the piano room.

The room that we call the piano room was originally intended to be a formal dining room.  In fact, we did use it that way for many years until we became the proud owners of a baby grand piano when one of my co-workers moved away and needed to get rid of it.

I had grandiose plans of learning how to play, assuming that naturally I would become some sort of jazz pianist in my spare time.  You know, all of that spare time I have that isn’t spent working, gardening, garage saling or painting furniture.

Yeah, you get the idea, that never happened.

However, I did discover that this piano makes the perfect surface for things I do spend time on like painting stuff, or wrapping presents, or folding laundry, or even mixing drinks.  So it has become a fixture in the room and I can’t imagine anything else that I could swap it out for that would be as functional and yet still attractive.

Over the years this room has seen quite a few looks.  When we bought the house it was wallpapered in a very bland wallpaper.  I’m pretty sure the previous owners felt that wallpaper was an easy way to cover up a flawed plaster wall, but they didn’t feel that it needed to be decorative.  I replaced that wallpaper with a white on white damask patterned wallpaper that was very trendy at the time, but that was back in the early 90’s.  Later that wallpaper came down and I tried a multitude of different colors on the walls; mustard yellow, red, and grey to name a few.  I didn’t love any of them, and somehow despite its gorgeous trim, built in bookcases, and stained glass window, the room always managed to look rather boring.

I finally landed on horizontal stripes about 8 years ago and I painted them in shades of green the first time around.

I loved the stripes, but the colors weren’t good at all.  Especially since this room contains the only blank wall in my entire house that is suitable for staging furniture photos.  So I then exchanged the green stripes for grey and white stripes.

The colors were definitely better, and I loved the way they looked.  But eventually I got tired of seeing that striped wall in the background of so many of my furniture photos.

So a while back I repainted just that wall white.

That brought me to last winter when I decided to tackle redecorating my living room and piano room.  I broke the project down into what I thought would be manageable chunks.

  1.  repaint the insides of the bookshelves in the living room
  2.  repaint the living room walls
  3.  replace the living room furniture
  4.  paint the baby grand piano
  5.  replace the ceiling fan over the piano
  6.  repaint the piano room walls

And actually, I did pretty good right up until I got to item no. 6.  That’s where I completely got stuck.  Mainly because my original plan was to just finish painting out the stripes in the rest of the piano room with plain white walls.  However, in the back of my mind I knew that wasn’t going to be enough.  The room needed something more.

I toyed with the idea of faux ship lap.  That worked really well in our master bedroom.  But ship lap felt just a bit too casual for this room and its baby grand.  Then I came across a picture of board and batten and realized it would be perfect.

I’m not going to attempt a tutorial on how to do board and batten.  There are a million of those out there, all done far better than mine would be (just google it, or look on pinterest).

I can tell you that it cost around $90 for the wood.  We used solid Aspen rather than cheaper furring strips because it had a nicer, smoother finish.  The wider boards are 1/2″ x 4″ x 6′ and the horizontal trim board above that wider board at the very top is 1″ x 2″ x 4′.

I played around a bit with the distance between the vertical boards.  I didn’t want any of them to end up in a corner and I didn’t want to have to cut around any electrical outlets or other obstructions.  We ended up keeping them 20″ apart.

  The paint cost another $80 or so, but I have lots left over for other projects.  So for less than $200, this made a huge impact on the room.  At least I think so.

I must point out here that we definitely could not have done this project without our handyman/neighbor Ken.  He had all of the necessary tools, and he had the know-how.

I opted to go fairly high up the wall with the board and batten for two reasons.  The first is that I wanted to carry in the dark grey color from the living room walls at the top, but I wanted to keep that to a smaller segment of wall.  The second reason is so that I can still do furniture photo shoots in here and easily crop out the dark grey (as long as the pieces aren’t really tall).  You’ll see an example of that on Friday when I share my latest painted piece of furniture.

The top of the board and batten is at 6 1/2′ tall.

I knew using the dark grey at the top of the wall would really make our pretty window frames pop.

We didn’t add any vertical boards to that entire east wall.  The angles of the wall make it feel consistent though.

This project was a bit more work than I thought it would be.  I took a week off at the day job and figured I’d have lots of time for other things plus this project.  Instead I just barely got this room done by Friday.

I painted the walls, both top and bottom.  Then I sanded and painted all of the boards (before installing them).  Then it took an entire day for Ken and I to install the boards.  Then I filled nail holes, patched seams and added a 2nd coat of paint to the boards.  I painted the chair to match the piano.  I also painted the bookshelves under the window.  Phew!

Luckily I didn’t need to repaint my pretty pale blue ceiling, and we already had both the ceiling fan project and the piano painting project completed.

We took care of some final details on Friday like changing out our thermostat to something a little fresher looking and hanging things back on the walls.  I also painted all of my switch plates.  They were an oil rubbed bronze sort of color so I just gave them all a quick paint job with some basic creamy white spray paint.  I didn’t want them to stand out.

I moved some things around a bit.  The yardstick shelves with my non-collection of vintage alarm clocks went into the living room, while the window framed black and white photos came out here.

I moved my aqua McCoy pottery into my pantry and opted to keep these shelves monochromatic like the living room shelves.

A couple of things stayed in the same spots, like my French subway sign scroll and the black suitcases on top of my Specimens cupboard.

So, instead of six weeks it actually took just over 7 months, but I am finally done with my redecorating plan.  It would have been so much easier to just wave a magic wand, if only I had one.

But it feels so good to finally be able to check this last item off the list.  I’m not sure which room I’ll tackle next but I’m sure I won’t be undertaking anymore redecorating projects until 2020.  I have a trip to DisneyWorld with my sister coming up in October and then the holiday season will be here before we know it (I know, scary, right?).  In the meantime, I’m back to furniture painting.  So be sure to stay tuned!

chair no. 18

I’m so excited to share my piano room makeover with you guys, but I’m holding out until Wednesday in order to stick to my regularly scheduled room tour series, and because I haven’t quite finished writing that post yet.

But I am going to share just a small portion of the project with you today, the chair that I have paired with my piano.

This chair is obviously not one that came with the piano.  I don’t remember precisely, but I’m sure I bought it at a garage sale.  I love it’s sort of vintage industrial vibe.  You may remember that back when I painted the piano I was on the fence about what to do with the chair.  Initially I was going to leave it unpainted, but I really didn’t like how the wood tone looked with the black piano.  I was reluctant to paint it in a matching black because I thought that would be too matchy-matchy.

Obviously having a seat that matches your piano isn’t really a bad thing, but I wanted to have something unexpected and more unique than your typical matching piano bench.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for an alternative seating option for this spot, but haven’t found one yet.  I was really thinking I’d end up painting this one white and calling it good.  It wasn’t until I had the entire room finished that I decided that black was the right choice after all.

This couldn’t have been a quicker, easier makeover.  I simply sanded the chair very quickly (not thoroughly at all) and then wiped it down with a damp rag.

I used my cheater method to paint the cane seat of the chair.  In other words, I spray painted the cane with matte black primer.  Then, while I was at it, I did the same with the slats on the back.

Once the primer was dry I went over those bits with my final paint.  It doesn’t matter if I didn’t quite get every spot because the black primer makes that fairly unnoticeable.  It’s so much easier to make sure I get into all of the nooks and crannies with spray paint first, especially on that cane.

Next I painted the rest of the wood parts of the chair with Dixie Belle’s Midnight Sky, the same color I used on the piano.  I just did one coat.

Since I planned on distressing the chair anyway, I didn’t need perfect coverage.  Plus the black paint over the dark wood covered quite well.

Because I was keeping this chair, I wanted to add a little touch of whimsy with a stenciled number.

What can I say, I love a good number.

I added the same stenciled number to the back of the chair too since the chair is seen from both sides.

I used a new product from Dixie Belle to topcoat this chair.  It’s called Big Mama’s Butta and it’s available in two scents, Orange Grove and Suzanne’s Garden.  Plus you can get it in an unscented version.  It contains all natural hemp seed oil, coconut oil, beeswax, carnauba wax and essential oils.

I would describe this product as a wax meets hemp oil sort of combination.  It has a consistency similar to vaseline, although not quite as soft.  It goes on much more easily than wax, but also leaves more of a greasy feel behind.  Sort of like … well … butta!

Not to worry though, that greasiness goes away as it dries.  Just be sure to wipe away any excess product after applying it.

I’m using the Orange Grove version and I love the smell.  I have heard some say it’s too overpowering, but I don’t think so.  The scent does dissipate over time as well.

Even though I went matchy-matchy with the color, I do think this vintage office chair is a bit unexpected when paired with a piano.  So in the end, I’m quite happy with it and don’t feel like I need to keep searching for an alternative after all.

Thanks to Dixie Belle for providing me with the Midnight Sky paint and the Big Mama’s Butta that I used on this project.  If you’re wondering where to purchase Dixie Belle products you can find their website here.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday to see the full reveal of my piano room makeover!

the q branch.

Yesterday my handyman/neighbor Ken and I worked on a project in my piano room that is almost finished, and I’m so excited to share it with you guys.  I’m planning to have that room ready for next Wednesday’s room tour.

In the meantime, before I get to today’s room tour, I have to tell you all that we’re feeling pretty fortunate here at our house.  We had a ferocious (Mr. Q’s word) storm blow through here on Monday night and the maple tree in our front year came down.

I’m a bit bummed because this tree had finally gotten to the right size to block the street light from our bedroom window.  I also really enjoyed listening to birds singing in this tree in the early morning hours.  However it missed our front porch by about a foot, which is incredibly lucky.  It didn’t do any damage at all except to one little corner of my front garden.

As you can see, there are plenty of bigger trees around our house that would have done much more damage if they had come down.

Not only that, but when we got up in the morning there was a tree service company working a block over so I asked them if they’d look at my tree too.  While they were at it, I also asked them to take down the pear tree in my front yard.  It didn’t do well over last winter and was looking pretty sad (you can just see it to the left in the photo above).  I had been thinking about having that one cut down anyway.

They had both trees down, everything hauled away, and my entire yard cleaned up by 9 a.m.

So although our front yard feels a little barren now, and we feel a little more exposed,  we’re definitely going to have fewer leaves to rake this fall.  Overall we are counting our blessings because this certainly could have been much worse.

  OK, on with today’s normally scheduled programming.  We are heading inside to tour a branch of a different kind, the q branch.

This room is directly off the piano room and I have no idea what purpose it was originally meant to serve.  Possibly it was just small sitting room all along, or it could have been a very small main floor bedroom at one time.

We’ve tried a number of different looks for this room.  It once housed my dollhouse, which basically took up the entire space.  Then we turned it into a small dining room, which we never actually used.

Now it is the q branch, or my study, and it gets more use than it ever did before.  I last redecorated this room back in January 2015 (oh my gosh, can you believe that was over four years ago!).  Mr. Q is the one who thought it should be called the q branch.  If you’re not a James Bond fan, the q branch is the fictional research and development segment of the British Secret Service in the Bond movies.  Clearly it was the perfect name for the room where I write this blog.

The biggest change to this room since I originally finished it in 2015 was the addition of my giant English cupboard.  I purchased this via Craigslist back in August 2017.

When I brought it home the inside was completely empty, but handyman/neighbor Ken kitted it out with shelves for me and then I painted the inside.

I was on the fence about whether or not to paint the exterior at the time, but now I’m really glad I didn’t.  I love the patina of the bare wood.

I only recently moved my stack of vintage suitcases into this room (and clearly I need to move my paint brushes up a bit on the wall).

They used to be in the dining room.  I think they fit better here though.  Some of them house my vintage Christmas ornaments, and some of them are just empty.

The opposite side of the room contains my rooster cupboard.  It is painted in Miss Mustard Seed’s milk paint in a coat of Flow Blue over a coat of Artissimo then finished with her antiquing (dark) wax.

This cupboard is one of my favorite pieces.  I love the chippy paint and that fabulous rooster grain sack that I used to line the glass doors.

The room does feel a bit ‘cupboard heavy’ though, with two cupboards in a fairly small space.  They are really great for storage though.  Some of you ask how I can bear to part with some of my pieces, well, this is one that I just can’t seem to let go of.  I do wish I had a better spot for it though.

My giant ‘q’ still hangs on the wall above my desk.

My sister gave this to me for Christmas several years ago and I gave it a chippy paint job.  I think I’m going to re-do it soon though, I have another idea in mind for it.

I’m realizing now that I could have done a much better job staging this room for these photos.  A professional would have hidden all of those cords coming down behind the desk, and straightened out the lambs wool throw on the chair.  Maybe found a cuter mouse pad too.

But this is real life guys.  This is where I sit in the early morning hours writing my blog posts and editing my photos.  There are cords, and messes, and usually a cup of coffee next to that unattractive mouse pad.

I hope you enjoyed today’s tour.  Be sure to check back next Wednesday to see what Ken and I were up to in the piano room!

the photo cottage.

Today I’m continuing the Wednesday tour of our home.  Today’s stop, the photo cottage.

This is a little building that’s out in our backyard.  I feel like it would be selling it a bit short to call it a shed, but it’s a little overkill to call it a summer house.  The people who owned the house before we did used it as a playhouse for their kids.

It has undergone several transformations since we’ve lived here.  It went from a storage area to a potting shed to a summer house, all of which were sadly underutilized.

Then in 2014 I decided to put it to use as a photo staging area.  I started by painting the interior walls and ceiling white, then painting a white & grey checkered pattern on the floor.

I have a cupboard out in the photo cottage that came with the house.  It’s a great spot for storing some of my photo props.

Although that chair stayed out there for a little while, I’m actually using it inside the house now.

I did quite a few furniture photo shoots in here originally.

But I really struggled with the lighting, and with getting the white balance right.  At certain times of the day the sun reflected off my red carriage house next door and turned everything pink.

Plus, the photo cottage isn’t really big enough to get shots from every angle.

Also, over time the painted floor started to really show its age.

I realized last summer that I needed to repaint it if I was going to continue to use it for photo shoots.  But time ran out and I never got it done.  Then I planned to paint it this summer.  And guess what?  It’s the end of summer and once again I still haven’t done it.  At this point, I’m giving up trying to accomplish it this year.  Also, I’m just not sure it’s worth the effort for a building that isn’t optimal for photo shoots anyway.

So the truth of the matter is that this little outbuilding has reverted back to its original purpose, as a storage area.  We’ll probably store our deck furniture out there this winter.  Maybe next Spring I can refresh this space once again.  Honestly, I give it a 50/50 chance of getting done.

I’m curious, what would you do with this little cottage if you had it in your backyard?

 

 

 

going au natural.

Welcome to the third installment of my house tour.  I had originally planned to go in order with the rooms (because I tend to be a organized, linear sort of thinker) , which would have meant that the piano room was next.

But I have a big project planned for that room in the coming weeks, so instead today I’m going to share my ‘outside room’ otherwise known as the deck.

Do you have a wooden deck?  I’m not gonna lie, I think maintaining a wood deck is one of the most annoying chores.  Our deck is made out of cedar and we’ve tried several different sealer/weather-proofing products over the years and none of them have lived up to my expectations.

Now, granted, Minnesota weather can be pretty harsh.  And we enter our house via the deck, so it gets a lot of wear and tear year round.

But so far every product we have used has looked not so great within a year, and downright crappy within two.

So this year we decided to go back to basics.  Mr. Q put in hours and hours of stripping, power washing and using brighteners to un-do the damage caused by the various products we’d applied over the years.  Before you get all excited and think that I’m about to reveal a miracle deck product that you should all run out and buy, think again.  In fact, once he had finished all of that work, we decided to just try going au natural this time around.

We are accepting our own limitations, following the maxim ‘know thyself’, knowing full well that we won’t keep up with the regular maintenance required for a good looking finish on our deck.  Since our deck is made of cedar though, we are going to just let it weather naturally for a year and see how we feel about that look.  After all, if we end up hating it, we can always get out the pressure washer and do it all over again.

In addition to Mr. Q cleaning up the wood decking itself, I also freshened up the patio furniture this summer.

You’ve already seen the Adirondack chairs that our handyman/neighbor Ken made for us.  One is brand new, and one we’ve had for several years, but I gave both of them a fresh coat of RustOleum spray paint in a color called Eden.

Oh hey, speaking of the chairs, here’s a photo I shared after painting them back at the beginning of July and it shows the ‘before’ state of the decking.  That gives you an idea of where Mr. Q was starting.

Yeah, definitely not great, huh?

And here are the chairs on the newly stripped decking.

Definitely an improvement.

In addition to having a great eye when it comes to garage sale finds, my picker Sue can also sew.  So I asked her to sew up some simple drop cloth slipcovers for my cushions for the dining set on my deck this summer as well.  They are just simple pillow sham style covers that allow me to slip the cushions in and out which makes it easy to wash them if necessary.

Initially I was going to stencil them with some of my European grain sack style stencils.  However, the throw pillows that I already had for the chairs have French writing on them so it seemed like that would be a bit much.  Instead I simply stenciled them with just the grain sack stripes.

I used Dixie Belle paint in Gravel Road, a grain sack stripe stencil and a fabulously large stencil brush from the Prima Marketing re.design line.

That brush with its big ball handle is easy to hold and the size made quick work of stenciling that wide stripe.

And I love how they turned out.

Now the chairs are much more ‘me’.

The throw pillows came from Restoration Hardware quite a few years back.  They had a bit of a story behind them too.  I purchased them online at a sale price without really paying attention to the measurements.  As it turned out they were far too wide for my chairs.  So once again Sue came to my rescue and modified them to fit.

They’ve held up pretty well over the years, all except this one.

I store these upstairs in the carriage house over the winter, and last spring when I pulled them out this one had this gaping hole.  I hate to say it, but I suspect mice chewed that hole.

So while I was working on the slip covers for the seats, I decided to create a patch for this hole.  I started by stenciling a scrap of the same drop cloth fabric used for the cushions.

Then I just sewed it in place behind the hole.

I’m quite sure that some of you are going to think I’m totally nuts, but now this is my favorite of the pillows.  I adore that little union jack patch job.  Unfortunately, it barely even shows when the pillow is in place on a chair.

Oh well.  I know it’s there, maybe that’s all that counts, right?

You may have noticed that I moved my rusty planters up to either side of the door.  It’s easier to see their fabulously rusty patina up on the deck.

I still have my house number plate hanging below the porch light.

I did this ages ago.  I used my Cricut machine to cut the ‘no. 6041’ out of adhesive vinyl and then stuck it to an ironstone platter.  I have to confess, I’m surprised it has held up as beautifully as it has.  I leave it there year round, take it down and wash it occasionally, and it still looks just like it did on day one.

Speaking of whether or not things hold up, remember the metal picnic basket that I added a Prima Marketing transfer to?  It’s also holding up quite well out in the elements despite not being sealed with anything at all.

I think how well the transfers hold up outdoors is entirely dependent upon what kind of surface you put them on.  This is a very smooth metal surface, although it is rusting in spots, the finish isn’t peeling or flaking underneath the transfer.  Plus I got a really good seal (ie. no air bubbles at all) with the transfer over the smooth surface of the metal.  I think a transfer on glass (or on a china plate) would also hold up really well outside.  However, you might get a different result with a transfer placed over a rougher surface like painted wood, unfinished barn wood or something like that.

That monster of a shrub beside the deck is a Limelight hydrangea.

Well, technically it’s two of them.  I planted them there to provide some extra privacy for our dining area and I never expected them to get so huge.    They provide a ‘wall’ on that end of the deck which makes it feel secluded and cozy.  As an added bonus it provides tons of dried hydrangeas to use in my window boxes for fall and winter.

You may have noticed that lump of something on one of the chairs in the photo above.

Lucy is once again up to her photo bombing ways.  She likes sleeping out here almost as much as the front porch.  She seems to be drawn like a magnet to anything that is freshly upholstered.

By the way, in case you are wondering why the Limelight hydrangea flowers look so green on the bush, while the ones in the ironstone pitcher on the table look creamier, that’s because the ones in the pitcher are Vanilla Strawberry hydrangeas.  I have one of those over by the carriage house.  The flowers start out fairly white but turn pinker over time.

Mr. Q and I have quite a few dinners out on our deck in the summer so it’s nice to finally have it all spruced up.

Now we can just focus on relaxing and enjoying it for the rest of the summer, while it lasts.

Next on our tour I’ll take you inside the photo cottage, so be sure to check back next Wednesday.

let’s head inside.

Last Wednesday I posted the first in what I’m planning as a series of posts touring my house.  I hadn’t updated the ‘tour my house’ page here on the blog in quite some time and rather than try to do it all at once I’m going to do one room at a time until we get through them all.

So today let’s head inside.

I painted the stairs and added ‘please watch your step’ several years ago (you can see that here).  In an attempt at full disclosure, the treads got ruined when I had my upstairs floors refinished two years ago.  The floor guys tracked the new finish all over the upper stairs and they look kind of awful.

I’m also not entirely happy with the all black treads anyway.  I love the way they look during the daylight, but in the middle of the night with no lights on, when you have to go downstairs to find the bathroom, they look like a black hole in space.  It’s rather frightening.

So one of these days I’m going to repaint them, but that’s a winter job.  Something to take care of when I can’t be outside instead.

This spot is at the foot of those stairs.

This is where my little cupboard with the IOD transfer resides.

And here is the view from the living room into the front hallway.

This is one of my favorite views in the whole house.  I just love the way the arched opening frames out the front hall.  I hung the Farmers Market bed rail sign above the arch when I re-did the living room last winter and it was a perfect fit.

Now, let’s get real for a minute.  Just to the left is our big flat screen TV.  I know a lot of people try to hide their TV’s in cupboards, but the reality is we pretty much only use this room for watching TV so there’s no point in hiding it.

Instead I have it sitting on an old rustic handmade bench.  My handyman Ken added the lower shelf so that we could put the DVD player somewhere other than on the floor.  Painting the walls dark really helped that big black screen fade into the background a bit when it’s not on.

Above the TV is another project I worked on recently but haven’t yet shared here on the blog (I’ve got a few small project posts that I’ve got photographed and written but haven’t found a time slot for yet).

Here’s a view of the room taken from the front hall.

Not much has changed since we redecorated back in February.  The sectional isn’t exactly in keeping with the rest of my style but it has turned out to be a very functional choice for us.  It has plenty of room for Mr. Q and I to both stretch out while watching a movie.  It maximizes the seating in a rather small and awkward room.

I do what I can to style it up with faux grain sack pillows.

The side tables that I painted last spring are still working out well in here.

I hadn’t planned on keeping them, but they were such a perfect fit in the room so they stayed.

If you were reading my blog back in February you may remember that I started out with a different standing lamp in the corner.  It looked great, but it was a reading lamp that didn’t add much light overall to the room.  So I brought back my old lamp but added a shade from Light Reading.  This lamp was chrome, and since it was February I couldn’t really spray paint it at the time.  I have since spray painted it gold to match the other fixture in the room.

I used the RustOleum Mirror Effect spray paint in Gold and it worked perfectly.

I’m still loving the restyled look on my living room shelves.

I’ve tweaked them a little bit here and there, like when I added part of Prima Marketing’s Somewhere in France transfer to the black toolbox.

If you’re wondering whether or not the dark walls were a good choice, I have to say that we absolutely love them.  The room feels warm and cozy in the winter, but cool and shady in the summer.  Down the road I’d love to repaint my q branch walls in this same color.  We’ll see if I get to that or not.  Maybe next winter, along with the stairs.

So, there you have our living room.

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  I’m not sure exactly which room I’ll be sharing next week, but be sure to stay tuned for that.  And in the meantime, check back on Friday to see what I did with that gorgeous serpentine secretary desk!

P.S.  For curious minds that want to know, I sold last Friday’s mid-mod piece yesterday.  I posted it on Facebook Marketplace in the morning and by the end of the day I had 4 inquiries so I changed the status to pending.  The first buyer was supposed to show up at 5:45 pm on Friday.  She canceled at 4:30 saying that she had only just checked the measurements and it was too big for her space.  I moved on to buyer no. 2 who agreed to come at noon on Saturday.  She then contacted me a couple of hours before noon and rescheduled to Sunday evening at 7 pm, but then was a no show on Sunday.  No apology, no message, no response to my message, no nothing.  I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt when they need to reschedule.  Some of my absolute best customers have been known to reschedule a time or two and I really don’t mind.  We all have busy lives and things come up, so I try to be flexible for people.  But it really is frustrating when someone strings you along for the entire weekend and then doesn’t even bother to let you know they’ve changed their mind.  This is a big part of selling online though, so I really work hard at not letting this sort of thing frustrate me too much (it’s a work in progress, obviously).

In the end, buyer no. 3 came through with flying colors.  She and her husband showed up on time, had cash in hand and a trailer to load the piece into.  That transaction couldn’t have gone more smoothly.  So it was definitely a case of 3 times is the charm and I’m happy that the piece has gone to a good home 🙂

the botanical cupboard.

I’ve been painting furniture for a very long time.  Since the early 90’s in fact, when Rachel Ashwell made painted furniture a hot commodity.  This was way before I knew about things like chalk paint or milk paint.  Back then I painted everything with plain old latex, including my black cupboard which has been used in a couple of different spots in my house, most recently on the front porch.

It made a great display piece for my vintage camera non-collection.

But then last winter I restyled my living room and I moved a bunch of my cameras into the shelves in there which left the black cupboard mostly empty.

That had me feeling all Marie-Kondo-ish.  You know, discard everything that doesn’t spark joy.  And I thought, gosh, maybe I’ll just touch up the paint and sell this cupboard because it no longer brings me joy.

Then Prima Marketing sent me those samples of their new Summer 2019 release transfers including this one called Beautiful Botanist.

Now let me preface this next part by saying I’ve never particularly been a fan of the idea of using a transfer inside a cupboard with glass doors.  I’ve always thought that doing so makes the cupboard less useful.  After all, the purpose of the glass doors is to allow you to display something inside on the shelves.  And putting stuff on the shelves pretty much blocks whatever is behind it, right?

But, as you know, my motto is never say never.  Just when I’m convinced that I’m right about something like this I generally manage to prove myself wrong.

So I decided to try this transfer at the back of the black cupboard to give it a little more personality before selling it.

First things first, I repainted the inside of the cupboard.  The shade of grey that I used the last time I painted it had a bit too much green in it.  I’m afraid I can’t really tell you what the color is that I replaced it with, it’s a custom mix of chalk paint that I had left over from a previous project.  I felt like this color would work well with the transfer.

Applying the transfer was just a bit complicated because the shelves in this cupboard are not removable.  The transfer comes in 3 pieces though, and I used it that way here.  I had to trim just a little bit off the middle piece and several inches off the bottom piece.  But because of those shelves, you really can’t tell that any of the design is missing.

Application was further complicated by the fact that the back of the cupboard is not flat.

I solved that problem by using a razor blade to slice the transfer vertically on either side of each raised section (like I did with the picnic basket I shared a while back).

The application of this transfer would have been a lot easier if I’d had Prima’s new Transfer Tool.

I didn’t get the package with the tool in it until after I’d already finished this cupboard though.  I have used it since I got it though and it’s pretty slick.

Once I had the transfer in place, I was contemplating what to use to stage the photos of the cupboard.  I wanted something that would work with the botanical theme of the transfer, and then I remembered my clay pots.  Perfect!

I also added a few old books, a rusty garden ornament and an old wooden radio.

As I was playing around with stuff, I was loving the way it looked more and more.

In fact, dare I say it?  It was even starting to spark a little joy.

And then I noticed the piece de resistance … did you already notice it?

Yep, there it is.  Our name.  Just like it was meant to be.

So, as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m going to keep this cupboard on my front porch after all.

I added a couple of vintage suitcases to the lower shelves, and they fit perfectly.

I ended up having to take the glass out of the doors to get some good photos without glare, and I think I love it even more this way.

As for whether or not it’s worthwhile to put a transfer in the back of a cupboard, I’ll let you judge for yourself.

But personally, I am loving it so much that now I have to keep this one.

Thank you to Prima Marketing for sharing this new transfer with me.  If you’re wondering where to buy this transfer or the transfer tool, check out Prima’s ‘where to buy‘ page.