Saturday, 23 April 2011

Beachy side table

I'm always a little envious when someone posts a picture of a piece of furniture which they picked up at a yard sale or a thrift store for a song.  We don't have either of these in the UK and there are very few bargains to be found at Antique markets.

I've been looking for some pieces of junk to do up in preparation for the Grand Designs Live show I'm speaking at on May 6th and yesterday luck was on my side.

I took my sister to a lovely interiors shop I discovered a few weeks ago and while we were there they asked us what we were doing for the rest of the day.  We told them we were looking for junk furniture and they told us about an antiques centre about 40 miles away where they had bought a lot of things to do up and use for display in their shop.  They gave us directions and off we drove up the Brecon Beacons (the highest mountain area in Wales).  It was a beautiful day and a lovely drive over mountains and hills and past a reservoir.

We both bought loads and came back with the car absolutely wedged full of things just dying for a makeover (much like myself!).
As we were leaving with the car already crammed full I decided to have one last look around the outside and a little table caught my eye. It was tucked away in a corner and long forgotten by the owner. The top was melamine and covered in rust from an old and ugly birdcage left to rust on top of it. However, the base was solid wood and very stable.
I really liked the size and shape and love the little curve of the piece of wood at the top of the legs just below the table top.
There was a price tag of £15 on it but I asked if they would accept £5 as we had bought so much. They phoned the owner and he couldn't even remember the table as it had been left outside for so long. He was glad to have £5 for it so we had to shift things around a little but managed to sqeeze it in.

Here are some photos of the poor abandoned table before her makeover.

The first thing I did was remove the melamine top.  The underside was wood but the rain had taken it's toll on it and I had other plans for the top so just kept the top to use as a template.
I did actually quite like the chippy paint on it but it was literally falling off in the breeze so it had to be stripped and sanded.  The paint came off really easily but underneath there was a thick coating of varnish which I spent ages sanding by hand but gave up and used an electric sander.  I then finished the sanding by hand. 

I mixed up some chalk paint to get a pale grey beachy colour.  I used about a quarter of Paris Grey to one part old white and then painted the whole thing.

I sanded it again and applied another coat of the grey paint but this time added a little more of the old white so that when I sanded it back both shades of grey would show through.

I then sanded a lot of the areas right back to expose a lot of the wood underneath and finished it all off with a coat of clear finishing wax.

My husband then clamped, glued and screwed 4 planks of 6" timber together and used the original top as a template and cut a circle.  I gave it one coat of old white and then sanded that back loads to show the knots in the wood and some of the grain.  I then applied an all over coat of dark oak wax and rubbed it right in.  My husband had to help me with the buffing as by now with all the sanding yesterday and today I have tennis elbow!  I'm such a lightweight!

After all that hard work here she is now....

I think she's a beauty!
One day I'm going to have a sun room and I now have my first piece of furniture for it.

Thank you all for your comments yesterday.  I've tried to respond but Seth's laptop isn't linked to my e-mail account and our computer only works for about 5 minutes at a time so today I've managed to send one e-mail so far.  Anyway, thank you all - I really appreciate every comment.

The weather in Wales is glorious - hope it is in your part of the world too.

Friday, 22 April 2011

A new look for an old cupboard

I have a busy couple of weeks ahead of me.

In a fortnight I will be a guest speaker at the Grand Designs Live Show in London.

I'm really scared as I have never done anything like this before and am worried I'm going to mess up!

I plan on speaking on blogging and the huge amount of talent and inspiration which is freely available in the world of blogging plus giving furniture a new lease of life with paint.

We have a cupboard in our dining room which we brought back from London with us almost 14 years ago.  When we moved here I decided to paint it green and used a paint specifically for furniture and mixed the colour myself.

I then sanded back areas which would have had a lot of wear and tear and applied a dark oak wax.

We plan on replacing this cupboard with a purpose built open shelving unit as I want to have our plates, dishes and glassware within easy reach.  Until then I decided to change the look of the cupboard a little.
I've been wanting to try Annie Sloan's chalk paint since I read about it on Miss Mustard Seed and Perfectly Imperfect so tried it out on this cupboard.

I painted the whole cupboard in old white.
This paint doesn't need any primer and dries really quickly.
I should have sanded it first though to remove the old wax as it showed through the first coat.

I sanded it back a lot and gave it a second coat, then I sanded parts right back to distress it a little.
Both the old green paint and the original wood were exposed.  I really like this effect.

I then applied  clear finishing wax to the whole cupboard and a dark jacobean oak shade of wax to the exposed areas.

Not so much a facelift, more a touch of botox for this tired old piece of furniture!

This cupboard will never win any beauty contests but is a very useful and practical place to house all my interiors books.

...And the dining room looks a little brighter now.


Monday, 4 April 2011

Spring Mantle

Over the weekend I had a bit of a purge on cleaning and organising and decided to freshen up my mantle for Spring.

My cast iron bunny has moved all around my house - he started life as a door stop in the kitchen and more recently has been stuck in a corner of my lounge just waiting for a new home.
He is really heavy so if he falls off the mantle piece I'm going to be needing a new slate hearth!

I've put most of my mercury glass away since Christmas but couldn't bear to part with it all so some of my favourite pieces have been left out.  I quite like the look of them with the twiggy pieces.

Some new white hyacinths.  I don't like the colour of the basket so plan on washing it with a little pale grey/white paint to see if it blends a little better.

A close up of my lovely bunny!

I'm still thinking about paintint the fire surround.  After reading Marianne from Miss Mustard Seed's post on Annie Sloane chalk paints I think I'm going to paint it (and the mirror) off white and heavily distress it.  As we have oak flooring the warmth of the pine on the fireplace is just too much for me.
I hope it works out :)

Some eye candy and a winner

I am caught up in a big wholesale order at the moment so have nothing exciting to share with you.

You can't do a post without a picture though so I'm going to let you all drool over this picture of my future second husband, John Cusack!  Lol - I hope my (first) husband doesn't read this!

The winner of my giveaway is Nellie from McCarthy Designs.

I actually did the random number generator twice as I couldn't work out how to save it and she came up both times so she was destined to have the sign.  And she is having a baby too!  It was destiny!