Weekend Thrifty Treasures

It’s that time of year again and flea markets, yard sales and estate sales are popping up more than ever. This Memorial Day I was driving to my local Salvation Army for their holiday 50% off sale to pick up a gorgeous brass and ornately detailed vintage Victorian style head and footboard when I spotted a tag sale on the side of the road. Right away my eyes were drawn to the two, too-cute Drexel nightstands that were parked right out front for all passersby to see. I couldn’t pass them up – but with my mind set on the vintage head and footboard I knew was at the SA – I decided that if the nightstands were still there on my way back (and the price was right), that I’d pick those up too.

As luck would have it, my vintage brass head and footboard was still available at the SA so I grabbed the tags to purchase. I looked around for some vintage frames I’d seen the other day, too, but they were long gone. However, to my great surprise, I stumbled across an excellent condition Louis XVI arm chair that was hidden by a monstrous pile of books that had been placed on its seat. When I drove around back to pick up my furniture finds, what did I see by the dumpster but the second, matching arm chair to my Louis XVI love! I asked the man working if they were throwing it away, to which he replied, “Yep, take anything you want over there.” My eyes lit up at the thought of not one but two Louis XVI arm chairs. The one by the dumpster was still in god condition but a piece of the wood that was supporting a leg had come unhinged from its screw – nothing a drill couldn’t easily repair! And so, I left the SA on my way to the tag sale with a car full of great vintage finds.

Check out my two new favorite finds (picture of headboard found online – very similar to the one I got; chair on right is my new Louis!)

brassheadboard4 035

Having only spent maybe 15 minutes at the SA down the road, sure enough, “my” two matching French Provincial nightstands, in their signature white and gold, were still there in their spot by the side of the road. I couldn’t pass them up! Now I just have to decide, do I keep them? Sell them as is? Or paint them in my newly created chalk paint that goes on so easily, so smoothly and so beautifully. What do you think? Is it time for another transformation? I think I’m going to try my hand at painting at least one of them in a paint that I bought from Home Depot, Behr’s Sterling, to match (as close as I could) Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey.

FP NightstandSterling

Did you get to any flea markets or yard sales this weekend? Share with me any treasures you uncovered recently. I’d love to see them!

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Not Your Kid’s Sidewalk Chalk – Painted Furniture

I have been seeing beautiful painted furniture for years now that is made to look like it’s vintage or “Shabby Chic” and recently I have been more and more curious about the paint people are using to make these re-habbed and re-purposed creations. Most notably, the brand name Chalk Paint from Annie Sloan is the primary material of choice. The paint is beautiful and comes in 32 vintage chic colors, with names like Paris Grey, Louis Blue, Provence and Emperor’s Silk, further evoking a feeling of a time past. (Photo of paint colors from Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint collection on her website.)

  Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan   

However, with a monopoly on the market (you can’t find Chalk Paint from Benjamin Moore or the like), the price is about double that of regular paint; but if you’re someone like me, who loves to scour for a bargain, the web is full of homemade recipes to make your own chalk paint in a very simple – and very inexpensive manner. My favorite recipe is only 3 ingredients: ANY can of latex paint (3 parts) + Plaster of Paris (1 part) + water to mix; and voila! You have a limitless selection of paint colors and minimal time in adding the plaster of paris (with water) to it.  Plus, one of the biggest bonuses about chalk paint is that you don’t have to sand or prime your furniture before painting it! That was probably the biggest attraction to me – that and the beautiful finish it leaves on flea market furniture finds.

Here is my flea market demi-lune table turned shabby cottage chic with my own homemade chalk paint using Behr’s Sea Sprite (baby blue).  (I forgot to take a before picture but found one very similar on the web – see belodemi lune 2 before030w).SeaSprite

Here are some great blog articles on mixing your own chalk paint:

http://salvagedinspirations.com/best-homemade-chalk-paint-recipes/

http://inmyownstyle.com/2013/02/diy-chalk-paint-review-update.html

http://www.iheartnaptime.net/chalk-paint/

http://www.thevintagefarmhouse.com/2012/10/homemade-chalk-paint-pros-cons.html

Have you tried making your own creations using either Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint or your own homemade chalk paint? Share them with me here; I’d love to see and hear about your experiences.

My French Revolution: French Provincial vs Louis XVI

As a little girl my room was all decked out in French Provincial furniture and décor elements and I never appreciated it for the beauty that they were. I wanted bright colors and wild patterns. By the time I was 13, my matchy-matchy bureau and desk were overpowered by an electric blue comforter with fluorescent leaves of pink, green and yellow and a shag pink rug (that had been in the house since the eighties). The eighties passed and somewhere in the 2000s I grew up and my tastes subdued – somewhat – and I’ve traded in my child-like love of neon bright furnsihings for a little more grown up taste of glitz and glamour by pairing jewel toned colors with ornate gold accessories. I still have my French Provincial set and have come to love and really appreciate its beauty; but being true to the “electric fluorescent” within me, I love to mix different colors and styles with the matchy-matchy furnishings that exist within my apartment.

My favorite details are those that were expressed in Europe in the 1800s that showcased beautiful patterns of damask, toile in rich materials like satin, brocade and velvet. The furniture they sat in looked so elegant and refined; in creams and muted blues and greens that were made to look even more stunning by the sparkle of floor to ceiling mirrors with the most ornate scrolling details in gold that curved around the edges of an ivory mirror. I do the best to make my apartment mirror the gorgeous styles of yesteryear while maintaining all the modern necessities and conveniences of today. I’ve hung rich plum purple curtains from my ceiling to section off my apartment’s closet/office from the living room/bed area. I love the juxtaposition of the curvaceous lines of my Louis XV end table and Queen Anne Victorian side chair mixed with the fluted legs of my Louis XVI style sofa.  And I’ve hung several ornate gold mirrors throughout my apartment to reflect the light and to trick the eye into thinking the rooms are larger.
One of my mirrors could easily have been part of my original French Provincial set, with its gold on ivory colors, curvaceous bottom legs and fluted decorative railing on top; but in the spirit of mixing (rather than matching), I really want to transform this mirror into a more ornate Louis XVI inspired find like those pictured below. How would you do it? Is it even possible? What ideas do you have that I could add or take away from the current construction of this mirror to make to more fitting with my décor?

Check out the Louis XVI inspired home décor goods in my Etsy store. From Mirrors to clocks, wallpaper, fabric and more. Do you have a favorite decorating style? Are you drawn to any particular artifacts when you’re out treasure hunting? Share it with me here. 
Happy decorating and happy thrifting!

Shabby Rococo Chic

Decorating in Shabby Rococo Chic? I am definitely a girly girl at heart – I may wear a lot of black, but there is usually something pink on me at all times, too.  In my love of shopping, vintage and home décor everything, I’ve been reading a lot of Rachel Ashwell books lately to see how she’s mastered her craft from thrifting to decorating and designing. She coined the décor term “shabby chic”, infamous for its pale pinks, blues and greens (think, painted furniture) paired with crisp clean whites (especially in slipcovered sofas). While I love everything about her style, I, personally, still need a little sparkle, a little brightness, a little bling in my space. While I love the traditionalism of certain décor elements, like a curvy Queen Anne leg, a French Provincial dresser and ice cream color palettes, I also love the ornate scroll detailing of a gorgeous gold, oversized mirror and those decadent glass dripping with crystals.   Think Betsey Johnson (the ultimate Queen of Black & Pink – with a lot of blinged out gold) meets Rachel Ashwell. Pair them together, and it’s definitely my design dream come true. I believe the best fitting term for this style is Rococo. You see Rococo in the architectural details of Victorian décor as well as in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood Regency and even in the color palette of Shabby Chic.

          The word Rococo itself comes from the French; rocaille, or stone, and coquilles, or shell. Not surprisingly, shells are one of the signature decorations in this style’s architectural details and designs.  With its 18th century origins, it is also known as late Baroque, encapsulating the curvaceous lines of Louis XV and the beginning of the architectural fluted posts of Louis XVI. It is famous for its mixture of pastels with gold, beautifully decadent painted murals, and curvaceous S lines in all its furniture and ornamentation. I think it is so elegant, so inspiring and fun all at once. For me, when I think of Paris Glam, I think of Rococo.

Check out some of  the Rococo style home décor goods in my Etsy store. From Mirrors to clocks, wallpaper, fabric  and more.

                Do you have a favorite decorating style? Are you drawn to any particular artifacts when you’re out treasure hunting? Share it with me here.  Happy decorating and happy thrifting!