Blog

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

Contrasting Colors: Painting a Side Table in Gray and White

I painted this lovely little side table with my friend in mind. She just purchased her first home and is in the process of moving in. I painted it in a custom gray chalk paint to coordinate with a dresser she currently uses as her tv stand. To change things up but still keep it neutral, I went over the top in Annie Sloan's Old White. I don't do this technique often [though I should!], but I find the contrast in colors brings more attention to the details of the base [and the details are classic and stunning!]. I ran out of clear wax [which is quite a feat since cans of wax last an eternity!] so I used white wax to seal the entire piece.  I like how white wax is still quite subtle, but sits nicely in the crevices of the details, adding a slight highlighting effect. I thought it would make a perfect piece to go alongside her sofa, but unfortunately, the wall her sofa sits on isn't long enough to have this table on it, so I sadly had to nix that idea! Currently it's up for sale in my shop, but if I'm able to make it work for her, it may end up in her space after all. We shall see! 

Folding Tables in English Yellow: Using Color for a Fresh, Modern Style

I vividly remember having folding tables like these as a kid. There was something incredibly cool about doing my homework whilst sat on the couch with one of these tables as my work surface. Even more cool: getting to eat in front of the TV! We weren't a microwave TV dinner family, but we definitely watched TV during meals! My memories of such folding tables were bland and beige and boring.  When I came across this pair, I decided it was time the standard folding table got a modern refresher!

I picked up Annie Sloan's English Yellow last month, and have been waiting for the right project to use it on.  I find this bright, cool toned yellow works best with modern or mid century pieces [though it can also lead rustic with the right kind of techniques!]. 

These tables may not be mid century or modern, but they are simple and have clean lines that lend to a more modern aesthetic.  I went with a couple solid coats of paint. I didn't focus on painting smoothly, but rather took my brush in every direction.  This made the painting process less tedious [there are a lot of sides and edges to these little folding tables!]. 

I taped off stripes and painted Annie Sloan's Napoleonic Blue and Giverny for a bit of contrast. This little touch is easily my favorite part of this project!

This pair of folding tables now feels fun and fresh, and far from a boring thing of the past.  These are actually perfect for apartments or small spaces that can't accommodate a dining table, and also make a great pair of nightstands. I can't wait to see how this pair works in their future home. They're currently up for sale in my shop!

Bookcase Transformation: Painting and Styling to Create a Cohesive Look

Bookcases offer up so much possibility. They are a home for a collection of books, naturally. [and my stockpile is ever increasing!]. They can act as a pantry for storing kitchen goods. They can also be a platform for showcasing favorite objects and home decor. It's rare I get to come across such a sizable bookcase and this one offers up so many possibilities!

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This one began as a simple wood bookcase. It had a plain plywood backing, but is solidly constructed and a potential to be beautiful.

I had a few ideas for what I wanted to do with such a large piece.  I knew I would like it to have some sort of contrast in color or texture. I started off with a few layers of a deep navy, created using Annie Sloan's Napoleonic Blue and Graphite.

For the bookcase frame and removable shelves, I brushed on a watered down mixture of Annie Sloan's Old White and French Linen, wiping off after waiting a few minutes with a clean rag.

I decided to use this technique since the frame and shelves of the bookcase had beautiful wood markings and a wash would help modernize it while still allowing the natural beauty to peek through.

The combination of a slate navy with a gray wash is really quite striking.  There's a bit of a nod towards the nautical, and so I opted to style it for the photos using natural materials and a cohesive color scheme.

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Combining objects in varying textures, colors and scales creates a layered effect. 

I've posted this bookcase for sale in my shop, but meanwhile I plan to use it for storage of my copious painting and work supplies. I hate to take away this gorgeous collection of objects from it, but needs must and my needs require a practical purpose for this behemoth!

Rustic Farmhouse Buffet in Annie Sloan's Pure White + Styling Ideas

When the weather gets warm, I have this odd urge to paint everything in white. I have these images of bright, clean, white spaces flooded with light. When this buffet arrived at home, I decided I was going to take it down the rustic farmhouse style route. [be sure to scroll down to the bottom to see some inspiration rooms this piece would look incredible in!]

The piece was a very standard, slightly dated looking buffet with that 80s-90s oak finish and shiny gold pulls.  It has nice details [dental moulding fluted sides, door carvings] that didn't seem to pop. Anytime I want architectural details to stand out, going with a light color is always the best route to go.

I went with a couple coats of Annie Sloan's Pure White, along with a wash mixing Pure White and a hint of gray, just to give the piece more of a weathered effect.  I'll go with a wash when I don't love the base wood tones of a piece.

The washed effect gives it the appearance of being more distressed than it really is.  It's a little trickier to photograph this technique, but in person the subtle changes in color are really lovely.

This piece has a top that opens up [perfect if you're using it as a buffet or bar!]. Sometimes I'll leave this part in the original finish or paint it in a contrasting color. This time, I decided to keep everything clean and white, painting the interior panels to match.

I left the interior of the buffet as is, partly because I liked the contrast of the wood against the white, but mostly because painting the interiors of cabinets is a bit of a faff and I avoid this task at all costs!

Occasionally I like to paint the hardware in the exact same color as the furniture its going on.  I really ought to do this more! It creates this muted effect and the subtle bit of distressing on the drawer pulls really brings that rustic farmhouse feel home.

With these detail shots, the wash of white-gray peeks through a bit more, and it just gives the buffet a worn, aged look without much effort. I like when a piece doesn't look too fussy or perfect. I've always found slight imperfections give furniture a more custom, one of a kind feel.

A piece like this is surprisingly versatile, and with the rustic farmhouse style, it can seamlessly work into a number of rooms in a home!

I'd love to see this buffet in a dining space [as buffets are won't to do!] like this one, although I'd reverse things with maybe a distressed black farmhouse table, white or gray painted chairs and my white buffet styled up with some vintage pottery and a bouquet of flowers.

This piece would also work as storage in a kitchen. The open shelves make it the perfect spot to house small appliances and larger pots and pans. Since this buffet doesn't have a hutch like the inspiration photo above, I'd pair it with natural wood or gray farmhouse wood shelves above.

Finally, the most unconventional way to incorporate a buffet into the home is as a changing table in a nursery! I sell dressers and buffets as changing tables so frequently, and my white one would make a sweet addition to any little girl or little boy's room!

I'll have this beautiful buffet posted for sale in my shop soon!

Stay at A Simpler Design: My Airbnb!

I've had my design and furniture business for a few years now. I'm so passionate about what I do. I built my studio last year with the intention of using it as a platform for my business. What I didn't realize was that my bright, modern studio would quickly become a thriving Airbnb! It wasn't my initial intention for the space, but I've absolutely loved being a part of the Airbnb community! Atlanta is a rapidly growing travel destination, and I'm happy and proud to call it my city.  I love my neighborhood, I love my home and now you too can come experience it for yourself! The bungalow is furnished with a combination of my collection of vintage pieces, painted furniture and my own modern design. It's in a constant state of flux since I'm constantly buying, selling, painting and decorating!

I thought I'd take a few quick photos of what the space looks like right now, though by next week I may have completely changed things around. That's the fun of getting to have your own creative space, and what makes it better is I now get to share that creativity with my guests! The bungalow feels like a real getaway. It's cozy, it's bright, it's my favorite place to be. But these days, I don't get as much time in it! The month of May is almost completely booked, and June is beginning to fill up. If you'd like to discover Atlanta for a long weekend, are going to be in town for work, or are visiting friends or family, I'd love to have you!  Once you book, I share my personal recommendations to restaurants, bars, coffee shops and local stores, so you can plan your stay. I hope you come to experience my little piece of Atlanta and learn to love it as much as I do!