February 22, 2013

Client Commission: Dining Suite for Ian

Today I've got a very different project to show you - well it feels different to me, anyway.  A lovely man named Ian approached me at my market stall a couple of months ago, and asked if I would paint a dining suite for him.
It had 4 chairs but for some reason only one made it into the before photo.  You get the idea, I'm sure.
When I went to his home to quote a price for the work, he showed me where he wanted to put it - on an outside covered patio area.  He wanted it to match the colours of his home which was a terracotta coloured brick with cream mortar, and cream patio railings and fences.

The cream colour was easy - we used Colourbond Classic Cream which was the exact cream colour of his fences and railings etc.  I left him to choose the terracotta colour, and he decided upon Dulux Great Dane.
I got to work sanding the whole suite back, cleaned it thoroughly, then spray primed it.  I haven't used my spray gun in quite a while and it was great getting it out again. Spraying is obviously quicker than hand painting, and gives a smoother result which is what I needed for this project as the client wanted a clean looking non-distressed finish.  
*That is not to say you can't get a smooth finish with a brush, you absolutely can.  All you need to do is use a good quality paint brush, have a steady hand, and sand with a fine grit sponge (then wipe with a clean wet cloth) between coats.*
Spraying does have its downsides though.  You need an area to do your spraying in (I've made a spray booth in my garage) and it needs to be sealed, clean and dust free.  Spray painting creates a lot of 'dust' as the paint particles fly all around and don't just end up on the furniture.  As a result, you use around 30% more paint when spraying vs hand painting. Keeping your pressure at the right level (high enough to get the paint out nicely and low enough not to blast the paint everywhere) is important and takes a bit of trial and error. As does thinning your paint to the right viscosity - too thick and it won't come out of the gun nicely, and too thin and it will run.
I lined up a couple of little tray tables to prime while I had my gun out.  It is time-consuming and fiddly to clean properly so I like to make the most of it while it has paint in it!
This is my spray gun.  It is about the third gun I have owned and the first one I have learnt to look after and keep properly clean!
I've said this many times before, but I always work on tables upside down first, so I don't have to put a newly-painted surface down and risk damaging it.  It also makes it easier to get in and around the table legs and underside of the table, which I always paint to freshen it up (the undersides of tables are often filthy, especially around the edges).
Here is the part where I got busy and stopped taking photos, sorry!  The table top and seats were to be terracotta and the legs and chair backs cream, so I masked up the chair seats and got to work spraying the chairs with the cream colour.  I also spray the chairs upside down to start with, it is easier to get into all the nooks and crannies that way.  I didn't need to mask the table top, I just sprayed the cream colour while it was upside down, then flipped it over and hand painted the table top in terracotta.
Once I had finished the cream on the chairs, I removed the masking (I used cling film and masking tape)  and hand painted the seats in terracotta, then sealed them (and the tabletop) with water based poly.  The paint and sealer I used is specially formulated for use outdoors - although this suite will be undercover I wanted to make sure it will stand up to the elements.

So here it is, all done
Whilst these colours are not my favourites, I think it looks lovely and will look perfect in Ian's outdoor living area.  It was fun for me to go outside of my usual colour palette and do something different.  It was also fun to do a cleaner style, as I do tend to distress everything I lay my hands on!  

I am thankful to Ian for the opportunity to transform his dining suite, which has allowed me to show off a different side of my painting skills.  Here's hoping he likes the result!


  1. cling film!!! genius!! itd be sooo much easier to use than newspaper! i am obviously NOT a genius so never would have thought of that;-) thanks Karen!!
    the colours actually look ok!! better than i first imagined - great job as always!!

  2. hi Karen - I have never tried spray painting (especially as I usually paint in my lounge room, Phil might have a fit if I do that) but your table and chairs look so smooth and beautifully painted. What the client wants, the client gets!
    well done. I'll call you later if your around.
    cheers Fiona

  3. Hi Karen, everything looks wonderful with your touch as always. I have been a terribly slack blogger these days. I was enjoying your Instagram feed but it seems to have disappeared. Have you changed your name ? Let me know as I'd like to continue following xxx

  4. You packed a TON of tips in that post that I am totally going to file away. I really like the fact that you were able to go outside of your norm and do something that while may not be in your exact taste turned out AWESOME! What a neat testament to your painting abilities that he chose you to do this project for him. I enjoyed reading every bit of it! Clicked to follow via GFC. Make it a great day! Jules from bles-id.blogspot.com

  5. Even if they're not your favourite colours ( and not even mine, how I like the pastels you usually use!!)
    the work is perfect as usual!

    Lovely Idea

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