Where Elegance Meets Whimsy

Every once in a while, a girl gets lucky and lands a dream commission, and it has little to do with money.  As a creative, I long to work with clients and designers that don’t take themselves too seriously, and dare to be different.  This was just the case. 

Going back to my mantra of “you never know”, I met this wonderful designer, Ellen Baker of Elle Baker Interiors, at a bowling alley of all places.  Neither one of us bowled, but we were there for a charity gathering.  Months later, Ellen called on me to help with her vision for the clients’ basement.  This was NOT going to be an ordinary basement by any means.  How many basements have you been in where the kids can “slide” their way down, ride on a swing, shoot some hoops, have their own playhouse, home theater, custom American Girl closet and displays, and the list goes on!   Even in its raw stages, as you can see from these Before photos, you could just tell it was going to be special.

My first task was to turn the “playhouse” that wrapped around the staircase into a grayish-lavender cabin, complete with flower garden on one side.  My level, tape measure, and blue tape were the go-to tools for this part of it.



Here’s a closer look at the hydrangeas that were later added on.



Custom raspberry shutters were going to be added to the windows, and deep gray shingles on the roof would complete the look.  These items along with the slide weren’t installed until many weeks later.  We were all anxiously awaiting their arrival, so we could finally see the whole look.  I won’t keep you waiting as long as I had to.






In the meantime, there was plenty more work to be done.  Next up was the locker mural.  Ellen’s sketch was a culmination of DAYS of corroboration with the client, to make sure they got in every last detail that they wanted.  Each locker had a specific meaning, and the clients picked out every color, every jersey, piece of equipment, ball and accessory that I painted.  I honestly think we might still be there researching if it wasn’t for “google”!  Here’s some “during” shots.


After getting the basic shapes blocked in, it was time to paint in all the details, as well as the names, logos, numbers.  With all the construction simultaneously taking place in the basement, some days I opted to come in late, and work for several hours after all the trades had gone home.  Then I could just play my soft music and get in the zone, instead of holding my ears to drown out the drills.  Now that the hoop has been installed, I will be going back to paint a “Shapiro Stadium” sign.



Baby Number 4 was a few weeks from being born, so I had to come back and add his name and date afterward!


Well, believe it or not, there’s still a few surprises left.  But those will have to wait for another post!