My Journey In Painting


I have had a lot of fun over the years doing furniture makeovers, trying new paint techniques and giving old furniture an updated look.

I love to paint because it allows me to experiment with faux techniques and it allows me to explore truly antique paint colors.  I also enjoy the challenge of turning something dated into something beautiful.

I make over furniture as a hobby, and I try to focus on classic upscale styles such as Chippendale dressers, French furniture, American styles which I usually make over with paint.

French furniture has become my choice of furniture because it has so much potential. You really cannot paint a classic chippendale dresser yellow or pink, but you can with a French dresser. The curvy lines of most French furniture pieces are just brimming potential.

There are three ways that French furniture pieces are typically redone….

1. Bright Colors and Patterns – Typically either solid colors or dramatic patterns such as the prints Jonathan Adler is famous for.

2. Faux woods and Marbles such as are found in the palace of Versailles, or Tuscan blacks.

3. Antique Swedish looks – High end white finishes.

So just how did I start painting?

I am Canadian, while my husband is American, so I wasn’t able to work full time when I first moved down to Virginia. We went through the extensive immigration process, which meant at first I couldn’t work right away after arriving in the United States.  It allowed me some time for small projects and makeovers.

But it wasn’t until the second year of our marriage when our apartment building went through a management change that things really opened up for me.  I ended up becoming manager of our apartment building. Actually, I managed two buildings, which allowed me plenty of opportunity to learn how to mix different paints, and do small DYI makeovers. It helped tremendously that the owner of the building was open to DIY changes. He was grateful for any improvement and allowed me great freedom in decorating the buildings.  I really took to painting and really took an interest in color theory. I have learned to love faux finishes and the possibilities they hold for creating period looks.

After the apartment buildings got sold, we moved on and I started painting furniture.  As we were in the process of moving, I needed to get rid of some furniture and I discovered the joy of selling things on craigslist.  I found that there were a lot of people out there interested in looking for nice quality furniture.

I decided to look for only furniture I loved myself. I focused on colonial and traditional furniture styles which were easy to find in Virginia. I learned that people really loved classic white and black finishes.  While some of my girlfriends painted colorful pieces, I learned that only certain types of furniture worked with certain colors.

Regency Barrel Chairs Cut Down And Turned Into Slipper Chairs

Regency Barrel Chairs Torn Apart and Re-Upholstered Into Slipper Chairs

As I got more into painting, our small 2 bedroom condo quickly became overcrowded with all my painted projects laying around. I felt so bad for my husband, but every business has to start off some way or another.

We constantly had wet painted furniture all over the condo, and there were times when it drove me kind of batty. I learned how to be a very neat painter, because often times I had carpet I had to keep a meticulous eye on.

My husband started blogging, which over the years turned out to be a full-time business. He left his job as an attorney, and we both moved towards making money online. Living in a 2 bedroom condo, with one bedroom holding all of our furniture, I painted furniture while he worked hard on our Internet adventure.

Today, we blog full time, and I don’t paint furniture anymore for re-sale, but still paint in my free time.  I really enjoy trying to master Swedish finishes. They intrigue me, and I am still experimenting with other finishes as well. I am still learning and growing, and I am hardly a master, but continue to learn along the way.

You can find more of my home here.

My French Provincial Dixie Union Flag Dresser Makeover

French Provincial Dressers are one of the most perfect designed dressers to paint abstract designs. They work so perfectly because painted furniture  was common on Antique Louis XV and XVI furniture, so the look transfers easily to french provincial pieces.

The Union Jack Flag has caught attention of the design crowd, and the geometrical flag has been featured in a number of interior design blogs and magazines and it has even made its way into fashion.

Upholstered furniture is the new trend with these geometrical flags, but can be very tricky because flags are often not sold by the yard or meter at your local fabric store.  Painting a piece of furniture on the other hand can be very easy with any flag pattern.

With my flag dresser, being that I was working with the Union Jack Flag, I painted my piece in white to begin with.  Then I taped the lines of flag, and once the paint was dried, I removed the tape, and added a brown glaze to antique the dresser.

(If I were to do it all over again, I would certainly use a flat paint instead of an oil based color.  The reason for this, is oil paint can be very thick, and working with tape, you want your paint to COVER in one coat (or 2), not making it so heavy that when you pull off your tape there is an obvious ridge where the paint built up against the tape.

Flat paint usually is the best to use when you are working with bright colors.  Learning from experience, it took me about 8 coats of semi gloss paint to paint a wall orange.  In the end, the walls were not perfectly finished because each layer of paint makes your walls imperfect.  You always want that sanded finish that fresh drywall provides.  The lesson I learned that I can pass on, is to make your first coat flat, and if you want a gloss, then paint it after your walls are covered with the flat paint.

So my recommendation after doing this flag dresser is to always sand first, and paint in flat paint for all your colors, and then go over the dresser with a WATER BASED polycrylic clear finish when you are completed. Never use oil based polyurethane on white.  In a year it will turn a ugly yellow, if not in a day.

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