Blog

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

Painting Mid Century and Retro Furniture: Annie Sloan's Barcelona Orange

Quick little painting projects I can complete in just a few hours are incredibly satisfying! Accent tables like this mid century demilune are a perfect candidate for injecting bold color into your home.  I've been experimenting with Annie Sloan's Barcelona Orange on all my recent projects, and it's a surprisingly versatile color.

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From Annie Sloan's site, 'This vivacious, modern orange is based on the colour used copiously by the Impressionists, in early advertisements and in 1960's decoration. Such a brilliant orange was not available until the early 20th century.' 

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The first time I saw this color, I immediately wanted to use it with retro and mid century pieces. It can certainly be used on more traditional pieces [and I just LOVE how it worked with this gorgeous dresser!] 

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With mid century pieces, I almost always will keep things simple, work with a solid color, paint on two or three coats, lightly sand to get a smoother finish and seal it with clear wax. I prefer this route since the colors remain vibrant.

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Keeping the paint process simple and unfettered with allows the classic features of mid century furniture to really shine.  I love the tapered, boomerang style legs, the demilune top and coordinating shelf.  The retro details coupled with this deep orange are a really satisfying combination for me.

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For my photos, I styled the piece as a bar table, cobbling together a few ingredients for a lovely little fall cocktail [more on that coming to my other website, States of Reverie!]. 

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Currently this little table is hanging out behind one of my sofas, but I could see this working as a nightstand too! Painted accent tables like these are perfect for adding a bit of color in almost any space.  I'll have it posted for sale in my shop soon! 

A Chat About Hoarding Vintage Trunks

The title of this post is self explanatory.  I have this thing about trunks. If I sees it, I buys it!  The older, the grittier, the better.  I've collected, hoarded and [much to my dismay] eventually sold quite a few trunks over the years. The only way I get to have a successful furniture business is by not allowing myself to hold onto anything really. If it makes someone else happy and they're willing to pay a fair price, I have to be okay about parting with it. Sigh...

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That being said, I once had this little red trunk that I adored. As beautiful and bright as this trunk was, the interior of it was a little funky, which made storing anything inside it a bad idea.  So when a client saw it and asked if she could buy it and for quite a bit more than I'd paid, I said yes without giving it much thought. Silly Jo. I still think about that trunk, and it is one of the things I regret parting with.

Now for some trunk redemption...Recently my mom was at a local thrift shop and saw they were selling a variety of trunks, three to be exact.  She sent photos, and I replied with, 'BUY THEM ALL.'  She assumed I was kidding, but oh no, I don't kid about my trunks. I couldn't say no!  Each one is so different from the next, and stacked together they look fantastic!

I did have an immediate favorite of the three, and have already decided it will not go for sale, because it's the buried treasure trunk of my dreams! It's small and wooden with leather handles and it photographs beautifully! I've decided it's a perfect storage piece for styling fabrics, and it also works well as a styling piece to place in furniture photo shoots [I already used it when photographing this darling lavender chair!].  The other two I will likely put up for sale in the future [time will tell], but for now they're all making for a lovely vintage/industrial addition to my home.

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Rainy Day House Tidying

On rainy days I like to tidy. It clears the mind and helps motivate me to tackle new projects. Yesterday was particularly soggy, so I managed to tackle a few rooms in my house. Due to an overly zealous beagle mix named Watson, the baby of our family, we had to rejig the the house a bit to help 'puppy-proof' things a bit more.

We used to have the small leather sofa in front of the window looking out onto the sidewalk. Watson has constant anxiety when seeing other dogs, humans, moving objects on the street, and would ransack the sofa, tossing off all the pillows, nose pressed up against the window pane, barking, howling, whinging at every passerby.  I decided to move the sofa away from the window, giving it a new home in the adjacent room, creating a new and cozy sitting area.

Now a dresser I currently have up for sale sits in front of the window, helping block the view of possible 'intruders' and prevents Watson from jumping on any of the furniture.  It seems like a minor thing, but I'm already noticing a quiet calm wash over the house.  So much less yelping!

In the room where I paint and photograph all my furniture, I put together a new wall gallery, prepped for the next piece I'll photograph on this wall.  

When I'm not working in here, we use this space as a workout room and spot to watch TV [there's an elliptical along the window and when there's not a giant dresser taking over, I have lots of space to do yoga, lift weights do a HIIT video or dance around to music [probably my most favorite workout choice!]. 

I also use this room to organize most of my styling props.  I just finished this tall bookcase, and it's perfect for housing my treasure trove of objects. Having all my little things placed on the shelves in an aesthetically pleasing manner is oddly important to me. I spent a good hour alone just rearranging everything on the shelves, trying to squeeze as much as I could, while still having it all organized and pulled together.

I have to say, even though yesterday wasn't spent working on furniture or writing, I felt really accomplished and at peace by the time 5 o'clock rolled in. Putting physical things in place manages to put my mind in place. Putting physical things in place manages to put my mind in place. 

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!

Small Spaces: 'More is more' design in a petite package

When I stumbled upon this space on Zillow [I mentioned in my previous small spaces post about helping my friend house hunt], I had serious interior design envy. The photos of her space made me immediately want to redesign all my own spaces [and basically put a gallery wall in any and every room!].

 Photos taken from zillow.com [link above]

Photos taken from zillow.com [link above]

900sqft isn't small my any means for a one bedroom apartment, but it can make for slightly tighter living quarters. Some might think the solution for that is going the minimalist route, with petite pieces of furniture and keeping things simple.  This space went quite the opposite way, and it works beautifully.

The use of color is so vibrant and slightly whimsical, but not in a silly way.  I'm so envious of the bold wallpaper shrouding this bedroom!

I've always made design choices in my home with keeping the idea of resale in mind, making sure not to go over the top.  But her use of bright orange base and crown moulding has me thinking I need to just take the plunge in any way I want to.  This space is giving me the design strength I need!

Every detail in this smaller apartment is so thoughtfully arranged, yet doesn't feel forced. I adore the set up of this small kitchen.  I'm a person who spends the majority of her time in the kitchen, and having as large a kitchen as humanly possible is a lifelong dream of mine.  But this little gem has me rethinking my lofty goals entirely!

I love the finishes chosen for this small space. The touches of gold throughout feel like jewelry in the space, and the gorgeous marble herringbone backsplash [similar to the one I have in my studio, I think we may be kindred spirits in design!] add such a touch of class to the kitchen. The butcher block countertops contrast nicely with the white cabinets and appliances, and give the space a warmth that's hard to achieve with stone surfaces.

The bathroom feels so bright and light, and again, though small, has just the right amount of design touches to make it feel like a spa like retreat in a petite package. I can't quite see it fully in the photo, but I thoroughly appreciate the grand size of the mirror above the sink.  I love large mirrors in small spaces. They help bring in and bounce around light in a space, and if you can find a mirror that nearly goes to the ceiling, it just makes the space feel that much larger.  

I also love how the two bedrooms in this home contrast quite significantly, both in color and style. This space, which I assume is the guest bedroom, feels so calming and quiet. It has much more rustic touches, but still feels luxurious with the help of gorgeous floor to ceiling drapery [another #goal of mine is to have really gorgeous curtains in every room of my home, but my cheeky cats who enjoy nestling in them and occasionally vomiting on them have me thinking otherwise...probably an overshare!]

Though it's not exactly my specific design style, I feel like I would be so at home in this apartment. It feels so eclectic, warm and inviting, without being overly fussed with. What's funny is this apartment is located literally around the corner from my house! I wonder if I should just knock on the door and meet the person who lives here, I imagine we'd be fast friends!