Friday, May 7, 2010

Make Your Mark

by Dina Sleiman

People say home is where the heart is. For me, I would  also add, home is where the art is. I love to paint, and what better canvas than the walls of my house. I can't say my claim to fame as a homemaker lies in my cooking or cleaning abilities. In fact, I won't even pretend for one moment that it lies in those areas. And while I thought I was fairly economical, many of my fellow inkies put me to shame.

But I do love to make my home a place of beauty.

After renting from 1998 to 2002 I was itchy to buy my own place and do some decorating. We found a great deal for a home with beautiful architecture on a lovely wooded lot in a nice neighborhood. But the six year-old-house was the bottom edition built in that neighborhood. I'm talking bare bones -- consider your self lucky we installed a toilet -- bottom of the line. Which worked great as far as I was concerned. The entire structure was a blank canvas of white walls. An artists delight.

I started by painting the nursery, just a pretty powder buff blue with some stars and clouds on one wall, in time for the arrival of my youngest child Adam a month after the move. Next, one night for no clear reason, my five-year-old son, Jonny, and I decided to decorate his bathroom. It was supposed to be a Sponge Bob motiff. Well, I still had some blue paint left over, so I wet an old rag and we went to town applying a streaky underwater pattern to the walls. I let the kids make bubbles and sea weed with some craft paints we had around the house. Then I added those squiggly flower thingys that always float in the background at Bikini Bottom. Finally, the piece de resistance. A big pineapple over the commode!

My next project was a four part work of art for the giant wall above the fireplace. Let me clarify that I'm not a trained artist, but I made each canvas a different primary shade to match my red sofa with bright colorful flowers, bleeding the shades from one frame to the next. Then I added some geometric patterns and two solid black silhouettes of modern art dancers.

I've done a lot more painting since that time. Walk into my daughter Christi's room, and you'll feel like you're entering a lime green lava lamp full of hot pink globs and bulging columns. Upstairs, we have a surf theme room complete with a sandy beach, rolling waves, and a palm trees. We have yellow accent walls in the family room, red halfway up the kitchen, soft pinky-beige walls in the formal living room, patterened spice-colored walls in the master suite, and even bright indigo in the guest bathroom.

Yes, I love to paint.

We even added an art wall recently, covered with framed artwork by my children, paintings by friends and family, and special pieces we've collected. My husband is not an artist, but last year he commissioned an artist at his work to paint a picture of Jesus surfing barefoot, just because he wanted one.

But perhaps my favorite paintings of all, the ones that bring me the most inspiration, are the scriptures I've painstakingly copied in my kitchen and above the arch in the entryway of the house. In the Old Testament we are instructed to write the scriptures on our walls and over our doorways. So it took that literally.

In my kitchen we are daily reminded by cheery red lettering that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When visitors come into our home, they are greeted with a bold declaration in shimmering gold leaf, For in Him we live and move and have our being.

So, I guess you could say, I've made a real mark on my home. I encourage you to make your mark on your home in some significant way. Make it a place where the word of God is declared. Choose art that lifts your spirit and soothes your soul. Decorate in a way that displays your own individual touch.

Tell us what your house looks like and what makes it unique.


  1. Great job on the post and the paint, Dina!

    I've done about every type of wall decorating/painting I can think of but have not yet done 'words'. I love what you chose.

    I have one accent wall in my living room that my friends and I painted as a team. Everyone had a sponge with a slightly different shade of sky blue and we got to work. Yes, I know...sponge painted walls and stencils are probably passe' now but I still love it. I still love wallpaper,too.

    One thing that's semi-permanent in my house is that I did my own tiling in the kitchen and along the backsplash is a thin row of broken dishes (blue-willow type) flat stones and seashells from the ocean and mini pieces of broken tiles in the blue color family. Additionally, I did a mosaic with broken tile in the middle of my tiled island - a scene of the lake outside my window, including a sailboat.
    It's not quite as nice as it sounds. "you get what you pay for!"

  2. That is an awesome bathroom! I did something similar in my son's bedroom (sans spongebob) and made it an underwater room by streaking dark denim waves over a light blue and then using fish stickers and water bubbles and whatnot. :)

  3. Deb, I've always wanted to try something like that tile idea, but would probably start with something simple like a coffee table. The broken dishes sound really beautiful.

  4. Angela, after I did the big makeovers on my kids rooms, I helped some of my friends do it too.

    We did one girls room with water halfway up filled with dolphins and then a pink and purple sky with a sunset.

    We also did an accent wall in a boys room that looks like a wall sized shark tank.

    My friend Angela sketched the dolphins and sharks. I'm just not that good. But I did help paint them.

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  6. I love painting and decorating like this. In our first nursery we painted three Beatrix Potter murals. Last year when we moved into a temporary apartment. I wanted the kids to be excited about their room (which they had to share.) So I got some of those vinyl stickers. Just different sizes of 'dots' in all different shades and put them randomly on the walls then all different colors of chinese lanterns hung randomly from the ceiling. It was cute and cheap and our white walls were transformed.

    I love being creative and leaving my mark on my living space no matter where it is.

  7. Wow, Lisa, who knew we were such an artsy group. I suppose we could have guessed you were, though, by the lovely backdrops and headers you design for us.

  8. Oh goodness, more we all have in common! I've done all manner of painting in my houses, too. And at the church. From a giant nighttime city skyline to life-size Veggie Tales characters at church to turning my daughter's bedroom into a flower garden with giant flowers growing up out of the green-painted concrete floor. Every wall in my kitchen is a different color. And my most recent project was to turn the kids' bathroom into a pirate lair, with parchment/treasure map walls and a turquoise ceiling.
    I love words on the walls, too. Have you seen those lovely vinyl decals of scriptures and quotes and phrases? So much easier than painting them.
    I won't let anyone get rid of the antiquated overhead projector at the church because it comes in handy for all these projects!
    Fun post, Dina!

  9. Niki, great tip on the vinyl scriptures. I've never seen them. The painted ones took a long time. I used stencils with a pencil to get everything perfectly measured and even, and then painted them in. But, I've had them for seven years already, so it was worth it.

    Go artsy Inkies, by the way!

  10. Wow, I wish you all could come over and help me with my house. We have a bit of a weird floor plan and I am not sure what to do about my long, long wall. I am in need of friendly reassurance before I paint it red. Or leave it taupe, or whatever that color is, but I love color.

    I don't have as many insecurities playing with decorating the bedrooms, however, and when we moved here, I promised the kids we could do their rooms however they wanted. My son is a Marvel Superhero fan so he has a huge vinyl Spiderman on the wall and a wallpaper border made to look like life-size comic covers. It might be sensory overload to some, but I think it's fun in there. And he loves it, so that's most important.

  11. Do it, Susanne. Do it! I love red walls. My only caution would be, there's like a bajillion shades of red, so be sure to bring home samples and make sure it looks good with everything. Test it in different lighting throughout the day.

  12. After umpteen years of living in apartments and rented space, when I first bought a house (9 years ago), I enjoyed the opportunity to paint. I started with freehand painting three feet tall daisies on the wall at the foot of my bed -- just because I could! And the daisies were there for several years before I repainted the whole room.

    We went a brick red in our living room last summer--LOVE it!!
    Elaine King

  13. What inspiration and just above the entrance to your kitchen! Your house is amazing!!! Mine is a special little gift from God that I am learning to appreciate more and more every day. :)

  14. Your daisies sound like fun Elaine. I'm surprised to hear how many crazy painters like me there are out there. Fun. Fun. Fun.

  15. T. Anne, I feel the same way about my home.


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