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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].  

Color Inspiration: Chasing the Sunrise at Grand Teton National Park

*Okay so I'm cheating a little...I wrote this post for my personal website, States of Reverie, since that's where I share my posts on food and travel and all the etc. of my life. But I have to say, my trip out west to Wyoming and Montana was inspirational both in my personal and professional life. That being said, I'm sharing my little reflection on my first morning out west, along with a few other posts on my trip that I'll share in the coming weeks. On a furniture related note, I'm currently painting a piece inspired by the deep corals found in the sunrise seen below!

I began my week out west with a sunrise. I ended it with a sunset. Befitting imagery to be sure, but imagery that upon further reflection has created a sense of longing, a heartache for something more. These photos were taken on the road heading from Jackson Hole, Wyoming toward Grand Teton National Park. Whenever I'm visiting someplace scenic, someplace expansive, someplace where the ocean meets the sky, where the mountains carve out the horizon, I am compelled to watch the sunrise, even if just once. It takes some planning [I am a morning person, but I wouldn't call myself an early riser by any means], and almost certainly a mad dash out the door [since surely I'll snooze that pre 5am alarm one too many times], but once I set out on the road and begin to spot those first warm brush strokes, the groggy fog over my head lifts. I'm wide-eyed and treated to the most perfect ephemeral show.

As we drove in the darkness through Jackson Hole's empty town center, the blinking street lights may as well have been runway lights, only these were guiding me toward the still, misty horizon. As predicted, I was rushed. I had a rapidly diminishing window to reach my target: the barns on Mormon Row. I knew that at just the right time, the sun would throw the most incredible alpenglow over the Grand Tetons, and the view of this impressive mountain range was postcard perfect from my carefully planned spot.  

I was determined to make it out there in time. What I hadn't planned for was the awe inspiring drive to my destination.  As we drove, the sky progressed from a muted blue-gray to a capricious kaleidoscope of orange and ochre and peach and coral and pink and violet, revealing new colors at every turn.

These photos weren't composed or planned. The view I was aimed toward was still further in the distance. We simply stuck the camera out the window while en route, as I openly gasped at the expansive sky before me, all the while checking there were no rogue animals making their way across the road. A fast shutter speed and half decent aim provided us with photos that bring a palpable warmth to my heart and a lasting memory of my first morning out west. I didn't get to stop and soak in this twilight hour between dusk and sunrise [don't worry, I had plenty of time to take it all in once I made it to Mormon Row, but more on that another time!].

So often I rush through life with my eyes aimed toward a fixed point on the horizon.  I'm so appreciative of these photos, since for me they capture the beauty found along the way, the beauty found in the wandering.  I only managed one drive towards the sunrise during this trip [you try getting yourself out of bed before dawn when you're in a tent that's a cool 40 degrees fahrenheit!]. It was my only sunrise, so it carries more weight and feels all the more significant. 

This singular twilight drive reminds me the sunrise is both infinite and finite. The sun works its way over the horizon each day, and it's never the same. The cloud configurations change, the painted colors change, the vantage point changes. It's a dynamic, boundless, breathtaking display.  There are only so many sunrises in my lifetime.  I don't wake up each day to chase it. But I can try. I may fail [in fact, I'm guaranteed to fail more often than not...sunrise is early!]. But maybe it's somewhere in the trying where I'll discover something more. 

Creating a Blended Paint Finish with Two Colors: Aubusson Blue and Provence

I'm taking a short break from painting for a week of hiking out west at Yellowstone National Park! I know I'll get loads of inspiration from all the beauty nature has to offer, and I've had in my mind to do a series of furniture pieces informed by natural colors and textures. This piece is the first of that series! Can you guess what the inspiration for this set is?

Water! I've always had a love for running water, and this dresser and nightstand were painted using a technique layering two paint colors and using water to create a blended effect. 

First I started with two coats of Annie Sloan's Aubusson Blue chalk paint, lightly and quickly painted on only paying attention to avoiding drips.

I then took Annie Sloan's Provence and added water to dilute it.  The consistency should be that of milk I'd say.

I brushed this watery mixture haphazardly all over the drawers first, and then on the frame of the dresser and nightstand. Make sure not to completely coat the Aubusson blue layer, since you'll want that dappled effect. I allowed that first coat to dry, which takes quite a while since the paint is so watery at this stage! I think I gave it about four hours to completely dry, but it may vary.

Normally, I'll just go again with another layer of the same color's watery mixture, but I wanted to go a shade lighter, so I added just the tiniest bit of pure white to the Provence mixture. This creates added dimension and more of a highlight to the piece, though when you're first painting it on, it does look a little terrifying!

Sometimes I'll wipe off the drips and brush strokes, but I wanted this piece to evoke the feeling of water and have some movement, so I kept all the 'imperfections.' They've now become my favorite thing about this process!

If this look feels a little too intense for your sensibilities, I'd recommend either going with a watered down shade that's closer in tone to the base coat, or I'd very gently wipe down the piece with a cloth [VERY gently is imperative, as you'll likely wipe off too much paint and expose more wood than you'd like otherwise].

On the vertical surfaces, you can see where the paint drips and flowed downward, but on the tops of the dresser and nightstand, the watery paint mixture pooled and settled, which really helped to evoke that feeling of water and movement. 

I'm so happy with how this set turned out! It feels really organic and one of a kind, without being too outside the box. I could see this working with so many decor styles because blue is such a versatile color to work with [at least for me!]. Of all the pieces I've worked on thus far, this one truly feels like a work of art to me, and I'm so excited to continue this series and see what other nature inspired concepts I'll come up with!

Keep checking back to my shop to see these pieces. I'll post them soon!

My Great Room Updates: Modern Summer Style

I was recently at a bachelorette weekend, and some new friends were curious about my furniture and design business. We got to chatting about my own home, and one of them pulled up my site to check out photos of it.  It was in that moment I realized just how much has changed in the past year!

Almost all my home photos in my portfolio are out of date.  My tastes are still very much eclectic, mixing vintage and modern design. But the colors I've incorporated into my style have evolved quite a bit. And I'm certain it will continue to change over time and I like it that way! 

I love experimenting with my own spaces and so my home is always in a state of flux. My furniture painting business keeps most of my house up in the air, since I'm constantly rearranging rooms so I can photograph and fit the pieces I've completed.

The room I'm sharing today, my great room [living and dining area] has looked like this for a couple months now. As usual, a few bits might be swapped out for new pieces [someone is supposed to pick up that gorgeous aqua bookcase below on the left].

Even if I decide to part with a few pieces in this space, I see myself sticking to this refreshing, modern color palette for a good while.  This room is north facing, so it should feel dark and moody, but the colors I've brought in make it feel clean and bright. 

I'll point out some of my favorite changes to the space for you! I've of course kept [and still adore] my wood slab dining table. I love how this table runner from Ikea grounds the table. I kept the styling simple with geometric objects [silver metal piece is from Target and the peachy-pink piece is from At Home]. 

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The styling of these open shelves is always changing, mostly because I'm consistently using pieces found here for photo shoots. Because of that, it's not exactly styled to my liking, but I do try to keep the color palette consistent in this space.

My Eames style lounger has become a fixture in this room. I added a marble and pink Society 6 pillow to tie in my accent color and provide some extra support to this chair.

The one big item that will most definitely change sometime in the next year is my sofa.  This was my first ever sofa purchase, and I have to say it's insanely comfortable.  The problem is, it's fairly beat up [thanks to sweet Watson using it as a chew toy when he was a puppy], it's not my color preference at all, and it's just a little too clunky for this space. But for now, a Target blanket hides the chewed up bits and allows all my pets to use this as their personal lounging space. 

I painted all three pieces in this photo, and I rarely will hold on to any furniture I've painted, but the white campaign dresser is a permanent addition to my collection.  It works with essentially any color palette I could imagine, and because it's such a pain in the butt to move all the cords for my tv, having a piece that will function and look great for the long haul is really important to me. The little blue side table is currently for sale, but for now it's a perch for my cats. They like to watch me while I watch tv [not creepy at all...].

I wanted to feature my kitchen in a separate post, partially because I think it warrants its own write up, and partially because I didn't feel like cleaning up the kitchen the day I took these photos! This is the only shot that really gives you a slight peek at the kitchen. Because it's just off the kitchen, I spend 90% of my time in this quadrant of the house. 

A key addition to my 'modern summer style' is the use of plants. I've recently realized I can in fact keep certain plants alive, particularly cacti! I have plants all over this part of the house, and they literally and figuratively bring life to my home!

One thing I've been SO eager to change for some time now is the light fixture over my dining table. It's just not my personal style at all. That and the color it throws out is extremely yellow, which really grates at me.  Who knew someone could be so angry at a chandelier?! I actually don't mind how it looks in these photos, but expect this to be another change that happens in the next year.

This is an odd photo, but it gives you a complete depiction of all the seating in this room, which is quite a lot!

One slight deviation from my palette is one of the prints above the french doors. The left most print is of Mount Haleakala, and even though it doesn't work with my colors, it has to live with its Hawaiian print counterparts. It's also hung really high and would be a pain to swap out, so it's staying!

I went on a massive pillow haul a couple months back, and brought in a number of new ones from Society6. The large palm pillow is easily my favorite one, and I secretly want to buy more of them for my bedroom [a room I've been dying to redecorate!]. 

The biggest change to the great room was all the art on my gallery wall. I swapped out nearly every piece for new items from Society 6, with a few other bits pulled from other parts of my house. My colors here used to be really bold, but now they feel much more subdued. 

In the dining area I brought in a few prints, but kept my favorite photo of my mom and I.  It's been in this room for years and I don't see it ever moving!

I'm sat at my Eames style barstools, which I recently painted a faint blush to coordinate with the rest of the palette, writing this post. Writing this makes me realize how much I love this room, how comfortable it is, how happy it makes me. Yes there are still bits I'd like to change, but right now in its current state, it feels so much like me and my personal style. 

One Wardrobe Styled Two Ways: Mint with Blush and Black Accents

Hello my design/furniture loving friends! I took a little break from work for the 4th of July that lingered its way into the weekend for a bachelorette party in Charleston! I haven't been in a writing sort of mood, so I'm going to keep the chattiness of this post unusually short. I did want to do a quick share of the latest piece I finished. I had planned on trying a new technique on this wardrobe, but I fell HARD for this color [I finally mastered the mint green of my dreams with a combo of Annie Sloan paints!] and didn't want to muddle it up with other colors. I was inspired by my time at the beach this weekend, and went for a vintage beach vibe with the finish on this.

I'm currently not in one of those super 'bloggy' [it's a thing, google it.] moods, I had trouble 'killing my darlings,' and couldn't edit down the number of photos...so there may or may not be 17 photos of this wardrobe [four of which are pictures of my ever adorable Scottish Fold Maggie who sneakily hopped inside while I was taking photos!]. I was really indecisive about how to style this piece, so I shared both iterations.  I went for a combination of blush and black accents to complement the cool mint. The photos came out okay [I'm having lighting woes], but in person I love this piece SO much more. I'm working on updating my shop page over the next 24 hours, so keep an eye out for this piece and all the others I currently have available! 

Modern Gray and White Ombre Dresser

Sometimes I get this craving, this incurable urge to paint.  Sometime's it's not professional, it's personal.  I've had this piece for years, ever since I first moved to Atlanta when I was 22.  My tastes have changed dramatically since then. I've been wanting to transform in more ways than one, and last week that included giving this dresser a new facelift. It's ebony stain has been beaten up over the years, and giving it a complete 180 seemed like the perfect choice for it.  I painted the frame in Annie Sloan's Pure White, a clean, modern white. For the drawers I created a subtle ombre effect using a mixture of French Linen, Pure White and Graphite.  I wanted to keep it modern and bright, but also a bit rough around the edges. I imagine this working nicely with a modern, farmhouse style home.  For now though, it'll stay right here at my home. It's new modern ombre has reinvigorated my love for it! [if you scroll to the end, you'll see the whole family is getting in on the love for this piece!]

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