Monday, February 29, 2016

French Provincial Sideboard - White and Timber

A look I really love is a mix of bright white and natural dark timer. I love the warmth of the timber against the fresh white paint and think it's very practical as well as pretty. For me, it is very French Provincial style.  I recently picked up a beautiful french style sideboard and knew this was the perfect piece for that two toned look.

French Provincial hand painted sideboard by Lilyfield life

I normally lug all my furniture home myself but this piece I relented and paid some one to bring it to me - trying to make life a bit easier on myself :)
The sideboard is solid walnut so it was heavy and well worth the haulage fee.

French Provincial hand painted sideboard by Lilyfield life

I gave it a very good clean and a light sand then used two coats of Zinsser primer to stop any tannin bleeding which is very likely on a piece like this. The primer also helps with coverage for a good opaque white finish.  I also stripped and sanded off the old deep red varnish from the top. I just love seeing the beautiful natural timber emerge. Walnut is one if my very favourite timbers.

French Provincial hand painted sideboard by Lilyfield life - primed and ready for painting

I painted the base in my current favourite white paint and applied dark wax to the top once I sanded it to a very, very smooth finish. If your timber is not smooth enough you will end up with a very patchy finish which looks pretty average especially viewed side on. It's worth taking the extra time to sand and sand  - an extra hour of prep will result in a very beautiful finish.

French Provincial hand painted sideboard by Lilyfield life

French Provincial hand painted sideboard by Lilyfield life

French Provincial hand painted sideboard by Lilyfield life

I am currently in the process of negotiating on two more gorgeous sideboards so keep an eye on my page if you are interested.

Fiona xx

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A huge big desk gets a new life

Friends of ours recently bought a new house and had to change out their office furniture to fit everything in. Luke had a beautiful desk that he had brought with him from New Zealand. It was too large to fit in the new study so he wanted me to take it and  "Lilyfield Life" it. The desk is massive and I took some convincing as I knew it would take up a lot of room in my studio but the shape was so gorgeous that I ended up saying yes. The top was in bad shape with lots of scratched and peeling varnish so I sanded and sanded and sanded it to make it gorgeously smooth again. The timber was seriously divine under all the varnish and scratches so I decided to just enhance it with dark wax. I don't have a before photo but imagine this all scratched and much more orange.  The desk isn't pine - probably some NZ timber that I don't know.

timber french style desk hand painted by Lilyfield Life

For the rest of the desk I gave it two coats of primer and painted it with a lovely fresh Porters Paints chalk emulsion. I then sealed it with clear wax.  I decided to not distress this piece as I loved the crispness and neatness of it. If that makes sense.

timber french style desk hand painted by Lilyfield Life
Progress photo - you can see the wax looks patchy before it's been buffed.

When I listed it for sale on social media, it was snapped up very quickly and I had a whole slew of people wanting to buy it. I was surprised as I thought initially that it would have been too big for most people's houses but I forget that I live in the inner west and we all have houses on the smaller side. The desk was actually bought by the wife of one of Phil's best friends from university. Small world. I didn't even know Susan followed Lilyfield Life. So good to catch up with Susan and Mark. It's been too long. We had a lovely chat when they came to pick it up and have made a promise to catch up more regularly. They are just completing a renovation and the freshly painted desk is perfect for their home office. 

timber french style desk hand painted by Lilyfield Life

And so it's off to its new life. 

And I'm off to paint more lovely pieces.

Fiona xx

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

At home & in a Magazine

Good morning, my lovely friends.  I am pleased to say that I am having a great week: happy, inspired and working hard. It's nice when you are trotting along in your life and stop and realise yes you are happy. I hope you are all finding some joy in your week also. Sometimes it feels as though joy and happiness can be hard to experience as we slip into middle age and so often have financial pressures, kids growing up and our relationships with them changing, parents ageing and dying, juggling work and home life, our bodies not necessarily how we want them or imagined them to be etc. No wonder people have middle age crises. I am trying to meditate and exercise a little more and not be so work focused all the time and to sit and relax with my kids more.

french planter in garden

I thought I'd share some recent photos from our home and also a magazine in which I was featured recently.  A lovely article in the Central West Lifestyle magazine. Thanks Pip for the inclusion of my business and painting tips. I hope your readers find it useful. Welcome if you are new here.

Central West Lifestyle magazine - Lilyfield Life

Gorgeous flowers from my gorgeous sister.

flowers in my french kitchen Lilyfield Life

Bath time for Charlie in our laundry. 
Man  oh man, I love this room (and the dog).
Seriously, I can't believe I love my laundry room so much :)  It was a horrible bedroom before we renovated but now it's just perfect as out laundry.

Lilyfield Life laundry french style white laundry

A new pot plant in a vintage pot holder that I painted.

french style furniture Lilyfield life

Roses from Phil for our wedding anniversary - and he surprised me with a booking for dinner at the restaurant where we held our wedding reception. He is good!  It's now a Spanish restaurant and the food was delicious - paella and some tapas. 

Lilyfield Life home

A rare haircut - I always promise myself that I'd going to get to the hairdressers more than once a year but I almost never do. May this year can be my year of looking after myself.  (and I obviously don't have the knack of taking selfies). I took this on the way out the door to the school cocktail party. Luckily there are no photos of me the next morning as the punch was lethal.

Morning tea on the weekend with my parents in law. Delicious treats from Orange Grove Markets. Too hot to bake :)

Delicious recipe Lilyfield Life

What nice things have been happening for you lately?
Hopefully many many lovely things 
Fiona xx

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

White Painted Bedside Tables and Homewares

I will be selling the occasional homewares: some vintage, others brand new but all things that I just love and would have in my own home.  I've been thinking of doing this for a while as every time I post a photo I get asked if all the elements in the photo are for sale - seems crazy not to really. So I hope you think of me when you want beautiful elements for your home or a special present for someone.

These are beautiful Queen Anne vintage bedsides - mahogany or cedar and so lovely with their long legs. I've painted them in two coats of primer and then several coats of my current favourite Porters Paint white.  I have sanded very smooth, waxed and lightly distressed.

Original hardware
Dovetailed drawers

Solid timber
45h x 42w x 67hcm. 
Bedsides $385 the pair. 

New wicker wreath with fairy lights SOLD

New glass dragonfly vase $20. 2 available

New bunch of faux peonies $40. Pink and White available

I also finished this beautiful walnut little cupboard. Perfect for a bedside table or pop it in a corner somewhere. The outside is painted in the same Porters Paints white and inside is a beautiful minty blue Dulux colour.

Amazing curves. 
Even the sides are serpentine. 
Old and gorgeous. 
50w x 43d x 80h including backing board.
pickup Lilyfield

Accessories on this one are not included.
How gorgeous does this look photographed next to Sasha's bed? I hope you appreciate my effort of lugging it upstairs :)
I had a few people come to the house today and they all especially loved this gorgeous piece.  I'm always happy for people to come and see what I have for sale. Just email me for an appointment.

Fiona xx

Monday, February 22, 2016

Changing plans - French Single Bedhead

Sometimes pieces end up harder than you expect - actually it wasn't the piece that was hard; it was my expectations of it. A few weeks ago Sara emailed and asked if I had any french single beds. The next day I came across two vintage french oak single bedheads.
So I bought them. So beautiful even in their original state.

updating a french oak single bedhead. Lilyfield Life

We looked at several ways to turn these bedheads into one bed but it didn't work out. Our main issue is that a bedhead is narrower than the bedhead made to use as a bed so without tacking pieces on the side of the frame which would just look weird, we couldn't manage it. I seriously spent so much time trying to work out how to turn the bedhead into a single bed that my hourly rate on this is ridiculous. Sometimes I try to please a customer too much and really should just do up furniture how I originally want and then list it for sale. Saying that this is not Sara's fault at all, and I'm not upset with her. I just should probably choose the easier path when I'm trying to make a profit;)

Sara even bought an IKEA bed frame that I was also going to hand paint in ASCP Graphite and use bed brackets to attach to the bed head. Luckily I realise before I started painting that the IKEA bed frame was  about 15cm wider than the bedhead. Packaging it all back into the box took a long time. IKEA are experts in Tetris let me tell you.  I eventually got all the pieces and the instructions back in the box and Sara bought an ensemble mattress to use with the single bedhead. 

I tell you this story to give you hope if you are trying to re-work a piece of furniture and it's not going your way. It happens to the best of us :)

Here it is finished:

Upholstery: updating a french oak single bedhead. Lilyfield Life

This bedhead was painted in ASCP Graphite and top-coated with a wipe on poly. I then I upholstered it with divine embroidered fabric Sara had bought from Paris. It's so beautiful and worked well with the grey upholstery gimp braid that I had left over from a previous project.

So I have one remaining bedhead that my boy, Jonty has now claimed. He also wants it painted in ASCP Graphite and he has chosen lovely blue-green fabric from No More Chintz in Balmain.  It was funny because I started explaining the project and the lovely sales lady knew all about it (and about me) from following Lilyfield Life on Instagram. Ha ha the price of fame :)

I'll share Jonty's bedroom when I finish the bedhead which will hopefully be later this week. I love his room - so bright and fun. Lucky boy.

Fiona xx

Monday, February 15, 2016

One for the Shabby Chic fans - Upholstered Bench Seat

I adore this upholstered bench seat and am hoping someone here wants to give it a new home. It is just beautiful and well made. 

The upholstered seat is a little faded and a few tiny spots. I did steam clean it but if the marks worry you, you could always get it recovered or put a new padded seat in. I like it the way it is and think it's slightly faded beauty is just gorgeous.

142w x 43d x 50h cm. 

The base has been primed and then painted in several coats of ASCP Pure White and waxed. 

I think this would look so lovely at the foot of a bed.
White ruffled linen and a shabby chic bed stool.
How very Rachel Ashwell :)

Have a lovely evening.
We are heading out to dinner as today is our anniversary. 13 years married and very happy. Being married to Phil is very easy. I'm very lucky.

Fiona xx

Buying to Renovate? What Will Cost You More Than You Think

Guest post by: Dana and Kim Davies; Action Property Inspections

With our house renovation happily behind us, I am almost tempted to do it all again :)  I really loved the process of renovating, the design, the planning, the sourcing of products and then actually working with the builders. We won't actually do it again for quite some time as I think Phil might divorce me if I even suggest it but I thought I'd bring you some posts that are helpful to those of you who are looking at renovating their family home or buying to renovate. 

Let me introduce Dana and Kim Davies from Action Properties Inspections in Brisbane.

Buying to Renovate? What Will Cost You More Than You Think

It’s often said that you can’t go wrong if you buy the worst house on the best street. It’s easy to be sucked into believing that a re-imagination of the floor plan, an extension or a fresh coat of paint is all it takes to transform your bargain basement buy into a dazzling showstopper, the envy of your friends.

Yes, buying a little fixer-upper is a great way to get your foot in the door of the property market or into the suburb of your dreams. The unfortunate reality is that you might not ever get to realise what you see as the immense potential of your purchase. Failing to navigate the minefield that is buying to renovate will see you quickly get out of your depth and straying far beyond your budget. Here’s our take on the most common mistakes you can make when buying to renovate.

Not understanding your limitations

In an ideal world, the sky would be the limit when it comes to buying to renovate. The reality that you don’t have the unfettered ability to renovate your property exactly as you see fit.

There’s a complex network of building regulations, local council by-laws and overlays that can conspire against you to dictate exactly what you can and can’t do with your property. For example, a historical overlay might mean that you can’t alter the external appearance of your property by putting in new windows to take advantage of natural light. A covenant can stop you subdividing and putting two dwellings on the one block. That tree you plan to remove to make way for an extension or a pool might have had the benefit of council protection for decades and will only be covered by a specialist allotment inspection. It can take years of experience and know-how to get your head around these limitations. Recognising when they’re on a collision course with the vision you have for the property is crucial. It’s the key to avoiding the unnecessary heartache, disappointment and financial cost of having to shelve your precious plans and settle for something less than what you hoped for.

Not knowing the difference between a fixer-upper and a common, garden-variety dump

Some properties are just not worth the blood, sweat and tears of a renovation. Knowing the difference between something that can feasibly be renovated and something that’s only worth the land it’s sitting on (less demolition costs) is the difference between an amateur and an experienced renovator. The worst bit is that it’s not just the obvious stuff that will bring you undone. It’s the hidden structural issues, the termite damage you can’t see, the subsidence, the roof on the verge of collapse and the leaky pipes that are a ticking time bomb when it comes to buying to renovate. In most cases, only a professional can recognise the signs of serious underlying issues and alert you to their existence before you sign on the dotted line and commit to buying a dump.

Not having realistic plans for your renovation

Your plans may look great on paper, but they might not suit the property that you’re buying to renovate. That wall you plan to knock down to open up the living spaces might actually be supporting most of the weight of the roof. That bit of land in the sideway might house an easement you can’t build on. You might want to add on a first floor extension but soil tests show you’re sitting on reactive clay or and your property’s existing structure might not be able to withstand the additional weight. The unforeseen costs of bringing your home structurally up to speed might be such that it’s either impossible or just not financially viable. It’s all well and good to dream big, but your dreams have to be firmly rooted in the reality of your property, the materials from which it’s been constructed and the manner in which it’s been built. An experienced professional can give you advice on the options for renovating your property and can suggest alternative pathways when your plans hit a speed hump.

Not recognising the hidden dangers of renovation

It’s a tragic fact of life that DIY renovators are fast falling victim to asbestosis, mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancers. Asbestos is commonly found in homes all over Australia. It takes on many forms and a multitude of different appearances. Knowing that the property you’re looking at buying to renovate contains asbestos is a crucial safeguard protecting you, your loved ones and your tradespeople from potentially deadly exposure during a renovation. Being able to pinpoint the location and quantity of asbestos in a property is also relevant to issues of just how hard it’s going to hit your hip pocket to have it removed.

Buying to renovate? Knowing when to call in the professionals

If you’ve got a property in your sights and plan to embark on the roller coaster ride that is buying to renovate, your first move should be to pick up the phone and call for an expert opinion on the feasibility of your plans before you rush into a purchase. Choosing the right building and pest inspector makes a massive difference. Choose an inspector familiar with renovation challenges and plenty of experience in the industry.

Contribution by Andrew from Action Property Inspections in Brisbane. Our professional building inspectors are experts at assisting you to make an informed decision about a property that you’re thinking of buying to renovate. Contact Action Property Inspections today on 1800 642 465.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

French Console and a French Armoire

I have a few divine pieces at the moment out of a recent container from Europe - in love with them all but our house is full. These pieces, I'm loathe to paint, preferring to sell them as they are. 

First is a beautiful French armoire or combination chest. The inlaid timber detail is very beautiful and I feel it's a shame to paint over this. I am planning on just refreshing the timber with wax and replacing the handles - (these aren't the original handles anyway)

Pieces like this are hard to come by - gorgeous old functional beauty - perfect for any room in your house.

160h x 90w x 60d cm
(includes new handles)

roses from our garden
I also have sourced a beautiful wall mounted console. This is incredibly beautiful:  The base is painted in a muted gold and there's a divine piece of marble for the top. This needs to be screwed into your wall but is perfect touch of glamour for a narrow spot. 

just sold this gorgeous rococo trinket box

French marble console
103w x 23d x 80h cm. 

Let me know if you are interested in either piece. They really are a special addition to any home.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Another year of painted furniture (This one works)

I can't believe it's into February already. This year is flying past and my kids seem to be growing up quicker than ever. Sasha is loving high school and is making new friends and Jonty loves being in year 5 and he's back in class with his best friend and everything is perfect in his world. Sweet.

Looking back over 2015 I had a fantastic year. When you are in the thick of work and the day to day, it can be good to stand back and look at all you achieve. Working for myself and by myself there isn't much discussion about future plans and past achievements. I just keep plodding (zooming??) along with my paints and brushes, painting lovely pieces of furniture. Last year I got offered some amazing opportunities that for different reasons I didn't pursue and it left me a little discontent - which I'll share later with you - so it's good to look back on the year and see what I did actually achieve.  We finished our house renovations and I also painted 268 pieces of furniture. A big year all in all.

I thought you might like to see a little video of some of the pieces.

and a faster slightly different version.

and some of my favourite things from the year:

Our house tops the list. I just love living here - so practical and spacious and lovely.

This beautiful French style hutch:

This vinyl chair that was an ugly peach colour until I painted it with chalk paint. 
Divine now. 

This lovely little armoire:

Lisa's sideboard in a beautiful blue grey that was colour matched from a frame she owned.

This blackboard I made for my friend Belinda who owns Bella Emporio Rozelle.

and this cupboard that now lives in my lounge room.

Lots of greys and blues this year - but still a lot of the ever popular white.

Hope you liked this little summation of my year for 2015. Thanks for all your support and purchases.