Sunday, June 30, 2013

My first foray with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

        I've been admiring the richly saturated colors of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint from afar for quite some time. I finally decided to see what all the buzz is about and ordered myself a batch. Now this paint is very very dear- like more valuable than Aztec gold. The quart container is between $34 and $38 depending on where you purchase it. I ordered two quarts- pure white and graphite, and two 4oz containers of antibes green and greek blue.
        I picked up a dining set on Thursday that I just love (picture below) and was chomping at the bit to try out the chalk paint on it. I fully sanded the table top- it has the most fantastic oak veneer patterned top. I went ahead and lightly sanded the chairs and table base to prep for paint. ASCP is touted as requiring no surface prep, and adhering to almost all surfaces. That was the biggest selling feature for me, but I figured it couldn't hurt to do a little light sanding, just incase.
         I wanted to use the graphite on the table base and legs. I followed instructions, tipped it upside down, stirred it aggressively. I was distressed to find that no matter what I did, the graphite (advertised as a soft black) is no where near black. It's a deep gray with hints of blue. I was admittedly a little disappointed by that, but the shade was so incredibly gorgeous that I decided to use the paint anyway. Instead of doing the dark cherry color stain on the tabletop I did an about face and went with a mix of pickled oak and english chestnut to create a soft bleached oak feel to better compliment the gray paint.
         I cut the paint a bit with water as I found it a little thick initially. The coverage is exceptional and it's incredibly easy to use. Everything took two coats, instead of the three or four I'm used to with dining sets. The color is deep and beautiful, and you can tell that the paint is never ever going anywhere. It took a little under half a quart to paint the six chairs and table base. I'll do a full reveal for the dining set tomorrow (still need to recover the seat cushions). I'm completely sold on the chalk paint. It's well worth the extra cost.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Refinished Cedar Chest

I picked up this wonderful vintage cedar chest during town wide tagesale day. I've always wanted to work on one, but generally they're insanely expensive, even in a wretched non-refinished state. This on was in flawless condition structurally, just needed a new look. I sanded the entire piece and then painted the base a matte black. I stained the top and sealed it. The mahogany wood grain of the lid is wonderful. I finished the piece on all four sides so the new owner could have some options for its use, including the possibility as a coffee table. The hinge mechanisms are all copper- which is so cool, and as you can see, the piece is fully cedar lined- in fact, the backboard is a skid cedar board.
Before and afters below. This one is available so let me know if you're interested!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Barn board topped desk

I picked this beautiful solid maple desk up while tagsaling on Saturday. I made quick work of it because I was so excited to see the end result. I added an antique barn board top. The boards are 19th century, beaded tongue and groove chestnut, salvaged from a barn in Colchester, Connecticut. They have a soft glow that only 100+years of aging can bestow on a wood surface. The desk came pre-sanded (hurrah) which saved me a time consuming step. I painted the case a soft blue gray and then highlighted the paint with first a clear furniture wax and then a tinted wax to give the desk depth. Finally I removed the boring vintage drawer pulls and replaced them with gorgeous 19th century stamped brass pulls. Before and afters below. This one is available, so let me know if you're interested!

A Dining Room with a Fireplace

It's going to be very very hot out today- mid-90s or so. I'm not complaining, I love summer.
 I thought we could turn the heat up a bit more and talk about fireplaces today. Our fireplace is in the family room. It's original to the house and I'm quite fond of it. I wish we had a fireplace in our dining room too. There's something so elegant and cozy about eating a late dinner while a cheerful fire crackles close by.
If you don't have a fireplace in your dining room, consider swapping the locations of your rooms for a few seasons. It doesn't take much to flip flop dining room and living room furniture, and it might make you see your home in a new light. I would certainly give it a go in our house if our family room didn't also serve as the waiting area for piano students. If it's not an option, you can always add a mantel to create the feel of a fireplace.
Here are some beautiful examples of dining rooms with fireplaces~
This dining area is rustic and elegant in a French Chateau sort of way

The massive scale of the dining table balances the giant fireplace. The mismatched white chairs add a casual air here.

This room is so large and impressive that something about it seems surreal. I included it because I love the green marble fireplace surround.

Such a fabulous room that it's hard to look away from the picture. It makes me really want to paint my dining chairs turquoise. 

Unapologetically industrial, this dining space would feel prison-y if not for the candles and fur throws. 

In soft shades of lavender and limed wood, this dining room feels feminine and peaceful. 

A gorgeous space that's not over decorated but still feels pulled together. It's a really great light fixture too.

My favorite part of this dining room is the incredible piece of folk art on the mantel.
I'm not sure what it is but it's beautiful.

I've included this room before in posts, but it's a favorite of mine. I really like the black windsor chairs with the more rustic farm table.

Everything from the parquet floor to the gargantuan black mirrors in this room screams Parisian Chic.

I'm working on a dining table right now that's quite similar to this one.

Cozy and eclectic, this dining room looks like the perfect place to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

I love how casual a round dining set can feel, especially when pulled up next to a fireplace!

The decorative accessories are kept fairly sparse here to really allow the architecture to take center stage. I really love
an over the top mirror above a mantel. I could do without those weird sculptures though.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Vintage Cherry Dining Set

This is a set I just completed custom for a client. I love how elegant the lines of the chairs and table are. It's beautiful and refined without being fussy. We went with an english chestnut/red chestnut stain on the top to really bring out the wood grain. The chairs and table base have been painted an antique cream, distressed, and waxed. Before and Afters below~
I'll be working on furniture all day today and should have three new projects to share with you by the end of the day!