Barley Twist chair

The Barley Twist pattern has been popular throughout furniture history.  Quite popular in English furniture it managed to travel just as much as the English did.

This style of furniture is not sweet or dainty–not to me anyway.  In my mind I see it more masculine, so when I decided to paint a Barley Twist chair- I kept coming back to darker colours.

This chair has great details:

IMG_1104 Unfortunately, I didn’t get a before shot of this chair.  It was a mess.  Somebody had done a very poor attempt at upholstery.  There was tape and glue as well as staples, pins and nails and two layers of fabric.IMG_1105 This is the Barley Twist.  You can also see this in ornamental details of furniture but the original design was structural- in legs and stretchers.IMG_1106 The chair has nice carving details and is in really good condition.IMG_1107

This is a carving on the chair back.  Quite nice!

I actually debated whether I should paint this chair.  I originally was going to leave the wood but then I found a great fabric that inspired the look of the whole chair.

IMG_1110 So I painted with Amsterdam Green.  This is a colour only available in Europe, but I did hear a rumour that Annie Sloan was bringing it back into production.  It is really super.  Darker than Graphite and has great coverage.  It is also a greenish bluish colour that can appear different depending on the lighting and the surroundings.IMG_1111 Some of these photos are a little dark, sorry about that- these were taken with my phone!IMG_1112 IMG_1113 I think the Barley Twist works well with such a dark colour.  I couldn’t really see a pink or a white working here.IMG_1114I lightly distressed to highlight some of the details.

And then I started with the fabric!

IMG_1116 Plaid!!  I love plaid- back to my Scottish roots!  First I did the back, then added the padding and then stapled down the front of the chair back.IMG_1117 IMG_1118 I really think the plaid works with this style of chair- even if it is a bit unexpected.IMG_1119

The carvings and twists on the chair are heavy enough to visually support the strength of the fabric design.

And this is as far as I got today.  So hopefully tomorrow I will have finished tacking down the fabric.  I did buy upholstery pins but now I am not sure I will use them- I think a really nice trim will work better….we will see!


The secret to a great shine.

There are so many tips that I have picked up from the blog world- I thought it was  time I shared one of mine.

Waxing can be daunting- particularly for a first timer.  (you know who you are)  The key to good waxing is not to use too much.  I can’t stress this enough.  Do not cake the wax on –it will not dry.  Actually the top will dry but the undercoat will still stay soft….which causes such a mess.  There will be marks in the wax and you will be frustrated.  And taking off the excess wax is equally frustrating.  Trust me on this.

Two thin coats will do it.  I like to use a round brush.  This is my preference, some prefer the cloth method, but I find the round brush lets me apply the wax more easily and evenly and I am able to get into all the cracks and crevices.

I am painting a kitchen.  My third one in Poland.  And once again it is white.  No complaints from me, I really love the look of a white painted kitchen.

In a kitchen I will do three coats of wax.  Better safe than sorry.  Again, really important to apply thin coats.

My client wanted the finish to be shiny.  Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ™ does have its limits with shine.  The paint is matte so it is up to the wax to create the shine.  IMG_1099

This is after the wax application.  It is quite matte and waxy looking.  Maybe it isn’t too clear here- but it is.  Now for the secret!

IMG_1101These two brushes are what I use to get the shine.  One is a wallpaper paste brush and the round one, I am actually not sure what it is for, I think something to do with creating texture in plaster- or something similar.
IMG_1102After I apply the wax and I am certain that it is even, I brush back and forth with the big brush.  Actually, I usually use the round one- I get a more even grip with it.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ™ can be quite textural- if you want it to be.  When buffing with a cloth you may not get into all the spaces- that is why I like the brush.  In the above photo you can see how much texture there is and also how much shine there is.

It is the same principle as shining your waxed shoes with a brush to bring out the shine.  I won’t be spit shining my furniture any time soon….so I think I will stick with the brush!

In my part of the world

Signs of spring are starting to show.  Fresh tulips.Slide1 Slide2 Easter decorating.Slide3The days are getting longer on my side of the world.  So long to the long periods of winter darkness–yesterday the sun even came out.

Soon I will be able to open the doors to my shop and put things outside.  I have always wanted to do that!

Can’t wait!

Emotional rollercoaster

This had nothing to do with decorating or design, but I am feeling rather blue at the moment.

I found a puppy.  Running around on the road and sidewalk.  I was driving and saw him and pulled over and scooped him up.  Nobody else bothered.  This was Friday.


I put him in my car and brought him to work with the hopes of figuring out what to do.


My husband called around to a few places as well as my assistant who just adopted a rescue dog.  He is so friendly, a bit nervous but very sweet.

I fell in love the second I picked him up.  I am sure I have seen this dog running around close to my shop but never thought anything of it- I seem to remember him running after a second dog but there was a man with them, so I would have never thought he was a stray.

IMG_1089I gave him my lunch and after about three hours of pacing around my store he finally lay down on a blanket.

Then I brought him home and we discussed what to do with him.  My husband contacted the dog rescue group and they posted his picture on facebook.

IMG_1090Saturday he went to the vet for a shot and deworming and I think at this point everybody wanted to keep him. The vet also said he was about four months old.  We named him Oscar.  Then we got him a bed, leash, collar and name tag on Sunday.  My husband took him for a walk and he stayed right at his heel the whole time.  We were keeping him.  Then at 11:00 am a lady called from just outside of Warsaw, she desperately wanted him.  He looks exactly like her dog that just died.  My husband said no we decided to keep him and she said she would call back in a few days to be certain.IMG_1091 IMG_1092 IMG_1097

So then we talked about it logically.  We have a dog, Luna.  Luna was not pleased that this puppy had taken over her house.  I work.  It is not fair to leave this little guy at home for five hours a day.  I could take him to my shop but I am not always there- I will often work at clients houses- I can’t bring him with me all the time.

So we made the decision to give him to this lady.  My husband drove Oscar to his new home two hours after the woman called.  She was thrilled and in love with him.  Her house is dog friendly- she has other dogs so we figured he would be happy in his new home.

She was also nice enough to call and let us know how he was doing yesterday, then today she posted a facebook message on the dog rescue page and she kept his name.

So we are happy he is going to be loved, but sad we had to let him go.

He is part German Shepard and part Polish mountain dog- the vet told us he was going to be big- which could also be a problem.

So long Oscar, we will miss you!

The diamonds are finished!

Honestly,  I hope I don’t get asked to do one of these again.  I spent so much time trying to fix the points of each diamond so that they were perfect….and it seemed every time I touched one diamond I messed up another.

But—-I am happy with the results and fingers crossed my client is happy too.

I will wait to exhale tomorrow when she comes to pick it up.

IMG_5384 IMG_5386 IMG_5389 IMG_5391 IMG_5393 IMG_5394 IMG_5395And after looking at this last photo I just noticed a mistake I made on the bottom drawer on the left side…see it?  There is a little slice of white where is should be black.

I will be happy when this is out the door.

And what I am working on now…






I had a client contact me because she wanted to have this painted….
2777759647 To look like this:m97b

I have never done this before- but I didn’t think it would be a problem.

The originally piece actually has a marble top, which she didn’t want, so she had a piece of wood cut to shape.

This piece is also a copy.  It may look antique but under the veneer is chip board–the handles are quite nice, but that is pretty much it.

So I painted the entire thing white.IMG_5323

Then I found the centre point of the front and made that the centre of the diamond.  Then I drew vertical lines every diamond half.  The entire width of the diamond was 10 cm so I drew in five cm increments.

IMG_5324 Then I drew horizontal lines also in half increments which was 7 cm.  So my diamond was 14 cm high by 10 cm wide.IMG_5325 Then I connected where the lines intersected to create the diamond shape.  Next step was to tape them off and start painting.IMG_5326

A little tip to prevent bleeding if you don’t have the best quality tape is to paint first in the base colour and then the second coat in the darker colour so once the tape is removed the lines are clean.IMG_5328
IMG_5331 This tape is not the best quality.  The pink one is ok but still it is not that great.  I know there are some great painters tape available- I just can’t get them in Poland……which makes this project a bit more difficult.IMG_5334 My photos are a bit blurry but you can still see the mistakes.IMG_5335 And this is where the project gets frustrating.IMG_5341 I am still working on cleaning up the edges.  It is quite tedious but I will get there….eventually.IMG_5342

I did the same process with the centre point and lines on the sides and top.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have a finished project!

chair continued!

Here is the complete “after” of the chair from yesterday:

IMG_5376The fabric was the designer’s as was her choice of paint colour.   My addition was the ric rac trim to hide the staples.

IMG_5380There is not a lot of distressing on this piece, at the request of the designer, but I did do a bit at the top to show some of the details.




I am happy with it!  This lovely quatrefoil shape is all the rage and I think this particular design works well with the style of the chair