Friday, June 29, 2012

A home makeover for $50

I'll admit it, I can be a bit obsessive. My current obsession centers around paint and refinishing furniture. I've been meaning to post about this recent paint obsession for a few months, but life got in the way. So, I'll start from the beginning...

A few months after Calder was born and my brain was starting to work (well, kinda) and I had the energy to tackle some home projects, I went for it. I had just had it with my dark, depressing surroundings, and I was soo ready for a change. I knew I couldn't afford to buy new furniture and "start over", so I decided to work with my hand-me-downs and make them more me.  Of course, I do hope some day to replace these pieces with my "dream table" or my "dream armoire," but since I've been saying that for years now and that ship hasn't come in, this will have to do the trick for now.

My living room feels so refreshed and I do too. I use to just sit and stare, and wish away all that dark wood. But I was too scared to actually make the move. I would go in spurts of caring and not caring and then caring a lot... and then finally, on a random Saturday when Bruner was gone playing golf and Calder was sound asleep in her nap... I DID IT. I knew once I made one big paint stroke, there was no turning back..

I've never been scared of painting furniture, in fact, quite the opposite. I love painting old pieces and find it so rewarding and therapeutic. BUT, there was something about our dining room table and chairs from my in-laws that made me nervous. They didn't care if I painted it because it desperately needed some refinishing, but it did make me nervous for some reason. My husband loves this table because of all the childhood memories, so I'm glad we could meet in the middle here.

And...Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to the rescue! While I was in Chattanooga in April, I came across Annie Sloan Chalk Paint at a cute store downtown, C.Martin Collection. I was immediately interested because this paint is perfect for someone like me who doesn't have the time or patience (or muscles) to refinish furniture the "correct" way. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint does not follow the rules but allows the user to work with it in an independent, intuitive and creative way. No Sanding. No Priming. No Removing of old wax, old paintor varnish. REALLY.

I used Old White on our dining room table and chairs. I sealed it with the Annie Sloan Clear Wax, and experimented with the dark wax but ended up switching it back and leaving it out.


And painting the armoire scared me too. I actually bought that piece soon after I graduated from Ole Miss and received my first paycheck (for barely nothing), but at the time it was a lot for this little graphic designer. I bought it at AtHome in Homewood (such a cute store and I miss those lunch breaks where I'd just wander around and graze). I loved it at the time, and it was the perfect size for our living room in the little home I rented with some girlfriends from college. BUT, my taste has definitely changed and evolved since then (as I'm sure it always will), and I wouldn't buy that same piece now.

I used Benjamin Moore Fairview Taupe on our armoire. BTW, I love this Natura paint—totally worth the extra money. It doesn't have an odor at all and was important to me with Calder.

I was hesitant about painting this cane back chair at first, but I couldn't be happier with it now. I actually used several different Benjamin Moore paints I already had (Natural Wicker, Briarwood and  Fairview Taupe). I completely winged it and think it turned out pretty well for such a last minute project.

So for a whopping $50 or so, I got a whole new living room and dining room. It took me a few Saturdays and Sundays (and several of Calder's long naps), but totally worth it in the end.

And for you Mobilians, you can buy Annie Sloan Chalk paint at the Heron House. Photo courtesy of my good friend Ashley Dukes!



  1. So excited to see this post! I am actually painting a bench tonight that is in my guest bathroom. So neat to see this with perfect timing!!! I love how everyone is putting older pieces to good use and just painting it.

  2. Super impressed. Way to get creative and take the plunge. Looks great!

  3. Yay Hadley!!!! Ummmmmmm.... so do you think I should do my dining room table (and chairs, oh my!!!!!) AHHHHHHH!!!!!! I am totally with you on the hesitant to paint. I am the exact same way! Well your living/dining room looked great before, but now it looks fantastic!!! Not sure if I will ever get the courage, but you have definitely given me inspiration!!!

  4. Thanks y'all! Nonie, I say definitely go for it. You can buy Annie Sloan Chalk paint at the Heron House in Mobile. Maybe try painting a smaller piece with it first and see how you like it. Keep me posted if you decide to go for it :)

  5. Great turned! Every picture of before and after made me so glad because it's expressing your ideas very well and understand every thing very comfortably. I am gonna paint my old furniture and will try to match well with my existing white painted furniture and hope to get great look as shown above.

  6. One "nice to know" decorating tip is that, when decorating with lots of white, you don't have to "match " the whites necessarily. Suzanne Kasler says she layers white whites with beige whites etc.So...white is pretty foolproof!

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