Only the after


I forgot to take a before of this little bedside table.  Like all the furniture I look for it was in good condition–just a bit outdated.  It has nice lines and details so once painted I knew it would look great.

I actually didn’t paint this.  My assistant Em painted it.  I told her to use Provence…I hadn’t used it in a while and I don’t think she had ever!

I think I had forgotten how great this colour is.






Provence with clear wax and then some dark wax to add patina and highlight some of the details.  A light distressing in some areas really brings it to life!

I am off to New Orleans on Monday–there is an Annie Sloan paint conference, so of course I am sure to learn loads!  I love chatting with other people that carry the paint- we bounce ideas off of each other and discuss things we have tried and learned.  Honestly, this whole painting furniture thing is one of the best decisions I have ever made!  When you find work you enjoy….it doesn’t feel like work!




Following a suggestion!

If you visit Annie Sloan’s website and click on her fabrics you will see all the lovely fabrics she offers and how she uses them.  What’s more, she has suggested which colours she thinks would work well with the particular fabrics.  Of course many other colours from her pallet will also work but if there are any doubts you can follow her idea.

I am painting and recovering four chairs at the moment.  I knew I wanted to use “Emmeline in Grey” for the drop in seat but I wasn’t sure of the paint colour.  I was thinking about Paris Grey, but then the more I thought about it- I thought the chairs might look a little sad.  It is quite grey in Warsaw at the moment, the snow has stayed too long and people are ready for spring to arrive.


So I clicked on the fabric link in the Annie Sloan website and her suggestion was Duck Egg or Original.  Original, perfect- I have loads of this in stock at the moment.

So I painted the chair frame with two coats of Original, then wax and distressed.

Then I started with the seat.  I have written about chairs before.  In my opinion, it is a great project for somebody just getting started with painting furniture.  And, upholstering the seat is super easy -particularly when you have the right tools!

So with a staple remover I pulled out all the staples that were holding the old fabric on the seat.  A staple remover is great because it has a flat triangular head that allows you to get under the staple quite easily and the base of it is rounded so pulling up the staple doesn’t damage the furniture like a screwdriver would.  I also use a pair of pliers to remove any stubborn staples.



The next step is stapling the fabric in to place.  I usually start at one end making sure it is straight and the end folded under- then I complete the opposite end until all four sides are done.  I do, however leave all four corners for last.




There are many ways of doing corners.  I don’t have one method I prefer- depends on the furniture.

So for this chair I first pulled the middle of the corner tight and stapled it down.


Then I cut off the corner.


Next I fold the end towards the centre and staple it down trying to be as neat as I can.IMG_5527

Then I staple the other end down so it looks like this.IMG_5528


Once it is placed into the chair frame it should look like this:


It looks quite neat and tidy!  Here are some of the chair details.


These chairs are a perfect example of the magic of paint! Here is the before:


The hideous 80’s dusty rose fabric on beech wood, which is not my favourite- but it is very strong.IMG_5535





I think had I decided to paint with Paris Grey the combination may have been a bit dreary.  Original and Emmeline in Grey, like Annie Sloan suggests is perfect!  Not cutesy or overly girly.

So if ever you are in doubt just browse through  There is loads of information out there for beginners right through to the more experienced painters!

Using two colours with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint ™

Inspired by a comment on my previous post I thought I would write some information about using two colours.

If you want to achieve a look of layers of paint on a piece of furniture….this is the one for you!

This is part of the magic that is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™.  We can create an aged look without too much trouble.

I recommend using a darker layer and a lighter layer so that both paint colours are quite visible and there is a noticeable contrast.

In my samples I have painted one with dark under light and one with light under dark.


In the above photo I have painted two spindles- these are really great to show my clients the full effect.  The first one is Original on top of Scandinavian Pink and the second is Aubusson Blue on top of Country Grey.  No special technique, I painted one layer and once it was dry I painted the second layer in a different colour.  Then I waxed and sanded.

In the close up you can see that I have just lightly sanded to reveal the lighter colour underneath.  This is the look I like, of course if you want to- you can sand much more to reveal the under colour.  If you really want the first layer to show through I would recommend a strong sanding with a 150 to 180 grit sand paper –before the layer of wax.

I have sanded a bit more to show more of the pink underneath as well as the dark wood.  Again, this is how I like it- you may like more or less distressing in your own work.


Here is the technique on a piece of furniture.  The first layer is Barcelona Orange and the top layer is Paloma.  I just lightly sanded on the edges and details to show the orange.IMG_5502

The next two photos are from sample boards that I did.  The first shows Emperors silk under Chateau Grey.IMG_5503

This sample shows Aubusson Blue under Paris Grey.IMG_5504

The sample boards are pine so you can really see the wood details in the under colour.

This is a fun and easy technique to try.  Nothing really difficult about it and it creates an authentic aged look in your furniture.

Try it!!  You will love it!

On the fence…

I love painting furniture, but every once in a while I have a hard time painting something. I bought a walnut table that I refuse to paint, in fact, I am bringing it home and my youngest will be using it as her desk- no paint!
Last Saturday a lovely family dropped off this:

Yikes!  that is quite blurry!  Here are some of the details:

IMG_5445  IMG_5446  IMG_5447

This family has lived in a few places in the world, the last one being Dubai.  I am not sure what kind of wood this is- probably something native to The United Arab Emirates-  but it is certainly beautiful.

The carvings are great as is the crown mouldings.

If this were mine, I doubt I would paint it!

But it isn’t and my clients wanted to refresh this piece.  This I completely understand!

The wanted a neutral colour so I suggested Country Grey with the details highlighted in Old White.


I am sure I have said before how I love Country Grey.  It is the perfect beige.  It works with everything and has great coverage.


This is after one coat.



And there was a slight problem.  Something was spilled on and under this piece.  I scraped and cleaned off as much as possible but after one coat of paint some of the spots were coming through.  So I applied a coat of lacquer to seal the stains in.  I haven’t yet applied the second coat so I am not sure if it worked!IMG_5459


And of course these are the details after a coat of old white.  I obviously still need to clean up the lines but I love how it looks and I just love these two colours together.IMG_5463

So tomorrow will be applying the second coat to the interior, cleaning up the details then waxing and a light distressing.

And it WILL be ready tomorrow because it will be picked up on Saturday!

Two projects completed.

Firstly, the toy box.

Here is the red paint on the wood:


You can see it is pretty vibrant!  Emperor’s Silk is one of those colours where a little goes a long way.  I like this colour with dark wax:




I really do prefer this colour with dark wax.  It calms it down quite a lot without taking away from the vibrancy of the red.

And then I upholstered the top.



And then I added buttons:



I am a huge fan of buttons in upholstered furniture.  It is a simple detail that really gives character to any piece.



The chicken fabric is from Annie Sloan’s fabric collection.  She has wonderful fabrics that are quite substantial and can be used for upholstery, pillows and drapery treatments.  All her fabrics are cottons and linens and are manufactured in either France or Belgium.

And this is the whole piece finished!




The lady that owns this came in last week as I was working on it.  I asked her what she thought of it, she said it was lovely, whose is it.  After I told her it was hers she almost fell over with excitement!—which makes me happy.  She wanted to take it on the spot but it wasn’t finished yet!



Now for the Barley twist chair.

The trim on this is not working the way I wanted.  I bought some from a shop and when I got it home the colours didn’t work at all.  (of course I didn’t bring a fabric sample with me.)  So I decided to sew my own double piping/welting.  I won’t give a tutorial for that- there are loads out there already.

So, I sewed the double piping and glued it to the chair.  It isn’t perfect but I think it looks ok.



There are still loads of threads I need to cut and bits of glue.  I tried to hide some the imperfections with the upholstery tacks.






No matter how hard I try I can’t get the upholstery tacks to line up straight.  I think I am just going to have to go with it.  And of course I am going to cut off all those threads!!



Postman Pat and friends…..


Actually this is quite funny.

I am sure I have mentioned it before but I live in a part of Warsaw that has loads of expats.  They usually move here for a period of three to five years and then on to the next country.  They pack up their things to take with them or give to other expats or donate items they no longer need.

This next project was a gift from one expat to another.  A childrens’ toy box that is no longer needed.

This is the before:


This was a DIY project for a little girls room.  The top also had lilac gingham but I took it off.  There was batting all around it and everything was nailed on–which was lucky for me because it made the removal quite easy.


And this was the surprise that was waiting for me under the fabric!!

Postman Pat and all his friends and on the side Pingu.


The top actually has Winnie the Pooh–but we will keep him hidden.


This is the piece that the hinges attach to.  It had a piece of batting glued down to it and I have a feeling removing the glue is going to be a bit of a pain.

Today I  started painting the box red.


So long Postman Pat!  I am sure you were loved but now it is time for something new!

I will continue this tomorrow…I expect drastic changes with this one!

On a side note I still haven’t finished the Barley twist chair.  I can’t find the perfect trim to hide the staples.  I am debating sewing double piping/welting….we will see how that goes.