Friday, February 21, 2014

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Transformation

While shopping at an estate sale in Wisconsin, I spotted  this huge armoir in a bedroom.  It was obviously from the 60's- ugly yellow paint finish with the dark specks of paint and had bright blue curtains in the doors behind the open brass  grill work.  I knew it had potential, but it was over ten feet wide and extremely heavy. I just didn't feel like dealing with moving it!  But I couldn't get it out of my mind, so I went back the next morning and the ugly thing was still there- so yes- I bought it!  It's been sitting in my dining room in that ugly yellow color for the past year.  I did replace the blue curtains with mirror. But it was still ugly.  So I called my friend Laurell and begged for her help.  I knew I could paint it, but somehow I did not have the motivation and I knew Laurell could do a killer job on it!
Here's the original yellow color finish with the green faux marble columns. Definitely the 60's!
So now for the transformation.
 Laurell came over and we removed the columns and all the metal findings.
She took those home to paint them the perfect  old antiqued gold.
Next she sanded the piece.  Yes, I realize Annie Sloan says you don't have to sand. But Laurell
believes you do!   Then 2 coats of Paris Grey was applied.  It took 2 quarts of paint for this piece.
After drying, a coat of light wax was applied.  She let it dry overnight.  She says that makes the darker wax adhere better and not get a sticky finish.  The third day, she applied a dark wax over the entire piece and obtained that aged look!  We re-applied the metal findings and columns.
Finally she hand buffed the entire cabinet! and Voila- this is the result!
The Paris Grey Armoir- so much additional storage for china and glasses.

Close up of the new gold columns and hardware.

Laurell is so talented.  I have been lucky to work with her for the past 17 years. 
The following are some of my favorite pictures of her unbelievable talent at transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary! 

Gilded dome
We designed and built this armoir for a client's kitchen. Laurell painted the cabinet and made the aged mirror menu in the recessed buffet.
She aged the mirror and reverse stenciled the menu on the back. 

A beautiful luster stone ceiling in a historic Lake Forest home.

my ceiling in my dining alcove in the kitchen

The soft pink luster stone walls with the raised gold stencil in our store.

Dramatic black venetian plaster in a master bath.

                                    Custom cut and painted valence for a clients kitchen eating alcove.

Custom painted and monogrammed kitchen island.

Blue painted walls with a backdrop technique

Our walls at the Infant Welfare Showcase house

Painted black and white wood floors for another client's daughters room!
I could go on and on about Laurell's talent.  She's immensely talented and has such a positive fun
outlook on life.  I am so lucky to have  her on my team these past 17 years.  If you live in the
Chicagoland area and are interested in obtaining her painting services, you can email her at for more information.
Thanks, Laurell!  I love love love my armoir!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Dinner Party

Friday night, Valentine's Day, twelve close girl  friends came for dinner!  We are a mixed lot- some married, some wanting to be married, some unmarried and some never wanting to be married. But for those of us who are married, our husbands gracefully relinquished the romantic holiday to just the girls!  Yes, it was definitely a girly girl affair! 

I had lot's of surprises prepared for the evening. 

Large pink rose balls in tall urns flanked the front door.  Candles in vases filled with rose petals were lit on the wall.
A small batch craft vodka for Valentine's Day!

A charcuterie, cheese, onion confit, sweet cherries, cantaloupe and roasted grapes appetizer offering in the living room while having cocktails.

The Dinner table was in pinks and whites with lots of sparkle.
A rhinestone embellished Cinderella carriage was in the center of the table with pink roses inside.
Twigs, my favorite florist, made the beautiful pink rose arrangements.

Every place setting had a personalized tiara, a menu and place card.
The napkins were tied with stamped feathers and seam binding ribbon.
I used a vintage menu and photo shopped the menu into the center and printed it on vellum.
After adding glitter highlights and rhinestones, I layed it over parchment card stock and tied them together with a hand dyed ribbon. The corners were punched with a decorative corner detail.


Name cards were done using a carriage motif download that I found on Etsy.
Again, they were hand glittered and placed on a gold card stock for the backing.
Crowns were made for each girl and placed at their seat in a cellophane bag.


Gorgeous rose arrangement from Twigs, our local florist. 
Glittered hand cut butterflies were also added for sparkle!


Several white and lace cloths were layered together.

I found the carriage at Hobby Lobby in a hot pink color.  After spraying it gold, I embellished it with my rhinestone stash and placed a bouquet inside. 
Dinner was very simple.  The Barefoot Contessa's Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Basil Parmesan Aioli, Twice Baked Potato Casserole and a large Salad served with a Basil Lime Dressing.
I highly recommend the tenderloin recipe- so so very easy and the beef was cooked perfectly with no smoke alarms going off!   We cooked it to 128 degrees internal temperature and it was a perfect medium rare after resting.
Flash cooked green beans and baby carrots, along with artichoke hearts, roasted beets, tomatoes and artisan lettuces were arranged on a large tray.  Edible flowers garnish the salad.

The Candle Lit Table

Details of the buffet

Dessert was a Cranberry and Fresh Berry Gelee with Vanilla Whipped Cream and a French Macaron on top, garnished with a pink rose petal.  A small slice of Chocolate Tart with a kettle chip crust was added to the plate.

Served in an antique glass with a Love Disarmed ice cream fork!
For entertainment, I  prepared a slide show  of all the girls in gorgeous dresses, swim suits,
and couture fashion and put it to fun music of our generation like "I'm so Sexy", Dancing Queen,
Groovin,  - you get the idea.  So on our huge  flat screen, we watched a  35 minute show of  292 great fantasy pictures of everyone put to fun music.  (Actually we watched it three times and were dancing by the 3rd!) With a little wine and good photo shop skills, anyone can look sexy, rich and famous- even if just for an evening!  
 As a gift when departing, each received a 20 by 30 inch poster of their best picture in a special canister for safe keeping.


The  Real Girls!
The Rich and Famous Girls for the evening!  A bit taller maybe?????
Hope everyone had as much fun as I did on Valentine's!