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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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BEFORE AND AFTER: MY PAINTED AND STAGED KITCHEN

My kitchen. It’s my baby, my everything. I spend ALL of my time in here, or at least it feels that way! As far as staging goes, it didn’t take much for it to get ready. I keep my countertops almost completely free of anything that isn’t essential. I’m not a neat freak by any means, but I am really particular when it comes to the kitchen. For preparing to put the house on the market, we did declutter the interiors of the cabinets [though that didn’t last very long, since there are SO many kitchen supplies I am incapable of living without!]. Throughout the day, there’s lots of natural light in the kitchen, so keeping all our house plants in place helps highlight that. I simplified what I kept on the open shelf cabinet, leaving only white serving pieces to give it a clean look. What really transformed the kitchen was the white paint on the walls. Nearly the entire house was painted in Sherwin Williams Alabaster, a perfect ‘Goldilocks’ white in my eyes: not too warm, not too cool and just right. It instantly made the kitchen feel larger, brighter and more streamlined. The few hits of color in the space [mostly varying shades of blue and teal] now add a subtle pop to the kitchen. This kitchen is so functional and beautiful, it didn’t take much work [other than a little tidying and paint] to bring it to life for the staging photos. Check out a few ‘Before and After’ shots below!

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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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A Before and After Dresser Fairytale: Trash to Mid Century Treasure

I love a good comeback story, and this piece certainly deserves a proper one.  First, here's the AFTER photo, once I worked my magic [and this one needed some serious magic!].

Looks pretty good right?! Ok ok, back to the story...While I was in Dallas earlier this month, I was wandering around the Bishop Arts District, a beautiful little neighborhood with tons of local shops, restaurants, bars and everything else I could ever want [more or less]. I was walking down one of the residential streets when in the distance I spotted beneath a pile of garbage some semblance of mid century.  It was beckoning me, calling me towards it...

Is that a dresser? Could it BE?! It was covered in trash and definitely appeared to be out for slaughter, but I wanted to make sure it was up for grabs before I ran to my car and came back for it.  I thought about knocking on the front door of the house, but there were half a dozen tiny dogs of various breeds yelping beyond the fence, an army of miniature guard dogs if you will. What was I to do?! I didn't want to steal someone's property, even though I was almost definitely certain this was their garbage but still. By some magic, I heard some noises coming from the garage [that sounded like a human not a dog].  I realized someone was working on a car back there, so I began to politely shout 'hello!' and after a few of those an 'hola!' when out popped an older man from beneath the car. He was so lovely, and immediately insisted I take the dresser and that he'd help me get it in my car.  I ran [well mildly jogged since I was in a dress and sandals], grabbed the car and was over in a matter of minutes. This older man single handedly hoisted the entire dresser [I'd only managed to remove two drawers before he insisted on taking matters into his own hands] into my trunk. He offered me more furniture from the house, but the dresser was all I could fit, otherwise I would have happily taken it all! To make the story all the more unbelievable, as I was admiring his adorabnly tiny brood of dogs, he asked if I wanted to see a puppy.  A PUPPY?!?! Uh sorry no sir I'd rather not...said NO ONE EVER! I waited a little uncertain of what he was going to bring me when out he came with a tiny black pug looking baby the size of my palm.  I died.  Mentally fainted. All the emotions.

Yes, here is the tiny lilliputian sized pup he brought out to me to hold.  I squealed only like a small child could.  This little guy was five days old at the time. He then told me if I wanted one, I could come back in a couple months and take one home [there were three girls and three boys to choose from] FOR FREE. WHAT IS THIS LIFE?! First you hand over a beautiful mid century dresser to me, and then insist on providing me with a puppy, all free of charge?! I felt like Cinderella, only my Prince Charming was an older latin man covered in car grease. I mean who am I to judge, the man BROUGHT ME FURNITURE AND PUPPIES. I'm still debating going back for a puppy and I'd like for everyone I know to take one home too [and you get a puppy and YOU get a puppy and...]!

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Ok enough gushing about puppies, back to the furniture! Here's what the dresser looked like when I brought it home.  It was pretty banged up, but it was sturdy and all the drawers worked well.  Essentially, that's all I need to go ahead and work on a piece. After making the necessary repairs, I went over it with two coats of a custom light gray, similar to a previous French Provincial piece I'd done, and sealed it with Annie Sloan's white wax to give it a matte finish. I painted the drawer handles in Annie Sloan's Graphite to balance the light dresser [and because the silver was looking a little too battered and wasn't cleaning up well]. 

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I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT BELIEVE this is the same dresser that man practically threw into my car! This is precisely why I always encourage friends and family and clients to always try and buy vintage whenever possible [or find it for free if you're as lucky as I am!].  So much can end up in a landfill, but it only took me wandering around this neighborhood and politely asking if I could take this man's trash for me to end up with this stunning piece.  I am putting this one up for sale since I've had some requests on it just from the quick instagram I posted! But this piece does have some sentimental value attached to it now.  I can't wait to go back to Dallas and meet up with my furniture and puppy wielding friend to show him what his old dresser looks like now! If you're interested in this piece, head to my shop now to check it out!

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