The Ultimate Children's Design Resource

Design Reveal: Silver Safari

Safari is a classic nursery theme that I happily get requests for over and over. Gentle giraffes and adorable elephants are images many parents (and I!) love to see in children’s rooms. Traditionally, my work consists of carefully painted images complete with meticulous shading and detail, like my classic Safari landscape mural below. I love the tried-and-true hits, but as a designer I always try to push myself and give things a fresh new spin.

When legendary NYC furniture store Bellini approached me to design some wall art for their flagship store, I jumped at the chance to try some new styles. I always start with the composition. I created a digital sketch of a gallery style look that I thought would work well in the space. I used square, rectangular and circular shaped stretched canvases. The grey ovals in the image below reflect where the safari animals would be rendered.

Each background was washed in several tones of richly pigmented paint, creating a soft textural background. I drew the images in white pencil and then applied a brilliant layer of my super secret liquid silver paint.

Carefully choosing animals that all have very different silhouettes, like the Kudu Antelope above and the peacock below, creates a lot of visual interest.

When all of the silhouettes were painted silver, they looked great, but I wanted something magical! So, we gilded each of the paintings with genuine silver leaf. Below all of the pieces wait patiently for their adhesive to dry, after which they’ll have a good “exfoliation” to remove any extra silver leaf not thoroughly attached to the painting.

A gorgeous, multi-textural metallic silhouette is revealed, combining paint and the luster of silver leaf. As a finishing touch, all of the backgrounds were peppered with a myriad of shining silver stars. We can never have enough stars to wish upon.

Before: The walls of the space were painted a clean white, and three glittering crystal globe pendants were hung from the soaring eleven foot ceilings. The space was a grand blank canvas for me to work my paint magic.

After: I painted everything below the chair rail a rich navy, which adds instant dimension. The back wall became home to a pattern of smart stripes. The stripes and blue lower wall color create great contrast for the white furniture and globe pendant lighting. The silver safari prevails as a grand focal point, while complementing and completing the rest of the design.

This tried-and-true theme feels fresh, crisp and glorious!

  • Beth_PN

    Beautiful work, Sam. It looks great!

  • Erin Davenport

    I love the fresh new spin! Fabulous job – the little stars behind the animals are a wonderfully sweet touch :)

  • Michelle Kirsch Freedberg

    Have to say it looks even better in person :) Love it! thanks sam

  • jcurtisvds

    I’m in love with this lamp, where is it from?

  • Sam Simon

    The Giraffe lamp is a Jonathan Adler design and available through Bellini in NYC or

  • Sam Simon

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my craft.

  • Sam Simon

    I love stars, they appear in my work very frequently. I believe it’s very important to always have them around to wish upon. xoss

  • Sam Simon

    Thank you Beth! xoss

  • Lisapeck

    Great work! You have real talent and am glad you’re sharing it with all of us!

  • Sam Simon

    @Lisapeck:disqus Thank you so much for your kind words! It is a pleasure! xoSS

  • stacie

    Where did the rug come from???

  • Alison Mar

    What a wonderful room! Bellini’s made their best decision getting you :)

  • Marlene Ivler

    You’re so amazing, Sam! You’re just oozing with creativity!

  • Sam Simon

    Dear @facebook-100002093880400:disqus thank you so much! xoss

  • Sam Simon

    @facebook-100004107548048:disqus thank you! I’m grateful to
    @facebook-1048240306:disqus and @bellini for the opportunity to share my craft. xoss

  • hayley thomas

    What is the name of the navy color you used?

  • Hillary Homan

    Can you tell me the colors of the Navy and the bright green?

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