Thursday, August 28, 2014

Painting Chairs the Easy Way

Lucy asked me to paint her set of 8 beautiful Chippendale dining chairs. I gave her a quote, she accepted, we scheduled in the job and last week she brought me the first four chairs to paint. We had to do them in two lots as all 8 didn't fit in her car.  It suited me anyway as it meant I didn't have half painted chairs ALL over my house.

Lucy and I decided on a colour for her chairs, the paint type and sheen. She wanted very durable chairs that should could wipe down and that didn't require any ongoing maintenance. I didn't think that a waxed finish would fit that bill so I suggested we use Dulux Aqua Enamel in a semi gloss. Dulux Aqua Enamel is a fantastic paint that dries very hard.  It's the modern equivalent of oil paint with the added benefit of a non-yellowing formula. The colour Lucy chose was Dulux Light Rice Half. It's a lovely non-yellow beigey white.

I sanded the first chair lightly and started hand painting on the primer and I quickly realised I'd very much under-quoted on these chairs. Quoting on chairs is always a complete bitch difficult - they take a long time to paint but no one seems to appreciate just how time consuming and fiddly they are to paint and they don't want to pay very much for chairs. To be honest, I don't usually agree to paint chairs as I'd rather paint a whole chest of drawers than one chair. As these Chippendale chairs are very ornate and huge and dark, dark brown, it took me ages just to do one semi-translucent primer coat. I was going to be earning about $2 an hour on them!!

My clever Phil suggested I crack open the paint sprayer that Bosch sent me 8 months ago to trial. It's the Bosch PFS 55, a fine spray, portable hand held system that retails for around $100.

I seriously had the sprayer stashed under the bed as I had been very nervous about using it. I told Bosch that eventually I would get around to using it - I just needed to summon the courage. I have always been 100% about hand painting but these chairs really needed the primer to be sprayed at least. I set up a make shift spray booth in the back yard and sat down to read the instruction manual. It seemed pretty straight forward and I'm a bit of a jump right in and have a go person so I watered down the primer, set up the spray gun and started spraying. Wow it was fantastic!! I know it's just a DIY level tool and not a professional level fine finish sprayer but it's also a fraction of the price and perfect for my use especially when I am hand painting over the finish.

A solid coat of primer in about about 3 minutes and no drips or runs. This was better for my profitability and hourly rate! I quickly sprayed all the chairs and let them dry for a few days. (Stopped by the rain Sydney has been having but it was fine by me as it's always good to give the paint a good cure time between coats). I sprayed two coats of the Dulux Aqua Enamel, sanding lightly between coats.

For the last coat I hand brushed the paint to give them the look that Lucy wanted. Because Aqua Enamel dries so very hard, I had a little trouble distressing these chairs and ended up using a razor blade to lightly distress them.

Lucy came to pick up the first four the other day and was so happy with them that she even got a little teary. They are for a dining setting given to her by her much loved mother who recently passed away. It's so hard losing our mums isn't it? I am very happy knowing that I've made these chairs how Lucy wanted them and she will use them and think of her mum.

Now for it to stop raining so I can paint the other four. Maybe I'll even watch the instruction DVD that comes with it!

So my tip for a very quick and easy way to paint chairs is use a spray gun at least for the undercoat/primer. I'll definitely be using the Bosch PSF 55 again. I was completely surprised by how easy it was to use, what a great finish it gave and how quick the clean up was. I'm not sure what I was afraid of!

love from a girl 
who has just learnt something new!
Fiona xx

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vintage Cabinet turned Bathroom Vanity and my daughter at the Opera House

One piece of furniture that I always get a lot of comments and questions about it my bathroom vanity. I bought a vintage gramophone cabinet on eBay years ago and knew that eventually I would turn it into a bathroom vanity. I really dislike most of the new bathroom vanities on the market. They are too modern, made of MDF or ply, and just a bit boring to my mind.

Lilyfield Life vintage bathroom cabinet

Rachael contacted me after seeing my bathroom vanity on the internet as they are about to undertake two bathroom renovations. She asked if I had any pieces of furniture similar. I actually had an old gramophone cabinet sitting in my furniture stockpile as I had bought it thinking it would be perfect for our new bathroom but it ended up being a little too small. So I sold it to Rachael and Luke all painted for their bathroom ensuite.

Lilyfield Life vintage bathroom cabinet

When I bought this piece the things I liked about it were the dimensions. With the timber lid/top removed it is a perfect height to put on a slab of stone and a non recessed basin. It is also 60cm deep which fits a good sized basin and toiletries. I liked that it had two little cupboards and while the shelf underneath is not original it's a great addition for storing baskets or rolled towels.  How beautiful is the design on the doors and the turned legs.

old gramophone cabinet

Because this is an old gramophone cabinet, removing the top was very simple. I just unscrewed the hinges and kept the beautiful bevelled top for another project. I sanded down the piece gently and primed it with two coats of with Zinsser Bin inside and out. Because this is used in a bathroom where it will get splashed and also be exposed to condensation, I painted every single bit of it: inside and out, the back and underneath.  I painted it in Dulux Aqua Enamel in a bright white. It took many many coats to get a nice solid coverage.

Here it is mid way: You can see how the paint is still a little transparent. People often ask me how many coats of white are required. I say keep painting till your paint is no longer transparent. This will all depend on what colour your timber is, what colour white you choose, what sort of paint you are using and how much titanium is in it.

hand painted furniture sydney

and finished

hand painted furniture sydney Lilyfield Life

hand painted furniture sydney Lilyfield Life

hand painted furniture sydney Lilyfield Life

I just placed the timber top back on for photos but here it is below ready for installation in Rachael and Luke's bathroom.

bathroom vanity vintage cabinet

Here's it in situ - beautiful.

I am now keeping my eyes peeled for more pieces like this for Rachael and Luke's main bathroom and for our two new bathrooms for our upstairs renovation. If you see anything that you might think is suitable I'd love to hear from you.

Also I thought you might like to see a few photos from a wonderful evening out last night. My daughter's school choir participated in the Combined Public Schools Choir at the Opera House. I was such a proud mummy, seeing all the children and hearing them sing so beautifully. A fabulous evening and a few tears were shed by proud parents. My daughter even said "Mummy I could see you crying from where I was standing."

sydney harbour bridge

Sydney opera house

concert hall sydney opera house

Hopefully the rain settles down so I can do some more painting. Have a wonderful day.

cheers Fiona xx

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Restoration Hardware Look Cupboard

While I'm waiting for my painting class participants to arrive I thought I would quickly share a recent project I did for one of my long time customers. Nicole and Paul bought a couple of pieces from me way back when I had an antiques booth at Balmain Road Antiques (now defunct) and was just starting out in my painting furniture business. I am honoured that they still follow my progress on the blog and social media and that they recently contacted me again to give this cupboard a makeover.

The cupboard was an old pine wardrobe that Nicole wants to use in her kitchen to store her baking ingredients and appliances so she had Paul make her some simple shelves and asked me to paint it similar to how I painted Karen's chest of french drawers. I call this a Restoration Hardware look.

Restoration Hardware look paint effect ASCP Lilyfield Life

Getting a Restoration Hardware look paint effect with ASCP by Lilyfield Life

Details for getting this look are here.

Getting a Restoration Hardware look paint effect with ASCP by Lilyfield Life

Getting a Restoration Hardware look paint effect with ASCP by Lilyfield Life

Getting a Restoration Hardware look paint effect with ASCP by Lilyfield Life

...Well I didn't get to press publish before the class participants arrived so I thought I would share some photos from the class as well. Such a lovely day for me and hopefully for the participants also.

Learn to paint furniture class with Lilyfield Life
 Pieces are painted in ASCP Duck Egg and Aubusson blue. Totally gorgeous.

Fiona xx

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vintage French Dresser turned TV Cabinet

This is a beautiful antique French low dresser that had lost it's mirror by the time it came to me. That's okay as I'm not really a fan of dressing tales with matching mirrors. I think this dresser would make a fantastic TV stand as at 63cm high it is a perfect height.

hand painted furniture Sydney by Lilyfield life antique french tv cabinet

hand painted furniture Sydney by Lilyfield life antique french tv cabinet

The curves on this piece just make my heart sing. When I first saw this dresser it was much worse for wear but I fell in love with it straight away. I was out shopping with a couple of friends and we all thought it was sold and I was lamenting missing out on it. A  few days later I got separate messages from both of my friends that the sale must have fallen though as it was back for sale. I literally raced to buy it. I knew I wanted it for Lilyfield Life. A perfect fit for my brand if there ever was one.

I painted it in a very similar style to my coffee table that I made/painted

hand painted furniture Sydney by Lilyfield life coffee table

ASCP Paris Grey with White trim and I used ASCP Dark wax for the antiquing in the details.

hand painted furniture Sydney by Lilyfield life antique french tv cabinet

hand painted furniture Sydney by Lilyfield life antique french tv cabinet

hand painted furniture Sydney by Lilyfield life antique french tv cabinet

I distressed this piece well as I wanted the beautiful walnut to show through. It really suited this old piece.  I also added a few of the porcelain crackle handles that are made in Limoges, France. I have had such good use from these. I bought them from a lady who removed them from her beautiful French style kitchen. They are stamped with the place of manufacture on the base. She was changing over to a modern style kitchen. Lucky for me I say.

Here is the before photo: Gorgeous but needing work.

antique french dresser

Today I'm hoping to finish a big cupboard painted in a Restoration Hardware technique and a white painted bathroom vanity. The rain has slowed me down somewhat this week. Tomorrow I need to start a beautiful old sideboard for a client and then Thursday is another painting class. Friday I would like a day off painting but I don't think it's going to happen...

I hope you are having a good week
Fiona xx

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vintage Pink Painted Sideboard and a Birthday Girl

Thank you for all your sweet comments and emails from my last post. I'm glad you love reading here and seeing my latest furniture projects. I've got something quite special but definitely different to my normal style to share today. A huge PINK sideboard. Not something I ever thought I would be doing but I love the end result (in the right setting...probably not something I could live with though as I'm not a pink girl).

Vintage French Pink sideboard hand painted by Lilyfield life

But this piece will be centre stage at events styled by the gorgeous Mary Ronis from Scribble and Style. and I think it will be fabulous.

Vintage French Pink sideboard hand painted by Lilyfield life

I didn't take the best photos as it was too heavy for me to move inside by myself and the light was fading but I'll make sure Mary sends me some photos from when she has styled it for an event.

This breakfront sideboard originates from Egypt, painted in the French style. It was pretty enough before I painted it but was not the look Mary wanted and it was badly chipped and worn.

Mary has asked for me to paint it using this piece below she'd found on the Internet as inspiration. One of the problems I faced was the inspiration sideboard below had lots of ornate detail for the dark wax to settle in but the sideboard I was asked to paint was relatively plain. I solved that problem by adding moldings and using a cross hatch style of painting to create brush marks for the wax to settle in.

Vintage French Pink sideboard hand painted by Lilyfield life

The paint is still drying in the above photo but you can see how plain the sideboard is. In the photo below the left side has been antiqued and the right side is still to be waxed. it makes a big difference doesn't it.

Vintage French Pink sideboard hand painted by Lilyfield life

Here is a close up of the finished detail.

Vintage French Pink sideboard hand painted by Lilyfield life

I spent a lot of time and effort on this sideboard. I gave it a couple of coats of primer because the sideboard had been chemically treated on importation. The initial colour that Mary's client selected was a good tone way too dark so I then painted it half strength and it was still no where near the inspiration photo so I diluted the paint to quarter strength. I then applied several coats of a water based sealer to the top of the sideboard so Mary can easily clean it. As this is used at events I can just imagine people spilling drinks on it or leaving half eaten cake on it and I don't feel that wax is the best sealer for that. For the rest of the sideboard I applied clear and dark wax.'I also replaced the hardware on the doors and added the mouldings. Some pieces are a tonne of work but finally Mary and I were happy with the piece.

Vintage French Pink sideboard hand painted by Lilyfield life

Even James Gordon approved on Instagram which was a little thrill. He described it as heavenly!

What do you think of my big pink sideboard?

I also held a painting class this week and it was a lovely day. I have received such beautiful feedback from the painting classes participants and I love seeing people improve their skills and gain confidence. The August classes are now fully booked so if you are interested in learning to paint or improving your furniture painting skills then stay tuned for the next released of dates.

learn to paint furniture class with Lilyfield Life Sydney

I finished the week with my sweet daughter's birthday and a party for her last night. 

chocolate macarons

These girls are all so gorgeous and fun. They played basketball for a few hours before having homemade pizza, frozen yoghurt and some chocolate macarons I made (using an adaptation of this recipe) in front of an old favourite movie (Ella Enchanted). Just a lovely afternoon.

I need to do some painting today to finish a vanity for a client but I'm exhausted and finding it hard to get motivated ...maybe another cup of coffee is needed.

Wishing you a good weekend
Fiona xx

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rustic Painted Cabinet in ASCP Old White

I've been working very hard for the last few months and I have so many projects to share with you. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth keeping up my blog as there isn't a lot of interaction here compared to facebook and Instagram but I get a lot of my clients from google searches and I also like being able to share my projects and furniture painting knowledge in a longer blog format than the brief social media posts.

A little project I did this week was to paint a very rustic chest of drawers that a client uses for her sewing paraphernalia. It's just a fabulous piece of vintage furniture that had lived a hard working honourable life. I think it's a piece that was hand made in someone shed.The little legs are new additions but work very well. After some discussion with my clients on what look they wanted for the piece, we decided on ASCP Old White and to leave the timber handles with their original painted finish. The little round knobs on the central small drawers are brass and my clients husband wants to buff them up.

This piece had so many scratches and dings and rough edges that there was no way I wanted to sand it right back and loose all that history. I did sand the piece before painting to remove some of the more recent damage and also prepare the timber for painting. I then sanded the piece before and during the waxing process so the paint was smooth and so that the edges were authentically distressed.

I'm a big believer in letting the furniture speak for itself and this piece needed to stay rustic!

Another piece of furniture refreshed with paint and another happy customer. Just what I like!

have a good week
Fiona xx

Products Used
ASCP Old White
ASCP Clear Wax