Thursday, March 31, 2016

Painting with water based enamels - bedroom furniture

Good morning! I have a great before and after post today that really shows the magical transformational abilities of paint. Even though I pretty much paint furniture every single day, there are times when I get blown away by what a difference paint makes. Lou came to me and asked if it was worth having me paint their bedroom furniture. I said "definitely". The furniture is all solid timber and well made.  The bed was a vintage mahogany bed that they had changed to a king bed. The bedsides were Balinese mahogany and Lou didn't love them but for what I charged her to paint them it was much cheaper than for looking for new ones, and once they were painted they would match the bed anyway.

The bed had a split to the timber along the foot of the bed that you can see in the photo above. I used metal brackets to strengthen and stabilise the join. These brackets will be hidden by the mattress so it didn't matter about it not looking perfect. On the outside part that is visible, I used a little timber glue and sanded the join smooth. Once it was painted it was not noticeable at all.

The colour we chose was a pale taupe. It's really stunning in real life - I had a hard time photographing it in the less than perfect light of my studio. An interior designer had given my client a sample and I had Michelle at Porters Paints Leichhardt match it with one of their paints. I used a satin enamel as my customer didn't want a waxed finish near her sheets.

With water based enamel paints, I find you really have to watch your painting technique as it is prone to sagging and dripping. If you are used to painting with chalk paint then you will find aqua enamel a lot more challenging and I would practise on a spare piece of timber before painting your furniture. You might find it easier to paint each surface flat rather than vertical.

Porter's Aqua Enamel (as like other brands) is a water based acrylic enamel, that dries to an extremely hard wearing finish that provides all the benefits of an oil based enamel with none of the drawbacks. It is self leveling (which means it eliminates most brush marks but also means it's prone to sagging when drying), non-yellowing as it's water based and doesn't contain alkyds. It is also much faster drying than oil based enamels. Aqua enamels is the paint that I recommend for cabinetry such as kitchens, bathrooms, doors and trim. I also love Dulux Aqua Enamel (Semi Gloss) and Taubmans water based Trim. They are all very hard wearing and fully washable.

When using a water based enamel you will need to prime your piece if it's not previously painted or you will need to lightly sand your piece just to create a keyed surface. Then you will need two coats of paint but you do not require a top coat. I also sand between coats for a beautiful smooth finish but that's up to you on what you want to do - it's not 100% necessary depending on how fussy you are )i'm very fussy).

For this bedroom set, I lightly distressed the finish to bring out all the details. You will have to work harder to distress than if you had painted using chalk paint. When distressing satin enamel you also have to be very careful to not ruin the sheen of the paint.

The bedroom furniture now looks like a proper set and my customers were just delighted.  Paint is a great way to update and unify mismatching furniture.

Fiona xx

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ASCP Paloma on bow fronted bedside drawers

I've blogged about ASCP Paloma before - I think it's colour that deserves more publicity. It's a beautiful muted grey lilac. It is really good for a girl's room as it isn't sickly girly and will suit a range of ages - you won't have to keep updating your daughter's bedroom furniture.

These gorgeous vintage drawers have sat in my studio for about 5 months - time seems to have raced away and because they are just a single item and not a matching bedside table pair, I kept prioritizing other pieces to paint. Over Easter I decided to tackle them and I love how they turned out. The top of the piece was quite scratched and I had spilled some metho on them that created a water mark that would just seep through any paint, so I fully sanded the top back to raw timber and sealed with Zinsser BIN. I then painted two coats of ASCP Paloma and sealed with wax.

French Style Bow Front Bedside Drawers
48w x 37d x 73h cm 
(Only the one, not a pair). 
Pickup Lilyfield

I love all these muted colours together. The drawers look gorgeous next to my tufted chair but I can also imagine them next to a white bed with lots of frilly white linen. 

Have you used ASCP Paloma lately?

Fiona xx

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Four sets of drawers - three different grey painted finishes.

Good morning, I'm trying to get more organised with my blogging again as I have been very random lately. I still wonder if I should bother with my blog as it seems that everyone is on facebook and instagram these days and do people take the time to read blogs. Then I get some lovely emails from my readers saying how much you enjoy my posts so I keep on, keeping on, so thank you for your feedback xx.

These drawers have all sold but I thought I'd share three different types of grey painted finishes. These are all painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint but all look very different. Paint it so versatile :)

The first is straight up ASCP Paris Grey with Clear Wax. These drawers were just modern pine which I don't normally buy but I liked the shape of them and the moulded edges on the drawers. Originally it had iron pull ring handles - I think they make furniture look cheap so I changed the handles out to the crystal ones I stock.

ASCP Paris grey always turns out a little darker than expected once you wax it. For me I probably prefer it lightened with which like I used on the drawers/Tv uit below. This piece is a Balinese piece and so I used two coats of shellac based primer to make sure the stain didn't bleed through my paint work.

Lots of sanding for a beautiful smooth finish with minimal brush marks. I use a synthetic brush and specific brush strokes to achieve this look.

The drawers below were actually shipped to the Netherlands - a long way for my furniture to go :)
I've had furniture shipped all over Australia and even to Singapore but never to Europe before. This chest of drawers were beautiful old walnut veneer. The hardware is just beautiful including a fancy original key.  I painted them with ASCP Paris Grey mixed with a lot of Pure White and then used a clear wax and lightly distressed them. They ended up very pale and pretty.

The tall Balinese drawers below were painted with ASCP French Linen  - two coats and then I used a white liming wax and pulled it back to show the grain and brush strokes. It gives it a lovely streaky effect that reminds me of bark. I didn't get great photos and the piece has already been picked up but it looked great. Perhaps in the close up of the drawers, you can see the effect the white wax makes.

I think all of these colours and finishes look beautiful and work well as muted neutrals in a room.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter, a dining table makeover and a sideboard to paint

Hope you are all enjoying your Easter break. We have had a fairly quiet weekend as I'm still recovering from tonsillitis. Our kids aren't much into chocolate so I'm not sure why we bother with eggs but Phil loves that the Easter bunny leaves a trail of eggs. 

Our kids slept in so Phil and I went for an early walk and coffee then sat in the lounge room doing a jigsaw till they woke finally at 9am.

Yesterday my family convened at Palm Beach for lunch which was a lovely relaxed affair. Very nice to catch up with everyone over a beautiful lunch.

I thought I'd update you on some projects I am currently working on. Some friends of ours have recently bought a house and as a house warming present I sourced them a dining table and chairs set and am painting it for them.

Here is the table before hand; lovely wood but too dark for my friends so I am painting it a pale turquoise that is similar to a lightened Provence. My friends love lots of colour! (The top is staying timber for practicality) I have currently only primed the legs and apron of the table: a long way to go still. 

Did I mention how much I hate painting chairs? I am contemplating using my spray gun on them to sped up the process. 

The table looks fresher and lighter already even primed.

I will also be working on painting this lovely sideboard this week. I think I will do it classic white with a timber top: my signature look :)

if you are interested in this sideboard (around 1.5m long) then please contact me.

Enjoy your day - We might head off or a bushwalk - looks like the weather is clearing.

Happy easter from my family to yours

Fiona xx

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Our renovated lounge room - before and after

Good morning, I hope you are enjoying your Easter break. We went up to the markets this morning for our weekly grocery shopping and a coffee. My sister in law came with us so it was nice to sit and chat in the sun with our coffees. A four day long weekend makes everything seem luxurious - all the time in the world stretched out before us.

Someone recently on facebook asked about our renovations and that I haven't shared much of the house - or done a full tour. I'm not sure i will do a room by room tour but I thought I'd share the lounge room. Previously our lounge room, that is at the back of the house, was a fibro add on with a sloping roof. it was very long and narrow.  When we bought the house the carpet was disgustingly dirty in this room. The rest of the house had brand new carpet but the previously owners hadn't done anything to this room. The previous owners both died of lung disease and were heavy smokers. you could literally see where they sat in the lounge room and sat smoking in bed as there were dark plumes of smoke stain on the walls and ceilings. Phil didn't even want to buy the house because of this but I know we could resolve it. It's 12 years ago now since we bought the house so that smoke it long gone.

After lots of DIY work here is the lounge room before we renovated. There's a lot of different furniture in the photos as I have usually taken the photo to stage and sell the pieces.

You can get an idea of the room. We had made it look good without spending too much money. Here are some photos from when we first moved in - pink walls, smoked stained roller blinds and carpet I didn't even want to walk on. Also a concrete step and an air conditioner that warmed up the lounge room as it cooled the house. These photos were taken a few days after we moved in and after we had done some work - like removed the huge aircon and squared off that archway, so there's crap everywhere but you can understand how far we have come.

When we renovated we pulled the whole room off as the slab wasn't very stable and there was no access to the garden from the front of the house as the room went boundary to boundary. Because I love our garden so much, I didn't want to take too much of the garden away with extending the house so we only went back 1.5m (but because we pulled down our massive old sheds we ended up with much more garden anyway)

My favourite part of the room are the french doors and transom windows across the back looking into the garden. So much beautiful light and greenery.

In the photo above you can see the outline of a hidden door to the left of the glass side door. That's a long narrow but tall cellar that we squeezed in. I just love it. I will share photos soon and instructions on how we built the wine rack.

The chandeliers are from Europe. I know a guy who imports them and he sold them to me very affordably. They are a bit wonky and I actually need to get one of them re-wired which I should have done before I got it hung but we usually use the lamps anyway when we are in this room at night so it's not a priority. I just love how they look even if I never turn them on.

The rugs are Australian made and from Coppola Home in More Park. I don't know if they are still available.  They are so beautiful and make me very happy every time I see them:) Call me shallow.

The furniture is all sourced through my business - I made the coffee table from a $20 vintage table and our broken BBQ table - you can read about that here

The console table had been terribly painted by someone and all the blue paint was peeling off when I bought it. Obviously not prepped properly for painting. I painted it in a soft limed white and waxed it. The French toile lounge was a piece that I bought years ago and I just love. It was in great condition especially after Phil and I steam cleaned it. The armchairs are a hand down from my aunt.

A new painting on the wall from Laura Matthews - I think I am her biggest fan. I would really like to hang the painting a fraction lower but Phil is tall and I didn't want his head banging on it when he sits down - or my son who is very fiddly and would no doubt pick bits off the painting absent-mindlessly. Someday when I get around to it I will paint the coffee table below to match the one on the other side of the room.

The painting below was a gift from Laura. I really love her work. I painted the little console table in an Annie Sloan mix - mainly based on Aubusson blue. You can read about it here. I love how it picks up the blues in Laura's painting. Th vintage mannequin was one I came across while furniture hunting. If you are looking for a mannequin let me know as I regularly see them in my travels.

I still would like to paint this mirror below but finding time to do my own painting is always hard. The lamp is a vintage find and the planter is also one I painted. Pretty much everything we use to furnish our house is vintage.

The blue linen cushions are part of my homewares range - $45 each including insert.

The cabinet below is one I painted and decided I couldn't part with - doesn't happen often but I spent a long time searching for a particular greenish grey and this colour I achieved in this piece is very close to what I have envisaged. I love it. You can see the full piece here.

So I think our lounge room is very close to being finished and fully decorated. Although knowing me I will always change things around. It is a beautiful room to relax in.

Just the perfect place to spend Easter :)

have a good one
Fiona xx

Friday, March 25, 2016

A pretty French console

Hello lovelies - I hope you are all enjoying your Easter break. What is it about Easter and rain? Although it's stopped sprinkling now it's all gloomy in Sydney. I can't remember an Easter where it's not been raining. Anyway it means we will have a nice relaxed weekend at home.

We even had our fire on a few nights ago.

This morning we've gone for a walk and a coffee. Now Phil is doing some work and Jonty has a friend over and they are playing and Sasha is doing some homework - painting the Egyptian desert and Nile onto a drop sheet for a history project.  I've been doing some painting also, a beautiful huge french cabinet and I'm now waiting for the paint to dry. Nice and easy and no deadlines. I love pottering around the house and having a studio at home so I can pop in and work on pieces slowly.

I wanted to share a console that I finished this week. It's just a little thing (1 metre long) but it ended up quite pretty and much nicer than the original dark stain.

I primed it with a tinted primer then gave it two coats of an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint mix. I am not 100% sure of the actual mix as it was mixed a while ago but the main colour is Paris Grey. The colour is a lovely dark limed white. I then painted two coats of white for the details, let the paint dry and then used Annie Sloan Cracqueleur on the white highlights to create a very fine crackle. I'll do a blog post tutorial soon on how to create this effect. I then waxed and dark waxed the entire piece so bring out the details. Of course the piece has also been sanded completely smooth and lightly distressed.

The piece sold immediately on facebook. I love my customers :)

If you want a tutorial on painting details on furniture - this post might be of interest.

have a lovely day
Fiona xx

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

English chest of drawers and homewares

I haven't been blogging much lately but I have been painting up a storm. Today I finished a lovely set of English pine drawers. While I hate the 1980's Australian pine that's all varnish and now turned orange, I love the old English pine  - so blonde and pretty but still needing paint :)

While I was painting these drawers I actually found an English penny wedged in the corner of a drawer. I would love to know more of the story or where these drawers came from. I didn't take a photo as I wasn't feeling very well and just decided to get stuck into the painting. I've had a sore throat for a few days and have been feeling a bit dizzy. In between resting I did some painting as I find it hard to relax for too long.

Lovely English pine drawers painted in a beautiful putty colour and waxed. Silky smooth. Drawers are dovetailed but obviously not on runners.
91w x 46d x 101h cm. 
And the stunning pineapple/artichoke ceramic table lamp and shade brand new $175

I also have some other home wares for sale - things that I would love in my own house.

45x45cm linen floral leaf cushions two patterns both with insert and zip close $45 each,
17x24cm vintage style planter $45 each ,
41 x 32cm pressed metal urn $75 ,
Faux Peonies pink or white $40 a bunch
French sofa not for sale (it's a keeper)

Actually I did order some of the cushions for our lounge room also as I love the blue and white.

Let me know if you see anything you would like
Fiona xx