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Things Aren't Always What They Seem

Posted 12/6/2014

By now I'm sure you've realised that we like to get creative with the everyday! When I'm designing or building something in Waki I'm always trying to think of a way to make it not only multi-use but beautiful too and Ryan is also constantly thinking of ways he can improve things and experimenting. With such a small (and at times bumpy!) living space at hand we can't really waste any of it with ornaments and the like, so why not make the everyday fixtures and furnishings look good?

The new kitchen cupboards I built before the wedding needed finishing off as we ran out of time and had to leave them unpainted. The doors are made out of simple 10mm thick mdf sheets which took the clean white paint well, however I just didn't see them as special in any way. The existing original bathroom and wardrobe doors at least had a panelled design to them but as the new cupboards were practically in the walkway we really couldn't have doors any thicker than 10mm or else we'd catch ourselves on the handles every time we passed. Also I like things to match and the new white expanse of doors looked out of place alongside the panelled doors so I decided that a touch of optical illusion was in order!

The doors with their white 'frame' borderThe doors with their white 'frame' borderI painted the doors cream to match our walls and the inner panels of the other cupboard doors, then carefully painted a border of thick white gloss paint around them, with also a strip across the centre to imply that they were panelled just like the other doors. Although the gloss border had a slight 3D lip to its edge, it still didn't stand out as much like the real thing so I needed to do a little more. 

Next I highlighted the right hand edge and the tops of the gloss 'frame' to give the illusion of the light reflecting on an edge. Then taking the same matt cream paint and darkening it ever so slightly with a little The completed panel doors with their subtle shading illusionThe completed panel doors with their subtle shading illusionbrown acrylic paint I painted a shadow line on the right hand sides and the top of the panels. The result is a surprisingly convincing set of panel doors that are half the thickness of the others :)

It's a bit tricky to photograph however as I can't stand far enough back to get the doors completely in frame but you should get the idea, perhaps with a little side to side and up and down head movement anyway! Sorry about that! :/

Years ago I once used the same trick to transform an old chipboard box into an oak chest complete with wood grain and painted knots so it can be as challenging and detailed as you dare to go. People never used to believe me and would have to touch it to be sure! 

It's such an easy trick to brighten up a basic flat expanse with little more than the paint you probably still have in the shed, of course it helps if you're an artist but really all you need is to at least have a steady hand and a basic understanding of the principle of shading. 

Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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