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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].  

TIPS FOR STAGING A HOME: WHOLE HOUSE INTERIOR PAINT [BEFORE!]

Hi friends! Normally I'm on here sharing all my current furniture painting projects, but I've had to put furniture painting on a brief pause for one very important reason. I'm in the process of preparing my house to put it on the market, something that's incredibly exciting and daunting all at once! For someone who works from home, not being able to utilize my house the way I normally do has been a bit of a struggle to put it mildly, but we've been strategically working on the house over the past couple months so that I could still work and live there.  But the time has come for paint, and A LOT of it.  We're essentially having every surface of the house repainted, with the exception of my office and a couple bathrooms. SO. MUCH. PAINT!

Most of my friends were pretty shocked I wanted to paint, since they found our house really well decorated and the colors neutral [most of the house was painted in Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray, with a few brighter colors in some rooms!]. But anyone who has shopped for a home, has put one up for sale or is in the staging / real estate industry knows white walls do wonders for selling a home. Creating a completely blank canvas that any buyer can envision themselves in makes a world of difference. It was the top priority on my budget for putting our house on the market, and I'm SO excited to see the finished results over the next week!

I only had a couple whites in the running, and I nearly went with the white I used for my airbnb, Extra White. It's an incredibly cool, true white and feels really modern and fresh.  I absolutely love it in the airbnb, but something in me knew that my 1930 bungalow still needed a bit of warmth.  Yes, we've modernized it quite a bit over the years, but I still wanted the vintage of the home to come through with a slightly warmer white. Sherwin Williams color of the year a couple years back was Alabaster, and after reviewing copious photos, I knew this was the just-right white for our entire house.  Taking into account the direction the home faces [it's a south facing house to the street, but some of our living spaces face out north to our backyard], I worried that Extra White would make the house feel too cold for my liking.  Alabaster looked more like it could work in a variety of rooms.  Had this not been a paint job for staging, I would have likely gone room by room and chosen colors for each space [even if that meant different whites for different rooms]. But we're moving, and and I can only assume the next owner will want to paint each room to their liking, unless they love the clean white walls that is! 

I'm currently writing this from my airbnb, which we've temporarily moved into while the crew tackles the house. I desperately want to be a fly on the wall, watching the transformation happen before my eyes. Designers like me get to watch the process happen over time and be fully immersed in, but I have to remember I'm currently my own client.  Having that big 'reveal' after the house has been bathed in white will be far more dramatic!  Here are the quick photos I took this morning of the first floor before the prep work began. [I ran out of time to snap photos of the second floor since the crew had already arrived!] It's so bizarre to see my house so sparse, but we'll get it back to looking lovely and 'lived in' [quotations because staged homes never look fully lived in but that's sort of the point!] as soon as painting is completed. Excited to share the home staging process with you over the next month! 

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Clean and Simple Can Be Beautiful: White and Walnut Mid Century Dresser

This piece was the last one I painted just before taking a solid month off of work.  YES A MONTH! I now realize how long that was, and the thought scares me a little, but I'm so thankful for that time I gave myself. I spent the bulk of it with family and friends, traveling to the Philippines, Singapore and Texas. Getting myself back to the reality of work and day to day life has been a struggle, but I've had that painting itch for some time now, and the photos of this beautiful, classic mid century dresser reminded me how clean and simple furniture and styling brings ease to my mind and inspires me to create more.

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When I'm stuck in a rut, whatever kind it may be: writing rut, cooking rut, socializing with humans rut [that's can be a thing from time to time for me!], all I need to do is remind myself to keep it simple and take small steps towards getting back into the swing of things. Maybe it's just filling out a Q&A about life quiz to rejig my brain, maybe it's just putting together one of my favorite breakfasts like avocado toast with scrambled eggs and a new addition of chipotle chili sauce...mmm [that was this morning!]. Or maybe it's just spending some one on one time with a friend on the porch, drinking wine or a cup of coffee and watching the world pass us by.  It's incredible how little moments like this can reinvigorate me, revitalize me and remind me about my love for all the passions in my life.  

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Painting is the one passion that most clearly connects my personal interests with my professional ones. Yesterday to get myself out of my painting rut [though I suppose it was less of a rut and more of a vacation, but no matter!] I decided to repaint a pair of side tables I was given. I'd already painted this pair, but decided they needed a new color to better suit their home in my Airbnb. Once those are photographed and ready to go, I'll share them here, but for now, I wanted to gush about this mid century beauty.  

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Mid Century is the one place where I don't tend to overcomplicate things. I find their form and structure so beautiful in their original state that I hate to fuddle with it too much.  Sometimes I'll get creative with my color choices, but this time I took mid century to its purest form. I stuck with a few coats of Annie Sloan's Old White on the frame of this piece. I love using white with modern pieces because it creates the perfect blank slate for whatever design choices I'd like to make. 

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I'm a person who changes the style of my home depending on how I'm feeling that week [or sometimes that day!], and I find using small objects and wall art to inject color is my favorite method of design.  Keeping this piece so simple is what makes it feel timeless. I could style this piece in so many ways, my brain perks up just thinking about it!

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For this shoot, I was so frazzled about leaving for the Philippines, I kept the styling basic and modern. I love taking a piece of art and pulling a few colors from it to incorporate into the design vignette. For me, it's the easiest way to create a really pulled together style. This series reminds me how important it is to edit, and keep things minimal sometimes. It brings an ease to my mind that I can't get enough of. This simple series of photos is inspiring me to get out there, find some new pieces to work on and pick up the paint brush. Check out this piece and others I've got for sale in my shop

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Designing My Airbnb using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Hi friends! Quick post today- I'm supposed to be painting [started on this gorgeous console yesterday], but it's looking like I've come down with something [fingers crossed it's not the flu- I did get my shot!], so I'm stuck on the couch, wrapped up in blankets. While I rest up, I wanted to share some photos of a space that's very special to me, my Airbnb! It's a 'tiny house' bungalow in my backyard I completed about a year and a half ago. I used my go to paint line, Annie Sloan chalk paint on the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, as well as the sliding barn door. As I work on new pieces of furniture, I'll rotate some of my painted work into the space to keep it fresh and new.  I took these photos quite recently and thought I'd share a few here.  They feature quite a few Annie Sloan paint colors. I loved incorporating bright pops of color in the space and I hope you do too! For more photos, head to my other website, STATESOFREVERIE.COM or check out my Airbnb listing if you're ever wanting a bright, modern space to stay in on your next trip to Atlanta, Georgia! You can also find some of the pieces in my Airbnb for sale in my shop!

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Creating a Warm Orange Coral with Annie Sloan's Barcelona Orange and Scandinavian Pink

When fall weather hits, I get this immediate urge to work with warm shades. Oranges, pinks, reds, yellows. I get inspired by the foliage, by the sudden need to bundle up in sweaters and warmth. I found this dresser, and though it was one I'd typically paint in a traditional shade, I decided it was time I try such a stunning piece of furniture in a brighter color.

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I tested out using Annie Sloan's Barcelona Orange directly on the piece [it is Halloween after all!] but I found it a little too bright and jarring for me.  Don't get me wrong, it would be beautiful but I wanted something a bit more subdued.

I decided to combine two parts Barcelona Orange with one part Scandinavian Pink to achieve this orange coral tone. What I love about Annie Sloan paints are how they can transform depending on the natural or artificial light sources in a room and always feel vibrant and alive. 

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What really makes this piece special is the floral scroll and bead detailing on the drawer and door fronts. I didn't want to make this a highly distressed piece, so rather than sanding off the paint the reveal the wood [I did a bit just not overly so], I used a gilded wax in a gold finish and painted it on with my fingers.

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You could certainly use a brush, but I liked the control I had using my finger tips and the gentle rubbed on effect it gave. It's not an over the top gilded look, but when the light hits it just right, it adds this beautiful shimmer and patina. 

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This dresser also has stunning drawer and door pulls that a real standout with this orange backdrop.  

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When a piece has intricate details like this and you'd like to feature them, I typically recommend painting in light, neutral shades, but now I'm sold on using bright, bold colors to bring out the unique features of a dresser. 

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I continued the same paint color on the interior drawers. I love how much storage these grand dressers provide. There's a reason why their my number one selling furniture style!

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For my styled photos, I wanted to feature my collection of little brass animals, since I just added a pair of brass fawns [on the left] while I was out shopping the other week.  The varying shades of vintage brass pull the tones from the dresser hardware and the gilded wax detailing perfectly.

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For the wall art, I opted to use contrasting colors to further bring out the warmth of this piece. The pair of silhouettes is a favorite DIY I did using images of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett [Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books], backed with a modern graphic printed paper.  

I also used a large scale print I got from a Seattle artist [I can't seem to remember the name but will add it in when I do!]. The third art piece is one of my favorite paintings done by my aunt, Sandra Torrijos. The vignette is completed with a pair of the best Target lamps [that I use again and again and again!].

I find this dresser to be so romantic and effortlessly beautiful. It feels fun and bright, but also elegant in the same breath. I'm holding onto it for a bit, but will be putting it up for sale soon in my shop!

How to Use Vinegar Water to create an Industrial, Aged Finish

If you're an avid furniture painter or just a beginner and you LOVE the look of aged, distressed furniture, this is one technique I insist you try. It only takes a few tablespoons of white vinegar, water and a spray bottle! Creating that weathered, distressed style has never been easier for me, and I can't believe I haven't experimented with this technique sooner!

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I painted this piece for a client who brought me this clean lined, tall and slim Crate and Barrel dresser. I actually think it looked nice the way it was, if a bit basic. My client sent me photos of an industrial metal cabinet he already owns and wanted this piece to coordinate with it since they'll be in the same bedroom space.

Now this piece is SERIOUSLY distressed. We're talking legitimate rust, chipped paint, the whole nine yards.  I could have gone this route, but he wanted something a bit more subtle, which I completely agree with.  

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To try and recreate that same cream color from the metal cabinet, I mixed Annie Sloan's Old White with a bit of Honfleur, a deep chocolate color.  Normally, I'd just use her color Cream, but Cream can sometimes read a bit yellow depending on the light, and that wasn't what I was going for.  

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I applied one quick and messy coat of the paint and allowed it to completely dry. Complete coverage isn't what you're going for here, more of a haphazard paint style.  I have to say, even just with that coat, the piece was already looking aged! But I wasn't done there. Here comes the magic of vinegar! 

I combined a few tablespoons of white vinegar in my spray bottle of water. I didn't measure, but I'd say it was 5 parts water to 1 part vinegar.  I've used the water spray bottle technique for sometime now, but vinegar helps the paint crackle and gives it a disintegrated effect. I absolutely love it!

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This technique takes a bit of experimenting with. The way to make a piece feel truly aged and vintage is by having it look uneven and unintentional.  The way I achieved this was through occasionally spraying the vinegar mixture, allowing drips to happen. I'd also take my paint brush, load it with just a hint of paint, and brush over the area I'd just sprayed. It creates a washed effect.

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I let all this dry, and then reapplied another thin coat of paint, again haphazardly.  If I was really happy with how a certain area was distressed, I'd leave it be, but other spots where brushstrokes were a bit too obvious for me, I'd cover it with paint again.  Instead of waiting for this coat to completely dry, I gave it maybe five minutes, and then came back in with the vinegar spray.

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By creating this multilayered finish, certain spots reveal the original wood stain, while others show layers of crackled paint. It gives the furniture a depth that can't be achieved with just one layer of paint and distressing.

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One thing to note when using this spray technique: the typical drying time for Annie Sloan chalk paint is really quick, but this extends the drying time quite a bit.  It makes sense, you're essentially adding a good bit of water to the surface which just means more liquid that needs to dry.  I was able to get two layers of distressing in one day, but took a second day to add a few more hits of vinegar and paint just to get the finish exactly how I liked it.  

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I can't wait for my client to see the piece! The textures and layers really are best appreciated in person. I'm even more excited to see how it works alongside its inspiration piece.  I'm getting ready to try the vinegar technique on a bookcase that will most likely be a practice piece. [but who knows, it might turn out great!] It's not solid wood like this dresser is, so I'm curious to see how the vinegar interacts with the laminated surface.  Of course, I'll share my experience once it's done!

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PS- I love how this dresser has a slightly spooky feel, perfect for Halloween! I tried styling it with some of my Halloween hat collection [because of course!]. I mean this dresser would make the perfect storage piece for all your Halloween hat needs :)