Monday, June 6, 2016

So You Want to Paint Some Furniture...

Hi everyone! I hope you're all enjoying the warm weather and sunshine, I know I am!!

Last time, I posted a 3-part series on the new-to-us Plum Brown pedestal dining table I refinished. I promised a how-to/what not to do follow up (funny story below) and I'm just now getting around to writing it. 

Since last time, I've (almost) finished our playroom and added another pretty big item to my to-do list. Apparently caring for 2 boys, refinishing furniture and tackling projects around the house, and writing a design blog, along with my usual stay-at-home mom duties, wasn't enough.

At the end of April, I signed on to become a Stella & Dot Stylist! For those of you who don't know about Stella & Dot, it's a fab line of jewelry and accessories available mainly through in-home trunk shows. 

I've been obsessed with Stella & Dot for a few years now and have been toying with the idea of becoming a stylist probably for just as long. There was a great sign-on promotion that I couldn't pass up, so I took the plunge. You can see my Stella & Dot display on our table here. Check out my personal website to see more:

It's going so great, even better than I could've imagined, and is a perfect job for me as a SAHM and also someone who loves design, color and texture, since a lot of the same principles apply. Anyway, that's what I've been up to and why it's taken me so long to get to this post.

Getting back to the table... We're really loving it! We have so much more room and it makes such a difference. My original plan was to keep the leaf out to save space for everyday, but I doubt that it's ever coming out! With the table pushed up against the window, we can easily seat 5 with room to spare, and there's so much more space to stretch out for projects, crafts and cooking with the kids.

I loved giving the pedestal table I found a new look. There's something so rewarding in taking something and reworking it to fit your space, and a sense of pride in seeing and using the finished product on a daily basis. 

As far as painting your own furniture piece, here is some advice based on what I learned in completing my own project...

1. Pick a piece that you really love. You're going to be spending a lot of time with this particular piece of furniture. If you don't love it, don't bother. Between sanding, (possibly) priming, painting and applying a clear coat (if necessary), you'll log in some hours. The ball-and-claw pedestal legs were what sold me on this table. 

2. Invest in an orbital sander. When I started this project, we didn't own one. Luckily, my husband is pretty handy and saw the value of investing in a sander. He's loyal to Ridgid and surprised me with their orbital sander to make my job a lot easier. You can see the difference between hand sanding and using the orbital sander below. The difference in the finish is pretty dramatic and it makes the job go so much faster. Be sure to clean and dry the piece after sanding to remove any dust before applying your paint. Nothing wrong with girls loving jewelry and power tools.

3. Choose the correct paint for functionality. For my dining table, I went with an indoor/outdoor enamel. I needed something strong since this table will be used daily and will more than likely have things thrown at it. We get a lot of flying sippy cups at my house.

4. Use the correct tools to apply your paint. If you're not sure what to use, ask a salesperson at your local hardware store. A foam roller with no nap is what I used to get a smooth finish. 

5. Apply your paint in ONE direction only. This is probably the most important part of painting the piece to ensure that you don't see paint application lines on the surface. I figured this one out on my own and you can really see the difference in the finished product.

6. Depending on the use of your refinished piece, you may want to apply a clear coat. For anything that is going to take some abuse, I would recommend applying a few coats of polycrylic. Some may say this isn't necessary, especially with the enamel paint, but after logging in hours on a project, I'd like to know that it's properly protected from the wrath of my kids. 

Polycrylic is a great choice because it doesn't yellow over time and will only slightly, if at all, deepen the paint color. It is water based, easily brushed on and doesn't emit strong fumes. Gently stir the polycrylic to mix, never shake, or you'll create air bubbles. 

When applying polycrylic, you want to brush on a thin coat in one direction, just like the paint. Get a good quality brush for this application. Then you take your brush and very lightly brush over the completed surface (without reapplying polycrylic), in the same direction again, to remove any air bubbles. 

My last tip, and also where the funny story I promised earlier begins... 

7. Do NOT hold the can of polycrylic in your hand while applying to your piece of furniture. Normally I would never hold a can in one hand while painting with the other. Normally I would use a tray so that I wouldn't be contaminating the can. Normally I wouldn't be applying a clear coat to a piece of furniture in my actual dining room at 11pm. But everything normal went out the window at the end of this project because I just wanted my table done. 

I'm sure you can guess what happened next... After I carefully and meticulously brushed my last coat of polycrylic onto a section of the table, I dropped the can. It was like a slow-motion scene in a movie. The can literally bounced off the table, into the air, slammed down onto the section of the table that I had just finished, and splashed all over it and my dining room floor. My immediate reaction was to exclaim, "OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD!!!!" Once the initial shock wore off, I ran for the paper towels. 

Because polycrylic is water based, it actually cleans up pretty easily. It also dries pretty quickly, so I knew I had to work fast to fix my blunder. I mopped up the floor as fast as I could and immediately went over my once-perfect section once more. Somehow I fixed it and managed to get away with this one... 

No one was the wiser the next morning and our new table makes the room. 

Look for my next post on our updated playroom... as always, more color coming your way soon!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Plum Love

I'm so excited to finally be sharing photos of the final table project! There's something about completing a big project like this that gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. It's nice to finally have something for myself. I love being a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes you feel like you lose yourself in the endless requests to keep everyone else content. So this year I'm making a real effort to take care of myself too. I already have some future projects waiting in the basement.

This is the final look... for now. Nothing is ever really done in this house. I like change. But for now, I love the new dining space. I kept the same footprint as far as furniture placement. For now, the desk is staying here, so it made the most sense to keep the dining table against the wall. This saves space, and I like eating in a cozy corner against the windows. 

I put a hold on the banquette idea that I mentioned in the first post of this series. This is one of the original inspiration pics. I still love it and haven't abandoned it yet, but until I work out a realistic bench idea that works with the baseboard heat, and find a new home for my desk (I have an idea, but that room will soon be under construction), placing our table against the windows made the most sense.

This table is slightly larger than the old table and comfortably seats 5 in this layout. I can always pull it away from the wall for additional seating. I'm toying with the idea of getting a bench to store under the table at the window. This way I can easily pull the table forward to accommodate guests, but it also doesn't interfere with our everyday setup. 

I love that the table adds some color to that corner of the space. I've always felt that corner looked too washed out with the rest of the living/dining area. Even though it's a purple, it still reads as fairly neutral, so it's not competing with the mint desk or wall treatments and accents. 

Here's a refresher of where we started so you can see what I mean. 

The new look feels much more open and clean. It was too cluttered before and there was no real focal point. The table and chairs give your eye a place to rest before you notice the rest of the accents in the space. 

I removed the shelves at the back window to give us more room to breathe and it makes a huge difference. 

The other thing I did, which is a nice little trick to open up a space, is move the window panels to the outside of the window frames. I also removed the panels at the inside of the corner, which essentially frames the dining area. This way I'm visually creating a dining area and a work space in one room.

You'll remember from the last post that one of my main reasons for choosing Sherwin Williams Plum Brown was to balance the eggplant colored couch. I think we definitely made the right choice. Now it feels like one unified space. The accents of coral, lime, mint and neutral patterns are continued in both areas, which pulls everything together. 

The paint color actually varies quite a bit when the light changes. I love that it sometimes looks really purple in the sunlight...

but also can read pretty mauve brown in lower lighting. During the process of refinishing the table, I came across this article on my Instagram feed from House Beautiful about the Pinterest Home Colors of the Year. Apparently, I'm right on target.

The table color works nicely with the citrus and grey wall colors as well. Because they're all the same tonally, they create a harmonious mix. Had I gone with the other options that we considered, the table color would've definitely been most dominant.

Even looking at each color swatch on the chair pads, you can see how the Plum Brown recedes and the Grandview (green) and Sunset (orange) colors really dominate the image. 

I chose a high gloss finish on the enamel paint to bring out more of the plum color with the reflection of light. I also wanted an easy-to-clean surface that could hold up to my kids. 

Even though I used a paint suitable for outdoor use, I decided to add a few coats of clear polycrylic on top of the paint to keep the surface even more protected. Can't be too careful in the fight against flying cups and utensils! I put in a lot of work getting a smooth finish on the table, so it only made sense to protect it at all costs. 

The polycrylic is nice because it doesn't yellow or alter the color of the paint. Maybe a shade, according to the gentleman I spoke to at Home Depot, but I didn't notice a difference myself. I have a funny story about the polycrylic, which I'll talk about in my next post on painted furniture and things I learned while working on this project (i.e., what NOT to do).

Here is a shot of the dip-dyed chair legs. These are the chairs that came with our previous table. I wanted to incorporate them, but give them a fun update. I only applied this treatment to 1 chair. I have another to complete, but it's for additional seating so I'm not in any rush. 

I like the idea of mismatched, but coordinating, chairs. In general, I like things that work well together but aren't necessarily a matching set. That way things feel, or actually are, gathered over time and give a sense of history and uniqueness. 

With the table placed against the wall there is space to comfortably seat five. I decided to use 1 of the dip-dyed chairs, a pair of the original chairs with plain legs and a pair of the World Market Clarabella cafe chairs. I like the play of pattern and color with the chairs. There is a common theme with the browns and neutrals, and the plum accents on the dip-dyed chair play off the table. 

Here is a detail shot of the dip-dyed chair legs and the ball and claw feet on the pedestal. The ball and claw detail originally sold me on the table because they added some personality. Now the glossy Plum Brown tabletop offers the same interest with the use of color. The original black paint fell flat.

Yes, that is milk on the chair leg above. It has since been cleaned off. For those of you with little ones, you know what I mean when I say that milk ends up EVERYWHERE, and if you don't wipe it all off immediately it's harder than you'd think to clean off. That's mom life I guess...

These Clarabella cafe chairs are awesome. I absolutely love them. If you haven't checked out World Market, do so. They have great home accents, as well as furniture, at a nice price point and have some really great prints and colors. 

The accent pillows on my couch, most specifically the leopard print pillow, was the inspiration for choosing a brown and cream chair. I knew that the coral, teal, mint and lime accent colors would overpower the table color, so decided to forego them. When I saw the brown and cream chevron cafe chair, it was exactly what I was looking for... neutral with a strong print to give some pop to the dining area. 

I love the combination of plum and chocolate. It feels very rich and homey to me, and also references that vintage look that I'm drawn to. 

The house is really starting to look more like our family, which is a great feeling. I need my space to reflect me and the people I love. It really makes this house our home. 

Check back soon for tips on creating your own painted furniture pieces... 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

And the winner is...

I know you're all on the edge of your seats waiting to find out what color we chose to paint the table, so here goes...

My husband, Brian, cast his vote and lucky for him (ha!), he agreed with me. The boys were not thrilled and I heard, "I want an ORANGE table!!," literally every time we passed the table in the garage. Needless to say, I may have to use that Sunset orange somewhere in the house to make my little one happy. But I had my reasons for the Plum Brown beyond just the aesthetic...

First, the dining table is where the boys do all their projects, crafts, mixing for baking and general mess making. Our old table was covered with pen marks, marker and honestly, who knows what else. I'm sure there are dried up, multi-colored bits of Play-Doh in the seam where the leaf goes. So with the Plum Brown being a darker, more muted color, it would definitely hide the most mayhem.

Second, since our couch, which is in the opposite corner of the living/dining area, is an eggplant purple color, I liked the idea of having another dark purple on this end of the room to balance the space overall.

While I do love the Grandview (green) and Sunset (orange) colors and may keep them in mind for future projects, I felt that they both were too much saturated color for such a large coverage area (i.e., when the leaf is in the table) and for the look that I was going for.

 I was also keeping in mind the citrus colored accent wall, and the colorblock wall in the same citrus color and silver grey where my desk sits, so I wanted a color that could also read as a neutral.

I have a generally traditional aesthetic mixed with some more contemporary, clean-lined pieces and accents of color to make everything feel more current, but I also have a lot of sentimental touches that have a vintage feel.

The Plum Brown felt like the natural choice for that mix. So I bought an Interior/Exterior High Gloss enamel in the same color and got to work painting.

I chose the Indoor/Outdoor paint and the glossy finish in hopes that it would be the most resistant to anything my boys throw at it. I mean that literally. I applied a number of thin coats to get an even finish and to cover the old black spray paint.

You can see here the difference between the sample chip and the actual table is quite different due to the finish of the paint. The gloss reflects more light and reads more purple than the satin sample chip. Just something to keep in mind when selecting paint color and finish.

Here is the finished table with the leaf...

and without.

You can also see that the color varies when the light changes from a greyed out, brown purple to a mauve purple. I love to see how color changes based on lighting and in relation to surrounding colors. Can you tell that I loved Color Theory?

Anyway, at this point I was thinking about chairs. I was still in love with the bistro chairs I mentioned in the first post. They can be quite expensive. I did some searching and came across these Clarabella cafe chairs from World Market. They were perfect.

They come in a set of 2 and were on sale for 50% off (what?!). The brown, cream and grey combination (they also come in red if anyone is interested) was perfect with the Plum Brown I used on the table, and with the other brown and cream tones throughout the living and dining rooms. I also liked the chevron pattern paired with the dalmatian dot chair pads I DIY'ed not long ago.

I ordered a set and they came pretty quickly and were packaged to weather anything. Speaking of weathering, these are woven vinyl and can be wiped down easily which seemed like a natural match for my boys.


Here are the three pieces together. I love this combination so much!

After looking at the table and chairs together, I had an idea to bring a little more of the purple into the mix. I have been loving dip-dyed chair legs for some time. I keep seeing them everywhere and the idea has been on my to-do list for a while. I wanted to keep my old dining chairs because they still work with the scheme and because I didn't want to have to buy all new chairs. The idea of updating them to fit with this project was a no-brainer.

So I got to work taping each leg 5" from the base. Yes, I used masking tape. I was out of painter's tape and it was the middle of the night, so I went with it and it actually worked fine. Had this been a painted surface I would've waited until I had the painter's tape.

I hand sanded each leg and applied 3 coats of the Plum Brown to each leg.

I love the combination of purple and brown. It adds a little whimsy to a pretty basic chair.

Here is a late night garage pic of the table and chair together. It's a nice little unexpected pop of color.

Look for the final post in this dining table series coming soon to see the finished dining room...

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dining in Color

Spring is actually, finally (!!!), here! I've been in serious spring cleaning mode and I'm loving it. We've been weeding out things that we don't use and donating as much as we can. I'm a much happier girl when my house is organized and the clutter is kept at a minimum. I'd like to say that the clutter is gone, but with two little ones that's just not realistic, so I'll take what I can get.

Last time I mentioned some big projects in the works. One is still in the planning stages, another in progress and one completed. So things are getting accomplished and it's a good feeling. 

So what is this mystery project that is finally done? A new (to us) dining room table. I've been unhappy with the table we've had in the dining room for a while now. As a family of four with a small dining area, this table is not ideal for us. 

It's a nice, solid table but with the small dining area we have, that is also currently doubling as a work space for me, the rectangular shape isn't the best at space-saving or accommodating guests. This table actually has a self-contained leaf which is a nice feature, except that the table then becomes a massive square. In a room that is rectangular and has to serve multiple functions, it is just not the best use of our space.

In my head, I knew that I wanted a round pedestal table, ultimately one with a leaf so I have the option of seating a larger number of people. So in my inspiration gathering, I came across the two following photos on Instagram from a couple of accounts that I follow and loved them for a few different reasons.

I really love the idea of a banquette, which seems like a comfy spot for the kids (or me!) and looks like it'd be a space-saving solution for my rectangular room. It feels more cozy and I imagine spending lazy Sunday mornings here eating breakfast and lounging.

The other thing I love is the use of color and texture. I mentioned before that I'd be adding some more color to my space in mindful ways and this dining room project was the perfect opportunity to do just that.

I also have to say that I am completely obsessed with bistro chairs like the ones pictured above. There's something quaint, yet sophisticated about them. They remind me of an outdoor Parisian cafe and I can definitely get behind having that vibe in my home.

So I took to Craigslist and actually came upon this table fairly quickly. I fell in love with the ball and claw detail on the feet. This pedestal table was perfect for what I was looking for and also has a leaf. The price was right and, in true Craigslist style, of course I bargained them down a bit which made it even better.

So we all piled in the truck and brought this guy home. I wasn't feeling the black tabletop, but I do like the contrasting tabletop and pedestal. I like black furniture in general, but for me and this project, it just felt too obvious. I also wasn't crazy about the finish. Excuse the poor lighting in my garage, but here you can see the pattern created by the spray paint applied by the previous owners. 

So I got to work right away sanding the tabletop to prep for paint...

 with one of my little helpers. He was supervising... and posing for photos.

Luckily, my husband realized that furniture refinishing might become a hobby for me and bought us a Ridgid orbital sander which made the sanding process MUCH faster and easier. You can see here that the difference between hand and machine sanding is pretty great.

Now that the table was all sanded, it was time to select a paint color. This is my favorite part of any project. I have always loved color and get excited at the prospect of using color to create something that feels more personal.

You saw in the first few photos that my living/dining area is painted in a silvery, blue-grey (Sherwin Williams Samovar Silver) and a lemony, pear green (Benjamin Moore Beacon Hill Damask (note: this color reads differently in different types of lighting and against different colors)). In the living room, I have an eggplant-colored couch and accents of coral, teal, mint and neutrals.

Considering the other colors in the living area, I pulled 3 options for the table from my Sherwin Williams specifier kit; Plum Brown, Grandview and Sunset.

I knew which way I was leaning; the dark muted purple (Sherwin Plum Brown) seemed like a nice balance for my eggplant couch and worked well with the wall colors. I consulted with the boys who were split between the teal (Sherwin Grandview) and tangerine colors (Sherwin Sunset). So it was up to my husband for the tie-breaker. He's not afraid of color either so I honestly wasn't sure which he'd choose, though I was pretty sure the orange was out... 

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post to see which color we picked and the extra project I created to tie things together.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Gallery of Memories

I hope everyone had a nice Easter.  It was so nice to be out in the sunshine yesterday, especially on this dreary, rainy day.  Let's hope that spring is finally here!

Today I'm going to talk a little bit about gallery walls. I have a few different styles going on in my house right now, but this one is the most eclectic. I love that there are so many different styles of gallery walls, from eclectic/bohemian to traditional to modern/monochromatic, that you can create to bring some personality to your space and to keep special pieces displayed where they can be seen and enjoyed by everyone.

All these pieces are personal to my family. It's a mix of family heirlooms, pieces picked up on vacations and gifts that were given to us. If you compare them individually it may not seem that there is a common thread to tie them all together, but when you group them they work because there are similar colors and patterns throughout the space that create a balance.

For example, you can see a similar scroll pattern on the red frame and the boomerang. The pattern on the boomerang is definitely more primitive, but the shapes and warm tones reference each other.

I also wanted to create some interest by adding things to the wall that wouldn't always be considered art, like the boomerang and ukulele. Adding something unexpected and dimensional to your gallery wall is a nice way to make it more original and to showcase pieces that have personal meaning.

This needlepoint was a gift for my youngest son made by a relative so it has special meaning to us. It didn't quite have a place in the Minion bedroom anymore, but I wanted to give it a home where we'd see it. The colors work with the warm tones in the red frame and the boomerang, and are also nice juxtaposed with other items in the room, like the teal chair and accessories, grey nightstand and leopard rug.

I love having all of these things in a place where I see them everyday. Sometimes a souvenir or piece or art can take you back to a moment in time or just reminds you of a special person in your life. It's nice having those memories so accessible and in the front of your mind.

This wall serves to remind us of trips to Antigua, Australia, Ireland and Florida, and also represents some of our loved ones. A gallery wall is such a great way to pull mementos out of drawers and boxes to give them a prominent space in your home. It's also a project you can add to over time as you make new memories. I hope this inspires you to pull out those special things and give them a spot front and center in your home.

I have some big projects in the works, so stay tuned to see what I've been up to...

Happy Monday!