May Love Always Bloom Here!
The Newlyweds First Home
By Sandra K. (Sass) Lassley
Wedding photo ©Brad Iwen/www.iwenweddings.com
“My Mom has an incredible talent for using her creativity and experience to really create a unique environment tailored to her customer. In this case, she transformed a simple house into a home that embodies my wife’s personality, and mine. Thank you Mom!.” -Sage Lassley
“We are so thankful to have such a beautiful home as our very first!!!! Every room in the house shows the love and creativity our family put in to it.” -Ashley Cox Lassley
My son Sage (the groom) recently married the daughter of one of my best friends from childhood. They have known each other since childhood and Ashley (the bride) has always been part of our family and it is a dream come true for her mother and me to see our children complete the loving circle. My son’s new mother-in-law was a bridesmaid in my wedding! How cool is that?
It was with great joy and pleasure that I had the privilege of designing a colorful first home for my son and his new wife. Whenever I visit, I love the special feeling it brings me to see their personalities reflected in their living space. While this is not the largest or most ornate home we’ve ever done, this labor of love is one of my favorite projects of my entire career.
Following is an account of what we did to make this house a home!
I completed this project with my husband Jeff and our daughter Sasha, who is on our crew and did this entire project as her wedding gift to Sage and Ashley. Sasha logged over 60 hours in her ‘labor of love’ and Jeff and I have even more hours over the course of two weeks.
The design process began when Ashley showed me a catalog from West Elm. They both really liked the look and feel of the finishes on the pages. The more I met with them it became clear that they wanted their home to be light, fresh, young and, mostly, colorful.
I had so much fun designing what was to go into each room. I designed the wall finishes, chose all the fabrics for window treatments, chairs and pillows and chose most of the artwork. I would offer the kids several selections and they always agreed on what they wanted.
The wedding was June 27, 2009 and Ashley wanted to move into the house by end of May. The home was purchased three years ago with the intent of selling it to my son when he graduated college and/or got married. For two weeks in early March we made super good use of our time and completed the entire house! We replaced lighting, washed all the woodwork, did major deep cleaning and transformed every inch of wall space.
Ashley previously lived in a loft in Oklahoma City and had arranged a transfer with her company (UPS). She moved here and stayed with her aunt while we overhauled the house. She owned a few key pieces. She sent me photos so I could see what we had to work with. Primarily, she was bringing a medium beige suede sectional and a large area rug with a blue and lime color way.
This was the inspiration for the walls in the main living room/entry area. The home is a split-level. We decided to do the main living area (entry, living room, dining area, kitchen and hallway) in the same technique to unify and further open the space.
The couple chose a carpet darker than the sofa, which had some black flecks in it. I knew the walls needed to be kept light in value, yet I wanted them to have depth and interest. This can be a challenge with light finishes.
Eventually we settled on a sample after adjusting the color about five times. This is a quick and easy finish and every time I do it I am amazed how effective and beautiful the result is!
First, we repaired nail pops and primed all the walls. Venetian Plaster, tinted to a Sand color, was applied with a trowel leaving much texture and movement. Once dry, we added AquaCreme to Champagne Mist Lusterstone and troweled it tight over all the plaster. The result was exactly what they were looking for–light value on the walls, medium value of the furniture and the darkest on the floor to anchor the rooms. The best part was that we didn’t have to work over the carpet as it was installed after we finished the walls.
I designed all the window treatments to hang from the ceiling to visually raise the ceilings (also no rods to purchase-a method to my madness!).
To accent all this neutral color, I used the tall center wall in the middle of the room as an ‘art wall.’ I incorporated all of the colors in the fabrics from the custom window treatments–blue, teal, coffee and golden beige. I mixed these four colors in metallic and then in wax and used them on the art wall. This four-sided unit is seen from the living room and wraps around the kitchen.
The kitchen was tackled next and was a true labor of love for all.
It was very important to me to get the kids INVOLVED and let them have a hand in some of the actual work. Pride of workmanship helps people to take care of things after all! So a fun night spent exploring color combinations and sizes of tiles. TRUST me I wanted to do the bigger ones but KNEW THE SMALLER ONES WOULD ROCK!!!!!!!!!
As the kitchen had no tile backsplash, we added yet another color from the countertop (brown suede) and did over 1500 one inch mosaic tiles over a Shimmered Suede background to make a kitchen backsplash.
Since the windows do not have trim, I wrapped the tiles into the window frame and up the sides of the cabinet for a seamless look. Three coats of gloss topcoat were applied for protection.
As a memory all of our day bent over all of us that worked on it signed behind the stove. Ashley and Sage had a hand in pouncing these little squares and are especially proud of their backsplash one of the wedding ushers even joined in the fun too!
The lower level of the home was finished with my FauxCademy Award winning Anaglypta technique. I paint Anagypta papers and embed them under plaster. When dry, the area is glazed with several colors for a warm and inviting look.
The sectional for this room is on order as I write, but the walls are skip troweled in a rusty suede color. Sage’s guitar collection hangs proudly against this finish. The texture helps warm up the lower level and makes for a very unique space.
The office was a huge challenge! Yellow and silver is one of the more difficult color combinations I have ever worked with.
Eventually a graphic horizontal stripe pattern was chosen, and Venetian plaster was mixed in yellows and oranges and troweled within the stripes. The silver metallic was painted in circles over Venetian plaster base coats with a pounce brush, emulating a finish on stainless steel in one of their favorite restaurants. Finishing the effect were dull, round, silver upholstery nails.
The pièce de résistance is the crowning glory of the room–a beautiful orange leather chair that one of my clients gave me.
I designed the guest room with the idea that it could easily be transformed into a nursery at a later date. Ashley and Sage went to Jamaica on their honeymoon and love the colors of the water there so this was the inspiration for the walls. Cool blues and aqua with highlight pearls were used in this room. They accented with a brown suede coverlet Ashley brought with her. New pillows from West Elm completed the look. Her parents love staying in this room when they come from Missouri to visit!
The upstairs bath evokes a linear Asian feel. A ground of brown suede was allowed to dry then taped out randomly. I mixed two shades of yellow gold Venetian plaster and worked them together over the tape. When the tape was pulled, it revealed this beautiful, modern look that is smooth and shiny but has a fun tactile quality with the suede stripes.
Ashley’s parents had crown molding left from one of their projects, which they happily donated to the effort. Measurements were carefully taken and we found we had enough for both the master bedroom and the hall bath. A warm coppery finish was applied to the crown that caps the room with an elegant touch.
The master bedroom/bath we dubbed “Wasabi and Ginger.” I found a fabulous lime and brown brocade print at an unbelievable price point and designed this space around that. The walls are a spicy Venetian plaster topped with an orange-gold highlight coat and then glazed. The ceiling is lime green, custom-color Lusterstone.
A bronze and black embedded finish was used on the crown that Sage and Jeff installed. A silky brown coverlet and custom pillows complete the look. My next project will be completing three small canvases to hang behind the bed.
I use Shimmered Suede from Perfetto in Black Walnut on doors and banisters. We installed a piece of molding about a half inch above the stairs on the wall from the toe of the step about three inches. We ran it the same angle as you would run a normal skirt board.
There was NO trim left unfinished in this house. We even applied the Shimmered Suede to this teeny 3-D molding and the wall down to the stairs, effectively suggesting that there is a wood board that also matches the front door. Anyway, it is an inexpensive and effective way of warming up the entry protecting the wall finish and making things look more finished.
An especially funny shot taken during LATE HOURS sampling backsplash possibilities it seems my son was INFUSED with ahhh well CREATIVE ENERGY!!!! THAT’S MY BOY!
Editor’s note: Sass discusses her life as an artist and gives tips on surviving in today’s world… click her name to listen Sass Lassley
Sandra K. Lassley
Fe FI Faux Studios, Inc.
402-491-3289 or 402-598-0538
In the tradition of numerous faux and decorative painters, Sandra K. (Sass) Lassley was born to paint! She brings an edgy and modern hip vibe to her artwork; not surprisingly, clients and other artisans have responded to those qualities in droves. This was never more apparent than when her faux reptile-skin boots – which Sass describes as a ‘quirky mixture of faux and soul’ – achieved Most Creative Use of a Faux Finish status in the 2006 Fauxcademy Awards Competition. Sass and her team also brought home Best Kitchen and Best Recreational Hearth Room awards, as well as nominations for Best Architectural Feature and Best Sample Creation.
Born into a painting family, her father Marty Stiefel opened “Stiefel Painting & Decorating” before Sass was walking. She fondly recalls the can of glitter (used on ceilings in those days) her Dad kept in his van. Based on personal experiences and observations, “My Father never imagined the scope of sophisticated and beautiful painted finishes that would flood the market in the following two decades and the career that awaited his daughter!”
The need to create proved infectious, so in 1989 her father sent her to study with Ina Brosseau Marx, renowned teacher of fine faux finishes at The Finishing School in New York. Sandra returned from school full of enthusiasm and unstoppable determination…and Fe Fi Faux Studios Inc. was born!
“It was very important to me to create something modern, different and fresh,” states Sass. There would be no shaping or styling of Sass to fit some decorative painting mold. Former teacher Rebecca E. Parsons says, “Sass is an artist who is both excitingly of the moment bringing an edgy fusion of art and creativity with a little sass thrown into the mix.”
The award-winning artisan continues her education by attending the finest teaching studios in the country including Miller Wagenaar Studios in Chicago, The Faux Institute in Denver and Kelly S. Kings Institute of Decorative Finishes here in Nebraska. Sass loves to travel, meet new people and open an occasional bottle of cabernet. A highlight of a recent European tour was photographing hundreds of aging old-world walls to use as a reference for future creations.
Sandra’s work has been featured in “Open House,” a magazine of interior design and architecture, “The Faux Finisher” magazine, “From House to Home” magazine, “Omaha World Herald” newspaper, “Remodel Omaha” magazine, “Artistically Speaking” online magazine, “Profiles In Faux Finishing” and “Street of Dreams Magazine.” She and her professional crew, who strive to bring the craft of faux finishing to the level of artistry, have completed projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and South Dakota.
Read this article and then POST a comment – Sass will be reading these comments herself, so speak directly TO her and let her know what you got out of this article!