Thursday, May 21, 2015

Striped French Provincial Style Dresser

If you are looking for a used piece of furniture you are likely to run into one that mimics the popular French Provincial style with its bow front, curved legs and ornate pulls. They are also often painted in white, cream or a selection of pastel colours that would be a characteristic of that style. I crossed paths with a few of them too and dressed them in deep blue, yellow and grey, but never in stripe and I thought it was about time to do that too. Striping a piece of furniture can be tedious work as, if you want the stripe to be straight without any bleeds, you need to measure, tape, press and then hope you have done all the steps correctly so that when you pull the tape off, the line would stay crisp and clean. Working with good quality paint helps too, as paint that is too runny will find the way under the tape and thick paint will look goopy and lumpy. In this case I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, that is just perfect for the job. This product has amazing consistency, has no odour and comes in a selection of colours that can easily be mixed with each other to create a completely new colour. I started off with Graphite at the bottom, pulled a stripe in Duck Egg, followed by Antibes Green and French Linen. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint adheres easily to metal too and by painting out the ornate pulls I have made them blend with the background which gave the piece a more contemporary look.
The dresser is now available in my Etsy store and hope it finds a new home soon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

$3 Investment That Makes a Difference

I love changing things around in my house. It is a part of who I am and I have been doing this for as long as I can remember, even as a kid in my parent's home. They would come back from work and find the living room furniture re-arranged.  By chaining the look and feel of rooms as often as I do, you are bound to make mistakes more often than not, but that is how we learn and get to know ourselves and our tastes better.
Our bathroom is predominantly white and about a year ago we injected some colour by introducing the small orange storage bins from Ikea. The impact was there but I wasn't 100% sold on it and was a tad bit lazy to go  back to the store to exchange them, not for the price of them at least ($.99 each). Yesterday afternoon I went back to Ikea to look for a patio table for our yard (which, by the way, is also undergoing a bit of a makeover) and purchased identical bins, but this time in white (still at $.99). The change is quite apparent and the look a lot calmer. It just goes to show that even the smallest investment in your decor can make quite the significant impact to your space. Here is to easy and economical updates!

Monday, May 11, 2015

From Garden Shed to Outdoor Office

Living in a small city house can sometimes be a challenge when it comes to space. It is a good problem to have as you live in a house in one of the major North American cities, but it can still present a challenge when it comes to organizing your daily activities. I live in one such house with my husband Marc and his two children who visit on the weekend. Besides common spaces such as kitchen, living and dining room, all other (small) rooms are designated bedrooms. That means that when I do my admin work, or when bills are getting paid it has to be either from the couch or dining room table. Definitely not an ideal situation.
Looking for a solution to solve that problem I resorted to the Internet and came across the WeWork  website, a co-working company that offers memberships to rent beautifully curated offices in major US and some European cities. Some memberships start as low a $45/month and give you the luxury of on-demand office and conference room space.
Seeing some office spaces featured on the We-Work website got me thinking and the idea was born to turn my garden shed into an inspirational outdoor work and hangout space for myself. It can sadly only be usable in the Summer time, but it will offer the convenience of separating work from family life. The shed is powered and has an amazing wi-fi connection so its potential wouldn't have been used to its fullest had this transformation not taken place. Once the work is done, the space can be easily transformed into an evening hang-out space.
Check out the info and images below on how this transformation evolved and what the end result is.
In retrospect, the entire process was labour intensive, yet so rewarding that I would do it a million times over.
Please drop me a line if you find this inspiring or would like some tips and help with your own space. I have a ton of ideas but sadly only one shed. And don't forget to check out the We-Work website as they are what got all of this started.

This was my starting point at the beginning of April. BBQ, garden tools, last year's yard waste and some random furniture pieces all crammed in a 10ft x 10ft space.
Step one included emptying the space, separating useful items from those that needed to go and painting the walls, the ceiling and the floor. I used a spray gun for a fast, yet messy, undertaking and opted for paint that I already had on hand as I wanted to keep the cost at the lower end.
The best part was, of course, decorating and curating the space. I salvaged and painted out the old doors and window frames that I found on the the street, got the colourful sari fabric from the local Value Village for $2. The desk came from another thrift store (i did a number on it too as it was sad looking in its original state), the rug and the basket in the corner are from Home Sense (Home Goods in the US) and the rest are random pieces that I already had.
I stripped an old scalloped lamp shade and sprayed it orange to serve as a chandelier.
I made this quirky (fully working) lamp a while ago using old lamp and pottery pieces and this space seems to be the perfect match for it. Artwork is from local craft shows, museum and magazine postcards, and my favourite is my kindergarten picture in the vintage yellow frame (framed within the window)
I have had this yellow bench for a while and it comes from a local antiques market. It normally lives underneath the window in the dining room as a catch all for books and papers, but for the summer it will provide additional seating in my office.

The tall cabinet is another thrift store find and offers extra storage for office supplies but also some small garden tools.
The grey and pink door is strategically positioned to hide the power plugs. Postcards were included in a copy of Frankie Magazine.
Washi tape, litte ferns and silly pencil holders make life better.

View from the desk is is that of the back yard which, in a couple of weeks, will be in full bloom.
And what is room without some plants. This corner offers enough light yet keeps them protected from harsh (Canadian) sun. They sit on an Ikea chest donated by a friend. The chest again offers some extra storage space for the garden tools, it is still a garden shed after all.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Retro Record Cabinet - Before and After

This sweet record cabinet was a fun little Sunday afternoon project. I had a few cans of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint left over from previous projects and as none of them contained enough paint for a full job I mixed them all together and ended up with a soft shade of blue that works like a charm on this piece. Pairing it with orange pulls seemed like the right thing to do considering the retro character of the piece.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Custom Hutch

Sadly enough, I only have this one picture of this custom refinished piece to share, but I believe it says it all. Painted in slate colour with floral back wall in the upper part, this hutch is as sweet as the family it belongs to.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

White Dresser with Colourful Pulls

In its original state this dresser didn't have much to offer aesthetically, but the the build was solid and sturdy, drawers were sliding well and that was enough to give it a chance. The long pulls had the potential of "making it happen" for this piece. I opted to paint the body in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, which has a  warm a creamy hue and the pulls received a striped treatment using 5 or 6 colours from Annie Sloan Chalk Paint pallet. The stripes are random and "squiggly" which lands this piece a quirky and fun look. Listed online in my Etsy store this piece is looking for a new place to call home.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring SALE is ON

Starting April 25 and ending on May 2, I am having a sale in my Etsy store. Receive an automatic 15% discount on check-out by entering code spring15. For you living in Montreal, Ottawa and London, ON, there is an additional incentive in form of free shipping. If you have any questions, just drop me a line. I will be happy to assist.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Art Deco Dresser with Beaded Pulls - Painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

This dresser was a sad version of itself when I first spotted it, but its good and sturdy structure won me over. The veneer was intact, drawers were sliding well and it was just its exterior that needed some sprucing up. I resorted to Annie Sloan Chalk paint in Granite as a base and topped it with French Linen. The base colour peeks through in spots and adds depth and dimensions. Since the lines of this dresser are simple it allowed me to add some decorative elements so I painted the border on each one of the drawers in Scandinavian Pink. The pulls are all one of a kind made of loose wooden beads. They add charm and playfulness to the piece that any regular pull could not. This dresser would make a perfect addition in a child's bedroom or a fun family room, but really, why limit it to a particular space. It is now listed in my Etsy store and available for purchase.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Painted Door - Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Color Combo at Work

Last week as I was running errands in the neighbourhood I spotted this door sitting at the curb. Made of unpainted wood that had dried out over the years I knew I could give it a new lease of life with some paint. I have recently gotten acquainted with Annie Sloan Decorative Chalk Paint products and have had noting but great experience with it. I selected a pallet of muted, earthy colours and got to work. Colours starting from the inside out are Coco, English Yellow, Scandinavian Pink, French Linen with an undercoat of Aubusson Blue. For now I am using it in our house as a simple decorative statement but by adding a shelf or a couple of coat hooks it can turn into a useful household object.
Sadly, I forgot to take the before picture but the change is drastic and I hope to cross path with a few more more of those hopeless beauties over the summer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Red Tallboy Dresser - Painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Mix

I recently got my hands on some amazing product and tools, Chalk Paint, brushes and waxes by Annie Sloan and decided to experiment by mixing some colours to create a custom, one of a kind finish for my furniture. Here is the first "mixed" piece from the Chalk Paint series. I blended equal parts of Emperor's Silk red and Barcelona Orange and ended up with a deep "paprika" color. It is so vibrant and it reminds me of a beautiful sunset. Chalk Paint is great in its qualities as it allows you to paint over various surfaces and covers super easily. Where reds and oranges by other brands require many coats and are relatively thin and runny, Chalk Paint is thick and has great coverage. I protected the piece with several coats of clear wax and used dark wax in spots to accentuate the features. This is just the beginning of my Chalk Paint adventure and there are many more fun things to come. This piece is now listed in my Etsy store and is up for grabs.