Sunday, May 25, 2014

Chairs~painted, cherry, fancy and country~for sale!

 When we open on Tuesday, our shop will be overrun with chairs!
We have quite a variety coming into the shop, so let me give you a 
quick glance at what will be available.
This is a solid antique French chair with original needlepoint done in 
soft Scandinavian pinks and taupe.  I see this as a decorative piece
used to finish off a space looking for that French touch.  Justin even
sat in it as soon as I brought it to the shop yesterday.  Its solid!
 How about a pair of ribbon back cherry wood chairs, also in the French Provincial style?
These are first quality and newer than the antique French chair, but still vintage.
Perfect to use beside a fireplace, or create a conversation area.  How about mixing and 
matching at your dining room table simply by covering the apricot velvet cushion?
I bought 6 of them with the intention to sell them as a set...
but then I fell in love with them and decided to switch out the
side chairs I have now and redo them to go in my dining room!
 This is an older photo of my dining room and the only one I can find that
shows most of the side chairs I used to have.  They are a soft French bleu color
with a blue and white toile fabric that is more towards aqua than powder blue.
The fun thing of having a store is I can sell my own vintage furnishings if I 
decide to switch anything out.  So look for four of these French Bleu chairs,
selling for a song at only $89 each!
 This pair of diminutive stuffed french provincial boudoir chairs are still
at the shop.  I had a call from someone last week, so perhaps they will be moving
to their forever home shortly. Super comfortable and in perfect condition.
Truly french and charming as all get out!
 I scooped up this amazing dining room table and chairs this weekend!
Not so vintage, but totally handsome and ready to go as is~no paint necessary.
If you have lusted over a round dining table, consider this set as the table is
essentially a large round shape that can handle six large comfortable chairs.
And as for the new chairs I decided to keep? 
 I am transforming them of course!
A custom mix of Louis Blue, Pure White and Old White Chalk Paint®
followed by a dry brushing of Old White.  I will share the finished 
result when they are ready~promise!
And for those interested in our Boston store, please read Justin's
latest blog post.  We are so depressed over the latest development.
UGH.  Trying to deal with it, but honestly its such a bummer.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shabby Chic Style with Dark Furniture

Shabby Chic Style
Rachel Ashwell coined the name Shabby Chic in 1989 in Santa Monica
where she sold white slipcovered furniture on overstuffed pieces.
It was a super popular look that was all white and light
giving the feeling of easy SoCal living with a prettiness.
It went out of favor and she went bankrupt after 20 years in business.
Since then she has reinvented her business and her brand in 2011
 and Shabby Chic has returned with a narrowed popularity.  Its still
light and breezy with vintage florals added to the mix.  Whites and pastels
used in home decor decorating are often referred to as being Shabby Chic.
And so this guest bedroom I reworked is the topic of todays blog post.
My client, Mary,had a guest room that she started 
to decorate in the Shabby Chic style,
but called me in to finish it up as she wasn't sure how to incorporate
all the heavy furnishings in dark wood.  She did not want to paint anything,
which of course I would have done, were it in my house~but this is for
those of you who may want a lighter look but have dark furnishings.
Lets take a look at a couple of before photos.  To start with the room
had a pretty aqua blue wall color and white woodwork. 
 That was a great place to start.  To try to Shabby it up, Mary had
her husband add a little white chandelier with pink shades from the ceiling fan,
and she purchased a mirrored chest from HomeGoods.  Then she used a ruffled
white bed duvet and shams along with a white shag rug. But the furniture
was large and things didn't feel quite finished.
This shows the guest room in the middle of Mary's decorating.
I planned to use as much of Mary's things as I could to keep costs down.
The white ruffled bedding on the dark wood bed was a good place to start. 
The room felt awkward with the mirrored chest between the two windows.
So the first thing I did was to rearrange the furniture.  Our goal was to work
with what we had~so I shopped the house for a lot of the changes that went
into this room.  That meant things came out of the closets, and I used a coverlet
for the bed from the master bedroom that just had received a makeover recently.
 White sheers were hung from simple iron rods from HomeGoods. 
 A dark grey coverlet was laid over the white duvet. 
The mirrored chest came over toward the entry side of the 
bedroom, which lightened up the overstuffed feeling of the room.  
A few little touches made all the difference. 
 A beautiful embroidered pillow in aqua repeated the wall color as
did the pretty decorative shopping bad that I hung on the armoire door knob.
Don't over look the decorative box and gift bags 
when looking for inexpensive ways to bring color into a room.  
See the pretty gift bag?  What an easy style tip for a bedroom!
A large basket added to the top of the armoire filled the empty space.
It is stuffed with extra pillows, but really the basket adds needed warmth
and texture to the mostly white room. 
Which reminds me...when you shop the gift bag area in HomeGoods, they 
have beautiful gift wrap papers too.  Look how I used an aqua chevron paper
to cover books in this room I recently did~so don't overlook that section as
a great tool in inexpensive home decor!
Pretty book covers created by using gift wrap!
See how it can repeat the colors in a room?
From the rug to the pillows to the books in the bookshelf!
Repeat your main accent color....
(This image has over 650 repins on the HomeGoods Happy by Design board!)
Anyway, I digressed a bit...back to Mary's guest room.
 The soft sheers hung up at ceiling height bath the room in filtered light, 
and the iron rods repeat some of the dark tones.
Too much white and pastels and the room would have been too sweet.
A look at the bed shows how simple yet pretty 
it is dressed in white, aqua and grey.
The mirrored chest became the star of the room, placed by 
the entryway, it is not to be missed.
A whimsical painting from HomeGoods in all the colors of the room capture the 
Shabby Chic style.  I used all of Mary's accents and only added one
picture frame and a decorative paper box in aqua. The bathroom was next!
  The adjoining bathroom was standard faire~how to Shabby Chic this 
space up and give it a coordinated feeling was my goal.  
And it had to be on a budget of course!  Mary had a white linen
drapery panel she wanted me to use.  It was floor length and that is
not everyones choice for a bathroom curtain, but it can be lovely.
The towel hanger and the toilet paper hanger were both underneath the 
window, so that had to be taken into consideration for this quickie makeover.
 Again, lots of white was added for the Shabby Chic style.  
The bathroom vanity and countertop were dark and traditional looking.
I painted the mirror to look like distressed driftwood in white and grey.
Sorry~no closeup, but just lightening the mirror made the space feel 
larger and more airy.  The panel was hung at the ceiling and then
gathered in the center with a length of ribbon and a faux peony then
pinned to the ribbon for a little touch.
 You can always use things you have around the house for 
an interesting curtain tieback.  A piece of jewelry or hair band or pretty ribbon
can all work to coral a long drapery.
The toilet paper and hand towel are all accessible, and Mary has her
elegant flowing curtain in the bathroom.  Oh, and just maybe you can get a 
peek of the Shabby Chic mirror treatment!
 So lighten and brighten with white even if you have dark woods.
You will love the result!
Note: This post is partially sponsored by HomeGoods as part of my participation in the designer program on Pinterest, Happy By Design.  

To see more designer tips from HomeGoods please visit our designer Pinterest board here.
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Monday, May 12, 2014

My painted hutch brightened up my space!

 I don't get much personal time these days with the day to day operations
of our shop, Maison Decor.  But that doesn't mean the ideas don't stop flowing.
I purchased a large french provincial china cabinet for our dining room
The main reason was to use it as our bill paying and paper filing center.
With the business generating tons of paper work, and my husbands side business
running an excavation company, we have lots of papers and bills and it was
taking over our dining room table.  Since we already have a smaller china cabinet
in the room, I thought this might be a good solution for us, and so far its been 
working out great.  It might not look as pretty as if it would had it been filled
with pretty china, but form must meet function, and this is the compromise.
As soon as we put it in place, I knew I would be painting it.  The large wooden
piece darkened up the room immediately and it ruined the feel of the space.
Here is a rare shot of that end of the room, rare mostly because I avoid taking
pics of things I find ugly. Glad to have it though, because its fun to compare
the afters when you have a good before shot.
Louis Blue Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan to the rescue. 
 I just painted in place,
opening drawers a touch and getting the edges, 
swinging open doors and painted the edges
and then closing them when they dry, in about 10 minutes. 
 I like to do a fairly light coat~
and this color happens to cover exceedingly well. 
There was zero prepwork involved, 
I just grabbed my Annie paint brush and began.  
 In an hour I was almost finished! 
I will be taking down the wallpaper behind the cabinet
as it is no longer viable as a feature wall with the 
large cabinet in front of it. The color palette
in my living room and dining room is mostly white
 with soft blues and greens and shades in between.
 An hour and half later the first coat was finished! 
 I was very happy with the lightened look.  
My plan is to do another coat, but this one will be using Pure White 
and dry brushing the white over the Louis Blue. 
When you want a lighter look but a finish with depth,
layer two colors together, starting with the darker one first.
When completed I will update with a finished photo. 
 But for now, I am very happy with how much prettier and brighter the room is!
I have been working on my living room as well.
Really have the bug. The redecorating bug.  Maybe its springtime...
not really sure. But if you are looking for some real decorating tips with 
tons of beautiful ideas, get the latest issue of Southern Living's Style Guide.
Its a special edition, and the cover won me over.  See how I copied the pair 
of chairs in the layout just like they show on their cover?  
I adored the color palette too, as its close to mine, 
although their is more vibrant and mine is more muted.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Potpourri Post: My bathroom, mora clocks, stores opening and closing.

Maison Decor 
150 Main Street, Reading, MA
Life is so crazy right now! 
We are on speed dial with all the things that are going on in our 
shopkeeping lives. That includes running the Reading Mass store 
from Tuesdays through Saturdays while we close down our first retail 
location that we opened two years ago that evolved into our warehouse
when we moved business to Reading. 
 So we are open and closing and opening stores!
Maison Decor Warehouse
50 Summer Street, Malden, MA
I snapped this window shot after I left our "warehouse" location in Malden
this week. Getting it all sorted out~whats going to go into our new Boston
shop, Pioneer Goods Co, and what will go to Reading. 
Cleaning, sorting, and moving!
 So much harder than opening a new shop I think.
Pioneer Goods Co.
764 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
This is an Instagram post from our Boston shop.
If you follow along on IG @PioneerGoods,
 you will get to see the behind the scenes
in realtime updates on how Justin is doing.  
Of course business continues as usual with the selling of
Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan and our wonderful Mora clocks.
Available in both wall and floor models, these
painted reproductions are one of the most popular items we sell.
We sell so many that we don't have them in the shop for very long.
We recommend to call ahead if you want to see one in person,
because as soon as they are painted and hand finished,
 they are shipped out to their forever homes!
This antique white Deluxe Floor Mora is waiting to be picked
up by the owner who placed her order in person.
For those who order online, we offer a color selection
of the actual painted finishes on wooden samplers.
You can find these and the clocks on our website at 
Decorating for clients and doing quick room makeovers
is part of our business too.  I use HomeGoods accessories, like
this padded storage bench, as part of my involvement 
with the Pinterest Happy by Design program,
as well as decorative items from Maison Decor to bring
rooms back to life and it makes for happy clients!
You might remember this room that I did recently for Anna.
I showed the before, during and after on the blog.
The last piece of the room installation was this gorgeous aqua colored
wool rug to tie it all together!  The pillows, wing chairs, garden stool 
and bookcase accessories were all items from HomeGoods!
The carpet and baskets were from Maison Decor.
I will be doing more room makeovers, and now I have my 
assistant, Gina, that will be helping me with these installations.
Last but not least has been trying to get things done in my own home.
I have several projects I am attempting to finish....
the last time I did a major project was about two years ago.
I did these closet doors in my bathroom.  Channeling a Paris Apartment,
I added appliques from Lowes and painted them pink, taupe and gold.
Now I carry the most delicious assortment of appliques, called Efex.
I would have loved to have them at my disposal when I did this project.
At any rate, two years ago in the middle of doing my bathroom over
I took a workshop from Annie Sloan herself in Boston. I planned to blog
about it and then get back to my bathroom project. 
Well that never happened, because she inspired me so much
that I decided to open a little shop selling her paint.
And that abruptly halted my home decor plans....!!!
But I hope to get a bit of my home life back and decorating and 
doing projects is one thing I dearly love.  
I spent my day off this week adding another shelf in the top of my closet so 
I could organize my shoe boxes and hats.  What a difference it made!
There is something wonderful about going into a neatly organized closet.
Its the little things that make me happy!  
Like spring finally arriving in Boston and planting some flowers.
Finally getting to enjoy a bit of gardening.
I wish all of your mothers out there a wonderful Mothers Day.
For those of you without moms in your lives, I will be thinking
of you too.  My own mom just came back from Florida as she is 
a "snow bird".  She is settling back into her home with my dad 
on Martha's Vineyard for the spring and summer.
Happy Mother's Day Mom!! 
I love you!

Note: Part of this post is sponsored by HomeGoods as I am a participating designer in their program on Pinterest, Happy By Design. 
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Insanity!! Behind the scenes of our big sale!

Just when I think things will start to get more manageable and predictable,
we decide to open another store in Boston.  That decision set off a domino effect.
We have to close our first location that we now use as our base of furniture operations.
The first shop location in Malden Mass became our Maison Decor warehouse.
It was filled with furniture that we planned to paint and put in our Reading store,
which is our retail location offering Chalk Paint and supplies as well as 
a curated selection of home decor accessories, lighting and home furnishings.
We opened our first shop two years ago and since that time, I have not
really taken much time off.  My wedding anniversary came last week and it
was finally time to just check out for a bit (meaning 24 hours).  So Mr. Maison Decor
and I hatched a little getaway plan and I left the running of our first warehouse sale
in the hands of Justin.  Colin, who left for a career job two months ago, was begged asked
to help out with the Sunday sale.  He said to me he really didn't think it was necessary.
I told him that people seemed to be showing interest and I thought it might be busy 
for the first two hours anyway and could he please lend a hand.....
I am so grateful that he did!  Justin needed back up! 
It was total INSANITY! 
Have you heard the term of WAREHOUSE MADNESS SALES?
Right before the clock struck ten o'clock, three women came to the door
and Colin unlocked the door and the customers started streaming in.
I started getting texts on my phone while hubby and I were away.
My quiet country escape from the shores of Lake Winniepesaukee 
at one of our friends home was about to end.
 A jolt came right through my phone.
The first text came in from Justin.....
"What?!" I texted back to him....
then Colin texts: "Its insanity!"....."Craziness!"
I had to smile~thankful that our customers were coming out in droves
and that this sale would help facilitate the move to Boston,
with reducing our overload of furniture
 while adding much needed $$$ to make it all happen.
We priced things seriously low~
like this antique mantle at just $100 bucks!!
You will see it on the blog later as it is going to be installed 
into one of our customers home as the focal point for her living room.
So while the guys ran the sale, Mr. Maison Decor and I 
had fun in New Hampshire doing things like visiting this old
fashioned country store in Moultonborough.
Visiting our dear friends, Lance and Judy at their country home 
we were warmly greeted by Dolly, the sheep.  
As many times as I have been to their place she has never 
come out to see me.  She let out a big "Baaaaaaaa" when I got out of the car.
I took a longer video at first, and this is just a quick one.
Look at her face~isn't she just darling?!

 After playing with Dolly, Judy and I hit the antique trail, leaving
our husbands behind to catch up on cars and motorcycles
and take a spin in Judy's new Mini Cooper.  
This time antiquing, I was looking for americana and rustic items 
for Justin's new shop, Pioneer Goods Co.  
I would text him pics to get the yes or no...
I power shopped for Pioneer and gabbed with Judy til the
 guys came and got us for a nice dinner to cap the end of our quickie getaway.
Feather shuttlecocks, old pennants, creels, wood racquets, antlers, globes, 
beautiful leather bound books, croquet balls, walking sticks,
 lanterns, wine casks, pottery and much much more 
were in the haul.  I can't wait to see how Justin merchandises the antiques
with the new items for his shop.  He is turning out to be quite genius at the whole thing
and it makes for one very proud mom! So our little family business keeps 
plugging along~but not without the help of our customers.
We LOVE you guys!! 
Some of these items will find their way to our online shop, which 
will remain the same as it is now, under the parent moniker of Maison Decor.
We continue to offer Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan at the lowest pricing
allowed by corporate, as well as reproduction and vintage home decor
accessories, lighting and furnishings. 
Look for our famous mora clocks and paint workshops online too!
We may host one more Warehouse sale in two weeks and
if we do, we will be sure to let you all know.

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