Friday, November 15, 2013

Paris Blue Chair

In my last post I left you with the photo of the French Provence chair project I had begun the painting process on using some interesting new products from Annie Sloan.  I had chosen her Chalk paints and waxes to paint and antique my chair and I showed it in the very first stages, now I am ready to reveal more of what I did and show you my progress.  Here we go, sit back with a cup of something warm and tasty and enjoy!

I love the way the chalk paint covered up all the imperfections and highlighted the sweet details of the chairs carved features.  I was especially delighted with the way it emphasized the sweep of the elegant legs on the front of the chair.

I debated whether to leave the chair in its concentrated custom Paris blue color or antique it; ultimately I chose to try the antique wax. I am not really sure how I feel about the antique finish, it is kind of intense and the finish with the clear wax feels very different but it goes really well with the fabric I chose for the new seat. I am still debating on a repaint and returning it back to the blue color I started with, I keep going back and forth on the color and finish, the jury is still out.

This is the pretty blue fabric which my master bedroom curtains and one decorator bed pillow are made from.  French country blue, chocolate brown and champagne are the colors used in our master and what we will be concentrating on expanding when we do the room makeover this coming spring.  The chair re-hab is part of the makeover and probably will not get completed until the weather warms up again. 

As you can see there was quite a change from the before photo to the after photo, it is amazing what a little paint and antiquing can do.  Due to the fast approaching holidays this is as far as I am going to get until next year when I hope to finish the cushion and show you the reveal, I guess you will just have to make sure you watch for that in 2014.

Thanks for letting me share the progress on my Paris Blue Chair, I hope it encourages you to take something old and out of date and make it new again just by using a little paint.  Next up are some easy ideas for your Fall/Thanksgiving dinner table, watch for those.
See you soon.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

French Provence Chair

Back in early spring of this year I ran across three of four chairs, from an old country blue1980’s dinning room set, at our local charity thrift sore.  My intention was to purchase them and create three unique individual chairs for donation to Charming Chairs, an event to raise much needed funds for our local Down Town Association.  The event got cancelled leaving me with multiple chairs with no purpose; luckily I had not started the chairs so I was not committed to any one style.  The big question was do I still finish them as originally planned or would I do something different??? Can you guess what I decided to do? No matter what you guessed you are right, I decided to finish one chair for my bedroom using some fun new products and create the other two in girly bling as planned. This is probably going to be a two part post since I am still working on the chair but decided to share my progress as I go along. Here is what the chairs looked like when I got them.

I was originally only going to purchase one chair but the clerk offered me all three chairs for only $5.00 each, how could I pass up a great deal like that!  My husband thought I was nuts for buying chairs that looked like they were fished out of someone’s barn, they were dirty, full of bird poop and hay and they did not have any kind of cushion bottoms, just frames.  You know me, I saw all kinds of potential and if I did not like how they came out I could always donate them back to the thrift store.  As you can see in these photos they were a mess, all I needed was some cleaner and hot water so I could paint them whenever I was ready.

I think you can see the difference in the chair on the left which was cleaned up and the one on the right still in progress.  It took a couple of hours to carefully clean all three chairs because I did not want to damage the cane backs in case I wanted to keep them intact.

Initially all the chairs were going to get spray painted in high gloss paint until I found a fantastic shop in Historic Folsom, CA that carried specialty paints.  I fell in love with the furniture and the paints they used to craft with and to restore all the old pieces displayed in their darling shop. The name of the shop is “Not Too Shabby” and the paint is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  I purchased all the necessary paints, waxes, brushes and a book on the spot.  It was an investment I was happy to make because of all the projects and applications I could use them on.  The paint covers any surface without sanding or prep time, what a miracle that turns out to be and the finish is soft and glowing.  There are so many ways to use the paint and wax finishes it would take me years to do them all but I am going to give it a good try and see how many I can do on some of the pieces I have left to re-finish in my furniture stash, not to mention all the craft projects I could use them on….the possibilities are endless! 

These wonderful new paints and waxes required some specialty natural bristle brushes in order to get the job done correctly.  My biggest dilemma was where to store them after use because of their natural bristles; it was recommended they hang with bristles down not stored flat.  I currently had no wall space left to hang anything else, what was I going to do?  After checking out my Pinterest boards for storage solutions and studio space storage I got inspired to use any flat surface to create unique hanging options.  Once I looked around my space with new eyes I decided to use the fronts of the doors on my party/wrapping supplies closets, the only unused space in the whole outdoor studio.  We had plenty of pegboard leftover from our last storage project so my hubby cut down a piece to fit the front of one of the four doors, I hung it using the large Command strips so as not to damage the door and I used leftover hooks and hangers to hold all my specialty and favorite paint brushes; no money spent there.  I absolutely love the way all my brushes are in sight and easy to grab when working on a project.  Now I do not have to dig through my paint brush box to find what I want, I still have my seldom used brushes in that box, which is just fine because I know where those are too.  

Here is my first chair in progress, I started by turning it over and painting the underside and back, I let it dry to the touch, about an hour and then flipped it over to start work on the top and front.  I did not do the inside of the seat because it will not be seen once a new seat and cushion are in place. When I purchased my paint I knew what color I wanted for my bedroom chair but they were out of stock so the girls worked with me to figure out what colors of paint I would need in order to custom mix my own paint to match my fabrics, I named my new paint color French Provence.  I think I did a pretty good job of color matching my paint to my fabric, only the final result will be the true test, I can not wait to see the chair completed or at least fully painted, antiqued and waxed.  At this point I am not gong to show you how the first step in the process came out, I am going to make you wait until I finish the next two steps then show you the process and the reveal at the same time, I guess you will have to keep checking in to see the final product.

Thanks for letting me share my newest painting project with you, I hope you are inspired to step out of the box and try a new product and an easy storage solution, you never know where it will take you.
See you soon.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Cedar Chest Re-Hab

On this beautiful fall morning I feel the need to share some kind of autumn type project but I really do not have one ready to go yet so I think today I will show you the before and after photos of a beautiful old solid wood cedar chest I did a re-hab on.  The cedar chest came to me via some dear friends of ours who were cleaning out their storage unit and were planning to give it to a donation site.  I told them I would take it, give it some love and find a new home for it.  What made the piece so special was that our friend built it in wood shop class many years ago and it was a really stunning solid cedar through and through; I was thrilled to get it. Here are the before photos so you get an idea of what I was working with.

As you can see it is a really good size and a beautiful wood but it had a fair bit of damage from usage over the years.  The big question was what was I going to use for a finish?  I could paint it a bright cheery color, I could white wash it and go shabby chic, stain it or sand it down and re-varnish it with a clear coat.  I went back and forth for months, I even bought some white stain for a shabby chic wash so I could make it softer and give it to my niece but I just could not make myself do it.  Ultimately I chose to sand the heck out of it eliminating all the water rings and scratches (8 hours of intensive labor) and give it three coats of clear varnish to keep the original wood grain intact.

Here are some in progress photos so you can see the process.

Last but not least are the finished photos of the piece sanded, sealed and with new hardware for a more updated masculine feel.  Because the chest was so large and heavy looking I decided it would not work in my niece’s room but would be better suited as a toy chest for my grandson’s room, he really loved it and put it too good use right away. It will now become an heirloom piece he can grow up with and take with him into his adult life; a perfect way to re-use and re-purpose an old piece of furniture giving it a new life with the next generation.

Thanks for letting me share one of my furniture re-hab projects with you, I enjoyed showing it off and hope you are inspired to save an old piece of furniture and give it a new life.  There are lots of new projects on the books, I even have some new products I can not wait to use and share with you so keep checking in to see what I am up to next.
See you soon.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuscan - French Country Bath

As soon as we finished one bathroom makeover project we were onto the next one the following weekend.  In fact while waiting for our tile to set I was already dreaming up what I wanted to do with our downstairs guest bath and collecting all the hardware and decorative items we were going to use in it.  This particular project was only going to need a new paint color and some rubbed bronze hardware and accessories to create a Tuscan/French Country feel.  I was really excited about it and ready to get started as soon as possible.  The whole project only took three days start to finish; here are some before photos so you know what we had to work with.

As you can see the walls are the same pink/beige as the master bath we just painted and I really hated them.  The mirror and light fixture were cheapo buys from the investor flip done before we bought it.  I did the best I could with some accessories but it just never looked like it went with the rest of the downstairs décor which is a Tuscan/wine theme in green, burgundy, gold and bronze.

I chose a beautiful Dried Thyme paint from Ace Hardware to complement the rest of the downstairs décor.  We gave the room a good scrubbing then began the cut work which did not take long given the tiny size of the room.  Paint man was drawn by my husband to keep it interesting as we went along, I hated to cover up such fine art work but it was necessary to sacrifice it for the completion of the project; giggles!

It only took one day to paint the room and one day to put in all the new fixtures, then one more day to dress the room for the reveal. And here is the finished product, isn’t it just grand!  I absolutely “LOVE” it! I am so happy we took the time to work on it this year instead of waiting until next spring!  I finally have a guest bath that looks like it belongs with the rest of the downstairs rooms and I am no longer embarrassed to have my guests walk in there. I am just crazy about the rubbed bronze faucet, light fixture, mirror and all the new accessories; I wish I had done the makeover sooner.

Thanks for letting me share the last of our big DIY home projects for this year.  Don’t worry there are still a ton of other projects to share with you as the holidays approach, it is time to start decorating for fall, making gifts, finishing up all my furniture rehab projects and many, many more so keep checking in to see what I am up to next.
See you soon.


Monday, September 16, 2013

What Were We Thinking? - The Reveal

I think it is about time to wrap up the posts on this master bath makeover and finish it up so we can move onto other projects, here we go.

Last I left you the large mirror in the bathroom fell off the wall creating a new design opportunity I was secretly hoping for but did not expect.  It was time for a new backsplash and two mirrors to replace the large one which came down.  Off to Lowe’s to see what they had, the trip was a success when we found some fantastic tile to tie together all the elements I was using to decorate the room.

We decided the best and most cost effective way to use the tile sheets was to cut them in half lengthwise to create the backsplash, that way we would not need very many sheets keeping the cost down. We chose an all in one tile and grout pre-mix since we did not really have any idea what the heck we were doing. We did pretty well putting the tile up and waiting for the 24 hour set time to go by before grouting it, which is where we got into major trouble.  Neither of us bothered to read the directions on the mixture or the tile so we did it wrong and had to wait another 24 hours before re-grouting it a second time to make the grout actually stay put in the spaces between the tiles. Nuts!!!! Lesson learned for next time, it really is not hard if you just read all the directions thoroughly.  Once the tile was done the sinks, faucets, towel bars, new light switches and lights went up pretty easily.  Our biggest dilemma was finding the right size and finish for the mirrors; we needed two with a brushed nickel finish to match the faucets and all the rest of the hardware we put up.  Lowe’s did not have them, the ones we bought at Kirkland’s were to big and the wrong color, no mirrors at Target or Hobby Lobby.  We finally found two of them in a brushed nickel finish just the right size at Home Depot, very expensive but we had no choice at that point, they were just what we needed. Once we hung them we were racing towards the finish line, here are the final photos of our makeover.



As you can see we have a completely different master bath, one we are very proud of.  It only took us a full eleven days instead of the three we originally planned on but it was well worth the extra time and money we spent.  We actually only went a little over the budget we set for ourselves so it was a win, win situation with a beautiful room we use daily which we will enjoy for years to come.

Thanks for letting me share the good, the bad and the beautiful of our master bath makeover.  I hope you enjoyed a peek into the nuts and bolts of our DIY project and you are inspired to tackle one of your own, if we can do it successfully anyone can. Next up is the makeover of the downstairs guest bath; it came out so wonderful I can not wait to share it with you.
See you soon.


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