The start of a new year always brings the inner organizer out of me [and it seems like everyone else I know!]. Most people get this itch to declutter, organize, and just start fresh. With all my painting supplies, I really need to work on having everything in its place so I don't waste time and money looking for supplies or replacing things I already have. I've always used old jars and cans to organize everything, but I thought it would be easy enough to make my storage pieces pretty for a change. Using a combination of papers from Paper Source and Kitchen Papers, scissors, Mod Podge glue and a foam brush, I was able to turn these old cans into something beautiful. Which one is your favorite? [I'm pretty partial to the little chicks!]
A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].
Yesterday I started work with a new design client. There's nothing more fun than visiting a home I haven't been to before and getting all sorts of ideas and inspiration from the space! For her home, we're focusing on organization and decluttering [something really everyone should do, no matter how much of a clean freak you are!]. This means I'm now on the hunt for furniture pieces that provide ample storage space. [the joy of the furniture hunt!]
My most recent painting project, though not the style of my client who leans more towards a mid century look, absolutely fits the bill for being a storage workhorse! I saw this buffet and hutch and knew it had great potential. It was a shiny brown prior, and I knew it needed to a fresh start. There's nothing better than white paint [my favorite being Old White from Annie Sloan] to take a piece from feeling dated and dreary to becoming a classic focal point in a home. I decided to go for a more distressed feel, since this piece screams rustic farmhouse. The corners are nicely rounded and are well suited for this painting style. This piece would fit seamlessly in any kitchen or dining space. It's solid wood and has dovetailed drawers, so it will stand the test of time and hard use that a kitchen inevitably brings. Using furniture in a kitchen makes the space far more interesting and gives it a new layer of character. I know this piece will find a good home in no time! Check it out on Craigslist or in my shop!
I haven't painted many of these yet, though I do seem to be coming across them more and more recently. A secretary desk is basically a piece of furniture with a pull down area that transforms into a desk, allowing all the usual messy bits of a desk to be neatly tucked away at a moment's notice. [like when you're writing a letter in correspondence with the person you've been in the throes of a torrid love affair with, and you must quickly conceal your secrets, that kind of thing...]
Back to the matter at hand, paint! I had initially started to paint this piece white, because I thought it would look really elegant, but unfortunately the previous paint/stain job was done in this olive green color that continued to bleed through the white no matter what I tried. For curiosity's sake, I slicked on some blue paint and POUF, the green disappeared! So blue it was. I went with a graphite color for the interior, again to hide the offensive green, but also because I love the look of a two toned piece.
When looking for a secretary desk, having really sturdy hinges is key. Open it and put pressure on the fold out piece. If it feels unstable or like it could snap off without much trouble, run in the other direction! Lucky for me, this one is exceptionally sturdy.
This desk would make the perfect spot to do crafts or other cluttered work, depending on what tickles your fancy. If you have a particularly messy kid, this desk can hide all manner of sin. Plus it has three drawers for storing anything else that might be mucking up the space [I really like the word mucking]. This piece could go anywhere, from the end of a hallway, to a bedroom, or just as an occasional spot to do bills or poke around on the laptop in your living room. Any small space will do! Check it out on Craigslist or in the shop! [or now, on Etsy!]
If you've ever been to my house more than once, you'd notice that things never seem to look the same. I'm constantly moving around and repurposing furniture. When I'm selling a piece, I always like to give clients tips on different ways to use their new purchase. Furniture is an investment, and for me, I'm all for investing in something as long as I know I will: A- use it a lot or B- use it in different contexts. Here's a large dresser I have for sale right now:
She's not tiny, and sometimes larger pieces like this can be a harder sell because not everyone can envision a large piece of furniture in their home. I also like to find things that are slimmer in scale, but sometimes you just need a good sized piece that can act as major place for storage. With 10 drawers, this one definitely fits the bill.
I painted this dresser using a combination of colors. I hate wasting anything, and there's no reason not to try and create new colors using the last bits of paint from a can. This beautiful blue-gray came from a combination of Amy Howard's Luxe Gray, plus a bit of Annie Sloan's Greek Blue and Graphite. I can see this particular dresser working in so many contexts.
A dresser like this can easily be converted into a bathroom vanity, and adds such a warmth and history to what's normally a cold, sparse environment. I also love seeing dressers used as a sideboard in a dining space. [How awesome would it look in this Emily Henderson room against that wallpaper? Love.] They're perfect for storing serving pieces, napkins, placemats, you name it!
I've always wanted to design a kitchen where I use a long dresser as an island. My blue-gray dresser would look amazing with a butcher block top!
Dressers make a great alternative to the traditional TV stand or entertainment center. You'll need unlimited storage for all your video games, dads, and all the other random wires that you can't figure out what they went to and just store in a drawer [wait, am I the only one who does that?] forever.
Traditional changing tables aren't a smart investment piece [unless you're having a litter of babies I suppose!], so use a piece of furniture that you'll later on get to repurpose as a dresser somewhere else [or even as the child's dresser when he or she gets older!
In a larger space or one with an open floor plan, dressers are great behind a sofa as a console table. They again provide ample storage in a room that probably gets used the most, which is something everyone needs.
Most people are creatures of habit. They buy the same grocery list every week, wear certain styles and colors of clothing, listen to their set radio stations. So it's no surprise to me that people also decorate their homes within certain parameters. Many [not all!] people are afraid of trying something new. They love wood furniture, lots of neutrals [whites, creams, grays], and always stick to the basic necessities [sofa, coffee table, side table, tv stand, bed, nightstands, dresser]. Do all those components lead to a furnished home? Sure. But if all those pieces stay within the same, neutral color scheme, I can almost guarantee your home is a bit on the dull side, or at the very least lacks personality.
This is why I like to bring in pieces like this blue cabinet that change up the conversation. I could easily paint every single thing I put out there in shades of gray and white. There's a good chance I'd sell these items quickly and consistently, and do well for myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about having what I do and love be a viable business, but if I ONLY paint gray and white furniture, will I still love what I do? Maybe, but I'd know deep down that I'd like to push the envelope when it comes to color and bring my own stamp of design into my clients' homes.
This particular piece lends itself to being colorful. It can be used in a number of ways: TV stand, entry table, bar cabinet, a place to keep toys in a child's room, linen or bathroom storage. It's really quite versatile. Since it will never be the largest piece of furniture in a space, it can afford to be bright and bold, while still allowing the rest of the space to stay neutral.
The paint technique I used harkens back to a farmhouse style, with stronger brush strokes and a rustic, dark waxed finish. The light green interior allows for an extra playful punch of color, but will typically remain unseen, keeping the space looking more formal and neutral.
I brought a few, subtle hints of green into the top of the cabinet, which helps tie in the pop of color found inside.
The cabinet is slim, which makes it perfect for adding that small bit of storage you need in virtually any room of the house. Blue is also one of those colors that plays well with others: wood tones, grays, whites, greens, yellows, reds, you name it. So I implore you to rethink the cookie-cutter, all neutral house, and try testing out the waters using a few key colorful pieces in your home, like this one! [Find it here in my shop, or on Craigslist!]