Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Painted ladies

I have four of these old wicker-backed chairs.
Three armless and one with arms.
I found them, abandoned alongside a Seattle street almost 2 years ago.
I passed them up on my way to work but came back for them during lunchtime.
They were still there so I stopped, swooped them up into my pickup and drove them home before returning to work.

My then-boyfriend rolled his eyes when he got home.
He'd seen them that morning too, on his way to work and had a funny feeling that I would be the one picking them up! haha

I kept them in storage until last summer when he showed me how to take them apart and hammer, screw and glue them back together so they no longer wobbled.
I removed the old, stained burgundy fabric seats and tossed them away.

A few weeks ago when I took a day off to paint the inside of my new front door, I set 2 of them up on a work table outside and KILZ spray primed the wicker, then brush primed the rest of the frame and later base coated them with Waverley's Cottage Linen White.

Last night I decided to cover the seats with this fabric I had on a bolt, from an online order about 2 years back. It's a pretty blue rose/floral on a rough canvas weave fabric, but very soft to the hand.

I had the foam already bought and waiting for the moment - just had to cut it to size of the wooden seat which I had removed to paint the chair. I let a little bit overhang.
Then I covered the foam with a soft, lightweight cotton fabric, stapling it on the underside.

Finally came the lovely blue floral fabric, also stapled onto the underside.
Once done, I could stand back and finally feel a sense of accomplishment.
I sat very comfortably on the armless chair but my butt was too big for the one with arms so only skinny friends will be invited to sit there. haha
This transformation was a long time in coming but soon they will sit at their place around me large dining room table. I hope to have many friends over to use them!

Stay tuned for later in the summer when my now ex-boyfriend moves out and I reclaim the large room we now call the family room, as my dining room.

It is 20' x 20' with low ceilings and a wood burning stove in the corner (which is used to partially heat the house all winter).
I will paint the walls a pale spring green and hang gold framed botanical prints all over them.

Not liking the ugly, stained carpet, we ripped it out to expose the cement floor underneath.
I was promised a new floor would be laid if I only bought the flooring so I ran out and found a 16" square sandstone colored tile on sale at Home Depot. It was what I could afford at the time but I also loved the look and the cement floor (once belonging to the garage it was converted from) made it hard to lay a wood floor (out of my budget's reach any ways!)

Four years later the promise is unfulfilled but I'm hoping he will lay it once he moves all his stuff out of the room.

In the mean time, my painted ladies await their spot around the elegant dining table a dear friend gave me...a table that seats 16 and which came with 2 beautiful Irish white linen damask tablecloths and matching napkins.

I can't wait for the transformation to be complete!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hand Painted Furniture

I'm a big fan of hand painted furniture but not all of it.
To suit my tastes it must be done in an 18th C Swedish Gustavian-influenced style with pale colors, warm whites and details of gold leaf or hand painted landscapes within tiny frames. Or Chinoiserie.

I used to have a small business in the early 90's hand painting furniture but my style reflected the trends back then and I look at my photographs of what I did back then and cringe!

Over time my mind and tastes have matured and I now follow my own song instead of follow the trends or anyone else's tastes.

I am considering getting back into hand painting furniture.
I am experimenting on my own first.
This is a Rococo-influenced bedside table I got out of a neighbor's garage a few years back.
It was a horrid olive green.
I painted it Waverly's "Cottage Linen White" (my signature white I use throughout my house and Restoration Hardware's "Atmosphere Blue" (my signature pale blue - with warm undertones)

I used a composite gold leaf (real gold leaf is too expensive for my pocketbook) which needs to be protected with a lacquer to prevent tarnishing with age.
NOT a problem because I always protect my painted surfaces with Crystalfin non-toxic acrylic lacquer. I used satin on this table.

The knob is crystal. I found it at an old-fashioned hardware store here in Seattle, in the U-District on Roosevelt, called Hardwick's. It's my new favorite haunt!! I can't wait to go back there and look around some more. It's in an old series of rickety buildings with uneven wood floors and cramped spaces - aisles of good things from ceiling to floor. And good prices. This knob was only $6.

I lined the drawer with the wallpaper I will decorate my new bedroom with - found it for $22 a double roll online at "wallpaper and more". It's a soft white background with pale blue rose wreaths/swags.

I kept the gold leaf on the table crackled and uneven because I really dislike perfectly painted factory furniture. This little thing is hand painted and I wanted it to look that way!

The rose wreath on the sides are made of a resin of some sort from doityourselfchic.com.
I love her product and have used it often. Last time I ordered the faux bead trim I used last fall on my 36" round table in an earlier blog entry.
It comes milky white and can be nuked for a few seconds to make flexible so you can apply it to any surface be it flat or curved. It takes all paints or finishes, even gold leaf!