From White To Wow!

BY DESIGN

August 28, 1994|By BETH SMITH

When Cindi Presson bought her Baltimore condominium, every wall in the home was new-construction white. Ms. Presson decided that white was nice, but she wanted something more exciting on the walls of her first home.

Watching the sun come up through her condo window, she was impressed with the vivid hues of the early-morning sky. Her idea was to take some of the tones of the sky -- the pinks, purples,

blues and aquas -- and put them on the walls of her condo. The jumping off point for the project would be a small master bathroom.

"The first thing I did was to call Carol," says Ms. Presson, referring to her old Towson High School chum Carol Grillo. "I knew she had started a business painting designs on furniture and walls and I had seen some work that she did in her own home. I really loved all the bright colors she used." After telling Ms. Grillo that she wanted a very exotic mural on the walls of the bathroom reflecting sunrise to sunset, she gave her free rein to create the design.

Ms. Grillo arrived at the condo each day after Ms. Presson left for work and left before she arrived home. "Basically, we wrote long letters to each other as the work progressed," says Ms. Grillo, whose lush bathroom mural of flowers, exotic birds and rich blue sky caused a stir at this year's Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Show House.

"When we first started, Cindi said she wanted everything in the mural, from waterfalls to flowers, but I convinced her we really didn't have the space." Instead, what Ms. Grillo painted was a landscape of vines and flowers under a ceiling sky of light to midnight blue. "I used metallic paint for the stars and half-moon because I wanted the night portion of the mural to have a special illumination," she adds.

Working in the very tight space of Ms. Presson's bathroom, Ms. )) Grillo sketched her design as she went along, rather than work from a master plan. After covering every bit of wall and ceiling space with acrylic paint in greens, purples, pinks, blues, she sealed the mural in aqua plastic urethane to give it a silky, smooth finish.

"The challenge of this job was blending together such strong paint colors," says Ms. Grillo. "And, I think I was able to do it in a way that takes away the claustrophobic feeling of the original white walls."

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