Before & After… Tall Contemporary Drawers

I was offered these drawers by a trader friend of mine who needed the space in her shop. She wasn’t charging me a fortune and there was something about the shape and styling in them that appealed to me. They were well made but modern and I knew straight away what I was going to do with them. Mark, on the other hand, hated them!

Great shape but very 1984!
Great shape but very 1984!

I started off with 2 coats of red chalk paint (my own mix) and then turned the laptop on and fired up Pinterest. I needed a free swirl that I could use to decorate the front and, sure enough, Pinterest delivered!

Then I turned to Block Posters to transform it into a PDF and transferred it onto the drawers (I will be writing a tutorial on the method I use in the near future). It wasn’t quite as bold as I wanted so I went over it with a Sharpie and then sanded back just a little so it wasn’t too sharp.

A quick coat of wax varnish and they were ready to stick online… only now Mark likes them and wants them down the shop!

The graphic makes the difference!
The graphic makes the difference!

The Unloved Corner Cabinet Top

Occasionally we will buy a few items bunched together as one lot at an auction. This piece came with the dresser that Mark gave a complete makeover to a few weeks back.

It’s the top of a mahogany corner unit similar to a few others we already have in stock. Mark put it straight into the shop to fill a gap and we forgot about it.

The other day when we were starting our spring fling clear-out of unwanted stuff at the shop Mark said to take it over the road to the charity shop. It’s a well made piece with no faults, and still has the original key with it, so I couldn’t give up on it so easily.

Mahogony corner cabinet
Quite uninspiring

Once it was in the corner of my living room I set about finding the look to vamp it up a little in the style department. I knew I wanted something bright and fresh – a complete contrast to the dark finish it originally had. Then I found some stunning wallpaper while shopping for another project…

Butterfly Wallpaper
WOW!

I’d always wanted to try papering the inside of one of these things and this was my chance. So home I came with the paper and, after a bit of faffing around, I managed to mix a beautiful shade of duck egg blue that matched it perfectly.

So I painted it all over with two coats, not minding the glass as this cleans back easily. Then I set to sticking the paper in which proved a lot more awkward than putting it onto a wall – think back to trying to put wallpaper in your dolls house and you are on the right tracks!

Wallpapered corner cabinet
I just love the paper!

Once that was done I had to decide on a finish for it. I didn’t want it distressed, I wanted the main feature to be the paper background, so I gave it a thin coat of wax varnish I’ve been wanting to review for a while (post coming soon). The finish wasn’t a luxurious as wax but it makes it a more durable piece that will withstand a little abuse.

Painted Mahogany Corner Cupboard

It’s already back in the shop, Mark changed his mind about giving it to charity for now!

So, which do you prefer, the traditional mahogany or the bright finish?

Nikki x

Before & After: Dark Wood Console Table

I thought I’d share a quick B & A with you this beautiful Sunday. I bought the original dark wood table from a friend who runs a house clearance and second hand store. It was a boring piece that had sat in her shop for a few months so she was pleased to see the back of it – and it fitted my shopping search for something I could complete in an afternoon and test my new paints out on.

Dark Wood Console Table
I got carried away and started painting before I remembered to take the ‘Before’ shots!

I didn’t sand or prime it at all as I wanted a true test of the paint I’d just made up. The first coat of red went on a dream. The paint was very thick so there were brush marks in the texture but it went on well so I decided that one coat would be enough. I gave it a rudimentary clear wax (Rust-oleum) and then painted directly over that with the blue I’d just mixed up.

The blue was a LOT runnier and I was worried that it would take a few coats to cover such a strong red. Boy, was I wrong! It went on an absolute dream!!! One coat and you had no idea of it’s secret red undercoat 🙂

I like its simple elegance
I like it’s simple elegance

Once it had dried I rubbed it back a little on the legs and a bit heavier around the edges and top of the table, until I got the look I was after. Another 2 coats of wax and a good polish and I was done!

I’m really pleased with the results and the finished piece is available to buy on our Showroom pages or our Lydney shop. £45

Drumroll…

I wanted the red to show through, but not too much!
I wanted the red to show through, but not too much!

Table for sale

Distressed table top
I like the way the top turned out!

As always, I welcome your opinions!

Nikki x

Amazing Dresser Transformation.

Annie Sloan Dresser

It’s Saturday morning as I write this. Mark is enjoying a well deserved lie in, the kids are doing their own thing and I’m still in my pj’s with a nice cup of coffee and a plate of shortbread! I’ve just given a little table it’s first coat of red paint and, while I’m waiting for it to dry, I thought I’d share some photo’s of a dresser that Mark has been working on for a couple of weeks.

It was very ‘bog standard’ when he bought it at auction, but he had a vision of what he wanted and set about it fearlessly.  He started with Annie Sloan (TM) Barcelona Orange straight onto the varnished surface, force dried it with a hair drier (he’s not a patient man), then over the top with Antibes Green.

It was heavily sanded back to emphasize the distressed look and then given 2 coats of dark wax and polished within an inch of it’s life!  We used Briwax as we like the way it actually takes off a little of the chalk paint as you use it and takes out any sanding marks you might leave.

With the top, Mark sanded off most of the varnish before aging the wood to a beautiful silver. Unfortunately he hadn’t removed quite enough of the varnish (like I said, he’s not a patient man) and the effect was patchy, but he gave it the dark wax treatment and it actually turned out great!

I’d love to hear your comments on the finished piece – I think it might be our marmite dresser (love it or loath it!).

Now for some pics…

Bare pine dresser top
The whole thing started out as bog standard varnished pine.
Annie Sloan Paint
Tools of the trade
Barcelona Orange
Barcelona Orange
Green over orange
Green over orange
Sanded Back
Rubbed back
Dark wax
Dark Wax Going On
Crackle effect
Force drying can cause paint to crackle (Tut coming soon)
Repeat everywhere!
Repeat everywhere!
Patchy top
The top before dark wax

 

Finished Dresser
With a few props, in the window of the shop!

 

Retro Prints… chic or kitch?

Whatever your views on the rise of the retro revolution there’s no denying that if it was ‘in’ when your mum was setting up house then it’s going to be making a comeback in the trendiest of apartments now.

We found these sweet little prints in the corner of a charity shop, buried under various other prints of days gone by. There was something about them that Mark couldn’t set down so he decided to bring them home – perhaps in the hope that he’d find a space on our walls where they’d fit just right!

Retro print
Pretty little girl from the 60’s

Unfortunately (for him) they just didn’t fit with our current  décor so they are in our showroom and available to buy! At the moment they are in their original frames with no restoration or updating.

Retro print of boy
Sweet little boy from the 60’s

Both prints bare the signature of famous 1960s English artist Dallas Simpson. They measure 7″ x 13″ including the frames.

Dallas Simpson Prints
Charming!

If you are interested in buying these sweet little prints we would like £15 for the pair, plus actual postage to your address. Email  nikki@bigredbarn.co.uk . Of course you are welcome to call into our shop in Newern St, Lydney, GL15 5RA. to check tem out first.