Friday, February 23, 2018

Gorgeous French style coffee table - love this one

french style coffee table - hand painted by lilyfield life

Good morning lovelies. Firstly I have to say how much I appreciate your emails and comments in response to my work. It really means a lot to me so thank you.

I'm going to be quick today as I'm under the pump to finish a very old Australian meat safe and hutch. it has needed a huge amount of work and is getting picked up tomorrow. I am confident of finishing but do't have much time for other things today.  I did want to share this beautiful coffee table I finished yesterday.


french style coffee table - hand painted by lilyfield life

This is such a practical (and gorgeous) piece. the two drawers slide the whole way through from front to back so they are accessible from both sides.  I painted the insides of the drawers in this beautiful seafoam green.

french style coffee table - hand painted by lilyfield life

This is my favourite colour palette - muted putty grey and white. Very elegant and neutral.

french style coffee table - hand painted by lilyfield life

french style coffee table - hand painted by lilyfield life

I'll share photos of the piece I'm working on today soon. Fingers crossed my day goes to plan. hope yours does also
Fiona xx

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Beautiful French Linen Press

french linen press hand painted by Lilyfield Life

Yesterday was a lovely productive day but I did manage to hurt my shoulder - lifting too many heavy things I think, I've iced it this morning and popped some nurofen this morning. I'm hoping it sorts itself out and I don't have to make a trip to my trusty osteopath, Matt.

I finished this divine French linen press yesterday. I completely love it and think it's in the top 5 of my all time favourite and best pieces. If I didn't have to pay school fees I would keep it. It sold with about 10 people next in line within minutes of me posting it so that solves the problem of me wanting to keep it :)


french linen press hand painted by Lilyfield Life

This piece had a weird red glaze all over it so I was able to remove that with Diggers Wax and Greaser Remover - one of favourite products that I pretty much use everyday. I have painted this piece in a very authentic French style - a washed grey with a waxed finish. It is so smooth with the loveliest sheen.

french linen press hand painted by Lilyfield Life

french linen press hand painted by Lilyfield Life


Pieces like these are so handy but are so hard to find - and are usually expensive. This one is probably the most I've ever paid for a piece but I love it so much that I splurged.

I am not painting this morning as it's one of my friend's birthdays and we are off to do a little road trip to the northern beaches to look at some antique shops and drink loads of coffee. It will do my shoulder good to give it a rest today.

Fiona xx

Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekend projects

Lilyfield Life

Good morning! Hope you had a lovely weekend. I worked most of Saturday but yesterday didn't even enter my studio. We had a lovely lunch at Phil's boss' house and then came home and had a swim and easy dinner. I had a massive allergic reaction to Phil's boss' cat. I didn't realise but I sat in the chair the cat usually sits in so while I didn't even touch the actual cat I ended up with a puffy face, streaming eyes and running nose. I then took an antihistamine but I think because I'd had two glasses of champagne before taking it , it really knocked me around. I was glad to wake up this morning feeling back to normal.

Lilyfield Life French upholstered vintage chair

On Saturday I finished this chair that I have been working on for a while. It was originally a dark reddish brown with floral tapestry. It was not nice at all. I'm more than happy to not recover a chair if the tapestry is nice but this was just ugly. 

Lilyfield Life French upholstered vintage chair

Lilyfield Life French upholstered vintage chair

Here's another chair I recently painted that was picked up on Saturday - on this one, the fabric was in perfect condition so I just painted the fabric and waxed it. It looks so good and ends up feeling like very soft leather.If you are interested in how this is done here's a tutorial I wrote a while ago.  I just taped off the stripe with painters tape and painted them also.

Lilyfield Life French upholstered vintage chair

Another piece I finished on Saturday was this lovely carved timber mirror. It's quite big (97cm across). The timber varnish was quite shiny so I gave it a good sand and then painted it in ASCP Duck Egg, gently distressed the paint and finished it with clear wax. 

Lilyfield Life hand painted mirror ascp duck egg

Lilyfield Life hand painted mirror ascp duck egg

I have a few lovely vintage paintings available also. This one below has the prettiest hues and is in pristine condition.

vintage painting flowers

Available; a divine vintage oil painting of flowers in the prettiest tones. Signed by artist (Hedy) and beautifully framed. Painting and frame in excellent condition.
A gorgeous painting to treasure. 
69 x 59 cm
$225
Pickup Lilyfield

vintage painting flowers

I also still have this coat rack available - a petty piece for your hallway or bathroom.

Available: lovely coat rack with 4 hooks. Fleur de lis design. An off white chalk paint and antiqued with wax. Screw directly into wall or add a bracket/hook at back for hanging.
102 cm long
$165
Pickup Lilyfield

Lilyfield life coat rack

I have a delivery this morning of some fabulous French pieces I have sourced. I usually do all the pickups myself but none of these pieces fit in my vehicle so I am grateful to give my back a rest from all the heavy lifting. I'm really excited to receive these pieces as they are so special. I'll share photos tomorrow.

Let's get stuck into the week :)
have a good one
Fiona xx


Sunday, February 18, 2018

White French style drawers

Good morning - we are heading out to lunch today but this morning is walks in the park, helping with some maths revision and tidying the house. I am sitting at my desk with Sasha next to me doing her maths so I thought I'd write a blog post while she is working on her own.

One style of furniture that I buy every time I see it (well every time unless they are outrageously expensive or in bad condition) is the vintage 9 drawers chest by Australian master furniture makers Burgess.  I recently found two and offered them both up for custom painting. Melissa bought one of them and asked for it to be painted solid white, Kaman bought the second and has asked for it to be white but gently distressed.  I have finished the one for Melissa and will be painting Kaman's this week.




Have a lovely day
Fiona xx

Friday, February 16, 2018

Too many brushmarks in your paint? How to avoid them and have a smooth finish on your furniture

how to avoid brushmarks and have a lovely smooth finish when painting furniture by Lilyfield life

Good morning. Yesterday was Phil and my 15th wedding anniversary... and you want to know how we celebrated? We went to a year 9 school information evening. ha ha life with kids hey? We did stop at our lovely, local pub for a very quick dinner on the way home and Phil did say he thought of buying us a present but he didn't get around to it (yoga mats for our new found love of yoga that is really helping my back). I didn't even think of getting presents so he's one step ahead of me.  Anyway we came home to a nice surprise from our lovely kids - they'd made us Sasha's special chocolate brownies and a Happy Anniversary sign. 

beautiful thoughtful kids - flowers on the cake in the shape of a heart

just after we were engaged - so young
Anyway back to the furniture painting: I am in a few painting forums on facebook and one of the questions I see so often is "How do I get rid of paint brush marks?" To be honest I'm a bit shocked sometimes when I see close ups of people's work. You could drive a tractor though through some of the furrows in the paint. The problem with heavy brush marks is that dust and grime will settle in them and make your piece very hard to clean. It also doesn't look very professional or feel nice to touch. 


how to avoid brushmarks and have a lovely smooth finish when painting furniture by Lilyfield life
my smooth handpainted finish - minimal brushmarks
Here is what works for me to have a nice smooth painted finish with minimal brushmarks.

  1. Prep your piece: your finish is only ever going to be as good as what your start with. If you are laying your paint down over a chipped, pitted surface these problems will show up in your finished surface. Sand with 120 grit.
  2. Sand your base coat: If you prime then give your primer a quick sand with 220g. This take a minimal amount of time and is always worth it. You can't get a smooth finish without a smooth base. As I mention in this post Zinsser BIN Shellac sands so beautifully smooth - like glass. A perfect base for painting.
  3. Use a good brush - Use brushes with nylon-polyester synthetic bristles. Don't use bristle brushes such as Annie Sloan's round brushes if you want to avoid brushmarks. Her brushes are made for creating texture. Not what you want for a smooth finish. I find the best brushes are a 50mm angled sash brush such as Monarch's or the round Cling On brushes. The brush should be super clean; any old clumps of dried paint will hold the bristles together and make it more difficult to avoid brush marks. When I am painting a table top or sideboard top I will almost always use a new brush for a perfect surface.
  4. Additives - if you have a good base and the right brush and are still getting brush marks then your problem is that the paint is drying too quickly and you are overworking your paint. Try using an additives such as Floetrol or even water to thin your paint and slow the drying time. This is essential if you work in a hot dry climate. 
  5. Not too much paint: When painting, dip only about one-third of the bristle length into the paint. Thinner paint lays down better and helps hide brush marks.
  6. Don't overwork your paint. You are not buttering your toast. Put the paint on and once it’s smoothed out, leave it alone. Don’t go back and work the paint back and forth. The quicker you can lay your paint down and move away then better your finish will be. Don't go back and fix a problem when the paint is still wet. Fix it by sanding once it's dry and then lay the next coat down. By agitating the paint you are creating brushstrokes as the paint starts to dry and level and then the brush comes through and marks the drying paint and creates furrows. 
how to avoid brushmarks and have a lovely smooth finish when painting furniture by Lilyfield life


I know some people spray to avoid brushmarks. This is fantastic if you have the skills. However I have been asked so many times to fix up botched spray jobs that I think don't spray unless you are very skilled at it.

how to avoid brushmarks and have a lovely smooth finish when painting furniture by Lilyfield life

If for any reason you didn’t end up with a really smooth surface and the paint has already dried, you can carefully sand down the fine grooves and ridges in your paintwork with a fine, 180-240 grit  sandpaper. Go over with a lint-free damp cloth to clean and try painting again following my advice.

Fiona xx

how to avoid brushmarks and have a lovely smooth finish when painting furniture by Lilyfield life

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why I prime furniture before painting and what I use

I have a little story to tell which is kind of funny, I was sitting in a cafe in Perth a little while ago having the loveliest of breakfasts - sautéed mushrooms, fetta and spinach on ciabatta with a poached egg on top and a good coffee. How good does food taste when you don't have to prepare it yourself. Delicious and also amazing to feel so free on the other side of Australia all by myself and not being the Mummy -which I absolutely love being, but nice to also have a break from occasionally. 


the BnB I stayed - you can read more here

Two things happened - the first is a lady and her friend are sitting next to me at a big shared table and they are scrolling through her Instagram feed, they start talking about painted furniture and I glance over and see they are actually looking at one of my Lilyfield Life photos, then she hits the heart button and up lights my phone with the notification. The lady glances over and sees her name pop up on my phone which is lying on the table right by her glass and then she looks up at my face, realises it's me and we both laugh. So we chat about furniture painting for a while and then she and her friend leave. Feeling mildly famous, ha ha.


I go back to sipping my coffee, then call up my friend Sandy from Paint Me White and of course we end up talking about furniture painting. When I hang up, another lady approaches my table and says I heard you talking about painting furniture, can I ask a few questions?



The lady had been to a chalk painting class and the instructor had told her that chalk paint only needs one coat of paint and never needs priming. She went home from the class and painted one coat on her bedside tables and hates them so much that she is ready to throw them in the bin. I tell her to keep on painting, the first coat often makes the furniture look worse and you wonder what the hell you have done. But it got me thinking about priming. I always prime under light colours and I thought I'd (yet again) explain why.


How to prime furniture Lilyfield Life

I know that most brand name chalk paints say that you don't need any preparation BUT because I sell my furniture I want peace of mind. I worry about adhesion and I worry about bleed through. Bleed through is the horrible discoloration that can seep though your paint and make it patchy brown or pink. It is caused by tannins in the timber and also sometimes from the old stain seeping through your paint work. If you don't prime you won't be able to fix this problem. You will need a stain blocker primer and the only one I have found that solves every single problem is Zinsser BIN Shellac, the one in the red tin pictured below.

How to prime furniture Lilyfield Life

I call this primer the Granddaddy of primers, it is expensive ($89.50 for this 3.75litre tin at Bunnings) but it is worth it as it will solve all your problems. Don't buy a cheaper one, it won't work the same. This primer is shellac based, so you need to use methylated spirits (metho) to clean up your brushes and thin it if required.  Sometimes if you don't close the tin properly, it gets a bit gluggy so just add some metho and stir till you get a nice consistency again. I just use cheap disposable brushes for applying this and have an old jam jar with metho in it to store my brushes in between use. When the brushes get a bit manky I throw them away.  If you apply Zinseer correctly you get a lovely smooth finish to paint on. If it isn't the correct consistency or you are using it when it's very hot weather, it can become very rough and brush-marked. Thin your primer and re-coat and sand.

I actually have two or three tins of this on the go at all times. Because it is tintable I have one tin just the untinted white it comes off the shelf in; one tinted to a pale grey and one tinted to an darker off white.  The guys at Bunnings may try to tell you that it is untintable or that because it isn't a 4l tin they have a problem mixing/shaking it once tinted but persist. It's doable.


Also know that unless you are using very thick coats of paint or want a washed look, you will never never get away with only one coat of paint. I usually do at least three coats and in white colours often 5. One or two of those coats may as well be a primer. Good coverage, good adhesion and cheaper than chalk paint anyway. If you are not happy with how something looks, keep on painting.  Here is a little series of photos from years ago that shows step by step the paint process.

how to paint furniture Lilyfield Life

how to paint furniture Lilyfield Life

how to paint furniture Lilyfield Life

how to paint furniture Lilyfield Life

Hope that helps you when you feel stumped with a project

Fiona xx





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Black is the new black

It's funny how things change. I've been painting furniture for 7 years now full time and when I first started I never would have painted furniture black. Now I seem to be doing so much black, graphite and dark navy. I think it looks so stately.

black reclaimed timber bedside tables by Lilyfield Life

These bedsides are painted in ASCP Graphite and finished with a matte sealer. I love their sleek lock and even sheen. They are sold pending pickup but let me know if you are interested and I'll send details. 

black reclaimed timber bedside tables by Lilyfield Life

black reclaimed timber bedside tables by Lilyfield Life

black reclaimed timber bedside tables by Lilyfield Life

It's only 8:15 and I feel like I've done half a days work already. All the house work done, some cookies baked for recess, kids dropped into the city for school (they usually catch the bus but Jonty had his school bag, sports bag, saxophone and an assignment and Sasha had choir at 7:30am so I took them in early), a walk and coffee with Phil and Charlie and I've sanded a piece already for painting later today. I've got to go now and pick up a lovely french style coffee table and a chest of drawers then deliver some furniture to Freshwater after lunch. I'll be well and truly ready for our yoga class at 6:30 tonight.

Hope you have a lovely and productive day also 
Fiona xx



Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Trying a new paint

A few months ago Alyssa asked me to try her new furniture paint Chalked Up Furniture Paint and she sent me a tin of the Mushroom Greige. I hadn't got around to trying it but yesterday I finally cracked open the tin and painted the sweetest little vintage cupboard with it.



I did find this paint lovely to paint with when you lay it down, but when it's dry it was more chalky than I'm used to. Once I'd given it a light sand with very fine sandpaper and waxed it, it is a beautiful finish that I'm really happy with. 

This old piece is from country Tasmania. It's lovely for a bedside table, lamp table or storage in your bathroom. 
The interior is unpainted and has a masonite base. 
59w x 42d x 80h including backing board
$185
Pickup Lilyfield




I wanted to thank you all for the lovely emails from my blog post yesterday. I really appreciate hearing from you.  I think I will just keep an even closer eye on the kids in the afternoons to make sure they don't fall behind. It's not that they aren't organised or diligent - they are good at their studies, I just want them to set up good habits that will see them through these next few years. One lady wrote to me and said she feels that teenagers need us more than when they were younger. Phil and I had been saying the same thing.

I'm off this morning to assist one of my few remaining business consulting clients with a performance review. So nice to replace my painting clothes with a suit.  I have only two clients I still work with as really just focus on my painting business but I know these clients so well and have worked with them for years so for the few days they need me each year I am more than happy to work with them. As they say a change is as good as a holiday :)

Fiona xx






Monday, February 12, 2018

Good Morning Monday

Good morning and welcome to a brand new week. I hope you had a good weekend. I've got some questions for you today that are to do with family life not furniture. 


With both kids in high school now and the ramp up of home work and commitments I am wondering if I need to cut back on my working hours. Maybe it's just while the kids settle into their new routines. I went to boarding school and it was very regimented with homework times and extra curricular activities. We learnt really good study habits as a result - in "prep" for 90 minutes after dinner and another hour before breakfast every morning 5 days a week. If you didn't have 2.5 hours on homework you had to read a book or write a letter home to your parents. There was no talking. On the weekends we could do home work if we wanted to but it was free for sport, outings and the obligatory church on Sunday morning. 



So my question is, how do you manage it at your house? Do you just trust your kids to do their homework or sit them down at the kitchen table for a set session. My kids are quite diligent but I already feel a bit overwhelmed - even with the sheer volume of notes coming home from school :)


We had a nice weekend, yesterday I went to a friend's 50th birthday lunch at Kirribilli yacht squadron. So nice there on the water. Sydney really has the most beautiful harbour.  It was so lovely to catch up with my friends. We seriously need to do more of it. Turning 50 is a great excuse for all the catch ups.

navy furniture Lilyfield Life

I also wanted to share a navy chest of drawers I painted recently that goes perfectly with the bedsides I painted last week. A friend has bought the whole set and I look forward to seeing them all in her beautiful house.

navy furniture Lilyfield Life

navy furniture Lilyfield Life

a quick unstyled snap of it all together

navy furniture Lilyfield Life

Have a lovely day. I'm off now to pickup some furniture I bought on the weekend
Fiona xx