Jan 10

Furniture Redo

Posted In Budget, Decorating, flea market, Old to New, Styling, Uncategorized

My friend Lisa is fearless.  She’s also artistic, creative and SO SO brave with power tools, paintbrushes, electricity and pipes, not to mention sewing machines and knitting needles. You name it, she does it. Imagine… she once tore her bathroom apart… completely… plumbing, electrical and all AND then redid it when her husband was away on a business trip.

Compared to that epic redo her latest project is extremely simple, but I am still impressed at the BIG difference fresh paint made on her decades old hutch. Here’s an email she sent me this last week about a simple paint project she took on… again, hubby was away, so Lisa played….

“I had nothing to do last week so I painted the hutch in my foyer. I’ve been wanting to add some turquoise to my color scheme and decided to be bold and paint this hutch. It was painted flat black….”
“So, I painted it with a flat paint too… a super bright shade of turquoise.  This selection was brighter than I would normally choose because I knew I’d be sealing it with a combination of clear and brown wax for a European finish.   This picture (below) shows you the process.  The item on the left was only painted with the very intense turquoise color…  it looks and feels like flat paint.  The  bottom part on the right is in the process of being antiqued, where I’m applying and rubbing off alternate coats of clear and dark wax until I get the dirty look in the place I want it.  Then I buffed the heck out of it. 
“Here is the final product.  It looks like it came out of a kitchen in a french farmhouse and has years of dirt on it…I didn’t want a fussy or a perfect look.  I LOVE how it looks with the milkglass, but now the chairs I kept on either side need to be recovered. (another project!) Yeah..you should see it in person..much more beautiful..took 3 days of hard work to get that finish just right.”

Meanwhile, now I’m super motivated, so I’ve decided to paint some some rusty white garden furniture that my neighbor just gave to me.  Here’s what it looks like after a little bit of sanding and priming.
I’m gonna spray paint them with standard black Rustoleum paint.  Glossy.  Will keep you posted, but give me a while because I’ll be reupholstering the chairs too!
I admit that I’m not as skilled or brave as Lisa when it comes to refinishing furniture… she really could be a pro. But, I’m not afraid to try a few simple projects.  Do you have any tips on how I should be doing this? Please share….!
BY THE WAY…. Lisa is the talent that designed the artwork and graphics for this website and my newest, latest, greatest business cards.  Is there anything that this woman can’t do, and do extraordinarily well???

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Jan 06

Flea Market Find of the Month/January

Posted In Budget, Decorating, flea market, Green Design, Old to New, Shopping, Styling, Uncategorized

I love love love flea markets, thrift shops, consignment shops, garage sales… you name it.  If they have cool old used things for sale, I’m there!  Digging through piles of shtuff and imagining where items could go, how they could be freshened up, painted, reupholstered or even repurposed is a blast.  Waaayyy better than a furniture store any day!

SOoo, when these barstools appeared in a vendor’s booth at the Sunday Irvine Flea Market (now moved to the Great Park area next to the giant orange balloon… every 1st Sunday of the month) you can imagine the heart palpitations I was experiencing.  Just perfect for my client’s black, white and red kitchen, and with NO work to be done.  Guess what we paid for these vintage beauties????


$30. For all three. YES, you read that right.

If you’ve shopped for  barstools lately, you know how expensive they can be, especially anything unique or repurposed.  For example, I always love to look at the NapaStyle catalogs and websites… they have loads of really cool and unique items, like these barstools made from old wine barrel staves.

Gorgeous, yes, but $279 each plus tax and $30 shipping each. WOW.  Do the math… that adds up fast!

I know we all splurge sometime on those special, just perfect items.  But don’t forget the rewarding projects, unique products and fabulous bragging rights that come with scavenging.  It feels so good to rescue something from a trip to the dump and re-imagine it into a FAB one-of-a-kind that none of your neighbors will have. And when you tell them what you paid…  now thats fun!

LOVE to see what rescues you have come across. Send pictures!

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Dec 09

A Decorated Kitchen

Posted In Art, Decorating, flea market, Old to New, Styling, Uncategorized

A kitchen looks especially wonderful when decorated with the same types of accessories used in the rest of the house.

I love the look of a real table lamp sitting on the countertop.  Something about it seems so unexpected and looks, well, finished. My client Regina has placed this gorgeous lamp, made from a vintage vase, in her kitchen and grouped it with several other pieces of pottery.  The colors and warm glow in the evening are so pretty.


She loves to cover her cooktop when not in use, with a decades old cutting board that is loaded with more vintage bowls filled with fruits, nuts and plants.


Her sparkly chandelier and antique mirror make this San Clemente kitchen THE place to be when the sun is shining.


REAL art, antiques and plants have a place in every nook and cranny of Regina’s kitchen.



Everyone is content and comfortable here in this sweet, feel good space.


Tell me. How have you decorated your kitchen?  Maybe it’s time to spruce up a bit!











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