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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].  

New Neutrals: Graphite Painted Furniture

Painting furniture may seem simple, but there's a lot that goes into the process.  One crucial step is deciding what color and painting style to implement.  I love getting creative, particularly with new colors [it's always a treat when I get to create a custom color!], but I have to be mindful of my clients.  I definitely have some who love color and have no problem with bright and bold pieces, but the majority want to play it safe.  This is precisely why stores like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware have shaped the way people see furniture.  They sell beautiful, traditional, neutral pieces that would look lovely in almost any home.  I encourage people to shop at places like these particularly if they're unsure of their own personal style.  But if all your pieces are wood toned, and brown, and beige, frankly things get boring!  My latest favorite color choice adds a new dimension to this neutral color palette.  

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Graphite [or charcoal] is unbelievably versatile, and plays well with a whole mess of colors and styles.  It can feel very masculine, but on the right piece [like this dresser and chest] that has curves and elegance, it brings out just the right balance. Some of my clients are afraid of color [and that's okay, I'll convert you eventually...!] while others would simply prefer to bring in pops of color in fabrics and more temporary pieces in a room [curtains, pillows, throws, bedding, rugs, accessories, etc.], which is a smart way to tackle design, since for many of us, our color preferences evolve over time.  I never thought I'd own a blue and yellow striped rug and brass arc lamp, yet here we are! 

I went back and forth between a few colors for this set, but ultimately, I felt a darker finish with a smooth brush stroke would work best.  I also wanted something that would help the rusty drawer pulls become a focal point. I have to say, this pair came out pretty darn close to perfection.

I'm not a huge fan of having furniture match in one space, but these really would make the perfect his and hers dressers in a master bedroom.  They have some of the roomiest drawers I've ever seen, which is perfect for older homes that have little closet space [mine was one such home before I added six closets in last year's renovation!]. I did a quick base coat of Annie Sloan's French Linen, a taupe-y gray color, and did two more coats of her Graphite.  I kept things simple with very minimal distressing, and just a clear wax finish.  Had I wanted these to look darker, I could have used dark wax all over the piece, which would have created an antiqued black finish. 

It's more subtle in person [I didn't spend a terribly long amount of time trying to get the lighting and camera settings just right], but I love the variations of gray and charcoal on the dressers.  It creates texture and depth, without having to do any intense distressing or paint techniques.  Before waxing, I went over everything with a superfine grit sandpaper.  These are both timeless pieces that would look amazing with traditional brand name furniture, but would also transform a more modern or industrial space [think concrete and chalkboards]. 

Speaking of chalkboards, the variegated gray finish reminds me of elementary school chalkboards. Remember that kid who was always itching to erase or [even better!] clean the chalkboard with a sponge? Yeah, I was THAT kid :)  But the subtle streaks of lighter gray just lend itself to that recently washed chalkboard, and it's oddly comforting.  I'm so excited to see these pieces in a new home, and what colors they ultimately are paired with.  Check them out in the shop or on Craigslist!  I've basically finished painting my current inventory [with a couple custom pieces on the docket] so this lady is getting her furniture shopping on! Happy [LONG] Weekend! :) -Jo