August 3, 2014

French Blue Buffalo Check Wicker Couch

Latest project just finished:

 I've given this lovely wicker couch a fresh new French country style look with new cushions in French blue buffalo check cotton. 
The seat cushions are the originals recovered and the back cushions are brand new inserts - the original back cushions were a funny shape and I don't think they suited the piece at all. Four loose cushions look much better and are more comfortable than what was there before. The fabric is 100% cotton, and the covers are all removable for washing. The back cushions have envelope openings and the seat cushions have ties. All the seams are overlocked. 
This would be perfect on a covered porch or verandah, in a sunroom or conservatory, maybe even a bay window in a large bedroom.

Couch measures 1500mm wide (armrest to armrest) and is for sale. Price is $225, please contact me with any queries, or if you'd like to view or purchase it.

French Blue with white and natural cane is such a fresh, pretty and classic combination I think.

Here's what was on it before...

Much better you agree?

May 7, 2014

How to get a Great Waxed Finish on Graphite Annie Sloan Chalk Painted Furniture

Last week I finished this huge Hamptons Style Buffet and Hutch in Graphite and Pure White Chalk Paints by Annie Sloan, and today I am giving away some of my tips on how to get a great finish on your painted furniture.
I got a lot of nice comments about this piece, one of my favourites was from my parents who said they think this is their favourite piece I have ever done. I love it too, and it hasn't sold yet, which I'm not sad about at fact I am currently plotting how to get my husband to help me carry it upstairs to the spot I have for it. I might have a bit of a furniture juggle while he is at work today and leave an empty space where he normally plonks down his wallet and keys...

Anyway, I was asked, and am asked quite often, how I get such a nice smooth and even sheen on my waxed finishes.

I'd say it is a combination of things, and a lot of them have nothing to do with the actual waxing process - good surface preparation, painting with a good quality brush, the paint being the right viscosity, the weather temperature, and sanding in between coats. The reason for this is that your waxed finish is only going to be as good as the paint finish you've applied first. If that is good, and smooth, that is half your battle. I've mentioned previously, my favourite sanding product is 3M Sanding Sponges. I hardly ever use actual sandpaper in my painting and finishing process.

I mostly use Annie Sloan wax in Clear to seal my painted furniture. I apply it with either a round natural bristled brush, or a clean lint free rag. Lint free is hugely important, you don't want bits of fluff stuck in your waxed finish (learnt the hard way!) I apply my wax in small (approx dinner plate sized) sections then wipe off the excess (which shouldn't be much, you don't want big gobs of it all over your piece, it's just a waste of wax). I use another clean lint free cloth to wipe off, and  I quite firmly, in fact I am almost buffing my piece at this point. Not to a super shine, but just until I feel no resistance from the cloth, and the furniture feels dry and smooth to touch, not sticky or 'draggy' (totally not a word lol) at all. If you've done this you will know what I mean. Just-waxed furniture with too much wax on it feels awful. If it feels like that you need to keep rubbing with a clean part of your cloth.

That is the process I use for all my painted furniture...except when I've used the colour Graphite. I've only tried this beautiful colour recently and had heard that it was very hard to wax evenly and get a nice sheen to it. I had even been advised by a Sydney retailer of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to use Dark Wax straight on the piece, without using clear first. I had seen a piece in their shop that they'd done like this and it did look nice, but definitely took on a brown tone which I wouldn't want for all Graphite pieces.

I initially painted a couple of small projects with Graphite - a couple of lamp bases.
They turned out very nicely, and were easy to wax because they were so small, with no horizontal surfaces (it is the horizontal surfaces that tend to show up patchy wax jobs). But I did notice that the Annie Sloan Wax changed the colour of the paint, it lightened it and the wax almost gave a whitish tinge over the Graphite. Again it looked ok on the lamp bases but I certainly didn't love it for a large piece of furniture. I decided that the answer to getting the finish I was after for this Hamptons Style Cabinet was to use a different wax, more of an 'oilier' style wax, like a beeswax.
Several months ago I had been sent a sample of a scented beeswax by Monique of Dandelion Wood in Victoria. The brand is L'Essential and it smells absolutely divine. Seriously I could eat it (well not really but it is lovely). Apparently it is food safe though...
I decided to try this wax on a small section of the buffet and hutch, and loved it. The wax went on beautifully and didn't leave a whitish sheen like the AS wax. I used a cloth rather than my brush to apply the wax, and found rubbing it in was quite a workout, but well worth it for the end result. The rub in-rub off process I used to apply it was the same, except this wax won't feel as 'dry' straight away. You do need to be careful while it is drying not to get finger marks on your piece as with Graphite, they do tend to show up. 
This wax gave me the exact finish and colour I was after for this piece, and it will continue to be my wax of choice for Graphite pieces. I may even try it on other colours to see what difference it makes. A week after painting this piece, I can still smell the beautiful perfume of the L'essentials wax on nice!
Another option would be to use a polyurethane sealer instead of wax - my poly of choice is Porter's Clearcote which is water based, doesn't yellow, and is suitable for interior or exterior projects.

I hope this has been helpful to you...if you haven't tried Graphite because you've been worried about the waxing step - don't be - if you follow my tips you will be fine!

I was given the L'Essentials wax to try but was under no obligation to write about it. Any other products mentioned and recommended by me are just because I like the products - the makers have no clue I have mentioned them. Links in this post are not affiliate links.

And the Winner is...

Thanks to all that read and commented on my post reviewing Vintage Caravan Style.

The winner of a copy of the book is Robyn Nixon of Grafton. Congratulations Robyn, please email me your postal address so I can organise your book to be sent.

April 30, 2014

Hamptons Style Buffet and Hutch

I've just finished this large two piece solid pine buffet and hutch, and I absolutely love it!
It is a bit of a departure from my normal pastel retro cute style, but I was inspired to do this in a more classic Hamptons style after our recent trip to the NSW South Coast and Southern Highlands - Bowral in particular has some stunning shops and a fantastic antiques emporium called Dirty Jane's.

Here's how it started out...

I gave it three coats of Graphite Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and the inside of hutch got five coats of Pure White. I've sealed it all over with clear wax.  In another departure from my usual finishing techniques I didn't distress this piece - well I did a tiny little bit on the white but none at all on the black.  I thought that the combination of the colour and the shape of this piece made quite a statement and any more going on would have just been too much.  Plus the Hamptons look I was going for is classic and understated, not OTT!

This piece is available for sale, $650. It measures 1100mm wide x 550mm deep x 2000mm high.
Pickup is from Lake Cathie NSW 2445.
For any queries or to view please contact

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April 27, 2014

Vintage Caravan Style

I mentioned recently that I was invited to participate in a blog hop being run by UK Publishers Stitch Craft Create to promote Vintage Caravan Magazine author Lisa Mora's new book, Vintage Caravan Style. I'm in great company - click here to check out all the other awesome blogs participating!
At the end of this post, there's a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself :)
Accepting the invitation was a no-brainer for me - I absolutely love everything about vintage caravans. I shared here last week that I have one caravan renovation under my belt, and a burning desire to do another one!

The book is a great read, but to be honest, I'd buy it for the cover alone - I mean hello? Mint green, pastel pink and I? We are very close friends, as you will know if you've been here a while :)

And of course there's Blossom, who I introduced on my Facebook page last night...
In the book Lisa shares her wealth of knowledge and experience on subjects such as finding your dream caravan, what to watch out for when buying a caravan, choosing a theme, choosing a colour scheme, decorating your caravan, taking a road trip, the on-site caravan, and the caravanning community. It's an easy book to read and a hard one to put down - I very much enjoyed reading it from cover to cover whilst lazing in the sun one afternoon over Easter weekend.

The book is packed to the brim with gorgeous pictures that had me dreaming and scheming, and just smiling. I know I'm a little obsessed with vintage caravans but how can you not smile when you see these?

Having holidays, road trips or weekends away in a caravan is lots of fun, of course. But the decorating and styling of a caravan, well that totally sets my pulse racing, in a good way! A caravan is obviously a much smaller space to decorate than a whole house, and whilst some people might choose a neutrally decorated caravan, I think it is a space where you can afford to go a bit wild, try something different that you never would in your house. Decorate it in a way you secretly dream of decorating your house...if only you were brave enough. It's only paint and fabric, and the bonus is, in a caravan, you don't need much of it, so it's cheaper than redecorating your home. There are so many great and varied decor ideas included in the book, and Lisa sums it up well: 

"there is no right or wrong way to style a vintage trailer (caravan) and no matter what theme you decide upon, you will find that your fellow vintage 'trailerites' are some of the most open-minded and accepting people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting. It is this acceptance of one's right to be individual that makes vintage trailer owners different from the owners of the all-white and shiny brand new models. So don't be afraid to go all out when it comes to personalizing your space".

Caravans give you permission to get away with wackier decor choices than you can in a house - I wouldn't make curtains for my home using a duvet cover but I did for my last caravan. I wouldn't spray paint my house fridge pink or mint green but in a caravan - you bet I would! I gaze longingly at pastel pink kitchen cupboards on Pinterest but I wouldn't put them in my own home - I'd put them in a caravan in a heartbeat though. 
What would be tacky in a house is cute in a caravan...I love that!
Lisa talks about bunting being a perfect finishing touch for your caravan. If you've been reading Restyled Vintage for any length of time, you'll know that I think bunting is the perfect finishing touch for absolutely anywhere, anytime :)

Pom pom curtains in your house? I don't think so! In a caravan? Of course...why is that even a question? ;)
Dinner dress code? Pink Cowgirl boots, of course :)
I love that vintage caravans remind us not to take ourselves, or life, too seriously.
There are so many things I love about vintage caravans and the way they are decorated, I'm not sure I can really put it all into words. It's a feeling, and I think if you love vintage caravans and all they stand for too, you will get it. 

I've been given my own copy of Vintage Caravan Style to keep, and I've been given a second copy to give away to one of my readers...yay! To enter, please leave a comment on this blog post, telling me how you'd decorate your dream vintage caravan. Please ensure that I am able to contact you, ie. don't comment as 'anon' or 'no-reply'. 
I need an email address to tell you if you've won!

The winner will be drawn at random and announced on the evening of Sunday 4th of May (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Competition is open to anyone worldwide.

Good luck!

*I was given a copy of Vintage Caravan Style in exchange for reviewing the book on my blog
* Pictures watermarked are mine. Non-watermarked pictures have been supplied to me by the book promoter for publication on my blog.