Reveal: French Provincial Dresser Makeover

Check out these bodacious curves! Yes, bodacious.

French Provincial Before

Confession: I’m kind of addicted to room and furniture makeovers. In the seven short years I’ve lived in my house, my walls have been teal, yellow, red, tan, and grey. Only barely did they escape becoming eggplant purple (still have the cans of Blackberry Currant to prove it).

So I know how much a coat of paint can completely transform a thing, and for someone with constantly evolving taste, it’s a major budget-saver. So when I saw this small, dated french provincial dresser, I knew all it needed was a bit of TLC to restore its tres chic status.

Most of the french provincial style furniture you see today is likely from its revival period in the 1960’s. One of the top makers of french provincial furniture from that era is Henry Link, which I was surprised to discover was also the maker of this little piece. Score!

Ready for the reveal?

french provincial before and after On the surface, this gal was in fair shape, but under the hood had a few deep scratches and needed some structural and hardware repairs.

Pro tip! Before buying a piece of used furniture, don’t forget to check under the hood. Remove all of the drawers. Inspect all sides, front and back. Check exterior and interior hardware for loose or damaged spots. If the piece is against a wall, move it so you can really get a good look.
Once repairs were made and hardware removed, I prepped the surface for painting with a light sanding – just enough to remove the sheen from the Formica and smooth out sloppy rough spots in the detailing. A quick wipe down, and she was good to go for the next stage of painting.
Since this is my first piece preparing for retail, I chose a warm grey base accented with cream in the Fusion Mineral Paint line (a chalky-type paint that doesn’t require a top coat). It was my first time using it, and I really liked it (full review to come). Two smooth coats with no primer was all it took. Pretty, isn’t it?

image
Pro tip! To fake a continuous stroke, put your freshly dipped brush below the last place you left off and blend the new paint into the exist stroke. It’s much easier to lift the brush off wet paint without a stroke mark than it is to put the brush down on wet paint without a mark.
Now for the detailing. The bloody detailing. Unless your hands are steady as surgeons’ this task is no quick feat. Not only do you have to paint the lines evenly, but also without brush strokes so that it looks like one continuous line. I ended up using painters tape (also not easy to cut it for these sweet curved lines).
In between detailing coats, I painted the hardware the same cream-colored shade, mixing a bit of water into the paint to thin it out and keep it smooth over the ornate bits. A paint sprayer would be really helpful for this type of thing in the future!  Finally after three coats, I distressed the drawer pulls by hand sanding.


Ah, so fresh! So what do you think?
  
I wish I could keep it for myself!

So tell me in the comments, what color(s) or technique would you have chosen?

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Two Days, Two Giveaways: Win a $50 Gift Card to Project Nursery!

Guess what? Lottie’s nursery made it as a finalist in Project Nursery’s August contest! I’m ridiculously honored. Project Nursery promotes some truly beautiful nurseries and kid’s rooms. So, here’s why this is exciting for you.

If it wins, the prize is a $50 gift card to the Project Nursery shop, which I will extend to one of A Happy Hue’s lucky fans! 

 

I’d be so pumped if you headed on over to Project Nursery to give us a vote.

  1. Follow this link to the voting page: http://projectnursery.com/2015/08/vote-august-room-finalists-2015/
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the article
  3. Select the radio button for A Perfectly Pretty Bird-themed Nursery For Less Than $150
  4. If you would like to be entered into the drawing, please go this this page and leave me your email address so that I can notify the winner: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a1682352/?

Don’t forget to follow along with our blog, Instagram (@ahappyhue) or Facebook page so that you will know who wins the contest. Also, as the title of this post suggests, we are also doing another giveaway for one of these cute mini chalkboards. Check it out! With two giveaways in two days, your odds of winning just got a little bit better.

Mini Chalkboard giveaway

Happy voting

If you like what you see and read here, consider sharing this post. 🙂

 Official rules and Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by A Happy Hue and is in no way affiliated with Project Nursery or any site where this is promoted. Participants must be 18+ years or older and able to provide a continental US mailing address. 

Mini Chalkboard giveaway

GIVEAWAY! Free Handmade Mini Chalkboard

Is this not the cutest little chalkboard?

Mini Chalkboard giveaway
Win one of these mini chalkboards, handmade by A Happy Hue.
You have no idea how hard it was for me not to keep this little gem for the gallery wall in my kitchen. Seriously, it is the perfect size and shape for an eclectic gallery wall, a stylish accent for a vignette, or as a balanced accent when used in pairs (like Him / Her signs for a bedroom or Baby A / Baby B signs for twins!).


This handmade mini chalkboard is painted in cream-colored mineral fusion paint (Limestone to be exact), with light distressing that reveals the most delicate peaks of gold. So, so cute. And the best part is you can write or draw anything your little heart desires, how often you desire. So many possibilities. And it can be all yours if you win my #followhappyhue sharathon!


Now for the details. This giveaway is all about sharing and following, and there are lots of ways to get multiple entries. You can enter this contest three ways: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Each social media platform you enter on gets you additional entries.

How To Enter

  1. Instagram
    1. follow @ahappyhue
    2. tag three friends in the comments
    3. share this post with the hashtag #followhappyhue
  2. Facebook  
    1. like us https://www.facebook.com/ahappyhue
    2. share this post with your friends – Be sure to tag A Happy Hue so we can give you credit for it
  3. Twitter 
    1. follow @ahappyhue
    2. tweet this post with the hashtag #followhappyhue

The sharathon will run for 2 weeks, at the end of which, I will draw a random winner, confirm the winner’s contact info and announce it within 48 hours of contest closing.

That’s it! Share on, friends.

Official rules and disclaimer: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are not affiliated with this sweepstakes and cannot be held responsible. You can tag new friends and share the post once per day for additional entries. Eligible contestants must be 13+ years of age and must be able to provide a continental US mailing address in order to win. By participating, you are agreeing to the contest rules. 

How To DIY Easy, Gallery-Worthy Bump Photos in 15 Minutes

Stay tuned for my upcoming giveaway by following @ahappyhue on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

Don’t you just love a good bump photo? Every time I see another social media pregnancy announcement, I get excited for the flood of bump shots about to invade my newsfeed. First time moms, especially, are great at documenting that balloon blowin’ up.

9 Months of Bump Sillouettes
First, let me just say that I am not a great photographer. But I knew before I was even pregnant with my first child that I wanted to photograph it, and not just in a snapshot, mirror-selfie kind of way (though nothing wrong with that). I wanted to be able to hang these on my gallery walls. I wanted my daughter to see how much I loved her right from the very start. I wanted the photos to look as empowered as I felt. Simple, natural and beautiful.

1st Pregnancy Bump Series
This photo is one of the bump series I took with my first child. Lots of work.

What I didn’t realize was just how much work it would be. Or how much I wouldn’t feel like getting all dolled up. Towards the end of my pregnancy, it would sometimes take me an hour just to get dressed, made up and get a shot I didn’t feel absolutely whale-ish in.

I knew better the second time around.

Sillouette Bump Pic
One photo in the series of sillouettes I took with my second child. Took 15 minutes each month to pull off. So worth it.

Aren’t maternity silhouettes beautiful? They put the focus right where it should be – the bump. Plus, these shots are sooo forgiving, from both a photography and vanity standpoint.

  • No makeup
  • No clothes, except whatever will give you the shape you’re going for (think sports bra, leggings, flowy night gown or dress)
  • No worries about “moon face” or showing off those new love handles you’re sportin’

Don’t believe me? For comparison, here are both photos from my 38th week of pregnancy for my first child and my second child. I’m 25 pounds heavier in the silhouette. Trust me, it was not all baby.


Can’t tell, right? So, here’s what you’ll need to recreate this shot in 15 minutes or less:

  1. A camera. I used my iPhone.
  2. A tripod or something tall enough to take a shot straight from about eye level. I used my step-ladder with a tool tray.
  3. Camera timer. I used the Camera+ app, which is also what I used as a…
  4. Black and white or monochromatic filter. I LOVE the Ansel filter on the Camera+ app (for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know I use this filter a lot).

First, set up your shot. The key to this silhouette is finding a brightly backlit area. For me, this was in front of a bedroom window that gets direct sunlight all day. It also happens to have white semi-sheer curtains I could pull shut for a smooth, fully lit background.

Next, set up your camera on the tripod or makeshift camera stand and adjust the angle and frame. Most camera phones have an autofocus that also adjusts lighting. Play around with the focal point, putting it on lighter and darker areas of the shot, to see how it affects how much detail is visible in your silhouette.


Then set up your camera timer to at least 15 seconds. I found this was just the right amount of time to start the camera timer, run over to the window, pose and take the picture.

Now say cheese! Or don’t. You may have to take a few at first to get the pose and lighting right. Once you have the shot you want, apply the filter to polish it off. Voila. Frame-worthy bump art.

Upcycled Hutch Becomes Beautiful Storage Bench

You may not know it by looking at my house right now, but I despise clutter. Even though my floors are currently strewn with toys, crayons, shoes and kids clothes (the toddler is awake afterall), there is a special place in my heart for minimalist living. It’s head-clearing. It’s peaceful. It’s beautiful.

That said, it’s easy to pollute the beauty of minimalism with wastefulness. This is especially true for DIYers because we see the ordinary and unused, and we reimagine it as extraordinary and purposeful! Not to be confused with sentimentality, the idea of holding onto things to repurpose them can be a huge money saver. It’s green. It’s good…to an extent. So, I’m constantly finding a balance between upcycling what I can, donating what I can’t (or don’t have time to), and trashing only what I must.

I thought this hutch was the latter.


It came from a desk I purchased years ago when I began working remotely. It was a bad purchase: cheaply made laminated press board. My husband and I ended up removing the hutch, and I kept it because it had a nice shape, and I envisioned it being repurposed as a wall shelf for my outdoor herbs and succulents. But, when it became clear there was no way to make pressboard sustainable outdoors (duh!),  I got it ready to go to the dump.

And then it hit me. It wasn’t destined to be a wall shelf. It was a bench — a storage bench!

To transform this hutch into a storage bench it needed:

  • a new back (the original was a thin, torn piece of cardboard)
  • a base
  • legs, and
  • a couple coats of paint

Since I was working with laminate pressboard, there was a real possibility that this would end up in the failed pile. So I didn’t want to spend a lot of dough. With two kids under two in tow (say that three times fast), I headed to my neighborhood Lowes and bought:

  • 1/4″ plywood for the back, cut to size
  • 1″ pine for the base, cut to size
  • tapered pine legs with accompanying hardware kits
  • 2 yards of fabric (technically, I actually made a late night, kid-free trip to Walmart for this)

Supplies gathered, my work began, but I ran into a couple of  snags. Even though I predrilled holes to screw on the pine base, I still managed to do this:


Just one of the perils of working with pressboard. To repair the damage, I used a combination of wood filler and wood glue. Then I sanded it back down, though it was nowhere close to perfect. It wasn’t too obvious, though, and it would hold a coat of paint.


Speaking of paint, that was the other hiccup. In case you haven’t heard, one of the best properties of chalk paint is that it works on nearly any surface without sanding. Well, folks, I’m here to tell you that wood laminate is one of the only surfaces chalk paint will not adhere to properly. Rookie mistake. It took me hours longer than it should have to paint this piece because I had to add layer upon layer attempting to cover up the gaps and streaks. Thankfully, it adds an aged effect.


Yikes. But now we both know.

I’m really pleased with the end result despite its imperfections. The fabric back really makes it pop, and it’s the perfect size for my toddler’s room. So glad I didn’t give up on this cute little hutch remixed.


Time, Materials, Cost

  • plywood – $8
  • Pine, legs and hardware – $30
  • 2 yards of fabric – $8

In addition to the materials above, I also used:

  • leftover CeCe Caldwell chalk paint (from this project) in Destin Gulf Green,
  • leftover CeCe Caldwell wax,
  • an assortment of wood screws from my existing stockpile,
  • power drill, various drill bits and screw heads,
  • hammer,
  • sand paper (fine),
  • Wood filler and wood glue
  • mod podge, and
  • tacks that held the original cardboard backing

Difficulty: moderate

Time: 7 hours (I estimate about 2 hours longer than necessary due to complications)

How to Make an Entire Room’s Worth of Wall Decor for Less Than $35: Part 2 of Lottie’s Nursery Reveal

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Just picking up where I left off in A Perfectly Pretty Turquoise, Yellow and Pink Nursery

Guess how much I spent on all this wall art?

Wall Decor Collage
$31. Seriously.

Once I settled on this lovely color palette from ColorWorld as the inspiration for Lottie’s nursery, the least expensive choice for the perfect wall art was to make it myself. With such a tight budget (less than $150 for the entire nursery, not just the wall decor) the task was a bit daunting. It’s one thing to need a single piece of wall art (find a rad printable and cute frame); it’s another to need an entire room’s worth.


So I hope by sharing my process, you feel inspired to take on the upcycled wall art challenge yourself:

Step 1) Settle on a source of inspiration, something to help narrow your focus and fuel your creativity.  Resist the urge to get too specific at this point. It can cripple your imagination when you’re sifting through you options for free or inexpensive materials. I landed on birds. They suit her chirpy personality and constant cooing, and thankfully for me they are also relatively easy to draw and cut out.


Step 2) Gather the raw materials. I actually love this part of the process because I get to imagine all my existing stuff reincarnated in a fun, fresh way. Check your closets and garage for inspiring items: frames, wood scraps, fabric scraps, crafting supplies, odds and ends — anything that could be tweaked or painted or given a new purpose, breathing new life into it. Also, take note of the tools at your disposal. During my sifting process, I gathered:

  • a thrifted empty white wooden picture frame
  • a plain black nine-photo picture frame from my closet
  • two brown unused walls shelves found in my garage
  • a small piece of unused wall art I hadn’t been able to sell on craigslist
  • jute twine from my crafting supplies
  • fabric scraps
  • a 8″x10″ canvas leftover from my toddler’s painting party
  • my staple gun
  • mod podge from my crafting supplies
  • tiny clothes pins leftover from my toddler’s first birthday party
  • fallen branches from a maple tree outside my house (I just thought they looked cool)


Step 3) Get creative…or borrow someone else’s creative genius. Pinterest is your best friend here. One simple search for “repurposed picture frame” produces a plethora of ideas. I was largely inspired during step two, so I took to Pinterest to flesh out some of my ideas and came across this birds-on-a-string DIY from Julie’s Jotter as well as this refreshingly simple paper bird mobile craft from Martha Stewart. Note: you will likely go back and forth between step 2 and step 3 as you come across new inspiration.


Step 4) Fill in the holes. Figure out what you’re missing to complete your projects, and go get it! I ended up only needing one small fabric bundle and some craft paper.

Step 5) Get to craftin’! The thing about DIY projects is that they do take time. Some are faster than others, but if you whittle away at it a bit during your free time, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

When it was all said and done, I had:

  • two wall shelves, painted white
  • one fabric birds-on-a-string frame
  • one paper bird mobile
  • one multicolored fabric scrap framed picture
  • one bird’s nest art
  • one small, unframed mod podged fabric bird art
  • the sampler with the frame repainted to match the color palette

Time, materials, cost:

In addition to the list of materials I listed in step 2, I also purchased:

  • one extra can of white spray paint, Walmart, ($6)
  • one 10 pack of small quilting fabric pieces, Walmart, ($10)
  • one multipack of craft paper, Target ($15)
  • Time (this is where it costs you): 20+ hours, spread out over a 1.5-2 week period

If you’ve got the time, imagine what projects you could complete using stuff you already have laying around the house?

In my final post about this nursery, I’ll briefly delve into the how-to for each project (hello, mod podge!)

A Perfectly Pretty Turquoise, Yellow and Pink Bird-themed Nursery, Part 1: Chalk Painted Dresser

You know what I miss about being single? My old bedroom that was 100% reflective of my style: burnt orange walls, rich original pine flooring, dark woods, deep blue accents, and sunflowers, happy sunflowers. My retreat. And it was unabashedly bright and feminine.  Being married, however, I try to downplay my naturally feminine decorating tendencies without necessarily going masculine, and the result is neutral. Not bad, but not fully representative of either of us.

So, I decorate vicariously through my daughters, at least while they are still young enough not to offer much input.


When I walk into this room, I feel so peaceful (until my wildling starts banging on the walls next door, of course).

There’s a bevy of DIYs going on in this nursery, which I will walk you through in a three part series, but you know which is my favorite? This dresser.

It was a thrift store find, purchased and DIYed with love by Lottie’s Heehaw, Glamma (yes, Glam-ma) and I over a fantastic weekend we spent together after she was born — a memory piece.

To create this look, my father started  some heavy duty sanding to buff out the deep scratches.

Next, Glamma and I applied two coats of chalk paint (Note: chalk paint doesn’t necessarily need a sanded surface!). We used swift, rough brush strokes that inadvertently created a textured surface with a softening effect.


Finally, we applied one coat of wax, let it dry, and then reattached the hardware. Can you believe it’s the original hardware? So sweet.


I loved this item so much I knew I had to make it the focal point of her room. And even though I’m sure it will see its fair share of markers, dried boogers and carved initials, I hope she’ll one day appreciate the love that went into it.

Time, Materials, Costs, Alternatives

As I journal DIY projects from here on out, I’ll make note of time, materials and costs to help you decide whether or not this is a project you’re willing and able to tackle.

  • Dresser, thrift store find, $70 (donated by G-parents)
  • Chalk paint, CeCe Caldwell in Destin Gulf Green, $35 (donated by G-parents)
  • Wax, CeCe Caldwell, $10 (also donated)
  • Hardware, original! $0
  • Time, between three people and a power sander, about 1-2 hours of labor and about 2-3 hours of drying time.

Some cost saving alternatives would be using a donated or existing dresser or chest is drawers, as well as making your own chalk paint (I’ll cover my experience with this in a future post).