Jean Marie Stangert Bovello is an exceptionally talented photographer and has filled her home with family photos, both current and from long ago. Photos of other rooms we've designed together are already on my website, including her Tuscan kitchen with its pergola ceiling, and photo gallery family room, with faux finished pillars and textured walls.
Her vision for the master bedroom is the theme "Make Love Last," weaving together all her beloved family and romantic photos. Here's what we came up with.
First, Jeannie created Italian love letters, using real names from her ancestry. I burned the edges of a few, both for effect and imagining an angry lover's reaction to receiving such a letter, while still incensed with the sender. Sometimes, I actually let them catch fire and then blew them out!
SO FUN! I also tore some of them around the edges and even right through the letter...
or crumpled them up, as though they'd been thrown away in a fit of temper,
only to be rescued, reopened and smoothed out to be read over again and again.
The finish I chose to connect everything together was simply some mahogany water-based stain mixed with water and glaze to add a "smoked effect" to all the edges of the walls, doorways, windows, under shelves and around the letters after applying them to the walls.
Brushing on glaze, then smoothing the tracing paper letter on top of that,
and pushing out air bubbles with a dry brush, and sponging off residual glaze.
The letters went on crinkled and irregular, the ink sometimes smudging, as with tears.
All of which endowed them with an aged, endearing and enduring look.
There were exchanges to and from 4 couples, so a total of 8 letters, and I placed them so the replies were in the same area, with Jeannie's grandmother and grandfather on either side of the bedposts. Sometimes I was able to place the sender near their photo.
This is a cable from the bride-to-be to her husband-to-be, promising to follow
him anywhere during World War II. When fragments of the burnt letters broke off,
and clung to the glaze, we were tickled, because it added a sense of
the fragments of passing time and memories.
Whether love hurts
or feels like a dance,
I think all of us, like my friend and client, want to Make Love Last.