Saturday, May 31, 2014

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Inspiration

If you are interested in improving your painting skills and learning more about achieving different techniques and the use of layered colour, then a great blog to follow is Colorways by Leslie Stocker.

Annie sloan chalk Paint ASCP inspiration
Leslie's blog is full of inspiring pieces of furniture and the corresponding Annie Sloan Chalk Paint colours to achieve the look. I love the French Linen/Country Grey/Paloma/Old White mix above. It's very authentic of an aged patina. Unfortunately Australia's Country grey looks nothing like the above  - ours is much more mustard beige. Actually the Australian version of Country grey is a big disappointment for me. I adore the colour that it in in the swatch above and in Annie Sloan's books but there's obviously a manufacturing colour drift in the paint we get in Australia and it's such a shame.

Annie sloan chalk Paint ASCP inspiration

Annie sloan chalk Paint ASCP inspiration

Leslie also has a fabulous colour swatch book that she has painted different colours and tints. She has then scanned the different tints on her blog. It's a great resource if you want to check some colours accurately.

Annie sloan chalk Paint ASCP inspiration
BTW another tint mixer resources is the Paint Online Mixer from The Purple Painted Lady.

But I warn you, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and settle in before clicking over to Leslie's blog - you will be there a while.

Fiona xx

Friday, May 30, 2014

Paris Grey Desk and Chair

In preparation for our house getting turned upside down while we renovate I will be selling some painted pieces that we've had in our house and I was going to keep. I've come to the realisation that it is better to sell them now rather than place them in storage in the hope that we have room for them when the building is finished. I can always buy more old pieces and paint them for us to keep down the track. That's the beauty of what I do. (Well you definitely know I am always on the hunt for lovely old pieces to paint!)

Two pieces that I'm letting go of are this gorgeous little desk and matching chair. I painted the desk in ASCP Paris grey with pure white highlights. There is a single drawer at the right hand side of it. I have teamed it with a little chair that I painted in ASCP Pure White and covered in beautiful damask. The desk has sat in the corner of my son's room and had books piled on it but he's never actually used it so it's in beautiful condition. The same with the chair.

I have regretted selling a couple of pieces over the years but I don't know that I'll regret selling this desk despite adoring the little carved shield. I like changing the house around and I love that people like my painted furniture enough to buy it and keep it in their houses.  As I said I can always find another desk and paint it for my son when he moves into his new room.

One piece I do regret selling is this white cupboard - I love the lines of this cupboard. I can't remember who I sold it to but I hope they still love it.

And I am already questioning my decision to sell the magnificent cabinet that sits in my study. Last night Phil said I was crazy to sell it as I'll never find anything like it again. But I just can't find a spot for it when we renovate and I think it's the right thing to do. I've been back and forth in my head a million times and I know that I am probably okay with it. I know Karen is really in love with it and that makes it okay also.

Email me if you are interested in the desk and chair please.

Do you have any regrets about letting things go?

Fiona x

Thursday, May 29, 2014

s-s-s-single bed

Sometimes I let furniture slip through my hands even when I would love to keep it. Living in the inner west with smallish rooms and limited space, I need to be ever practical. Sometimes it's enough to just have pieces come through my business and to help build my brand. I love been known as someone who can source beautiful unique pieces and this matching pair of walnut French single beds definitely fit that bill. 

Sorry about the Noosha Fox reference in the blog post title - only Australians will probably understand. 
"All I've got is a s-s-s-single bed"

But hey I've got two!

I would love one of these gorgeous beds for my daughter but I feel strongly about keeping them together. It can be very hard to find beautiful French beds in a matching pair so I don't want to split these. We definitely don't have room for two beds in our kids bedrooms long term (they can be squeezed in for short periods but it makes the rooms very pokey) so when I posted the above photo in Instagram last night and one of my lovely regular customers texted me straight away, I agreed to sell them. 

Karen doesn't want them painted so the wood just needs oiling as it's a bit dried out and the beds need new brackets and slats but those are easy fixes. 

The side rails are even gorgeous! They aren't just straight timber. The details are gorgeous. The bedhead and ends are slightly curved (concave) also. I can't wait to see them all set up in Karen's house.

If I had two little girls, I'd make them share a room just to see these beds side by side with frilly white bed linen.

Karen has also bought my beautiful cabinet that is currently in our study area. When we renovate there is no room in that spot for the cabinet as it's where our stairwell will be located. I could make room for it in the new living room but as it's full of dining room stuff I don't want it in the lounge room (two rooms away) so I am selling it. 

Phil is wondering where I'm going to locate all our stuff that currently is stored in there once it's gone (me too!) but I'm sure another piece will come along. 

Perhaps I'll use that spot (until we start building) as a storage place for pieces while they are waiting to sell. That would have to be better than our bedroom. Thank god for patient husbands.

Fiona xx

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bathroom and Laundry Inspiration

I have been madly seeking inspiration for bathrooms and laundries as we are about to sign contracts with a builder to start our home renovations. You can follow my Pinterest boards here. After 10 years of living in this old house, it will be good to have the work all finished. I am dreaming of having more than one tiny bathroom and also having a proper laundry that I don't have to pull out the vacuum cleaner, the ironing, the dirty clothes, the bike pump etc just to put a load of washing on. First world problems, I know, but I'm designing a big laundry/utility room in the new part of the house and I just know that I'm going to love doing the laundry!

I was chatting to a friend on the weekend over dinner and we were laughing about what we want in a house these days, now we are in our mid-40's. We're so boring, it's laughable - good storage, a good laundry and a good pantry! But seriously these are the things that make life easier, aren't they.

Here are some images that are my inspiration for our new laundry and bathroom/ensuite.

I want lots of cabinetry and storage, a folding area and a ceramic sink. I will definitely be using a single bowl Ikea ceramic sink in the laundry. I still love the double bowl one in my kitchen.

Upstairs, we are planning a small bathroom for the children to share and an ensuite for ourselves. I have never been a fan of ensuites, but as the kids get older, I can see that I won't want to be sharing a bathroom with them - we have a girl who takes a long time in the bathroom getting ready and a messy boy. Our ensuite will be small and narrow so below are photos for my inspiration. 

I would want a different vanity to this as I will use an old cabinet or sideboard but this layout from the Block TV Show is similar to what we will need. I love the use of the glass shower screen.

I love A-M's style and her beautiful custom built vanity is so elegant. I wouldn't mind seeing in to the ensuite if this was what I was looking at. I dread lying in bed and looking at the toilet. That's the main reason I'm not keen on an ensuite. A-M's clever design works around that.

We don't nearly have this space below but I love the vanities in this bathroom and these windows are beautiful. So much architectural detail.

I don't even think we will have twin basins as we don't often use the bathroom at the same time and I would prefer extra bench space but I do love these matching Venetian mirrors also. Very glam indeed. 

Another  beautiful vanity that looks like furniture below.

What's your laundry and ensuite like? Does anyone have some good inspiration for me or good advice?
I'll be blogging lots about our renovation over the next 6 to 9 months as we plan and build. I look forward to sharing it with you.

While we are talking about renovations,  I want to introduce to you a new blog sponsor of Lilyfield Life, The Kitchen Place. Based in Melbourne, they design and build beautiful custom kitchens, bathrooms and laundries in a range of styles. My favourites, of course, are their French Provincial kitchens.  See below for some of their recent installations. If you are in Melbourne and are looking at renovating then call for a quote.

The Kitchen Place
There is so much to love in these French Provincial kitchens. The chandeliers and marble benchtops are beautiful and the range hood below in pressed metal is just spectacular. 

the Kitchen Place

Have a lovely day - see you on Pinterest!
Fiona xx

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Upholstered Rattan Chair and Side Table

I love being able to take a discarded (but sturdy) chair and a little table and turn them into pieces that will be loved and useful again.  There is a lot to be said for the power of paint and its ability to refresh and renew. Add in some beautiful fabric and a gazillion staples and you've got yourself an upholstered bridge chair ready for a new home.

Lilyfield Life Rattan Chair

I bought the chair very cheaply as no one wanted it in its previous state - the red velvet seat had definitely see better days and the timber needed refinishing. I forgot to take a before photo of the side table but my neighbour was sorting through a huge amount of stuff that her family was getting rid of and she knew I could do something with it so gave it to me. I thought with the similar rattan, they would make a good pair.

I painted the chair and table in a custom mix of ASCP French Linen and Paris Grey then used Porters' Paints Liming Wax to bring out the details and give a beautiful patina to the paint. It's is such lovely wax to use and gives a beautiful sheen and finish.  The day I wanted to upholster this chair I was short on time to buy fabric, so I popped up to my friends Arif and Lisa at Shady Designs and asked for some remnant fabric. Arif was very kind and gave me these two pieces. 

Lilyfield Life Rattan Chair

While I adore the fabric on the right, I felt that it overpowered the rattan and detail of the chair so I used the stripes.  I love the duck egg blue stripe. The colours go perfectly with the paint.

Lilyfield Life Rattan Chair

Lilyfield Life Rattan Chair

I have had a lot of people asking me lately about upholstery and restoring old chairs. 

My best advice is when thinking about buying old chairs is 
  • Only select chairs that are in good order as unless you are a carpenter, fixing chairs is a nightmare.
  • Check for wobbly loose joints, broken spindles and missing struts
  • Smell the upholstery - stale smoke and cat's wee smells are not something you want to bring home!
  • Check that the foam in the cushions is in good order. Foam can be expensive to replace. If you can reuse the existing cushions then that will save you money.
  • Know the re-upholstery costs before you buy. Upholstery is expensive. Even if you do it yourself you will need to pay for fabric and braid. It's way more expensive to pay someone else to do it for you. Calculate the cost of doing up the chair before you go shopping so you know what you can afford to spend on the chair.
  • Look at the lines of the piece. Look past the red velvet or fraying fabric. This can be replaced.
  • Sit in the chair - is it comfortable? 
  • Learn to do basic upholstery to save yourself the cost of paying someone else to do this. 
  • Buy yourself a good staple gun and you will easily be able to recover simple chairs. 
  • When removing the old fabric try not to rip it so you can use it as a template for the new fabric.
  • Once the old fabric is removed, check the batting, foam and springs, repair as necassary. 
  • When the chair is stripped, paint or refinish the frame as desired. Unless you are very neat, I wouldn't recommend painting the frame while it's still upholstered.

Lilyfield Life Rattan Chair

I hope those hints help - or if you live in Sydney, you can always hire me for your projects!  The chair and table are available for sale. Please email me (see comments below)

What do you think, do you like the stripes on the chair? Did I make the right choice?

Monday, May 26, 2014

A revolving door for furniture

When my sister comes over to my house, she always laughs and asks me "Do you spend all day moving furniture? Your house always looks different!"  

I think that's just part and parcel with painting furniture and selling pieces. You buy new pieces, clean them, paint and do them up, keep them for a while, some sell more quickly than others, you need to move things around in your own house to accommodate new pieces. This last week I sold both the hall cupboards we've been using recently. I had listed them both for sale just to see which one would sell first and then I was going to keep the other but both sold on the same day. I decided to let them both go and keep an eye out for something else. Something gorgeous always comes along! 

In the mean time I am using this white painted hall table. It's a little small for this space and really we need more storage than this piece affords. I have loads of my mother's handmade quilts that get stored in the hallway. We currently don't really have a linen press so our linens, quilts and towels are all shoved in available wardrobes.

I do think this piece is light and pretty in our hallway for the moment. I love how spacious it all seems without the tall Tine K Inspired cupboard that's been waiting for sale there.

These peonies I bought from our local farmers' market on Saturday are just beautiful and I am adoring their lusciousness. Sorry for the photo overload but how can I not share this beauty with you.

I'll share some more changed spaces around our house later this week also. It's a moving feast of vintage furniture here. 
Do you change things around much at your house?
Is it just a Gemini thing?

Fiona x

If you are interested in purchasing this table please email me ($345, and more details here). 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tine K Home inspired cabinet

I am a little in love with Tine K Home. Type in Tine K Home into google image search and you'll see what I mean. White floors, wood, muted greys, painted furniture wicker and natural fibre. What's not to love.

This is one of my favourite images of all time. I saved the photo years ago when I was designing my kitchen.

image via Tine K Home
So when I found a similar oak cupboard recently I was immediately inspired to do a similar treatment. My cupboard is not as wide and I struggled getting good photos because of the narrowness of my hallway but this will have to do. You get the idea.

I painted the outside of the cabinet in ASCP Paris Grey after priming it. I then used Porters Liming wax to seal it and soften the grey. The liming wax is a lovely way to age the paint finish.

The cabinet has already been sold and is getting picked up this morning so I'm clearing out all my lovely things and finding new homes for them.

I added a little tassel to the original key. Small details and really complete a piece.

The cabinet was in quite bad shape when I bought it. Some panels were missing and some were damaged so i did a lot of repairs before painting. I also replaced the back legs as they were very damaged.

This photo shows the finish and the distressing more clearly. I also painted the inside with Dulux Aqua enamel for a hard wearing finish.

I think the cupboard would be beautiful full of old quilts. My mother made most of these (and the rest were made by my aunt and me) I miss my mum so much. Lately I've been hankering for a long conversation with her. Luckily I have my sister who lives close. She is a good substitute.

Definitely not as beautiful as Tine K Home's version but at least I can cross that inspiration of my list and move onto the next project!

have a lovely weekend

sharing at 
Miss Mustard Seed