One great part of being an interior designer is the on-going friendships I develop with some of my clients. We continue to share tips, finds, information and more, with each other.
April, an amazing school teacher and mom asked me to help her locate Country French style furniture that’s so popular now. It so happens that she recently discovered a new thrift store on the way to her son’s school. She found a beat-up, filthy dresser; it was a disgusting mess but she knew it had good bones, beautiful elegant lines, and very attractive legs! At only $45.00, how much of a mistake could it be?
She emailed me with a photo of this hideous “diamond in the rough”, as she saw it, wanting me to give her ideas about how, if at all, it could be made to go with her Country French décor. I had ideas, alright! And I sent her to www.stylishpatina.com where could find links to a lot of information about transforming Flea Market finds into shabby chic… using chalk paint One tried and true “system” for this comes from a lady named Annie Sloan, in the UK.
April got smart! and got DIY-ing! Armed with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paints and waxes, appropriate brushes, and a few other supplies, she went to work. Cleaning and smoothing are almost always needed first. They say that the paint doesn’t require any sanding or primer, but, if the piece isn’t smooth to start with, you can’t expect the paint to make it so.
April sanded the top, but didn’t sand or prime the body before adding Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.
Taking the dresser apart for cleaning, April found a bit more than expected…. ( did I mention it was beat-up, old and filthy? ). In the back interior corner… there were two, very dead, dried-up mice. Gosh! you just never know! They were kinda’ pitiful and, for some reason that I will never understand (but LOVE) , April felt the need to name them Rose and Jack, in memoriam of the lovers from the movie Titanic… I guess, in this version of the story, both of them die!
Cleaned, vacuumed and definitely disinfected – the dresser was ready for it’s re-do. A bit of sanding, mostly just on the top, left it smooth-as-a-you-know-what. She decided on a two-tone look and striped and stained the top. Again, the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint instructions insist that no prep is necessary, so she painted Annie Sloan’s “Paris Grey” painted on the body, then gold paint detailing on the drawers. Then distressed it, before waxing. Just look at the amazing result! From Mouse Tomb to gorgeous, on-trend, expensive-looking furniture!
I just love the whole idea of snatching furniture back from the brink of despair and destruction and giving it a new life. It’s good for the wallet, it’s even good for the planet because it is re-using and keeping things out of landfills. Faux painting treatments are not beyond your capabilities. Trust me on this. Anyway, if you go for looks like “distressed” and “shabby chic” then they are perfect… just being imperfect! It’s a great creative activity for people who aren’t great at intricate detail and pains-taking projects. They are supposed to look a hundred years old! How can you go wrong with that kind of an out? And there is a whole world of brushes, glazes, grainers, sponges and all sorts of interesting tricks to help you… if you need guidance, give me a call and I’ll steer you in the right direction.
Wow. Wow! This looks like something I’d pick up at a furniture Market. It’s Perfect!
April is also working on an armoire and headboard, she promises to send us updates that I will post here.
Okay folks, ready to learn how to use chalk paint to give your furniture the ever-so-popular shabby chic look? Mark your calendar for this Saturday May 26th! We will be holding a FREE demo at West Potomac Interiors (next door to Shabby Chic) in Alexandria from 1-2:30 to show you how to use it – there will even be paint available for purchase!
See you there!
1517 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22301