b29ecff8dfc58b23d5112a58582b-aspendoors5sm.jpgi-b1c2e00551e347257b0a4be25293d5aa-aspendoors6sm.jpgJust in case you were curious: You might have noticed the lack of doorknobs. I was planning to install them before writing this post, but, well, they’re expensive. I’m saving up a little so that I can get something like this. Hopefully they’ll be installed by the time I do a "big reveal" of the whole design. (With more before and after pics... yey!)


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Boy, you shure know how to make a feller feel homesick.

Beautiful job, Karmen. btw, a friend told me that the powder on the bark of the aspen makes a good survivalist sunscreen if one is ever stranded in the mntns.

What I'd give today to be running the ridge from Loveland Pass to Torreys!

That is definetely inspired.

By Chris' Wills (not verified) on 20 Jul 2008 #permalink