Wednesday, May 15, 2013

French Paris Apartment mirror and a love of painting

french inspired homewares and furniture LIlyfield Life

Good morning my fellow painted furniture lovers!  At least I hope there is no one here who hates old wood being kissed by paint because you might be rolling your eyes at me today - I've been having fun painting old cedar but I really think it had to be done.

french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life

Do you like it?  This mirror was from an old dresser that I bought recently. I think it's very old fashioned to have the matching mirror over the dresser as a dressing table so I usually separate them and make the mirror a wall hung one and turn the dressing table into a chest of drawers. The mirror was VERY brown when I got it and I initially was thinking of painting it white but after my recent grey and white desk I thought I'd do the same again but this time age it with dark wax as well. 

french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog
french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog

I initially cleaned the mirror first with a brush as it was very dusty and then with a damp rag and some milk soap. Once it was clean and dry I painted the whole mirror timber trim in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey, I didn't tape the mirror off but just carefully painted around the edges and not worrying too much if some paint got on the glass as it's easy enough to remove.  With the darker colours of Annie Sloan Chalk paint you do not need two coats for good coverage - especially as I was planning on distressing and antiquing it anyway. Once the grey paint was dry I got out one of my thick water colour brushes and painted the ornately carved features that I wanted highlighted in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Pure White. I found some lovely big watercolour brushes for about $3 each at Bunnings craft section. They are fantastic for this sort of detail on painted furniture.  They hold a good amount of paint but allow you to be reasonably precise.

french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog
french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog

I am showing you these close up so that you can see you don't need to be that neat for it to look good from normal viewing distance. Actually if it's perfectly neat it will just look like it's made in a factory somewhere in Asia, rather than lovingly hand painted.

french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog

After painting the trim I left it all to dry and cure for 24 hours. I have found that with the chalk paint that if you wax and distress it right away as soon as it dries a lot more paint comes off and I really didn't want this piece to be heavily distressed.  I applied the clear wax first and then got my wax brush and dappled on the Annie Sloan Dark wax making sure I got into all the crevices and only working on small sections at a time. Almost immediately after applying the dark wax, I used a clean rag and removed a lot of it so it stayed in the grooves and brush marks but not staining the paint.

french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog

I then sanded down the whole piece with my foam pad sander and distressed where I wanted it with a fine grit sand paper. It is now wonderfully smooth (as you know if you've been reading my blog for a while, I have a thing for smooth finishes. I am always running my hand over furniture in shops and antique centres, feeling up the furniture!)

french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog

When I was chatting with Annie Sloan recently (see this post about our skype session,) I mentioned that one reason I love painting furniture is that while it's creative and slightly artistic, it's very practical. I find it extremely relaxing to paint and I just love making something old and unloved, new and functional again.  Furniture is practical, Annie said that's one reason she loves it also.  I love seeing things transformed under my paint brush.

french inspired homewares by lilyfield life

I am undecided if I will sell or keep the mirror. My intention was to sell it but when I propped it up in out hallway to take photos of it I realised how well it suits the rest of our house. What do you think?

french painted furniture sydney lilyfield life blog
french inspired homewares sydney lilyfield life blog
lilyfield life painted furniture

I'm finding myself gravitating to the more muted "French tones" rather than the all white I have preferred for our house. Perhaps it's my way of getting ready for winter. It is definitely cooler in the evenings and early mornings here now. 

chandelier sydney lilyfield life blog

I've got a few exciting things to share tomorrow. In the mean time I hope you have a lovely day

Fiona xx

french painted ornate mirror lilyfield life blog

Mirror - second hand find
White Paint - ASCP in Pure White given to my by Annie Sloan Unfolded
Wax - ASCP Clear and Dark Wax - given to my by Annie Sloan Unfolded


  1. Love love love that mirror. How fantastic is that. I really do like this vignette too. Thanks so much for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  2. Hi Fiona, I've been a fan of yours for a while, your furniture is stunning and I love how you share your painting process and other details. This mirror is so beautiful and I would be interested if you do decide to sell it. I love all the little vignettes also

  3. Stunning! It suits your house, keep it!
    Beth xx

  4. you are so right! furniture can be lovely and useful, too!
    and i love the mirror and i say keep, but we did just have that conversation.....

  5. Beautiful , its a keeper ! At least until the next beauty comes along. I guess thats the joy of what you do , always change your look.
    Karyn x

  6. It's beautiful Fiona and made even more beautiful with all your lovely things and your photography. But I say sell me!

  7. Hannah, BrisbaneMay 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Wow, it sure is stunning. I wish you lived closer! I agree your furniture is like a work of art but so practical. I love what you do, you are so inspiring. Thanks for this beautiful blog.
    hugs from Hannah

  8. I love that mirror in the grey, so soft.

    On another subject, do you have any of the Bluegrey and white french striped tablecloths left to sell. I see to remember you had some for sale previously...have just bought a new (old) house and need one to start my French theme with some painted furniture. Thanks.

    1. hi, yes I do! I actually just listed them for sale again. please see this page
      if you email me at with the size you need and I'll let you know postage and how to pay etc.
      cheers Fiona

  9. Oh I love it, it looks great - I say keep it! Mx

  10. Looks beautiful as always Fiona. I think I'd kept the mirror :)

  11. Hi Fiona, Love what you did to that mirror, (even the dark wax) I think I like it better with the grey rather than the white. I have a cedar mirror that sits in my husbands cedar chest of drawers that I would never paint. Not that I haven't wanted to but my mother-in-law bought it when we first married (in the 70s). It was covered in many layers of paint, the last being buttery yellow . She spent many hours stripping, sanding and buffing it before presenting it to us. She did a beautiful job and I just could never paint it, I think she would be so disappointed although it would look beautiful white.
    Regards Brenda

  12. So beautiful. I have an old mirror I'm going to try this on. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Your mirror is lovely. Hope you are doing well.

  14. What a great looking mirror, Fiona! I just love the shape and the detail on it. The colors you chose are wonderful ~ I think they really enhance the whole look of it.

  15. Lovely - Keep feeling up the furniture!

  16. Love the mirror.Keep it. Love reading about all your painting. Lucy


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