Country style, country love, country life. Sharing my inspired, vintage, rustic DIY designs and decor on my blog.
Those of you who follow my blog know that I love to discover amazing local shops and then share that information with all of you. Yesterday I ventured to Malden, Ma (just a short “T” ride from Boston) to visit Maison Décor. I had read about this charming shop, owned by Amy Chalmers, from Steven Fuller’s blog, An Urban Cottage, so I decided to take a ride over to check it out. The lovely, welcoming exterior was a colorful contrast to the otherwise dreary gray palette we are calling spring this year in Boston.
Inside, the shop has several vignettes showcasing Amy’s work as an artisan-her style defines the essence of French Country.
Filled with painted and refinished desks & dressers decorated with vintage accessories,
and an occasional vache (I mean, what’s French Country Style without a cow or two?)
plus secretaries and armoires that have been painstakingly transformed into showpieces, the shop is eye candy for anyone searching for that softly muted, elegant French Country Style.
Using Annie Sloan chalk paints and waxes, Amy re-imagines and re-cycles old, dark pieces into fresh, fanciful furniture. She shared with me the techniques used to transform this lace cut side table- multiple layers of paints, glazes and waxes will be used to achieve the desired (gorgeous!) effect. Painstakingly time-consuming, but well worth the time spent when you see the finished products.
Also now offered in her shop, a new line of finishing products called Artisan Enhancements, a line of “innovative, decorative mediums” that can add another dimension to your painted furniture.
You can read all about the transformation process on her blog Maison Décor- Using Transfer Gel, where she shares “how-to” tips. For those of you just a bit wary of attempting chalk painting and gel transferring techniques on your own, Amy offers Sunday Workshops right in the midst of her showroom where inspiration surrounds you. And for those of you searching for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplies, you have come to the right place!
An authorized distributor, she stocks cupboards filled with paint pots, brushes and books that line the walls along with stacks and racks of lovely fabrics and sheer drapery panels that are available as well.
While she does sell the furniture and accessories online through her Maison Décor Shop, the paints and waxes are only sold in her shops, both at the 50 Summer Street location in Malden and at the shop on Harrison Ave in Boston’s South End. Which would be a great reason to stop in for a visit…just tell her that Susan from Country Design Home sent you!
Recently, thanks to Coach’s fantastic rummaging abilities, I find myself in possession of several new wooden pieces that need some TLC magic. One of the design styles I continually admire on Pinterest are painted pieces decorated with French Typography. Like this one featured on The Graphics Fairy:
or this rustic little nautical dresser from Joss & Main
There are so many brilliant DIYer’s out there who take old, junky furniture and accessories and transform them into beautiful decorative accent pieces for their homes or, in many instances, for sale. This sideboard, originally a dark and dingy brown, was painted and stenciled and turned into this beauty by the husband and wife team at Three Mango Seeds.
And check out the finish on this vintage table transformed by Red Hen Home! Love the dark stained wood with the black stencil-very ooh, la, la!
So, how do they do this, you ask? Where do all the letters and graphics come from? And how do I use them on furniture? One website that I subscribe to, The Graphics Fairy, sends a daily email with new and interesting free graphics and fonts- that’s right, free! Great for fresh ideas, inspiration or perfectly easy how-to instructions.
Included on her pages is how to download and print the graphics– obviously the size of the piece will determine the size of the graphic, and if it is a large dresser or console, you need an enlarged graphic, right? Blockposters.com to the rescue!
You download your picture onto their website, add the dimensions you would like and it creates adjacent blocks of graphic to the size specs you enter. Then you can print them right on your home computer and transfer them onto your piece. Click here for The Graphics Fairy Transfer Tutorial on all the ways transfer. So now, you have the graphic you like, where do you find all those fancy fonts? Again, The Graphics Fairy has many to choose from, but you can also check out azfonts or fonts for peas (super cute stuff for painting, scrapbooking, etc.).
So, if you have an old piece of furniture, or spot one at a yard sale that you just gotta have because the size works but just not the style, think about painting and adding some graphics for a whole new look. Recycling, refurbishing, reloving is what country design style is all about! Have a
Thursday, everyone! Susan
Last summer Coach and I completed a major outdoor renovation, transforming our deck into a screened-in porch. (Of course, today, on the eve of the official first day of spring here in Boston, the porch still isn’t useable due to yet another ridiculous snow storm!) OK, so once the porch construction was completed, we decided on red, white and blue nautical decor, using primarily vintage castoffs and refurbished finds.
Of the DIY projects that I posted here, the one with the most interest (and great comments!) was The Whale’s Tale.
The old whale-shaped table was scooped up at a yard sale for $5,
sanded and painted,
glazed and finished the table to give him a new, patriotic glow.
Recently, I submitted the project to This Old House, and it was selected for the This Old House Don’t Buy It, DIY It! Contest. For those of you not familiar with This Old House (hard to imagine…), it was one of the original home improvement TV Shows, beginning in 1979 and starring Bob Vila. Originally airing 13 episodes filmed in the Boston area, the show has grown into a national cultural icon. Presently aired on PBS, and hosted by Kevin O’Connor, This Old House continues to provide valuable information and resources for owners of older homes through the show, their website and magazine.
I am not sure if, at some point, I may need your votes to help me win $100 and a spot in the upcoming July Reader’s Issue of This Old House, but I will keep you posted! In the meantime, if you have a DIY project to share with This Old House, click here and fill in the online forms. (of course, just make sure it’s not as nice as my patriotic pal : ) Have a whale of a Tuesday everyone! Susan
Two weekends ago I visited the WinSmith Mill Market and, as I usually do when I find something awesome, I blogged about it. Because I really didn’t fully understand the size of the place and the amount of vendors doing business there, I spent many hours shopping and researching, and did my best to make sure I covered all the bases when giving out the information. In a couple of instances, I got it wrong, so I would like to correct that now, once and for all. Upon entering the parking lot at 61 Endicott Street, I saw the first building, where I encountered the shops called ReMARKables and Gallery 2.
Perhaps it was due to the mild head injury I experienced with the snow/sun roof incident prior to my arrival, or the sparkly stars hanging above the entrance, but I got the signs confused and used photos from one space that were actually of the other!
I received a lovely email from the store manager Arlene, who had seen the blog and noticed the photo mixup. (I mean, who could confuse where this sofa came from?!)
She, in fact, informed me that she had spoken to the owner Mark (more about him in a moment) about making the signs clearer, as many customers are just as confused. So, I returned to the scene this past weekend, met Arlene and got a little background information about the two shops: ReMARKables (the large warehouse filled with stuff owned by- you guessed it- MARK Waters)
What started as Mark hauling stuff out of houses and into his garage has morphed into the enormous warehouse space you see in these photos.
You name it, they have it- lots of it- and its anything and everything, both vintage- like this amazing Maytag Washer,
and modern- loving this dining set: )
can be had for a great price (Edith actually bought the shelf itself-minus the china!)
ReMarkables also holds a monthly auction, and some of the goods are set aside for that purpose- you cannot purchase them until the auction. The next one is scheduled for Friday, March 22 at the Norwood Commerce Center, where the Mill is located. For more information about the auction, you can contact them at 781-352-3162. Gallery 2 is a small shop that is filled with vintage pieces, like these glamorous furs,
these adorable children’s books
and these vintage office supplies (loving the table fan!)
Deb , the owner, says that she started out with hats and bags, and has grown her shop into a warm and welcoming space that offers jewelry, vintage gowns and some pretty, pretty vintage decor.
Below is a legend that is on the WinSmith Mill Market Facebook Page. Once again, this market is housed in the Norwood Commerce Center @ 61 Endicott, and is open on weekends only.
Although it is difficult to see, you can identify that there are 4 separate, but adjacent builings that house all of the shops listed. Some shops, like Vintage Peacock and Vintage Thymes, which are downstairs in building 23/24, are actually more of a co-op, where many vendors share the space to sell their wares. Other shops, like The Old Bean Antiques, are separately owned and operated.
I can also tell you that many of these shops do not have websites, but some do have Facebook pages where you can find general information. According to the WinSmith Market Facebook Information, the hours of operation are: Friday and Saturday 9am-6pm and Sundays from 12-5pm. (this is directly from the information page) For additional information you can contact them at Sre@61endicott.com One exception: The Vintage Thymes Monthly Market is just that- a MONTHLY Market, and is generally open on the second weekend of every month (Friday through Sunday).
For more info about their upcoming schedule, you can click here. So, I hope this clears up any confusion about the hours of operation and the shops. For any additional information, my best advice is to contact the WinSmith Mill Market email listed above or better yet, take a ride down (or up) there to see what all the fuss is about- you will NOT be disappointed! These past two weekends I visited more shops that are not listed on the legend above, but are included in the one below I found while shopping on Saturday.
So I am assuming that means that new shops are opening quickly as the word spreads, which is a good thing for you! Hope you are having a remarkable day! Susan
Enjoy this old Irish Blessing with a sampling of some of my favorite photos from our last visit to Ireland…
May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face (yup, that’s me kissing the Blarney Stone!)
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!! Susan