Just one photo!

I have slowly been updated our house now that I sell Pure & Original paints.  Everything was painted in various hues of beige….and I am tired of it.  We have changed a few things, new brick wall, new finish on the fireplace, new colour of sofa, new curtains, new carpet, new upholstered dining chairs…..and now I have started on the wall colour in the living room.

This is Fresco Lime paint in Warm Grey.


The concept of the paint is “The Charm of Natural Colours”  so everything is soft and muted.  There are so many amazing colours it is hard to choose.  Can you see the texture?  This is how the paint works.  Various tones and shade of colour happen naturally.  I love it!

Now on to the next!!


Upholstery 101

I will come back to the verdigris…it is waiting for me.  In the meantime I have started on two chairs that are in dire need of a re do….

I am trying to hone my upholstery skills- meaning I have bought a number of books and have watched hours of youtube videos.

I have also been buying proper tools and materials to make the job easier.

I bought two of these chairs:


It is difficult to see in this photo but the wood is really nice.  I think it is a nut wood of some sort- I am definitely not painting them!

So with my new tools…


…..I got to work taking off the fabric.


This was a nightmare.  There were three layers of fabric.  Instead of removing the fabric and then adding new, the previous owners just added one on top of the other….and stapled or nailed one on top of the other.

Plus the beige lining layer that you can see here.  So once I finally ripped all fabric off and the lining- this was what was hidden.


Yes this is straw!  And it is amazing.  It has been sewn into shape, complete with an edge roll.  I just tossed the top layer of felt and straw but kept the seat base.img_2930

Notice the layers of fabric and nails and staples?  This was a nightmare.  It took me about four days to remove all of them to get to the frame.  Awful.img_2925

And then under the straw seat pad was burlap- which disintegrated.  The springs look to be copper- they were in great shape so I reused them.  This photo is actually the underside- the strapping that the springs were attached to just dissolved to the touch….so I was really starting from scratch!


Four days it took!  Finally I removed all that mess and got started.

img_3024This is a great tool and very necessary.  It is a  webbing stretcher (obviously).  Staple one end down, stretch, then staple the second end down.  I am not using nails here–for a reason.  I didn’t want to put any more holes in the wood that could weaken the frame- this poor chair had enough holes in it!


The webbing runs horizontal and vertical and is woven.


Then I sewed the springs in place with twine.


Unfortunately I forgot to take the photos of tying down the springs….but I learned a trick from watching youtube videos to make the process easier.  Basically you staple down a row of string at the height you want the springs to be, keeping them steady and level, then tie a second string on the springs, then horizontal and diagonal….hope that makes sense?img_3029

The next step is a layer of burlap on the springs.img_3030

Then I replaced the straw seating.  This is the edge roll.  This is really old school- and quite amazing that it has managed to stay into place after so many years!

The white cotton on the top is a wool/cotton mix that I had to order from England- I hunted high and low for it in Poland but it isn’t anywhere- which is strange because Poland produces 60% of the furniture sold in Europe!  However, this material is not modern, which is what I wanted.  In my opinion, adding a synthetic layer to this chair would be a bad move- I really wanted to keep the integrity of this chair.


My eyes are still itching from this part of the process!  But it is really nice to work with.  It tears easily and you can fill any spaces that need it.


Next step was the lining and then finally I added the material…..which of course I forgot to take photos of the process- but, I have the almost final result!


I haven’t applied the trim to hide the staples nor have I attached the dust cover over the webbing on the bottom but I am almost at the finish line and I think that even with the visible staples it is still quite nice…..if I do say so myself😉img_3035

This fabric is a heavyweight cotton, perfect for small upholstery jobs.  I found it on http://www.fabric.com.  I want to sew a double corded piping with it but I tried  before with a different fabric and didn’t have great success…..so I will take a few days to think about it and maybe sew a sample of the piping.img_3036

I have to say I am so thrilled with this.  A lady was in my shop today and asked if I taught upholstery!  Which made me giggle- I did tell her I am learning myself!  I will give the wood a bit of a polish as well but I have to say I am so thrilled with this–except for the fact I have another one to do!!


Creating an authentic verdigris…..step one

A few weeks ago I was in New York city.  It is dirty, busy, noisy and crowded but has the most amazing museums in the world.  How can a person leave without being inspired?

We got caught in a rainstorm that came from out of the blue- so we hopped into a cab and went to the Met.

If you have never been, it is worth fighting through the hoards of people to see beautiful works from the most important artists in the world. I studied art history in high school and have always had a passion for it.  Some of my favourites include Degas, Matisse, Monet and Lautrec- and I saw them all.

The entire building is an inspiration.  In fact, while we were in the restaurant I came across this:


A lamp post with the most amazing verdigris patina.  Verdigris is the term given to the patina formed on copper, brass or bronze, usually from air and sea water.  I am sure you can think of a hundred landmarks that have verdigris…..(Statue of Liberty).

Anyway……the most logical thing to do is to attempt to paint this….of course. I started out with these white ceramic candle holders.


So then I painted with Dark Forest -which is a graphite with a touch of green in it.img_2743img_2744

Then I tried to match the verdigris as best as I possibly could.  The colour I used was Nautique, which is a really pretty turquoise.img_2745

As you can see- this was painted quite randomly and still showing the white and the graphite.

So then I took a lighter green, added a lot of water then dripped it down the sides.  Next I took a thick soft brush to soften the lines.  Once that dried I added a lovely copper colour, called Kenyan Copper, to some of the lines and indentations.


Once that dried I used more green thinned with water and dripped it down the sides.

And this was my stopping point.  Of course, I am not finished- but I left it so that it could fully dry.   To be continued………


Pure & Original paint factory visit

A few months ago I was in Brugges, Belgium.  If you ever get the chance….it is an amazing city.  French fries, beer and chocolate- what could be better!!  Actually, the architecture is pretty great too.


These are just two of the photos I took while in Brugges.

The purpose of the trip was to visit the factory where Pure & Original paint is manufactured.  I really like this sort of thing….being able to see how things come to fruition.

The factory in Belgium has been run under the same family for over 75 years.  Their focus is on quality, using the best ingredients and 100% natural pigments.

Here are some photos of the inside and the people who manufacture this amazing paint. (these photos are the property of Pure&Original- I have permission to use them)


Adding, mixing, measuring…..everything has to be perfect.

This is the manufacturing process for the natural bristle brushes.  Definitely not made in China.

In the near future I have plans to paint my house using Fresco…..and give step by step instructions of what I did.  My youngest daughter is tired of her pink bedroom.  :)


Planning a dream living room!

If you have read my blog before- you know that I am a Canadian living in Warsaw, Poland.  I have a shop here where I paint furniture and do small design projects.  I have an up and coming project in the city of Gdynia on the Baltic coast.  If you know any history about Gdynia- it is a new city built in the 1930’s and a lot of its buildings are designed in the Art Deco style.

By default of its surroundings this apartment will be decorated with a touch of Art Deco….it has to!

So I thought I’d put together a mood board with the concept of the new apartment.  This is a one bedroom apartment and by North American standards it is quite small- but there is no need to sacrifice style just because the space is limited.

art deco flat

This is the floor plan with the design proposal completed by the builders architect.  Small, isn’t it?!  I will most definitely change a few things around- I don’t think the kitchen  will stay like it is, but these are things that I will take my time to work on.  Now, I wanted to show the concept.

I must add that in Poland when you buy a new build apartment or house it is delivered shell and core- which means that it is literally a concrete box.  The owners are responsible for installing everything from top to bottom.  Everything.  But- it gives us a chance to design a house that suits how we live- not how a builder thinks we should live!

So…dream living room!

herringbone floor everywhere

Starting with the floor- I have always loved the classic European styled herringbone floor.  It is timeless- not trendy and it will be in every room except the bathroom.  On one or more walls I want to have reclaimed brick.  We have this in our house now- sometimes I just sit and stare at it!  It is a pain to install but it completely changes the feel of a room.

The kitchen will be a medium grey colour with a greyish glass backsplash and of course Carrera marble for the counter top.

So….if you can imagine the apartment with these finishings…..

Next, the furniture.

I came across a very cool whole home store online called Arhaus.  www.arhaus.com  Unfortunately for me- this company is only in the U.S…..but I can certainly take inspiration from their beautiful furniture and home furnishings!

I started with the sofa.

Kenton Round Dining Table-2


Arhaus has amazing sofas- actually a lot of their furniture is really great.  Super stylish- I found it really difficult to pick one for my dream living room, but I finally decided on the Brekan Upholstered sofa because of its button tufting and mid century styling.  I did say in the beginning that I wanted to have some Art Deco influence.  I still do.  If you have a look at any of the design styles originating in our recent past (1900’s) you can see there is some overlap between Art Deco and Mid Century Modern- so I am quite confident that the merging of these two styles will be cohesive as opposed to something like Art Deco and French Country😉  (even thought they both originated in France!)

Because this apartment has size restrictions I decided on the Nico armless chair because it doesn’t block the space visually.

I was also debating on a sectional sofa- incidentally, Arhaus has some beautiful options.  Have a look at this page sectional sofas, I just fell in love with the Flanders two piece but I think a regular three seater sofa for this apartment will be the better option- but I could totally see myself enjoying a good book on one of those sectionals!


Next for the dining area:

Kenton Round Dining Table-3

I found this amazing reclaimed wood table.  If I could have this shipped here- I would in a heartbeat.  I love it when a company uses reclaimed materials.  According to the description of this table on their website, the wood comes from a variety of sources –>

“Tabletops are handcrafted from solid reclaimed pine that has been salvaged from old doors, homes, boats and barns in rural farming regions.”

This is simply awesome.

As for the dining chairs- I am a huge fan of button tufted furniture.  It adds a certain elegance to a room and again the open arms so there is more visual space.  The Laila chandelier follows the shape of the table and has a bit of an Art Deco feel to it.

Some other things that I would add to complete this apartment would be copper lighting, linen draperies, probably in a very light blue, some character pieces like a coveted card catalogue and authentic Art Deco door handles and a very neutral wall colour.

Kenton Round Dining Table-4

So……this will be the general concept of the apartment.  A mix of Art Deco and Mid Century and a mix of new and reclaimed.  Luckily I have a lot of  time for this project- the building is still under construction….which gives me enough time, I hope, to find a card catalogue and Art Deco door handles!!


so fancy…..

….not me but the new mouldings I have in my shop!!

I have a friend who has been living in the U.K. for the past ten years and has come back to Poland.  She is also a painting fanatic and has started making decorative mouldings.

They are fantastic.  They are made from resin and after painting they look completely real- like a piece of carved wood.  So….I only have three styles at the moment- but I have decided to give a mini tutorial.

First of all- select a moulding.  This is the hardest part because there are so many nice ones- make certain it works with the style of furniture.

****This is really important when painting furniture and a really important design tip. When painting/renovating an old piece of furniture- make sure what  you are adding and the colours you are painting work with the style of furniture.  Here is an example:


This piece of furniture is a reproduction- even still it is important to follow the style when painting.  There is no way this piece, with all of its scrolly decorative details would suit a dark colour like black or red or even a dark blue.  This is a very feminine piece and soft colours are needed- a delicate grey, pink or a baby blue.  I used Pure&Original “Tin Kettle” with white wax.  The inside I painted a darker pink but all the colours are soft and suit the style of furniture.  The same rules apply with mouldings- make sure they work with the style of furniture- adding a scrolled moulding on to the drawers of a piece from Ikea will stand out like a sore thumb.  Anyway…..

So after you decide which moulding- give the back of it a quick sand so that it has a bit of texture- and also to the place on the furniture where it is being glued to.


Then apply the glue to the moulding (I did it with a brush to make sure I got it on all the little scrolls)IMG_2343

Then  apply it where you want it and just to ensure it doesn’t move around use a piece of painters tape to hold it in place.IMG_2344

Once the glue has dried….you are ready to paint.  I think this colour was Tin Kettle, I don’t remember!IMG_2345

I painted with two coats.IMG_2346

And if this is the look you are happy with- then you are done.  I wanted to highlight the details so I dry brushed white on to the mouldings.IMG_2347

I also did a bit around the shape of it- just so it stands out.IMG_2348

Next I applied gold size and transfer to give it a little extra….IMG_2350IMG_2351

Why stop there?


Next I added a layer of clear wax.  The Fiddes wax is the colour of beeswax but it does actually go on clear.IMG_2354

Then I applied a touch of dark wax just to highlight the details.IMG_2355

Any spots with too much dark wax I just lighted with the clear….and that was it!IMG_2356IMG_2357IMG_2358IMG_2359

I guess I should have turned these photos around!!  But you get the idea.  I just did these on a  piece of wood to display some options when painting.  There are so many possibilities with these resin mouldings.

The lady that makes them has also done a few tests with them- it is possible to heat the mouldings so that you can bend it on to something.  You can do it with a hair dryer or even in the microwave.  She put hers into the microwave for a few seconds then shaped it on to a vase.  There is even a possibility of bending a longer one so it fits on to a corner.  I can’t advise on any of these because I haven’t tried it…..but there are a few youtube videos out there.

How can something so small have such a big impact on a piece of furniture?!






How to change a rush chair seat to fabric!

I hope this post will be useful.  Often I come across chairs that are in good condition but the seat is rush and I had always thought they were difficult to change so I pass them up.  Not any more!

I bought a few chairs with rush seating with the intention of figuring out how to change them and showing everybody the process.

So first of all- what is a rush seat?  This is:


It is a woven chair seat usually from naturals materials.  The style is more rustic or country and it is very durable.  This was woven on to a seat frame which is then inserted into the chair.  Traditionally, rush seating was woven on to the frame of the chair- something like this:

rush chair weaving

Just in case you are interested…..

Because the material was woven on to a frame I was able to simply cut it off.  Luckily the frame was in good condition so I was able to re use it.

The first step was to add webbing to the frame to support everything.

I pulled the webbing tight, which reminds me that I need to find a webbing stretcher!!) then stapled it down and weaving everything while doing it.

Then on top of the webbing I added a layer of coconut husks.  I am not sure if I written about this before?  In Europe it is possible to buy by the metre coconut husks that have been flattened and formed- this is created specifically for upholster purposes and usually replaces where horse hair would have been used.


Next, I added a layer of foam and then a layer of batting:


The next step is, of course, to staple the fabric down and then on the under side I covered up the guts😉 :

This is the final result!


Here is the before of the seat in case anybody is curious!


Much better!  Now I am not going to pass up a rush seat again.