Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The French Bench: made from a headboard

Just like you, I've seen beds turned into benches on Pinterest.
So when these lovelies appeared at a local thrift store, it was time to build.
These are bunk beds. 
 I loved the board and batten style to them, and we snapped them up. 

Ultimately, the benches would be for sale in a local shop.
Selling in a shop was new territory for me, because everything I do is for a specific client.
I was curious - and a bit nervous -  to see if anyone would find them interesting.

My husband quickly caught the vision of changing a bed into a bench
and took over construction.  
There's nothing he can't do!
I'll come back on the scene when it's time to paint.

Because the benches have a cottage-y style,
they begged for shabby paint and some French lettering.
 You'll find lots of French lettering for inspiration at the Graphics Fairy.
This one appealed to me because it reads:  
 " Furnished house with large
apartments and comfortable rooms".

I like to think this bench will find itself in a house with large, comfortable rooms.

Even though the benches would be white, I first painted them BLACK
so that some color would show when I sanded them. 
If you look closely, you'll see some of the under painting peeking through.

Here's a Paint Tip:

White furniture can look too "fresh and clean".
To create a vintage appearance, brush on a dark brown glaze --
then wipe most of it off with a rag.
You could also use Annie Sloan's dark tinted wax.
Either way, you'll get a soft, subtle effect. 


P.S. We were excited to hear that both benches 
sold within a week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


 I never know what the next project will be until the phone rings.
Often it's something that stretches my imagination, like this recent project.
A client wanted a painting for his office.
Muscle cars from the 1960's.
Yes, include the race car his business sponsored.
Yes, to bright colors.
And yes, it had to be fairly large.
3 feet by 6 feet.

I know precious little about Chrysler cars.

Can't tell the difference between a Challenger and a Charger!

Fortunately, my husband and all his friends 
are car enthusiasts.

They provided me with advice and lots of photos of what to include in the design. 
The best way to incorporate all their suggestions was to paint a collage. 

Using photoshop, I manipulated the photos until I had a grouping that I liked. 
Mixed in with the cars were vintage MOPAR logos and a drag-strip tree.

Little by little, things took shape.

Painting multiple images made the large canvas more interesting 
than a single scene. 
It allowed me to use a variety of cars and lots of bright color.

You can see that instead of painting the cars realistically, 
I stylized them, giving an impression of of their iconic details.
Like this:

Almost finished!
I decided to float the canvas inside a brushed German Silver frame. 
And here it is in it's new home.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

1970's Dresser Refreshed

Maybe you have a piece of furniture from the 1970's,
but it doesn't look stylish anymore.  
Stop fussing, because you have a gem waiting to shine!

The best thing about 1970's furniture is that it's made of wood. 
Frankly, if you're going to invest time to paint or refinish a piece of furniture, 
you want something sturdy and well made.  

You want wood.  
Like this dresser.  It's vintage 1970's Drexel Heritage.

To bring this dresser up-to-date, I decided to paint it white.
But all white seemed boring. 
For contrast, I chose to keep the wood top.
It was in good condition, but it needed to be refinished.

Let me introduce you to a time-saver:

Minwax Furniture Refinisher
This is the perfect way to remove varnish, shellac and lacquer
without damaging the wood underneath.
No sanding.
No scraping.
No mess. 

The old varnish came off quickly and easily.
In less than an hour, the top was done.

Once I saw the color of the natural wood, I decided not to re-stain it,

and left it natural. 

What a difference!  I loved the lighter, honey color.

So let's paint!

For this project, I tried out a "new" paint.

Actually it's been around for a while, and many of you know about it, 
but it was new to me:


In some ways, it's similar to the popular chalk paint.
Like chalk paint, Fusion doesn't require sanding and priming.
 FUSION has a built in top coat, so adding one isn't necessary.
I prefer a top coat on everything, especially furniture, so I added a 
satin Polycrylic coating on the dresser. 

The results were wonderful!  I'll definitely use this paint again.

Here's a PAINT TIP you may like to try:

Whenever I plan to distress a piece of white furniture, 
I first paint it BLACK.

Sounds strange, doesn't it?

Painting the fiece black first, takes the "sweetness" out of the white paint.

 Plus, the black peeks through when the piece is sanded 
and gives it a little extra personality.

Like this.

You'll notice that I painted the hardware to match the drawers.
 This way, they recede into the background and don't distract from the new paint.

I like how this old dresser turned out.  It's lighter and fresher and has a new lease on life!


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Casual Table for the Patio

Hello friends,
Let's look outside for our next project. 
Here's a table I've used on our deck for years. 
Originally, a friend bought it at a yard sale,
but she decided not to keep it, and she shared it with me.
Wasn't that nice of her!

 With its fiberglass top and metal base, it's ideal for outdoor use, 
but after several seasons, the table was worn and shabby,
 -- and not in a good way!

Once again, in my excitement to paint, 
I forgot to take a 'before' photo.  

This one shows the table in primer, 
so we'll call it an 'almost before' photo

Often I'm asked how I decide what to paint and what colors to use.

It's so easy to decide what to paint for a client,
but deciding what to paint for myself is a challenge.
 There are too many options
 and I want to try them all!

This time, inspiration comes from 
the exuberant designs of Mackenzie-Childs.

Known for their lavish use of color and pattern,
you'll see that I'm paying homage 
to their unique style.

The color palette is simple:  yellow, green and a whisper of blue,
agains black and white.
The colors are loosely washed onto the table for a casual, painterly effect.
No precise,crisp edges here.
How do stripes, dots, squares and squiggles 
all work together to make a cohesive design?


For example, the black elements are the boldest and the largest.
The squares on the table top and base are painted with the same colors 
and are medium-sized, while the dots are the smallest.

Now, my deck is ready for summer!

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