Blog

A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

COLORS I LOVE: LILAC BOOKCASE

I’m in love with this little bookcase I painted in a subtle lilac shade. It’s a simple, solid finish, but color choice makes all the difference. For this shade, I mixed Annie Sloan’s Henrietta, Pure White and a hint of Napoleonic Blue. I don’t know how I haven’t painted something in lilac sooner! It’s such a soothing tone and is surprisingly neutral. Lilac can read almost like a gray, and I could see myself incorporating this shade in my design more. After taking this series of photos, styled with some of my favorite plants and books, I’m really reminded of how I need a little more lilac in my life.

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OCEAN INSPIRED DRESSER

I’ve had this beautiful mess of blues and greens for some time now. It’s got some of my favorite hardware I’ve found on any piece of furniture. The campaign inset style but with a twist. The gold contrasts perfectly against the varied ocean inspired shades. And it’s those oceanic hues that truly draw me in. I used water in a similar way I painted this earlier piece and I can’t get enough of this technique. The colors are so rich, but the blending is mostly subtle, with the occasional striking contrast of hues.

Something about the color brings me back to my visit to El Nido in Palawan, Philippines last year. The colors directly link to the intense hues found in a place I kayaked in known as Small Lagoon. [see below] It was easily the most breathtaking place I’ve ever been, and having this piece conjures up all the memories I have of this place, of that trip spent with my family.

It’s currently up for sale on Etsy, but I’ve recently been tempted to bring it into my home and style it as my TV stand, so I can look at it and be brought back to that beautiful ocean water everyday.

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CREATING A SUNSET OMBRE FINISH

It’s refreshing not to have an exact plan when it comes to painting furniture. I get to layer color and texture, develop new shades by mixing paint, not entirely knowing what ratio I’ll end up with or when I’ll decide ‘enough is enough’ and let it be. I love when I come across smaller pieces I can experiment with like this lovely little piece.

I layered several colors starting with a combination of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Emperors Silk, Pure White and a little English Yellow for a pink-coral shade, then layered English Yellow over that. Next I painted a few light wash coats of a more orange-coral mixture again combining the same three colors, only adding more yellow to the mix. I added back some of the pink-coral in a wash over certain places like on the drawer fronts to create a slight ombré or sunset effect.

The close up detail shots of the varying shades on this piece are what really showcase that ‘sunset’ effect so beautifully. The hints of yellow along the front edges of the piece remind me of the bright horizon line that appears just before the sun makes its final descent.

This piece has already sold to a client in Florida, very befitting of a sunset inspired piece I’d say! If you’re looking to get a piece painted similarly, or are wanting advice on how to create this look yourself, shoot me a message and let’s chat!

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RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS ARMOIRE: LAYERING CONTRASTING COLORS

I painted this piece about a month ago. Maybe less, maybe a bit more? I haven’t kept track lately. [the fault of friends and family visiting and travel] I painted this for myself. It was given to me by a friend who’s renovating a bungalow and this armoire sat inside. It’s not antique. It had the makings of some kind of 80s or 90s tv set inside, meant to swivel for a boxy television set. I’m always in need of storage for the multitude of tools, paint supplies, styling props and who knows what else I’ve amassed. So I decided I’d paint this behemoth with whatever Annie Sloan paints I had leftover; the last dregs of custom colors I’d mixed for previous pieces…The overly saccharine, bright hues I’d purchased in the past and never really used. I’d do something with the remnants and make something worth looking at. Something that showed what I could do, even if the colors were a bit outside my normal palette.

Of course, like any project I work on, they tend to have a mind of their own, evolving into whatever they were meant to be. I started this piece off in bold colors of lilac and melon orange. It ended in a hint of those shades, only subdued with the delicate tones of greens and grays that mellow and calm everything they touch.

I really do love this piece. When I’m in front of it, I immediately run my hands across its doors, feeling the textures and layers carefully put upon it. It’s somehow both colorful and subtle all in one breath. My mom was reminded of the rainbow eucalyptus trees we’d always seen on our drives up the Hana Highway in Maui. I couldn’t find my own photos of these trees, but a quick google will give you a depiction, if a somewhat overly saturated version of these gorgeous trees. The key is their mix of cool greens and warm oranges.

It’s a seemingly odd mix, but it just works. Painting this armoire didn’t take as long as I imagined it would, but the result looks like it took me a great deal of time and effort. I don’t like to belittle my work, but this piece really did come together incredibly quickly and effortlessly. I used all the techniques I’ve discussed in posts past. But never have I used this unconventional color pairing and I’m just so glad I did.

I encourage you to browse through all the photos, especially pausing on the detail shots. They give the best depiction of the color changes and texture, which is what really makes this piece sing. I plan to keep this as a large storage unit for anything I need storing of, but like anything I paint, it’s also up for sale in my Etsy shop, so feel free to check it out there, or message me if you’ve got something else you’re on the hunt for!

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PAINT TECHNIQUES: LAYERING COLORS AND WATER TO CREATE DEPTH

I love exploring different ways to layer and manipulate paint on furniture. I have this thing about combining greens and blues and figuring out ways to bring this color combination to life. I bought this piece, a vintage mahogany dresser, from a neighbor who had meant for it to be her own project, but a move to California meant I got to take this on as my own. Other than the fan detail at the center of it and a bit of fluting along the two sides, this dresser is fairly simple in style. I knew it would need a more creative finish to really allow it to shine.

I started off by painting the entire piece in Annie Sloan’s Amsterdam Green. I like to start with the darkest color as my base and then add lighter shades on top. This isn’t essential, but I just find it works best when I’m trying to achieve this layered effect. To create a sense of depth to the flat surfaces, I mixed up varying shades of teal, combining Annie Sloan’s Napoleonic Blue with Amsterdam Green and adding Pure White to create lighter shades. I quickly painted one of the shades of teal haphazardly all over the piece and immediately went over it again in a lighter shade of teal, making sure not to fully combine the two colors.

After letting it dry for just a few minutes [no more than 10], I started to spray the dresser with water with one hand and brushing over the piece with the other hand. Sometimes I’d let the drips stay, mostly on the drawer fronts, but I tried to avoid any sort of uniformity to how I did this. When it looks too forced, I feel like the paint finish loses that unique patina. Sometimes I won’t like how a certain area looks, and I’ll just paint right over it and start again. It’s a process and takes extra time to dry with the addition of water, but I just cant get enough of the end result!

I’ve been working on capturing this layered effect in photos, but it’s challenging to showcase just how stunning the finish really is. That being said, the photos I did take must have done the trick because this dresser sold only after a few days of being listed, and even more exciting, it’s my first Etsy sale! [did I mention I’ve started selling my pieces on Etsy so I can ship nationwide now?!]

I’m really enjoying getting more creative with my painting process, and I’m desperate to get my hands on another dresser to use this technique on! Which one will be next?! If you have a piece that needs painting or are on the hunt for something specific, contact me and I’ll help create something beautiful for you!

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