We have a great post from Annie at Mclaren Unvaled showing you how you can take tired old furniture and give it a new lease of life, just with a lick of paint. It is one of my favourite ways to recycle any type of furniture and there are now many paint options on the market. Heavy, brown and dark, is what Annie faced in her Mum’s house of 45 years after she died, “I knew it so so well, but now that she is gone, it just seemed so dark and drab,” she says.
The individual pieces were quite beautiful in their shape and form, which is the key to a good furniture upcycle. Curved legs, carved detail, rounded edges – Annie could see so much beauty in the shapes. The win-win was to chalk paint each of the beautiful pieces to recreate them and make them more suitable for her colourful cottage home with its white walls.
Annie is committed to staying Australian as much as she possibly can, so she set out to find an Australian chalk paint product. Mezzie and Frank is 100% Australian and developed by a pair of women on the Sunshine Coast – Mezzie and Pam AKA Frank, who are the brains and creatives behind the brand.
“As soon as I tried it, I knew I was in love. The coverage is generous and the finishes so smooth to the touch. Most of all I love their colours – especially the names! Pavlova, Rosella, Sunshine, Coalmine, Black Caviar, Bass Strait, Bondi and Daintree. Uluru and Flame Tree are the oranges. Luna Park is lolly pink and Dame Edna strong purple!” explains Annie.
For the demi lune table above, she chose Port Fairy , a subtle creamy pink. She painted two coats of Port Fairy, with the lightest little sand between coats, followed by a touch of distressing with the sanding block, to reveal the detail on the legs and top. Finally she applied a coat of Mezzie and Frank Carnauba wax. She uses old cotton sheets cut up into rags for the wax application, and works a fairly small area at a time, buffing gently with another cotton cloth at the end. It really is easy and the transformation is amazing.
“To me upcycling tired looking old furniture is like the Japanese understanding of beauty – Kintsukuroi. This Japanese term means, ‘More Beautiful for Having Been Broken’. So often I have found that the greatest surprise and beauty is revealed in the timber that has been dented or scratched. I apply the paint to an imperfect surface and then, as I rub it back slightly, that imperfection jumps out as a feature – a spot of the greatest beauty. The carved details also pop out with the distressing technique.”
For this table, Annie chose Moss Vale, a beautiful green. When it came to sanding back after the second coat, she was a little more heavy handed than she usually is, because the carved decorations on the legs revealed their beauty more and more as she did so. Ball and claw feet are wonderful for revealing their beauty too. “I find this process is the most creative moment….I keep stopping and brushing down the piece to check that I am happy with the look. It’s important to remember to stop when you love the look. Then the final stage is to wax with those cotton cloths, or wax can be applied with a brush then buffed with a cloth.”
Chairs come up beautifully with Mezzie and Frank Chalk Effects colours too. Two of the chairs pictured above, were painted in Sunshine, which needed 3 coats before the Carnauba Wax. And the green is the gorgeous Daintree. Quintessentially Australian!
This little writing desk came up a treat with the contrast of Coalmine to the outside and frame, with Noosa, a pale blue, to the internals. “I love colour so these projects were all labours of love for me. That dark brown heaviness now has a new lease on life and Mum’s influence and wonderful good taste remains with me, albeit with my own ‘take’ on it” says Annie.
Treading more lightly on the earth by saving old furniture from landfill, is a brilliant step you can take in your life. There is an abundance in op-shops, vintage stores and often, roadside. You can find out more about this range of paint and check out all of the pieces Annie has for sale, via her website