Friday, 26 October 2012

Transforming a piece of brown furniture

In a former life I worked for a wonderful pair of guys who owned an antique shop in East Sussex.  I ran the shop for them whilst they were on buying trips in deepest France and they also taught me how to restore and paint (and carefully 'distress') pieces of worn out dark, unloved furniture.
I have written about these lovely guys before and they now own a company called FONTAINE based in Margate, Kent - they have gone from strength to strength and now 'hob-nob' with the great and the good at places such as the Battersea Decorative Antiques Fair 4 times a year - a far cry from when it was all hands on deck in the little shop in Hurst Green.
So, just to prove to myself that I've still got what it takes to make a little piece of furniture stand out from the crowd (and because I was sick and tired of looking at this next to my side of the bed) I set myself un petit project and turned this....

Lovely shape, rather dull colour

Into this rather nice looking bedside cabinet below....  My (or rather their) method of adding that certain 'je ne sais quoi' to such pieces is to :
A : Slap on (fairly carefully) 2 coats of EMULSION paint - easier to use than a gloss or satin finish and the brushes clean up very easily too.
B. Take very fine wire wool and some Briwax clear polish and apply all over the painted surfaces working over one area at a time.  Some parts you apply more pressure with the wire wool in order to get the paint to look more worn (or distressed as they say in the trade!).
C. Then you get some clean lint free fabric and buff up the surfaces to get a nice protective sheen on the piece.

See... easy peasy - one pretty little cabinet.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

A Welsh Adventure

St Bride's Castle, Wales
 Last week I spent a wonderful few days with my parents in a castle on the coast of Wales. To be strictly correct it was actually in an apartment within the castle where they were holidaying.
Wonderful scenery, good food and lots of walks. Oh and of course a little retail therapy too thrown in for good measure.
What's not to love?
Fantastic beaches
Dinner in our apartment

The cook for that evening... my Mother.  I cooked another evening.

View from the window

Corner of the library in the castle
Uninvited guest.. every time I walked by this suit of armour I kept thinking it was a person standing there!

Walking along the coastal paths - my parents

Dad trying on a Welsh tweed jacket - he felt the arms were too short though. I thought he looked great!

Our friendly local fishmonger - we bought some of the most delicious fish I have tasted in a long time.

Pretty shops

Beautiful countryside
Georgian architecture - my favourite

 So all in all a wonderful time was had by all...
Oh and on the way back I stopped at a place called Llandeilo where there just happened to be a Toast outlet sale shop.  (Now, how did I know that?) A little retail therapy always does you good and I picked up a great pair of very 'of the minute' man-ish trousers.  They will be great with my white shirt and new brogues (which I must show you next post). Promise.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Exterior Neutrals - Trying to pick a colour

Our cottage is in desperate need of a face lift... Several windows need to be replaced too which is rather painful $$-wise and the whole house needs a new coat of paint.  I have been trying my level best to pick the right colour - a neutral, naturally.
As you can see, definitely needs a spruce up
The wall with all my 'daubings' showing different neutral shades

Our painter and decorator Mr RL - has to be extremely patient with me
I have to admit that I am drawn to these kind of shades like a moth to a flame but at the moment after yet another day of spending more than I would care to admit on tester pots I feel like tearing my hair out..
However, I think (well nearly 100% sure) that I have cracked it and we are going for the left hand block, halfway down the picture.  Not the background - that's what's there now, of course - sorry if it all looks a little confusing.
More neutral shades - these are all from Farrow and Ball and  look gorgeous together I  think.