Simplicity

I had a big delivery yesterday.  Two chairs, a large shelf and two cabinets.  I pretty much knew exactly what I was going to do with each piece.  Except one.  I was a bit stumped on this piece.

Honestly I bought it because the price was pretty cheap.  I didn’t particularly like the styling of it- it is really clunky looking and boxy- but it is solid oak and quite substantial- so I played around with a few options for its new look.

I was thinking about some sort of stencil on the raised panel and also toying with the idea of a few different colours….I had a bunch of ideas rolling around in my head- but nothing felt right.  I came to the conclusion that had I “primped” it – it probably wouldn’t work.

I decided to paint it first- then wait for further inspiration.  I painted the body with Annie Sloan’s Country Grey and the top with Old White.

It looked pretty good with the paint.

So then I gave it a good distressing.  The panels and all the squares on the door actually really looked good.  Then I applied a bronzing wax to the wrought iron hinges to lessen the contrast from the black…..much better.

I then gave it a wax and buff treatment (like a spa for furniture!)

This is the result:

Here are close ups:

A close up of the wrought iron with the bronze wax – works much better with the Country Grey.

I am really happy with how it turned out.  It has sort of an Amish or Shaker feel to it- which would make sense seeing as it came from Germany.

Just proves that simplicity is often the best choice and sometimes letting shape of the furniture shine through the paint is the best option.

Cute little cabinet

This piece of furniture comes from the 20’s.  It is quite common in this part of the world.  It is oak with raised panels- very square shaped- I come across a lot of furniture in this style while on my searches.

I am a bit stumped as to what it may have been used for.  There are two doors on the front and a door on either side- four doors for such a small piece.  It doesn’t have any signs that may indicate that it was part of a larger piece- and there is a hole on the side.

I painted using Annie Sloan’s Grey Linen- great colour.  This colour seems to change slightly depending on what is under it.  I painted a table with this same colour and the table is a slightly lighter shade.

I painted the inset frame Old White and gave it a good distressing followed by wax and buffing.

I kept the little knobs- they are so cute!  I just wiped some bronze antiquing wax over them and the hinges as well.  I decoupaged decorative paper inside- it is not dry in these photos so it looks a little sloppy.

Here is the side with the hole in it….makes me wonder!

I have got five more pieces being sent to me and two of them are chairs that have upholstery….I should be busy for a while!

Another sheet music piece….

I am really not obsessed with this- there is method to my madness.

I have been putting some of my pieces on the Polish version of Ebay which is called Allegro.  It is a country wide shopping mall- there seems to be more new stuff than used stuff on there and it is a great way to reach a large population with one click.  I have been getting an amazing response with the sideboard that had sheet music on the door fronts- this is how I received a request to do my first commissioned piece.

My store has only been open for close to three weeks and I have sold quite a few things, there is a lot of interest in what I am doing- particularly in the furniture with sheet music- so….I figured doing another piece is a good way to attract clients to the store.  If many people are interested in it, perhaps some might make the trip to the store to see what else I have here.

I bought this piece on Allegro.  It is the upper half of a hutch.  Here is the before:

It is smaller than I originally thought it was.  The measurements were listed when I bought it but for some reason I had it in my head that it was larger.  The wood is in good shape- but the back and shelves are different than the front and sides.  I was originally going to paint the interior a different colour….then I came back to the sheet music- for the reason I explained.

This is what I decided:

I painted it with Annie Sloan’s Country Grey and gave it a good distressing.  I put the sheet music on the back which, of course, is visible through the glass.

I think it came out great- I showed the before and after to my carpenter to which he replied,  “it is not possible!!”

I could really see this hanging in a bathroom displaying antique perfume bottles, pretty soaps a big glass jar with cotton balls.

(once again I must thank Miss Mustard Seed for bringing this idea to my world)

Mustard?

I am not one for following trends when it comes to decorating.  That is the easiest way to date a room and many of us don’t have the time, energy or money to redecorate every year.

However, I am seeing the colour mustard in everything from sweaters and jackets to sofas and carpets- it seems to be quite new and fresh which makes me think that this colour will probably be “on trend” for quite some time.  Even my favourite Canadian magazine Canadian House and Home has many pages dedicated to mustard.  I read my issues via iPad – I have always loved this magazine and I get to see what is current in Canada and compare it to what is happening in Poland.

Maybe you are not as adventurous as painting your kitchen something like this:

Link

Or this:

Link

But it is still possible to bring this sunny rich colour into your life.  If you are a sewer you could make your own pillows, chair slipcovers or even curtain panels in a fabric like this:

Source

Just think how refreshed a room would be with the addition of any of these fabrics!

Can’t sew?

Yellow pillows are pretty easy to find.  photo

Even a small lampshade will have impact when the colour is as vibrant as mustard. photo

And a sure fire way to brighten your entire space is by painting the walls in a fresh rich yellow or by laying down an area rug.

I have a feeling mustard yellow is going to be around for quite a while.  It is bold and fresh and really brings to life a room.  It also works well with many different colours- I don’t think I am daring enough to wear a mustard yellow jacket but I could definitely see myself with that carpet and those fabrics and perhaps Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Aries might make its way on to a few pieces of furniture in the store!

Mood board test run.

I am having fun with the Olioboard website that I came across yesterday.  Just for fun I thought it would be a good idea to show how one sofa can work in many spaces.

I have chosen a sofa from Ikea- their standard long, square, black sofa–easily recognizable as Ikea, and I have used it to create three very different looks.

The thought process behind this is that it is a possibility to fuse different styles and with accessories and other furnishings- and achieve a look that is your style.

Look number one:

I would consider this look quite eclectic.  It has a very warm feeling to it and the carpet really creates a bit of spice.

Look number two:

This look is more of a classic monochromatic look but the sofa still works in this concept.

Look number three:

This look is clearly  more bright, vibrant and modern- and the sofa with its simple lines works well in this concept.

I can’t stress enough how much I love this program.  Try it for yourself http://www.olioboard.com  it is really fun to use and will give you a good idea of how your furniture and other accessories will work in your space.

What a great tool!!

This is my second post of the day…I just had to get this up, I am so thrilled with this website!!

I came across this super useful tool while linking up to another website today and had to try it out.  Basically it is a tool that allows you to create your own mood board.  I have been looking for something like this for quite some time.  There is an app  that I have downloaded for iPad- but it has its limitations because of course the developers of the program want to to buy it- fair enough.

This one is free.  It is really great and I have just started to use it so I don’t know all of its capabilities- but seriously- this is a great tool for professionals as well as diy’ers.

Here it is!!

http://olioboard.com/

You can view other peoples mood boards, save your own, upload your own photos or copy and paste from photos online.

Here is my first one…..I am sure there will be more!

Just think how useful this could be for somebody who wants to do a little redecorating but doesn’t know where to start.  Collect samples, group them together and you can see for yourself if the pieces work, what you like or don’t like in relation to the walls, floor and other things like lamps and accessories.

I have a feeling this a lot of time will be well wasted with this program!!

What to paint?

As I sit and wait for four pieces of furniture to arrive….any day now, fingers crossed….I thought it might be interesting and useful to mention a bit about different styles of furniture and painting them.

As much as I love Poland- it is behind with regards to design and decorating.  People in this country are stuck in a theme or a specific style- there is no mixing.  Of course, I am generalizing but this has been my experience-chocolate brown and white are overly used colours and a lot of furniture in dark woods in very square shapes.  There is nothing wrong with it- but everybody has this and for some reason many Polish designers are nervous about changing it up a bit.

For example:

http://zakopane.olx.pl/aranzacja-wnetrz-zakopane-dekorator-wnetrz-nowy-targ-architekt-i-projektant-wnetrz-iid-79462959

The above design is really quite lovely- but when all designers do the exact same thing than there is nothing special about it.

I like to paint furniture- this is the concept of my store.  I like to paint country or cottage style- particularly French.  The funny thing is that my own house doesn’t have of this style of furniture- it has more of an eclectic mix but for some reason I get real joy out of giving life to an old piece of furniture.  This is where the name “design disorder” comes from- my love of many styles.

I studied history of furniture in school.  It is unbelievable how many styles of furniture there are (particularly when trying to study them).  I really enjoyed the course and learned so much- but the average person doesn’t want or need to know this information when they only want to paint an armoire.

But- if you want to paint country or cottage style furniture- it is important to note what you can or cannot paint in this style.  For example, if you have an Art Deco chest of drawers- there is no way you can distress it, add some wax and call it “French country”.

Just to illustrate my point:

The person that painted this (and is trying to sell it) is advertising this as French country style (prowansja in Polish).      http://allegro.pl/okazja-komodka-prowansja-i1814574508.html

This is a huge pet peeve of mine.  The style of the furniture is Art Deco and the painter has thought by simply painting the furniture and distressing it then it will become French country.  Clearly not so.  The boxy shape, design and legs all still read as Art Deco.  But somebody may like it so I wish the seller good luck with it.

This is pretty standard with all modern furniture too.  If you have a square, flat, simple piece of furniture- you can’t distress it and call it French country.

French country particularly but most other country style of furniture have some curving but very simple lines- door fronts with curves and cabriole legs.  There are carvings and inlays and even basic pediments but very simple details because it was known as peasant furniture- the city folk had much shinier and more detailed furniture styles.  If you have ever had a look at any of the Renaissance periods you will know what I mean.

So what to paint and how to paint it?

If you have a strong desire to paint something in a French country or rustic style- the starting point is to be certain the piece will read as French or rustic after it is painted.  There should be decorative elements and ornamentation but very simple such as carvings or turnings.

The above piece with all of its carving details would really come to life once painted and distressed.

http://allegro.pl/a-c-wspanialy-ozdobny-barek-ludwikowski-polecamy-i1819517825.html

The turned legs of these chairs would look exceptional once painted and distressed.

http://allegro.pl/a-c-wytworny-zestaw-6-krzesel-ozdobnych-zapraszamy-i1819519483.html

This is when thrift store and yard sale shopping is fun.  Looking for a diamond in the rough.  Weeding through the garbage and finding a piece of furniture that is otherwise ugly but once painted they would take on an entirely new life.

Painting furniture is fun and rewarding- it is a way to bring new life to old furniture and create a whole new look.  It is cheap and relatively simple to do.  You can paint almost anything- the important part is that the piece of furniture dictates the style of painting.