Blog

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

Combining Unlikely Colors to Create the Perfect Turquoise

Sometimes I get stuck with a can of paint I don't really know what to do with.  I find every color in Annie Sloan's paint line beautiful in their own right, but certain colors simply aren't marketable to my clients. I paint because I love the process and I take pride creating something from pieces of the past. And as stunning as it could be,  not many people are in need of a bright lavender-pink dresser!

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The color in question is Annie Sloan's Henrietta, and I was on a mission to use this color somehow, since I hate wasting anything!  I'd recently purchased a mix mat from my local Annie Sloan stockist, Chalk it Up, and it's incredible how a simple silicone mat gave me the courage to combine two very unlikely colors: the aforementioned lavender pink, Henrietta and a deep and bright green turquoise, Florence. 

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One of the main tenets of Annie Sloan is that her paints are easy to mix due to the minimal use of black in her pigments. Even when mixing odd combinations, the colors remain bright and pure, and this buffet and hutch is a testament to that.  

To create this gorgeous turquoise, I mixed nearly equal parts of Henrietta and Florence. I then gave the piece a light wash in pure florence, just to allow the color to look a bit more uneven and watery. 

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I chose a lighter color mostly because I wanted the original mid century hardware to shine [and I really think it does against this tone!]

Depending on how the light hits it, the colors of the piece change and allow it to look stunning from any angle.  I find when I combine paint colors the way I did, this chameleon-like effect becomes all the more prominent and I just can't get enough!

This piece is now up for sale in my shop and I'm already considering parting ways with another piece in my home just so I can make this a permanent fixture, but hopefully someone finds a perfect spot in their space for this gorgeous turquoise piece!

Graphite Ombre Finish using Black Wax: Mid Century Dresser

Hey friends! here's another piece I finished a couple weeks back [I've really been slow to getting my pieces photographed and posted lately because the holiday season is MADNESS here!]  It's a mid century Bassett dresser, and it had a shoddy painted finish on it [and I can't seem to find any of the before pictures I took, classic] so I wasted no time and painted it immediately. I painted it in Annie Sloan's Graphite, and though I loved the color, it felt a bit flat. I knew I wasn't going to distress this piece [the technique just didn't suit for this piece], so I decided to try my hand at creating an ombre finish using a mixture of black wax and clear wax.

I applied Annie Sloan's clear wax to nearly the entire piece, with the exception of the base of the dresser and on the lower half of the bottom drawers, which I went on directly with the black wax. I treated it much the way I'd treat a painted ombre finish, and just slowly blended the black wax into the graphite finish, leaving the middle drawers with clear wax. The top drawers had a great retro inset to them, so I opted to accent that with more black wax.  [ALL THE WAX in this post!]  I just love how this piece came together. The mid century brass pulls pop beautifully against the dark finish, and the dresser feels so custom with my ombre wax technique.  I'll be putting this up for sale in the shop later today so contact me if you're interested in this piece of any other work I do!

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Quick Transformation with Two Paint Colors: Craftsman Style Side Tables

I'm finally back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday! I cooked and ate ALL the mashed potatoes and apple pie and turkey and cranberry sauce, and between being with family and friends all weekend, I'm only just resurfacing from my food coma!  Since I'm playing catch up with a few projects right now, I'm not going to get all that eloquent with my furniture chats on the blog, but I did want to keep sharing my current pieces! This pair of side tables was donated to me by friends who moved away to Dallas [why does everyone leave me?!], and I've held onto them for months. I decided to play up their craftsman details by incorporating two colors onto the finish. I created a deeper gray/teal using a hodgepodge of Annie Sloan paint colors [still working on finishing up my leftover paint cans!]. I went with Paris Gray for the base, keeping the distressing along the edges and legs. This pair is simple, but the combination of colors gives them a bit more interest and distinction. I'm quickly running out of space in the house [I keep finding more and more furniture to paint!], so I moved these to my Airbnb as a pair of nightstands beside the bed, but I will put them up for sale as soon as my current guest checks out in the next week or so! Scroll down to see some quick photos I took of this lovely pair!

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Painting with Red and Collecting Vintage Books

Quick post today since I've got one piece of furniture that's been burning a hole into my workroom floor and it NEEDS to be finished and photographed stat! I also have a couple new clients to work with, which is always exciting [interacting with humans is a real thrill when you work from home alone!]. But I realized I hadn't shared quite a few pieces I'd completed in the past month, so I thought I'd get that ball rolling today!

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This bookcase was a quick find and I knew I wanted to experiment with color a bit on it.  I'd just completed another project where I used a vinegar and water combination to create an industrial, distressed effect, and thought I could give it a try here.

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What I quickly discovered is that this cool technique I was playing around with didn't work on laminated pieces. Good information to figure out, but needed to go back to the drawing board a bit.  I figured I could still create a weathered look, only this time I'd use different colors rather than exposing the original surface of the piece.

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I went with three shades to create this look, Annie Sloan's Burgundy, Emperor's Silk and Barcelona Orange. I painted a quick coat of burgundy on the entire piece [the darkest shade].  Once that was dry, I began to layer on the other two colors haphazardly, using different brushes, still spraying with my vinegar water.

The end result was nothing like the previous piece I'd completed using this technique, but I really enjoyed the end results of this piece too! The coordinating tones of varying shades of reds and orange combined effortlessly with the vinegar water mixture, and gave the piece this mottled, watercolor effect I really like. 

Bookcases are meant to be filled with, well books [!] so a lot of the interesting paint variations will inevitably get covered up, but I love being able to see little peeks at the lighter tones along certain edges of the bookcase. 

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Often when styling a bookcase for photos or for a client, I like to incorporate a mixture of books, objects, art and whatever else happens to be handy or beautiful nearby. But this time, I'd just picked up a few more boos for my personal vintage collection, and wanted to let them have a few minutes in the spotlight all on their own. 

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The Works of Plato is particularly a favorite new find for me. I was really fascinated by philosophy in college and still am! Yes, I do actually read many of these. They're both beautiful and functional, which I love!

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You may not read them like I do, but it's totally okay to buy books based on aesthetics alone! For clients who want to start their own collection, I always recommend slowly piecing it together, picking up books that have a tactile quality you enjoy or a color that really speaks to you and your style.

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If I could fill all my bookcases with vintage books, I would, but I'm doing my best to keep my latent hoarding tendencies to a minimum! But if you'd like to fill this beautiful red bookcase with your own collection, I'm planning on posting this for sale by the end of today in my shop, so keep an eye out for it! 

Painting Mid Century and Retro Furniture: Annie Sloan's Barcelona Orange

Quick little painting projects I can complete in just a few hours are incredibly satisfying! Accent tables like this mid century demilune are a perfect candidate for injecting bold color into your home.  I've been experimenting with Annie Sloan's Barcelona Orange on all my recent projects, and it's a surprisingly versatile color.

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From Annie Sloan's site, 'This vivacious, modern orange is based on the colour used copiously by the Impressionists, in early advertisements and in 1960's decoration. Such a brilliant orange was not available until the early 20th century.' 

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The first time I saw this color, I immediately wanted to use it with retro and mid century pieces. It can certainly be used on more traditional pieces [and I just LOVE how it worked with this gorgeous dresser!] 

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With mid century pieces, I almost always will keep things simple, work with a solid color, paint on two or three coats, lightly sand to get a smoother finish and seal it with clear wax. I prefer this route since the colors remain vibrant.

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Keeping the paint process simple and unfettered with allows the classic features of mid century furniture to really shine.  I love the tapered, boomerang style legs, the demilune top and coordinating shelf.  The retro details coupled with this deep orange are a really satisfying combination for me.

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For my photos, I styled the piece as a bar table, cobbling together a few ingredients for a lovely little fall cocktail [more on that coming to my other website, States of Reverie!]. 

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Currently this little table is hanging out behind one of my sofas, but I could see this working as a nightstand too! Painted accent tables like these are perfect for adding a bit of color in almost any space.  I'll have it posted for sale in my shop soon!