About 3 years years ago I painted a empire lowboy in a pretty mustard milk paint and I just fell in love with the design. Every time I run across one of this size, this shade always runs through my mind. I painted another one very similar about a year and a half or so ago…(the one on my header). I scored this one a few weeks ago and naturally I thought of reinventing it once again. I actually have the matching oversized desk as well. I have no design in mind for that one though so I am waiting for some inspiration to kick in. It might sit for a little while.
The great thing about milk paint and probably my favorite part is that it is unpredictable and kind of does what it wants… most of the time I really encourage that, and try to stay open minded in my vision. I didn’t sand, or add a bonding agent on this one… I thought it would be great if the paint went chippy and equally great if it ended up more solid. Surprisingly it really held on well to the wood and sanded back really well too. I ended up doing 4 coats and still had a pretty translucent weathered look (which works nicely on these empire styles).
I have so much fun with this color. Its so bright and cheerful and really brings a piece to life. It did take me a little longer than usual (the dark wood, made it a bit of a pain) but it was sort of nice and made me really slow down and enjoy the process. I was waiting for this great paper to arrive anyway as I knew it would be a perfect compliment to the knobs and paint. I don’t think I have a lot of pieces that I redo the same like this… so its kinda fun to see the progression in my work…. maybe the next time I come across one in another year or so it will be a sign that I should keep it. But for now.. this one is for sale! 🙂
Furniture season is in full swing at the shop and pieces have been finding homes left and right. So last week was a little bit crazy in my world. Most of the time balancing life as a mom with two very busy littles and a growing business is manageable (sort of). I try to be good at limiting how much I say yes to and knowing what my boundaries are…. with that being said, last week was a stretch. I completed 7 pieces of furniture, a few candle orders, my daughters fundraiser, preschool, swim lessons, dog training… blah blah blah. This list was so long and I had a mild moment of panic and had to remind myself that I don’t want this to turn into a force of stress for me. I started this little business as a therapy or “Ferpie” for those of you who know my story behind my name. And I want to make sure that I stick to that. Its so important. I know its not realistic all of the time.I feel like I am striving to allow myself some grace while at the same time gaining confidence that I can handle the challenges. I was able to get so much done and everything turned out great! The first piece that I wanted to share is a cute little highboy with tall legs. I painted this piece with Trophy by Miss Mustard Seed. I haven’t used this color in a few years and it really is a wonderful shade. The original finish on this piece was so different, it made me want to pull out some of that character. Milk Paint is a great choice with pieces like this, it has a transparent effect when watered down and sanded back. After 2 coats I sanded heavily with only a 400 grit.. it created this really smooth but a very visually textured finish. If you look closely the piece almost looks like watercolor and goes from a little darker on top to a lighter shade on bottom. Another reason why this paint is so fun. It gets creative for you, and all you have to do is sit back and be open to it.
Next up I received these unique bedside tables from my picker the day before I painted them. I was totally drawn to their character and wanted to get started on them right away. I chose Seagull Grey by General Finishes. This is just a very clean, crisp light grey. Perfect for simple nightstands. Matching anything, is a score. Most often they are hard to find. I really love that these are extra tall and I think they will work perfectly with a oversized bed. When staging photos I thought I would jump in one of the pictures to give a good idea of how tall they really are. I am 5′ 4″ but I would like to think that my boots add maybe 1″. 😉
With this next piece I instantly thought DIPPED. With its great existing separation detail above the bottom drawer made it a clear vision. Mike thought a pretty blue would be the way to go… but I just love the crisp contrast of wood and white (or off white in this case). This piece had some character flaws and it just added to its appeal in my mind. I could have filled over it but I really like it. I think its the imperfections of some of these pieces that draw me to them in the first place.
I had this great empire in my back stock for waaaay to long. I want to say maybe 8 months? I actually have another one even bigger and just picked up 3 more in a variety of sizes. I am so drawn to this style as I think most antique lovers are. They are very handsome and bring a dramatic presence to the room. I usually choose milk paint for these guys to bring out a naturally aged appeal but I wanted him to be powerful, simple and clean. The knobs are actually not original to this piece but came from another empire I completed earlier this month. I saved these in hopes of reusing them at some point and they just made sense on this one. I used another General Finishes color in Lamp Black. My secret to a very rich dark black is Maison Blanche Dark Brown Wax. It is the very best dark wax and really adds a nice sheen but also deepens the color.
My last two projects of the week were these great “nightstands” which oddly enough started as a vanity. I was hesitate to buy another vanity especially this style. Vanity style tables usually sit for awhile. I think its too specific of a customer and its usually not a huge interest piece. With that, I was still impressed with its detail and wondered if I could pull them apart to create matching nightstands. Much to my surprise they were only held together with 4 screws and a board across the back. After I pulled them apart, I filled the holes and sanded well. I posted a photo on Instagram and offered them as custom… they were quickly snagged and requested to be painted green. I love green.
That was a loaded post! You can see why last week may have been a bit of a stretch. This week is much more mild. I have a yellow piece that I started a few days ago, hoping to finish up by the weekend. This one is a keeper for sure!
Custom work is about 80% of my work load for sure. In the past years I have thought about limiting the amount of custom clients I take on… and I think I do that to a certain degree. For my mental health and also for my quality of work. But I have to say I enjoy bringing a vision to life. I feel like people that seek out a custom painted piece of furniture from me are looking for something really special for their home. I love being apart of that. It is sometimes much more work on my end design wise and hunting for the knobs and paper that they need to coordinate but in the end its always worth it. At this point in my journey, a lot of clients are seeking pieces I have already done or similar designs so I feel like I am still doing me… just tweaking the design a bit. I love the idea of living simple and small with pieces you really love. I am learning this even in my own home. Creating pieces that I will love forever.
With this particular project we were working together on a design for a new little baby boy. The new momma knew that she wanted navy and grey… so we pulled together some of my past pieces and came to the end with a navy highboy and a grey color block with navy bottom lowboy to match (but not match). The color block design was from a orange and grey piece I did a couple months back…
And here is the new grey and navy….
I used this adorable truck paper… I didn’t have a lot so the top drawer is actually old maps (that also match the paper I used for the highboy).
And the matching but not matching highboy…
This client was a lot of fun. Mike and I met her husband to drop off the pieces last night and they are just the sweetest. Im so excited for their new addition.
I bought a really great bedroom set a few weeks (maybe months) ago and it came with the cutest chair for the vanity. It was very similar to a dining chair but the back was a bit shorter than average dining chairs. I kept that chair in my mind while I painted both dressers and vanity… I kept thinking how cute it would be to dip just the back to accent how cute it was. I finally pulled it out the other day and thought I would do a quick project. It is so funny how sometimes the smallest projects turn into a point of major inspiration for much bigger projects to come.
After I painted the chair I was hooked and had to do a larger scale … the cabinet was a perfect choice because the wood is in great condition. Lately Ive been searching for different. I wanted to do something that would inspire me to try new and make one of a kind pieces that really motivate me to push myself creatively.
Maybe it was the contrast of the wood and white… or unusual design but I think its so fun. I taped everything off carefully and primed first… I wanted a very bold white. When I pulled the tape away after painting 2 more coats of paint the line was less than perfect so I actually sanded along the line with a nail file… great tip if you are looking for something to get in a small area that your sanding block can’t reach. It worked perfectly. I then restored the natural finish rather than using stain. I lined the inside, to add just a little more simple character.
I think I might be on a dipping craze for awhile. This week I am hustling to finish 5 custom projects (some close to being done) … hoping to finish before we leave to take the kiddos to Portland before school starts up again. So excited to show them all the fun things we found on our last trip.
This piece was a fun one to work on. I want to say I had this desk for over a year in my backstock. I had stacked it in the back and kinda forgot I had it. A few weeks ago I did a major “summer” clean in my studio and was instantly inspired when I say it again. I’m glad I saved it for the right time. The Real Milk Paint Co. Oyster Grey seemed to be an excellent choice. I’ve been kinda obsessed with their paint lately. I work with milk paint a lot and this one mixes really nicely and I love the coverage. I had some left over from the milk paint class I taught a few weeks prior and knew I loved the perfect cool grey hue. I don’t have a before of this piece but really all she needed was a good light sand and I used a spray Shellac to block the bleed through on the top. I always like to work up a little “design board” for myself to see how the paper and knobs will mesh with the paint colors. It gives me a visual of the project.
I can’t even tell you how much I love this shade. It’s like my long lost grey soulmate. I’ve been searching for it my whole life. Ok… Maybe just a year or so. But it really is perfect. And I only needed two coats. Knobs are Anthropologie (on sale) their knobs are worth the splurge especially if they greatly impact the piece. Paper is Spoonflower artist: Leanne Hatch.
I think the grey tones down the ornate details and kinda simplifies the overall design. I’m excited to paint with this color again… It’s such a good one!