Monday, October 31, 2016

Dark Blue Bureau Desk

Last week I had a delighted customer and it really struck home the best part of being a furniture painter. Helping people fall in love with their surroundings again. Megan lives in a small one bedroom apartment and as such only has a few pieces of furniture. She wanted them all to be pieces she absolutely loves so she asked me to paint a small oak bureau desk. I showed her a few colours and she decided on my dark blue finish.  The piece turned out beautifully and Megan was just thrilled.

This is the bureau before - nice oak but Megan wanted a pop of colour.

I think the handles are so lovely. They were nailed in rather than screwed in so I had to paint carefully around them. Always a bit of a pain and more time consuming but I managed to not get any paint on them.

I just making people happy with their new furniture. So nice to be part of that transformation.

have a great day
Fiona xx

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Stunning French Style Carved Console; Lovely story

Some pieces come with a beautiful story. The story of this beautiful piece will stay with me for a long time.

French style carved console in ASCP Paris Grey mix Lilyfield Life

One evening my friend calls me to tell me she's heard of some beautiful furniture for sale so I call the guy and arrange to go see it all. I don't arrive till after 9pm as I'd been doing some deliveries. The house is stunning and there's a big SOLD sticker on the front gate and a VERY handsome and charming man waiting at the front door for me in his pjs. No problem. Lucky he doesn't sleep in the nude

He shows me the furniture and I fall in love with this divine console and he starts telling me the story. It's his childhood home and his European (maybe Croatian?) parents' furniture. His elderly father has dementia and is being placed in care. The house has been sold and his mum is moving to a tiny apartment. His mother is beside herself as she hasn't spent a night apart from her husband since they got married at 17. 

While he's talking his mum gets out of bed to meet the lady buying her beloved furniture. Gorgeous very old lady. She goes back to bed while Charming Man and I continue talking for another hour about aging, dying parents, love and loss. There were hugs and tears. And this beautiful piece (and a few others) came home with me to be painted and to share a new life with someone else. 

French style carved console in ASCP Paris Grey mix Lilyfield Life
Originally the piece was very dark timber and you couldn't see all the amazing detail so I decided to lighten it all up with a custom mix of ASCP Paris Grey and whites. I have then clear waxed it and use a little black wax in the crevices.

Isn't it stunning?

Sending good thoughts to that beautiful family and wishing them well.
Fiona xx

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

French Coffee table, Small Drawers and Amazing carved Panels

Good morning. I'm trying to fit in regular blogging again so I'm sitting here after our morning walk through the park with Charlie and of course home via the coffee shop. It's actually very nice as I can hear the kids getting ready for school and Phil making his breakfast and I'm sitting here in the study, sipping my coffee and no one has disturbed me besides a good morning kiss on my forehead from Sasha. 

Actually funny story, yesterday I bought home some amazing carved timber panels and I was telling Sasha how they were actually part of a double bed but I chopped them up where I bought them (which always has the potential to freak out the seller) mainly to fit in the car but also because I didn't want the rest of the bed, just the panels. She just looked at me and asked "Mummy tell me you didn't go shopping with a saw in your handbag!"

Yes I did :)

How good are these going to look painted? I have a few ideas for them and will share when I eventually get around to doing them. At the moment I am inundated with custom work and painting to sell so I'm not sure when that will be.

I also have a pretty coffee table for sale that I finished recently. Solid timber and given a lime washed effect with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It has a grey base with lots of white wash so it's light and bright and would suit a variety of decors.

122w x 52d x 46h cm
Pickup Lilyfield

Yesterday I also finished painting these handy storage drawers. I mixed a lovely sea foam green. I had quite a few people pop into my studio while I was painting these and every body commented what a gorgeous colour they are.

These chests of drawers are a handy piece of storage: perfect for CDs, craft or small items. Great height to pop a lamp on in the corner of a room.
46w x 38d x 94hcm
Pick up Lilyfield

Today I am picking up a large buffet that would be perfect for a Hamptons look. Not quite sure where I will be able to squeeze it in as my studio is very full at the moment with pieces that have sold and not yet picked up and pieces that I'm working on. I need a factory :)

have a great day

Monday, October 24, 2016

lots of black paint...

Hope you all had a good weekend. Mine was absolutely fantastic possibly slightly too fantastic - out till 4 am Saturday night at a university college reunion so I think we all just thought we were 19 again. So much fun. Oh I'm too old for that ha ha but then followed up yesterday afternoon by a beautiful musical showcase at Sasha's school. She sang a solo, a duet and two mash ups in the acapella group and it was just lovely. Isn't it great seeing your kids go from strength to strength. Phil and I are hopeless - both of us shed a few tears. Yes I am that embarrassing mum.

I have been enjoying painting some pieces recently in black. So dramatic and a nice anchor to a room. How stately do these drawers look in black especially teamed with that beautiful mirror. Both pieces sold quickly. The mirror was something I could have easily kept but that's not the aim of my business so I decided to part with it. I always know I can find more lovely pieces but the details on this one were lovely. I bought it from a lady who was moving out of a huge terrace house in the back of Redfern. It was a beautiful tree lined street full of old but well maintained terrace houses and this house had a beautiful bright pink front door. So surprising and lovely.

The console below was in a terrible state when i picked it up. It was very badly weathered and the varnish was all flaky and peeling. I spent ages sanding it smooth.  I think this piece was crying out for black paint. I love it.

Really nice details on this piece. It is quite low and would work either in a hallway or behind a sofa.

The funny this about this piece was I had seen it a few weeks ago for sale and didn't buy it but ended up going back for it last week. That evening (Wednesday 19th of October) I was finishing up some other pieces and was about to stop work for the day and cook dinner but thought I would just make a start and prep this piece so it was ready for me to start painting the next morning. So I flipped the piece over and saw the date of manufacture. Exactly 35 years ago. I love little coincidences like that. If I'd bought it the week before, waited till the next day or even not flip my pieces over to paint underneath then it wouldn't have been noticed. 

I also painted a little china cabinet Rosie had inherited from her grandmother. 

Here it is below in situ. Love that sandstone wall.

These bedsides below were given to me by a lovely lady who was moving out of her house in Vaucluse. They were a great shape and nice and tall. I painted them black and had so many people asking for them. I lightly distressed the edges to bring out the timber detail. 

and last on my black list ;) is this little pine shelf unit. So narrow and handy. I really like this one with the tongue and groove paneling.

Lots of people asking how to get a good finish when using black. I don't think black is for beginners as it's hard work to get a good finish and even sheen. It takes practice but here are my tips to get you started: My tips for getting a good finish on black.

Fiona xx

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Chicken Wire Cabinet

I am still wearing the scars of this project :)

I recently bought an old oak cabinet that was missing the front door panel. Something like that never scares me off and as a bonus it makes the piece more affordable as often other buyers often don't want to muck around with it. 

I thought I had a before photo but now can't find it. The oak timber grain was beautiful but it was very dark and dirty. I wanted to keep the grain visible so decided to white wash it. I made a mix of white paint and water so it is quite translucent and running and I started painting. to white wash you would normally need to strip your timber back to bare wood. This cabinet was so old and dry and the original finish had mostly disappeared so I gave it a light sand mainly to smooth out the timber grain and then I started painting. For white washing I paint in long strokes then wipe off after the paint starts to dry but well before it is fully dry. You can give it several coats depending how white you want it.  Once the cabinet was fully dry I also waxed it with white wax to further enhance the lightness.

I painted the interior in a Dulux duck egg that I had on hand.  It was a semi gloss that will hold up well to scratches and cleaning, and means I didn't have to wax the interior of the cabinet which I hate doing.

For the door I cut some chicken wire and stapled it in. Cue scratches all up and down my forearms. I looked like i had been in a cat fight. To secure it in place I used a million staples and then bent the sharp edges over using my pliers.

Lovely paneled details.

This piece would be lovely to store quilts in or in a bathroom full or white towels. It sold immediately and has already been picked up.

Have you used chicken wire in a project. Did you find a way to not get shredded?

Fiona xx

Friday, October 7, 2016

Magic of paint, recent pieces and happiness xx

I don't know why I love furniture painting so much - the whole process really thrills me: finding a piece I can see potential in, making repairs and often having to be Macgyver and work out how to fix something, coming up with a design or colour scheme, mixing the paint, the actual painting, sanding ...sanding ...I really lovely sanding ...finishing with wax and glazes...staging for photos and selling then meeting my customers and hearing their stories.  I really love every single part of it. 

I recently had a message from a reader Vicki who has started painting after finding me on facebook and she said "I must say seeing all of your work inspired me. I will never be as good as you but I have such a passion for transforming things now, so thank you". I don't think it matters how good you are, I think it matters how happy you are. 

I think that humans are meant to be productive - makers of things and producing physical items with our hands - whether its gardening, sewing, cooking or painting furniture having a productive hobby (or business) is very satisfying for your soul.

Here's a few recent makeovers:

These were lovely low Art Deco drawers but the old finish was quite dry and damaged so I sanded them down till they were nice and smooth and painted them in a lovely custom mix turquoise. I also replaced the handles with these nice chrome cup handles. These have sold and are being used in a cute little boy's bedrooms. 

This Balinese drawers below also received a custom mix of turquoise paint. A different mix to above but lush and deep. I really love this colour.

I found some lovely vintage style handles while I was away road tripping. As soon as I got home this afternoon I decided to try them out on these drawers. I love them on it. Originally I had crystal handles. 

Balinese chest of drawers so never quite perfect but all drawers slide easily and a gorgeous pop of color for your home. These would look fantastic in a kid's bedroom.
84w x 90h x 44d cm 

I also have available this lovely vintage French chest of drawers. I have painted this in a custom green grey mix (Annie Sloan) that i think really does justice to this old piece. Very authentic. I had a friend say she's seen a very similar piece in a book on french furniture.

AVAILABLE: This is a divine vintage French oak chest of drawers that I have slaved over. Lots of care, time and a steady hand required for painting this piece in a traditional Rococo finish. The colour is a custom mix Annie Sloan chalk paint. A sage green grey that is perfect for this old French piece. Beautiful for anywhere in your home. Solid timber and beautifully made (and painted of course 😉)
100w x 48d x 82h
Pickup Lilyfield

I have lots more pieces to share - I've been working on furnishing a florist for a long time blog reader. It opens next week and I can't wait to share with you.

Have a good day. 
Hope you get to do something you enjoy.
Fiona xx

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Holidays and horse riding

Hi everyone, I had a lot of trouble trying to upload this post from my phone but when I wrote it , it was Sunday night, so here goes's Sunday night, we are all relaxed after a gorgeous weekend staying in a lovely apartment in Melbourne for the weekend. We just had Phil's sister over for dinner (roast chicken and vegies) and the kids are now reading in bed and we are relaxing in the quiet. Divine.

We found a great apartment on AirBNB and we will definitely come again. It was comfortable and well stocked. The guy Ed has thought of everything. How beautiful is it.  The link is at the bottom of this post if you are looking for a lovely place to stay in Melbourne. Mention Lilyfield Life for a 10% discount. 

This house across the road is amazing. I love the duck egg blue window trim. I never would have thought of that as a good trim colour but I love it against the grey. 

We had a nice little morning routine with a walk in the botanic gardens followed by coffee from Entrecôte - all we were missing is our dog Charlie :(

On the way to Melbourne the kids and I spent a few nights in Bright (as we drove down and Phil flew). I took the kids horse riding for a day at Bogong horse adventures and we all loved it (although my legs are still a bit sore). It was definitely a high light of the trip.

The ground was so wet and the horses spent a lot of time wading through puddles - but the lovely thing was that the countryside was just so green. It's actually the greenest I've ever seen it. Even the Hume highway was beautiful and lush. And it was lovely to see my kids enjoying the ride so much and managing their horse so well. I was a proud mum. 

There's nothing like a holiday to rest and relax and make you feel inspired to start work again. I have a couple of pieces to paint this week but won't fully get back into it all until the kids are back at school. 

Enjoy your Sunday night xx

Ed's place in South Yarra is here