Saturday, January 31, 2015

Before and After : Thomasville Sofa Table in Annie Sloan Country Grey and French Linen

This is a great new addition to my "Greige" period ;) as my sister would say. I'm continuing my exploration of gorgeous neutrals, and did this in shabby chic interpretation with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in two coats of Country Grey on the body, and a single coat of French Linen, plus distressing, so the wood really shines through.

They call it "distressing" but it makes me feel so calm ;) . There's definitely a lot of love in the careful just-so sanding on this piece! How far do you distress, you may ask? Until it feels right. I actually took this back farther than I had originally planned, because it just didn't feel done yet! And now the surface is smooth and soft like... well something super smooth and soft.

It reminds me of something you'd find in a cottage beachside.. Lovely!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Before and After : Blue Chest of Drawers

Here is the first in what I hope to be many projects over the next year that are for my own home! This grand chest of drawers is truly stunning with its new facelift - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Greek Blue, followed by a wash of Olive, then distressing and waxing.

The serpentine tops and carved details get me every time! *swoon* And I'm always loving the blues. It seems that every time I go into the paint store, I tell myself I'm going to get something TOTALLY different.. then happily buy a new blue or gray. I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions, but this year I'm hoping to try one new color per month!

Here the lighting is different as well, but just look at the STRIKING difference before and after wax. On the left, I have Greek Blue with an Olive wash (super diluted with tons of water, painted on, then wiped off). I then came back and distressed gently before applying the wax).

Both Greek Blue and Olive were new to me, so I'm well on the way :) . Here's a Color Story - Inspiration behind this stunning piece! A clear blue Montana sky with vibrant barn. This is actually my aunt's backyard. What a paradise - wish I could wake up to that every morning!
 What inspires you? Comment or send me an email at with photos if you'd like me to share your Color Story through a refinish!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Before and After : Vintage Vanity in Florence and Cream

I saw an idea for a dresser in Annie Sloan Florence and Cream chalk paint, heavily distressed. That was the inspiration for this color combination.. but this vanity turned out precisely 0% like that dresser. But who cares? Not me! It's lovely, and totally mod-throwback with the bold color piping.

Besides, this vanity really, really needed some love :) .

Before and After : Aqua Blue Antique French Provincial Vanity

This stunning vanity was refinished in blend of 1 part Annie Sloan Florence Chalk Paint to 4 parts Pure White.

A great tip for custom colors is to get empty paint tins from Home Depot to blend your color in, write the recipe on the lid with a Sharpie and dab the top!

That way when you run out you remember how to re-create that gorgeousness. (Some days I'm doing well if I remember what I had for breakfast, so this is totally invaluable!)

Curious about my inspiration for this piece? I absolutely adore the light blue and teal colors in the sky, and in.. prickly pear cactus! So beautiful!!

What inspires you? Leave me a comment with your favorite plant, and if I can find a local inspiration, I'll do my best to capture it in a furniture piece!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Before and After : Pair of Antique Side Tables

Here are some great antique side / end tables with glass tops, redone in Annie Sloan Louis Blue! A word to the wise: handle the glass with latex or non-latex gloves.. also, it is less expensive to get a new piece of glass cut than to have an existing piece shaved down. And if you do have that new piece of glass cut, measure it to make sure it's right before you leave the store. All lessons that I've learned the hard way so you don't have to! ...but they're gorgeous, right?

Also, I found with the lighter blue colors, it is REALLY hard to wax without leaving areas of light and shadow. I know that a hand-finished item will have some natural variation, but this was more than I was anticipating. So I researched and found a trick to mix clear wax with a small amount of the paint color you're using. It worked!! These were definitely a labor of love, and I think they're just perfect!

Before and After : Antique Kidney Shaped Desk

Ummm can you say lucky? This French Provincial desk was a garage sale find that cleaned up beautifully and is now well loved in its new home! I had a lot of fun redoing this, and really love Primer Red with dark wax. It reminds me of leather bound books and rich mahogany.. but I digress. Loving this!

To get a real dimensionality of color on the top, I used a mix of Charcoal Grey, Aubusson Blue, and Primer Red that I sponged on. Don't worry! I didn't leave it like this :) I just wanted a little marbelization in the undertones so the color was rich, yet natural and cohesive.

Then, I painted over the whole thing with Primer Red so just a tiny hint of that color variation showed through. I finished the top with clear and dark waxes. Lovely!

 Curious about the Color Story behind the piece? I love the weathered, dark red look of this barn siding. It has a story to tell!

Before and After : 9 Drawer French Provincial Dresser with Mirror

This dresser and mirror was so gorgeous I must have forgotten to take a good "before" picture! I pinky swear to do better in the future. But I just had to share - I refinished the top with a dark stain and the body with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. Lovely!!

Have I mentioned how much i *adore* keeping original hardware intact when possible?

Before and After : Pillar Candle Holder

This was a set of pillar-style candle holders; the one on the right I refinished in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Barcelona Orange with an overlay of Florence. I love the bright, bold colors!

Before and After : Lexington Chest of Drawers

This is a beauty from the Lexington Victorian Sampler collection. The proud new owner also had a cheval or standing mirror refinished in the same Annie Sloan Pure White Chalk Paint and distressed. Another before and after will come soon for that project!

I don't usually use all white for my refinishes, but this has a beautiful, clean look to it, and a classic elegance. Here's a Color Story: Inspiration photo from my in-laws' lily pond!

Timeless! Be sure to check out my other inspirations by clicking "Color Story". What inspires you? Send me your ideas and I may be able to translate them into my next furniture refinish!

Before and After : Antique Dining Table

This stunning table is from the Rockford Furniture Company in Illinois. When I got it, it was desperately in need of some TLC! With a little luck and a lot of elbow grease (plus a little dark wax), I restained the top and painted the body in Annie Sloan Versailles, then antiqued with that dark wax.

 *Sniffle* They grow up so fast! Here's another "after", just because I love the detailed carvings of these legs so much.

Before and After : 9-drawer French Provincial Dresser

This gorgeous dresser had sad, white knobs :( so I looked for months and found two sets on Etsy that I can tell make the dresser much happier! I stained the top dark and painted the body in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Louis Blue.

Update: This gorgeous piece now has a sibling!!( Check it out here.) This fabulous antique chest of drawers will be a perfect pairing! Don't let the lighting deceive you - it's the exact same shade of blue; Louis Blue can just appear very different depending on the light :)

Distressing and Antiquing 101

Today I'm working on a dresser / chest of drawers for my husband, so I have full license to play with different painting and distressing techniques! So far I've done a few coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Greek Blue, and will be following with a wash of ASCP Olive to antique, then sanding to distress. So this leads to the topic at hand - how do you make something look like it was naturally antiqued? Carefully, and thoughtfully. There are two major ways to create a distressed, perfectly imperfect finish.

1) Use a light touch, with a non-saturated paint brush, and don't press into all of the nooks and crannies.

That's what I've done here. Lovely, right? This leaves some spots unpainted at the BASE of your detail work.

2) Use a sanding block or sponge (I usually use a fine grit (120 +), unless I am doing something super distressed. Then I would start with a more coarse grit, and finish with a fine grit). This will take away paint at the HIGH points of your piece. Since this isn't fully dry yet, here's a photo from a different project with high point distressing.

For this dresser, I'll be using a combination of the two techniques, as well as applying a sheer wash of Olive (diluting the paint with water, painting, and wiping away the excess - like I did on this pedestal table).



This will leave a gorgeous, time-loved finish that will look like it's been lovingly handed down over the generations. Before and after photos from this week's dresser refinish coming soon!

UPDATE: Here's the gorgeous carved detailing on the trim from earlier,  now with high point distressing and waxing: