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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Baby I'm a Star....Stencil Star, that is!

The lovely folks at 
have featured US on their Blog today!

Be sure to stop by and pay a visit...

We've used many, many stencils from RDS,
here's a sampling of the ones we most covet!
Watch for them on projects coming soon :0) 
(all photos from Royal Design Studio's site)

This stencil is gorgeous and BRAND NEW

This Floral Damask Stencil is also NEW
and I really adore the scale and the color used here!

The intricate pattern on this Arabesque Stencil makes me happy, happy, happy!
I can see this on a wall, on a tabletop, even on fabric turned into drapes..

I've got a very clear plan for this Moroccan Lace Border Stencil...
you'll have to wait and see!

You know, we're very loyal folks, Kenny and I...
treat us right, and we stick around
we'll bypass what's easier or closer
in favor of supporting retailers that are just good people

On another note:
The products and retailers you see represented on our Blog
are all GOOD PEOPLE...
who just happen to also offer AMAZING products

They are so deserving of your patronage...
so please, pay them a visit and see for yourself...
NICE PEOPLE really make all the difference!

If you are curious, the products we blog about 
are products we actually use and LOVE

We get sent lots of products to try...
and in the interest of being a nice person myself,
if I don't love the products, I don't share that info. 
You'll never see a negative product post on this Blog

I don't think it's my job to review products,
I think it's my job to share with you what works BEST for us...

 and I sincerely hope that is enough to keep you coming back for more!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

seeing red...again!

It all started with this little love affair with red paint!

I should have kept these pillow cases, too, because now I wish I had them!

then, I saw this (sorry, I don't recall source!) and I was really smitten!

Of course, someone else already spray-painted this dresser red,
but why not just go with it, I said to myself...
(repaint it red, of course! not leave it as-is)
So I've been really "feeling" red lately

I love the idea of adding red accents to a neutral space...
some grain sack pillows, red ticking get the idea!

Which leads me to the point of this blog post:

How do I love thee?
Let me show you how!
The first piece was painted with thinned coats of milk paint
 (with anti-foaming agent added for smoothness)
I used three thin coats to achieve this depth of color...

I sealed the surface with Burnishing Paste
and once dry, I topped that with Annie Sloan's Dark Wax

The finish is divine...and as you can see, it stayed pretty vibrant red!

On this old chair, I really wanted the wood grain texture to show through
but not the wood itself, if that makes any sense...

to achieve this, I watered the paint down even more,
and did four very thin coats

 I wanted this chair to be a bit darker, not as vibrant
so it would accent the desk without matching it perfectly

This chairs was finished with Dark Wax right over the milk paint

You can see the dramatic difference in color...both lovely!

You can find these items in our Etsy Shop

Monday, October 22, 2012

Task Master

I didn't get to paint AT ALL last week...
so today, I made up for lost time!

Kenny's been knee deep in a custom order
with a dresser that basically needed rebuilt
from the inside out, 
so I've been in charge of all new goodies...
hard to do when you aren't available to paint!

I planned on painting a desk
but it needed some work...
"find something else to do for a few hours"
was Kenny's reply...
"it will take that long for the glue to dry"
so he went to work fixing the desk for me,
and I went to work perusing our warehouse
for projects I could complete in one day
(no dining sets or armoires today!)

Project #1

 As you can tell, I REALLY LOVE

 I also really love Craqueleur


Project #2 was the mirror...sorry, no close-ups!

Project #3

I used the same custom-mixed chalk paint color 
on this table, 
but no dark wax...
I really love the silver against the Sable Grey!

Hoping to get a new dresser posted by the weekend...
fingers crossed!


One our way to ACS's Making Strides walk,
I found myself perusing CL on my phone
(it was over an hour from home!)

I stumbled across a listing
for an "antique" bedroom set
with horrible pictures
All dark, you couldn't see ANY details
but I could tell from the outline of the headboard, 
it was good...
and the best part?


I emailed the owner,
and told her to call me if no one else claimed it,
as we were tied up at an event until the afternoon

Around noon, she called...
Lots of people had contacted her,
but none had shown up to claim it...

Nearly every person had a horrible, sob story
about why they needed this set
but they all wanted her to deliver it to them!
"I suspect they were all lying" she said...
 sadly, she is probably right!

We made arrangements to go pick it up...
doing a little happy dance that we had gotten so lucky

On the way over, I started to feel guilty.
We weren't exactly "needy"
and could afford to pay for this set.

I emailed the owner again and explained my feelings.

"please, she are helping me out! We are moving, and it can not go with us"

When we arrived at their little second floor apartment
and knocked on the door,
a very friendly woman answered the door
and invited us in like we were old friends

That's when I saw THIS

The house was a mess,
and she explained she was in the midst of a divorce
She was leaving that night, moving to Georgia to live w her father...
Her young son was the same age as Keegan, 
and the boys were playing Xbox together within five minutes!

She was getting rid of this bedroom suite because it would not fit 
in her father's pick-up truck
(the father was just arriving from GA when we got there)

I exclaimed that I couldn't believe she was offering this for free...FREE!
she said she had it on CL for $100 but got no calls
(how did I miss this??)
She went on to tell me that her husband was up to no good,
had drained their bank account and she didn't even know where he was...

clearly, they were broke. 

(yep, that's Kenny in the mirror!)

We moved all the furniture downstairs and loaded it up,
chatting the whole time

I just didn't feel right taking  this set for free,
so I grabbed whatever cash I had in my wallet, 
along with a $25 Starbucks gift card I'd won,
but she refused to take it..,
"It's free" she said.

When I went back in to collect Keegan, 
I slipped the money and the gift card onto her table
and was on my merry way

In the truck, on the way home, I told Kenny how I'd left the money for them...

he laughed, and told me he'd left money, too!  

Hopefully, that extra money will buy food and gas for the trip back to GA,
and the Starbucks card will be a nice treat on the road!

I'm thankful that we had the ability to do something nice for this family...

Here is the set, in all it's glory

and for anyone that will insist we NOT paint it...
here's what the top of the nightstands looks like!

The set has its share of bumps and bruises
but it will be AMAZING once it's painted...
I'm going to use a new product
(new to us)
to strip the tops of the nightstands and dresser

We will let you know how it goes...
and of course, share pics when it's done!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"What's your BEST price?"

As an addendum,
several folks have asked 
"how do you know how much to pay?"
so I'll address that here, too

Keep in mind, we are not antique dealers
we know enough for our purposes
but I'd never claim to be the pricing authority
on vintage and antique furniture!
We only know what it's worth to US

What we will pay for a piece depends on several factors:

1. Is it special?
 Is it a common French dresser or something much more detailed?

 (cute, but common)

 (extra special, not common at all!)

Of course, even if it's extra special and wonderful,
you have to be reasonable!
There is a FABULOUS
(and I do mean fabulous!)
French dresser, tallboy, and mirror
sitting right around the corner as we speak...
would I LOVE to paint it?
But at $775, it's a poor investment for resale...
so sadly, it is still sitting up the street
and not in our studio!

2. Who makes it? 
We don't buy Dixie or Henry Link pieces unless they are very old...
we will pay a premium for Henredon, Drexel, Century, White, etc
a bit less for Bassett and the like
Educate yourself, if you haven't already...
learn what to look for and you'll save yourself so much time!
We can usually avoid driving out to look at what ends up being junk
(real junk, not fabulous junk!)
by carefully looking over the photos and asking lots of questions

 (Bassett...nice details, but not too fancy)

(Century...12 drawers, impressive hardware)
Surprisingly, you will often find gorgeous pieces from the 1940's and 50's
with NO makers mark to be found...
We look for signs of high quality, and if they are present, we will pay a higher price

3. How badly do we need it? 
Is it for a custom order that needs filled?
 Is it just going to go into inventory? Do we already have five others that are similar?
 If it's for an already-sold custom order, we will pay more
If we already have five, we are willing to pay less
(for the record, we NEVER walk away from a great deal, whether we need it or not!)
4. What's the condition like? 
Time is money, 
and although we can make just about anything gorgeous again, 
doing so takes time...more repairs mean we will pay less 
( we paid $75 for this piece because it was dirty and smelled funny...
it's now fresh as a daisy and lives in my dining room!)

5. The most important factor is resale:
How much will the finished item sell for?
When faced with a $100 dresser and a $100 desk,
the dresser will always win, 
because the dresser will sell for more than the desk when finished...
You have to determine the resale value, once revamped
in order to know what you can pay
We can't pay $400 for a dresser (no matter how special)
because the resale will be between $600-$800...
I know, you're saying
"but that's a nice profit!"
and I would agree...
if we were just flipping pieces
but we aren't...
so you have to factor in your time, how much product will be used, 
how difficult is it to transport and store?  All these things matter...
If that cute little cabinet is $100 and you have to transport it,
clean it, paint it, photograph it, and ship it, for a $200 profit, 
it's probably not worth it!

Of course...
If it makes your heart sing and it's for yourself...
all bets are OFF!
($250, solid wood, original glass...and worth each and every penny!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Where do you find all this stuff?

Another question we frequently hear,
usually from our clients is
"where do you find all this great stuff?"

I admit it...
we do really find some great stuff!

So here's a quick run-down of where we shop
and where we don't...and why!

Of course, Craigslist is the BEST!
I can look from home,
see a photo, and if you ask lots of questions,
you pretty much know what your in for
before you make the drive...
It's virtually a "sure thing"
We often drive over an hour away for a good piece!

Thrift stores are our next favorite resource
but they can be tricky...
you can spend all day and come home empty handed...
and sometimes the prices are C.R.A.Z.Y...and not in a good way!
I've seen beat up "antiques" priced at over $500...
the trick here, of course, is to develop a relationship
and be persistent...
I once wanted a desk that was priced at $750...
I told the manager to let me know when he was ready to sell it for $70
"Yeah, right" he said...
but guess who ended up buying it two months later for $70? 

We have such great relationships with a few shops 
that they will call us or put things aside for us
that they know we will want
It's a beautiful thing!

We do sometimes venture into antique shops...
again, relationships are key...
the shops we frequent sell us pieces that need some love...
more than the shop owners want to deal with
so we end up with great pieces
at great prices!
Sometimes it's a mirror without a dresser
or a table with a beat up top...
we've even purchased half an antique table
and turned it into a desk!
(an antique shop purchase...the buffet was long gone!)

Were don't we really shop?
Yard sales just aren't our thing...
it's rare to find great antique or vintage pieces
and yard sale-ing usually eats up our whole day
with very little pay-off...
Your neck of the proverbial woods might be different,
but here, yard sales are mostly newer items,
clothing, toys, etc...

We also do NOT participate in curbside rescue...
and here is why!
(yep, this is for real...I noticed it curbside while 
doing my rounds for work...)

Now, I realize it's only a few steps/days before that 
Craigslist score can end up curbside...
and most homes do NOT look like this disaster
(bet the neighbors LOVE that sign!)
but loading up potentially infested
furniture on the side of the road
just does not appeal to us!
Some of my friends find fantastic things curbside...
it's just not for me, you know?

Monday, October 15, 2012

World Traveller Dining Room Set

 Inspiration comes from so many different sources...
in this instance, it was the fabric!

 I loved it, had NO plan for it,
but bought 5 yards anyway...
it has a Moroccan vibe to it, don't you think? 

 The chairs and the table base
got coated in Annie Sloan's Old Ochre
before being sealed with Pure Tung Oil

 Kenny has used Tung Oil in the past, but I had not
It's sticky, and has a peanutty smell
I applied two coats, 24hrs apart, right over the chalk paint
After wiping away the excess, I was left with a durable finish

 I could have stopped there,
but I wanted an older, more worn look...
so I applied a dark wax glaze over the Tung Oil
On the table top, I then sanded away some of the wax
to create a streaky, worn, weathered finish...

 The leaves were SUCH a pain!
Ever have one of those pieces that should be so easy,
yet everything keeps going WRONG?? 
That was this set!
In the end, I am  quite pleased
with the Moroccan Trellis stencil, done in white,
outlined by vibrant blue and rich coco

This set mixes elegance with adventure...
a little pretty, a little funky

You can find this in our Etsy Shop