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.


Swiss Army Blanket…..stool?

A few years ago I visited a friend in Switzerland and I returned to Poland with a trailer full of goodies.  Furniture, fabric, pewter as well as other lovely things.

Many things I have already sold in my shop and a few I don’t want to sell….this is nothing new for those of us the do this job 🙂

I got two Swiss army blankets, one was in good condition and the second was to do so sort of upholstery job with it because there were a few holes and the ends were frayed.  It is made from wool and horse hair and has a number embroidered on each authentic one.  I have seen a few reproductions- these are the real deal! After about two years- I finally got around to doing what I wanted to do!!

I found this retro stool- which is exactly what I was looking for.  I didn’t want country or modern.  The design of the blanket, in my mind anyway, is completely retro…..I mean 60’s style.

I removed the fabric and luckily the inside was in good shape.  It only needed an extra bit of batting to even out the shape- but everything inside was in good condition and it didn’t smell.

I started by figuring out where I wanted the stripe to be.  Once I was happy I cut the shape plus one centimetre for seam allowance.

Then I did the same for all four sides making sure to match the red stripe.

You may notice that my seams are on the outside……of course they are!  This was actually intentional. 🙂

This is how it looked once everything was sewed together……but of course I am not finished!

The next step was to do a stitch around the seams – because a blanket stitch around a blanket stool is completely logical. 🙂

To finish it off I stapled down a piece of fabric to hide the bottom.

But….I still wasn’t done.  In the above photo you can see white paint on the legs?  Any ideas where I was going with this?


Here is a close of up of the blanket stitch.  This is jute string.


And the final result!  I am really smitten with this.  I had it completed maybe a half hour when somebody was asking about it- that is a great sign…I am still trying to decide if I should take it home.  Sometimes I hate when that happens.



a touch of gold!


I started with this well made little table.  It is a knock off of a French Empire table which modelled the design of the legs after ancient Greek columns.  I see this as more of a masculine design style….Napoleonic.IMG_1175

So….I took inspiration from Napoleon and of course the most logical colours are dark blue and gold.

From the Pure&Original colour pallet I chose Steel Blue, which is a lovely navy blue with a hint of grey in it.


I painted two coats of this colour.  I love how smooth this paint goes on and the coverage is really super. So the next logical step is the gold.

The gold leaf/transfer is applied quite easily.  First the glue (gold size) is applied in the places where you want the gold to be- I chose the detail around the apron of the table and the flower detail on the legs. Once the glue is clear and tacky then you can apply the transfer

This step is almost therapeutic!  Carefully lay the gold transfer (make sure you have the correct side) and then with a brush, brush over where the glue was then peel off to reveal the gold.

Once the glue has dried it is time to apply either wax, oil soap or eco sealer.  For this project I used P&O Italian Gloss wax.  It isn’t really glossy but when dried it can be buffed to a shine.  This is also meant to be used on the Fresco lime wall paint and the Marrakesh wall paint as a protectant.

I have  written previously about how much I love this wax.  It is a liquid and it goes on so easily.  Brush it on evenly then wait to dry.


This photo shows how the wet wax looks after the application.  I let this dry overnight, only because it was the end of day in my shop, but the next morning I buffed it with a soft cloth.


It has a slight sheen to it and I think the gold is just enough.  It is quite Napoleonic, don’t you think?

I haven’t found a colour I haven’t liked in the Pure&Original pallet.  And this is just furniture!  Imagine how this colour would look on the walls……




So, I bought a set of nesting tables.

One thing I love about having my own shop/studio is that I am able to enjoy many different styles of furniture.  My own personal style is a bit of a mish mash with pieces from a few different eras but primarily retro.  My house is always a work in progress and I am not afraid to experiment.

These set of three nesting tables are not old.  They have a nice cabriole leg which was popular in many French, English and Dutch design styles.  Basically a cabriole leg has two curves- an upper convex curve and a lower concave.  Often the feet have a claw or some other sort of embellishment. And this table has a lovely scalloped edge top.


From the Pure & Original colour palette I used three separate colours- a dark, a medium and a light, all from the blue family.  This is the first coat of the darkest colour, Polar Blue, on the largest table.IMG_1089

The next colour on the medium sized table is Blue Reef and the last colour is Lagoon Water, on the smallest table- not pictured.IMG_1090

Polar Blue, Blue Reef and Lagoon WaterIMG_1091

Each table was painted with two coats.  With Pure & Original Classico Chalk Paint it is not necessary to prepare paint surface- this all natural paint has very strong adhesive properties- like other chalk paints.

But I didn’t stop there!  I wanted to make these tables a bit more interesting!  If you have been on Pinterest, blogs or read any design magazines, you will notice that dipped furniture is quite trendy.  Basically, the concept is to paint a piece of furniture so that it looks as though it was dipped into a pot of paint.  This was what I wanted to do- but not with paint- with silver leaf!

This was how the tables looked after two coats of each colour.


Then I measured 14 cm from the tip on the large table, 12 cm from the medium and 10 on the small.  I applied the glue for the silver leaf and when it was tacky I used a soft brush to cover the glue with the leaf and then smooth it out.IMG_1098IMG_1099

Then the final step was the application of the Italian wax- which can be done with a brush, cloth or sponge.  This is a liquid wax and very easy to apply.  It also has very little odour.

Here is the final result!


I must say that I am thrilled with these.  They are not my style but I have fallen in love with them.  I love how smooth they look and the silver on the feet is a bit of fun.