In an apartment in Seattle’s North Capitol Hill neighborhood, there is a “Love U” message on the ceiling of a dining room – you just can’t see it. Interior designer and director at Le Whit, Liza Curtiss, scribbled it in a “cheesy serious moment” of gratitude to her friend as she was preparing the ceiling for her new rental apartment. “It was painted over, of course, but we both know it’s there, including everything,” says Curtiss.
A secret message in preparation. Curtiss first worked the perimeter so as not to paint outside the lines later.
So that their rented apartment doesn’t look bare and impersonal, the designer chose a rich green color, taken from the palette of a contemporary abstract painting that hangs in the adjoining living room. Curtiss adjusted the color of the painting’s enigmatic green (Benjamin Moore’s Hidden Falls is similar to the now-discontinued color she was using). “It looks like the water of nearby Lake Washington, which changes from pine green to ink green to a little black with the weather,” she says, noting that the reflective, semi-gloss surface catches light and effects differently over the course of the day reinforced. “I wanted to give depth of color and a sense of home.”
“A darker color creates an eye-catcher in the room,” adds Benjamin Moore’s color marketing and development specialist Arianna Cesa. “It’ll catch your eye right away.” The effect is an “open night sky” moment blowing out angles to create a curvature that enhances grandeur.
The result: a cozy enclave that invites you to long conversations over dinner. Curtiss also enhances the ambience with subdued lighting and candles. “The dark ceiling adds to that feeling of intimacy,” she adds. “I want my guests to stay late into the night as if they had found a secret hole in the wall where time flies.”
Curtiss isn’t the only one who is repainting her ceiling. According to TaskRabbit, an online services marketplace, the demand for ceiling murals increased 109% in 2021. When choosing your own shade, you should look for colors that are two to three shades darker than your walls for optimal contrast, depth and a “distinctive design element”, recommends Cesa.
The Alexander Nepote oil painting once belonged to Curtiss’ grandmother, who bought it in Carmel, California.