Sunday, February 27, 2011

Harlequin Coffee Table

I picked up my massive load of furniture I'd bought on eBay yesterday.  The car (4WD SUV) was loaded to the hilt plus a massive heavy table on the roof racks. I drove home very gingerly!

I've finished my first piece from this haul.  I painted the little glass topped vintage coffee table in Dulux limed white quarter strength and then with the Limed white full strength I hand-painted a harlequin pattern on the top. I finished with a top coat of Cabot's Cabothane Water Based Satin Varnish. (In the photos below I haven't put the glass back on as it's a bit scratched)

and the before shot - I think it's a big improvement from before!

I love painting furniture

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Business Card and Price Tag

Friday was an exciting day. I was asked for my business card twice.... but of course I didn't have one.  But I do now, and I'd love your opinion.

A friend wanted to show me a lovely French homewares shop in Hunters Hill so after school drop off we headed over there. A quick coffee first then walked into heaven! The shop is full of divine furniture and homewares - Shades of Pale ( and we got chatting to the manager and I showed her some photos on my iPhone of the chairs I've been reupholstering. She loved them and asked for my card. I didn't have one (even my business consultancy is run on word of mouth and networking and I've never got around to making a card) so there I am scribbling down my details on a scrap of paper. But it worked fine as she's since rung and is buying the swing back fleur de lys chair for her son. 

The shop manager also introduced me to a stylist from Home Beautiful magazine who also liked my photos and blog (all on the iPhone that was running out of battery!) and also asked for my card - once again more scribble on the back of the shop's business card.

So I got home and thought best I'd make a card that I can also use as a price tag for my pieces.

I've printed it on cream cardstock and for the tags I'll punch a hole in the centre and use twine.

What do you think?

Fiona xx

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Lovely New Bathroom

At the same time that we did our kitchen renovations, we also renovated our bathroom transforming it into a serene space with a french feel. The bathroom is directly opposite the front door and was extremely ugly. Straight from the 70's. Surprisingly over the last 7 years I've got used to it and until I looked at the before photos I'd forgotten how UGLY it actually was.

Collage of Previous Ugliness:

Unbelievably ugly isn't it! and small - only a vanity and bath/shower. There was no toilet in the old bathroom so we moved the wall out (it made the hall a bit smaller but that's ok). We had 2 toilets elsewhere in the house - we now have one elsewhere and a small laundry (the old laundry was in a shed out in the garden).

As the bathroom is visible from the front door I didn't want to use a modern vanity, not my style anyway. So I used a beautiful old french cabinet that I bought years ago. I painted it in Taubman's white acrylic enamel and replaced the old wooden top with snow Caesarstone.  I absolutely love that I have used a vintage piece of furniture and transformed it into a vanity. For me this is the statement piece of the bathroom.

The bathroom's whole ceiling is pretty much one enormous skylight so the room stays lovely and bright. We don't need a fan either as the skylight is vented.

The view from the front door now.

and what we lived through:

a full gutting resulting in showers for 7 weeks at our lovely neighbours.

The products I selected are:
  • Caroma Liano Above counter basin (new on eBay, 1/3 RRP)
  • Dorf Manor House towel rails and toilet roll holder (new on eBay, 1/2 RRP)
  • Brodware Neu England Basin Set (from shop but negotiated 20% discount)
  • Brodware  Neu England bath spout (20% discount)
  • Brodware Neu England  shower divertor (20% discount)
  • Brodware Neu England 200mm Shower head (20% discount)
  • Dynaset Bath 1500mm (20% discount)
  • LAUFEN Pro Back to Wall toilet (20% discount)
  • Inset Mirrored Shaving Cabinet (new on eBay)
  • Tiles are from Teranova Ceramics in Willoughby, Berica Bianco square tiles. ($48 sqm discounted price, thanks Angelo!)
Has anyone else used old furniture for a bathroom vanity?
Fiona xx

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our French Kitchen Renovations and Reveal

Sneak peak of my newly renovated French Kitchen - French taupe cabinets with white counter tops.

Keep reading for more below:

We've just finished some renovations - new kitchen, new bathroom, new floorboards, new hallway, new laundry, a few wall knockdowns etc. We didn't use an architect or kitchen designer as I knew exactly what I wanted. Initially I was actually going to build the kitchen myself so drew up plans in Visio and Google Sketch Up so when we decided to use a cabinet maker I was able to get exactly what I wanted.

We had amazing builders who did the work in 7 weeks, while we lived through it all. Not so much fun cooking on the BBQ and gas camp stove outside when it rained every afternoon last November. Ah well, look at the after photos and I think you'll agree that it was all worth it!

The house had been a bit hacked by previous owners with the kitchen being opened up into the dining room by part of the wall cut out (but not neatly). There was a distinct lack of bench space and the upper cupboards were too low above the bench tops and the dishwasher leaked all over the floor everynight. 7 years ago when we moved in, the cupboards were all fake wood laminate and the splashback tiles were brown but I had painted it all white to make it a bit brighter but you can see we really needed a new kitchen! 

Before photos

View of Kitchen from dining room. Note the low beams of wall cut out. Also floor was badly laid concrete covered with lino. The original door to the kitchen was into the hallway and is hidden behind the fridge in the picture below. We ended up bricking up this opening as it was never used.

View from the study looking into the kitchen on right and dining room on left.

This internal wall really made our dining room very dark (no window in the dining room just a skylight). We replaced the dining room and hall floorboards.Although they were Kauri pine they were very damaged and we had several broken joists. We put down beautiful NSW Spotted Gum floorboards. I really love them.

Mid renovation:

Internal walls and cabinetry all gone


.....And now!! 

I actually hand painted the kitchen myself, Colour is Colorbond Dune by British Paints. It was a huge job but saved us $2500. The benchtop is Ceaserstone in Snow.

Below you can see a wine rack and a great storage cupboard at the back of the kitchen bench.

I love this rangehood that I designed and my builder built me. It has a concealed Ilve Rangehood that works like a charm.

Ikea double ceramic sink and beautiful Italian Gessi Tap.

View through study and lounge room to back garden. 

A wicker basket for potatoes completes the French feel.

I'll post the rest of the renovations over the next few weeks. Feel free to leave me a comment as I'd love your feedback and am happy to answer any questions.

Fiona xx

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Grey and Blue Striped French chair

I bought some beautiful vintage Louis french chairs on eBay for $40 each.  A fabulous price because the guy sold them as Victorian chairs, if he's used the word French they would have gone for a lot more. Yay for bargains! Well I've finished one of them and my little boy has staked a claim on it for his upcoming 5th birthday.

lilyfield life french chair upholstery

I have to agree with Miss Mustard Seed and say that a staple gun is totally the wrong tool for the job but it's all I had so I made do. There were a couple of points along the way where I really doubted my ability to do this and nearly gave up but I'm so pleased I kept going. That blue upholstery trim hides a multitude of sins!!

Here is the before photo.

lilyfield life french chair upholstery

I took me ages to remove this tapestry upholstery. I ended up with blisters and sore hands.  I then sanded back the chair and painted the first coat in Dulux's Limed White and then second coat with Dulux's Limed White quarter strength. I then lightly distressed it and using a Walnut wood stain and a very fine artist's brush I highlighted the detail of the chair.  I was really scared of doing this but figured that I only paid $40 for each chair that I may as well experiment with it.  I then gave it all a top coat using a water based polyurethane.

I used the striped material as have made some curtains for my boy's bedroom with this material. The material also has a little bit of grey in it and it nicely matches the paint colour I used.  It was really hard doing the upholstery!  But I am pleased with the result.

lilyfield life french chair upholstery

lilyfield life french chair upholstery
lilyfield life french chair upholstery
lilyfield life french chair upholstery

and here is it next to the other chair I still have to do. My daughter wants this second one for her room.

lilyfield life french chair upholstery
after on left and before on right.
Fiona xx

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A bit overexcited on eBay....

I've gone a little crazy on eBay buying vintage furniture to paint and refurbish. Two fabulous deals that have resulted in a panicked husband as he wonders where we will put it all while I work on it.

I bought this dresser from a lovely girl about 5 mins from my house who had never sold on eBay before. She sold it using the Classified Ads but I think if she'd sold it via an auction it would have achieved a much higher price. She also threw in a cute antique ladder which I'll also sell.

Her great aunt gave it to her but she's living in a small apartment and has no room for it. I've pulled it all apart and started sanding it down and it's really in need of some TLC. The hardware is very rusted and I don't think the wood has ever been oiled. I'm not going to paint this, just oil/beeswax as the wood detail is very beautiful. I'll list it back on eBay as soon as it's finished.

And then for $105 I got all this lot - an absolute bargain!! Ugly colour but beautiful lines. I'll be painting the bases of these and staining the tops dark walnut (like all my inspirational bloggers do - such as Miss Mustard Seed, Centsational Girl etc.). I still have to pick this lot up yet - will get them some time this coming week.

and close ups:

Beautiful Sideboard
Extendable Round table

Cabriole leg coffee table
and two nested coffee tables
Come back soon and see how they turned out!
Fiona xx

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Finished my second chair

I love finding or buying an old unloved vintage chair for next to nothing and transforming it into something with a little french flair - all it takes is drop sheet, paint, a staple gun and some patience!

Here it is ready for sale:

I have finally finished the second chair that I bought a few weeks ago from the markets for $20.  I ended up doing it in the same design as the little french chair I did for my friend's daughter's birthday.  I ended up doing a lot of work on this chair as I stripped back the old paint as it was very yellow and showed through the "Limed White" paint I used when I distressed the edges.  There were also a lot of rusty old tacks holding in the material which were hard to remove but I eventually got rid of the all. 

I used a canvas drop sheet for the material and handpainted the stripes and fleur de lys.

I'll be selling this on eBay.


during :

and after:

Fiona xx