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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].  

WINE CART OR BAR CART? YOU CHOOSE! RED BAR CART IN ANNIE SLOAN'S EMPEROR'S SILK AND ENGLISH YELLOW

As soon as I saw this little bar cart, I hoisted it into my arms and walked it to the cash register, not bothering to wait for help. I couldn’t have anyone else to snatch it up! It’s so rare to find a great little slim cart that holds TONS of bottles. 24 bottles of wine is far more than I can keep on hand [I likes my wine!]. Now let’s talk about the painting process!

I painted the cart in a mixture of Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk [4 parts] and English Yellow [1 part] chalk paint to achieve this bright, bold pop of red. It took nearly four coats, which was a bit unusual since I’ve always found my furniture to cover in 2 coats. This piece does have so many nooks and crannies and it just took a bit of time to get the finish to where I was really happy with it. But I have to say, it was worth the extra time and effort since it’s just a stunning piece in my kitchen right now!

I styled it two ways [see below] as a wine cart [didn’t have many bottles on hand, but just envision dozens of bottles lining the shelves!] and as a bar cart with the fixings for cocktails.

It’s perfect for a party, since you can just roll this little cart to wherever the party is! I just moved, and I’m seriously due for a stock the bar housewarming party, so I may have to hold onto this beautiful red cart until then. I’m tempted to just hold onto this guy permanently, but I did tell myself I wouldn’t hold onto any furniture if someone wants to buy it, so let’s see if I stick to that goal!

If you’re looking for a great little gift for your favorite wine drinker or cocktail enthusiast, head to my shop and check it out!

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UPDATES: BACK TO PAINTING! SPEARMINT GREEN NIGHTSTANDS IN ANNIE SLOAN'S LEM LEM AND FLORENCE

It’s been far too long since I’ve shared my work here! As I mentioned in my previous posts, my house went on the market a few months back. The whirlwind of preparing the house, going through open houses, showings and ultimately selling our home was much more work than I’d ever anticipated. Finding a home in my new city, Dallas, Texas was even more daunting. Five weeks ago, I said goodbye to my Atlanta home and hello to my Dallas home! I can’t wait to share all I’ve done to my new home already, but my first priority after getting settled in was to crack back into work! I haven’t had a space to paint furniture in so long, and I’ve been chomping at the bit to pick up a brush and start transforming new pieces to sell. I’m really pleased with how my first project turned out!

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This pair of nightstands was my first project in Dallas. They were found in my family’s storage unit collecting dust. I was happy to take it off their hands and give these guys a new look, since their current state was a bit drab to say the least.

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Most of my paint didn’t fare well during my hiatus and the move, so I just had a few bits of Annie Sloan’s Florence and Lem Lem chalk paint to work with for this project. To create the base color, I combined one part Florence, a bold turquoise with four parts Lem Lem, a light spring green.

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The paint mixture had a lot of texture in it [a nicer way of saying there were bits of dried paint in it- never fun!] so I decided to go for a distressed look to both get rid of the dried paint particles and add dimension to their somewhat boxy appearance.

After distressing, I took Lem Lem, thinned it out with a few drops of water and painted a wash over the base color, wiping it off in certain spots to create a lighter, blended finish.

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I went back and forth about changing out the hardware of the drawers. These are the originals, and at first I was unsure about how they worked with this paint finish, but once I styled the nightstands with objects, they really grew on me. I sort of love the nod to their original look. If someone prefers something more modern, it’s a two minute swap to screw in new pulls.

Depending on the angle and the lighting, the color really brightens up and transforms to a light spearmint shade. The way the colors transform throughout the day is really what I love most about working with the Annie Sloan line of paint!

This pair is now up for sale in my shop [which is now based in Dallas, Texas!]. I’m going to work on shipping furniture in the coming months so I can share my work with people from around the country! Keep an eye out for quite a few more things popping up in my shop during the coming weeks. I snagged three more pieces just yesterday and have already finished up a great little wine rack / bar cart. I’m SO glad to be back to work at A Simpler Design and can’t wait to end this year with a frenzy of paint in all kinds of colors!

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Mixing White and Black Wax for a Brushed Graphite Finish

I know...my first furniture post in AGES! The past few months have been crazy here. My home is currently up for sale, so it's been months of staging and photographs and keeping the house pristine.  All of those factors makes painting furniture in my house a challenge to say the least.  I've decided to start things up again, mostly because I'm going a little nuts not being able to continue my furniture painting obsession. My first project piece was this beautiful double bowed dresser. I painted this piece for my Airbnb and I've received wonderful compliments on it from my guests!  The finish is really unique. I painted it with my go to Graphite chalk paint from Annie Sloan and brushed on a mixture of white wax and black wax.  I didn't blend the two waxes completely. The mixture resembled crushed up Oreos [I really should have provided myself Oreos while writing this post...fail!]. I brushed on the mottled wax mixture, quickly buffing it away with a white t-shirt rag to blend the finish. I love the depth it gives this piece! What do you think of it?  I'll be putting it up for sale soon in my shop

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Mixing Color and Wood Tones Using Annie Sloan's Graphite

Sometimes I take one look at a piece of furniture and instantly know what needs to be done to it. I envision its end before I've even picked up a paint brush.  This piece was calling out for a deeper, more stately shade, and Annie Sloan's Graphite is always my go to color when I want something to feel grounded. The drawers on this highboy dresser [a highboy is typically a dresser that's tall and has a wider base than its top...the more you know!] were in such great shape, they just needed some sanding along the edges to make them glide into the frame better. 

I removed the hardware so I could give the drawer fronts a good polish with a bit of Restore-a-finish [I only use this if wood needs a bit of brightening, not for any real staining work]. For the frame of the dresser, I painted it in two coats of Graphite, lightly sanding in between coats for a silky finish and doing a bit of distressing along the curves to highlight them a bit. I finished the surface with Annie Sloan's dark wax, which deepens the graphite. The warm tones of the wood complement the deep cool charcoal shade. This is easily my favorite combination. It instantly elevates any piece of furniture and makes it feel a bit more grand. 

I styled this vignette with a few things I'd picked up on my recent travels to Dallas. The Avett Brothers print is by an artist I met at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival [I can't seem to find his business card, but it's signed Jackson and I remember he's from Florida- I'll add him in if/when I find his information!]. I also grabbed a couple books from Goodwill, because of course I did.  I got an old Kennedy biography and a Webster's Thesaurus [I absolutely LOVE a thesaurus!]. I then grabbed a few red toned pieces from my collection to round out the color grouping. When I'm not sure how to style something, keeping things fairly monochrome is the easiest way to pull things together. Also, tiny cacti never did anyone wrong, so in those went too. 

This highboy is actually the partner to the previous dresser I shared. It's incredible how color can transform the feel of a piece. Both of these are French Provincial in style, and yet the first one feels so feminine and light, while this one is much more masculine and weighted. I really do love how this piece turned out! It's now posted for sale in my shop, and I can't wait to see where this beautiful dresser ends up!

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Subtle Color Combinations I Love: Annie Sloan's Lem Lem and English Yellow

If/when I receive a piece of furniture for free, I absolutely insist on experimenting with color and painting techniques! This was a piece I was kindly gifted by friends/clients of mine, and so I knew I wanted to play with color here. I'd never tried Annie Sloan's latest color, Lem Lem, a soft green shade [a portion of the profits of this shade go toward Oxfam, so reason enough alone to try this color out!].

Console tables like this are perfect for playing with color. By design, they're an accent piece in a room, so going with a color a bit outside of your norm is perfectly okay, if not encouraged! [at least from this lover of color!]. This particular console was a challenge to paint due to the bamboo inspired spindle legs, which were so tightly spaced, it made painting them quite the endeavor. Rather than trying to create a perfectly smooth finish, I opted for a slightly distressed look, and blended a couple shades to create a varied effect.  The result ended up being surprisingly close to actual reeds of bamboo!

For the base shade [the more yellowy of the two] I went with a mixture of English Yellow and Lem Lem, with slightly more Lem Lem mixed in.  I then made a wash combining Lem Lem, English Yellow and just a hint of Florence [a deeper green/turquoise shade] for some depth.  I painted the wash on, wiping it off in quick succession with a clean rag.  As I applied this technique a couple times over, the piece naturally distressed, revealing the beautiful original wood tone. To allow the more yellow base to peek through, I used a medium coarse sand paper to gently remove the green wash. I didn't do this everywhere, since I'm more partial to a variance in color throughout any piece of furniture. The result was subtle and quite beautiful!

This console feels both modern [with the bright pop of color] and vintage [with the distressed wash effect] and I really just love the quiet play of color happening here. Today's photos are a little different from my norm! I took my standard wide shots, but the true beauty of this piece is in the delicate color variations only viewed up close. I painted this in a solid shade at first. [and there's truly nothing wrong with keeping a painted piece simple and solid!] Though it looked beautiful as it was, I just knew I needed to play with color a bit more, because why not? And I'm so glad I did! This piece is now for sale in my shop!

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