It all started with an early morning email.
Well, it was early for us. For the sender however, it was the middle of the day.
The email was from the head of Marketing at Annie Sloan Interiors which is located in Oxford, England. Amy had a simple question: would we be willing to coordinate the Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan retail booth at the Country Living Fair in Rhinebeck, NY at the end of May?
Without hesitation, I replied ‘Yes, we’d love to!’
And so it began.
Several months ago I was working from home while Paul was in the store. He texted me to say that our friend CJ Mugavero had asked if we’d be interested in hanging some paintings by an Expressionist artist she had just begun representing in her gallery, The Artful Deposit.
CJ mentioned to Paul that I had liked a few of them when she posted them on the Artful Deposit Instagram and she suggested that they’d be a good fit in our shop.
A couple of weeks ago I was painting alone in our home studio while Paul was at the store. As I worked in silence I was thinking about a conversation I was having with my friend Carrie over text the night before.
Paul and I often view our work with furniture as functional works of art. Something special and beautiful to look at, but also something that can be touched and used. This is why we choose special finishes, custom color mixes, an on occasion…bold graphics.
We both have our favorite artists, graphic designers and illustrators that inspire us and in a future post I’ll share some of those with you, but today I wanted to share some of our favorite pieces and talk about the inspiration and how we accomplished these.
I studied fashion in school and like most people, very little of what I studied ever comes back to help me in my day-to-day life. The only exception is the semester that I spent in a class called History of Textiles & Costumes. I don't think a week goes by that I don't call upon something that I learned in that class. Although it was a fashion history class, it was taught from the perspective of how fashion is influenced by other design of the day, like art and architecture.
I’ve written about inspiration before, and for good reason. Paul and I know that inspiration can come from anywhere so it’s important to keep your eyes open.
A few weeks ago, during one of our Chalk Paint® 101: The Basics workshops, a participant named Barb added a little too much water to her 2nd paint color on the two-color wet distress. She was looking at it and feeling a little disappointed that it didn’t look like the finish created by another participant who used the same color combination. Paul however, was really taken with the finish.
Iconic graphic designer Milton Glaser said “There are three responses to a piece of design: yes, no, and wow. Wow is the one to aim for.”
For the past year or more, Paul and I have been leaning more towards bolder, more modern designs for our furniture. One reason for this is because our style has changed.
For me, Coastal Cottage has been replaced by clean Mid-Century design. Paul has moved from Art Deco to a fondness for bright color and a mix of old and new.
Every year starting in the spring our custom painting schedule starts to fill up with furniture that have one thing in common - they’re going to a beach house.
Painting beach house furniture is fun because for a lot of people, the beach house is less formal, more fun, and the decorating is a little more colorful.
However, you don’t need a house at the beach to love the coastal look. The casual feel is so comfortable that this style is at home just about anywhere...
Paul has a thing for color.
We both do, really. But Paul rarely thinks in terms of whites and neutrals. When he sees a great piece of furniture, his gut almost always says, “put color on it.”
I’ve often written and spoken to people about how we purchase furniture that we like but we won’t do anything to it until one of us has a clear vision of what it should look like – or at least a clear vision of how it should start. As a result, some furniture gets painted right away and others sit for a while.
Sometimes a couple of years.
This week we finished a new piece and it’s generating a lot of questions…What paint color is that? How did you do the copper? What was it finished with?
So, in today’s post we’ll break it down for you and explain just how we created this look.
Just like the Paisley Piece, this buffet was something Paul and I have had for a very long time. In fact, when we purchased it, we didn’t have any immediate finishing plan (and it was too large to fit easily down the stairs into our studio space), so we decided to use it in our own dining room until we felt inspired.
We’ve owned this vintage vanity for quite some time.
We've had it in the store for a few months and while everything around it came and went, this vanity was still there.
Don’t get me wrong, it received a lot of love. Customers in the shop would look at it and love on it…but there it sat.
We sell on an upscale online shopping site and this vanity had an unprecedented number of followers…but there it sat.
I used to paint furniture as a hobby.
Now that I do it for a living, my new hobby is cocktails!
I don’t mean it in a passed-out-party-girl way. I mean that I genuinely have an interest in mixing cocktails – especially classic cocktails.
I like the research, and I like the history.
I’ve always enjoyed learning how the average person lived during various times in history and I think knowing what people were drinking, what was popular at the time, provides a little glimpse.
It was over three years ago.
I know it was in the early days of our business.
In those days we were buying furniture with wild abandon. Looking back, I realize that was a smart move because as the business has grown, we’ve had less and less time to shop.
Anyway, one of the first pieces we ever purchased was a small vintage server that we both thought had a slightly Asian vibe. We added it to our warehouse inventory, assigned it an item number, and next to the number, we wrote “Small Asian Server.”
We're Paul and Johanna and we write about our life in the furniture business. The things we love, the places we go, and the treasures we find along the way.