Charcoal dining chairs~ a perfect mix on classic and modern

befor and after kathy chairA new friend in Switzerland has been following my experiments in re-finishing furniture on moxiblog. I have painted nearly every thing in my flat and now I want your stuff too! This new friend has been dying to update her dining room for months and showed me a magazine photo of something that she loved- the photo pictured elegant black and white dining room decor. She is brave enough to paint in black and brave enough to become my first client! The chair commission of 2013 began a few weeks ago and today I delivered 4 newly recovered charcoal velvet dining chairs. I know this photo is a little unfair because if you stick an old mustard colored vomited-on sofa in the snow with a view of the lake it would look beautiful, but because the chairs were so dark inside my flat I wanted to bring them outside for a little experiment in the naturally white background on a uniquely sunny afternoon. I cant tell you how much fun I had driving up the mountain and finding the perfect spot to take a beautiful photo, and then I stuck the chair into the shot and because the snow is so deep It kept sinking!

Compared to the worn out, junk I usually bring home from the thrift shop:

green yellow chair before

these chairs were in great condition. They are high quality fine furniture, which made me a little nervous about messing them up. When I sat down on them the padding and cushions were so soft. My first thought was how much I would love dining chairs like this, then I realized it would act as incentive for sitting at the table and I would probably eat more. This sour-grapes approach keeps me from coveting other peoples fine furniture:).

paint in progress

I loved the modern color choice and the luxurious charcoal colored velvet that we added. I used the Annie Sloan paint in Graphite tinted a tad lighter with Old White. The chairs are lightly rubbed and distressed so that just a touch of the beautiful wood finish shows through. It took these chairs from classic-casual, to modern and elegant with a history.

annie sloan the method behind the maddness

I also have great news! We now have a local Annie Sloan stockist in Lucerne! Beatrice is a lovely lady who owns the CUTEST shop in Lucerne! Its also really close to my favorite broken haus, so I park and walk to both. She carries a full line of paint, wax and brushes. I have visited her several times and mostly I just walked around drooling and trying not to get too geeky about her exquisite taste. I have been warned that sometimes I can come on rather strong ~  friendly as I like to think. I worry it can feel a little stalker-ish. Anyway I went to her Christmas open house on Friday night, met her son who was dressed as Samichlaus and now I guess we are practically besties. Tell her I sent you!

beARTrice liebevolles wohnen

Beatrice Näf

Kasimir Pfyfferstrasse 14

6003 Luzern CH

What do you think? Would you be brave enough to paint your furniture black?

If you are interested in a furniture redo, (and you live in Europe) I am taking commissions- email me!

Websters Chalk Paint Powder GIVEAWAY day 4

shoe cabinet finished2.moxiblog.com

I hate that I got the first coat of paint on the cabinet before taking a photo. I quickly snapped a shot so you could at least see what it looks like with one coat. I mentioned in previous post, that I thought one of the downsides to the product was the coverage. I also think that it might be the Swiss paint I am using. This photo clearly shows you the coverage of one coat, so if your first coat looks about this transparent, let me know.

Then this morning I strolled through the thrift shop and there was an exact match for sale at 30 chf! Score- I snapped a shot.

one coat

I think the Websters product is perfect for heavily distressed pieces because, if the paint scratches then it is less noticeable. It also works good on dressers or cupbords, things that might get less use than say, chairs or kitchen cabinets. I think all the carving details also make this piece a great candidate for dark wax and heavy distressing because it really makes all that carving and detail stand out. Today you have another chance to win a sample of Websters Chalk Paint powder. Today’s shoe cabinet I heavily distressed and even used dark wax on it to give it an old antique patina. Tutorials on wax technique can be found here at Blue Egg Brown Nest.  Because of one of your great questions and comments this week, I learned that technique glazes, like Ralph Laurens “tea stained”, work really well to seal the piece and give it some “age”.

shoe cabinet open.moxiblog.com

  • I loved this piece because of the cool swinging door storage.
  • I loved this piece because it was FREE!
  • I love this piece because it is only 13.5 inches deep, so it doesn’t take up much space in a little flat and I put it in the hall outside of our bedroom.

I did all 3 of this weeks paint project with 2 cups of Latex paint mixed with Websters Chalk Paint powder- yes that’s it! I am always amazed what a little paint will do to transform a piece of furniture into a whole new look. So what do you think, do you love the simpler painted furniture or the heavily distressed and waxed pieces better? Make sure to visit the Websters Chalk Paint Powder site and leave a comment in this post. I am selecting a new winner from each post and today is the LAST DAY! Tell me what you want to paint, give me a refinishing tip, or tell me you subscribed to the RSS feed! Friday winners will be randomly selected and I will contact you for your mailing address.
Good luck.

 

Websters Chalk Paint Powder GIVEAWAY day 3

For the 3rd day in a row I have sample packet of Websters Chalk Paint Powder up for grabs!

Make sure to visit the Websters Chalk Paint Powder site and leave a comment in this post. Tell me you subscribed to the RSS feed! Friday all weeks winners will be randomly selected and announced~ I will contact you for your mailing address.
Good luck.

bath cabinet befor.after.moxiblog.com

This project is another great example of how just a little paint and some inexpensive hardware can totally transform a piece of furniture. I think I lightened up this photo a little because it was very dark but the piece is a little brighter and more saturated in “real life”. I purchased this cast off from an expat family who were leaving Switzerland this summer. I paid less than 30chf for it. I loved the storage potential but didn’t know immediately where I would put it. Once we got it home I scooted it around a few different spots and then was delighted to find that if fit in the big empty bathroom.

bathroom~double vanity

I’m not a high-maintenance, loads-of-cosmetics, type-of-girl, so I didn’t consider the need for more bathroom storage, however the space presented itself and I use the cabinet to store paint supplies, craft supplies and office supplies. This bathroom is home to the tub so lots of moisture from showers and condensation aren’t an issue.

bathroom~tub room2

The bathroom is completely white and grey, modern, clean but sterile. I love the pop of color (my favorite)
that the aquamarine cabinet provides.

final in bath.moxiblog.com

I still had some of the mixed Websters Chalk Paint Powder left from the 2 previous projects – yes people it really doesn’t take that much paint to make something look new, different, and incredible. I went to our local “hardware” store and bought a tiny bottle of colorant that is used with the latex product and I carefully tinted the paint until I reached the perfect shade of aquamarine. EASY-PEEZY. You can do it too! And you can get custom color mixed at almost any place in the states that sells paint.

After a few coats (chalk paint dries really fast) I was ready for new hardware. Off to Ikea to get some inexpensive knobs. I was dreaming of something like shabby chic crystal knobs, but I found these, brought them home and feel that I accidentally made the exact right choice. The modernity ties it together with the rest of the bathroom, as does the clean paint job. I took an old distressed rustic style cabinet and made it fresh, bright, and modern.

Webster Chalk paint powder day 2 GIVEAWAY!

finished dresser_1

Yesterday I featured the dresser/vanity in Coco’s room. Eventually I will get around to showing you an entire tour of our little flat, and the reason why this dresser is not distressed will seem obvious, but once I was done painting it seemed so boring. Today I want to share with you the detail painting on the dresser – the monogram. I used a little of the Webster Chalk Paint Powder mix (2 tbls. Websters Powder, 1 tbls. water mix and add to 1 cup latex paint), and added just a little red acrylic paint I had in my art box. I did a quick search for a monogram typeface on the internet and found this, you can download it for free! I went on Graphics Fairy site and found a wreath of leaves and put the image together in my graphics software. I printed it at the size I liked for the drawer.

sophias dresser transfer closeup

I colored the back of the paper with a pencil, taped it into place and started tracing.

transfer closeup-peel back.moxiblog.comYou can see from the image above how the pencil transfers onto the drawer. This transfer method is quick and easy for me, especially here in Switzerland where I am VERY limited on equipment like overhead projectors and specialty transfer paper products. It works great, is fast and cheap, but the graphite does not wipe off easily and it does show through the paint a little if you do not cover it really well. I actually prefer my overhead projector for a job like this:(.

monogram round one finishedNext with a tiny little paintbrush I began applying the color and shading and it just got more and more carried away. I wish I had a photo of the whole dresser to compare it, but I instantly knew that the design and style was just too much and too small and overworked for this utilitarian piece of furniture. SO I painted over it again and the next day I started over.

monogram round two

I increased the size of the monogram, and removed all the wreath graphics, then I printed, penciled in the backside, taped it on and traced it. After I traced I mixed more paint (there was plenty of white left) and I used my smallest detail brush to paint the monogram. I dont think you have to be artistic at all for the monogram, just trace the lines and fill it in.

final monogram detail

If you look closely you will see it’s not PERFECT, and is definitely hand painted, but when you see it as a whole it looks great. When we get ready to leave and I sell all the furniture in the flat, it will be simple to paint over or to add the new lucky child’s monogram!

Coco before and after dress.moxiblog.comer

Now for the GIVE-AWAY INFO:

Do you have an old DIY project you have been wanting to try? Not sure about a big investment in time and money? This sample will make at least 2 cups of paint and I did all of this weeks projects with just 2 cups! It goes a long way. Make sure to visit the Websters Chalk Paint Powder site and leave a comment in this post. Tell me what you want to paint, give me a refinishing tip, or tell me you subscribed to the RSS feed! Friday winners will be randomly selected and I will contact you for your mailing address.
Good luck.

Websters Chalk Paint Powder giveaway!

Coco before and after dress.moxiblog.comer  Lets talk chalk paint. I have mentioned in the previous furniture refinishing post that I loved working with the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but there are some disadvantages, especially here in Switzerland. Namely price and availability. This is not so much the case back home in the US. The availability is growing as people find how great it is to avoid sanding and the lovely distressed looks  you get from chalk paint, and milk paint products. The cost in Switzerland (like everything else) is a little higher, but the shipping is really pricey, because I have no local stockist.

In a search for a solution I scoured the internet and some of my favorite blogs for options. I ran across WEBSTERS CHALK PAINT! I wrote them a nice note and they are excited to be sponsoring Moxiblog’s very first give-away! I have a small sample package for just checking out their website and leaving a comment below. I will randomly select a winner on Friday and send you the packets in the mail. Facebook comments do not count, the comments have to be posted to the blog. Easy right?! Good luck!

Websters is a powder that you simply mix into any color, any brand latex paint. I used it on all the projects I am featuring this week. It worked pretty good. I am using locally sourced Swiss made latex paint. It is a thicker product than I am used to in the states- which I liked, but oddly enough it is not more opaque. I think all of the local paints do not cover as well as I am used to, so keep that in mind when reading my review- it may be an unfair comparison?

I am not getting compensated for my review and I am totally honest, so here are the pros and cons:

Pro’s-

  • I love the flexibility in colors. I love going and getting a custom color mixed and being able to match it to anything I want. This is an awesome feature!
  • I love the price! It is very affordable in comparison to ASCP (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint). And even if you have to ship it, it is inexpensive to ship because its just some powder in a package and not a heavy liquid can of paint.

Con’s-

  • I do not think the adhesion is nearly as good as ASCP.
  • I don’t believe coverage is as good, it took more coats to do the same job as ASCP.

**** This could have to do with my “Swiss paint” and may be different in the states, but after all the fact that it was universal was supposed to be a selling point for me.

Later in the week I will be sharing a custom color piece that I am really happy about~ also used Websters powder for it, and a heavily distressed cabinet that I think worked really well with the Websters powder.

sophias original dresser

sophias dresser

Coco’s dresser is only 28 inches high. I think it’s a perfect vanity for a little girl. I paid 40chf at a thrift store, It is not a bargain bottom price, but pretty fair I thought. Here is a photo of the dresser when the final coat of paint and wax was applied. In order to make it match up with other furniture in her room I did not want to distress it, however it looked so plain!

finished dresser_1

Since she originally requested I paint it pink, I decided to compromise and added her monogram on the drawer. I think it’s the perfect touch of pink and brings a little of the American South to our home in Switzerland. Tomorrow I will show you how I did the monogram. What do you think? Like it better wood finished, white finished, or white with the monogram?!

hutch

before and after

I found this little goodie for 120 chf. It had been marked down 100chf just that morning. It is hard to tell you with words how massive these old pieces of furniture are. It weighs A LOT! the wood is thick and solid. There are 4 locking drawers, 5 locking upper cabinets and 4 locking lower cabinets.

DSC_3818

It had a strange splattery orangey slightly tacky “mess” of something on the finish. It does not show up in these photos, and in fact the wood inlays etc. really had me feeling guilty about painting it. However I knew that I was not going for a “swiss challet” interior look and hoped that I could make this storage treasue a cute match for the table I also bought at the local thrift shop on a different visit. I struggled to clean off the gunk, but every time I painted a coat of white, the orange came through. I read somewhere that if the finish comes through that you should coat it with a clear finish and try again. I coated it with a polyurathane product I purchased here and tried again- it helped but did not completely solve the problem. In the end the random bleed-through added a little age and character to the piece.

DSC_3964

I can’t wait to get it filled up and looking perfect.

DSC_3958From the beginning I knew that I wanted the top of the table and the top of the hutch to match with a beautiful wood finish. This required a lot of work stripping and sanding. We had some trial-and-error set-backs with using different stains and finishes here in Switzerland. We were first sold and eco friendly product, and people we tried to be environmentally friendly; we re-sanded, we re-stained, and tried again and it just never looked good. It was streaky and had some strange absorption problems. I abandon the Eco friendly approach and sought out a “normal” chemically enhanced version- It worked great! Our home was turned into a workshop for the large part of 3 weeks.The last 3 days were the most chaotic. Proof of the mess below.

 DSC_3950

Coco spend long mornings in here pajamas. She miraculously entertained herself with a game of sorry with her stuffed animals ~ guess we were all feeling creative!

 DSC_3949

Once again we used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. We ordered 2 small containers of “old white” and still have some left, even after 6 chairs, a big hutch and a table base. Not bad. The only downsides to the product are cost and availability. I had to pay a large shipping cost on top of a cost of about 40chf per can! It was worth it for sure- I hate all the stripping and sanding. And so do my Swiss neighbors (I heard about their complaining when the apartment management paid me a visit… try and be clam, try not to say anything bad about them…).

Spartacus and I make a great team. For projects like this there is an unspoken understanding that he will handle the wood staining and the hardware and I will do the painting. I love paint, I love paint brushes, love the smell, (some people complain about ASCP- I find it to be boring and orderless… nothing like spray paint:) I love the colors and the layers and at the end I love the distressing. In my last post I referred to Blue Egg Brown Nest for tutorials on using the ASCP. I don’t think I have anything to add regarding the painting, waxing, and distressing process. Although I will say that I did not tape over any glass or keyholes. Because the paint is like chalk or plaster once dry, I used a razorblade and cleaned the glass easily and quickly after. Can you imagine taping off all these corners and rounded panes? I hand-painted around the keyholes so that the inlay-ed wood and locks remained original (I loved that little detail).

DSC_3951

Spartacus is supplying us with the valuable tip for the project:

When you remove hardware- number it in a way that you can put it back together EXACTlY like it was. ESPECIALLY when working with handmade antique furniture. We learned this the hard way. It’s a little hard to explain but each piece is fitted in slightly different- each door had to fit EXACTLY like it was in order to shut and to lock. Each hinge is carved out slightly differently and sits ever so slightly deeper or more shallow onto the wood. It was like a watching a lone contestant on survivor try and solve a puzzle. 18 hinges later the hutch was finished!

DSC_3960

This project will eventually be for sale but I hope to enjoy it for a while first! Send lots of great comments! Is it looking a little french country?

Sneek Peek- chair before and after

chair before and afterThis is one of the “life” things I refered to yesterday that consumed me for weeks whilst I was away from my computer and Moxiblog. In our endless effort to economize, and in part for the pleasure of it, we spent many hours combing thrift stores and Ricardo.ch (a mixture of Ebay and Craigslist) for bargains that we loved or that could be transformed into something loveable. I had a friend warn me that if you double what you would expect to pay in the states, you might be getting close to the average Swiss pricetag. So when I share my bargains, keep the rule of doubles in mind!

I picked up a set of 6 Swedish chairs with a dark green stain; in the poorly lit “brokenhaus” (thrift-store) (I thought they were black) for a price tag of 15 chf each – today that is about $16.30. They are solid wood and appear to be well made. From the chair on the left you can see they had a nice shine which if you were to appreciate their green color would have been a nice bonus, but I was worried about sanding, stripping, and painting. I had a vision for a more country french/ shabby chic look and I knew I wanted to keep all the furniture very light colored because our apartment is small and Switzerland can be dark and gloomy much of the year. I immediately knew that I would search out Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I have read so many blog post and pintrest pins raving about this product with great adhesion and no sanding or stripping prep-work. I wont go into all the details of the processes , there are millions of tutorials. I particularly liked Blue Egg Brown Nest online video tutorials. It really is the perfect product for a project like this.

Can you see some of the distressing details? I love the distressing part of the project, this is where every piece feels unique. If you look to the far left of the photo you can see a brown spiral shaped piece of wood…. that’s a sneak peak at the OLD table I picked up~ tune in later this week for details.

I’d love to hear what you think of the mixture of modern kitchen and updated Swiss antique chic’…. more on that later!