secretaries day

Aside from being Earth Week, turns out it is Administrative Professionals Week a.k.a. Secretaries Day.  Calling a person your secretary is so passe but you can still refer to your furniture as your secretary without any raised eyebrows.  This, my friends, is a secretary desk.  A beautiful serpentine one at that.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6429

It was a hand-me-down from family friends.  I was so sad that it didn’t fit my own secretary nook where we have a more petite version.  The ample storage and curvy base are something to be envious of regardless of the missing support.  Low and behold it fits perfectly in the entry of my parent’s cottage.  Yes, the cottage.  Remember that fixer upper we’ve been working on?

When you enter the house, you walk directly into a room larger than a foyer but smaller than a living room.  It is actually a porch that was converted into a room.  We’re calling it the parlor as it opens up to a larger family room.  It is the perfect space to store beach towels, kick off your flip-flops, drop your keys and pen a postcard.  All of which can be done with the help of the secretary.  Who says you don’t need a secretary at the beach?

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6444

This little gem was one of the first pieces of furniture we moved in months ago.  It needed to be lightened up for this cottage space.  Pink seemed like a fun and unexpected choice yet MMSMP Arabesque is not overly feminine.  It received 2 coats of Arabesque with bonding agent added. I played around with the waxes and worked in both white and antiquing wax for some depth while also lightly distressed.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6437

The drawers were painted separately from the body and you may notice that they have a slightly peach hue to them.  This is the fun that milk paint can offer.  Slight variation like this is what I love about it.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6434

As for the rest of the cottage, it is slowly but surely coming together with the addition of another bathroom being the major project which is subsequently holding up some of the others.  Not to mention this has been a part-time project for all of us.  However, we finished painting the oak kitchen cabinets but have yet to choose hardware or make a few other updates in the kitchen.  I’ll snap some pictures soon so I can share details about the process of milk painting cabinets.

vintage serpentine secretary desk painted arabesque MMSMP-6442

Finally, I’d like to mention that I’ll be in Doylestown on Sunday demonstrating milk paint to those who are interested!  Join us…

mmsmp april

 

 

 

 

pretty in pink

Around this time last week I shared a picture of this adorable pink nightstand on social media.  This was a custom paint job for a little girl who loves pink.  And also for her stylish mom who is designing a beautiful “big girl room” with pink included, of course.  You can see Holly’s inspiring design board over on her blog.

Arabesque Nightstand- Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

What I didn’t share was the dresser.  The base and curve perfectly coordinate with the nightstand although they’re not originally a set.  A little bit of paint ties them and the room together.

Arabesque Dressser- Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint

While the nightstand was matte black, the dresser was very shiny – perhaps some poly was applied to it.  I rarely sand a piece prior to painting but we weren’t looking for a chippy look and that shine made me nervous.  I gave the dresser a once over with 100 grit sandpaper to prep it for paint.

Can you guess what this beautiful soft color is?
Arabesque Dressser-5852

It is MMS milk paint Arabesque from the new European Colors.  I used bonding agent in every coat and applied several thin coats.  I find this gives the best adhesion when avoiding a heavily distressed or chippy look.

Arabesque Dressser #mmsmp

I had fun accentuating the paint color with the waxes.  I used all three – white, antiquing and furniture wax.  The white really captures the detail such as these spindles.  White wax also softens the pink and pulls in the mood of the design board.  There is just a tiny bit of antiquing wax around the corners to add some depth.  And the rest was finished with furniture wax to seal and protect.

Arabesque Dressser + white wax

But the true finishing touch is the set of porcelain knobs that Holly found.  The black and white knobs are the perfect set of “bling” for this feminine dresser, don’t you think?

Arabesque Dressser- porcelain knobs

winter blues

There’s yet another winter storm forecasted for later this week.  Admittedly, I am not totally devastated by this news.  Why?  Well, because I’m bringing the spring indoors with perky pastels and pops of color to pass the final stretch of winter.  Plus I’m planning a trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show to get an early dose of spring gardening.  Assuming the winter storm doesn’t get in my way.

Cottage Living Room - Bergere Coffee Table-5866

At any rate, I’ve been having a ball with the new European Colors in the MMS milk paint line.  Today I am sharing a coffee table updated with Bergere.  It is a bit of a smoky light blue and pairs well with white wax for a beach cottage look.

MMSMP Bergere

The table base was painted with 2 coats of Bergere with the addition of bonding agent.  The chunky turned legs remind me of a cross between farmhouse and beach house style.  Ryan built and stained the top.  It is a big, sturdy piece that will be around for years.  Imagine the hours of Monopoly that will be played on that thing.  This piece will be for sale at The West End Garage.

Monkey fist knobs are a great accessory.  I love these.  We now carry them in both locations in various colors.  They are all hand-knotted and made in the USA by a small family owned business.  Aren’t they fun?

Monkey Fist Knobs

Did that tray catch your eye?  The colors are just perfect.  It is made out of reclaimed barnwood.  We have a few of these available in the chippy blues seen here.

Cottage Living-Barnwood Tray

P.S. I am searching for the first mate that pairs with the captain lamp seen here. I put out an SOS on instagram with the mate’s picture.  Let me know if you see the first mate lamp for sale!  We need him.

Old Salt Ship Captain Lamp

 

 

 

 

 

an empire table

We had a great group turnout for the milk paint demonstration on Sunday. They left me inspired and ready to tackle some of my own projects!  As a result, I painted the day away yesterday using the new European colors.  Everything is “in progress” so today I’m sharing a December project that I’ve yet to post.

This table was nearly a goner.  The veneer on the base was chipped and needed some repair albeit not perfect.  We needed new molding around the column to secure it too.  It just needed TLC to inject some life into it again.

lucketts green empire table-5608

Empire style furniture dates back to the 1800’s.  Often pieces are identified by that round, circular-like foot.  I have seen dressers like this but this was the first table so I snatched it up.  Those curved feet were what attracted me to it in the first place.

lucketts green empire table-5612

The wood was very worn and raw – a perfect match for milk paint without any bonding agent.  I applied 2 coats of Lucketts Green followed by furniture wax with a little bit of antiquing wax to add depth to the color.  This table has so many possibilities for its next life.  A dining spot in a small kitchen.  An entry table in a large foyer.  You name it.  It is for sale at The West End Garage.

lucketts green empire table-5613

And these arrows.  I can’t get enough of them.  The colors are so bright and cheerful.  I’ll tell you, I become a real hoarder this time of year.  Constantly editing and re-editing vignettes at home.  It might be time to thin out this collection though.

lucketts green empire table-5616

winter blues

I’ve got the winter blues, my friends.  Not so much in spirit.  I’m actually really enjoying this stretch of dark, dreary winter this year surprising even myself.  In year’s past, I would typically be very disappointed when it came time to put away the Christmas decorations and accept the stillness of January.  This year is different though.  I’ve found solitude knowing this period is brief which has led to productivity and organization on the project front.  You’re in for a real treat around here as I share all of the details of each project as they unfold!

french enamel table-5551

As for the blues, that’s all in the paint colors I’ve been gravitating toward.  I’m in the midst of completing a large cedar closet in moody artissimo – a deep midnight blue. Today though, I’m sharing a French enamel end table – more of a cheerful beachy blue.

french enamel table-5559

This table is solid oak and isn’t too old.  It feels very 90’s which reminds me that the 1990’s can technically be classified as vintage already!  Shocking to think that my high school era is basically vintage.  As if!

90s end table before

The decidedly 90’s table has great lines, subtle curves and an inlaid oak grain on the top.

french enamel table-5565

I painted the 1st coat with lucketts green with bonding agent because the table was very shiny to start.  The 2nd coat was painted French enamel without bonding agent.

french enamel table-5568

I often get asked whether you need to use bonding agent in both coats or not.  Here is the correct answer:  For best adhesion, it is recommended that you use bonding agent in all coats.  With that said, I like to walk on the wild side and experiment a bit therefore chose not to use bonding agent in the 2nd coat.  Also, I’m not a perfectionist.  The 2nd coat lifted the paint in some areas creating a distressed, chipping look.

french enamel table-5556

I decided to accent the chipping grain by using white wax liberally.  First I sanded it smooth using a fine grit sandpaper. I blended the white wax with furniture wax and buffed.

french enamel table-5561

This table is the perfect addition for someone’s beach cottage!  Now available at The West End Garage.

french enamel table-5552

shuffling furniture

The first furniture makeover of the year is here!

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel toned wingback

I love how this little vignette came together.  Alone the gray chest of drawers is neutral.  It is painted with 2 coats of MMSMP trophy with bonding agent.  It is a warm gray lightened and sealed with white wax.  It is also a little lighter because the base of this chest was ivory when it started.

trophy mmsmp chest + garnet lamp

This is a newer chest of drawers that was sporting a factory finish.  It wasn’t bad, just uninspiring and of course I wanted to add milk paint.

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones

I lightly distressed the edges of the drawers to reveal the ivory underneath.

trophy mmsmp chest

It is just so fun with the addition of the garnet chair, lamp and other jewel tones proving the gray really is the go-to neutral right now.

trophy mmsmp chest + marsala wingback chair

Funny story about that wingback chair…we have an ongoing joke in my family about the furniture shuffle that occurs.  We actually have dubbed it the Marston Shuffle.  It’s not quite a hand-me-down or even a prized family heirloom but more of a shuffle of furniture from home to home.  This chair has been shuffled 3 or 4 times now.

We started noticing this trend when we were buying our first and second homes respectively.  One family would be moving or upgrading furniture and no longer need a chair/table/dresser, etc. while another was trying to outfit a particular space where chair/table/dresser, etc. would work.  And the Marston Shuffle was born!

A piece can come back to the original owner if need-be, although I am pretty sure that hasn’t ever occurred.  Not yet anyway.  Bottom line, if it is sturdy and well-made, then there’s always someone there to scoop up a cast-off piece of furniture when one sibling is no longer interested.  I suppose that is actually the definition of a hand-me-down though, isn’t it?  Well, we prefer to shuffle furniture.

We all have some hoarding tendencies around here I guess.  That lamp by the way was originally mine.  Now it’s my mom’s.  Exhibit B.

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones

As for the fete of the chair, it is likely to end up with a light slip cover and maybe even some painted legs but I do love how the vintage, velvet garnet photographed here.

Do I dare say that it is close to Marsala, the color of the year?

trophy mmsmp chest + garnet wingback

At any rate, the trophy chest of drawers is now for sale at The West End Garage which is open Friday-Sunday in January.  The chair though, that will never leave the shuffle!

trophy mmsmp chest + jewel tones-5580

Do you shuffle furniture around your family?