Tuesday, February 24, 2015

White painted furniture: before and after photos

I've been slack at blogging this last fortnight but drowning reveling in a sea of paint, vintage furniture and house renovations so forgive me :)

Here is why I absolutely love white paint.


White paint can change your home so quickly and relatively easy and cheaply. Sure you might have to squeeze it in around your busy life, set yourself up after dinner and paint - there's not much on TV these days anyway. Being productive is so good for the soul.

Look what you can do to outdated orange pine furniture.


These bedsides are massive and so stately. I thought white and lightly distressed would suit them best but there are always so many options with paint.


I also was asked by Nigel and Louise to transform their bedroom furniture. This is a well made set that they've had for many years but the timber was very dark and scratched. Time to hit that refresh button. They chose a semi gloss white paint and to change out the new handles.



Here is how it looked before.


Another lovely Louise asked me to paint her little console table white.



Simple but a fresh new start for this old piece. I love painting for Louise, she just says "you know I like what you do" and leaves me to it.

Also these beautiful bedsides were sent off to another of my most loyal customers. A custom mixed white and wax transformed them. Solid white and no distressing for a clean look. I could have easily kept these ones.


Still pretty even unpainted.


Been painting anything white lately?
I'm just about to paint the laundry cabinetry..and the lounge room cabinetry and all the wardrobes...not as much fun as vintage furniture.

a sea of white paint
Fiona xx



Monday, February 16, 2015

Barn Door; Antique French Door Progress

I thought I'd let you see the progress of the sliding door for our bedroom.  Just to recap why we are doing this. Our bedroom door is in the middle of the long well of our bedroom. I am not a fan of this but with the shape of our house, the staircase requirements and the how close we are to the boundary on our western side, we weren't given much choice. If we elected to go with a normal inwards opening door either the door would open over the ensuite door or one the other side would open onto the side of the bed and you'd have to squeeze past and it would also block the view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge (most important!!) unless the door was fully open at 180 degrees.



Sam suggested he could build us a cavity slider but I Just. Couldn't. Do. It.  Then I had the bright idea of a sliding barn door. Okay, okay...not that original and bright as they are all over the interwebs but I still feel mightly inspired :)

I had a great conversation with Olivia from the Merry Barn about how to turn my antique doors into a sliding barn door. Olivia and her husband make barn doors and they in turn introduced me to Sharron who owns Barndoors Australia and sell the tracks. I was really impressed with the barn door hardware they provide and so have partnered with them to write some tutorials on the sliding barn door build and set up in return for the hardware at cost price. You can see the range of barn door hardware here.  I've chosen the classic track with a 4m extension kit.



Sam an I have to turn 2 * 1.6m doors into a one 2.4m tall door. So we are stitching the two doors onto a large panel of MDF. To surround the doors and make them taller we will use skirting boards and timber. 



Sam is so good to work with - most of our design is done on the fly, and he always has a lovely smile. We have been blessed with a good builder who has made this process very easy.

It will be a few weeks till the doors are ready to hang as we work our way through the mountain of cabinetry to put together beforehand but I look forward to sharing them with you.

I do have to laugh as Carla, our builder's apprentice was asking how I'm going to fix all the worm holes and old damage in the old walnut doors...she obviously doesn't read my blog...I'm more wondering how I make the new skirting boards look old!

yours in all things old and French.

Fiona xx







Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five Things I'm loving right now

I thought this was a good post for Valentine's day.

1. My John Downton paintings. My parents were big fans and collectors of this artist' beautiful works. John Downton is a south coast artist and many of his works depict the sea and countryside around my hometown of Eden. I inherited a few of my mother's paintings and love seeing these around the house as they remind of my parents, my childhood and my beautiful far south coast.


These are a few of them.  I still have most of them just leaning against the wall on cabinets. Once we are finished our renovations I have just the spot in mind for a gallery wall for them.


2. That my stove and oven are back in action. We have been without indoor cooking since Christmas night after our house, once again, was struck by lightning. (We live on the top of a hill and about once a year the houses around here get struck by lightning. Council need to install a lightning rod nearby!) The parts have finally arrived from Italy and it's working again. It is so good to not be barbequeing every night.  I love my oven even a little more because when it was out of action, I stripped it down and cleaned it fully so it now looks like new.



3. Pinterest - I've been using it instead of an architect or an interior designer. Trying to work out how to map out wall paneling? - easy check Pinterest. Need to design a fireplace surround? no issue, Pinterest to the rescue. I have used it to solidify my ideas and to work out what I actually want in our house for every single element. So much better than an old fashioned scrapbook. You can follow me here.

4. This tufted armchair. I almost never buy new furniture but I couldn't walk past this blue tufted armchair from Adairs on sale for only $250. It's called the Coco Armchair in teal and it will go in my son's room right next to his world map wall. He is beyond excited.


5.  Frozen grapes. I'd forgotten how good they are. I just pop the whole bag in the freezer then when I feel like a cold snack I grab a couple. Better than an ice block on these hot days and so much healthier. The kids also love them.

and of course on Valentine's day I have to mention that I'm loving Phil... but that's a given...ALWAYS


What are you loving right now?

Fiona xx

Friday, February 13, 2015

French Single Bed Head - love this.

Good morning! I'm off this morning to facilitate the annual performance reviews and yearly goal setting sessions for one of my good business consulting clients. I always enjoy these sessions (ok I USUALLY enjoy these sessions, sometimes they can be difficult) as I love seeing people develop in their role and I love mentoring and providing guidance to people on how to be successful in their careers. It's such rewarding work.


Anyway back to furniture painting! The other half of my working life :) - yesterday I finished a couple of lovely pieces. A beautiful french caned bed head. The cane is natural and so much nicer than some of the plastic reproduction cane that I have come across.


I painted the bedhead a beautiful grey / taupe (ASCP French Linen) with the carved detail highlighted, I have also antiqued and distressed this. If my daughter wasn't wanting a double bed I would be keeping this for her.


For sale $350. 
In perfect condition.

I also finished the drawers to the white bedside tables. These are being picked up in half an hour and the dressing table and stool that complete the set it being dropped off for me to paint also.  Such a pretty set, now all glossy and white with crystal handles.


Also I have to add that yesterday was my kids' school swim carnival, I spent a couple of hours watching them. So proud of seeing my kids swim well and have fun participating in all life has to offer.

Anyway, gotta fly.. school lunches to be made before I hit the road and hopefully not get stuck in traffic. The upside of working at clients' premises is that it always makes me grateful that I paint furniture from home.

Fiona x

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Great Day and Pretty Bedsides

Hi lovelies, I'm off to watch my kids participate in their swimming carnival today so just a quick blog post this morning. I'm looking forward to seeing both the kids swim their races and to see Sasha and her friend James take on their new positions as house captains.

Yesterday was one of those days where the hours seemed to stretch and I got loads done - admittedly nothing major but just a load of small things on my to do list. 

Phil and I walked in Callan Park in the morning and the early sunlight promised a beautiful day.



I got the kids off to school and decided to play hookey from my work for a few hours so one of my girlfriends and I went to my favourite beach for a swim, chat and coffee. 



I then went and bought the carpet for the upstairs bedrooms and hallways. We went with Smart Strand IQ150 in Cityscape which is the one on the top front in the photo above. My best friend has this carpet in her house and says even with 4 messy kids and after 4 years it still looks brand new. That's a good enough recommendation for me (although saying that I think I read every single review on the internet). It is lovely and soft and also has a 25 year guarantee on both stains and wear.

I also picked up some new paint, worked with my builder to design the paneling for the staircase, picked up some fabulous old furniture to paint (two enormous bedsides - not these ones below, a French chair and a coffee table - they are still in my car so I'll photograph later) and I also finished painting these white bedsides and matching chest of drawers for a client.





I'll be painting the matching dressing table next week. I forgot to take a before photo (come on a girl can't remember everything...)

 ...and my lovely husband Phil went out to pick up some dinner as it seems I also forgot to cook... 



Tonight I'd better do a roast dinner to make up for things :)

Have a great day. 
Fiona xx



Monday, February 9, 2015

The Crowning Glory


One question that I regularly get asked is about my beautiful crown ornament that I often use to style my photos.  Everyone wants to know what it is and where they can buy one.




The crown is actually a galung. They are the terracotta ornaments found at the peak of a Balinese temple. For Phil's 40th birthday we took a holiday to Bali. I'd never been there before and I fell in love with the thatched temples and especially the galungs.


Galungs are also used on the beach huts at the resorts. Such pretty details. Hand made and delicate. The work of local artisans.


I was determined to find one but of course they are not the normal Bali souvenirs available on the streets ...Bintang singlet tops and sarongs are more common. Eventually I found one just outside Ubud. There are factories that make them and I'm sure that you can find where they are made for the temples if you are in Bali. They sell for between $6-20 each.



I carried mine home so carefully wrapped in a beach towel and my Bali sarong souvenir in my day pack, terrified it would break. They are only sun-dried so they are very fragile.  I had it terracoota for a while at home but eventually the urge to paint it white was too overwhelming (you know me!!). I used a small artist brush and gave it two coats of an off white chalk paint.


Now that's more my style.

White paint, I love you so.


Every single time I use it in photographs I am so very careful in moving it and placing it. I would hate to break it. I'm not going back to Bali anytime in the near future and while you can buy them from pool and spa hut places they sell them at a huge mark up for around $150-200. 


Don't you just love it?
What's the best non-touristy souvenir you've ever brought home?

Fiona xx



Friday, February 6, 2015

How to Paint a Vinyl Chair

OMG this Rococo chair I gave new life to has turned out even better than I could ever have imagined.


I bought this chair a few weeks ago for around $45 or so, actually I can't remember - it may have been less it may have been $60. Whatever; it was cheap enough for me to do an experiment on. I thought I'd try and paint the peach vinyl and if it didn't work then I would strip and reupholster.


I am so glad I saved myself all that tedious work. This project was very quick and easy and I am in LOVE with the result. 


I got asked by a lot of people on social media to share a tutorial. Really I just want to say you need to have a little faith and courage, and pick up your paint brush and start painting.  

Be brave.
It's only paint.


See the grime on the chair above - I cleaned it all off with Gumption.

I then cracked open a tin of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and started painting.

No other preparation required.

How fantastic.



I painted the chair and the frame the same colour. Once I'd finished the first coat, I have all the vinyl a second coat making sure to peel open the tufted bits and get the paint everywhere. 


I let it dry overnight and waxed the vinyl with ASCP Clean wax. I then dry brushed the frame with white to create a weathered look on the timber. I am really happy with how the painted frame looks. I think it is one of the best finishes I've ever achieved.


Here are some detailed shots





You can see creases in the vinyl (that were there before I painted). The paint doesn't crack or peel off these when you sit. Yesterday Phil used the chair when working from home for hours and it is still perfect. Sure it may wear over the years as my daughter uses it at her desk but hey even leather wears. I can always repaint it also. 


I hope you have been inspired.

I'm off to gaze at it a little more..
Fiona xx