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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].  

Classic Lines with Modern Style: French Provincial Dresser in Gray

FOIL   foil/  noun

noun: foil; plural noun: foils

  1. a person or thing that contrasts with and so emphasizes and enhances the qualities of another.

    "the earthy taste of grilled vegetables is a perfect foil for the tart bite of creamy goat cheese"

    synonyms: contrast, complement, antithesis, relief

    "Abbott was the perfect foil to Costello"

French Provincial furniture is one of those styles that's instantly recognizable.  Their curves and delicate hardware make them feel eternally vintage and feminine. Sometimes I'll paint them in a more modern shade to spice things up, but for this piece I went with a timeless combination. I mixed a few shades of Annie Sloan chalk paint to create this cool, light gray. Depending on how the light hits it, it also reads in shades of a faint blue. I love when furniture changes color in the light. It's in a constant state of evolution, adapting to its surroundings ever so gracefully. When I paint something in a seemingly traditional color, I like to go in the other direction when it comes to styling it. If I have a piece with so many delicate curves, I like to counter those curves with modern and linear objects. Much in the same way "Abbot was the perfect foil to Costello," French Provincial can be the perfect foil for modern style. Creating that contrast in your style gives a space this underlying sense of balance that's subtle and palpable, if barely so.  It brings this sense of relief to the eye you might not have picked up on. I love working in subtleties and I think it shows with this shoot.

For this vignette, my jumping off point was a take on modern botanicals: a cactus print from Society 6 [a fantastic resource for affordable art], a small abstract done by my aunt, a larger impressionist style piece [also painted by my talented aunt!], my Rifle Paper Co. calendar [because it's Rifle and the colors and that quote, my God Emily Dickinson you've got it right!], a couple plants I'd just potted in modern concrete planters, a few stacked vintage books [because who would I be if there weren't vintage books in there?!] my number one ride or die lamp [never change Target, never change], a little piece of pottery from an unknown source [but I do think it's from the Philippines], and finally my Archie's Press Atlanta map. Layering all these objects together; stacking them, hanging them, leaning them, arranging them just so, it's a bit of an art in of itself.  Sometimes I get so lost in the styling, I end up losing my natural light [golden hour, why are you so brief?], and have to postpone photographing for the following day.   The next time you're looking to add a little style to your space, consider pairing your classics with your moderns or vice versa.  Play with the ages, and you'll come out with an eclectic, effortless style all your own.

PS- anyone else here seriously craving goat cheese after reading the definition for foil? Just me? Ok cool cool :)

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Quick Styling with Fall Colors: Mid Century Dresser in a Gray-Blue

Sometimes everything perfectly aligns. I finished this piece right around 5pm when the light was stunning and golden. The dresser was begging to be photographed immediately! Normally I give it a day, let the wax cure, and slowly style the furniture until it suits me. BUT THAT NATURAL LIGHT! So in a fit of madness, I started running around the house grabbing art to hang on the wall, and random bits to style the top with. I normally hang an odd number of pieces on the wall, but this set of four worked well and I liked how the large colorful painting was balanced out with the three smaller paintings in more neutral tones.

When styling, I [almost] always hang art first and then take look at my giant bookcase of styling props. This time my row of vintage books caught my eye. I noticed how nicely all their colors paired with the large painting I had hung, and grabbed the whole lot.  I quickly shoved them on the top, had that AHA! moment and continued grabbing a few more items to complete the vignette. There was so much color in the books, I kept the rest neutral with a cream ceramic lamp [Pottery Barn], my little brass mama duck and her ducklings [vintage from Highland Row Antiques] and a tall clay vase [West Elm]. 

Something about this set up really resonates with me. Mid century pieces are so timeless and simple, it really doesn't take much to make photos of them shine. But between the art and the books in that rainbow of shades, I'm simply in love. For my painting readers, I created the blue-gray finish on the frame using a combination of Annie Sloan's Aubusson Blue and French Linen. The mixture created the perfect neutral with a bit of a twist. The color works with warm accents or cool, whichever mood you're in.  

I don't know why, but something about these photos and this styling makes me think of 'back to school' time. I've only just put this up for sale in my shop, but I'm secretly hoping I get to hold onto it for a bit so I can do another restyle of this piece using actual school props [notebooks and yellow pencils and rulers oh my!]. I loved school as a kid, so this time of year and the color tones found in this photoshoot really just give me the warm and fuzzies!

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Color Inspiration: Chasing the Sunrise at Grand Teton National Park

*Okay so I'm cheating a little...I wrote this post for my personal website, States of Reverie, since that's where I share my posts on food and travel and all the etc. of my life. But I have to say, my trip out west to Wyoming and Montana was inspirational both in my personal and professional life. That being said, I'm sharing my little reflection on my first morning out west, along with a few other posts on my trip that I'll share in the coming weeks. On a furniture related note, I'm currently painting a piece inspired by the deep corals found in the sunrise seen below!

I began my week out west with a sunrise. I ended it with a sunset. Befitting imagery to be sure, but imagery that upon further reflection has created a sense of longing, a heartache for something more. These photos were taken on the road heading from Jackson Hole, Wyoming toward Grand Teton National Park. Whenever I'm visiting someplace scenic, someplace expansive, someplace where the ocean meets the sky, where the mountains carve out the horizon, I am compelled to watch the sunrise, even if just once. It takes some planning [I am a morning person, but I wouldn't call myself an early riser by any means], and almost certainly a mad dash out the door [since surely I'll snooze that pre 5am alarm one too many times], but once I set out on the road and begin to spot those first warm brush strokes, the groggy fog over my head lifts. I'm wide-eyed and treated to the most perfect ephemeral show.

As we drove in the darkness through Jackson Hole's empty town center, the blinking street lights may as well have been runway lights, only these were guiding me toward the still, misty horizon. As predicted, I was rushed. I had a rapidly diminishing window to reach my target: the barns on Mormon Row. I knew that at just the right time, the sun would throw the most incredible alpenglow over the Grand Tetons, and the view of this impressive mountain range was postcard perfect from my carefully planned spot.  

I was determined to make it out there in time. What I hadn't planned for was the awe inspiring drive to my destination.  As we drove, the sky progressed from a muted blue-gray to a capricious kaleidoscope of orange and ochre and peach and coral and pink and violet, revealing new colors at every turn.

These photos weren't composed or planned. The view I was aimed toward was still further in the distance. We simply stuck the camera out the window while en route, as I openly gasped at the expansive sky before me, all the while checking there were no rogue animals making their way across the road. A fast shutter speed and half decent aim provided us with photos that bring a palpable warmth to my heart and a lasting memory of my first morning out west. I didn't get to stop and soak in this twilight hour between dusk and sunrise [don't worry, I had plenty of time to take it all in once I made it to Mormon Row, but more on that another time!].

So often I rush through life with my eyes aimed toward a fixed point on the horizon.  I'm so appreciative of these photos, since for me they capture the beauty found along the way, the beauty found in the wandering.  I only managed one drive towards the sunrise during this trip [you try getting yourself out of bed before dawn when you're in a tent that's a cool 40 degrees fahrenheit!]. It was my only sunrise, so it carries more weight and feels all the more significant. 

This singular twilight drive reminds me the sunrise is both infinite and finite. The sun works its way over the horizon each day, and it's never the same. The cloud configurations change, the painted colors change, the vantage point changes. It's a dynamic, boundless, breathtaking display.  There are only so many sunrises in my lifetime.  I don't wake up each day to chase it. But I can try. I may fail [in fact, I'm guaranteed to fail more often than not...sunrise is early!]. But maybe it's somewhere in the trying where I'll discover something more. 

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! :)

House Tour: Master Bathroom Details

It's not everyday I give people a tour of my bathroom, but since I did tidy it up for these photos, I thought why not share it?  The rest of the bathrooms in the house are quite small, so having a space with a large shower, a separate tub and a sizable vanity has been a dream! 

I've never been a big bath taker, and honestly I really haven't used this beautiful claw foot tub nearly as much as I should, but for Christmas I got some deliciously scented bath bombs from Lush, so I'm making a point to take more baths and some 'treat yo-self' time! 

Everything in this bathroom is in shades of blue and faint green and it really feels so spa like. The tile I used in the entire bathroom was surprisingly affordable [from The Tile Shop], but looks SO luxurious!  I love spending time getting ready in here before going out since it feels like I'm in my own little boutique hotel!

With the styling of things, I kept everything very natural and simple.  I love my wispy little air plant tucked into a shell beside my bath. The small shelves I had put into the tile are perfect for setting down my coffee in the morning [or a glass of wine at night!].

My favorite part about this bathroom is the lighting, both during the day and at night. In the daytime, the skylight above the bathroom fills the space with natural light and at night, there are a total of six sconces in varying styles that light up the space.  I hate overhead lighting in most situations, and using sconces just felt more special and a bit romantic. [not to mention, everyone just looks so much better in this sort of light!]

On the bathroom countertop, I try to keep things minimal. For the shoot, I did a few succulents, shells and ceramics, but most of the time I just keep my hair and cleansing products here.

On the other side of the countertop are some of my perfumes, and a little vintage dish with my rings.  I don't wear much jewelry [really I have the same necklace and the same couple pairs of earrings on at all times!] but I do love my rings.  Tinkerbell occasionally makes an appearance in my bathroom!

The less pretty, but more practical part of my bathroom are these built in shelves tucked behind the shower. Here I have baskets with necessities like toilet paper, my makeup bags, and my jewelry [again, most of which I don't even wear...really need to up my jewelry wearing game I suppose!]. 

My makeup vanity is the most coveted spot in this room, and I can't say enough how much I love having a dedicated spot for all my makeup! 

Just beside the shower I have a spot to hang my towels. Styling again was simple with a paper flower [love love love my Amaranthus Paper & Flora!] in a vase.

It was tricky to get a proper photo of my shower, since the glass door reflects everything! [as glass does] I have all my shower necessities tucked into custom sized shelves [another must do if you ever have the chance to to a bathroom renovation!]. 

My bathroom is weirdly one of my favorite spots in the house.  It's a departure from my typical design style, but I like that it feels like a bit of a getaway for me!  Next we'll move our way into the 'guest suite,' which is definitely a departure in style!