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A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

Layering Colors and Wax for an Aged Emerald Finish: Annie Sloan's Amsterdam Green and Graphite

It’s a new year and I’m back to working on furniture pieces today! [keep an eye on my Instagram account for photos of my current project!] I painted this great little antique find just before the holidays and I’m finally getting around to sharing it with you! This table is an antique, and one that wasn’t well taken care of. There were layers of sticky residue on the top and sides of the piece. Normally when using Annie Sloan chalk paint or any other similar calcium carbonate based paint, I never have to sand or really prep the piece for paint. This one required a good bit of love and sanding before it was ready to take to paint.

Sometimes furniture just speaks to a certain painting technique or colorway. Looking at the bones of the piece, I knew it needed a color varied style to highlight all the unique details of it. There’s a lot going on for such a small piece of furniture: scalloped edge at the front and back [the piece is double sided so it can float in a room if need be], fluted detailing along the squared frame, curved angles on the side magazine holders and the top and beautiful little bun feet at its base.

When something has lots of character, applying a contrasting wax brings all those intricacies to life instantly. For the base color, I combined three parts Annie Sloan Amsterdam Green with one part Graphite to help mute the bold Emerald a bit. [to see what true Amsterdam Green looks like on furniture, check out this dresser I finished a couple years back- it really is a gorgeous color!] I painted one coat with this mixture and then added one more part of Graphite to deepen it further and painted the piece here and there, not fully covering the initial greener base, so that the subtle change between the shades could still be seen.

I sanded using a wet piece of 400 grit sandpaper, which allows the paint to slough off a bit more aggressively. I wanted the original deep brown stain to peek through more, adding to that aged effect and creating lowlights on the piece. Finally, I brushed on white wax, not completely covering the piece, focusing on the crevices and details. I wiped the white wax with a white t-shirt rag, and then lightly applied a second coat of wax, now using clear wax. Combining the two waxes gives the piece that white washed look without completely altering the base colors. The end result is a multilayered, textured finish that shows off the aged beauty of this table.

I painted this piece to hold piano books in my living room beside my sofa, but it is up for sale now just in case anyone else has a place for this little gem! If you have any questions on my paint technique or inquiries on custom furniture pieces, contact me!

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WINE CART OR BAR CART? YOU CHOOSE! RED BAR CART IN ANNIE SLOAN'S EMPEROR'S SILK AND ENGLISH YELLOW

As soon as I saw this little bar cart, I hoisted it into my arms and walked it to the cash register, not bothering to wait for help. I couldn’t have anyone else to snatch it up! It’s so rare to find a great little slim cart that holds TONS of bottles. 24 bottles of wine is far more than I can keep on hand [I likes my wine!]. Now let’s talk about the painting process!

I painted the cart in a mixture of Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk [4 parts] and English Yellow [1 part] chalk paint to achieve this bright, bold pop of red. It took nearly four coats, which was a bit unusual since I’ve always found my furniture to cover in 2 coats. This piece does have so many nooks and crannies and it just took a bit of time to get the finish to where I was really happy with it. But I have to say, it was worth the extra time and effort since it’s just a stunning piece in my kitchen right now!

I styled it two ways [see below] as a wine cart [didn’t have many bottles on hand, but just envision dozens of bottles lining the shelves!] and as a bar cart with the fixings for cocktails.

It’s perfect for a party, since you can just roll this little cart to wherever the party is! I just moved, and I’m seriously due for a stock the bar housewarming party, so I may have to hold onto this beautiful red cart until then. I’m tempted to just hold onto this guy permanently, but I did tell myself I wouldn’t hold onto any furniture if someone wants to buy it, so let’s see if I stick to that goal!

If you’re looking for a great little gift for your favorite wine drinker or cocktail enthusiast, head to my shop and check it out!

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UPDATES: BACK TO PAINTING! SPEARMINT GREEN NIGHTSTANDS IN ANNIE SLOAN'S LEM LEM AND FLORENCE

It’s been far too long since I’ve shared my work here! As I mentioned in my previous posts, my house went on the market a few months back. The whirlwind of preparing the house, going through open houses, showings and ultimately selling our home was much more work than I’d ever anticipated. Finding a home in my new city, Dallas, Texas was even more daunting. Five weeks ago, I said goodbye to my Atlanta home and hello to my Dallas home! I can’t wait to share all I’ve done to my new home already, but my first priority after getting settled in was to crack back into work! I haven’t had a space to paint furniture in so long, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to pick up a brush and start transforming new pieces to sell. I’m really pleased with how my first project turned out!

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This pair of nightstands was my first project in Dallas. They were found in my family’s storage unit collecting dust. I was happy to take it off their hands and give these guys a new look, since their current state was a bit drab to say the least.

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Most of my paint didn’t fare well during my hiatus and the move, so I just had a few bits of Annie Sloan’s Florence and Lem Lem chalk paint to work with for this project. To create the base color, I combined one part Florence, a bold turquoise with four parts Lem Lem, a light spring green.

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The paint mixture had a lot of texture in it [a nicer way of saying there were bits of dried paint in it- never fun!] so I decided to go for a distressed look to both get rid of the dried paint particles and add dimension to their somewhat boxy appearance.

After distressing, I took Lem Lem, thinned it out with a few drops of water and painted a wash over the base color, wiping it off in certain spots to create a lighter, blended finish.

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I went back and forth about changing out the hardware of the drawers. These are the originals, and at first I was unsure about how they worked with this paint finish, but once I styled the nightstands with objects, they really grew on me. I sort of love the nod to their original look. If someone prefers something more modern, it’s a two minute swap to screw in new pulls.

Depending on the angle and the lighting, the color really brightens up and transforms to a light spearmint shade. The way the colors transform throughout the day is really what I love most about working with the Annie Sloan line of paint!

This pair is now up for sale in my shop [which is now based in Dallas, Texas!]. I’m going to work on shipping furniture in the coming months so I can share my work with people from around the country! Keep an eye out for quite a few more things popping up in my shop during the coming weeks. I snagged three more pieces just yesterday and have already finished up a great little wine rack / bar cart. I’m SO glad to be back to work at A Simpler Design and can’t wait to end this year with a frenzy of paint in all kinds of colors!

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BEFORE AND AFTER: MY PAINTED AND STAGED KITCHEN

My kitchen. It’s my baby, my everything. I spend ALL of my time in here, or at least it feels that way! As far as staging goes, it didn’t take much for it to get ready. I keep my countertops almost completely free of anything that isn’t essential. I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I am really particular when it comes to the kitchen. For preparing to put the house on the market, we did declutter the interiors of the cabinets [though that didn’t last very long, since there are SO many kitchen supplies I am incapable of living without!]. Throughout the day, there’s lots of natural light in the kitchen, so keeping all our house plants in place helps highlight that. I simplified what I kept on the open shelf cabinet, leaving only white serving pieces to give it a clean look. What really transformed the kitchen was the white paint on the walls. Nearly the entire house was painted in Sherwin Williams Alabaster, a perfect ‘Goldilocks’ white in my eyes: not too warm, not too cool and just right. It instantly made the kitchen feel larger, brighter and more streamlined. The few hits of color in the space [mostly varying shades of blue and teal] now add a subtle pop to the kitchen. This kitchen is so functional and beautiful, it didn’t take much work [other than a little tidying and paint] to bring it to life for the staging photos. Check out a few ‘Before and After’ shots below!

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Mixing White and Black Wax for a Brushed Graphite Finish

I know...my first furniture post in AGES! The past few months have been crazy here. My home is currently up for sale, so it's been months of staging and photographs and keeping the house pristine.  All of those factors makes painting furniture in my house a challenge to say the least.  I've decided to start things up again, mostly because I'm going a little nuts not being able to continue my furniture painting obsession. My first project piece was this beautiful double bowed dresser. I painted this piece for my Airbnb and I've received wonderful compliments on it from my guests!  The finish is really unique. I painted it with my go to Graphite chalk paint from Annie Sloan and brushed on a mixture of white wax and black wax.  I didn't blend the two waxes completely. The mixture resembled crushed up Oreos [I really should have provided myself Oreos while writing this post...fail!]. I brushed on the mottled wax mixture, quickly buffing it away with a white t-shirt rag to blend the finish. I love the depth it gives this piece! What do you think of it?  I'll be putting it up for sale soon in my shop

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