Once upon a time when someone talked about stenciling their walls I imagined rooster motifs or folk art designs because well, I'm a child of the 80s and back then that was all the rage. Stencils and wallpaper borders wrapped tightly around kitchens and bathrooms nationwide were the ultimate sign of a domestic design diva. If you had sponge painted a wall, stenciled it, or embellished it with a wallpaper border you. were. the. bomb.
Move forward to 2009 and stencils are back and while there are tons of tacky motifs out there you can also find some gorgeous ones. I'll admit, images of 1980s homes do tend to flash in my head whenever someone offers to share photos of their newly stenciled file boxes, living room walls, furniture, or even their floors with me — but seeing some of the recent trends in stenciling is definitely changing my perspective in a very positive way. I now want to give stenciling it a try again in my own home (last time I stenciled was with my mother as a teenager), perhaps on a ceiling or maybe even the floors. I think stenciling a patio floor would be exciting!
When I think about it, especially as I look at these stunning photographs of ceilings and floors, I guess it was never the art of stenciling that bothered me, it was the paint colors and/or the motifs that were so common back in the day — when mauve and powdered blue were HOT. My dislike also had to do with the actual skill involved — I recall lots of really 'bad' stencil jobs because the homeowner was clearly impatient so bleeding and smudging was noticeable and not that attractive. I also think materials twenty years ago were a lot different than ones today. The choices that are out there now contribute largely to a more flawless execution.
When stenciling is done RIGHT – good colors, great pattern, steady hand, obvious talent, the results are typically impressive, budget-friendly, and because of this rival even some of the most gorgeous wallpaper patterns on the market today. Look at these ceilings and tell me they're not amazing? While obviously time consuming, having work like this in your home no doubt gives one pride and joy. It also makes a room have a uniqueness to it that friends and family members cannot easily duplicate making it that much more desirable. More popular wallpaper patterns tend to pop up in everyone's home. Stencils are different so the final product is rarely exact making your work that much more special I think. Though I still love wallpaper, stenciling is another great design idea.
The photos shown aboves are from a friend of mine, Maryam in Marrakesh, and shows stencils in her home office (notice her mat, boxes, tins) and in her hotel which is currently under construction. You can view more photographs from her office here. Maryam hired a US-based company, Modello Designs, to stencil the resort hotel that she plans to open in November 2009 called Peacock Pavilions. As you can clearly see, this is an example of stenciling done right.
Beautiful, huh!? Does this give you a more current, positive perspective on stenciling? Thought so.
(images from my marrakesh)