Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My 2012 Painted Furniture Review

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying some down time.  Although I think this is the week most people are getting back into the swing of things. The airport was certainly busy yesterday with everyone returning from their summer holidays.  I'm back painting furniture this morning after our wonderful time at the beach.  (I'm missing swimming in the ocean already!)

Painted furniture Sydney

I thought you might like to see a recap of some of my painted furniture projects from 2012.  It's interesting looking back on it all. I've linked up the original posts to each piece if you want more detail. Most of my painted furniture this year has been white and a lot of it I have kept. For all the people who have either bought my furniture or asked me to refresh and paint their old pieces, thank you so much.  And for all the rest of you who follow along with me via my blog, facebook or instagram, thanks also.  

This old chest of drawers was crying out for a makeover and I love this Miss Mustard Seed inspired bird motif. I have used this design on several pieces and it is always popular. I just draw the design on in pencil freehand and then paint with a soft grey paint.  It really transforms a simple chest of drawers into something special.

Painted furniture Sydney Bird Chest of Drawers

This dressing table is one of my favourite paint projects for 2012.  The shape of the furniture is so beautiful  and I loved the bevelled mirror. It was bought by a very friendly lady for her lovely teenage girl. What a thing to do for your children - buy them beautiful solid furniture that they can keep for ages - rather than cheap "made in China" furniture that has no meaning or value.

White french style painted dresser

More white paint makeovers - The sideboard was my husband's favourite and he was surprised and a bit sad when I sold it. I didn't even realise he loved it!  The desk was a gorgeous sold piece that unfortunately had tuned very orange and desperately needed refinishing. White paint to the rescue once again.

Lilyfield Life Painted Furniture white sideboard Sydney

White painted long low cabinets are also very popular with my customers. They make beautiful TV cabinets. I loved both of these with their ornately carved doors. The first one was part of a bedroom suite. The matching bed head was bought by an Australian linen company for their advertisements -I'll let you know more details soon.  

white sideboard Lilyfield Life Painted Furniture Sydney
Lilyfield Life Painted Furniture Sydney

I have so many "favourite" pieces, but the table below is right up there at the top. When you paint a piece of furniture and put time and effort into each piece you get to know the curves and fall a little in love with each piece- (ok there are some bits of furniture I don't love at all - the ones that are super tricky and just a heartache) but generally I chose pieces whose shape appeals to me regardless of the finish and then with the painting and sanding and repairing I  just know the piece so well and love the end result.

I bought this vintage butterfly extension table and the 4 chairs for $35 at auction. It actually didn't sell for 3 weeks in a row and I ended up grabbing it for a bargain. It came up magically once the high gloss old finish was removed and the apron, legs and chairs were painted white. I recovered the seat pads in beautiful damask upholstery material that retails for $220 a metre. I bought each piece of material for $1 each by buying old fabric sample books. This is a fabulous way of buying very good quality material cheaply. Keep an eye out for them and snap any up you come across.

French Style Dining table sydney painted furniture
French Style Dining table

I painted many pieces of vintage or unloved furniture for our house. The French armoire in my son's room got a two toned French country look using soft taupe colour with white trim. I replaced our old hall cupboard with one with more storage.  This cupboard I bought on eBay for $30 or so and it was orange pine with Spanish style iron handles. It now looks completely different and I love how it looks in our tiny hallway.

sydney French style painted furniture

I did a lot of watercolour painting this year (I'll do a recap later) but my favourite art this year is my chalk board sketch of Lillian Bassman's famous photograph. I found an old vintage frame, painted a blackboard and then just sketched her out with chalk. I have love the original photograph for so long, it's lovely having this copy on my wall.  The white cabinet underneath was another paint project. It has the smoothest finish I have even achieved. I painted it using a home-made chalk paint recipe with a wax finish and I just buffed and buffed. Lots of elbow grease equals a super smooth surface.  I also made over an old coffee table that didn't turn out how I expected but the end result is ok.

French style painted furniture sydney

I also tried out some new paints in 2012. I finally got my hands on Annie Sloan Chalk Paint which Annie tells me will be available in Australia in February. I will let you know more details as soon as I know.  The Windsor carver chairs are painted in ASCP French linen with a white fleur de lis on the seat. They are still for sale if you are interested. Super solid chairs.  The little fleur de lis cabinet is long gone. It was a sweet little makeover that left the mahogany top natural.

French style painted furniture sydney

I also did a few projects using milk paint. I don't think that milk paint is for beginners but it does give a beautiful finish. The main reason I think you need some painting experience is that you need confidence to persevere when it looks terrible and the paint is doing it's own thing (in the case of MMS's paint).  I use wax over milk paint and depending (once again) on how much you sand a buff you can create either a glossy finish or something more distressed and rustic but it does give a beautiful smooth and soft old fashioned velvety look.  The bedside tables below are painted using Porters Milk Paint

Milk paint bedsides

 and this beautiful cabinet is painted in Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint in Tricycle with dark wax. A pop of colour in all that white for the year!
I've decided to sell this cabinet so please contact me if you are interested.

MMS Tricycle Red

Actually I'm not averse to colour - I did paint several pieces in a beautiful peacock blue also!

Peacock Blue Chest of Drawers

That's just a portion of what I've painted this year but if you are new here it'll give you an idea of my style and hopefully you'll find some inspiration.  I have received some lovely emails from people who have been inspired by me to start either painting furniture or blogging. That really thrills me because I'm all about giving it a go and making the most of your talents and time.

If you paint furniture or are thinking of starting then you might find my furniture painting tips useful.  I'll be blogging more tips this year.

If you have any furniture you would like painted and you live in Sydney please feel free to contact me for a quote.

What's your favourite piece that I've shared this past year? Have you been doing any furniture painting. I'd love to hear about what you are up to, please leave a comment below.

Here's to a productive happy 2013 with lots of projects to share.
Fiona xx


  1. what a great year! i think the armoire is my favorite!

  2. Wow Fiona, it's all gorgeous. You are so talented that I can;t decide. Perhaps your hall cabinet - it's such a transformation from the pine. I wish I lived closer. I would definitely buy one of your pieces for my home.
    I'm looking forward to seeing what you do this year.
    xx Kirrily

  3. I love coming to your blog for a daily dose of inspiration and prettiness. I love your painting tips also. I've just painted my first bit of furniture - a bedside table and your blog has been invaluable.
    Keep them comin'

  4. As usual all your pieces are beautiful.I love the dressing table-love dee x

  5. I really like all of your white furniture, especially the dresser and the white coffee tables and sideboards..... it's all just gorgeous! I have some white furniture in some rooms (left over from the French thing I used to do in a past house) and lots of white and pale taupe and pale banana leather lounges (I've got 6, it's ridiculous I know!) with white accessories and whicker basket thingys around the moment. I think I am going to start travelling back to all white again however... Mx

  6. so hard to choose!!! love them all.
    have a happy new year Fiona, I hope you are finding things a little easier after your holiday.

  7. So beautiful!!! Love your work. I love the Art Deco Lamp of the lady too. Do you have a pinterest page for me to stalk>

  8. You have some lovely makeovers! It would be hard to choose, but I am really loving the three drawer pair of night stands and the white cabinet.

  9. Hi! it's my first time visiting here. I found you thru FCC and just wanted to say I love all your redone pieces but the two I can't choose between are the little cabinet between the two windsor chairs and the one your husband was sad about you selling. I have been looking for a peice as darling as that one to make into a bathroom sink/vanity for my m.bath. I love it!!

    1. thanks so much - i love my bathroom vanity - it makes me happy everytime i see it, so good luck with finding one.

  10. I love your little dresser with the birds, my girls would love that. The dining set was a bargain And has such gorgeous lines and the tricycle paint is such a rich vibrant colour. Love them all.

  11. your work is so inspiring was wondering what your chalk paint recipe is and if you would share it with us

    1. Hi Anonymous. - I've blogged it before. if you search my blog in the search box you will find it
      cheers Fiona


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