Tiddler and Fox News
Vintage Piece of Furniture
I'm currently house-hunting and have already seen about 15 houses, none of which have made me feel at home - yet!
It's always the same, you know as soon as you walk through the front door that you've found the one.
But I'm happy to keep looking and of course, I'm happily thinking about all the decorating I'll be doing and new furniture I'm hoping to find. It will all come from a flea market or auction of course!
I don't think I will be able to find the stunning character cottage that I'm looking for just yet - budget won't stretch to that for now but I'm hoping to find a house that still has a soul and that will look ok full of rustic pieces and all the second hand and vintage stuff that I'm amassing.
And I'm hoping for a kitchen that will allow me to go the whole hog in terms of cottage/rustic style. I currently rent so my interior design aspirations have been somewhat curtailed for the past few years but watch out new house wherever you are, you will be getting the full treatment!
Over the past few years I've completely fallen in love with rustic and vintage style and the kitchen will likely be the first area to be changed. Naturally I've been filling my Pinterest account with kitchen ideas first and finding other images of things I love, like this dresser.
Not just the colour (which is stunning isn't it?!) but the idea of the open shelving to display china and vintage pieces and the traditional cottage look too. I know I'd be happy with something like this in my home.
I love open shelving, the idea of being able to see easily where everything is and not having to delve into cupboards all the time.
My current kitchen is a bit cramped in terms of storage so I'm looking forward to having something like this:
Plus all that lovely vintage ironstone too of course....
I've got my eye on a large cupboard I've spotted (I'm not telling where!) but it would give me the option to do something like this:
Which is just stunning, plus it's practical, plus it would make me super organised. For once.
I'm feeling drawn to a romantic looking kitchen if I can get it but as I said, that may have to wait for a while but something like this would make me very happy!
Not sure I can afford the French Chateau just yet but I can dream.
A more achievable aim would be a cosy corner for dining, something along the lines of this pretty kitchen diner:
Good lighting, comfy seating, a great practical eating area, what do you think?
Next up, the living room!
Tell me what you think of these ideas and how you've achieved the vintage look in your own kitchen.
Until next time x
I thought I would share a few simple tips to make sure your furniture painting project is as good as possible first time. I've had a bit of trial and error over the past couple of years that I've been painting furniture and each one was a chance to learn how to get the best distressing results depending on the finish I was after, so here goes:
1. Always clean the piece before you start. I use sugar soap for this, applied neat on a sponge and then I wipe down the piece of furniture throughly to remove all the grease, dirt and dust that gathers on vintage furniture - you'll be amazed at what comes off! This gives the best surface for paint to adhere to ensuring you get a good finish when painted.
2. Use good quality brushes. I invested quite a bit in the best brushes you can buy for applying chalk paint and it paid off. I get a good finish first time and it makes the painting process quicker and easier and therefore much more fun!
3. Let paint dry in room temperature. This way it won't dry too quickly or too slowly and the finish will be much more even.
4. Depending on the type of distressed look you are after, there are various 'tools' you can use:
Sandpaper block - easier to handle than a sheet of sandpaper, this is a good way to take off large areas of paint on say, edges, excellent for achieving that shabby chic look.
Wire wool - excellent for achieving a subtle and very naturally 'aged' look on furniture or as its also known, that chippy look.
A wire brush - I read about this somewhere recently (sorry, I can't remember where!) but thought it a brilliant idea for achieving a naturally aged look too.
A wet rag - I use this technique to take off chalk paint on ornate picture frames, such as the two shown below, or anywhere where you want to expose large areas of colour underneath. Don't wait for paint to dry for too long, it's best to use this technique when paint is only just dry, otherwise it's much harder to remove.
As with all these, start with gentle pressure and built up areas of distressing to achieve the look you are after. Taken off too much? Just re-paint and start again.
5. Finish your piece with a coat of wax. Depending on the finish you are after, use clear wax to bring out the colour of the exposed wood or base colour or coloured wax to really bring out the details on a piece.
I hope these tips are useful, let me know if you can add any more to my list in the comments!
Until next time x
10 Best Paint Colours for Painted Furniture
I know what colours I love when it comes to painting a piece of furniture, usually it's a neutral of some sort but I have experimented in the past with all sorts of colours, plus I've done commissions for others that have been brighter in hue that I would normally opt for! Yes I'm talking about you, grey and orange table for my nephews Star Wars themed play room!
As I mentioned in my last blog post (Why I love painted furniture - and you should too! - read that here) I find that furniture 'speaks' to me about what colours or finishes to use, but am I alone in this? I find it fascinating what colours do get used and the bravery of some up-cyclers when I'm immersed in Pinterest looking for inspiration.
So, I thought it would be fun to do a round up of what I think are the 10 best colours for painted furniture.
1. White. Well, I would say this, as most of my pieces are in shades of white, but lets face it, white and all it's variations just goes with EVERYTHING! You can't go wrong and it never dates or goes out of fashion.
2. Cream. Ditto to the above, cream is a classic shade to paint a piece of vintage furniture as the shapes just seem to lend themselves to this warmer tone.
3. Taupe. Ok, this is a generic term for pretty much any colour that you can't really describe! Greige, mushroom, French linen, cotton, white pepper, buff, beige, I could go on but you get the idea. Goes with all interior styles not just retro or vintage.
4. Grey. Anyone who knows me is well aware that I LOVE grey. Clothes, paint colours, soft furnishings etc, I'm happy with grey. Again, its a timeless colour and fits in well with most interior schemes, be it contemporary or vintage.
5. Black. I've found that my version of black (Autentico Nearly Black) has been very popular and with a few embellishments, it proves itself time and again, to be a very versatile colour. Again, it can fit beautifully into a modern scheme or look just as at home in a traditional room, with a hint of the oriental about it.
6. Blue. I love the darker shades of blue as well as the paler ones. The darker the colour, the more dramatic the piece of furniture can look, and with the right waxes and finishes, a simple piece can be transformed into something quite spectacular, such as this fab chest of drawers by The Olde French Door.
7. Teal. Again, I've painted a few pieces in my own mix of teal and it definitely had its moment. A lovely shade for bedrooms and bathrooms and for spring and summer decorating. I love this chest of drawers by Obee Designs.
8. Red. Has to be my second favourite colour (all my kitchen accessories are red, there is red in the bathroom.....) and just like dark blue paint colours, red can be a dramatic accent colour or used to make a piece really make a statement. Great use of a dark red by The Splattered Smock on this lovely dresser.
9. Green. Soooo many shades of green to choose from! Dark = dramatic, pale = soft and multifunction, emerald = fun. Depending on what shade of green you choose, a piece of furniture painted like this will certainly be memorable, like this soft green dresser by orphanswithmakeup.com.
10. Pink. Classic for girls bedrooms, feminine room schemes, excellent for lovers of shabby chic style bedrooms and bathrooms and popular for country cottage style too. Again, a myriad of shades to choose from. Go for dramatic dark pinks to make a statement or soft and almost neutral pale pinks to fit in anywhere, this is a fun and popular shade to go for.
So I hope that has given you some inspiration to try something that you normally wouldn't have thought about, I know that I'm now eyeing up a few pieces with different ideas!
What's your favourite paint choice? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time x
Ten years ago, if anyone had told me that I would be trying to make a living from hand painted furniture, vintage style homewares and brocante objects, I definitely would have looked at them as if they were insane. But life changes, stuff happens, people leave, cats arrive and you fall out of love with your traditional career. And then your hobby becomes your career and life changes again and you find yourself converting your bedroom into an office come store-room, come space for creating and painting.
I have the best view from my desk, sheep in a paddock with the hills in the distance and Somerset has to be one of the best places to live and at last I'm settled and at home and with my love of vintage furniture, hand painted of course, I know where I am and where I'm going.
Not that a love of vintage and hand painted furniture is a new thing but its certainly increasingly popular and every time I go to a flea market or brocante, the crowds get ever bigger and the markets more exciting with more and more unusual and unique finds.
And that, for me is the pull. Each piece of vintage furniture or home accessory that I paint is unique, you won't find anything else like it, anywhere. It also feeds my desire to be greener and more eco friendly, by re-using and repurposing. In the past I was just as guilty as the next person in that I've been too quick to throw stuff out that still had plenty of life in it and just needed an update or should have been donated to charity or sold at a car boot and found a new home. Years later, I'm now at ninja-level charity donating and car booting!
Once I've found a piece of furniture, I usually find that each one will 'talk' to me about how to upcycle it, what paint colours to use - or even to leave it as it is. The piece dictates the colours and finish and will therefore be unlike anything I will have done before - or that anyone else has done. Which I love; there are so many options to choose from depending on what you like.
I don't necessarily go with interiors trends (but sometimes I do take a little inspiration!) but neutral colours such as cream, grey, black, taupe and white all fit into pretty much any room scheme, be it contemporary or shabby chic and will never go out of style.
Each piece will have its own character and history too and then as an owner of vintage furniture you become part of its history. If you paint or up-cycle it, it gives it even more personality and it becomes something new all over again, fitting into any room with ease as you have given it a new lease of life.
Whether its rustic style, a glossy finish, country cottage, or a bright colour you paint your furniture, you can make it anything you want it to be. What's not to love?!
My latest vintage up-cycle plus a few painting tips. I thought this week that I would share my latest up-cycled piece of furniture with you rather than yet more of my ramblings, so here it is, a lovely chest of drawers. They will be for sale on the website this week!
I bought these at auction a while ago and it took me ages to get round to painting them. Sometimes I find that it takes me some time to decide what I'm going to do with a vintage piece, they tend to 'speak' to you and they demand to be painted a certain colour or have a certain finish. Sounds strange but it's true!
So for this piece, I was really happy with the condition of the top but did a really good sanding to take off the old varnish and a few stains that were present. I use a handheld sander which is actually a multi tool and I bought the sander attachment. It's the Black & Decker MultiEvo and is a great weight for me and extremely easy to use. The sanding attachment cost about £27 online.
Once the top was sanded I wiped it down and then did a light sanding over the rest of the piece. I use wire wool for this as I find it doesn't leave the marks that sandpaper can - plus I am a bit ham-fisted so I can achieve a much better finish this way.
Again, a good wipe down and a really good brushing to remove all the fluffy dust and dirt both inside and out and it was ready to go!
Good tip - I used a painters masking tape (Frog Tape) to mask off around the edges of the piece and also once the drawers were out, I masked inside too to get a really clean edge. There is no 'bleed' through on edges, they come out nice and crisp!
The chest took two coats of Autentico Paris White Vintage Chalkpaint, which is a creamy white colour. It was a warm day and I found that the second coat was drying really quickly so I had to work extra fast to get the finish I wanted.
Good tip - Between coats, wrap your brushes in cling film to stop them drying out and means you don't have to keep washing brushes, just leave until you are completely finished. I do the same with my wax brushes and never bother to wash them at all, just wrap well in cling film.
Once that was dry (I also painted the handles the same colour), I did a good coat of Autentico Clear Furniture Wax. Once this had gone off, which was about half an hour later, I was able to buff it to a nice shine. Just use an old rag for this.
Good tip - Using a damp rag, I rubbed the paint off the handles where there was a nice pattern and I wanted the copper finish to show through. You can use this technique on raised picture frames to show off gilding underneath a painted finish. Very simple but effective.
Once that was done I removed the Frog Tape from around the top and gave the sanded top a coat of Polyvine Wax Finish Dead Flat Finish Varnish. It's a really easy to use varnish that you can 'feather' in so there are no brush marks and it gives the top a lovely soft 'waxed' look, just right for a vintage piece of furniture.
I must apologise now for the distinct lack of 'before' photos! I am very impatient and once I've decided to paint something I can't wait to get going and taking photos simply goes out the window! I must try harder....
However...here is my next project to be painted! See, I do try...more on that one to follow. Let me know what colour you think this one wants to be painted, I'm thinking a darker colour this time, what do you think?
Last friday was National Upcycling Day which is obviously very apt for what I do on a day to day basis but it's always good to have a reminder of what exactly that means. Of course it means that myself along with thousands around the world love to take an object or piece of furniture and up cycle it, turn it into something completely different, repurpose, paint, decoupage and generally have fun turning something unloved into something beautiful again, be it vintage or modern furniture, clothing and so on.
This is nothing new, the trend for up cycled and shabby chic has been going strong for quite some time now and certainly looks to stay. Which is great. There is far too much emphasis on mass produced items, and that 'throw away' culture that seemed to epitomise most of the last 20 years or more. I'm just as guilty as the next person, but as I get older, I reuse and repurpose more and more.
My grandparents would be horrified at what gets thrown away, mobile phones and other electronics being the worst but not just that, furniture too, getting dumped or thrown away just because we want a different 'look' or interiors style. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I see some amazing pieces at auctions and each time I go, there seems to be more and more people attending. Lots of traders of course but not just that. It's a double edged sword for me, it means more competition for the nice things (!) but does mean that more people see the worth in older and vintage furniture and want it to be loved again. Good for businesses like mine then!
It's also great to see there are lots of lovely businesses now specialising in up cycled, vintage and shabby chic furniture and home wares and companies that sell chalk paint are flourishing as the trend for hand made and home made gets stronger.
I love that creative process of taking something dark wood or a bit tatty and seeing it transformed into something still shabby but a lot more chic! I'm not necessarily a fan of the term shabby chic but it gets the message across!
A recent project of picture frames, bought at auction and transformed:
This has also got me to thinking about other parts of our lives and how we can not just make the best of it, but create more from what we have; more joy, more creativity, more freedom and more friendships, all from what we have already.
Taking what you already have in your life, be it time, people, a job, and making it better and more satisfying. Can we apply the techniques of enhancing a piece of furniture into techniques to enhance our lives as well?
I know it's not quite as straightforward as picking up a paint brush and applying some paint to something but can we be a little more grateful for what we have, which allows us to see what we have in a different light?
I practice gratefulness each and every day and find it helps me to see things more positively, even if it's something as simple as being grateful for my cats. Having them means that I never come home to an empty house and they make me feel needed. Not bad outcomes for just taking the time to think about and be grateful for my two fluffy housemates!
If we start to see the positives in our lives rather than focusing on what we don't have, then we can all be a little bit happier.
So this is not just about buying the latest fashionable thing or doing what others are, it's about appreciation and finding joy in the small things in life. If you are creative, make the most of that and find ways to express it, turn those old curtains into cushions for the spare bed, sew new buttons (preferably my Liberty fabric covered ones!) onto a jacket that you are bored of, paint a plant pot so it looks great in your yellow bathroom, whatever it may be, you may find a lot more joy and satisfaction in creating something from nothing.
Let me know what you get up to and enjoy the process!