Better Homes & Gardens’ 2015 Color Palette of the Year

BHG Color Palette of the Year ADVENTUREEver since I wrote the blog post about different paint companies introducing their “colors of the year” I have been asked again and again, “who decides that? and how do I get to be the person who chooses the color for the entire year? and why does it have to be just one color?”  Recently, I was approached by Meredith Corp, the parent company of *Better Homes and Gardens to request that I take a look at their trending “Better Homes and Gardens’ 2015 Color Palette of the Year”. Unlike other publications and paint companies, I was happy to see that BHG chose not just one color, but an entire color palette for your design inspiration. According to the press release, ” The collection of six colors highlights the most current trends in home and fashion, in hues that complement each other through multiple combinations.”  

BHG 2015 Color Palette of the Year BOLDThe pressing question for me is how was this particular palette chosen? “To design the palette, Better Homes and Gardens editors scouted trend forecasts, runway shows, trade show booths, and spoke with color experts at the Color Marketing Group’s International Summit. BHG editors then fine-tuned the tones to offer hues that are modern, lasting, and most importantly, livable.”  I believe the key word there is livable. I have seen many single “colors of the year” that I just could not imagine living with in my home. But this palette provides a much broader array of colors that could fit any style of decor, whether its country, mid-century or sleek and modern.

So, here are two room samples; the differences are striking, but the colors are exactly the same in each space. It’s the color placement choices that create the entirely different moods in the two rooms. You want deep and dreamy?

BHG Color Palette of the Year DEEP & DREAMYChoose the darker, richer color- in this case the Pratt & Lambert Stone’s Throw Gray- in the palette for the walls to envelop you and use the lighter colors for the furnishings and decor. Light and Lively is accomplished with the alternate approach:

BHG Color Palette of the Year LIGHT & LIVELYpainting the walls in the lightest color of the palette and accessorize with the darker hues for pops of color creates a fresh, cheery space.

So what are the six colors in this year’s Better Homes & Gardens’ palette?

Essential Teal by BehrOCEANIC BLUE: Deep and dreamy with a refreshing intensity.

Behr Essential Teal BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodeStone’s Throw by Pratt & Lambert...SOPHISICATED GRAY: Dripping with drama. Rich, sexy and serene.

Pratt & Lambert Stones Throw BHG Color Palette of the Year CodedPanama Rose by PPG...FRESH BERRY: The perfect kick of color, bursting with life.

PPG Panama Rose 1181-7 BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodeSalmon Rose by ValsparSHAPE-SHIFTING CORAL: Like a chameleon – sassy, yet soft.

Valspar Salmon Rose BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodedNaive Peach by Sherwin-Williams...WARM BLUSH: Romantic in the home and flattering on every skin type.

Sherwin Williams Naive Peach BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodedParadise by Sherwin-WilliamsRAINFOREST GREEN: A show-stopping jewel tone that looks and feels alive.

Sherwin Williams Paradise BHG Color Palette of the Year 2015 CodedWith a tropical flair and inspired by nature, these colors can be used in any combination or combined altogether to add a bright, cheerful, welcoming feeling to any room. According to designer Eddie Ross, Better Homes and Gardens’ East Coast Editor:  “We’ve created a foundation that not only works well together, but allows readers to isolate a single color or combination to create a sophisticated, yet livable room. Color can be very personal, and while certain colors may be trending, we want to make sure ours have staying power. The colors we’ve chosen are meant to give readers the building blocks for experimenting with no-fail creativity,” he adds. “Modern switches in color can completely change the look and feel of anything from a container garden to a table setting. Even the right shade of glassware can elevate the experience of something as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee.”

You can view additional rooms and styles with this year’s color palette online or in the March Color Issue of Better Homes and Gardens, available on newsstands today. Or by visiting their Instagram page where they have been sharing pics of inspired decor from bloggers using the hashtag #BHGColor.  So if I had to choose one of these colors for my color of the year, it would be Essential Teal by Behr-I do love my blues… How about you? Does this palette speak to you? Would you use any or all of it in your home? I am dreaming of color right now because all I am seeing around me is mountains of white snow!! Have a colorful Tuesday everyone! Susan


IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light


IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light by CDH

After I created my Times-Square featured Vintage Bedspring Marquee Light,

Black & Decker Times Square Billboard Times SquareCoach quickly found a second bedspring that he thought I could transform as well. But, one giant marquee sign is more than this girl needs, so I had him cut the springs off of the frame to save for other projects. Like this cute little votive candle holder I created over the holidays.

Rusty Bedspring Coil Votive Candle Holder Country Design HomeBeing trapped in the house this weekend while the snow mountains build, I figured I’d take another look at the bin of bedsprings and see what I could create. Here is my latest project, simple and fun with a cool, vintage look! So what do you have when you take an

IKEA Sekond Black & White Textile Light Cord Set

IKEA Bedspring Pendant Light Sekond Cord Kit


Plus SignAn Edison Bulb

IKEA Hack Vintage Light Fixture
Plus SignA vintage bedspring coil painted silver?

Ikea Sekond Bedspring LightYou get this!

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light by CDHA vintage pendant light to hang anywhere in your home that could use a spot of light. (which, is pretty much everywhere in my house right now since there is absolutely NO sunlight…)

Very simple project, actually. You take the cord and unscrew the flange from the base.

IKEA Sekond Pendant Light attach to bedspringI used a silver-painted coil spring, but you could certainly use a rusted metal one, or paint one pink or blue or whatever color you wish.

Insert the socket of the light into the top of the spring. Fits perfectly! Then you take the flange and screw it in from the bottom of the spring and turn it clockwise until you have a snug fit with a coil.

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light

Screw in the lightbulb. (Remember that old joke about how many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Yeah, me neither. But if you think of one, let me know)

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light W Edison BulbHang the cord from the ceiling hooks provided in the cord kit or use your favorite wall bracket or lantern holder. Twist and knot the cord to keep it from slipping, then plug it in. Voila! A DIY vintage light fixture-no wiring needed!

IKEA Sekond Bedspring Pendant Light by CDH

Hope you’re having a great Sunday everyone. If you’re in  New England, stay safe. And if you’re in some warm, sunny place, then stay there. Seriously. Susan

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top LogoSince I have discovered these French Typography stencils from Americana Decor

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Americana French Typography StencilsI have been dreaming of Paris in springtime…BUT, the cold, stark reality is that there are icicles coating my windows

Icicle Windowand snowbanks the size of small mountains in my yard…with more snow in the forecast!  So, in the warmth of my home (and, I am indeed lucky enough to have a roof over my head and oil in my tank and warm cappuccino at the ready)

Cappuccino I am recreating Paris around me. First, with the Paris Hamper,

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Country Design Home TMthen with the Vintage Rooster French Commode,

Vintage Rooster Commode Finished TMand now with my latest makeover, this Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table…Ooh, La La!! This is a small side table, painted with chalk paint and then detailed with gold leaf and stencils.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top Here is the how-I-did-it:

1. I am sorry to say that I do not have a before pic of this little side table. It was another junk pick that had seen better days, but it had such nice lines and pretty legs and a top that needed some work (sounds familiar…). So, I cleaned it, then painted it with two coats of chalk paint I had mixed from some different paint pots I had handy. The trouble with mixing your own paint is that eventually you run out. If I decided I wanted to paint something else with this color, I am out of luck. So I took a camera shot and analyzed it with my Benjamin Moore Color Capture and it matched my home made color to their Mythic...a perfect color match!

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Paint Color2. Once the table was painted and dried, I taped off the top because I only wanted the gold leaf on the bottom surface and not the sides.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top Taped OffThis gold leaf kit comes with two bottles: one is the glue, the other is the sealer, and a package of gold leafing sandwiched between tissue paper.
This stuff is super thin and fragile (not the paper, the gold) and tears very easily, so you have to handle it very carefully. A little leafing goes a very long way. Mona Lisa knows the deal… You can purchase this kit at your local craft supply store, or if you don’t want to brave the snow, you can order it on this link.
Paris Inspired Gold Leaf KitIt comes with the two bottles of adhesive and finish and 25 sheets of gold.  I had this one kicking around my craft supplies bin for quite awhile, so not sure where I originally purchased it. But I’m guessing I used a coupon…

3. I painted the entire surface with a coat of Metal Leaf Adhesive Size.

Metal Leaf Adhesive Size for Gold Leaf Table TopThis is the glue that holds the leafing in place. You paint it on, making sure you leave no bubbles or puddles, then allow to dry for 60 minutes or until the milky white glue turns clear. It really doesn’t feel tacky to the touch when dry, but no worries, it works great.

4. I started applying the gold leaf, one sheet at a time. This is a rather tedious process and takes a while to get the technique down. Basically, you have to almost “float” the sheet of gold leaf onto the surface, trying to avoid wrinkles and fold overs the best you can.

Applying Gold Leaf to Paris TableOnce it hits the glue, it stays put. But it won’t be a smooth surface until you take a small dry paint brush and start smoothing it out. Once you finish one piece, you simply add another until the entire surface is covered with gold. As you add more pieces, they will only stick to the exposed glue and will brush off the already adhered sheets. You just brush the excess away to another area and smooth it down. Once completed, the surface will look like a gorgeous antiqued crackled gold finish, like this:

Gold Leaf Applied to Paris Table5. Once I had covered the entire surface covered with the gold leaf, I painted on the Metal Leaf Sealer. Once coat is all it requires.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Metal Leaf Sealer6. For a little extra detail, I decided to paint the trim line encircling the outside of the table top.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Side Detail Gold Metallic PaintFor this, I simply used a thin paint brush and some gold metallic acrylic paint.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top Metallic Paint for side detailIt would have been virtually impossible to get the gold leaf into the tiny thin line.

7. I added the stencil using my “no-fail” stenciling technique. Now, I really wasn’t sure if I could stencil OVER the sealed gold leaf, but I figured, why not give it a try? This particular French Typography stencil fit perfectly onto the top, so I simply set it into place,

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Stenciled Table Top Applying Stencilthen stenciled with Relic Chalky Paint from Americana. Voila!

Stenciled Gold Leaf Paris Table Top8. Once that dried, I held my breath as I painted on the sealer because I just didn’t know if the stencil on the sealed gold leaf would smear or not. Yay-NOT! This is a clear poly-acrylic sealer from General Finishes.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table General Finishes PolyAcrylic FinishThese products have very little odor and wash up with soap and water. Love that, especially since I am working indoors right now. I painted the gold leaf surface, plus the bottom shelf with that, then treated the rest with Americana Creme Wax

Americana Creme Wax Clearfor a less shiny, more buffed appearance.

9. Here is the finished Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table. Loving the way the gold leaf top glows in the candlelight.

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top LogoHave a safe and warm Friday everyone! Bonne Journee! xoxo Susan


Lucky In Love? Or Just Lucky Enough…

…to find one of these little Pyrex “Lucky In Love” bowls at an estate or rummage sale? Well hang on to your lucky little heart if you have! The bidding on this bowl, presently being auctioned on Ebay by Molliec917, is up to $3155.00 with four days remaining!

Lucky in Love Pyrex Bowl on EbayManufactured by the Corning USA company back in 1959, this sweet little Pyrex bowl is the rarest of the rare of the Pyrex Collection. On Sunday, I was alerted to an ongoing Ebay auction for this very bowl, with the bidding that is presently at $3155.00 with 4 days to go until the end of the auction!!

Lucky in Love Pyrex Bowl Ebay AuctionWait, what?!?!? $3000+ for a Pyrex bowl, as cute as it may be, has to be some sort of record. Especially since this particular bowl doesn’t even have its original white glass cover and has, according to the description, some “light scratches.” So, how on earth does a one quart covered bowl become the “holy grail” of Pyrex bowls and the object of such affection and adoration? According to several websites (and there are, by the way, many,  many websites that are solely dedicated to the passion of collecting Pyrex-who knew!?!?), this particular bowl was created as a seasonal promotional pattern back in 1959. But because the green grass bled through the red hearts, it did not meet Corning standards and the style was quickly abandoned and never mass produced. The original prototype sits in the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY, but I guess it was only “lucky” back then, because the hearts are missing!

Lucky in Love Pyrex PrototypeWhile searching online for additional Pyrex information, I was amazed, not only at the number of Pyrex-dedicated websites, but also by the prices these vintage little pieces were commanding on Ebay

Ebay Vintage Pyrex Bowl Listingsand Etsy.

Etsy Pyrex Bowl ListingsAt the shop in the Barn at Todd Farm, Lisa (our resident Pyrex guru) has been selling Pyrex pieces at some seriously amazing prices as well. So what’s the deal with Pyrex...why is she the most popular girl at the party…and where did she come from? The history of Pyrex started back in the railroads in the early 1900’s, according to the website Classic Kitchens and More. Corning Glass Works scientists developed train lantern glass that did not shatter when exposed to extremes in heat and cold. From the website:

“In July 1913, a series of events involving Bessie Littleton, the wife of the company’s newest scientist, forced Corning managers to focus their attention on the consumer venture. Apparently, Mrs. Littleton had used a Guernsey brand casserole only twice when it fractured in the oven. Knowing the strength of the glass her husband worked with on a daily basis, she implored him to bring home a substitute from the Corning Glass Works plant. He returned the next evening with the bottoms of two sawed-off battery jars made from low-expansion glasses. Mrs. Littleton cooked a sponge cake in one of the surrogate baking dishes. She noted several remarkable findings:
• The cooking time was shorter
• The cake did not stick to the glass; it was easy to remove with little adhesion
• The cake was unusually uniform
• The flavor of the cake did not remain in the dish after washing
• She could watch the cake bake and know it was done by looking at the underside.”
  From Classic Kitchens and More 

For the following two years, Corning developers worked on perfecting Pyrex, then introduced it to the general public in 1915 when Jordan Marsh in Boston placed the first Pyrex bakeware order and Corning Glass Works Pyrex AdPyrex became a household name. The rest is unbreakable history. So why has Pyrex endured the test of time? Well, first of all, how many of you have Pyrex pieces in your kitchens that have been passed down from generation to generation? It’s highly break and chip-resistant, so it will last long after others have joined the broken glass pile. And, it’s just plain cute. Over the years, the manufacturers of Pyrex have followed design trends and created new colorful patterns and styles consistent with the times.

Pyrex Blue Corning Glass Works Museum

But those mid-century vintage pieces, those are the coveted patterns in aquas and pinks and harvest golds and avocado greens. They are, like so many mid-century artifacts, a reminder of our gentler past and our grandmother’s Sunday dinners created in beautifully patterned mixing bowls.  So, start digging through your china cupboards and see what treasures you may have hidden away! And if you are lucky enough to have the coveted “Lucky In Love” 1959 Pyrex bowl in your possession, then well, you’re lucky enough. Have a great Tuesday everyone…I hope that you’re lucky enough not to be buried in snow the way we are!! xoxo Susan

Fun Friday Cash Giveaway!

Well, it’s finally Friday. Somehow we made it through this week of unending snowfall (with more on the way!), school closings and Super Bowl parades-yay, Patriots! As a way to welcome in February, I’ve teamed up with some generous fellow bloggers from All Bloggers United

All Bloggers United Facebook Group

for a little fun Friday Cash Giveaway called Treat Yo Self!

Treat Yo Self $$$ GiveawayJust enter using the Rafflecoptor form below. So, what can you do with $100?? Well,  you can  just take a winter break…dine out, have a spa day…or perhaps a little retail therapy-just make sure you use it to treat yourself! From now until February 18th, you can enter here to win a $100 Paypal Cash Prize! Just click the Rafflecoptor link below and follow the simple instructions to enter.


Rafflecoptor Giveaway

Thanks to the following All Bloggers United for participating in this giveaway…

Paint By Number…Vintage Sideboard Makeover

Today’s Vintage Sideboard Makeover brought to you by DecoArt’s Americana Paints and the numbers 1 through 7 : )

Americana Sideboard Makeover on Country Design HomeI’m so pleased to announce that I am now a contributing blogger to the Deco Art Blogger Outreach Program!

DecoArt Blogger Outreach ProgramI use their line of Americana chalky paints and finishes quite frequently and am happy to share my latest furniture makeover featuring their great products with you! This vintage sideboard has been in our family room since we purchased it at a second-hand shop a few years back. Every time I walked in the back door, I was greeted by this drab brown large block of wood.

Americana SideBoard BeforeNo matter how I styled the top, the fact was that it was dark and sucked up all the light in the space. I have been on a painting and DIY overdrive since all of the snow started piling up, and I figured it was high time to take this old wood-paneled station wagon and transform it into a bright, shiny red cadillac. Here is the how-to:

1. Cleaned the wood surfaces. The top was not part of the original piece, it was constructed with reclaimed wood, attached and sanded down to a clean blonde wood (but not by me-thanks to whomever did this step for me : ) Which is how has remained until I got inspired. Because the plank wood was quite pretty in its raw state, I knew I did not want to paint it, so decided to wax/stain it instead.

Americana Vintage Sideboard Top Before Unfinished2. So I finished the top with two coats of Americana Crème Wax in Golden Brown, allowing time to dry between the coats, which enhances the color and grain of the wood while providing a beautiful glowing finish.

Americana Creme Wax Golden Brown RagThese waxes are water based, have no odor, are very easy to apply and clean up. You paint on or wipe on with a soft rag,

Vintage Sideboard Wiping on Golden Brown Wax on Topthen wipe off the excess. If it gets too tacky while you are working, you can dampen the rag to soften the wax and smooth the edges. Allow to dry, then buff with a soft cloth.

3. I was on the fence about the wood knobs-whether to replace them or not-when I realized they were screwed and glued into place. Decision made. I taped them and painted around them to keep the wood knobs to match the wood top.

Americana Painted Sideboard Taped Off KnobsFor the doors and drawers, I painted them with two coats of Americana Chalky Paint called Primitive, which is a creamy greige (that’s a gray and beige combined). Using Americana stencils and Chalky Paint called Relic (a deep charcoal gray) per my No-Fail Stenciling Techniques, I added the numbers to the drawers and doors for a touch of whimsy, then sanded the edges and finished with a coat of Americana Clear Creme Wax. 

Americana Vintage Door Panel Antiqued4. I decided to antique the doors’ center panels for a little bit of color and contrast, so I taped them off, then painted with two coats of Americana Serene Blue Chalky Paint.

Americana Painted Sideboard Serene Blue Chalky Paint5. Allowed to dry, then painted with a coat of Americana Crackle Medium. This is a clear finish that you paint on to a sealed or painted surface, then allow to dry. As it dries, it crackles the paint underneath it and antiques it at the same time. If I had the time-lapse option on my camera, I could’ve shared this process. But trust me when I tell you it looks like a science experiment! The thicker you paint it on, the more crackling appears. In this case, I put it on really thick and most of the blue paint actually crackled off.

Americana Vintage Sideboard Door Panel FinishedWhoops. But I was OK with that, as it gave the panels the appearance of old paint that had been worn away by time and use.

6. For the body of the piece, I had decided to paint it an antique red to co-ordinate with the rug that sits directly in front of it. The plan was to paint with two coats, then add the darker wax finish. But, when I started painting the Americana Chalky Paint in Romance Red

Americana Chalky Paint Romance Redover the dark brown finished wood (remember, with these paints you do not need to prep or sand…just paint away!)

Vintage Brown Sideboard Panel BeforeI got a little panicky because it was really, really bright!

Americana Painted Sideboard Romance Red Chalky PaintBUT, then a miracle happened (not unlike that end zone interception with 30 seconds left in the game last night…) it basically antiqued itself! I painted it on, then wiped off the excess with a rag,

Americana Chalky Paint Romance Red Wiping Offessentially staining it red while allowing the brown tone and grain of the wood to show through! The chalky paint acted like a stain, allowing me to leave on as much or little as I preferred to get the perfect shade of antique red. I love it when the unexpected happens…in a good way : ) Had I preferred, I could have painted the entire piece with the two coats of red and then waxed with the darker finish. But this was so much easier! So all it took was one quick coat of paint on the wood, wiping it off, allowing it to dry, then coating with the Americana Clear Crème Wax, which gives the entire piece a bright, glowing finish.

Americana Painted Sideboard Closeup TM7. After I re-affixed the doors back onto the sideboard, I then re-staged it with some of my favorite things. And although much of those are the same, the entire wall takes on a whole new look with this bright, fun Americana Vintage Sideboard Makeover. This sideboard is a very functional piece of furniture in our home, holding a variety of household items like glasses, batteries, candles and more-essentially one large junk drawer…now when Coach asks me where I can find the IPhone chargers and cases, I can direct him to drawer #5!

Americana Sideboard Drawer #5Thanks to Deco-Art for supplying the Americana Chalky Paints and finishes but allowing me to use my own DIY imagination. Hope you all had a Super Sunday, everyone-I know we Pats fans sure did!  Time for some more snow shoveling… but at least we’ll know where to find our winter scarves…behind door #6!! Xoxo Susan


MY Color of the Day

Pantone Color of the Year 2015 MarsalaEvery year, the company Pantone releases their “Color of the Year“, showcasing one color that will set the trends in home and runway fashion. The 2015 color is Marsala, a deep, rich wine color and “…a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love a rich, dark neutral (and a nice glass of red wine) as much as the next girl, but I am left with a quandary. What if I don’t happen to like Marsala? What if I don’t think it can “enrich my mind, body & soul“, as the ad claims. What if, when I imagine where I could use it in my home I think, “it’s just too dark and somber for my colorful space?” Well, I could turn to Benjamin Moore, who also released their 2015 Color of the Year, Guilford Green,

Benjamin Moore Color of the Year 2015 Guilford Green“…a stunning silvery green that complements both modern and traditional styles in a seamless manner.”  I am left to wonder why, Ben Moore, why this color? Well, “We chose Guilford Green as our 2015 Color of the Year because it can be the hero or the highlight in any room, enhancing the architectural identity of a space,” said Ellen O’Neill, Creative Director at Benjamin Moore. “Guilford Green is the perfect thread to connect nature, spaces and interiors with color schemes that signify fresh energy and growth.”  And, although Guilford Green is indeed, quite pretty, green is typically not a color I have chosen for my home in the past. So, what’s a decorator to do if we want to follow the trends but are looking for something a little brighter and more colorful? Well, Sherwin Williams has the answer!

Sherwin Williams 2015 Color of the Year Coral ReefIntroducing Coral Reef,…a vivacious hue, is Sherwin-Williams Color of the Year 2015. Upbeat and optimistic, Coral Reef celebrates a time for renewal and is the perfect mélange of pink, orange and red that can be used to liven up any space. Its unexpected versatility brings life to a range of design aesthetics, whether traditional, vintage, cottage or contemporary. Jackie Jordan, Sherwin-Williams director of color marketing.” 

Well, I do like the idea of being upbeat and optimistic in 2015, but I am not certain that painting a room Coral Reef is gonna get me there. Although being buried under snow in the dead of winter in the Northeast, I could use a little bit of tropical happiness in our home.

Snow Barn Country Design HomeSo, what do you make of these colors? Are any of these one that you would paint in your home, either separately or together (there is a color palette there…) When you are looking to design a room, does the thought “I really should check out the color of the year” come into play before you make a choice? For me, it just doesn’t come down to what a manufacturer suggests should be my color, it all comes down to personal preference. I LOVE color, lots of different colors, and my thoughts regarding my favorite color choices change continuously with my mood or the lighting or one swatch of gorgeous fabric that might catch my eye. Now, I can’t turn around and paint over a room (or can I...) every time I spot a new color that I fall in love with and have to paint immediately. Which is why I started posting my favorite “color of the day” on my Country Design Home Facebook page. (not that anyone actually sees my Facebook page anymore…thanks Facebook.)

Thee Velvet Glove Facebook PageEvery morning, as I scroll through my news feed, I am struck by the ever-changing variety of amazing furniture makeovers, like this gorgeous piece from Thee Velvet Glove, using every color of the rainbow. And if that weren’t enough, there are hundreds of new photos of incredible gardens and colorful vintage kitchens and stunning bedrooms every day, making my daily choice of color an easy one. I just choose, like and share whatever strikes me depending on my mood…Just from doing this over the past few weeks, I have discovered two things: I LOVE pinks and blues…this was my choice a couple of days ago…isn’t it gorgeous!?!? From Vintage and Art Blogspot.

Pink Dresser by Vintage and Artand 2. I’m a sucker for a lost little white puppy in the Budweiser Super Bowl ad.

Budweiser Super Bowl Ad Puppy LoveSo what do you think? Do you have your color of the year? And do you love puppies? Have a super Saturday, everyone. Counting down to the big game!! xoxo Susan

Vintage French Toile Commode DIY

Vintage Rooster Commode Finished TMLately I have been a little obsessed with vintage wallpaper, which I find preferable to work with on my projects rather than printed craft paper. Wallpaper is made from heavier stock which doesn’t tend to tear or buckle, many rolls are pre-pasted and they have a durable finish. Plus, you get a lot of paper on those rolls, which can be a bargain if you can get them cheaply enough.  The grandmother’s cupboard that I featured last week was papered with a vintage check kitchen wallpaper,

Vintage Cupboard Finished Filled with Milk Glassand this week’s Vintage French Toile Commode features a Waverly toile rooster scene wallpaper panel on the door.

Vintage Rooster Commode Wallpapered Door FinishedTrouble is, there aren’t any stores in my area that carry wallpaper in-stock any longer! Wallpaper in general is making a resurgence in home decor, but everything has to be ordered from those little sample books. But that takes days…and when I have that perfect finished piece in my head…I need that paper and I need it now!  The one wallpaper store in my town that had an entire second floor devoted to in-stock wallpaper, literally rows and rows of rolls and rolls…has recently closed : (  So when I started the search for another wallpaper source, I called around all of the paint and decorating shops in my town and the surrounding ones as well. Turns out, it’s not lucrative for shop owners to devote floor space to old wallpaper that they may or may not ever sell.  Until…I happened to be driving past the paint shop in town where I buy all of my Benjamin Moore paints and supplies. I am in there all the time, have looked at their wallpaper books, but never noticed any stacked rolls in the shop. But on a whim I stopped and asked if they did, indeed, have any old rolls hanging around and sure enough…I hit the mother-lode!!

Wallpaper on Furniture In Stock at Stylecraft SupplyThe upstairs room (that clearly is used primarily for storage) was filled with boxes of dusty old rolls of stripes and plaids and toiles and florals…just what I had been searching for. Like a kid in a candy store, I just couldn’t decide on which one to choose, so I bought 5… for $5 per single roll…such a bargain! And then went back a few days later and bought another french toile…but I saw quite a few more that I know I can use somehow…somewhere…sometime…so I’ll definitely be back!

Vintage Wallpaper SelectionThe French inspired yellow commode I finished yesterday while being snowed in was inspired by this Waverly golden yellow toile wallpaper.

French Toile Golden WallpaperThe commode was a dusty, paint-splattered, cracked and dinged old cream-colored painted piece that had seen better days,

Vintage Rooster Commode Beforebut it really just needed a face-lift rather than a full-on makeover. I cleaned it, lightly sanded, repaired and glued the drawers and door, then painted it with two coats of Benjamin Moore Saffron matte finish paint, then dry brushed in a cross pattern with a lighter creamy gold called Putnam Ivory. Dry-brushing just gives the wood color an extra dimension.

Wallpapered Furniture Dry Brushed panelOftentimes when Coach is pickin’ at estate sales, if he sees Ben Moore paint cans for sale he grabs them because he knows that is my paint of choice for our home. These two gallons probably cost a couple of dollars, but well worth the money spent!

Benjamin Moore Matte Finish Putname Ivory and SaffronFor the little door with the large crack in the center panel, I first spackled that to create a smooth bonding surface, then painted over it with the matte paint.

Wallpapered Door BeforeI measured, then cut the toile paper to feature the rooster and chick in the center. This paper was not prepasted, so I used Elmer’s Glue-All to affix it to the door panel.

Wallpapered Funriture Elmer's Glue AllPerfect! Until I went to install the door and realized I had glued the roosters on upside down!

Vintage Rooster Cupboard Wallpaper on Door Upside DownSome wallpapers, like the green check, don’t really have a direction, but these birds would look a little silly standing on their heads in a meadow…So I cut another piece and glued that over the first piece. FAIL.

Vintage Rooster Cupboard Wallpaper Buckled glueApparently paper doesn’t adhere well to paper, and the entire surface buckled. So, I scraped and peeled all of that off

Vintage Rooster Commode Removing Paste from Doorand recut and papered the roosters, this time right side up. A couple of hours of wasted time I’ll never get back…stupid birds. Today’s DIY Tip (I know, you want to take a tip from me, the person who pasted the roosters upside down?!) When you apply wallpaper to furniture or walls, sometimes the paper will bubble up in places and you need to smooth it down to ensure a good bond with the surface. You cannot use a trowel or hard tool because it will scrape and possibly tear the paper. A good trick is to use a roll of painters tape, rolling on its side to smooth out the ripples and bumps. It’s firm enough to allow pressure but won’t harm the surface of the paper.

Wallpaper installation rolling wrinkles with tapeFor the top surface, which I did not dry-brush in the lighter color, I used some of my Americana Paris stencils…

Stencil Secrets Americana Stencils…actually several different ones combined with a cafe and Patisserie theme in the center to create the subtle pattern I was going for,

Vintage Rooster Commode Stenciled French Topthen waxed the entire piece with Americana Creme Wax.

Americana Decor Creme Wax FinishThe wheels on this piece were broken, so I pulled them out and replaced them with modern day leveling slides.

Wallpapered Broken Wheel FeetYou just can’t find those old wheels anymore unless you take them off another piece of furniture or find them on Ebay for a small ransom. The vintage brass hardware was absolutely gorgeous…you just don’t see pieces with this amount of detail…

Wallpapered Furniture Brass Drawer Pull…but one of the drawer pulls was broken…so I replaced it with a similar one from my workshop…the shape is not the same but the style and patina still have that Parisian Flair. So there you have it: a Vintage French Toile Wallpapered Commode.

Vintage Rooster Commode Finished TMThanks to the Blizzard of 2015, and no work yesterday, another furniture restoration complete!  Hope you are having a safe and warm Wednesday, everyone! Susan


Secrets of Successful Stenciling

After I had posted my DIY project of the stenciled Paris hamper last week,

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Top on Country Design HomeI received many emails regarding my own methods of stenciling. When I write my posts, a lot of times I assume that the folks who are reading them have a good grasp of some DIY how-to details, so I just mention them but skip the gritty details. But, I am discovering that oftentimes they do not quite understand… MY BAD. So, I am happy to share some tips and tricks for a great stenciling project outcome. These are not official or the rules of stenciling, but they are just my own observations and tried-and-true methods following years and years of practice. So here are the tips for my Secrets of Successful Stenciling:

1. You need a good stencil. You can cut them yourself or purchase them online or at your local crafts store. Recently, I have purchased quite a few of these Paris-inspired stencils that I just love.

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Americana French Typography StencilsThey are a heavy plastic with clean cuts and are incredibly inexpensive compared to many that you might find online. This one was $6.99 but I had a 40% off coupon so it was CHEAP!

Stencil Secrets Americana Stencils2. Your stenciling surface must be clean, smooth with no bumps or holes. It can be painted or stained, but not with a high gloss paint and no shiny finish coat such as wax or polyurethane. My piece is an old cupboard I had painted in a matte Benjamin Moore color called Saffron. Painted it with two coats and allowed to dry.

3. Place the stencil face up on the surface, measuring if you need to do determine the exact placement, then tape it down.

Stenciling Secrets- Taping down the stencilI taped the corners, but if you are a messy painter, then I would tape all of the edges to keep any errant brush strokes or drips off your surface to be stenciled.

4. You need a stencil stippling brush (or whatever you call this kind of brush that is thick and has a blunt surface.) They are available in different sizes, but I typically use a fairly small brush, I find that it helps to control the stenciling process.

Stenciling Secrets Stippling Brush5. Use a matte paint (chalk paint is perfect for this). I have found that this produces the cleanest and sharpest lines on the stenciled surface and it doesn’t “bleed” under the stencil. “Bleeding” is when excess paint sneaks under the stencil and ends up looking like blotches along the edges of the design. Once the bleed happens, you need to stop immediately and remove the stencil and clean the underside of all errant paint blobs with a damp cloth, then allow to dry before you proceed.

6. Put a very small amount of paint into a bowl or non-porous surface. If I am using a small can or jar of paint, I often will shake the paint can, then remove the lid and use the paint on the lid. It is more than enough and provides a flat firm surface to dip your brush.

Stenciling Secrets Paint in Bowl7.  Dip the tip of the brush into the paint to cover just the flat tip.

Stenciling Secrets Paint on Stippling BrushNow here is the important part: take the brush and “pounce” most of the paint off of the brush onto a newspaper.

Stenciling Secrest Removing Paint onto NewspaperThe secret to a perfect stencil application is to have an essentially dry brush when you begin stenciling onto the surface.

8. “Pounce” the surface of your stencil, covering all of the cut outs. Pouncing is when you hold the brush straight up and vertical  to your surface and repeatedly dab it with the tip that has the paint on it.

Stencil Secrets Pouncing the Paint

Click this link for a quick demonstration 

Because you only have a small amount of paint on the brush, this means that the process is tedious and repetitive. As the brush runs dry, you re-dip into the paint, remove most of the paint onto the newspaper, then continue pouncing until the entire stencil surface is covered. If you start to get bored and want to just add more paint on your brush to get the process moving more quickly, DON’T. Just wrap up your brush, cover the paint and walk away and return after you have a cup of tea or watch some HGTV. You can’t hurry this process by globbing paint on the brush…that’s how you end up making a mess.

9. Once you’ve covered all of the design with the paint, lift one corner of your stencil to make sure you are happy with the overall effect.

Stenciling Secrets Lifting Off StencilIf not, then tape it back down and re-pounce over the areas you wish to darken. If so, then carefully lift off the stencil and allow to dry. If you do have any “bleeds”, take a damp Q-tip and clean it up before it dries. If you are adding more designs to your piece, make sure one section is completely dry before starting a new one, or the design will smudge.

Stencil Applied

10. Once your stencil is finished, you can distress it by lightly sanding it. Otherwise just add a coat of wax or your favorite finish. As you can see by the photos, as you continue to use the stencils, the paint will build up on the surface and clog the smaller cuts. I clean mine with a damp paper towel. Don’t rub hard and don’t bend or crease the stencil! Once that happens, its time for a new stencil. So there you go! A hopefully helpful DIY tutorial on the secrets of successful stenciling. Hope you have a successful Monday, everyone! Susan


Paris Inspired Painted Hamper-Ooh La La!

My latest project was a fancy remake of an old wood hamper Coach and I picked up for $3 at a resale shop called Junk In The Trunk-cute name, huh? These wooden hampers were popular back in the olden days and the condition of this one certainly showed its age. But, this was a heavy, solid wood piece with a particle board lined interior with holes for airing out your dirty laundry. A little paint, a little glaze, some stenciling and some burlap…the hamper went from this

Paris Inspired Hamper Top Beforeto this…a Paris Inspired Painted Hamper-Ooh La La!

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Country Design Home TMHere is the “How-I-Did-It”

1. Cleaned hamper thoroughly, as it had been hanging around outside the shop so it was quite dusty. Fortunately, since it was outside, it didn’t smell musty (also maybe because it has all those vent holes ” ).

French Inspired Hamper Before2. Painted the body of the hamper with two coats of Annie Sloan French Linen

French Inspired Hamper Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

( I mean, really, what else could I use??) a rich, deep neutral color.

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint French Linen3. Sanded down the top, it was quite gouged and worn,

French Inspired Hamper Top Beforethen added a coat of gel stain to even out the color.

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper stained top

Allowed to dry. DIY tip: If you have a little “mouse” sander like I do and you’re working in your PJ’s and you run out of the little pre-cut sandpaper and don’t want to get dressed to run to the store to buy another package, here’s a simple and cheap solution. Take any sandpaper, cut to size and just stick on the surface with some duct tape. Doesn’t slide and works perfectly in a pinch.

Mouse sander cut out sandpaper4. Taped off the edges of the top to leave them stained, which created a “frame” for the top stenciled picture. Painted a layer of Folk Art Crackle Medium on top of the gel stain,. Allowed to dry.

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Folk Art Crackle Medium5. Painted a coat of Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Paint

Annie Sloan Old White Chalk Painton top of the crackle glaze, creating a worn, cracked finish.

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Crackled Top Finish6. Lightly sanded, then stenciled the top with this Paris stencil from Americana.

Americana Paris French Typography StencilsI used black because I wanted to co-ordinate with the Paris fabric with black images on it. Americana has a whole line of these French Typography stencils which are so pretty!  And sooo much less expensive then the online typography stencils… these are $6.99, and if you happen to have a coupon at Michaels…

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Americana French Typography Stencils7. Added a coat of Americana Creme Wax in a clear finish to enhance the colors and the wood edge. Allowed to dry, then buffed for a soft, glowing finish.

Americana Decor Creme Wax Finish8. Since I knew I was adding the burlap to the front, I wanted to tone down the gray color of the piece. First I sanded the trim just to distress a bit and enhance some of the tiny brass brads, then added a coat of Americana Creme Wax in a medium brown color.

Americana Creme Wax Medium BrownThis brought out the golden tones which I knew would work well with the burlap. Painted on, wiped away wherever I didn’t want it to stay, allowed to dry. Buffed. HINT: If you put too much on or it starts to dry too quickly, you just take a damp cloth and wipe it off.

9. I found this Crafty Cuts French print burlap at Michaels. 1.5 yards for $9.99, use a coupon= cheap!!!

Crafty Cuts Paris Inspired Burlap MichaelsBefore I cut the burlap, I ironed some fusible backing on to the reverse side. Burlap frays very easily and the more you work with it, the more frayed it becomes. By ironing on the backing, it stops the fraying and keeps the edges clean.

Paris Printed Burlap with Fusible Interfacing and Frayed edgesMake sure when you iron this stuff that you avoid the fusible glue, or else your iron will look like this, and Coach will not be happy when he tries to iron his shirt (yup, Coach does his own ironing : ) Hmmm. Wonder if one of those shirts cost $10…?

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Dirty Iron10. Measured and cut the two burlap pieces using my rotary cutter and a straight edge.

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Cutting Tools and BurlapIf you do not have one of these, you need to go get one immediately, along with the cutting board with all the measurements on it. These save a lot of time and effort when you are trying to cut straight lines, whether its for paper or fabric. But not wood, it doesn’t work for wood.

11. I originally tried using decoupage glue to affix the burlap, but it just didn’t stick. Burlap has a rough texture and requires something a little heavier. So I went with Elmer’s Glue-All, which worked beautifully. It does say Glue-All, after all…

Elmer's Glue All on Country Design HomeJust painted on with a small brush, ensuring I coated the edges and corners, because that is where the fabric would be most likely to peel away.

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper painting glue onto wood12. For a finishing touch, I added two old painted brass handles I had on hand. Drilled the holes using a paper template (might as well be a happy template : )

Hardware template with cat faceand then adding the bolts inside to secure. I don’t know about you, but I always seem to be moving my hamper around. These handles make it a little easier, even if its full of laundry!

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Hardware Installed13. Added feet to the bottom for easy sliding…just flipped the piece upside down and hammered these into place…

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Hammering in Feetand voila! A lovely Paris Inspired Painted Hamper that would be perfect in any boudoir or dressing room. Time to go do some laundry…

Paris Inspired Painted Hamper Country Design Home TMI hope you have a magnifique Friday everyone!!! Susan

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