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

Rainy Day House Tidying

On rainy days I like to tidy. It clears the mind and helps motivate me to tackle new projects. Yesterday was particularly soggy, so I managed to tackle a few rooms in my house. Due to an overly zealous beagle mix named Watson, the baby of our family, we had to rejig the the house a bit to help 'puppy-proof' things a bit more.

We used to have the small leather sofa in front of the window looking out onto the sidewalk. Watson has constant anxiety when seeing other dogs, humans, moving objects on the street, and would ransack the sofa, tossing off all the pillows, nose pressed up against the window pane, barking, howling, whinging at every passerby.  I decided to move the sofa away from the window, giving it a new home in the adjacent room, creating a new and cozy sitting area.

Now a dresser I currently have up for sale sits in front of the window, helping block the view of possible 'intruders' and prevents Watson from jumping on any of the furniture.  It seems like a minor thing, but I'm already noticing a quiet calm wash over the house.  So much less yelping!

In the room where I paint and photograph all my furniture, I put together a new wall gallery, prepped for the next piece I'll photograph on this wall.  

When I'm not working in here, we use this space as a workout room and spot to watch TV [there's an elliptical along the window and when there's not a giant dresser taking over, I have lots of space to do yoga, lift weights do a HIIT video or dance around to music [probably my most favorite workout choice!]. 

I also use this room to organize most of my styling props.  I just finished this tall bookcase, and it's perfect for housing my treasure trove of objects. Having all my little things placed on the shelves in an aesthetically pleasing manner is oddly important to me. I spent a good hour alone just rearranging everything on the shelves, trying to squeeze as much as I could, while still having it all organized and pulled together.

I have to say, even though yesterday wasn't spent working on furniture or writing, I felt really accomplished and at peace by the time 5 o'clock rolled in. Putting physical things in place manages to put my mind in place. Putting physical things in place manages to put my mind in place. 

My Love for Layered Finishes: Indian Inspired Distressed Bookcase

I am constantly and will forever be enamored and captivated by vintage furniture. I find a piece with flaws and instantly begin to transform it in my mind, envisioning a new life for it, a life where it is treasured and appreciated, not discarded like trash. I'm all for making the new look old, but I really love when I can take a piece that appears worse for wear and play up its aged character even more.  With this piece, something about the detailed curvature at the top reminded me of pieces of Indian furniture I've seen in the past. The specific style I was thinking of has an incredibly distressed quality and embraces color and texture in the most beautiful way. They have a soul, a history beneath each layer of cracked and worn paint. I can't recreate that same history, but I can still attempt to retell a similar story. The process to achieve this look is fairly involved. It requires multiple coats of paint, varying colors, distressing tools and waxed finishes.  No matter how labor intensive a project like this can be, the satisfaction and surprise I get when it's complete is worth the extra elbow grease [and quite literally, I was covered elbow to fingertips in black greasy wax by the end!].

I'd love to take you through the step by step process to recreate this painting style, but I thought for today I'd simply share the series of photos I took of the finished product.  This piece may pop up for sale, but in the meantime its many shelves are housing [ahem, hoarding!] my treasure trove of styling props. Note: this is NOT what the bookcase currently looks like- it's literally packed to the gills with books and vases and tiny objects and who knows what else...the story of my life!  

Painting a Mid Century Nightstand with Modern Gold Details

Simple transformations can be the most satisfying projects! I started on this little nightstand while waiting for a tall bookcase I'm working on to dry. It's amazing what you can get done while you wait!

I kept things simple with two solid coats of Annie Sloan's Duck Egg Blue, a blue with a hint of green that can read as a cool gray depending on the light. 

I wasn't sure this color choice would work with the modern aesthetic I was going for, but after reading the description of it on Annie Sloan's site, I realized its roots are in Swedish design, and who does modern better than the Swedes?

Since this piece didn't have drawer pulls, I opted to add a bit of graphic interest by painting a pair of triangles pointing in opposite directions. This light gold contrasts perfectly and the geometric detail instantly transforms the nightstand!

I kept the styling minimal, bringing in my favorite Target lamp and hanging one of my new prints from Society 6 beside it [more on that in a separate post!]. I  see this piece working in all sorts of spaces and can't wait to see where it ends up. Check out this piece and my other available items in my shop!  

One Dresser Styled Three Ways

When it comes to furniture, my work doesn't stop once I've finished painting. Getting each piece ready to photograph and sell takes a bit of styling and creativity.  I like to mix things up and keep the styling props I use fresh and unique each time.  Sometimes I'll experiment with different vignettes until I find one I'm really happy with. For this piece, I had a hard time deciding, so I thought I'd share all three!

I started off with the most colorful grouping. I always like to start with what I put on the wall since that's what often grounds the vignette. I decided on a gigantic vintage map for this first photo. The bright colors contrasted beautifully against the cocoa-gray dresser. Because the map was so busy, I kept the objects on the dresser simple, using a large potted plant, a stack of books that pick up some of the colors in the map, and a framed magazine cutout. 

I decided to play up the more traditional colors of the dresser by going with warm toned objects with a slightly masculine feel. I balanced the framed map with two vintage prints. I love hanging in odd numbers whenever possible. It always seems to be more pleasing to the eye this way! On the left, I added in a weighty industrial metal lamp, a few vintage books, and some tiny pottery I picked up at my neighborhood's festival the other week. On the right I went with my trio of vases from Steven Allen for West Elm

Lastly, I was inspired by the colors from a painting done by my aunt. The painting in question is a small one on the bottom left that appears to be of a tornado on the water [the series this is a part of are all abstracts so I can't actually say this is a tornado, but you get the gist!]. The mixture of a taupe-gray, light pink and murky blue really intrigued me. I grabbed items from around the house in these colors, along with a few white and natural accents to make the grouping feel even more modern. I don't normally style dressers with pillows, but this one I just picked up from Society 6 had just the right shade of blush pink, and the circular detail on it tied in with my map of Atlanta.  

Styling a piece of furniture isn't all that difficult, but it does take a decent amount of trial and error before it's just right. I can sometimes over think things a bit, and spend too much time fussing with it. But for me, there is something weirdly fun about composing the right balance and setting the perfect tone with a vignette. Which of these three do you like best? I'd love to hear from you! :)

Using Paint to Bring Modern Style to a Bookcase: Annie Sloan's Pure White and Louis Blue

Bookcases are one thing I can't have too many of [and I have quite a few!]. They're functional in nearly every room of my house. But just because something is functional doesn't mean it can't also add a sense of style to a space. Last week I completed this bookcase, transforming it from basic to clean and modern.

Here's a before shot I took: it wasn't in fabulous shape, but it was sturdy and an easy candidate for paint!

I wanted to keep it light and bright, so I started with Annie Sloan's Louis Blue, mixed in Pure White to lighten it, and applied two coats. I then went over the base with Pure White on its own. It took quite a few coats since Pure White has no pigment and doesn't cover as well as Annie Sloan's other colors [at least that's what I've found]. 

I could have gone with a clean edge where the two colors met, but I thought it would be fun to add a stripe of gold to separate the two. 

As soon as I added that small bit of gold, the bookcase was transformed! It instantly felt fresh and modern, and all it took was some blue tape and a few coats of my go to gold [Modern Masters in Pale Gold].

This particular bookcase has slightly slanted shelves, so it's perfect for housing books, magazines, wall art, or a combination!

I kept my styling for it simple for these photos, since I wanted the focus on the paint style, but no one can resist a shelf filled with color coded books!

I'll have this beauty posted for sale in my shop later today. Contact me if you have any questions about it or the painting process!