Apr 102015
 

I recently spruced up a rustic “stand up” or “standing desk”. 

The update was pretty basic and I am now wondering:

“Should I have been a bit bolder?”

Rustic-standing-desk

I love it but did I play it all too safe?

Rustic Stand-up Desk

I scored this fabulously unique desk on MaxSold, an online auction here in Toronto.  I realized when I went to pick it up, the ad had not included the dimensions because it is BIG and TALL.  It is 47″ wide, 30″ high at the front, 35′ high at the back and 26″ deep

It was also hunter green, with black accents and a maple leaf decal on the front.  The flip top had a leather insert in great condition but a little dull. 

I apologize for the quality of the before pictures, they were from the original posting.

rustic-standing-desk

A very unique design but needing some TLC.  Got to love the maple leaf!

The first thing I did was apply some MMS Hemp Oil to the leather top to soften it and bring out a deeper more uniform black.

I sanded the unpainted wood and applied a darker stain.  After prepping the painted areas by cleaning and lightly sanding, I basically painted it with a few coats of a soft black: SW ?????, Pro Enamel in Satin.

I love how it turned out!  I went with a basic black to match the black leather insert.  I considered distressing it but it was basically “distressed” when I got it.  I guess I really wanted to return it to its former glory!

rustic-standing-desk

Essentially a “spruced up” version of its former self

rustic-standing-desk

With the lid open, you can see how rustic it is with a planked bottom inside the cubby.
I painted over the green side walls with red and added the same colour to the sides of the drawers.         

Question:  What was the purpose of this desk?

If any of you are familiar with stlye of desk, I would love to hear from you!  I did a bit of research and it could have been used by a teacher or a clergyman.  Now, I see it being used in someone’s foyer or in a restaurant at the hostess desk!

Question:  What wood is the top made out of?

I think the top is a type of pine but I am not sure.  What I did notice is the number of rings around the knots which makes me believe the top was made from very mature wood.

Question:  Was I too timid with this re-furbish?

Ah, there are so many options when it comes to up-cycling furniture.  Should I have found some funky new insert for the top instead of leather?  Should the paint be chippy or distressed in one of those “stylish” new colours? 

I don’t know but sometimes, I think unique pieces should perhaps have another few years of their original glory.

BEFORE

rustic-standing-desk

Hunter Green and the Maple Leaf just had to go!

AFTER

rustic-standing-desk

Simple restoration: was it enough?

 

BTW: the desk is for sale if you live in the Toronto area! 

Contact me if you are interested.  Price $200

I am very much looking forward
to your comments and input.

 

Do you think it is “Nicer Than New”
or should I have been bolder?

 

 

Joan

Mar 302015
 

In my very first post on this blog nearly 2 years ago, I shared my dining room update.  I had become tired of the “granny” look of dark wood Duncan Fyfe style and was hoping to replace the look with something more fresh and contemporary.  However, when I tried to sell the set together or individual pieces, I was offered very little.  We were also installing dark hardwood so the dark wood had to go.

Looking at that very first post, I am a bit embarassed at the layout and photos etc.  But what it does tell me is just how much I have learned and grown in these many months.  

In that first post, the dining room was still a work in progress,.  So today, I would like to share the dining room in its now more finished state.

Before:  Dark and Granny-like

dining room update granny fresh paint furniture

I couldn’t sell the pieces for much so why not paint!

 

After:  Bright and Fresh

dining room update granny fresh paint furniture

How it looks from the doorway

I just love the fresh look.  I was worried it might be a bit feminine for my husband but he loves it too.

Note:  This post contains NO affiliated links.  Just the facts.

I love turquoise.  In the original post, the buffet and china cabinet were painted BM Buxton Blue but once they were in the room, we felt there was not enough contrast with the walls so I added one more coat of a darker BM Province Blue.  Sadly, I don’t remember the grey colour’s name.

I not only painted the furniture, I also painted the shiny brass fixtures with Antique Brass from Rustoleum and the valance over the drapes.

All the fabric for drapes and upholstery,  was purchased at Tonic Living, a Toronto based online fabric store.  I made the drapes and had someone upholster the chairs but since then, I have learned a bit more about upholstering and would most likely do it myself.

I picked up the two chairs with the knot fabric on Kijiji for $15 each.  Not bad!

The Eiffel Tower poster started out as a photo I took on our visit in 2011.  I saw a very expensive print on Etsy or somewhere and I decided to try doing something myself.  I uploaded my photo to Photoshop Elements, added a layer with words describing the history of the tower, a layer or two of textures and then just played with it.  I think it is fantastic in this room!

The Roman Numeral clock was in our family room and was purchased at Homesense, the Canadian version of the US Home Goods.

IMG_5277

I love my apple green bird! He brightens up any room

We received the 3 prints over the buffet as a wedding gift.  They all depict skiing scenes and were so appropriate for us because we met in a ski club!  We still love them after nearly 28 years!  They were in the living room but look so great in here.

IMG_5270

The bar cart with crystal and tulips

I still haven’t painted the bar cart I picked up at an estate auction.  I shared it with you in this post where I asked for colour advise.  It is still too cold here in Toronto to do spray painting outside.  But when I do finish it I will be sure to share.

IMG_5289

The china cabinet and my wood “runner”

Originally I thought I wanted to get rid of the china cabinet because I had a mini buffet and mirror on this angled wall.  But once I saw how these pieces looked painted, I knew I wanted to keep it.   The mini buffet and mirror were perfect in the foyer!  See it’s transformation here.

We love the white table because we no longer feel the need to protect the wood with a table clothe.  But we still need to protect it from hot dishes.  One day, I stumbled over an unfinished pine shelf board and decided to stain it with my favourite walnut stain and plop it on the table.  We love it as it ties into the hardwood floors the knotted fabric and it withstands hot plates!

I picked up those cute lotus flower candle holders at one of my rare trips to Target.

IMG_5268

I love the large art piece on the right!

We have a very large family room with a full sized snooker table and I had purchased the large art piece above for that space.  I was looking for something to fill this wall when I had a brilliant moment and brought this huge piece from the family room to this room and was so pleased with how it looked.  To fill the wall again in the family room, I created a “Carry On” poster you can see here.

The other change we made which made a BIG impact is we removed the french doors to the room.  They were awkward and hit the cabinet.  When complaining to my neighbour she looked at me and said “Why don’t you remove them”.  Like why in tarnation did I not think of that.  It was brilliant.  Not only can you see the loveliness of the room, we actually go in there more!

IMG_5283

A colourful vignette lovely dried hydrangeas, citrus and my favourite apple green bird!

IMG_5262

My sweet Chester

My Labradoodle doesn’t photo-bomb, he just hangs out.  But this picture is not just about him, it really shows the lovely detail of the legs in this set.  Personally I think it really makes them pop, much better than natural wood.

Pinnable copy

What a change!

 I am so happy I couldn’t sell these pieces! I L-O-V-E this room.  And I saved us a ton of money!  I also like the fact I was able to “shop my home” for items to decorate in here.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this transformation.
I would love to hear what you think.
Have you ever been this daring?

For me, it is all so much
Nicer Than New!

 

 

Joan

Oct 272014
 

Last week, I shared the Vintage Secretary Desk I completed for a client.  I love the way it turned out with the grey paint and the contrasting walnut stained top.  It looked so fresh.

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk

Updated Vintage Secretary Desk Before and After

This desk also came to me with a chair.  A very dark chair with gold velour upholstery.  I love the shape of it and the lovely caned back but it too needed an update.

Chair

Desk and Chair

I primed and painted the chair the same SW West Highland White I used for the cubbyholes on the desk.  Then I covered the chair is a lovely peacock fabric, picking up the grey of the desk.

reupholster desk chair

A lighter, fresher look.

Steps to reupholster a basic chair:

Re-upholstering a chair like this is relatively simple.  I considered doing a tutorial but there are a plethora of similar tutorials out in Blogland so I will just give you the key points. (NO affiliate links)

  • Unscrew the seat from the base
  • Remove the existing cover and foam by removing all the staples. 
  • Using the wood seat base as a guide, cut 3 or 4 inch foam at least one inch bigger all around.
    • This excess with ensure you cover the wood edges when you add the new fabric.
    • I have a basic electric knife I use specifically to cut foam
  • Using the wood seat base with the foam on top of it as a guide to cut the fabric.  Be sure to make it large enough to wrap both and be able to staple underneath,
  • Optional:  Add a layer of quitting batting over the foam / under the fabric.
  • Center the fabric over the seat and begin to staple.
    • I like to begin with a few staples on one side then go to the opposite side and pull tight and staple a few there. And continue until you are finished.
    • I have used a regular wood staple gun but often they are not powerful enough.  I purchased a stronger stapler requiring a compressor and it makes all the difference.  I am fortunate to have a neighbour with a compressor who lets me “store” it for him.

The upholstering part of the chair took about an hour. The basic tools I used really help, especially the pneumatic stapler.

Reupholster desk chair

Basic Upholstery Tools ~ source ~ source ~ source ~ source ~      

Here is how the desk and chair look now. 

What a transformation! 

I just love these pieces and kind of wish I could have kept them 😉

 

reupholster desk chair

Vintage Secretary Desk and Chair before and After

What do you think?

Have you upholstered a basic chair? 

How did it go?

I have a few bigger and more complex pieces I want to try and upholster soon.  Stay tuned.

Be sure to follow me by email or Bloglovin to keep up to date.

Joan

Oct 232014
 

I swear, I have the original Rival Crockpot from the 1970s.  I think I got it for Christmas when I was in college and living on my own.  At that time, crockpots and slow-cooking was all the rage.  Just for fun, I googled “1970 Rival Crockpot” and lo and behold, my crockpot is now “Vintage” on e-bay and the sellers are asking a pretty penny for them.

vintage crockpot

$80 on e-bay!!

However, my “vintage” crockpot  has a special feature.  Last year, one of the legs cracked and broke.  No problem at our house, I used a wine cork to fix it!

IMG_3209

Put a cork on it!

Why am I posting about my old crockpot?  Well, it seems when the cooler temperatures hit, everyone who has one, pulls out their crockpots / slow-cookers and makes yummy, homey, comfort food recipes.  I am no exception.

A few years ago, I decided to buy a new slow-cooker with a removable crock.  It is still the Rival brand and it looks nice and washes easier but to be honest… I don’t like it!

IMG_3198

Same brand — newer model (by like 25 years or more!)

Why?  My issue is the low setting on my newer model  is too hot.  For example, in my “vintage” model, I can set a stew on low and cook for 8 hours and it is wonderful.  In the new version, on low, the stew is done in about 4-5 hours.  Not great for 9 to 5 workers. 

But, on the other hand, for a  pot luck dinner, I love the newer model with the removable crock.  The vintage model is deeper and not conducive to serving at an event … but it is superior in the way it cooks!

So what exactly is my message….

If you find a “Vintage avocado 70s Rival Slow-cooker” at a  decent price….
GRAB IT!
 

It is so worth the hassle of carefully washing!

 

Are you a Crock-pot / Slow-Cooker enthusiast?
 

Are you happy with your model?

 

I just love comments and would love to hear about your
Crock-Pot adventures!

 

Joan

Oct 202014
 

I have realized have not posted the finished vintage secretary desk my client wanted  updated with paint a few months ago. 

She initially told me I could to do whatever I wanted to it!  ” I trust you!”  Yikes! 

Many of you reading this might think this would be fun and a time to be super creative and step out of the box but I didn’t feel that way.  Then when it was dropped off, I saw it was a super cute and unique piece and had to double check if she really wanted me to paint it.

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

Super cute desk with windows and cubbies.

This vintage desk was in excellent shape and the top had cubbyholes  covered with cute little doors with windows.  I loved the hardware too.

Updated Vintage Secretary desk details

Such a unique desk

Being a chicken and not wanting to go mad with this piece, I used Photoshop, to create some crude mock ups of various colours. Here is the post.  In the end, she chose grey but a paler shade.  Whew …  knowing the colour was a relief. 

Updated Vintage Secretary desk mock up

Photoshop mock up in Grey

She also said she did not want a distressed look.  With all the detail on the piece I would have been inclined to go that route.

I used my favourite go to paint Sherwin Williams Pro Classic.  (NO affiliation)  I selected Essential Grey which is supposed to be similar to one of the Annie Sloan colours

I wanted to leave the top wood with a dark stain.  I like the look of wood and paint together.  I had planned on using a stain and poly combo to do the top so I proceeded to paint the body of the desk first.  WRONG!  When I started on the top, I realized my plan was flawed and I really needed to strip it down.  The top being veneer meant I did not want to do too much sanding. 

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

My plan to do the top last was not a good idea. LIVE AND LEARN.

Stripping the top was a bit problematic as some of the solution got on the paint and … well you know.  I had to do some repairs to the paint.  SO ANNOYING but totally my fault.  After the top was stripped of its original finish, a nice grain was was revealed.

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

Stripping the top revealed a nice grain.

I cleaned up the hardware and used a COPPER coloured spray paint.  Something a little different but it tied into the final stained colour of the top.

Although I loved the dark wood, the final updated version is so much more fresh and bright.

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

Fresh and bright

I love the copper coloured hardware and the walnut stained top.  Even without distressing or glazing, the details still pop.

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

Copper coloured hardware ties into the walnut stained top.

To keep it bright, I painted the cubbyholes a creamy white.  With the white interior, you can now see the pattern on the glass doors.

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

I love the patterned glass on the doors.

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

So much brighter

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

Before

Updated Vintage Secretary desk

After

 

 

In the end, I think both the client and I are happy we collaborated on this.  You see, I was considering  painting it RED or ROYAL BLUE with a dark glaze and some distressing.  Regardless, I LOVE this final outcome.

Stay tuned to see how I transformed the chair the client uses with this desk!

Has a client ever given you a blank canvas and told you to go to town on a piece?

Did you?

Were they happy? 

I would love to hear from you.
Comments make my day!


Joan

Jul 112014
 

Ombre NEVER seems to lose its appeal.  We see it in everything!  I would like to share some ombre inspirations I have stumbled across…

Ombre collection copy

I recently posted a picture of my daughter in her senior prom dress.  Interestingly, it was in an ombre style.  There were a few ombre dresses at this prom and I think the style really set them apart from the “everyday” prom dress … if there can even be such a thing!

Senior Prom - OMBRE

Regardless, the dress was stunning and let’s face it, not everyone can wear GREEN and get away with it!  I certainly cannot!

This dress has inspired me to perhaps paint one of the dressers I have in the queue using  an ombre technique.  I went to Pinterest for some inspiration and I thought I would share my finds with you.

 OMBRE  IS EVERYWHERE

  • FOOD
  • BUILDINGS AND DECOR
  • FASHION
  • AND OF COURSE FURNITURE

FOOD

I have to admit, Green and Blue cake do not really appeal to me but these cakes are GORGEOUS!

BUILDINGS AND DECOR

 

FASHION

Hair, nails, fabric, shoes…

 

FURNITURE

Dressers in particular lend themselves to being painted using an ombre technique, due to the fact the drawers can each be a specific colour. 

I love the dresser on the left with shades of green on the top and shades of turquoise on the lower drawers.

The dresser on the right is very unique and shows us that all ombre treatments need to be done with paint.  Brilliant!

two shade ombre

Source

52555e14dbfa3f0dd40005df._w.406_h.540_s.fit_

Source

 

I hope you enjoyed this round up of Ombre Inspiration.  I’m not sure what shades I will choose for the dresser in my garage.  Stay tuned.

Have you ever finished a piece or wall or whatever using the ombre technique?
If you did, what colours did you use?

Love to here from you!  Comments make my day!

Joan

May 032014
 

Have you ever had a client who knew they wanted a piece painted but was just not sure of the colour?  Read on and find out how you can use a photo editor to help them….

For decades, I have dabbled in Photography. Back in the day, I even took a course on developing my own black and white film. Sadly at the time, I was in an apartment and did not really have room for a little lab. Other than that, most of what I know is self taught. You see, I am the kind of person who, when they take up an interest, gets every book I can get my hands on. This is true about PhotoShop Elements too.

As I have previously revealed, my daughter danced competitively from an early age. Competitive dance is darn pricey so when the studio photos came back looking crappy, and you had to pay in advance before you saw them, I decided it was time to do my own thing. Besides, I preferred the “live” shots we could get from the photographers at the dance competitions. Often, several moms would approach them and strike a deal, combining many entries for a lower price. With these digital photos, I would work my “magic” in Photoshop Elements. It was a labour of love because I not only loved the dancers, I loved playing and learning new techniques. As time went on, I learned more and more while Photoshop Elements improved with each version, making it easier.

I must admit my early work was a bit simple but the studio photographer was doing what I was doing and charging a small fortune. Fast forward a couple years and soon, my stuff was pretty nice and unique. Soon parents wanted me to work on their photos. And I did. But I knew I would not want to do it as a long term business, knowing we would leave the dance world in a few years. My daughter and I even dabbled in dance performance photography. She was very good because she can anticipate the moves. For example, she would know when a jump might be happening and catch it perfectly. However we both knew our love dance did not entail photographing dancers for hours on end.

Regardless, we and many of the other dance families now have amazing photos of our dancers. Here are a couple examples…

I did this one for a dance mom and daughter.  I took 4 live performance photos from a contemporary dance number (taken by the competition photographer) and created a collage with a new background.  The bottom photo lets the real floor show through, thereby not losing the lighting and shadows.

room with three frames

One of my favourites “creations” is when I  extracted my daughter from a ballet group.  Once extracted, the resolution was poor so I used a variety of techniques to make it look like a painting. I then had it printed on a  large canvas.  It is not only beautiful, it could become an heirloom (if such things still exist!)

The first photo is the live stage shot we purchased.  My daughter loved her perfect arabesque. (Note our studio was not strong in ballet so ignore the rest!)

ballet group

Group shot

 This is want I did with it.  It may not be evident but in reality, it looks like a painting.
Definitely my favourite Photoshop project!

ballet painting

Extracted and stylized as a painting

Okay, so brag time is over.  What does all this have to do with “ENVISIONING” and painting furniture??

Well, for me, it is a snap to help a client decide on a colour.  I simply upload a picture into Photoshop Elements and “colourize” the piece.

This was certainly true with a desk a client dropped off.  When I saw it, I fell in love with it.  It is very unique and I asked if she was sure she wanted to paint it.  (There will be paint haters out there who will be upset with us… but I DID ask!)  She just wants a brighter look in the room…

Here is the gorgeous piece before:

andrea before

Is this not the cutest desk?? Inside the doors are cubbies!

She had some colour ideas but could not decide.  So being a diplomatic person, I decided to help her. 

  1. I uploaded the file in Photoshop Elements
  2. Using the Quick Selection tool, I selected the desk and de-selected the windows in the doors and the desk top which will remain wood.
  3. I added a layer, reduced the opacity to 70% or so and then filled the selection with colour.

I sent her the following renditions based on her ideas:

blue

Blue

fushia

Fushia

grey

Grey

red

Red

As you can see it is very crude but it only took me 10 minutes!  She loved that she could visualize how it would look after. 

Which one do you like? 
There is a chair and its upholstery in the equation too.

Have you used a photo editor to help you or you client visualize? 

Leave me a comment and tell me about it.  I LOVE COMMENTS!!

Stay tuned and come back to see the result!

Joan

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