Monday, May 1, 2017

The Old School Renovation of the Old Barn Begins...

Well. We are finally settled...

This past year, my husband’s company was unexpectedly sold. Suddenly, our life was filled with a lot of uncertainty. Job security, job satisfaction, advancement was all unknown and many employees began to leave as other companies reached out to them. This included my husband. A lucrative offer came from another company and it was too good to pass up. The catch, it would move us to Florida.  Florida, with the sun and beach and more sun, that was the upside. The downside was we would be moving from the home we had just moved into two years ago, an old Victorian farmhouse that we were slowly updating. 


We prepared ourselves for the change and dove in, but the whirlwind we thought we were in for, with a move and traveling back and forth while our oldest son finished his senior year in high school, never happened. Our home sat on the market for over 9 months with just a ridiculous low-ball offer and lots of hemming and hawing by buyers about what needed to be fixed.

We were so stressed. We would now be losing tons of money if we lowered the price on the house and I was quickly losing my mind from all the showings. I simply cannot maintain that level of clean required to show a house. Not with two labs, a cat and teenage boys.





But then, by the grace of God, another company reached out to my husband. It was a great offer and, we could stay in Maryland, in our home. Thank you God.


So here we are, settled, finally, and the stories and blog can begin again.

The biggest project we had on our list of things to repair in our home was renovating the old barn/carriage house.



The barn, which probably dates to earlier than the 1863 house, was falling apart. Siding was falling off, windows were knocked out and if there had ever been doors on the front they were now gone too. It really looked like we need a bulldozer to come in and knock it down.





 But, if you looked closer, there were things that made it seem worth saving. It had a concrete subfloor put in by a previous owner, a metal roof that still was in good shape, and beautiful had hewn beams throughout that seemed like they would stand forever, given the chance.

It also had beautiful site lines. With the sharp-pitched roof and tall and narrow sides, it created a picture perfect view out our kitchen and sunroom. I had a feeling, if we replaced it with something new, every time I looked out our french doors I would regret it.



But, replacing it seemed an easy solution and letting a salvage company take the good wood, seemed to ease the guilt of knocking her down.

Then we met Buck. I had recently crossed paths with Buck on several occasions not realizing he renovated and salvaged old homes. Long story, short, Buck came out and visited our barn and wanted to restore it. And by that I mean he didn’t simply want the work, he wanted the opportunity to save the barn.

He walked around her and looked her up and down. Salvaging as much as he could, he would bring her back to life. 

And so, the new life for an old barn begins…



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

French Postal Dresser

For the better part of the year, I have latched on to a specific furniture look, cream distressed back to gold undertones. And I am not ready to let go.


The gold peaking out dresses things up, but the simplicity of white slightly roughed up…keeps a lid on too much glitz.

I love design that has good yin and yang in it, dressy, but with practicality. 

So with that in mind, I took to updating this beautiful mid century modern dresser by Dixie furniture. What really stole my heart was the gorgeous hardware…isn’t it awesome? But the dull yellow finish...not so awesome.


I created a new look starting with a primer in a color close to beige or yellow to serve as a base for the metallic gold. Then I went to one of my favorite products of 10 years, modern masters metallic. I applied a shade called warm silver. Really a soft gold. Two coats of this goes on like glass. On top I applied a coat of classic white chalk paint then wet distressed back to the gold.


To make this piece unique, I then added a hand painted element in gold and gray. When a dresser has such an even clean front, I can’t help but look at it as a canvas.

I chose simple vintage french postal ephemera from the Graphics Fairy, here.


To see the step by step process for this finish with a transfer, view my older post, here

A couple tips when painting images on furniture...

  • Don’t be afraid to use artistic license. The original postal image had a flower, which was just too much feminine for me. I took it out. I also added another postage stamp lower to create balance.
  • Always use water color pencil to draw up image and in a color such as gray that can work as a shadow color. Wipe off what you can, but what remains acts as a shadow for depth.
  • Experiments with colors…don’t always use black to paint words etc.




I finished this piece with my hands down favorite topcoat, Modern Masters Dead Flat


It is virtually foolproof..
It does not drip easily.
It does not show lap lines.
It give you time to brush a little back into if you need to.
It gives a smooth flat gorgeous finish.

I have made the mistake of using other polys and waxes I had on hand after running out of Dead Flat. Like I said. Mistake. Order on amazon and get it in two days…don’t kid yourself, you probably wouldn’t have finished the piece before that.

Tweak and Style your world beautiful



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