Rainbows have been bringing their Technicolor magic to home accessories for a while now, but muralist Racheal Jackson takes the ROYGBIV trend one step further. For Jackson, an unapologetic love of color is more than a decorating choice—it’s both a subtle form of rebellion and a life philosophy. “Growing up, my mom built homes for a living, and every wall was always white,” she says. “Embracing color is a way for me to be myself and not try to fit into anyone else’s aesthetic.”
Case in point: When Jackson first moved into her house, she painted all the walls a very safe, adult gray. “I thought it was the grown-up thing to do,” she says. “After a year of living in it, I realized that it didn’t reflect me at all.” So she embraced her colorful side and started painting vibrant stripes and desert-hued arches on any blank wall she could find. Now under the name Banyan Bridges, she paints custom murals for clients across the country. Here, she shares the stories behind four DIY projects.
The Color-Blocked Entry
It’s not unusual to spend weeks deliberating over the perfect front door hue, but little thought is paid to the interior. “It’s one of those places that becomes invisible to you after living somewhere for so long,” says Jackson. One day, she looked up and decided that enough was enough: “The view from the inside was ugly and the electronic locking mechanism made me cringe.”
A fan of color-blocking, Jackson decided to try the technique, playing with architectural motifs as well as space perception. First, she covered the entry in a layer of bright white. She painted the lower half of the space pink in a faux wainscot style, then added a bold sunrise. “Because we are renting the house from my parents, we’ll eventually replace the door, but this is a good temporary fix that makes it easier to live with,” she notes.
The New-Wave Bath
The original 1960s bathroom was in dire need of a makeover, and Jackson has been gradually updating the space one project at a time. Her most recent DIY was refacing the vanity cabinets with birch plywood. “The wood gave the vanity a lovely spa-like feel,” she says. “The most obvious thing would have been to paint the bath a sage green or soothing blue, but I like to challenge expectations, including my own.” That’s how a red, black, and pink bath was born. “The whole thing has a bit of an ’80s new wave vibe,” she says.
The Rainbow-Bright Kids’ Room
These days, someone might be hesitant to cover up a wall of shiplap—after all, it’s the holy grail for many a Chip and Jo devotee. But the wood paneling that covered the room that Jackson’s three small children share was a poor imitation of the real thing and in pretty rough shape. Her idea: Cover the wall with a mural of colorful arches using plywood, MDF, and paint.
Instead of relying on the tried-and-true (read: easier) method of choosing variations on a paint color by working her way up a swatch card, Jackson manually mixed her own shades. After the first shade was applied, she created each tonal layer of the arches by cutting the previous color with 50 percent white paint. To achieve a perfect arch, Jackson made a DIY compass with a thumbtack and string. “I am obsessed with putting arch details everywhere,” says Jackson. “It’s a fun way to brighten up any place that needs some life and color.”
The Striped Staircase
The wood staircase surrounded by equally dark paneling felt like an overwhelming amount of brown. To brighten this passageway, Jackson applied a fresh coat of white paint to the wall paneling. “That made the biggest difference in helping the space feel open and not claustrophobic,” she says. Next, she sanded the treads of the stairs to keep some wood tones. The risers, on the other hand, got the full spectrum treatment with Annie Sloan chalk paint in a variety of colors. She divided the risers horizontally, giving each one two tones. To give them a more durable finish, she topped them with the brand’s matte lacquer. The result is a bright and happy flight of stairs that makes finding the end of the rainbow as easy as climbing a few steps.
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