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The how-to behind the Land of Nod's rainbow wall

Earlier this week we posted one more sign of the American retail recovery, the expansion of the Land of Nod at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Times photographer Allen J. Schaben's shot of the brick wall at the checkout counter prompted us to ask Land of Nod creative director Danielle Kurtz about her painting process. Kurtz finished the design by herself in 15 hours. Our edited Q&A with Kurtz:

You started with a background coat of white?

We first had the wall painted a solid, very pale, mint green. I knew that was the color I wanted as the "grout," so we used that as our starting point.

How did you pick the palette?

I started with the dark turquoise. It's a color from the exterior of our recently remodeled flagship store in Chicago. From there I wanted to do an alternative, updated version of a rainbow palette. So I picked up a fan of paint colors from Sherwin Williams and just started cutting up the chips until I found a combination I liked. It was important that none of the colors be too light, since I knew we would add the logo in white at the end.

How many colors did you use?

Counting the mint green of the grout, there were seven colors total. In the original planning, I had chosen eight, but I decided on the spot that a deep navy was going to be too overpowering. When I was painting, I started with the lighter colors first, knowing I wanted them to have a bit more coverage, and I worked my way to the darker colors. I know they could have as much presence without painting as many bricks.

What kind of paint did you use?

Sherwin Williams semi-gloss, just your standard interior wall paint.

For speed, you painted the bricks freehand? No masking tape?

Yes, it was all painted by hand with a pretty standard brush. No taping. I had to go back at the end and touch up the grout lines a bit. And it's far from perfect. But it's meant to be viewed from several feet away, and the bricks themselves weren't perfectly shaped. I like that it's not too slick and pristine. Our brand's definitely not about perfection, so it fits.

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