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 Debbie Travis' Decorating Solutions: More Than 65 Paint and Plaster Finishes for Every Room in Your Wherever you live, chances are there are a few things about your home you'd like to change. As best-selling author and television host Debbie Travis points out in her introduction, "Decorating is an ongoing process. Each time you change your address, or even if you stay in the same place, the process of adapting your home to suit your changing moods and needs is constant, because, in truth, no room is perfect." But often we look around at a new home with large expanses of white walls, or someone else's color scheme, or an apartment that hasn't been painted in years, and we simply don't know where to start. In Debbie Travis' Decorating Solutions, Travis has gathered together her best ideas for solving the most common decorating dilemmas plaguing homeowners and renters alike.

The book begins with a valuable outline of the proper steps for preparing a variety of surfaces and gives a complete rundown on paints, glazes, plaster, sealants, and materials, including helpful descriptions of different tools and basic instructions on stenciling, block painting, and plastering. Next, because working with color can be intimidating at first, a section on color will help you choose the right one for your needs. Then, taking the commonsense approach of accentuating the positive and camouflaging the negative, Travis offers imaginative solutions to problems ranging from cracked walls to damaged floors, from outdated kitchen cabinetry to dreary bathroom tiles. Included are ideas and complete step-by-step instructions for more than 65 different paint, plaster, and paper finishes for transforming walls, floors, ceilings, doors, fireplaces, bathrooms, kitchens, hallways, and staircases, all without the fuss of major renovation.

Lavishly illustrated with more than 400 full-color photographs and packed with practical information, Debbie Travis' Decorating Solutions is an inspiration for anyone who wants to bring out the best in a home.
  Date Published 8/31/1999

Average Rating: Rating Average
Rated By: Laurie Mccall "Laurie"
From: Georgia
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: I did an incredible floor from this book
Another great book from Debbie Travis. I followed the directions to the letter and have the most incredible floor. Everyone that sees it is amazed at how beautiful and durable it is!
Rated By: Lawrance M. Bernabo
From: The Zenith City: MN
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: I do not know if I could actualy do these things myself, but I am getting ideas
So, anyhow, we are thinking about building a new house and towards that goal we started doing three things this summer. First, we put up three poster boards on the wall in the kitchen where we could jot down ideas for each room of the house. Second, on Sunday afternoon we go looking at open houses in the area. Third, we made HGTV our default television channel; if we are not watching anything else that is what we watch, which means that most days we get a double dose of Debbie Travis. Specifically that would be the half-hour "Debbie Travis' Painted House" and the full-hour "Debbie Travis' Facelift." Now, the second and third points are some of the ways we come up with things to put down on the posters, along with correcting aspects of our current living situation and memories of homes past. But I also have to admit that I got to the point where if I did not hear Debbie Travis each day, my day was not complete. It is not just the accent, but the unique cadence to her way of talking that we call "Debbie speak" around the house.

The first thing you need to know about Debbie Travis is that she wants to paint pretty much everything (but first, you want to put on a good coat of primer). Understand that and you can appreciate "Debbie Travis' Decorating Solutions: More than 65 Paint and Plaster Finishes for Every Room in Your Home," which is co-written with Barbara Dingle with photographs by George Ross. As Travis explains in her introduction, "Just as the windows are the eyes of a house, the walls, floors, and ceilings are the soul." The point of this book is to convince you that it does not take much to make them beautiful and to give you a wide range of options along those lines.

"Part One: Before I Start Painting" is a reminder to do appropriate preparation before you begin decorating. In detailing the preparation and tools of the trade for decorating, Travis provides specific tips and tools for painted finishes, stenciling, plaster finishes, and other techniques covered in the book. There is also a section devoted to choosing color, which along with pattern and texture are the principal elements of any decorating scheme. Here you will learn the basic shades of yellow, blue, green, and red, along with terra cotta, white, neutral colors, brown, and black. You will also pick up tips as to where and how to use each, because the whole point here is to come up with ideas for solving your decorating problems.

The bulk of the book is devoted to "Part Two: Decorating with Paint and Plaster." Within this unit there are five sections, each of which is divided into more specific techniques: (1) Walls offers a wide variety of techniques: color washed walls, graffiti, weathered wallboards, tinted Venetian plaster, leather walls, feathering and parchment. Then Travis moves on to decorative wall panels (strie, faux linen, pastel metallic, and frescoed), an innovative dado that divides a room (brushed steel, fantasy marble, faux denim, country tartan, and anaglypta), and building a border (gesso, French country, Casablanca tile, lincrusta borders along with stenciled silhouettes). The key thing here is that you are going to find something that catches your eye, and then the big question is whether you think you can follow the instructions well enough to actually do some of these yourself. I fully admit that stenciled wall paneling scares me, but I actually think I could do the leather walls and/or the parchment for my study and maybe even the frescoed panels for the master bathroom (where I want to try a warmer style).

Obviously the emphasis in this "Painted House" volume is on walls, but Travis goes on to talk about the other parts of the wall as well: (2) Floors covers (ha-ha) honeycomb floor, clip art border, block painting and cottage floor; (3) Ceilings involves bronze moldings, gold leaf ceiling, distressed stucco ceiling, leopard ceiling, and the one I find most interesting, cloudy sky; (4) Kitchens and Bathrooms involves quick fixes for kitchens when renovating is not an option, such as backsplashes along with fantasy wood graining, crackle finish, and heritage kitchen cabinets. For bathrooms the focus is on eye-catching ways of making the most of a small space; and (5) Stairways, Doors, and Fireplaces, which are just touched on in terms of dressing up doors with easy painted finishes and fast fix-ups for fireplaces.

Those last couple of sections only touch on what all can be done in such areas, and you can track down "Debbie Travis' Kitchens and Baths" or other volumes in the "Painted House" series that go into more detail on those or other rooms of the house. The bottom line here is to show you that you can make your home stylish without spending a whole lot of money. That is why this volume has over 400 photographs and step-by-step instructions for each specific section. After all, when it is your house you do not have to do with some safe shade of white on your walls. Picking a color is only part of your decision and even if you are intimidated by pattern, at the very least you can add texture into the equation.
Rated By: Sonya "readaholic"
From: Dallas, TX
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Not as good as some of her other books
I Enjoy watching Debbie on Painted Houses and Facelift. She is not afraid of color and seems to be able to decorate in various styles. I bought her Living Rooms book and think it is one of the best. This one is not up to par. Many of the projects use garish wall colors. I am not adverse to color - I have it all through my house, but I think many of her choices don't blend well and don't seem to complement each other.

This book might be okay for you if you like a funky/hip kind of decor, which a lot of the designs seemed to cover. There are some more sedate choices like the "leather walls" and the "colorwashed walls" which are quite beautiful. I would recommend her Facelift book and her Painted House Living and Dining Rooms.
Rated By: D. B. Lieberman
From: New York
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: She Sticks to One Style
This book is for people who like lots of color, and the shabby chic cottage type of look (painted furniture, painted hardwood floor, etc). I was hoping she would offer paint ideas for a wide array of decorating styles which she does not.
Check it out from your local library instead.

Rated By: "petersmaclean"
From: Edward Island, Canada
Rating: Rating Average
I actually preferred this book to "Debbie Travis' Painted House." This book is particularly useful for those renovating older homes, which often have a ton of existing cracks and flaws in the plaster. It is also a super book for those redoing an older apartment. With the transcient turnover of tenants, most apartment owners seem to think white is the eternal answer to everything; therefore, we often find white-washed institutionalized walls in every room. The nitty-gritty of the matter is that white paint can be relatively cheap, and for many landlords cheap comes first on the list of priorities if, in fact, painting is even on the list at all!

This book will help you spruce up those hum-drum boring walls, floors, and even stairways. I particularly liked the kitchen and bathroom concepts. Generally, when you do buy an older home or rent an older apartment, these two rooms tend to be a tenant's worst nightmare. Debbie has some great concepts for these areas, especially with kitchen cabinets, and she even has advice for redoing a fireplace.

The only downside of the book is similar to "Painted House." Many of the colour schemes are simply too trendy for my taste and appear outright garish. Some walls almost jump at you. However, the various finishes and techniques make up for what the book lacks in colour co-ordination.

Rated By: Anne Masterson
From: CT
Rating: Rating Average
Comments: Excellent book with do-able ideas
I have been a fan of Debbie Travis for a while. Unlike some instructional books for faux finishes which are complicated and use items I will not be able to find in my small hometown, Debbie's instructions are easy and I can find everything at my local paint store. As some have noted, some of the colors used are a bit garish. However, these are just an example. I followed the directions for the tinted venetian plaster (which in the book is a hideous green and yellow combination) in neutral umbers and it came out beautifully. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking to add some color and texture to their home.