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Debbie Travis' House to Home: Golden glow

This week Debbie Travis answers questions about holiday decorating and her responses are golden
Beauty shot: A traditional hallway comes alive with golden accents decorating blue walls. SBS 1: Gold size is brushed onto a plaster angel that has been painted red. SBS 2: Gold leaf in gently laid onto the tacky size. SBS 3: The golden angel is burnished with a soft cloth.

Dear Debbie;

What are some ideas for a crafter who wants to add gold accents to my home? What are the alternatives? Also thinking of something I can make as a gift.


Dear Eugenia;

A touch of gold has always held a special place in interior decor. Used as an accent on walls and trim, ceiling mouldings and sconces, gold creates a warm, rich ambiance. Its allure is timeless, evoking thoughts of regal settings as well as the everlasting dazzle of twinkling stars. The gold standard is something we aim for: A gold star placed on your homework page meant 'excellent', gold medals say 'the best', a gold ring holds the hopes and dreams of 'forever'. 

There are gold metallic paints available that will help you to easily apply an antique quality and dimension to ceiling trim, and furniture. For a more authentic finish, I have utilized imitation gold leaf. Real gold leaf is expensive, but imitation gold leaf is affordable, and readily available at art and craft stores, sold in 4-inch squares. In the welcoming hallway shown here, stars were drawn onto the blue walls, then a coat of gold size was brushed onto the stars and the leaf applied over the sticky size. The mirror and sconce were also transformed with the imitation leaf.

Here are instructions for leafing a plaster angel. Itís the same process for finishing a lamp base or candlesticks or other small projects that make wonderful gifts. Red paint is applied to the plaster as a base coat that will shimmer through parts of the gilding. Gold size is brushed over the dry basecoat, and allowed to dry until tacky (about one hour). Hold a sheet of the gold leaf in one hand, it is very delicate and will tear easily. Lay it over the tacky surface and smooth it on gently with a soft brush working it into the crevices. Continue until the surface is covered. Now wait until the size is completely dry. Then use a soft brush to dust off the small bits that aren't stuck on, revealing some of the red paint. Polish the surface with a soft rag. If the gold looks too new, apply a little oak stain. Varnish your finished project for protection and sheen.

Dear Debbie;

My partner and I enjoy minimalist decorating, and have furnished our small home in neutrals ñ greys and very light washed out blues. But I feel itís a little too bland, especially in the cold weather. Any suggestions?


Dear Sean;

While a neutral palette is calm and sophisticated, it can always be improved with a few shots of colour. This is the season when jewel tones come into their own. And it doesn't take much to make a big impact. Why not try one or two occasional chairs in sapphire; they would look stunning against your faded blue walls. Purple is a popular shade this year; Line your sofa with a row of amethyst cushions. Look for glass vases in sparkling emerald and ruby shades, a single coloured glass lamp base, or a collection of bright ceramics. Add a few regal tones to your dining table. An all-white setting will shimmer against a royal blue table cloth. Red roses and lush greenery add warmth and romance. A small Persian carpet in the hall, or modern geometric infused with bold colour provide instant interest and a welcome atmosphere.
Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to You can follow Debbie on Twitter, and visit Debbieís new website


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