The Home Office has become one of the most important rooms in the house in the last few months, hasn't it?
One of the things we pride ourselves on in our shop is the fact that we freely share information.
If we know how to do something, we want our customers to know it also.
Often after we share a tip our customers will ask 'how do you know all this?' Paul and I reply that we've had a lot of practice. But that's only part of the truth.
The full story is that a lot of practice is accompanied by a good number of mistakes. Sometimes it takes a little playing around with a new product or technique to learn all the things you can do with it...and what you probably shouldn't do...or what you should do differently.
A couple of weeks ago we shared the first part of the Guest Room Renovation, in that post we covered the nuts and bolts of the room – the paint, the new floors and the details. In that post talked about all of the basics that need to be done in order to get to the really fun part...the decorating!
Our idea for the guest room design was to keep it simple, relaxing, and comfortable.
Paul and I love color, but we kept the walls neutral because we plan to sell this house at some point in the no too distant future. So, the color would need to come from the things we put in the room.
We also wanted to incorporate a concept which we call Responsible Decorating. Repurposing and re-using things we already own as well as incorporating used and vintage items rather than buying a lot of new things.
I’ve never had a guest room…I mean, never.
When I was growing up if there was a spare room, a kid would be put in it. The only guest we ever had was my grandmother and she had to sleep on the pull-out couch in the family room when she stayed with us. No door, no privacy, and she’d wake to find a bunch of kids starting at her.
The idea of a guest room was so extravagant…so fancy.
But the reality is, Paul and I have plenty of room. There’s only the two of us and our house has no less than 3 extra bedrooms!
We've discussed making a guest room but for years we’ve been so involved in work and our client’s homes that we really haven’t paid much attention to our own home.
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.
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.