Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Armoire Makeover

Last week, I did a furniture makeover on this old armoire. I don't have a "before" photo of the armoire, but it kind of looked like this:

except, it was pretty dinged up, so it was already kind of naturally "distressed." :)

My client had this piece in her bedroom, which she liked. She was going for more of a rustic look anyway, but the wood tone of the armoire was too orangey-yellowy. We wanted it to be more brown.


First, I did a coat of brown glaze. I wanted to tone the entire piece down, so I knew doing this would be the first step. Then, I decided to give it some character, and knew that adding some offwhite spots of glaze would give it dimension and texture, so I did that. Here is a photo after I did that:


Admittedly, it looks a little crazy here. But, after I did that, I did one more full coat of brown glaze, then a 4th "spot filler" coat (meaning, I just go in where necessary and fill spots with glaze).

Here is the "after":

It was really hard to get a good shot of it, because it was still wet, and there was a big window in front of it with light shining on it, but hopefully you get the idea!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Do you guys have an Instagram account? I'm super-into it, and post a few pictures a day, usually. It's so fun to take mundane moments and make them pretty with this iPhone app. I just thought I'd share a few photos that I've recently posted to my account, and if you want to "follow" moi, my handle is "kfddesigns".

Here are 2 vintage angel ornaments from our Christmas tree. My mom found them at a garage sale for me.

I love their hair-do's and halos made of tinsel. I feel like their hair and make up is very Bridgette Bardot! Plus, you can tell someone hand-stitched every bead on them. They don't make 'em like they used to, folks!

This photo was snapped at a client's house. Aren't the leaves beautiful?
It was sad, because I was working at this client's house all week, and I snapped this photo on Monday. By Friday, the little red bush was almost bare, with no more leaves left.

Here is another snap shot of some vintage ornaments from Mom. I made a wreath with them last week, during the Thanksgiving break.

My drill, with a killer drill-bit (used when I built the cornhole set).
Took this photo while I was cleaning our office this weekend. The chair and rugs were on the couch, and I loved how everything was black, white and yellow. (PS do you read the black white yellow blog? This photo totally reminded me of it.)

*** update! Thanks to Rob (a kind reader of ye old blog), I have installed an Instagram widget in my sidebar, so you can check out the photos whenever (if ever) you'd like! Thanks, Rob.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chevron Bench

Hello! hope everyone is well-rested and well-fed - I know I am! I'm about to head to the studio to work on several projects, but before I go, I wanted to post this for you guys.

A few weeks ago, I made over an old bench that had seen better days. It was really scratched and dinged up, and was just a dark solid wood.

Heather (who sometimes helps me out in the studio) helped me out with it, then I finished it off.

and here is the final result!

I just did a simple white, because I knew the chevron pillow would be the show-stealer, and I think it works nicely. Plus, they'll be able to move it around the house, as they want to, over the years.

Julie had this cute chevron seat made to go on it, with purple piping! Julie writes a blog called Etsy Stalkers, (which is really funny) and she is re-doing her daughter's room, with pieces just from Etsy. Check out some snippets of her room:



I love the curtains she had made to match the seat cushion!


What a great pattern and color combo on this lampshade from Anthropologie.

I thought this cabinet with the interior painted lime green was a great choice! I also really like the Madame Alexander dolls inside - I used to collect them as a little girl.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas ornaments in ANY color!

Remember the craft I told you guys about last Friday? Well, I made them Friday night!

The reason I did this, was because I came up with a new color scheme for our Christmas tree ornaments this year, and I couldn't find ornaments in the right colors. I wanted chartreuse, kelly green, and a pale turquoise. The great thing about this project is that you can buy paint in ANY color you want - therefore you can make ornaments into any color you want, on the cheap.

Here were my supplies:

I bought everything at Hobby Lobby. Those are clear glass Christmas ornaments, and then 3 different colors of acrylic craft paint. I bought paint that was on the cheaper side, because I wanted it kind of watery. I knew that the watery-er it was, the better (because it would shake around inside the glass better!).


I removed the little tin metal tops to the glass.


I squirted a decent amount of paint into the inside of the glass (done over the kitchen sink!), then put my thumb over the opening and shook the ornament really hard. I did put a teeeeeeeny bit of water in some of them, to make the paint move around better.

make sure you cover the hole completely, or the room you do this project in might end up looking like a Jackson Pollack canvas.

the downside is wiping your thumb off after every "shake"

when I was done, I had 36 pretty, brightly-colored ornaments, ready for the tree!

They were half off, so each box was $4. the paint was probably about $6, so I spent a total of $18 for 36 new ornaments - not bad!


ta da!

I love my new color scheme. And yes, the tree is up, but I haven't decorated it yet.




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fireplace Mantle

Last week, I did some whitewashing on a red (orange? pink?) brick fireplace. It's so much prettier now. I love how the brick is not completely painted over, but it's not as bold and contrasted as it was before! Plus, it's much better with their more neutral color scheme.



much better, huh?

I just did a simple mix of latex paint, about 1/2 water, 1/2 paint. Maybe more like 3/4 water, 1/4 paint...somewhere between the 2! I brushed it on with a chip brush, and then kind of rubbed back...

Monday, November 21, 2011


Last week, I painted some kitchen cabinets that were dated and had seen better days. They were very high quality wood, they just looked very 80s/90s, and the maple-y finish wasn't doing the kitchen any favors. Check out the before:




and, the after!


so fresh and so clean clean, right?

I think it makes the space look so much larger! we replaced all knobs and cabinet hinges too, which I think makes a huge difference in updating the look. I always suggest replacing hardware after a kitchen cabinet painting. The color we used was Sherwin Williams Dover White, and I had it matched at Benjamin Moore in their Aura paint, which is the absolute best for furniture and cabinetry.

The walls were painted "Sea Salt" by Sherwin Williams, and they are a beautiful color.



Here is a detail shot of the new knobs!

My client went with Dover white because it was a creamy white - we thought it would blend in with the existing countertops and backsplash nicely, and with the trimwork that was already painted white...and good news - it did! My client was very happy with the outcome of the color, and so was I. Check out the cabinetry next to the trim:


You can see that it's creamier than the trim, but whiter than the countertops and backsplash, which is what we predicted. Picking out paint colors can be very challenging, but with enough thought and prep, it can be successful and very rewarding! We were so happy with it.

annnnnnd....lastly, I made another video for you kids! It's kind of boring (I don't talk at all, and it's not the best quality, because it was made with my iPhone), but hey, it's at least fairly helpful.

here are some points about the video, because you might have questions. It's kind of funny to video yourself doing something that is really routine to you...I realized that I do things weird ways, and do funny little tricks with my brush and roller that I am kind of obliviously doing , but they are intentionally done because they work for me. One of my main goals in painting cabinetry and furniture is avoiding drips, brushmarks, and roller lines. Those three guys are the enemy of a painter like myself. I think they show the difference between a professional paint job, and an unprofessional job. So, I avoid them at all costs.

1. The little "dabbing" i am doing with my brush at the beginning of painting each bevel, is getting a lot of paint into the corner, without it globbing on, which means it's not going to easily have drips. Weird but true.

2. there is a point where I am sort of slapping my brush against the side of the cabinet...that is an easy way to get a lot of paint into parts of the wood that are absorbing paint more than you'd like.

3. the sides and bottoms of the cabinet get rolled later. You may notice that they aren't fully painted at this point, but when I hang them back up, they are painted.

anyway, I start out painting the door with a Purdy cub brush, then use a furniture roller for the flat surfaces. This is what I always do! I try to cover most surfaces with the roller at some point, because it keeps from having that brushed-on look. Painting cabinetry is REALLY involved. It is not easy, and it's truly not something I recommend people "DIY-ing" unless they are really great at painting. An unprofessional paint job on cabinets usually looks unprofessional :)

The end. If you have questions, feel free to leave the in the comments section, and I'll try to answer them. Heck, maybe I'll even make a video of moi answering questions one day. Though, I don't know if I can handle my talking-voice on camera...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Craft time.

So glad it's the weekend! It's been a LONG week for me...

I'm excited to relax a little this weekend, and to do a little Christmas crafting. (nerd, I know)

Did you guys see Sherry's ornaments she made for her Pinterest challenge? Well, they inspired me to make some of my own, and I'm going to get to it tonight. I bought chartreuse, kelly green and turquoise paint to make some of these guys with:

Except I don't think I'm going to make mine "swirly"...I think I'm going to try to do them solid colors. Yes, I would've just bought the ornaments pre-colored, if I could've found them in my weird new Christmas color palette I'm going for this year, but alas, I could not. Last night, I bought the clear glass ornament balls and the paint, and I also ended up buying a new Christmas tree (oops. hah!) You know me, I always have to change it up. I also bought matching wrapping paper and bows...what is happening to me (answer: turning into my mother circa 1995.)?

Hopefully I'll have some photos to share with you guys next week...have a great weekend! :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I built a cornhole set!

Last weekend, I built a cornhole set for my stepbrother's wife to give him as a birthday present. She told me that she wanted to buy him one for his birthday, and I volunteered to build it. It was a little more intense of a project than I thought it'd be, but it came out well with a little hard work!

I used this tutorial from This Old House. I followed it exactly, and it came out fine. It's a size that is recognized by the American Cornhole Association, so it's pretty legit, people! :) I've yet to play it, but it has nifty legs that fold under for storage, and handles on the sides for easy carrying. I told Brandon he better never get rid of it!

Here's some photos of my project in process:


I accidentally cut my first piece of plywood incorrectly. (Major bummer, had to go back to Lowe's!) I cut the hole on one of the pieces one inch lower than the other piece! DANGIT. Rookie mistake. Oh well. I wanted the game to be correct and fair when Brandon and his friends were playing, so I knew the hole needed to be exact. I went back to Lowe's and got a new piece, and cut it correctly the second time.

Next, I built the frames. I had the 2 by 4's cut at Lowe's since I don't have a Skil Saw - it's much faster and easier. I just had to screw them together. After that I attached the plywood to the frames with wood glue and screws.

The paint cans are sitting on top to keep it from floating away, since it had wood glue on it.



After all that, I primed them with some Kilz (my favorite primer). I just used latex primer, and it was fine (I guess since it wasn't stained wood, just solid wood). I let them dry overnight, then I painted one red and one black, for The University of Georgia (Brandon's favorite team)

ta da! The website says it takes 6 hours to build, but it took me longer. I guess because I'm not a skilled carpenter. I'm pretty sure I could make two of these a lot faster the second time around, though...if there is a second time (doubtful).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gallery Wall in the Studio

In my studio, there is a little room in behind the front big room (which you've seen), and the bathroom (which you've seen). It's a great little spot for projects-in-action, and to store furniture and canvases that clients drop off.

Anyway, I had a bunch of random artwork and canvases at my house, taking up space, so I thought I'd just hang them in the studio to get them out of the way! I started a gallery wall in the middle room, and here it is:

I just hung everything with no rhyme or reason, and here is where it all came from!

The big, orange, awesome piece was a gift from a client (hey, Katie! here's what I did with your cool wood piece! :)). Isn't it awesome? It was a tan color when she gave it to me, but I spraypainted it orange. It's very Jonathan Adler now, I think.

The chevron art work to the right of it is something that I made a while back. I just brushed chocolate-brown paint onto a little white canvas I had. Remember? The kitty cat silhouette was also something I made this same day.

The painting that looks like you are in Area 51 is a piece that I found down the street from my house, on the side of the road. You can see on it where someone was going to start some cacti, but they changed their minds and painted over it. The piece all the way to the left, that looks like it's probably supposed to be Venice, Italy, was also found in the same pile on the side of the road. I love the imperfection in these paintings, accompanied by the attention to detail. Someone put a lot of time into them!

The piece at the top left and the larger piece near the top right were thrift store finds. they're both oils, and I love them.

The gray geometric framed one is a section of our chair's fabric, framed.

The tiniest paintings are some oceany ones that I did several months ago.

The "Girl with a Horse" print was from a thrift store, and the piece above it was a trade I did with a friend in college. The "nouns dormons" painting you may remember from my old bedroom, and the dog and cat prints were a thrift store find YEARS ago, that I will always keep and love!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Recent Canvas Work

just a quick drop-in to show you guys a painting I did a few months ago ... just for fun (weird, but true). It is now hanging in the studio, on a gallery wall that I need to photograph and show you guys...


it's very colorful! I love color, in case you haven't noticed :) It's 12" by 12" - square canvases are my favorites.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Takin it back to the 60's

I wanted to show you guys something I painted for my mother in law, that I hadn't shown you before. I mentioned that her whole house is decorated in either modern pieces or pieces from the 60's, so it only made sense that we made this move with the play kitchen set she has for her grand kids. Are you guys familiar with this play kitchen set from Pottery Barn? Probably so. Her's was bright red, and when she started redecorating the house in colors of the 60's, the red just wasn't working. She wanted it to look like the avocado green kitchen appliances from the 60's, so I painted it:

I had to remove all the little stove handles and accessories to paint it, but it definitely looks like it belongs in her house now!

I even painted little daisies like a vintage refrigerator would have! They're my favorite part.

I also painted the "kitchen" table mustard yellow, with mushroom accents.



Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Soo, I made a video for you guys. Most of you seem to enjoy seeing the process of how I do things, so the other day, when I was getting ready to paint over a watercolor sketch I did, I thought I'd video it.

here is the drawing of two elephants for baby nursery that I did:
this is the drawing, before I did the painting part

I used a watercolor pencil (I like Derwent brand) to draw out the little elephants. After you draw them out, you simply use water and a brush to paint over your lead drawing, to turn it into a watercolor look. It reminds me of those coloring books that you get when you are a kid, and you use water and a brush to magically make the picture come to life :)

Anyway, it creates a nice drawing-slash-watercolor look.

Here's the video - hope you enjoy! I was videoing with my left hand, while painting with my right, so forgive when the camera is out of focus!