Potterybarn Black Paint Finish Tutorial

{Please enjoy this 2011 post re-run while I'm away on Christmas vacation}
This project was my first video tutorial.  It was originally intended to be an instructional tool for some clients.  Had I known this video would reach over 35,000 viewers on You Tube, I would have done a spell check before posting it.  I guess I'm just keepin' it real.  This post turned out to be a ton of fun.  I received a few before and afters from readers that applied this technique to their own pieces.  It's humbling to realize that people really do read this blog.  Thank you.

Here is the original post:

Have you ever longed to achieve the perfect black paint finish?  Like the worn black finish on Potterybarn Furniture?   

Well, I have.  After years of trying different techniques,  I finally got it down.  Just in case anyone else has the same longing, I put together a quick video tutorial.

This video demonstrates my technique for turning thrifted furniture pieces into Potterybarn quality furnishings with the perfect worn black finish.

(Please  click on the frame if you need to view it larger).

The furniture piece used in this tutorial was not a thrifted item.  It was actually a client project that was in pristine condition (it definitely did not stink :)  )  
It still however, represents the basic painting technique.
Do you have any secrets for getting the perfect black?

For information on my affordable Online Design Consultation Services please Click Here.
I am now taking appointments for January and February, 2012.

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DIY Striped Drapes

{While I am away on Christmas vacation, please enjoy this 2011 post re-run...
one of my favorite 2011 posts}.

Every year when the Christmas decorations come down, it's inevitable that something big is going to happen.  The house always feels sterile after the twinkling lights and glittery ornaments are put away.  This is the time of year that I usually do something dramatic...

This year, it was the drapes.  

I wanted a bold, graphic pattern.    I also wanted a print that was geometric and large in scale.  And definitely black and cream.  I love what stripes can do for a space (check out The Nester's Drapes).

 I couldn't find a striped fabric that I liked so, I resorted to my usual ways and made my own.  

My drapes were originally plain off white cotton twill drapes from Restoration Hardware.  They were a bit pricey {for my budget} so, I didn't want to do anything permanent.

I used black twill fabric cut into 14" wide stripes 

and attached them to my plain canvas drapes with fusible fabric webbing.  

Then, using the same technique,  I covered the raw edge with black grosgrain ribbon.

Here is what they looked before...



and now...


These drapes could also be easily created with ready made panels cut into strips and sewn together.  The technique I used took a little longer but, is not permanent.  Something to consider before starting this project.


...the same issue that went home with the celebrities at The 2011 American Music Awards (pinch me).

I can't wait to share the project that will begin this year after the decorations are put away. 

Thanks for stopping by.  
Please click HERE for information on my Affordable On-Line Design Consultation Service.  I am now taking appointments for January 2012!

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DIY Faux Tree Flocking Tutorial

{While I am on Christmas vacation, please enjoy this 2011 post re-run}

This year, I was on a quest to find a better method for flocking my artificial tree.  I wanted durability, a thick texture and lots of sparkle.  All I could find on the internet were recipes from the 60's with glue and Ivory Soap Flakes.   Sounded way too messy.  

I came up with my own solution.  For this project I used a thrift store tree, a can of white paint and glitter.

I took the tree apart and applied a thick layer of paint on the top of  just the tips of the branches (where snow would naturally fall). 

 While the paint was wet,  I sprinkled it with glitter.  

I reassembled the tree as I went along.  It took about 24 hours to dry and it made a huge mess, I recommend doing this outside.

This is the second year using the flocked tree.

It held up great.  I have to admit, it made a mess when I assembled it.
It wasn't too bad though, definitely worth it.

Thanks for visiting.  
Merry Christmas. 

Terrarium In A Jar

During the winter months, I like to have fresh flowers and green plants around the house to remind us of the promise of Spring.

{While I'm away on Christmas vacation, please enjoy this 2011 post re-run}

This weekend, I made a trip to the greenhouse.

 I found a Rosemary "tree" half-off.  The scent is fabulous. 
It will be great for cooking too. 

I also fell in love with this sweet little plant, Baby Tears...awe. 
I had to buy it just for the name. 

I've been wanting to put together a few Terrariums.
Like this:

I went thrifting in search of glass cloches.
No luck, they were either not available or too expensive.

I went home a little disappointed and then it came to me.
 I had a few glass jars stashed away...

and the little plants fit in them perfectly.

With the exception of the plants, I was able to assemble my Terrariums using what I already had.  
Don't you just love it when that happens?

In Michigan, a little bit of green goes a long way.
Thanks for visiting.  

The Family Command Center Controversy

Today's post is a 2011 post re-run and also a lighthearted response to the controversy that erupted over our family command center chore list.. 

I never thought in a million years that this project would get so much attention.  It's stirred up a heated debate in several internet forums and my email inbox.  Evidently, my daughters chore list being longer than the boys list has rubbed a few the wrong way.  Some folks were offended that she was assigned dish duty and not the boys.  

Let me tell you, Hannah thoroughly appreciates the support from those who felt that she was being overloaded with chores because she is a girl.  

(Hannah and I)

I'd like to take this opportunity to set the record straight (even though the comments are entertaining and I love the blog traffic that has resulted from the debate).  Their chores were assigned to be age appropriate, not based on gender role stereotypes.  
Thank you, to everyone that weighed in.  I appreciate every comment, even the mean ones. 

Here is the original post:

Now that I am back to work, things are a lot different in our house. In an effort to stay somewhat organized, I have taken some unused space in our hallway and turned it into a command center.

Each child has a tote bag with their clothes for the day, lunch money and special notes from Mom. The chalk board reminds them of their daily responsibilities.

I added iron hooks to the existing shelf. ($3 each)

I printed the children's names from my computer onto iron on transfer paper to make the personalized totes. ($2 each tote)

The photos can be changed out with each season. I stuck green hydrangeas in these cute urns for a little pop of color.  The chalkboard was made out of MDF and chalk board paint. ($6 for the sheet of MDF and $8 for a can of chalk board paint)

Maybe our mornings will be a little less hectic. If not, at least my hall looks cuter.
Please click Here for information on my Affordable On-Line Design Consultation Service.
Thanks for visiting!

Budget Friendly Builder Bathroom Makeover

{While I am away on Christmas vacation, please enjoy this 2011 post re-run}

Recently, we gave our builder-grade powder room a budget friendly face lift.  
The room was pretty boring originally.  To give it an upgrade without spending a lot, I started with paint.  "Lobster Red" by American Signature @ Lowes and "Tailors Chalk" by Martha Stewart.

The paint color was Hubby's choice.
He doesn't ask for much so, when he requested red, he received.

 I sanded, primed and painted the vanity, taking it from medium oak wood grain to clean crisp white.  Hubby installed 1x4 baseboards and quarter round trim to "beef up" the moldings.

The formica counter top was replaced with "Absolute Black" Granite.  The basic builder faucet was upgraded to polished chrome. 

The towels are from the PotteryBarn Outlet.  
The other chrome fixtures were a housewarming gift from my parents when we purchased our home 7 years ago.  They set the tone for the new faucet and vanity hardware.

I took the frameless mirror and transformed it into a custom feature by attaching a thick frame directly onto the glass with liquid nails.  I have shared this link before, it is a great tutorial on this project, Janell Beals How to frame a Mirror.

Our tiny little powder room has a 20 foot vaulted ceiling.  To keep the room feeling intimate, my husband installed floating crown moulding at 9 feet to create a break in the wall color.  It's a simple solution if you have high ceilings and don't know where to stop and start the wall/ceiling paint colors.

It's also great for people like me who like to change the paint color often.  It eliminates the need for scaffolding.  

For accessories, I kept it pretty simple.  I placed a fresh Orchid in a white pot on the vanity and hung french plaques from Hobby Lobby from black ribbons.  

Here is a shot of the room before...

(I'm hoping the folks @ poison control don't see this.)

And After...

This little room makeover was featured in Romantic Homes Bedrooms and Baths Magazine.  
You can click here to see the article.

Thanks for visiting!
Please click HERE for information on my Affordable On-Line Design Consultation Service, I am now taking appointments for January, 2012!

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