Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Revamping

 This is my favorite home decor magazine, but it only comes out a few times
each year.  Sometimes they will put a different cover on it and say it is republished
due to popular demand, so make sure you don't get a re-issue of a mag you already
purchased. This one is a new one and I loved every page!! It gives me clarity and 
inspiration when I am redecorating my home or shop.  There are about 7 or 8 homes
featured and they all had some beautiful rooms!  With fall arriving so suddenly,
(it felt that way to me), I had to think of our shop and getting in the fall mood.
So here are a few pics of a shop revamp we did, all in one day!!
 This pic below shows the store awhile back, and you can see the paint shelf 
on the left.  When you walk in our shop we have this wall in the middle which
separates the shop into two sides.  After the revamp, the paint went to the 
opposite side of the store for a fresh new look. Check it out.
Center wall as you enter. We like to do little home vignettes here,
A pretty antique mirror over a chest, or something like this settee makes
a nice statement upon entering the shop.
The left wall had the big paint cabinet and a stencil display rack that
ended up being kind of a pain in the butt.  It wasn't easy to see what the 
stencils were as they were layered on top of one another.  So that needed
to get changed in addition to just moving stuff around.
 We moved the paint to the right rear corner and check out what we did with the stencils.
 The new paint display is in the back, and to the right is a wall full of stencils
 hanging from three rods for easier viewing.  A big color chart is on the wall, 
and plenty of painted decorative samples are displayed in the 
wire planter to inspire people who are selecting their paints and finishes.
Our original antique mora stands guard next to the Chalk Paint color display.
She is for sale at a very good price too~so if you want an original, compare 
before you buy! Check our Antique Mora out online at
 Other vignettes took shape as the furniture was moved around.  Its just like when you 
decorate at home and you get an idea to try things~you have to wing it to a certain
extent.  Sometimes things look great, and other times its a bust.  
 A dining room table that is 5 feet wide with six chairs is the foundation 
of the corner now where the stencils and paint used to be.  
I was inspired by the Country French magazine to create the 
look I love using what we had.  Do you ever shop your house for things
 to give it a fresh new look?  Its an easy way to fall in love all over
 with the things you have by placing them in a new area
and switching out your accessories, and just adding one or two new items.
 And if you are in the market for a great dining room set for the holidays,
 this one is hard to resist at $849 for the table and chairs. 
It has an impressive center pedestal base and the entire set is solid as a rock. 
 I had planned to paint it, but the labor required had
 me thinking I would try selling it as is instead.
You know I have fondess for antique chandeliers,
 and this one screams old world Europe to me.
Its blackish rust finish with highlights of venetian gold 
and shimmering crystals are all original.  It also has a pair of chic metal tassels 
that adorn the bottom and the center of the chandelier. 
 Original wiring would dictate having
 your electrician go over it before you hang it. 
Its just been added to the online
shop.  Another antique is landing in the shop this week, 
its a large Florentine style chandelier! I'll share as soon as it comes in the shop.
How about a simple way to create a fall tablescape?
Pick up a gorgeous fall wreath at your local HomeGoods and place one of our
Park Hill wicker sleeved candles in the center.  Its rustic and beautiful.
When your candle is finished, you can plop a small ivy plant from your
local nursery or supermarket into the wicker container and thread a thin
velvet ribbon through the rattan.  Its simple and stylish and a way to 
reuse these beautiful containers that our candles come with.
For my Chalk Paint fanatics, how about this marvel?
Paint right over a marble top with stunning success!
Yup, just paint your basic two coats of Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan.
Let dry and wax the following day for superior coverage and durability.
I am reworking this table to see if a client likes it~
if not it will be up for grabs in the shop.  Painting the marble
isn't the only thing I have planned, we are adding Efex decorative appliques
to the front panel for an old world look.  
Stay tuned for step by step results this week!
Until then, make your life and home more beautiful!
For our great low prices on Chalk Paint®, shop here.
Note: this post is partially sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in the designer program on Pinterest: Happy by Design. See tips and tricks from the HomeGoods designers, including me!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

New Jersey has a new Chalk Paint® shop!

Just a quick post about someone who has a special place in my heart:
I am happy to tell you about my dear friend's new 
Chalk Paint® store in New Jersey!  Patty Seaman 
is an accomplished painter and did you know she 
was my Chalk Paint® trainer when I started with Annie Sloan?
I think she is simply wonderful!  So for anyone in New Jersey, this 
is for you~she will be having workshops
twice a week in her shop that is located in Red Bank.

What a beautiful shop!
 Paint Passion is located at 
30 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ
Phone: 732-842-2244
Hours of Operation:
MondayWednesday and Friday 10:30-3:30
Tuesday 12-3:00
Saturday 11:30-4:00
Workshops on select TuesdayThursday and Saturdays.
Paint pickup can be scheduled on Thursdays by 
emailing Patty at
 Here is a shot of me with Patty to my left at Annie Sloan's Boston Workshop in 2012.
  The other gals are L to R, my CEO of Annie Sloan Unfolded, Lisa Rickert, 
 Jaime of Freckled Laundry Blog, me, Patty, Shauna West of Perfectly Imperfect blog, 
and Karen, Patty's sister who is also a fabulous painter.
Shauna and I both made the decision to become Annie Sloan Stockists
 after this workshop with Annie.
This group photo is courtesy of Janet Metzger 
of The Empty Nest in Warrenton VA, also a stockist.
Well I was captivated by Annie and I already was a super fan of her paint....
so the next thing I knew I was headed to New Jersey for several days of training.
This was my training set up with Patty~seems like eons ago! I took two full days
of training at her home in New Jersey and she is the best teacher anyone could have.
So if you are looking for a great Chalk Paint® workshop
 I can personally recommend Patty at Paint Passion in New Jersey! 
 As always, you can check to find a local stockist near you.  
We continue to offer our workshops at Maison Decor, and September INTRO
has sold out.  October was just added, so don't hesitate to sign up at if you are in the Boston area!
Have a great weekend everybody~I will be in the shop today 
so come on in and see what we are working on today, there is 
always something interesting going on. Wishing best of luck to my teacher, Patty,
as she begins her new venture, Paint Passion!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Create Chateau Paneled Walls and an easy trick to Getting Rid of Wrinkles on fabric

 One of the things I like most about having my little shop is creating display vignettes.
Basically you get to redecorate little bits of the shop over and over and try to engage
your shoppers by creating something that makes them slow down and linger.
This is a small little nook in the shop with two walls that create an L shape. I thought
it would be fun to make it look like a paneled wall
 out of some old chateau in a French Manoir.
After coming up with a story line in my head, I set out to make it happen.
I drew up some big rectangular shaped "panels" using a 4 foot level.
At the top and bottom I traced around an old tole tray to get a shapely
finish.  You can trace around a platter or create a card board template to 
trace around so that they will all be the same.  Do some basic math and figure
out how many panels you want in your space.  My panels were about 18" wide
with 5" in between each one.  The background wall color is a dark taupe, and I don't
remember the color I picked, but it was just your basic satin wall paint.
I used white chalk to draw my shapes.  
 Since we display stuff, I figured I did not need the panels to go to the floor
as they would likely be hidden by our merchandise.  This space is going to be
a bedroom in a French Chateau, and a special tufted linen headboard is on its
 way as we speak. It will go right here when all is said and done.  
 To make it a little bit easier than hand drawing all the details, I used a stencil
to fill in the tops and bottoms of the panels.  I only used one part of the stencil,
and did not use the entire pattern of the stencil.  When you look at getting a stencil,
did you ever think of using only parts of the design pattern?  You can get a lot more
out of every stencil if you use bits of the pattern instead of the entire any rate
I used the acanthus leaf part and placed it to go over the curved areas.  The shells were
added by hand.  Shells are typical in Rococo design, the highly ornate French style of 
furniture and architecture which glorifies nature. The word Rococo derives
 from  the rock, "rocaille" and the shell, "coquille".  Pretty interesting, right?  Rococo is my
favorite design style, and its basically anything with a curve to it.  Rounded chair backs and 
rounded headboards, all those beautiful curves are Rococo style!
 Anyway, back to my Rococo this point I used the stencil with
Paris Grey Chalk Paint® to outline the leaves and the hand drawn shell and then I 
dry brushed Paris Grey on the interior of the panel.  You can see from this pic
I had planned to do bottom panels, but I scratched that idea after realizing that
they would not be seen after putting the furniture in the space.
 After the Paris Grey, I painted on Duck Egg and Duck Egg with some Old White 
in the mix to get some variation of blues and greys on the panels. I used Old White
to highlight the edges of the leaves and shells and the centers of the edges of the panels.
I used some French Linen and a small brush (our gilding brush) and painted shadows
along the bottoms of the leaves and shell and the edges of the panels. This is
in effect creating dimension by adding shadow and light.
 At the end of the day I put all the furniture back in place and left for home.
It looked cool, but it was very flat in appearance. 
Tomorrow I would jump right back in 
and get some dimension on the rest of the wall.
 Versailles Chalk Paint, which is a historical celery green color, was the next color
I used and I painted it in straight lines with a dry brush technique.  Keep your strokes
straight so it gives it a wood paneled look. This is very fast and doesn't have to be
perfect at all.  The more perfect it is, the worse it looks actually! I started to do a bit 
of water spritzing and ragging, but stopped as it was taking away the texture that
the dry brushing gave to the overall appearance.
 Then from out of left field in my brain I thought it might be cool to add a bit
of crocodile pattern to each panel.  I used Pearl Plaster by Artisan Enhancements and
quickly added it in little sections through our CROC stencil, which we sell online.
I have mostly used the CROC and Pearl Plaster over dresser and table tops, so 
putting it on the wall was really kind of fun.  And super easy!  But don't apply it
in perfect fashion, just smear the pearl plaster through partial sections of the stencil.
 This shot shows the random application of the pearl plaster through the large rectangular stencil.  I was LOVING the CROC on the panels! I finished the one wall and had a plan to finish up the adjoining wall the following day.
 The plan was that I would tell Gina, my design assistant to finish the smaller wall.  She 
would need to replicate what I did and do two more panels.  I gave her the basic tutorial like
I have given you all here, and look how well she did!  She was a bit dubious at first, but 
in no time at all she was on a high seeing how well it was coming out and what she had created!
 I wanted you guys to realize that you can do this if you choose.  
Now where would one create panels in their home? 
 How about in a dressing room? Or a bathroom or a little princesses room? Now that
the walls were finished, Gina and I started to set up the vignette.  You can see her on the 
ladder hanging up hardware for our grey linen sheer panels that we sell (both online and in the shop).
But look at the wrinkles in the linen panel! UGH. Well that happens quite often to all of us,
whether its at home or in a shop creating a display, something has wrinkles and it just kills the 
entire look.  Then I remembered I had been asked to review a new product called Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus!  I had already started testing out the Downy Wrinkle Releaser on a few things, but this was real life and if ever there was a time to take out wrinkles, this was the time! So lets see how Downy Wrinkle Releaser performed.  And for the record I will say that Gina told me that she used it when it 
first came out and she was unimpressed.  I noticed on the information I got with the product it said it was the NEW IMPROVED wrinkle releaser PLUS

 I told Gina that I had tested it out with Cindy, my sales associate earlier in the week and we thought it worked great.  Gina remained dubious...well I always write an honest review and if these wrinkles didn't come out, that is what I would have to tell everybody.  Since I hadn't thought about using the Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus on this day, and I was in full painting mode with hair pulled up and no makeup etc....I decided to be very brave and let Gina snap a few pics of my spraying the wrinkled linen panels. Sometimes you just have to get over yourself in the name of public service.
 There was a customer shopping who stopped to watch this quickie photo session with the Downy Wrinkle Releaser.  I smiled and aimed the spray bottle at my new creased linen panels.
 I just sprayed until damp in sections at a time. 
 These panels are 102" long so I sprayed about four areas at a time.
  After you spray your wrinkled fabric, 
it says to smooth or tug the fabric to release the wrinkles.
 Placing my hand on either side of the dampened fabric I just smoothed the panel out.
  Out went the wrinkles to Gina's amazement!  
Even the customer watching us do this 
said she was going to go buy some!  I loved how easy it was!
 This could be a game changer around the store and my home. 
 It smells nice and its fast and easy and it REALLY works!!!
 All the creases were removed in about 5 minutes.  
I had to do the other panel~you can see the creases in the one on the right.
The one of the left is hanging beautifully! Thanks to Downy!
And while we are going over this Downy Wrinkle Releaser review,
this is what Cindy and I did to test it out in the back room.
 Cindy is model gorgeous and a good sport!  She grabbed her white cotton shirt
 and bunched it up and made it all wrinkly.  
She DID NOT come to work like this, just to be clear. 
 She is way too stylish to do that!
 Using the little hand held sprayer she spritzed her wrinkled shirt....
 And spritzed and then rubbed it flat and tugged it straight. 
 The wrinkles came right out!
 We only sprayed the middle of the shirt, and you can see that the
 wrinkles have released and relaxed.
I am definitely keeping one of these little hand held jobs in my closet
 for when I get dressed in the morning in case I need to zap out some wrinkles.  
 The other test we did was to take out some wrinkles on this
 fabric that came all rolled up and stuffed in a box. UGH.  
Who ships fabric like this??? Well it came with plenty of wrinkles.
 I unrolled the fabric....and there were the wrinkles. 
Okay Downy! Lets get to work!
 We spritzed then rubbed and smoothed out the fabric.
 This product really works.  It takes out wrinkles! 
No steam iron, or steamer needed people.
Gina is getting some, as is Cindy and that shopper and I am too.  
Colin was impressed when he stopped in and worked for me last Saturday,
 so I gave him a spritz bottle so he can look all dandy 
when he goes to his real job during the week!
So this is what it looks like if you are hunting it down. 
You can get it in the supermarket and at Target and Walmart to name a few. 
 I know I will LOVE using this on my dining room tablecloth come the holidays.  
No need to spend hours with iron and ironing board. 
 Its also an emergency static cling remover  which will come in handy at Justin and Madison's wedding
in the fall.  You can also use it for freshening up the smell of your upholstery.  
So do I need to say it? 
 I highly recommend this product, Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus.
Hope you enjoyed seeing a change we made in our shop on the walls.
  Creating a vision is easy with Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan
 and a bit of imagination.  Make it happen in your own home! 
click here to go to our online shop. 
 Its all about Making Life More Beautiful for us!
 And thanks for reading the blog today, I know it was another long one. 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Trip to MV, Floor planning, Clam Bake, & Shop Inventory

My sister Ellen informed me it has been two weeks since I last 
blogged!  How is that possible?  I am finding it harder to keep all
the balls in the air, especially during summer time.  Summer is 
when we all need to take a vacation or a few days here and there
to stop and get recharged, don't you agree?  Especially if your
life is like living on the gerbil wheel...round and round it goes!
So here is a bit of what I have been up to for the past two weeks.
This is a newsy post, so just a warning....I won't be offended if you 
don't read the whole thing.  Lots of personal stuff is included in the latter half 
of the post so if you are interested, read on!
Lets start with the shop~
 Maison Decor is humming right along, we have been getting in furniture pieces,
all of which are vintage.  Since our shop is small, we don't have room for lots
of furniture.  So the pieces I like to add are those I would put in my own home.
This is kind of my rule of thumb for buying anything that will go into our inventory.
 How about an elegant console table from Baker Furniture? 
 Or an old iron chandelier that oozes European charm?
 A gilt mirror that has seen slightly better days, but is still a beauty!  
Little chips off the bottom give her a pretty nice price tag, and you can 
have the look you love without breaking your bank.  Its not a repro either,
this is the real deal!
I took a selfie in the mirror after layering in front of another larger mirror.  
 A very interesting gothic styled chair.  Perhaps it lived in a church or monastery before it landed at Maison Decor.  One of my readers called it a Bishops chair.  Gina, my decorating assistant, said she saw a chair like this in a high style decor mag.  The chair was in a bathroom, placed next to the tub with towels folded on it~I can totally picture that!  Don't you think that using unusual pieces in unexpected places is what gives a home soul?   
This beautiful armoire dresser combination is getting an
 Old White Chalk Paint@ refresher, with a hand rubbed clear wax finish.
  Its the most beautiful bedroom piece  I have ever had in the shop.
We also got a big shipment of new and reproduction home decor accessories
 last Thursday.  Price points are fantastic, from $6 to $200, come in and see what's new!!

 Lots of interesting hooks in great looking styles and rustic and elegant finishes, wall art~botanicals and iron wall plaques, linen drapery panels, big linen euro shams in pale grey in Bella Notte style without the Bella Notte prices! 
 Yummy shabby washed linen in 27" size~perfect for sofa or bed!
Beautiful cotton velvet pillows to throw on your sofa or bed to 
update it for the fall in purple, pinks and grey. 
I have been doing some custom painted furniture jobs as well. 
 This is a wonderful glass front cabinet
that we painted Old White on the exterior, and French Linen on the interior. 
 It had many shelves that go inside, and our client already has this in her dining room 
and has all of her white plates and silver pieces stacked on the shelves. 
 When you paint a china cabinet or hutch, think of what color your plates
 are so that your interior color can coordinate or be a perfect backdrop 
for what you plan to put inside. So you can see that we have been busy!  
And of course Justin's shop in Boston is taking off! 
He is getting all kinds of great feedback on Yelp for Pioneer Goods Company.
  He also was written up in last Sunday's edition of The Boston Globe in the Arts section!!
He is also an Annie Sloan Stockist in Boston and his shop is at 764 Tremont Street and is open from 11-5 on Wednesday through Sunday.  Its in the South End and it really has a neighborhood feel over in that part of Boston that is so delightful.  This kid is going places!  And speaking of going places, on a whim I decided to visit mom and dad at their home on Marthas Vineyard. 
 Since I have Sunday and Monday off, I decided to get on a quick flight
 and head over to make the most of my time. 
 Normally I would have driven an hour and half, then got on a 45 minute ferry and finally land on that precious little island where they live.  But since I am time crunched, taking a Cape Air flight made sense.  These are small 9 passenger planes, and you have to walk out onto the tarmac to board.  Its kind of crazy in a major airport, like Logan in Boston to walk
 around big planes, to climb into your little plane.
 As we walked out I could see someone checking the!! 
 I got put on first in the seat right behind the pilot then tried to
 take a selfie showing how small the plane was as others boarded.

 In a half hour I was on the ground and mom picked me up to head into lovely Edgartown.
We strolled down North Water street and sat up on the porch and had a drink before dinner.
 My dad was off island helping my brother build a deck at his home, 
and so it was a girls only visit and boy did we have fun!  
 We went to the annual clambake at Farm Neck Golf Club where my mom is a member. 
 Clam Bakes are traditional New England picnic events.  
A big pile of lobsters and steamers and mussels and the fixings
 like corn on the cob and roasted red potatoes and part of the feed bag.
Everyone gets in line and gets their plate loaded up for the finale of the summer at Farm Neck!
President Obama was on the golf course, so when we arrived, we had to pull our car over and have it examined, and then we needed to get "wanded" to be checked for explosives before entering the club.
 There were several hundred members attending and it was a glorious night for the clam bake! I was here 17 years ago when Bill Clinton was President, and I met him at the clam bake that particular night.  But this year we didn't see President Obama, only his swat team and entourage while they waited for him to get off the course.
 This is such a beautiful golf course, I can see why the President spent many days golfing here.
 The next day I wanted to rearrange my parents living room.  They have lived all over the world and many of their treasures from years overseas they still have today.  The layout of their home includes this
oversized living room and as you may know, large spaces are hard to figure out sometimes.  We have the fireplace as a focal point as well as the TV.  My dad likes his lounger and so that has to be incorporated into the layout.  Its real life living!! 
 There needs to be consideration to traveling between rooms as well as to the outdoors in this room.
To the right is an old Chinese desk and next to that is a piano, creating an awkward line up on that wall.
I planned to bring the desk into the living room and try to put the chairs next to the fireplace. I wanted to rejoin the two bookcases into the corner of the room, and move the TV closer to the fireplace.  That way Dad could have his lounger moved over into the conversational area I planned to create, not leaving it out in left field by the bank of doors.
 Large sliders run along the back wall of the living room.  A million oriental rugs collected during their years living in Pakistan are spread over the floor. The old wall unit has been broken apart and now flanks the giant flat screen tv.  Something just felt wrong about the layout, and mom was game to help shove the furniture around to come up with a more attractive floor plan.
 The pair of blue club chairs are against the half wall on the right.  The vibrant blues pull the color from the rug and the lamps.  But somehow the focus on the fireplace has been neglected, and there is no real conversation grouping of furniture.  It is all just spread out in one big gigantic circle, against the perimeter of the room.  The fireplace wall felt awkward too, with the big blank space to the right.  Check out the changes we made, using what we had.  
 We grouped a gallery wall of artwork from their collection all in the fireplace area.  The bookcases got rejoined and placed in the corner.  The blue chairs float on opposite corners of the room, angled toward the sofa.

Here you can see the piano on the back wall, and the Chinese desk is now in the living room seating area.  It works much better, at least mom and I thought so! Not sure what dad thought when he returned from my brother's home. After this little decorating project Mom and I went to the Black Dog TAvern for lunch, but not before stopping in to see the newest New England Annie Sloan Stockist, my friend and former customer, Anne-Marie Eddy.
Her shop is in Vineyard Haven and is opposite the Black Dog Tavern, and around the corner from where the ferry comes into port.  Look at the ocean view she has! Her shop is Refabulous Decor and she does a lot of custom painted furniture on the island as well as sell home decor and Chalk Paint.
She was painting away in her bare feet in her shop when I popped in on her!
I think the island is lucky to have their very own Annie Sloan Stockist.  
Her shop is lovely so if you are visiting the island check out
 Refabulous Decor and say hi to Anne-Marie.
Then mom and I went over to the Black Dog for lunch.  The Black Dog also owns a couple of antique Schooners and my son Brandon worked as crew on one of their boats for two summers.
You can take a day sail out of the wharf right here on one of their boats.  I used to come visit Brandon when he would get in from his week long sailing trips, so this brings back pleasant memories of an easier slower summer time that I used to enjoy.  Now being a shopkeeper, those days are OVER!!! I have to squeeze in times to relax and this quickie visit to the island was so precious and enjoyable.
I only had an hour and half before I had to get on the little plane and head back to Boston.  My flight was at dusk.  I plopped on the chaise on my parents back deck and savored my last hour.
 The little Martha's Vineyard airport~its too small for Obama's Air Force One plane.  The 
8 other passengers and I headed out to the plane.

 There is my pink bag on the trolley. The sun was setting and the pilot was waiting! Hubby would be picking me up in less than an hour. 
 One more selfie inside the cabin~look at the lady behind me watching!
 Haha, she doesn't know I have a blog to write.  She just thinks I am self absorbed.
Flying into Boston at sunset on a gorgeous summer evening.
All the city lights were sparkling as we came in for our landing.  I highly recommend flying to the Vineyard from Boston if you can, its quick and instant and I think I will always want to go this way, unless I have to travel with my dogs.  
 The very next night we had a party at Justin's dad's home.  
We have a wedding coming up, and its coming fast!! 
Justin and Madison will marry in early October and this was a good time
to connect with everybody before things start going into warp speed.
Many pics were snapped~my sister Ellen jumped in on this one.
Photo bomber!!!
I am so proud of all the things that are happening to Justin right now. 
 He is taking a giant step forward with his life, marrying this remarkable woman 
who is no stranger to hard work and determination herself. 
His shop is getting accolades after months of his 
efforts and vision being crafted together.
Its just all such a whirl of accomplishment and life building. 
 Living in the moment, but looking to the future! 
The day after our family party we had yet another family event, it was to attend a funeral of a beloved family member of my husbands.  She welcomed me into their family and was as interested in my children as my husbands.  
We will always remember Elinor Johnson and what a class act she was.  
So much of life has us running around, being busy with the events of the day.  But times like weddings and funerals are the big moments that bind us together with the label FAMILY.  I love my family, and if you read this all the way to the end, you are probably a member of my family!!  Seriously, thanks for reading the blog, and I will try to keep more current.  Hope your summer is ending on a high note!  Fall is on its way, along with my son's wedding, and a trip to FRANCE! 
 But thats for another day.

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